OVERLOOK THE UPPER MISSISSIPPI RIVER WILDLIFE REFUGE
It's unusual for a Nature Center to be located in an urban area, right on Main Street. We are open daily with the exception of Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. The center offers an outdoor viewing deck overlooking the Mississippi River, equipped with spotting scopes and binoculars to view a variety of wildlife year-round. The Mississippi Flyway brings hundreds of migrating birds past the Center. During the winter months, dozens of eagles can be viewed from the deck feeding in the open water below Lock and Dam #4. Wings Over Alma overlooks the Upper Mississippi River Wildlife Refuge.
The memorable experiences available to our visitors are greatly impacted by the natural area that makes up Alma, Wisconsin located in the midst of the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge.
The area hosts hundreds of bald eagles, with many active nests. Herons are abundant. Rieck's Lake offers opportunities to view migrating tundra swans, usually in March and November. Much of the continent's waterfowl population uses the Mississippi Flyway during migration, and half of the world's canvasback ducks stop in the refuge.
During the summer months, morning valley fog from the Buffalo River and Beef Slough creeps out onto the Mississippi River and it adds a wonderful mystique to the landscape and waterways. Backroad driving offers beautiful views throughout the year but the autumn color which peaks in October makes the experience unforgettable. Sugar maple, walnut, birch, basswood, oak and hickory display vibrant colors on the bluffs surrounding the Mississippi River and the many valleys of scenic Buffalo County.
Winter reveals interesting ice and snow patterns on the frozen river, along with occasional hoarfrost and active bald eagles. During the coldest parts of winter, the Mississippi River freezes over, except for areas immediately downstream from Lock & Dam #4. Bald eagles congregate around this open pool of water to feed and they can be seen directly from the viewing deck of the Nature & Art Center.