I’m not a birdwatcher or wildlife photographer, but I do love being out in nature and providing my son and myself with awesome experiences. So, when I was hunting for a playground to enjoy on our first warm spring day and came across a Facebook post about the snow goose migration in Stevens, PA, I knew our plans for the day.
We started our day out with lunch at one of our favorite restaurants, ISAAC’S. (Fun fact: Yockie and I had our first date here so it has a special place in our hearts.) Mini housed his mac n cheese and pickles, I enjoyed my tomato soup and ‘bird of paradise’ and we took our chips and a cookie for the road.
My original plan was to take us to a playground near home. When I hopped online to look up some parks in the area, I saw a post in a Facebook homeschooling group about the snow goose migration happening at MIDDLE CREEK WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA in Stevens, PA. One quick Google search and I was sold. Mini loves birds and wide open spaces to run so I figured it would be a good match. I strapped us in and we headed to the community outside of Ephrata, PA.
The Visitors Center
My search turned up information on a visitors center for the area so we went straight there to park safely and check things out. Inside the building was a very nice educational center along with bathrooms and vending machines. We had fun exploring the different rooms and activities. Mini loved seeing the models of the different animals and hearing the sounds- he was a huge fan of seeing the bobcat on the wall and hearing the different bird sounds!
The coolest part of the visitors center was the kids’ area. There were books, puzzles, coloring supplies, and bean bag chairs. They even had some really neat touch and feel furs and things. We had a blast hanging out inside before heading down to the water.
Down to the Water
Inside the visitors center is a really great viewing area where you can see the water- they even provide binoculars- but I wanted to see it up close and personal! Mini lead the way running through the grass (and mud) and down the hill until we got back to the road. We wandered along the edge of the water and saw the geese but, honestly… it was only eh. There were clusters of geese out on the water but most of them were pretty far away. You could see them take off into the sky in the distance and that was pretty neat but couldn’t keep Mini’s attention since they were so far away. We headed back into the visitors center after a while to color some more before heading home. I was kind of bummed but I knew I, at least, enjoyed seeing it all. (Or so I thought…)
The Secret Spot
I am SO GLAD I decided to bring us back in the building. While coloring, I overheard someone ask an employee (volunteer?) if there was a better place to see the migration in action. I was avoiding asking because I didn’t want to be “that person” – the “Is this it?” person. Lesson learned, though. There WAS another spot to see all the geese and it was just down the road (a quick left out the parking lot and a right into another parking lot a mile or so away).
We hopped back into the car after a cookie break and went down the road. Holy moly, guys. I’m SO, SO HAPPY we overheard the conversation at the visitors center and headed down this trail. It was a bit of a walk and I carried Mini about half the time, but at the end of the path was a small clearing, a picnic pavilion, and SO. MANY. GEESE. It was incredible!!!
Of course, my ever-graceful child fell as we came up to the opening and started bawling his little eyes out and insisting he have his milks. We went and snuggled as discreetly as possible on one of the picnic benches and quietly watched the geese for a while. There were hundreds (thousands?) right there in front of us. They were hanging out in the grass and on the water. Every so often, massive groups of them would lift up and fly off. It was breathtaking.
My favorite part was when Mini calmed down from his upset and we sat in the grass together near the water. The largest group of all took off together and flew right overhead. It was incredible. Mini was adorable to watch. He was a little nervous at first and then was just in complete awe and contemplation. I LOVE watching him as he experiences new things.
After a while, Mini had had enough of sitting peacefully and we headed on the long path back toward the parking lot. We danced, ran, sang, and hopped all the way back down the trail. These are some of my favorite moments with my Mini man. He’s such a sunshine and brings joy not only to me, but to all the people around us, too. Other kids were laughing and waving at him. People of all ages were dancing along with him. We snacked on our chips as we went and he went into his precious little “toddler model” mode as I call it- giving smiles and giggles and mimicking me as I squatted down to snap a photo. You can’t make this stuff up or trade the memories for anything else in the world.
And that was our day in Stevens, PA experiencing the snow goose migration! Our impromptu trip went from lackluster to incredible and we made some amazing memories. If you’re interested in seeing more photos and videos from our days in nature, join us over on INSTAGRAM! This particular trip will be in our highlights for a while, just in case you want to check it out! If you’re a fellow nature loving mama, be sure to check out our other posts featuring OUR OUTDOOR ADVENTURES!