Close Encounters (Audubon Center)

Close Encounters (Audubon Center)

By Monica Lee Goddard

Did you know that less than two miles from downtown is a great spot to learn about birds and local habitat, take a walk or enjoy bike trails.

It is the Nina Mason Pulliam Rio Salado Audubon Center in the heart of the City of Phoenix’s Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area, a 600-acre park along the historic Salt River. The Center is a gateway to a lush Sonoran riparian habitat used by over 200 species of birds and other wildlife—beavers, muskrats, coyotes, jackrabbits, cottontails, and javelinas—to name a few.

The Center offers interactive exhibits, an interpretive loop, connection to the Rio Salado Habitats sixteen miles of hiking and riding trails and a variety of hands-on nature programs including beginning birding classes and bird walks, school field trip programs and more. I know our family enjoys just wandering thru the habitat area and I think your will enjoy it too.

Every Saturday at 8-9 am there is a bird walk. A fun experience for children is the chance to view some Arizona wildlife up close. Every Second Saturday 11-noon Arizona Fish and Game and Liberty Wildlife have birds and reptiles on display and are ready to tell you more about them. All these activities are free. Fall hours are Tuesday thru Sunday 9-4. Mark your calendars, on October 23rd to 25th the Center will be open 5:30—8:30 pm for the annual Enchanted Trail. A night of free family fun including Halloween crafts, trick or treating and animal encounters. No matter when you go this is a great time of year to visit. For more information go