I thought I could load all of day two into one post. However, I'm a nut for taking pictures, and the second half of our day involved me taking tons of pictures. While they are probably only fun for me, you'll have to bear seeing them too.
Day two involved us waking up in Wabasha.
This hotel wanted to make sure everyone knew this was the setting for the "Grumpy Old Men" movie - even though none of it was actually filmed here.
After breakfast we packed up and headed to the National Eagle Center located right on the river banks. I thought it would be an interesting hour or so and we'd be off. I was very wrong. This was a really neat place and I think we spent about four hours here!
We had read before leaving that this time of year was actually a very good time to see many eagles along the river and we definitely saw a lot! The center also is home to five eagles that are kept in captivity because they wouldn't survive on their own. When visiting, while you aren't able to touch them, you can get really close to see them. It was really neat - the kids, especially, loved it!
The bird above is a bit of a celebrity. Harriet has been on the "Jay Leno Show", the "Today Show", a couple other shows and she is the bird who's face graces the MN license plates with an eagle on them. That tuft of hair is due to her injury and will always grow like that.
I think she was Maddie's favorite.
They did have one Golden Eagle (I didn't even know these existed!).
I believe his name was Donald and he was Jake's favorite. Whenever we were looking for Jake, he was just sitting watching Donald.
Speaking of bird watching, we had brought our binoculars. The center also has some for you to use and a few telescopes to look through on their viewing deck.
There was an eagle's nest right across the river and after awhile our crew spotted a few eagles sitting in it.
We were able to watch the informational program which lasted about an hour. I thought it would be very boring, but I can't say I ever looked at my watch wondering when it would be finished.
This particular eagle in the program was blind in his left eye. Part of the program was to watch him eat a rat for lunch. That's where I stopped taking pictures and pretty much started looking all around the room. Jake thought this part was awesome. At one point he leaned over to me and said, "Oh - mom! He just ate the eye!" I informed him I didn't need the details.
The only part of the eating process I captured was the end...
See that lump in his chest? Those are the rats he ate. Eagles will store this for later. Mmmm.
They also had a little exhibit set up that was very informative and fun to look through.
Jake got to see what he'd look like holding an eagle...
Maddie got to see what it would feel like to hold an eagle...
We all got to see what we'd look like as an eagle...
Towards the end one of the people working there came to the main floor and the kids were able to stand next to the eagle to have their picture taken. The woman kept telling Jake he could move over, but after hearing that those talons could exert 400 pounds of pressure each, I don't think he was too anxious to get any closer.
I think this was definitely one of the highlights of the trip for all of us!