Check out the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, Wisconsin. It is the only place in the world where you can see all 15 types of cranes in one location.
As we found ourselves passing through the Wisconsin Dells area over the summer, we saw ICF on a list of things to do. A friend of ours used to volunteer here and we have wanted to visit since he told us about it.
International Crane Foundation
The ICF was founded in 1973. It was the brainchild of George Archibald and Ron Sauey. It was created to protect all types of cranes through education, research, breeding, and reintroduction.
The International Crane Foundation works worldwide to conserve cranes and the ecosystems, watersheds and flyways on which they depend. We provide knowledge, leadership and inspiration to engage people in resolving threats to cranes and their diverse landscapes.International Crane Foundation Mission Statement
The impact of ICF extends far beyond Wisconsin. They work with people local to various crane populations around the world to renew and protect the wetlands that cranes and humans need to survive.
We arrived at 9:40 am, which was perfect timing to catch the 10-minute introduction film and then join the 10 am tour. Our tour was about ICF Firsts.
Our knowledgeable tour guide told us that the International Crane Foundation was the first to get a crane egg hatched in captivity. They have been instrumental in raising the Whooping Crane population from 12 to 798.
Touring the Facility
The George Archibald Welcome Center is a beautiful modern building that includes admissions, a gift shop, displays, the theater, a view of the Sandhill Crane enclosure, bathrooms, and a water fountain/filling station.
ICF is open daily from May 1 to October 31, from 9 am to 5 pm.
It was a beautiful high 70s morning in late July when we visited. We enjoyed walking along the paths amongst the wild prairie plants. The exhibits and art throughout the foundation are incredible.
Plaques and signage at each enclosure give information on each crane and its conservation status.
The 300-acre facility also has nature trails. Picnic tables are available near the parking lot.
There were a pair of Eurasian Cranes and their chick out in their pen. The 3-month old chick was nearly as tall as its parents, but it had immature plumage. The parents were calling out and entertaining us.
Grey Crowned Crane
We were most entertained by the Grey Crowned Crane. It put on quite the dance, which you can see in this post’s video.
My Favorite Crane
Of all the cranes, the Blue Crane was my favorite. The tail feathers, or rather wings are long and elegant.
Since we were on vacation, we arrived in our 25′ motorhome. There was plenty of parking being so early in the day. We backed into a space so that the overhang of our rig was over a grassy area. We are glad this worked for us because there is no RV or bus parking in the main lot.
I only have one complaint about the International Crane Foundation. Our visit was too short! That is on us, not them. Next time we will stay at least 3 hours, instead of the 90 minutes we were there.
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