John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge
8601 Lindbergh Boulevard
Philadelphia, PA 19153
(610) 521-0662 • (215) 365-3118

Places Nearby:
Fort Mifflin
Scott Arboretum
Historic Bartram Gardens
American Swedish Museum
The Woodlands
Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
Rosenbach Museum
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Other States:

Tinicum Marsh, the largest remaining freshwater tidal marsh in Pennsylvania, once encompassed more than 5,700 acres. With rapid urbanization since WW I, this area was reduced to 200 acres. In 1955 Gulf Oil donated a 145-acre non-tidal tract to the City, and this became known as the Tinicum Wildlife Preserve. Later, dedicated citizens defeated efforts to run I-95 through the area and build a sanitary landfill on the tidal marsh. Thanks to their efforts the Preserve was expanded and is now today's John Heinz NWR. When acquisitions are complete the Refuge will contain 1200 acres.

Much of the land is former tidal wetland that has been altered by diking, dredging or filling, presenting the opportunity for a unique restoration project. Nevertheless, the area is quite beautiful and offers a rare refuge for numerous small mammals as well as a wide variety of migratory birds. The state-endangered red-bellied turtle and southern leopard frog live here.

Bird watchers can enjoy Canada geese, great blue herons, egrets, killdeer, sandpipers, and other birds that use the Refuge as a resting/feeding spot during their migratory trip along the Atlantic Flyway. More than 280 species, including some 85 nesting species, have been sighted here. A brochure is available highlighting bird activity throughout the seasons.

As well as foot trails, a wildlife observation platform, and a boardwalk, visitors can enjoy a variety of water activities, including canoeing (your own canoe) and fishing (state license may be required). The Darby Creek Canoe Trail offers a scenic tour with a number of special points of interest.

Families can participate in a number of weekend Nature Programs at the new Cusano Environmental Education Center throughout the year, each appropriate to the season. Programs cover a wide range of topics and may take place indoors or outside. Naturally, the John Heinz NWR is an ideal location for environmental study. Refuge staff will work closely with teachers to help plan School Programs for all grade levels. Equipment is also available for School and other study groups.

Hours: Open 8am - sunset. The Cusano Environmental Education Center is open daily from 8:30am - 4pm.
Group Reservations: At least 4 weeks in advance for programs.
Lunch: No eating facilities available.
Handicapped Access: Call.
Directions: Visitor Contact Center is located at 86th St. and Lindbergh Ave.

Copyright © 1996-2014 by Patrick Tadeushuk. All Rights Reserved.