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Quogue Wildlife Refuge

Quogue Wildlife Refuge The Quogue Wildlife Refuge is over 300 acres of nature trails, animal habitats and an education center nestled in the woods of the Pine Barrens.

Quogue Wildlife Refuge

The main attraction at the Quogue Wildlife Refuge is the over seven miles of trails that wind through the property and take you through a variety of ecosystems. The trails are well-marked and packed hard enough to handle any stroller with ease. Maps are available, but if you're feeling adventurous go ahead and set out without one. You'll find your way back to the park entrance... eventually. Be sure that you're prepared with plenty of drinks and snacks, especially if you visit on a hot day.

Quogue Wildlife Refuge 

At the northern end of the trail head is this lake that looks more like something you'd encounter in the Adirondacks than Long Island. Multiple species of fish and turtles are easily visible in the fairly clear water. There are benches along the trail and a small waterfall that make for a perfect picnic spot. The area was surprisingly free of insects when we visited, but you may have a different experience depending on the time of year you visit.

Quogue Wildlife Refuge   

The Charles Banks Belt Nature Center sits on a perch overlooking the large ice pond. Inside, there is a touch table where kids can hold various animal pelts, bones and turtle shells. The center is only open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and weekends.

Quogue Wildlife Refuge 

In addition to the hands-on area, there are a number of displays that illustrate many of the objects that walkers are likely to encounter in the woods. Some large stuffed animals (not the plushy kind) round out the hunting lodge-like atmosphere. In the rear, there is a children's area with many books and coloring sheets as well as a few aquarium habitats. The staff there is very friendly and eager to answer questions from visitors.

Quogue Wildlife Refuge 

The main attraction for smaller children will be the pens where the refuge houses birds and animals who have been hurt and could not survive in the wild. The condition of this area isn't great; the New York State DEC handed over authority for maintainence to the Southampton Township Wildfowl Association in 2006 and the loss of state funding is palpable.  The STWA hosts a number of fund raisers during the year and are always receptive to donors. Despite the sometimes ragged appearance, the refuge gives kids the opportunity to get very close to the animals.

Quogue Wildlife Refuge

Back near the entrance, there is a pen for some large tortoises. Just beyond, there is the historic ice house. The refuge sits on the site of an early-20th century ice house and there is a small display of tools and art that depicts the process. Kids will be amazed to learn that ice was once cut out of freshwater ponds and didn't always drop magically in the freezer whenever the level gets too low.

The Quogue Wildlife Refuge is open every day from sunrise to sunset. The Charles Banks Belt Nature Center is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and weekends from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Admission is free. A visit is most appropriate for older children, as there can be a lot of walking and some appreciation of the ecology makes a trip more enjoyable. For much older kids, the trails are open for cross country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter.

The Quogue Wildlife Refuge

Official Site:  http://www.quoguewildliferefuge.com/

Find it with Google Maps 

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