The John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove spans 200 acres of hillside along the Perkiomen Creek, just before the creek flows into the Schuylkill River. The historic estate is now a diverse natural habitat with a modern visitor center, miles of trails, and nearby access to three major circuit trails connecting hundreds of miles of regional greenway. The Center’s interior 4.5 mile trail network leads you through wildflower areas, nine meadows, fields, forests, and along the water’s edge of the Perkiomen Creek.
It’s not uncommon to see fish, deer, rabbits, and groundhogs during your visit, but right now is one of the busiest times for birding at the center as migrating birds use the grounds to take a break on their travels north. Our team recently biked to the Center and met with Angie Wenger, Director of Southeast Centers at the John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove.
“We’re right in the middle of migratory bird season,” said Angie Wenger, Director for Southeastern PA Centers. “You’re going to see a whole range of local birds as well as migratory birds coming up from the south.” Wenger oversees the center at Mill Grove and the Discovery Center in Strawberry Mansion. While the Center offers many birding themed programs to hone your skills, you don’t need to be an expert birder to enjoy your visit. “We run some intro to birding courses, but you can be a casual birder and just enjoy.”
The three circuit trail connection opens up miles of paved greenway into Upper and Lower Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties. The Schuylkill River Trail and Perkiomen Trail intersect just west of the center, and the Audubon loop encircles the property and has access to the Center’s main entrance. “My office faces the main trail and I see people walking the property all the time," said Wenger. “Since we have paved pathways around here, especially the Audubon loop around the property, we see quite a few bikes, and not just bike enthusiasts, but families on their bikes which is great to see.”
Use GoPhillyGo to plan a trip to the John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove, and make it a stop while you explore other nearby destinations like Valley Forge National Historical Park with GoPhillyGo Tours. Paid admission is required for the visitor center exhibits, but the water fountains, bathrooms, and bike rack are free to use. You can even borrow binoculars from the front desk to get a closer look at the birds and wildlife in their natural habitat.
Wenger believes connecting with nature is important and what is good for people, is sometimes good for birds too. “The Mill Grove site is meant to be a space where people can connect with nature,” said Wenger. “While we are a bird organization, we are all connected. A really great and healthy habitat, a diverse habitat for people, is also something that birds need as well.”