Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge

Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge, Freeport: Address, Phone Number, Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge Reviews: 4.5/5

Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge

Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge
4.5
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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4.5
55 reviews
Excellent
29
Very good
18
Average
7
Poor
1
Terrible
0

Debora Z
Daegu, South Korea366 contributions
Although way too hot and very off season to see many birds, the park is still beautiful. We did see an owl and hawks as well as other water fowl. Having it all to ourselves meant we could stop whenever we wanted. I recommend listening to the tour available on YouTube as you drive through. We were fascinated by the baby crocs sunning themselves near the visitors center and the others who eyeballed us as we drove the Big Slough Auto Tour. Still closed due to Covid the walking paths were quite overgrown so we saved those for another day.
Written August 6, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

LittlePaint
Urbandale, IA666 contributions
Couples
Google Maps took us to the Angleton entrance on FM2004. It is closed and locked.

The correct entrance is 2022 County Rd 227, Freeport.

The Discovery Center is currently closed. No brochures were available. But it's an easy place to navigate.

Drive slowly. Be observant. All kinds of birds and critters.
Written February 4, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Marney E. Mason
Del Rio, TX352 contributions
My wife and I have been visiting this refuge regularly for over ten years! We have seen it flooded and completely dry. We have watched it recover from the devastation of s major hurricane. Seeing the resilience of nature is amazing. We have seen dozens of new birds for our life list here. You can reliably see lots of waders and shorebirds. Waterfowl are abundant at times. There is s good population of kites, Hawks, Ospreys and owls. Bitterns are present, but not easily seen. There are also coyotes, alligators, turtles, raccoons, hogs, snakes, and have seen several Bobcats! It is a nice place to go and observe wildlife. The seven mild driving loop is excellent. Don't be in hurry! And be patient. The people in front of you are trying to get a photo of that green heron you probably won't see.
Written February 22, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Janice J
Seguin, TX9 contributions
It was a cool, windy day for bird watching, so not the best conditions. We also had a difficult time finding where to go as there is not much signage, but the car loop is well maintained, easy to travel along and stop for photos and definitely worth a trip out. I believe on better weather days it would be a better than average trip.

The information center is maned by volunteers with information about the site, however it is near the back of the refuge. It has bird feeders, clean restrooms, a great board walk along which you can see birds and alligators and a nice walking trail that has three loops of varying distances, depending on how much you want to hike/walk. We saw a good amount of small birds in this area.
Written February 26, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

R H
Texas361 contributions
Couples
Unless you want to see nothing but hoards of ducks, this isn’t the place for you in January. Interestingly, outside the refuge we saw more variation than inside. It is probably a great place to visit, just not in the winter.
Written January 13, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Tracey Su
Austin, TX1 contribution
Friends
My hiking companion and I visited Brazoria NWR on Friday, December 26, 2014 from 9 am - 3 pm. We parked at the Discovery Center located on the Southwest side of the refuge.

I recommend visiting the Discovery Center if you have children or easily-bored adults in tow. There are knowledgeable naturalists and volunteers who show you animals, plants, and other neat exhibits. You can even touch the turtles, snakes, and alligators. They're really cute. David P. gave us lots of helpful tips about locations around the park and recommended other birding events around Brazoria and Matagorda Counties (e.g. the annual Migration Celebration in April).

While hiking/walking, you get a taste of nature and especially its brutality. We saw piles of feathers, a partial freshly-eaten carcass of some bird, lots of scat, a dead snake, feral hog tracks, and even a coyote. That morning, there were two reported sightings of bobcats. We also saw butterflies, but I have no clue what types they were.

There are also lots of mosquitoes so bring some DEET to spray on your skin. The windier and colder it is, the less the mosquitoes will bother you. Since we saw a dead snake, you should probably wear thick shoes and pants to protect against venomous snake bites.

There are also lots of birds to see. Brazoria NWR once held the honor of being the top place for the number of bird species counted. Without binoculars, we saw lots of snow geese, roseate spoonbills, red-winged blackbirds, cormorant or anhinga-looking waterfowl, egrets, grebes, northern shovelers, herons, ibis, storks, the ubiquitous American coots, etc... My favorite pond to view birds is probably Rogers Pond. Sometimes there are 100,000 birds on it!

The plants are also interesting. We saw vines, wildflowers (blooming in late December!), interesting shrubs, and lots of short marsh plants whose seeds support some of the waterfowl. There were not many tall trees. Most of the trees in the visitor-accessible areas were close to the Discovery Center or North of the Auto Loop.

