Visitors Guide to the
Audubon Center at Riverlands
301 Riverlands Way

West Alton, Missouri

Accessible Parking Accessible Picnic Facilities Accessible Interpretive Exhibits Accessible Hiking Trails Accessible Bike Trail Accessible Wildlife Viewing Fishing Boat Ramp Accessible Restrooms Bald Eagle Viewing


Located below the confluence of 3 of the greatest rivers in North America - the Mississippi, the Missouri, and the Illinois - and situated in one of the most important nature preserves in the area is the Audubon Center at Riverlands. The Center is located along one of the most significant migratory flyways in the world - the Mississippi Flyway. This flyway is significant because about 60% of all North American waterfowl and songbirds, approximately 325 species in all, migrate along this route.

The Audubon Center at Riverlands was opened to engage and enlighten birders and nature enthusiasts. The Center is set in the 3,700 acres of the marsh and wetlands forest of the Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary. Built in partnership between the National Audubon Society and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the center features floor to ceiling windows that afford great views of the Mississippi River.

The Center features a number of exhibits. Nests: features the nests of hummingbirds, swallows, orioles and more! Feet Adaptations of Birds: How big is an eagle's foot? Trumpeter Swans: One of the most spectacular visitors at Riverlands. Food Sources in Riverlands: discover the diversity of wildlife and what they like to eat at the Riverlands. Marking Partners in Progress: Learn about the community of organizations that work together to make Riverlands a success for wildlife and people. Protecting Native Species: The Least Tern is the star of this exhibit. Managing the Wetlands: Learn how the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers manages the water flow in Riverlands and why they raise and lower the water. Mississippi Flyway Migration Journeys: An interactive exhibit that allows the visitor to see the migration patterns of many birds. A Green Building: What makes the Center building so special? From recycled pavers to salvaged automobiles; learn how a building is green.

"A Spectacle of Birds" is a 12-minute movie that tells the story of how the Riverlands was formed and how the Sanctuary is still evolving. Hear about the importance of the Mississippi River flyway and discover the amazing variety of birds that use the River to migrate.

In addition to interactive exhibits, benches and spotting scopes inside, the center has a wrap-around deck and picnic tables overlooking Ellis Bay along with a miniature wetland pond and access to several of the Sanctuary’s hiking trails.

Bird Watching
The Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary is listed on the National Audubon Society's Great River Birding Trail. They report that snipe, yellowlegs and American Golden-plovers can be seen on the marsh mudflats, white gulls and waterfowl swim and feed along the river and in Ellis Bay. Thousands of American White Pelicans, Canvasback, Redhead, Ring-necked Ducks and Lesser Scaup migrate through here, along with sea ducks such as Bufflehead and Common Goldeneye. Also watch for Northern Harriers and Short-Eared Owls. During the coldest part of the winter when the river freezes over, American Bald Eagles line the banks just below the dam, taking advantage of the open water and upwelling currents. Rare Glaucous, Thayer's, Iceland, or Lesser-backed Gulls may also be present.

Map of the Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary Area

Visiting the Audubon Center at Riverlands
     Visiting Hours
          Open Daily: 8 am - 4 pm
          Closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve Day, Christmas Day, New Years Eve Day and New Years Day.
          The grounds are open from dawn to dusk daily.
There is no charge to visit the Audubon Center at Riverlands.

Audubon Center at Riverlands is located near West Alton, Missouri. From US-67 turn onto Riverlands Way (at the FISCA station) near the Clark Bridge.

GPS Coordinates
8° 52.121'
90° 11.050'

The Audubon Center at Riverlands is across the river from Alton, Illinois in the Meeting of the Great Rivers Scenic Byway area.
Official site of the
Audubon Center at Riverlands which features information on a wide variety of subjects and more detailed information on what the organization does and how to contact them.

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