Savannah wildlife refuge celebrating National Wildlife Refuge Week

HARDEEVILLE, SC (WTOC) - The Savannah National Wildlife Refuge and the Savannah Riverboat Company are celebrating National Wildlife Refuge Week on Saturday, Oct. 8 and Sunday, Oct. 9.

Several activities are planned for the celebration. The kick off will begin on Saturday with free family activities. Nationally acclaimed President Theodore Roosevelt impersonator will give three different presentations at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Roosevelt is known as the father of the National Wildlife Refuge System.

Throughout Saturday children's activities are planned from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and guided hikes are scheduled at both 8 a.m. and 12 p.m. Open air wagon rides will depart at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Additionally, refuge interpreters will be on hang throughout the wildlife drive to assist visitors and answer questions.

Saturday will celebrate the completion of the freshwater diversion canal project, the $12.5 million project which closed the wildlife drive for over a year. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is now in complete control of the water system and is preparation for the migration of wintering waterfowl.

On Saturday visitors can explore the refuge by land and the following day by water on the Georgia Queen Riverboat operated by the Savannah Riverboat company. During the three-hour cruise, taking place from 1 – 4 p.m. guests will enjoy a lunch buffet and listen to an interpreted talk while traveling the river. President Roosevelt, portrayed by Wiegand, will address the audience about the management of the refuge.

Reservations for the cruise can be made through the Savannah Riverboat Cruises at 843-784-2468 or 800-786-6404 or at the Savannah Riverboat website. The cruise with the lunch buffet is $42.95 for adults and $24.20 for children ages 4 – 12. The cruise without lunch provided is $24.25 for adults and $14.30 for children ages 4 -12. Refreshments can also be purchased on the riverboat.

Other Refuge Week activities include two kayak trips on the Savannah River along the refuge with the Swampgirls Paddle Club.  The first trip will be Oct. 9 at 8:30 a.m. for the more experienced paddlers and the second, Oct. 16 at 9:30 a.m.  for the beginner.  For more information on this opportunity, contact Linda Etchells at 843-784-2249 or email

Savannah National Wildlife Refuge is one of over 550 national wildlife refuges located throughout the United States.  The nearly 30,000-acre refuge is home to bald eagles, neo-tropical migratory songbirds, large concentrations of wading birds and wintering ducks, and American alligators.

The Savannah NWR Visitor Center is located at 694 Beech Hill Lane in Hardeeville and is open Monday – Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The center is closed Sundays and all federal holidays.

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