As hikers, we were pleased to find well over 10 miles of hiking trails--even more than the cartoonish Auto Loop map shows. (You can find all these maps online and print them out for reference.) The popular Auto Loop that most visitors here drive on is 7.5 miles, gravel, and relatively-flat. We found it perfect for hiking. We were too tired after walking the Auto Loop trail and the Rogers Pond walk that we never made it to the other hiking trails (Big Slough Trail, Cox Lake Loop, and the Middle Bayou Trail).

I wish humans could walk on the trails without scaring off all the nearby birds. I had hoped that by walking instead of driving, the birds would be less likely to fly away--but they still flew away.

There are nice Trex benches to sit on and rest. I recommend the one at the Fly Motel observation deck at the Southeast end of the Auto Tour. You can rest your feet, watch birds, and listen to the calls of thousands of birds. Tugboats and other ships on the Intracoastal Waterway are also visible from the Southeast end of the Auto Loop.

There are nice restrooms at the Discovery Center and a portolet on the Auto Loop. There weren't many trash cans so hold onto your trash until you get to the Discovery Center. Out of habit, we picked up trash while walking. There was little trash overall, but we did find potato chip bags, plastic ziplock bags, disposable wipes, and beer cans. Waterfowl sometimes mistake plastic for food, ingest it, and end up dying prematurely. Aluminum cans can also have sharp edges that cut the animals' skin.

The refuge gates open at sunrise and close at sunset every day; however, the Discovery Center is not open every day. Check the calendar for the Discovery Center opening times: http://refugefriends.org/calendar.html . Once you enter the refuge, follow the speed limits. It's 45 mph as you're driving in, then drops to 35 mph, and then to 15 mph at the Discovery Center. The refuge sits on a lot of land, but only a small fraction is accessible to visitors. I can't believe this refuge is free.

If you like hiking or birds and live in Southeast Texas, you should definitely visit this refuge.
Written December 28, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Gershwin12
Forest Hills, NY1,660 contributions
Couples
If you are a birder and visiting South Texas this place is a must do. The best national wildlife center I have visited. The trail is a self driving tour one way in the same way out with places to stop, view wildlife and take short walks. The water levels are closely monitored and adjusted to accommodate migrating birds. We saw 50 species of birds, two alligators and few people.

Be sure to scan the QR code posted at the visitor center to fully experience the refuge. The narration is upbeat and informative.

The bathrooms and visitor center were closed due to the current health crisis. However bird feeders were filled with seeds and park police monitored the grounds as well as folks maintaining the flora.

Plenty of sheltered picnic tables were available. Trails were well marked and easily navigated. Bring insect repellent, water, cell phone and snacks. remember this is a carry in carry out wildlife refuge.
Written June 29, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Review-er-er_er
Houston, TX240 contributions
Solo
This review is based on the past few visits I have made - the last of which was in April 2019.

This used to be on my rotation of day trip destinations from Houston. It is no longer.

This property has gone majorly downhill. Most all of the water areas have dried up with the wildlife having dramatically decreased accordingly.

That lovely map you see of this drive through all of these waterways is no more. You can still make the drive but most of what you will see is grassland. Maybe the water is still there hidden by the overgrowth but neither the wildlife nor visitors can see it. Consequently, the large amount of wildlife one used to see is no more.

Is this the fault of the park or its staff? Of course not. However, it is what it is.

In addition, the wildlife drive is in dire need of repair. It is riddled with gapping potholes. In all of the years I have gone there, I have never seen it in such a state. As it stands, it's already a gravel road (which can be unkind of vehicles in the best of repair). In it's current condition, it's downright treacherous.
Written May 24, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

CEWAIT
Richmond, TX172 contributions
Solo
I am returning to the greater Houston area after spending 3+ years in central Florida and milling around Merritt Island and other refuges. I have to say that my initial visit of the Reserve was a great joy. It's August and one simply expects to not find ponds and birds in great abundance. I spent an hour at Olney Pond this week watching a young Black Skimmer work the pond. There are as many storks in the pond as I saw in three years in Florida.

I will definitely be a regular as migration seasons come. My only hope is that the reserve is not a 'must see' and get as crowded as Central FLA does during the early year birding festivals.

I will return

One word for the wise.... Look at a map and locate the visiter's complex. GPS MAY send you to the maintenance and office complex - an area not open to visitors.
Written August 12, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

fadokv
Bellaire, TX105 contributions
Solo
The refuge is surrounded by landfills and oil refineries but once you get in there, the birds are incredible!
Written January 25, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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