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“Pleasant and Inviting”

John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum
Ranked #84 of 444 things to do in Philadelphia
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Wallingford, Pennsylvania
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Pleasant and Inviting”
Reviewed September 25, 2013

I have lived within 5 miles of this wonderful Wildlife Refuge for the past 40 years and just visited for the first time (Fall 2013). I recommend it for easy hiking, lush plantings and plentiful wildlife with lots of benches along the trails to sit and enjoy the surroundings. The trails are well maintained and the visitor center staff was friendly and helpful. Looking forward to revisiting, soon and in other seasons, too.

Visited September 2013
1 Thank BeaGL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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67 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Polish first
  • Any
English first
Baltimore, Maryland
Level 4 Contributor
34 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“An Oasis of Nature on the Periphery of the City”
Reviewed August 8, 2013

The Heinz should be considered a Philadelphia treasure. That such an environment (the largest freshwater tidal marsh in Pennsylvania) is preserved in a bustling urban environment is truly commendable. And don't worry you'll be reminded that it is in an urban environment due to its proximity to I-95 and International Airport.

But let's get to the chase. While their might be larger, closer, and more developed parks to Philadelphia, i wonder if many of them have the natural visible wildlife diversity as the Heinz. On my visit, i caught a glimpse of a muskrat, several herrings, egrets, and rabbits, as well as heard a number of other birds i wasn't able to identify visually. The Heinz also has an extensive trail network (with the main loop around the pond/lake/lagoon being just over 3mi long) very well-marked. The trails are for the most part wide and improved enough for cycling, hiking, and jogging (activities which were going on during my visit). They also are relativity flat, making it easy for the beginner in these activities. Other activities are as well, such as fishing and kayaking. It's also nice to see that areas in which certain activities can and cannot take place are well-marked. The Heinz features a visitor/interpretative center on the grounds as well as plenty of parking. The Lindbergh entrance is not the only access point to the refuge, but it is the one with the most parking, information (where the visitor center is located), and access to activities.

That's not to say their aren't drawbacks. Your easily reminded that you're in an urban environment. While i can't speak for the refuge as a whole, but at least around the impoundment trail your can constantly hear the roar of engines from the airport (which is only a couple of miles away). The southern portions of the park also abut to I-95 and an active rail line. Both of which can produce plenty of noise, but are somewhat dampened by the vegetation. Don't be surprised to find some unsavory characters in the park or in the parking lot (where i noticed a couple soliciting for something). You are in an urban area. But the one big problem i had was getting to the Heinz. The signage directing you to it is almost non-existent. My recommendation, if you're not familiar with the area, bring a map or directions, otherwise you could easily just drive by it.

regardless though, if your want a nice day to explore a natural habitat that you don't find in SE Pennsylvania, i recommend the Heinz.

Visited July 2013
Thank boothy443
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Camarillo, California
Level 4 Contributor
37 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Amazing open space in the city”
Reviewed June 26, 2013

What a wonderful refuge in the middle of an urban landscape and as a bonus, close to the airport. I had a few hours before my plane left so spent some time birdwatching along the trails. Good parking, a nice visitor center and of course, the wildlife. Bring your mosquito repellant.
Be aware of navigating to the refuge with your google mapping app and searching for the Refuge. I was directed to a scrap yard a couple miles from the Visitor Center. It wasn't until I consulted the website, then entered 86th and Lindbergh, Philadelphia that I was directed to the Visitor Center.

Visited June 2013
Thank Seedlady50
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 6 Contributor
84 reviews
40 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 129 helpful votes
“Excellent wildlife viewing”
Reviewed May 2, 2013

I have been coming to this refuge for a few years now and it is an amazing experience every time. Since at least half of the refuge is protected from fishing and development, you get to see some unique wildlife here that you don't see elsewhere in the area. Among the animals that I've seen while hiking- snakes, dozens of turtles, colorful and unique birds (sanpiper, egrets, herons, warblers, orioles) tadpoles, frogs, crayfish, lots of fish, and best of all- BALD EAGLES! This is one of the only places that has a bald eagle nest. The first time I saw one flying I thought I was crazy, but the second time it was much closer and then I came upon a display pointing out their nest and habitat. Amazing! Every time I come here it is an adventure. The trails are very well maintained and the map is very easy to understand. It's hard to get lost because there are symbols showing where the visitor center and route 420 are.
There is amazing fishing here too on the side opposite the visitor center (route 420). In the summer, sometimes you can see so many fish along the shore that you can practically scoop them up with your hand.
Out of the NJ and PA area, this is my favorite hiking spot. A round-trip hike from the visitor center is about 10 miles. And there are fish and wildlife employees that routinely drive through the area which can be helpful if you are lost or need help.

Visited May 2013
1 Thank threelittlefish856
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Prospect Park
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Nice all year round”
Reviewed January 23, 2013

it is great for people who love to watch live wild creatures and fish, great vegatation and flower life most of the year. suggest you wear shoes approaite for regeion or just sneakers if you follow the trails.

Visited December 2012
1 Thank rambob64
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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