Skip to main content
Shedd Aquarium

Ingersoll Wetlands Learning Center

7071 Riverview Rd, Thomson, IL 61285


The Ingersoll Wetlands Learning Center is the office and Learning Center for the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge. This family friendly facility is packed with interesting, hands-on exhibits and provides a dramatic view of the world’s most majestic and celebrated river. The Center's mission is to promote environmental education and the conservation of the Mississippi River and its tributaries.

The Center sits on thirty-five acres of sand prairie that is home to the ornate box turtle, prickly pear cactus, and a diversity of other plants and animals. Visitors can walk or bike the Grand Illinois Trail that traverses through the prairie and along Spring Lake. There are many opportunities for photographers to get that special picture of a bald eagle, sandhill crane, trumpeter swan, or the prickly pear cactus. No matter what your interest, there is something for you to see and do. The Center is dedicated to the memory of Gary and David Ingersoll, young residents of Savanna who were stricken with muscular dystrophy. Although confined to wheelchairs most of their young lives, the two overcame day-to-day challenges and attended college, where they demonstrated their mutual interest in natural resource conservation. Tragically, both young men died of the disease before the age of 22. The center was named in their honor and continues to promote their ideals of environmental education and conservation of the Mississippi River and its tributaries. The Stewards of the Upper Mississippi River Refuge operate a bookstore that is filled with an excellent selection of children’s books, field guides, and unique gifts. All proceeds support various refuge programs. Hours: 8:00 am – 4:00 pm Monday through Friday. The Center is closed on all federal holidays. From June through August, the Center is open Saturdays from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Get inspired by top travel stories, gain access to exclusive promotions and contests, and discover even more reasons to #EnjoyIllinois.