In the past few weeks I've been sharing posts about our anniversary weekend trip to Madison, Wisconsin (see those posts HERE and HERE if you missed them). We spent the day in Madison touring many of their beautiful gardens and then the next morning we woke up and wondered what to do next. We weren't quite ready to head home yet, so I googled "Things to do in the Madison area". To my surprise, there was a crane foundation in nearby Baraboo which was on our way home anyway. I couldn't believe it! I love birds, and I really love cranes! We have the joy of seeing sandhill cranes near my house all summer long, so I was so excited to visit a place that was dedicated solely to cranes...so off we went!
You can hear the cranes calling the minute you step out of your vehicle! I couldn't believe my luck! I've lived in Wisconsin most of my life and I have been to Baraboo many times (in fact I even lived in the area very briefly) yet I had no idea this place was here! Thank goodness for Google!
On our walk to the Visitor's Center we were greeted by these beautiful sculptures of flying cranes!
The sculptures show the cranes in various stages of flight.
The International Crane Foundation has a nice Visitor Center and gift shop, but unfortunately I don't have any photos of it. The minute we got there a tour was starting, so we quickly joined in on the tour. The foundation does different free tours regularly. The tour we took that day was on the East Asia cranes.
The International Crane Foundation in Baraboo Wisconsin is the ONLY PLACE IN THE WORLD with all fifteen species of cranes. Can you believe that? That's crazy! Baraboo is just this little town in the middle of Wisconsin. No one would expect to find rare cranes here, but there are!
All the cranes have an indoor and outdoor habitat to live in. Some can be a little camera shy like the crane pictured above. Some of the cranes are visible only behind a fence, but others are behind glass so you get a nice clear view.
The foundation is so beautifully decorated with architecture, sculptures, and scenic backgrounds of the cranes home of origin.
The Black-necked Cranes pictured below and in the video were a hoot! They were behind glass, so we got a nice clear view. Be sure to watch the short video so you can hear the sound they make.
The Black-necked Cranes are a "Near Threatened" species.
Here is a fun and elegant work of art showcasing origami cranes.
The main purpose of the International Crane Foundation is "Crane Conservation". They work tirelessly to protect the crane population around the world, but they also do captive breeding and reintroduction, landscape restoration, and education to safeguard the world's fifteen species of cranes. Pictured below is a photo taken at their "Restoration Overlook". It is a panoramic view of their 120 acre landscape restoration.
In the distance, and in the closeup below you can see the research center which is not open to the public.
The Eurasian Crane is rated "Least Concerned". It is a common crane and while we were visiting we got to see this bird in action as it came towards us with wings outstretched screaming his fool head off. Our tour guide said it was a treat to see that, even though it was a bit startling at the time. She said that is how the crane scares dangerous predators away.
Some areas of the foundation have nice amphitheaters like the one above the Wattled Crane exhibit where lectures can be held. Wattled Cranes are rated as "Vulnerable".
Such a funny beak on this guy, almost like a turkey!
This fun resting spot is in the "Spirit of Africa" section of the park.
|Spirit of Africa
The Demoiselle Crane is so elegant and beautiful, isn't it. This crane is rated as "Least Concern". I'm happy about that!
| Black-crowned Crane
The Black-crowned Crane is perhaps the most unique of them all! Just look at that fun haircut! He is rated as "Vulnerable"
The Blue Crane is also rated as "Vulnerable". My, what a beautiful bird. I love its soft coloring.
Pictured in the two photos below is the Whooping Crane Alcove. Unfortunately we didn't see any Whooping Cranes out and about this day. The Whooping Crane are rated as "Endangered".
And before we left for the day, we got to see one last bird: the Siberian Crane, which is rated as "Critically Endangered".
I forgot to mention that we did also see the common Sandhill Crane, but his exhibit is right in the Visitor Center, which I forgot to take photos of.
You have to exit through the gift shop to leave the foundation, and on our way out we found these fun crane garden sculptures. They move elegantly in the wind. I really wanted to buy one, but they were kind of pricey for my taste. Looking back, I should have purchased one to support the worthy cause of the foundation. Maybe next time!
If you're ever in the Madison/Baraboo area I highly suggest a stop at the International Crane Foundation, you won't regret it! Where else in the world will you see all fifteen species of cranes? No where!
The International Crane Foundation is open daily May 1 to October 31 from 9:00 to 5:00. Admission is $12.50 for adults, $6.00 for youth, and under five is free.
Have A Great Day! Amy
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