Michigan – Seney National Wildlife Refuge

Michigan – Seney National Wildlife Refuge

The next stop on our 3-day tour of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula was Seney National Wildlife Refuge which was established in 1935 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as a haven for migrating waterfowl.

Seney National Wildlife Refuge

Our first stop was the Visitor Center where we were very impressed with the kid-friendly exhibits. A Touch Table beckons kids to feel animal pelts, compare animal skulls, and pet stuffed animals.

Seney National Wildlife Refuge - Visitor Center

Seney NWR Animal exhibits

A sand table allows kids to explore what different animal prints look like. Kids can make different prints with wooden blocks that they press into the sand. This is a terrific hands-on activity for younger children, but even my older kids enjoyed it. There were lots and lots of different types of animal print blocks.

Seney Animal Print Sandbox Blocks

Seney NWR Animal Print Activity Area

Seney Animal Print Sandbox

The Visitor Center also had some hands-off animal exhibits, like this coyote and bear cub.

Seney NWR Coyote exhibit

Seney Bear Cub Display

The staff at the Visitor Center encouraged us to watch a 15-minute film in their small theater. All of us found it very interesting.

When we came out of the theater, the next logical activity would have been either hiking the 1.4-mile Nature Trail or driving the 7-mile Marshland Wildlife Drive. Unfortunately, dark clouds had been rolling in while we were in the theater. The Visitor Center had an observation deck in the back where we went to watch the storm approach.

Storm at Seney NWR

We saw lightning in the distance, but I wasn’t able to capture it with my camera.

Seney NWR Storm

The rain clouds reached us just as we were leaving the Visitor Center. As we were leaving, we noticed a dry erase board posted outside where visitors could list what animals they had spotted and where. This would have been helpful had we been optimistic about spotting wildlife. By the time we got into our car, the rain had turned into a downpour. We decided to go on the Marshland Wildlife Drive anyway, although we didn’t take advantage of the three observation decks. We looked at it as an opportunity to learn which animals, if any, were not afraid of thunderstorms.

Downpour at Seney NWR

To our delight, we discovered that Trumpeter Swans are hardy animals. They swam around oblivious to the storm, even with their babies.

Trumpeter Swans at Seney NWR

We also spotted a lone Painted Turtle along the road.

Painted Turtle at Seney NWR

Sometimes the weather just doesn’t cooperate with the plans we’ve made and this was certainly the case. Nevertheless, we made the best of our drive, listening to Blame it on the Rain by Milli Vanilli, and watching the swans. Our visit may not have been what we’d originally hoped for, but it certainly was memorable.

Ready to Visit?

Seney National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center
1606 Refuge Entrance Road
Seney, MI  49883
(906) 586-9851 x15

Open May 15 to October 20

Free admission

This attraction appears in my e-book, How to Visit All 50 States in 12 Trips.

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