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Come Enjoy the Horicon Marsh
Get outdoors and experience the wildlife and many seasons of natural beauty at Horicon Marsh. The marsh provides habitat for endangered species and is a critical rest stop for thousands of migrating ducks and Canada geese. Because of its importance to wildlife, Horicon Marsh has been formally recognized as a Wetland of International Importance by the Ramsar Convention of the United Nations, is a “Globally Important Bird Area” and is a unit of the Ice Age Scientific Reserve. It has also been designated as one the “Seven Natural Wonders of Wisconsin” and is often referred to as the “Little Everglades of the North.” Located in southeast Wisconsin, this vast wetland is only a one hour drive from Milwaukee and Madison. While the marsh in renowned for its migrant flocks of Canada geese, it is also home to more than 300 resident and migratory bird species which have been sighted over the years. Due to its international significance, scientists from around the world have traveled here for professional training to improve conservation programs in their own countries.
The Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area comprises 11,000 acres of the marsh while the northern 22,000 acres is part of the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge. The National Wildlife Refuge was established as a breeding habitat for the redheaded duck. Besides the over 300 bird species, other wildlife that live on the marsh are muskrats, red foxes, coyotes, turtles, frogs, bats, fish, deer, beaver, raccoons, river otters, rabbits and much more. New to the marsh is the release of whooping cranes. These were reintroduced in 2011. The chicks were trained by a crane-costumed biologist and left to freely migrate on their own. They returned to the refuge in 2012 and also utilized other local wetlands.
Within the marsh there are hiking and bicycling trails, driving trails, a floating boardwalk, fishing piers, boat launches and canoe/kayak trails. Geocaching is enjoyed on the southern end of the marsh. Of course birding, photography, hiking, hunting, site seeing, snowshoeing, cross country skiing and fishing are popular activities on the marsh as well.
Horicon Marsh has a unique and important story to tell. The geologic features of the area, created by our last ice age, were instrumental in providing resources for wildlife and humans alike. The human history of Horicon marsh is rich with culture and story; however it is one of tragedy and restoration. The wildlife present today at Horicon Marsh are the result of geologic and human activities, including modern-day wildlife management. To view a movie about the history of the marsh, visitors can visit Horicon Marsh International Education Center on Hwy 28 between Mayville and Horicon. Public naturalist talks and hikes are given at both Horicon Marsh International Education Center and Horicon National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center throughout the year and are free and open to the public. These talks focus on a variety of topics related to the geology, history, wildlife and management of Horicon Marsh. It helps the visitor understand the delicate natural relationship that exists at the 33,000 acre marsh.
Visitors should stop at Horicon Marsh International Education Center (HMIEC) or Horicon National Wildlife Refuge Office and Visitor Center for maps and information about the marsh. HMIEC also has other area visitor information and maps available. There are various restrictions on certain areas of the marsh so visitors should stop for information at one of the visitor centers.
Horicon Marsh International Education Center
Horicon Marsh International Education Center
Weekdays: 9 am-4 pm
Weekends: 10 am-4 pm
Winter Weekend Hours: 1-4 pm
With the exception of major holidays.
Restrooms available to the public from 7 am to 7 pm year round
Horicon Marsh International Education Center opened to the public in spring of 2009 with the goal of providing a world-class visitor center on Horicon Marsh, a facility for conducting wildlife education programs. This 25,000 square foot, $4.8 million facility is called the International Education Center because of its international significance, and the fact that scientists from around the world have traveled here for professional training to improve conservation programs in their own countries.
The Wildlife Education Program has been conducted at the marsh since the mid-1980’s. This program focuses on the abundant wildlife resources of the marsh, their ecology and applied management. DNR Naturalists rely on the diverse wildlife to develop a wide range of educational programs aimed at introducing and sharing our native wildlife with a broad audience.
Horicon Marsh International Education Center serves as both a destination and gateway for visitors to Horicon Marsh as well as providing for year-round education opportunities. More than 500,000 people visit the marsh annually to observe wildlife in a natural setting, creating a huge demand for interpretive services.
The facility features an auditorium, two classrooms, Flyway Gift Shop, public viewing area with a spectacular view of Horicon Marsh, wildlife displays, art exhibits, Children’s Discovery Area and many other building amenities. Visitors may borrow binoculars, field guides and snowshoes at no cost. Plans are under way to add $3.5 million in displays and exhibits to the facility. The grand opening for these new state of the art displays will be in 2014.
Horicon National Wildlife Refuge Office and Visitor Center
Mayville, WI 53050
Hours: 7:30 am-4 pm (Year Round Except Major Holidays)
Weekends: 11 am-5 pm (September 8-November 4)
The Horicon National Wildlife Refuge Office and Visitor Center is operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It is located on the east side of the marsh just off Highway Z and offers exhibits on marsh history and wildlife; shopping for nature books and clothing in the Coot's Corner Gift Shop; and views of marsh wildlife. A large multi-purpose room is available to the public to reserve for business meetings. Educational programs on various topics of natural and cultural history are offered year-round for the public. The visitor center is open Monday - Friday year-round from 7:30 - 4:00 p.m. as well as additionally on weekends during the fall.
Waupun, WI 53963
Open Mid-April to Late November
Weekdays: Noon-4 pm
Weekends: 9 am-4 pm
Marsh Haven Nature Center is located at the north end of the famous Horicon Marsh, just 3.5 miles east of Waupun, Wisconsin on Highway 49. Their non-profit, all-volunteer, community supported center features displays and exhibits that help depict the history and wildlife of Horicon Marsh.
In addition, they also have an Art Gallery where a diverse collection of wildlife art, and beautiful wildlife photography is on display; a classroom/meeting room with full kitchen access for your teaching and meetings needs; outdoor amphitheater and indoor theater with large television and screen; bunkhouse/lodge for overnight adventures, and the only observation tower, campfire and camping accommodations on the Horicon Marsh.
Wildlife feeding stations are located on either side of the Gift Shop, and visitors often see a variety of birds up close. In 20 years of operation, volunteers have met visitors from all fifty states in the USA, and about 90 foreign nations! Free maps are provided to help visitors enjoy Horicon Marsh.
Marsh Haven Nature Center offers unique environmental education programs with a focus on experiential, hands-on learning. We base our programming on the philosophy of place-based learning and the resources of Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods and The Nature Principle; Jon Young, tracker and founder of the Wilderness Awareness School; and principles from the Art of Mentoring and Coyote Teaching.