Reopening to the public on Tuesday, July 6th! Learn more about visiting us.

Crane Tours

Sandhill cranes staging on Wisconsin River.

Expert Tours ($75/person)

Small groups (about 20 people) will meet at the Leopold Center for a wine and cheese reception and warm welcome. An introduction from Dr. Stan Temple, Senior Fellow at the Aldo Leopold Foundation and Beers-Bascom Professor Emeritus in Conservation in the Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Wisconsin – Madison will orient individuals to the history and behaviors of the cranes. Dr. Temple is a world-renowned bird expert and has published several works on crane migration.

Thousands of sandhill cranes gather at sunset.

Photo: Sunil Gopalan

Participants will travel in their vehicles about a mile to a meeting place in the Leopold-Pine Island Important Bird Area, just west of the Leopold Shack and Farm. 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. The blind affords ample space for modest-sized groups to observe the incredible phenomenon without disturbing the wildlife.Once the cranes have settled for the evening, participants will return to their vehicles for departure just after sunset.

Included with your tour purchase is a complimentary membership to the Aldo Leopold Foundation.

Optional: Join us for a complimentary tour of the Leopold Shack and Farm before Crane Congregations for the full experience! These tours, outside of our normal visitation season, will be offered 1.5 hours prior to the start of each public crane tour.

Basic Tours ($35/person)

Cranes prepare for landing.

Photo: Greg Dixon

We welcome members of our local community to spend an evening with our education and land stewardship fellows to view and learn about the cranes in an informal, family-friendly setting. This slightly condensed tour lasts about two and a half hours. Participants are welcome to bring their own snacks and water bottle.


Cranes in flight at sunset.

Photo: Dave Freriks

Frequently Asked Questions

Considering joining us, but have some questions? Consult our handy FAQs. If you still have questions, please contact us.


Feature photo, top, courtesy of Robert Rolley.