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Wisconsin Parent

Visiting the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, Wisconsin

Aug 28, 2014 08:27PM ● Published by Abbie Chaffee

The International Crane Foundation (ICF) works worldwide to conserve cranes and the ecosystems, watersheds and flyways on which they depend. ICF is dedicated to providing experience, knowledge, and inspiration to involve people in resolving threats to these ecosystems. -Mission of the International Crane Foundation

When you have two small children under the age of five, taking day trips anywhere seems like a big risk. You never know when a meltdown will happen or if naps will be interrupted. Not to mention the very real possibility that they will lose interest in what you are doing within five minutes. Despite these concerns, we packed up our not quite four-year-old and nine-month-old and headed to the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, Wisconsin.


All my typical mama worries vanished once we arrived at the ICF. It is a truly magical place; serene and inviting. Both girls were absolutely enthralled with the experience. The 225-acre property includes over four miles of walking trails and paths that wind through the center. The landscape of the property is gorgeous. Wildflowers and prairie grasses grow freely around the paths. I had heard how breathtaking and unique the ICF was, but it's absolutely something you have to experience for yourself. If you live anywhere near The International Crane Foundation, do yourself a favor and go check them out as soon as possible.


The International Crane Foundation is home to over 100 cranes; ranging from local sandhill cranes commonly seen around south central WI to the critically endangered Siberian cranes of western and eastern Asia. Each of the 15 species of cranes is represented at ICF; the only collection of all 15 species of cranes anywhere in the world.  Since 1973, the ICF has impacted millions of people with their conservation-based education programs, research projects, and world-wide collaborations aimed at preserving the global population of cranes.


Don't Forget To Pack A Lunch!

After you browse around the property and learn a thing or two about these majestic birds, take a second and enjoy a nice picnic lunch. Located just outside of the center's entrance is a sweet little pavilion tucked in amongst the trees. The property also has a few picnic tables out in the open. Our little crew enjoyed the peaceful atmosphere of the property as we munched our picnic lunch. A perfect end to a wonderful afternoon at the International Crane Foundation!


Upcoming Event: Saturday, September 6th, 2014

The ICF invites guests to join their naturalists on a Prairie Walk from 1pm-2pm and a Wetland Walk from 3pm-4pm. It's a great opportunity to learn more about the ICF and their restoration projects that impacts cranes around the world.


The foundation is open daily between April 15 and October 31; 9am-5pm. After Labor Day, guided tours are only offered on weekends at 10am, 1pm, and 3pm. For directions and more information on all the International Crane Foundation has to offer, check out their website:


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