It was established in 1937 by President FDR with approximately 115,000 protected acres. Ducks, herons, egrets, ibises, roseate spoonbills, and endangered whooping cranes can be found here. A total of 400 bird species have been seen in the refuge. Below is a display in the Visitor Center.
Alligators, collared peccaries, snakes, bobcats and other wildlife can also be seen here. The mounted rattlesnake (Hank) was 6.25' long and lived to be about 50 years old!
There is a 16-mile Auto Tour Loop road through the refuge with numerous stops along the way where there are walking trails, many with boardwalks and observation decks of the wetlands and bay. Be sure to bring binoculars and insect repellent!
Our first stop was right across from the Visitor Center at the Freshwater Ponds: Alligator Abode. This is the American Alligator.
Heron Flats. There are two observation platforms with telescopes and a 1.4 mile trail at this stop. Herons were feeding in the shallow waters int he distance.
Bay Overlook. This short (.1 mile trail) offers a fabulous view of the San Antonio Bay. And we saw this beautiful, huge tree along the way.
Birding Trail #2 (.6 mile) hike that also led us to a beautiful view of the bay.
Jones Lake with platform overlooking the lake (if you can call this a lake!) It is another alligator hangout although we did not see any here.
Panoramic views of San Antonio Bay and Mustang Lake from the tower.
Sadie had fun on the Observation Tower, too. We loved that we could take her on all of the trails and boardwalks.
We continued the Auto Loop Drive back to the Visitor Center where we enjoyed our picnic lunch. We very much enjoyed our visit to this wildlife refuge. It was well worth the drive!
Admission to the refuge is $5/vehicle. Our senior pass gets us in for free.