World Bird Sanctuary in Valley Park is a non-profit organization that promotes the conservation of wild birds of prey. Ok, that sounds a bit dull. Tell your kids you’re taking them to the Bird Zoo. Much better.
The sanctuary is tucked next to Lone Elk Park, another cool spot for the kids. Even if you haven’t been to the sanctuary you may have seen their birds–they care for the eagles and other birds of prey at Grant’s Farm and bring their birds out for educational shows.
How Much are Tickets to the World Bird Sanctuary?
World Bird Sanctuary is open to the public and free of charge–but donations are encouraged! They’re a non-profit, after all. There are donation boxes located at the entrance and inside the gift shop, so please drop a buck or two and help feed a bird.
What Kind of Birds live at the Sanctuary?
Dozens of eagles, owls, hawks and vultures call the World Bird Sanctuary home.
Ok, they have a coop full of chickens too, but I’m pretty sure it’s because it’s cool to let your kids feed the chicken’s corn. Not so cool to let your baby feed dead mice to the hawks.
Each Bird has a Story to Tell
It’s important to tell your kids that the Sanctuary is a place of refuge for injured birds and not just a zoo. The birds who live here couldn’t make it in the wild.
For example, Patriot, the magnificent eagle pictured in this post, was knocked from her nest as a chick during a storm. She suffered pneumonia which weakened her lungs. Because she wouldn’t survive on her own she was brought to WBS and trained as an educational bird.
Other birds have permanent injuries–like bad eyes or wings–that prevent them from returning to the wild. Some were just mishandled as chicks, like Norbert who was found hanging around a golf course and stealing the balls!
The World Bird Sanctuary has a wildlife hospital on the property! Obviously it’s not open the the public–sick birds need their rest–but you can schedule a tour.
WBS goal is always to help a bird recover and return to the wild. You might remember a story where they helped an owl hit by a fire truck in Wentzville.
What Can I See at the World Bird Sanctuary?
Bring a good pair of walking shoes to the sanctuary, you’ll do some walking to see everything!
WBS has birds on view–many are located along a short trail.
Plan a visit around one of their free shows for the best visit. “Amazing Animal Encounters” are offered every Saturday and Sunday from Memorial Day to Labor Day at 11am and 3pm.
Check their event’s calendar for more interesting things to do, like song bird banding, OWLoween, Members only camera days, Eagle Days and Owl Prowls!
One of my favorite newer displays at the WBS is the “human display” located on the outdoor bird exhibits. Keep your eyes open for a empty habitat that you can walk into! It helps kids understand how the WBS takes care of birds and is also pretty fun for photo ops.
There’s also chickens you feed, a place to compare your own “wing span” to that of really big birds and a touch table inside the gift shop/nature center.
Playground, Trails and Gift Shop
Families will want to stop by the gift shop for a cool souvenir, and if your kids are small, check out the playground!
There’s also a couple short trails that start on the WBS property. The Hickory Trail and Tunnel Trail are only a quarter mile, while the Turtle Bob Trail is one mile.
You can also access the Chubb Trail–a rigorous 7 mile hike–from a trailhead located outside the WBS entrance.
Bring a Picnic, Leave the Dog
The WBS has picnic tables you can use, so feel free to bring a picnic lunch. But pets are not allowed in the park, so please leave them at home.