June 17, 2013

Philly's Best Kept Secret || Wildlife Refuge

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Saturday afternoon, I was watching my usual dose of daily vlogs**, when I saw that the families went to a wildlife refuge in Ireland and got to see a plethora of animals. That place looked WAY cooler than a zoo because they were able to get really close to an animal and not be separated by a huge fence. I wanted to do that too since I have an intense love for animals and birds (oh, I love birds!), so I decided to google search "wildlife refuge near Philadelphia". I was thinking I would find one in New Jersey -- maybe the "Wild Safari" at Six Flags or one in Delaware, but we found one 20 minutes from our home and it had a Philadelphia zip code in its address! When I saw the name, John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge, I remembered passing by a sign to that place after dropping a friend off at the airport a couple months back. It seemed like an odd place to have a wildlife refuge, but the facebook page  and a phone call proved that it was legit.

Beau and I decided that we would go although we would only have about 4 hours to explore before the place closed for the night. It was open to the public and free of charge. We drove and got there in no time. Beau and I moved to a borough right outside of Philly once we got married, but we live so close to the city that it doesn't feel like we live in another town at all.

When we got to the wildlife refuge, the parking lot was full and there were families with bicycles hanging out by the entrance.   Right away, there were two trails we could have taken for a supposed 3 mile walk, so we opted to go towards the right and find our way from there. I think that was the better choice. We instantly hit an area with water and several other marsh and pond-like water areas surrounded by beautiful birds and loud, deep-voiced mystery animals (could've been a frog or toad, but we seriously don't know). I didn't think we would make it around the entire loop before 9pm, but we did. We saw cranes, fish, red-eyed turtles, the usual Canada geese (that refused to allow me to photograph them and their young), a bunny rabbit, deer and tons of birds. I couldn't get enough of the birds! I have to fill you guys in on this obsession passion for birds one day. Alas, my little point-and-shoot camera wasn't quick enough to capture all the extremely active wildlife. After passing the water, the last hour or so around the loop was just  heavily wooded and green with some marsh-like areas on the sides. It was a good time. The temperatures were mild and I enjoyed my beau's company.

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** (Sidenote: Vlogs are just video-blogs. As much as I enjoy reading blogs, I think I enjoy watching vlogs on youtube a tad bit more because I am more of a visual person and a visual learner.  I've recently taken an interest to daily vlogs. It's like a real reality show without the camera crew. Vloggers carry around the cameras themselves and talk to it like they're talking to us. Additionally, we get sneak peeks into the lives of everyday people (aka "Youtube families". Some people vlog every once in a while, some once a week, and others every day. Yes, every. single. day they post a video showcasing what their previous day was like. I also think some of the more well known Youtube vloggers get paid for these videos. My current favorite youtube vloggers are: ItsJudysLife, The Saccone-Jolys, and DearNaptural85)

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