Welaka National Fish Hatchery and Aquarium

County Rd 309, Welaka, 32193
(386) 467-2374
sunrise to sunset

tower

Built in 1926, this warm water hatchery is used by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to raise fish for stocking programs. The 41 production ponds where they raise young fish have attracted birds for years. However, instead of driving off the birds, the hatchery constructed a viewing tower so visitors could enjoy the birds! There is a short nature trail just north of the observation tower but the best birding is from the tower. Wood Storks, Tricolored Herons, Snowy Egrets and White Ibis are regularly observed from the tower. During spring and fall migration when water levels are favorable shorebirds may be present, and in winter, flocks of gulls come into bathe; in February 2014 a Black-headed Gull (rare) was found! An aquarium showcasing the hatchery program is located on the east side of the road, 2.7 miles north of the observation tower. Martins and swallows feed over the water and both Bald Eagles and Ospreys visit on a regular basis. Hatchery personnel also conduct excellent group tours, where visitors can see birds as well as learn about fish and hatchery operations. Call ahead to make arrangements.

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