Explore the many exciting things happening this Fall!

See the Cranes!   •   Phenology Calendar   •  Virtual Programs

Crane Congregations

Viewing Opportunities

Aldo Leopold would marvel today at the spectacle of sandhill cranes gathering each fall on the Wisconsin River’s sandbars just behind his beloved Shack. The Aldo Leopold Shack and Farm has become the region’s premier vantage point to experience the incredible sights and sounds as the cranes congregate by the thousands before commencing their annual migration.

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Classic, Premium, or Exclusive Crane Tours

Take a sneak peek of our Crane Congregation Tour!

Crane programs are offered mid November through early December. Explore our three program options below:

*Classic Tours (Tues-Wed) — $50

We invite you to spend an evening with our education and land stewardship fellows to experience the phenomena of crane congregations! The experience will begin with an interactive family-friendly presentation that will reveal the history and wonder of sandhill cranes, followed by an open-air wagon ride to our crane blind situated on the banks of the WI River. From the blind you will witness  upwards of 10,000 cranes congregating on the shores. This slightly condensed tour lasts about two and a half hours.

Tuesday, November 8 | 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm — Sold out
Wednesday, November 9 | 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm — Sold out
Tuesday, November 15 | 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm — Sold out
Wednesday, November 16 | 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm — Sold out
Tuesday, November 29 | 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm — Sold out
Wednesday, November 30 | 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm — Sold out

*Premium Tours — $75

Join us for a premium crane tour. The experience will begin with a presentation from one of our Aldo Leopold Foundation Directors. This presentation will orient individuals to the history and behaviors of the sandhill cranes. An open-air, rustic ride through the floodplain will bring guests within a short walk of the large viewing blind situated on the bank of the Wisconsin River within the Leopold-Pine Island Important Bird Area. The blind affords ample space to observe the incredible phenomenon of congregating cranes. This experience runs for about two and a half hours and ends shortly after sunset.

Thursday, November 17 | 11:00 am – 5:00 pm — Sold out
Friday, November 18 | 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Saturday, December 3 | 11:00 am – 5:00 pm — Sold out
Sunday, December 4 | 11:00 am – 5:00 pm — Sold out

*Exclusive Tours — $100

Join us for an exclusive crane tour – beginning with a presentation from world-renowned Ornithologist  Dr. Stan Temple, Senior Fellow at the Aldo Leopold Foundation and Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. This presentation will orient individuals to the history and behaviors of the Sandhill cranes. An open-air, rustic wagon ride through the floodplain will bring guests within a short walk of the viewing blind situated on the bank of the Wisconsin River within the Leopold-Pine Island Important Bird Area. The blind affords ample space to observe the incredible phenomenon of congregating cranes. This experience runs for about four hours and ends shortly after sunset.

*Optional: Join us for a complimentary tour of the Leopold Shack and Farm one hour before the program for the full experience! These tours are only open to premium crane tour participants.

Sunday, November 13 | 11:00 am – 5:00 pm Sold out
Sunday, November 20 | 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Friday, November 25 | 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Saturday, November 26 | 11:00 am – 5:00 pm

Sunday, November 27 | 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Thursday, December 1 | 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Friday, December 2 | 11:00 am – 5:00 pm


*Virtual Crane Tours (Dec, 2022)

Not able to join us in person? No worries, The Aldo Leopold Foundation hosts virtual crane tours as well! Enjoy the marvel of 10,000 sandhill cranes from the comfort of your own home. World-renowned ornithologist  Dr. Stan Temple, Senior Fellow at the Aldo Leopold Foundation and Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin – Madison will be your virtual guide during this 1 hour event. Programs will be held online via Crowdcast.

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Past Events—Thank you for joining us at the Great Midwest Crane Fest!

Register now for the first annual Great Midwest Crane Fest – Celebrating Community and Conservation in Baraboo, Wisconsin, from November 10 to 12, 2022, as thousands of Sandhill Cranes gather near the Wisconsin River before flying south for the winter.

Witness the marvel of Wisconsin’s largest crane congregation and participate in guided crane-viewing tours, photography and crane behavior workshops, conservation-related lectures, and extraordinary events. Explore the beautiful landscapes and rich histories connecting the festival hosts, the International Crane Foundation and the Aldo Leopold Foundation.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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