When you make plans to visit a wildlife refuge, you naturally have expectations of thriving ecosystems and animal encounters. Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge, located near Seymour, Indiana lives up to that. As we pulled into the entrance, we were greeted by three deer bounding across the road in front of us. Once they crossed safely, they even paused briefly and looked our way, as if to officially welcome us to their home.
The rest of our visit to the refuge was just as picture-perfect as our greeting. Our first stop was the Visitor Center. There, our son, an active toddler, was able to explore several exhibits on the wildlife found within the refuge. He could touch fur and feel antlers, and he especially loved petting the stuffed otter. We also watched a 15-minute video that gave us a good introduction into the wildlife and habitat of the refuge.
Before leaving the Visitor Center parking lot, we headed out with our stroller on the Chestnut Ridge Trail. It’s not often you find hiking trails that are stroller friendly like this half-mile trail. We really enjoyed getting to experience a walk in the woods without having to carry our son. It was peaceful and serene, with constant chatter from various birds.
Next we drove to Myers Cabin and Barn at the south end of the refuge. We were free to explore this cabin and barn, built in the mid 1800s. It was fun to imagine how life might have been, and equally uplifting to know of all the efforts being made to restore this land back to its original state.
Our last stop was the Richart Lake Trail. It’s nearly one mile, and takes you through woods and fields and along the shores of the lake for which it is named. Bright wildflowers dotted our path, and we observed a blue heron relaxing on the water. It was yet another encounter with spectacular Indiana wildlife to end a perfect morning in the great outdoors.
Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge is open 365 days a year and is free of charge.