Here's my usual disclaimer for you before my post. No one compensated me for writing this. I'm a momma who likes to travel and I think this is one of the most wonderful little places in New Jersey. I am sharing it with you because I want to, not because anyone paid me or asked me to. So there.
What is The Raptor Trust?
The Raptor Trust has nothing to do with dinosaurs (am I the only one who gets that joke?). Nope, it's a wild bird rehabilitation center. That means they actually rehabilitate injured birds (check out their website for more info on this). The facility itself includes a bird hospital, exterior housing for several hundred birds and an education building. Remember, it's not a zoo, it's a rehabilitation center. They also offer programs, special events, and assistance if you find an injured bird of your own.
We've visited The Raptor Trust many times over the years, so you'll see The Jersey Momma's Boy at various ages in these photos. He loved visiting as a toddler and he still loves visiting as an elementary school kid today.
Where is The Raptor Trust?
The Raptor Trust is located at 1390 White Bridge Road in Millington, New Jersey. It's not far from Lord Stirling Stables and The Great Swamp.
How Much Does it Cost to Visit?
You can visit The Raptor Trust seven days a week and it is FREE. Yes, you heard me, FREE. However, there is a suggested donation of $2 per person. Please give them that two bucks, if not more, if you plan on visiting their facility. It's just a little box that you toss your donation in, and it helps to keep their wonderful place running. As the sign states below, they receive no funding from federal, state or public financial aid. All of their funding comes from private sources.
What Will I See at The Raptor Trust?
The Raptor Trust is a series of gravel paths with many different housing units for birds. The last time we visited, we saw bald eagles, golden eagles, snowy owls, kestrels, vultures and a raven named Jake. There were different kinds of owls and songbirds, as well (we also saw an albino Robin named Pearl). You can see each bird in its housing area and read a little plaque about the bird who resides there.
Mr. Jersey Momma teased me about some of these photos, but it's really hard to take pictures (with your phone) of birds that are housed behind several fences! I did the best I could to show you what we saw.
We also enjoyed reading the dedication/donation plaques posted near some of the birds. For instance, the bald eagle enclosure was dedicated to a man who lost his life in 9/11. Another was dedicated to a beloved school teacher.
Richard "Rick" Rescorla was an amazing human being, by the way. I didn't know him personally, but I googled his name after seeing this beautiful display dedicated to him (if you're interested to read about who he was, check out this website in his honor. The History Channel even put out a DVD about him, entitled The Man Who Predicted 9/11).
Gift Shop and Souvenirs
There is a small gift shop at The Raptor Trust, and they had some cute items for both kids and adults. There were books, t-shirts, jewelry items, stuffed animals, educational posters, games, artwork and more. Prices were fair and the money goes to a good cause!
Visiting The Raptor Trust
The Raptor Trust is in a shady, wooded area, so piles of sunscreen are not needed. However, you might want to bring along some bug spray depending on the season you are visiting.
You will be walking along a gravel path so be sure to wear comfy sneakers. I had a friend come with us once and she brought along her stroller, but it was one of those all-terrain Jeep strollers. If you are thinking of bringing a stroller, just know that it might not push so well through the gravelly stones.
Jersey Momma Tips
*There isn't a picnic area, so you can't really eat there. Plan ahead about where you might need to stop for a meal. Bella's Burger Shack in Basking Ridge might be a good option!
*Their hours of operation vary based on season, so please call ahead or check their website for the most accurate opening and closing hours.
*Take note that many of these birds eat meat, so that means you might see parts of their prey scattered around their cages (you might even see them eating it!). Dead mice, fish, even hamsters, were seen on our last walk through. If you have kids who are squeamish or might be upset by this, just be aware!
*How much time you spend here is up to you. You could probably go through the whole display in 30 minutes, or it might take you longer if you stop to linger by each bird.
*Check out the Raptor Trust's website for hours and other important info. There are instructions on where to park, directions, and info about educational classes that they hold there, too. Find them here.
And last (but not least) please respect The Raptor Trust, Do you know what I mean? It's a beautiful little place, and birds are rehabilitated there. It's up to us to teach our children respect for nature, so remind them not to run through the displays, or throw things at the birds. Yelling at the birds is pretty ridiculous, too. You might think I'm crazy for mentioning that, but I've seen it happen.
You can find The Raptor Trust at:
1390 White Bridge Road
Millington, NJ 07946.