Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Flying Featherly High

It's an exciting time to be anywhere near MN, and I'm currently in it! I'm in MN because I'm "hiding" to work on a new book project, which is always exciting. But it's double exciting to be here because the National Eagle Center in Wabasha ("Home of 'Grumpy Old Men' movies"—but sorry to say, you've already missed this year's annual festival ) is only a hop-skip away from me, and this weekend, March 7, 8 and 9, the annual Soar With the Eagles celebration takes place. If you're within gettin'-here distance, GET HERE! You won't be sorry.

Last week, my husband came up to MN (we live in Chicagoland) to take a break with me. We enjoyed a relaxing (well, aside from the POT--feel teeth gnashing together--HOLES) and scenic drive up the river on Highway 61 to Wabasha, where, for the first time, we visited the new National Eagle Center. (Take several 360-degree tours.) It's right on the river, and it's chock full of educational info; LIVE up-close-and-personal eagles, both in and out of the center; souvenirs; and a stunning view.

Wabasha itself is a Worthy stop. Some of my personal favs: the Chocolate Escape (indulge yourself in gourmet chocolates while sitting in front of picture windows facing the river); the Book Cliffs book store (Nancy, the owner, is a wealth of knowledge, not only about books, but the area); and the historic Anderson House ). But I have to say, the National Eagle Center is now WAAAAY up there on my list of pleasurable educational experiences in the entire southeastern MN area.

This weekend, the National Eagle Center will not only enable you to SOAR with the eagles, but staff and volunteer workers will offer you a number of ways to get "nose to beak" with them, including via a narrated PADDLEWHEEL cruise, and/or a guided motor coach tour! (Tickets available online--although at the time of this post, they're currently instructing visitors to phone 877-332-4537 .)

To whet your appetite, here's a personal testimony from our recent visit. We enjoyed browsing the center and taking in the 3 PM Eagle Feeding and Education Presentation. A volunteer brought one of the resident eagles right into the room with us, and we got to watch her (the eagle, that is) chow down on raw rabbit and fish.

If you think that type of show will be the top billing, consider this: you can learn all about eagle POOP, too! Yes, eagle POOP is worthy of its own educational exhibit. Think about it, then consider why your pet's poop is not "display" worthy.

Then again, if you do believe your pet's POOP is display worthy, do not tell me.

The eagle has always represented all we hold dear, and through our combined efforts, it's about to come off the endangered species list. What else might we save if we all worked together?! Even funny man Steven Colbert is talking about this, and, as always, he's worth a thought-provoking, grin-inducing watch. Check out his show clip, and you'll not only get to meet Harriet, one of the eagle residents at the National Eagle Center, but watch her eat a snack. Get yourself to SOAR WEEKEND and you'll get to meet Harriet in person.

INTERESTING TIDBIT: Harriet is The Eagle on Minnesota's Veterans' license plates project.

DISTURBING TIDBIT: the awesome twangy feathery hairdo on the top of her head (watch the Colbert clip) was AIR BRUSHED OUT for the picture on the plates.

The eagle, our American symbol, air-brushed to perfection.

I'm not even gonna allow myself to think about all those implications.

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