14000 W. State Route 2
Oak Harbor Ohio 43449United States
Casual outdoorsy people enjoy Ottawa National Wildlife refuge more than neighboring Magee Marsh.
At the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, the gorgeous visitors center (just a few years old) still smells new when you walk in the door. A stunning two-story-tall lobby offers access to a small gift shop, a theater and a series of museum displays emphasizing the history of the wetlands and the wetlands conservation efforts. Interactive and motion-activated, the exhibits are fresh and well done. Climb to the second story of the building and circle the balcony overlooking the lobby. Here, nature-themed lighting and other accents carry a touch of Prairie style. But the star of the building is outside the clerestory windows and visible from the third-story backdoor observation area: The marsh stretches from the center toward the lake, embellished with a twisting series of new boardwalks. Cattails crowd the edges of the walkways, and birdhouses dot the swamp, drawing the winged attractions for a closer view. Casual nature-lovers will enjoy this place for its beautiful building, easily traversed boardwalks and the sound of birds and bullfrogs. It's not as intense an experience as at the Magee Marsh Wildlife Area, but for some folks that's the reason to stop here.