International Crane Foundation


Festival of the Cranes

01/10/2019 – 01/13/2019 all-day
Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge
3121 Visitors Center Rd
Decatur, AL 35603

The seventh annual Festival of the Cranes is going to be the biggest year yet! Every year the Wheeler Refuge Association, a group of volunteers that supports Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge, plans a fantastic weekend of crane viewing, music, storytelling, live raptors and other fun events. This year’s festival is expanded, starting on Thursday, Jan. 10 and going through Sunday, Jan. 13.

Highlights include:

•  Magnificent crane viewing throughout the festival, including thousands of Sandhill Cranes and the extremely rare Whooping Crane. View these beautiful birds from Wheeler’s visitor center and heated observation building. Entrance to Wheeler is free!

•  A new documentary called Journey of the Whooping Crane will be showing at the Alabama Center for the Arts on Thursday, Jan. 10. Filmmaker Rhett Turner will be there to answer your questions about Whooping Cranes!

•  Grammy award-winning musician John Paul White will perform at the Princess Theater on Friday, Jan. 11. Get your tickets before it sells out!

•  Ibex Puppetry will put on an epic puppetry performance on Saturday, Jan. 12, at the Princess Theater.

•  Check out a beautiful, crane-inspired art installation by Birmingham artist, Doug Baulos, at the Carnegie Visual Arts Center.

•  Children’s activities are offered Saturday and Sunday at the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge visitor center throughout the day, including performances by Teddy Roosevelt!

This year’s festival will be the best one yet. Please visit the festival’s Facebook page for more information. You can view a full schedule of events here.

Parking at Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge is very limited. The best place to park is at the lot north of the Princess Theater in downtown Decatur. A $2 round trip shuttle bus will take you to and from Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge. It will be running on Saturday and Sunday only.

Although Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge is a federal facility, the Wheeler Refuge Association has worked hard to ensure that the refuge buildings will be open to the public for the festival, regardless of whether or not the federal government shutdown ends before the festival.