Whooping Cranes and Bald Eagles

For birding enthusiasts and nature lovers, a trip to North Alabama in January is an ideal time to visit. Over 14,000 Sandhill Cranes along with several pairs of rare Whooping Cranes spend the winter each year at Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge in Decatur. To celebrate, Wheeler Wildlife Refuge Association hosts a two day event the second weekend in January, bringing together experienced birders and those who would like to learn more about birding and other wildlife that call the Refuge home.

One of the country’s proudest living symbols takes center stage on weekends in January and February each year. Hosted by Lake Guntersville State Park, Eagle Awareness offers guided field trips for viewing eagles in their natural habitat, live birding shows and demonstrations, interactive programs and family fun activities and crafts for all ages.

Along with whooping cranes and bald eagles in their natural habitat, this itinerary includes a stop in Huntsville. Surrounded by mountains and lakes, Huntsville, Alabama offers big city conveniences, but its small town charm and southern hospitality set it apart from other metropolitan areas. Visitors can train like an astronaut at Earth’s largest space museum and see what’s growing at the Huntsville Botanical Garden.

Layers

Day 1

Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge
1
Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge
Natural Area | Fish and Wildlife Refuge or Sanctuary

Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge was established on July 7, 1938 by Executive Order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt as the first National Wildlife Refuge placed on a multi-purpose reservoir to provide habitat for wintering and migrating birds.…

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Lake Guntersville State Park
2
Lake Guntersville State Park
Natural Area | State Park

Located along the banks of the Tennessee River in Northeast Alabama, Lake Guntersville Resort State Park promises to satisfy whether you are looking for a resort style retreat or an outdoor adventure in the park’s 6,000 acres of natural woodlands. <…

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Day 2

Eagle Awareness at Lake Guntersville State Park
3
Eagle Awareness at Lake Guntersville State Park
Festival or Event | Festival Event

Lake Guntersville State Park offers Eagle Awareness weekends annually in January and February.  The program features live birding shows and demonstrations, guided field trips for viewing eagles in their natural habitat, interactive programs…

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Lake Guntersville State Park
4
Lake Guntersville State Park
Natural Area | State Park

Located along the banks of the Tennessee River in Northeast Alabama, Lake Guntersville Resort State Park promises to satisfy whether you are looking for a resort style retreat or an outdoor adventure in the park’s 6,000 acres of natural woodlands. <…

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Day 3

Cathedral Caverns
5
Cathedral Caverns
Natural Area | State Park

Cathedral Caverns State Park offers a magnificent tour of the underworld and some of Mother Nature’s beautiful formations.  The highlight of Cathedral Caverns is its massive entrance.  The huge opening measures 126 feet wide and 25 feet high, a…

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Jules J. Berta Vineyards
6
Jules J. Berta Vineyards
Food or Drink | Winery or Winery Tasting Room

Alabama's first producers of vitis vinifera wine grapes, Jules J. Berta Vineyards is located atop Sand Mountain in northeastern Alabama.  The first vines were planted in 1987 and today four generations of the Jules J. Berta family are involved. A…

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Guntersville Museum
7
Guntersville Museum
Museum, Theater, Interpretive Center | Museum

Located in the historic rock Armory, the Guntersville Museum includes exhibits about John Gunter, the city’s namesake; an impressive Native American exhibit and artifacts dating to the Paleo-Indian era; a permanent collection of work by nationally-…

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Day 4

Huntsville Botanical Garden
8
Huntsville Botanical Garden
Natural Area | Garden or Arboretum

Guests are greeted with a rainbow of color from thousands of plants and beautiful foliage at the Huntsville Botanical Garden.  With year-round activities, there is always something growing for the entire family to enjoy. 

The Huntsville…

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EarlyWorks Family of Museums
9
EarlyWorks Family of Museums
Museum, Theater, Interpretive Center | Museum

The EarlyWorks Family of Museums is comprised of three separate museums:  Alabama Constitution Village, the Huntsville Depot and Museum, and EarlyWorks Children’s History Museum.  These three museums in the heart of historic downtown Huntsville, Alabama,…

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the best travel advice comes from the people who live here
Angie Pierce

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Trip Plan Details

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In This Trip Plan

1 Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge
2 Lake Guntersville State Park
3 Eagle Awareness at Lake Guntersville State Park
4 Lake Guntersville State Park
5 Cathedral Caverns
6 Jules J. Berta Vineyards
7 Guntersville Museum
8 Huntsville Botanical Garden
9 EarlyWorks Family of Museums