The International Crane Foundation is so much more than a unique zoo tucked away in the waterpark capital of the world. It’s the only place in the world where you can see all 15 species of crane, 11 of which are facing extinction.
The International Crane Foundation was founded in 1973 by Cornell Department of Ornithology graduates George Archibald and Ronald Sauey. Now, the organization works in more than 50 countries to save the cranes and the places they inhabit while also helping the communities affiliated with the birds thrive.
At their Wisconsin headquarters, you can see the North American whooping crane, of which there are little more than 700 left in the world (both captive and wild). Here, members of the foundation practice captive breeding and reintroduce whooping cranes into the wild to help save this majestic bird species.
While there, you can also wander by the various other live crane exhibits to get an up-close look at the birds. There’s also a visitor center, breeding facilities, and a research library. Additionally, you can hike the trails within the 250 acres of restored prairie, and, if you are bird watcher, catch sight of many more bird species than the cranes.
Update as of August 2021: The Crane Foundation Headquarters has completed its renovation and has reopened after being closed for remodeling. Check the website for updates, hours, and events.