If you’re looking for outdoor activities in the Portland, Oregon area, Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, also known as the Tualatin Wildlife Refuge, should be near the top of your list. The refuge opened to the public in 2006, and is one of only ten urban refuges of its kind in the United States. The 1,856 acre sanctuary is home to hundreds of species of birds, over 50 species of mammals, and at least 25 reptile and amphibian species. Nature lovers and photographers come from near and far to enjoy the beautiful vistas and wildlife.
What is the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center?
If you’re visiting the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, its Visitor Center is where your adventure begins. Built beside a pair of 350 year old oak trees, the 6,300 square foot architectural jewel achieved honorable mention at the 2008 Environmental Achievement Awards hosted by the Department of the Interior. Visitors to the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center will find classrooms, hands-on exhibitions, informative dioramas, murals, a lab, and a gift shop.
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How do I get to Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center?
Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center is just a 28 minute drive from downtown Portland!
Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center Address
Directions to Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center
Click here to bring up a map with directions from wherever you are.
Don’t want to drive? If you’re coming from Portland, you can take the TriMet 93 or 94 lines to the refuge entrance. Click here to plan your trip using Tualatin public transportation.
Want to get there by bicycle? Bikes are not allowed on the trails, but Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge offers safe storage for your bike if that’s how you’d like to get there!
Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center Hours:
Tuesday-Sunday: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Holiday Closures: New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day
If you have any questions regarding holiday hours or closures, call (503) 625-5945 for more information.
Interested in visiting on a Monday or holiday? Not a problem! The refuge is open from dawn to dusk 365 days a year, even if the Visitor Center is closed.
How Much Does It Cost To Visit Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center?
A huge perk to the Tualatin Refuge Center is that it’s totally free! There is no cost to visit the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center. You and your family can enjoy all the exhibitions, trails, and viewing areas at no cost to you.
Planning a group activity? Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center is happy to have you! Groups of more than 15 people, and up to 50, can be accommodated with at least 14 days notice. Just send an email to [email protected] with “Group Reservations” in the subject. Let them know the number of people you would like to bring with you, your preferred date and time of visit, the activities you’re interested in, and your contact information. They assist you in planning a wonderful day.
Top Reasons To Visit The Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center
At Tualatin Refuge, the options are endless, and the architectural jewel that is the Visitor Center is where your adventure will begin. Within the 6,300 square foot visitor center, you can take advantage of any of the following at no cost to you or your family:
The Exhibit Hall is a great place to start when visiting the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center. Visitors can learn about the history of the area, its early inhabitants, and how the refuge came to be. The Exhibit Hall features amazing interactive exhibitions that visitors of all ages will enjoy.
Nature’s Overlook Gift Shop
The gift shop at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center’s isn’t just for souvenirs. It’s also a great stop before heading out onto the trails. You can also pick up informational guides for identifying all the plants and animals you’ll see.
Your visit isn’t limited to just the Visitor Center – take advantage of the winding trails that are a draw for hikers, bikers, and photographers from miles around. Tualatin Refuge even offers blinds for photographers, which can be reserved free of charge.
The back of Nature’s Overlook is lined with floor-to-ceiling windows with sweeping views of the sanctuary. There are spotting scopes available for close-up viewing, and knowledgeable volunteers to educate you on what you find – but there are also many people who have seen the wildlife up close and personal in the windows!
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Outdoor Education Shelter
This picnic area is a great place to rest after a hike, or hit the bathrooms before heading out. Many people stop here to eat or take some pictures. Check out the live plant wall too, which is very popular amongst people who want a selfie with some nature in the background.
Want to immerse your child in nature? Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center offers the Puddle Stompers program for kids aged 0-5 at no cost to you. Preschoolers can enjoy story time, hiking, and arts and crafts twice a month, rain or shine. They even supply rain gear for the children! It’s a very popular thing to do in Tualatin with kids.
Photo Society Presentations
Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge is a favorite spot for wildlife photographers. The sanctuary even offers photography blinds free of charge with reservation. With that in mind, the Visitor Center also offers monthly speakers for photography enthusiasts. If you’re a budding photographer, check out their schedule online.
On the second Saturday of every month except December, the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge hosts Second Saturday Work Parties. Visitors are invited to work together on a specific task that helps keep the refuge running. It’s another event that’s absolutely free – you don’t even have to register! Make sure to wear clothes that you don’t mind getting a little dirty, as you’ll be helping clean and maintain the refuge.
What is the best time of year to visit Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center?
Any time throughout the year is a good time to visit the regufe. Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge offers about one mile of trails all year round. These trails are stroller-friendly and ADA accessible. However, during the summer, a few more trails are available. Seasonal trails at the refuge are open from May 1 to October 1. During this time, visitors have access to about 3 miles of additional trails, though the walking surface may be uneven. Winter at the refuge is a fantastic time for birdwatching – upwards of 50,000 waterfowl occupy the sanctuary during the winter months.
What should I bring to Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center?
You should bring comfortable clothes and shoes, a camera, sunscreen, some snacks, and drinks to stay hydrated. The trails here are flat, so you don’t have to worry about gearing up for a difficult hike. Visitors recommend comfortable, closed-toe shoes for the trails, as they can get dusty. Otherwise, just dress for the weather!
Want to experience nature but don’t want to spend the money for expensive gear? Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center offers “Discovery Packs” with everything you need. These backpacks include guides to the refuge, binoculars, magnifying glasses, and more – all for free! This is another way to enhance your nature experience.
There are no restrooms on the trails, but the Outdoor Education Shelter offers restrooms and water fountains before you begin your hike.
Where to Eat Near Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center
If you’re visiting Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, you should plan to bring your own food. However, there are restaurants in nearby Sherwood if you’d like to go out before or after your visit. If you’re looking for a quick bite, Mod Pizza is a great option. Fat Milo’s Family Kitchen is another great casual option nearby. Crazy Sushi is another local favorite!
What else do I need to know before visiting Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center?
- No pets are permitted
- There are no bathrooms on the trails
- No running or biking is permitted on the trails
- There is not much shade here
Whenever you decide to go, it’s sure to be a great day. Looking up Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center because you’re relocating to Tualatin? If so, contact PDX Movers today! We’re a top-rated Tualatin moving company ready to help you every step of the way.