Lake Erie Islands Nature and Wildlife Center
We travel north to Put-in-Bay, Ohio, at least once a summer, and sometimes we will make a second trip if we’re lucky. It’s one of the islands in Lake Erie, near Sandusky, Ohio (the home of Cedar Point)! You can take several ferries from the mainland to the island, and one of the first stops we make as a family is the Lake Erie Islands Nature and Wildlife Center. It’s a great educational site that teaches you about the local wildlife, plants, and even local history!
The mission of The Lake Erie Islands Conservancy (formerly the Lake Erie Islands Chapter of the Black Swamp Conservancy) is to encourage conservation and protection of natural and agricultural lands in the Lake Erie Islands for the benefit of future generations.
The Lake Erie Islands Conservancy (LEIC) is located on South Bass Island in the archipelago of the western basin of Lake Erie in Ohio.
The Conservancy was created in 2000 by a small group of dedicated individuals whose goal is to protect and conserve natural areas from rapidly encroaching commercial and private development. The Lake Erie Islands are a truly unique environment providing habitat for migrating birds and homes for a host of indigenous flora and fauna.
In conjunction with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife, we work to secure habitat easements for the Lake Erie watersnake, migratory songbirds, and other wildlife.
We found the Lake Erie Islands Nature and Wildlife Center on one of our first trips when we just rented a golf cart and went exploring on the island. It sure looks small from the outside, but I was pleasantly surprised at how much information and displays they were able to lay out inside! There is a small fee for admission, which goes directly to supporting the center and the grounds, but we used the family rate instead of per person, so it only cost us about $8 for everyone.
There are animals and plants everywhere! We were given a tour where we learned about the local habitats and ecosystems for each type of animal. I loved learning about what animals they had and what they didn’t (the island only has animals that can swim or fly since it’s surrounded by water year round). We learned about fish, birds, snakes, foxes, and more. Some of them are no longer on the island, and there are some found on other local islands in Lake Erie, but it was very well laid out and everything was easy to see.
Don’t miss the frog pond at the end of the path behind the building. There’s a bunch of plants to see on your walk, not to mention the frogs and pond wildlife.
I loved the set ups where you could see not just a duck or a fox, but what kind of area they might live in with their families. They also offer special events, such as learning about the Monarch butterflies, wildflowers, edible plants and more!
Now they are only open Memorial Day to Labor Day (most of the island is the same way) so make sure you check ahead of time if you’re coming early or late in the season. Sometimes they will only be open on the weekends because visitors to the island are limited.
Be sure to check out the Lake Erie Islands Nature and Wildlife Center the next time you visit Put-In-Bay, Ohio, in Lake Erie. There are several ferries you can take over and then most people rent a golf cart or bicycles for the family. You can bring your vehicle over on one of the ferries, but honestly it’s easier just to leave it and rent a cart. Learn more on their website for the latest information!