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“Lovely green marshy bird haven makes nice stop between Seattle & Portland”

Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge
Ranked #2 of 57 things to do in Olympia
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Located on the Nisqually River Delta in Southern Puget Sound, this refuge consists of three thousand acres of salt and freshwater marshes, grasslands and mixed forest habitats that provide a resting and nesting area for a wide variety of migratory birds.
Reviewed 28 May 2014

I was so pleasantly surprised at just how much I enjoyed meandering through this wildlife refuge on my drive from Seattle to Portland (a pleasant place to stop halfway and have a picnic). It's a hidden gem that doesn't get much attention but is so pretty and peaceful. It reminded me a bit of my native Florida b/c it was marshy in parts. I saw lots of red-winged blackbirds sitting on reeds, and even saw a flying bald eagle and a swimming otter carrying grasses. It helps if you ask at the visitor center to borrow their binoculars (you just have to leave your driver's license).

It is quiet and has lots of boardwalks and wide-open trails with ponds and grasses on either side rather than trees, which is quite different from the dense forest hikes for most of Washington.

It's worth supporting them, as I'm always happy when we have refuges as a peaceful sanctuary for wildlife.

2  Thank JustEatPlants
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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331 - 335 of 461 reviews

Reviewed 28 May 2014

We visited the nature center soon after moving to the area and we saw our first (in the wild) Bald Eagle, we were amazed! Next trip we saw seals swimming in the Nisqually River, which we soon learned was unusual. Every time we go we see something new, to be so close to a major interstate is kind of a turn off but the wildlife doesn't seem to mind it!

1  Thank 4TravelBugs4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 May 2014

We stopped here on a whim on a late Sunday afternoon. The weather was partly cloudy. The tide seemed to be on the low side. This is a wonderful walk. In our group were me and my husband, my 20 and 16 year old daughters, and my 6 year old son. There was something for everyone. The story of the farmer who built the dikes and created farmland from the wetlands was interesting. The birds and wildlife were ever-present. My son loved running down the boardwalk and stopping at every telescope for a look-see. Even my older girls enjoyed the view and the fresh air. The walk to the end is fairly long, but completely flat. From the end you can see all the way to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. I highly recommend this stop for people of all ages.

1  Thank dmresource
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 May 2014

We visit the Refuge often and our experience brings a different surprise every time. Each season brings different colors and different wildlife. Tidal changes transform the landscape hour by hour. Look for migrating waterfowl in the spring and fall, song birds in the summer, and lots of eagles during the fall and winter salmon runs. The boardwalk trails are easy walking. The Visitor Center is a beautiful building with a large viewing deck overlooking a freshwater pond. Volunteers are knowledgeable and helpful. The gift shop is small but has a nice variety of useful books and souvenirs.

Thank bcookoly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 April 2014

After driving past on I-5 for the past 40 years and thinking "that doesn't look like much" my wife finally dragged me kicking and whining to the interpretive center and then out onto the boardwalks to finally see the wildlife center. What do you know? Right there tucked betwixted I-5 and the deep blue sea (the Puget Sound actually) was a real life wildlife preserve. I was impressed with the natural state of the marshes and the overlook of the Nisqually River. I thought you had to get off the beaten track to find a spot like this, but not so in this case. Well worth the visit, just 2 minutes off the interstate and my wife thinks I'm a hero.

3  Thank Arthur B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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