Lake of the Ozarks, Mo. - Visitors to the Lake of the Ozarks can view soaring eagles in the wild and up close and in person during the 2017 Eagle Days events, the weekend of January 7-8.
One of the most popular winter activities at the Lake of the Ozarks, this free event brings in nearly 4,000 spectators to watch as bald eagles roost and take flight from the trees and bluffs surrounding the Lake area. Another highlight of Eagle Days is the naturalist programs offered by the World Bird Sanctuary of St. Louis and the Dickerson Park Zoo of Springfield, where attendees can learn more about bald and golden eagles, hawks, owls and other birds of prey.
According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, Missouri has one of the largest populations of migrating eagles as they head south for the winter months to escape from the frigid temperatures of the north. The shores and forests around the Lake of the Ozarks make for an ideal temporary home for these majestic birds, in turn, providing visitors and locals alike ample opportunities to witness these awesome creatures in their natural habitat.
All Eagle Days events will take place in and around the community of Lake Ozark. Activities on Saturday, Jan. 7, begin at 9 a.m. and continue until 5:30 p.m. On Sunday, Jan. 8, events begin at 10 a.m. and end at 4:30 p.m.
Wild eagle-viewing activities take place at the historic Willmore Lodge, 1 Willmore Lane, and the Bagnell Dam Access, located off of Highway 54 on Osage River Bridge Road. And, new for 2017, the Celebration II luxury cruise yacht will offer wild eagle-viewing cruises at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday. The Celebration II docks and departs from 1066 Bagnell Dam Blvd. Tickets for the eagle cruises are $15 for adults and $10 for children. Attendees are encouraged to dress warmly and bring cameras and binoculars for the best Eagle Days experience. Interactive exhibits and crafts will be on display at Willmore Lodge each day, and eagle nest-building demonstrations by Master Naturalists and Boy Scouts exhibitions will be held at the Bagnell Dam Access. Free hot chocolate will also be available at the Bagnell Dam Access.
Those looking to learn more about eagles will appreciate the live eagle-focused programs presented by the World Bird Sanctuary at Osage National Golf Resort, 400 Osage Hills Road, just a minutes away from Bagnell Dam. These interactive programs begin on the hour at 9 a.m. with the last of the day starting at 3 p.m. on Saturday. On Sunday, the first program begins at 10 a.m. and the last begins at 2 p.m. Knowledgeable naturalists from the World Bird Sanctuary will present live birds, explain the different facets of what makes these birds special and answer questions from the audience.
Many demonstrations and exhibits take place at the School of the Osage Heritage Elementary, 1571 Bagnell Dam Boulevard. Springfield’s Dickerson Park Zoo offers three different educational and interactive programs focusing on the American Bald Eagle, owls of Missouri and the popular “Day Shift, Night Shift and Garbage Gals” program which features hawks (“day shift”), owls (“night shift”) and turkey vultures (“garbage gals”). These shows will be held every hour on the half-hour beginning at 9:30 a.m. and the last program of the day beginning at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday. On Sunday, programs begin at 10:30 a.m. with the last occurring at 3:30 p.m. Other activities include photo contests, coloring contests, face painting, as well as exhibits by the Missouri Department of Conservation, Missouri State Parks, Lake of the Ozarks chapter of Master Naturalists, Adair’s Animal Nuisance Trapping, Jim Rathert Photography, Ameren Missouri and more.
More details on the 2017 Eagle Days, including a complete schedule of events, can be found at www.LakeoftheOzarksEagleDays.com.
Visitors looking to build a winter weekend getaway around Eagle Days can take advantage of the off-season lodging rates available at the Lake’s full-service resorts, family-owned resorts, cozy bed and breakfasts, comfortable condominiums and vacation homes and familiar hotels and motels. To supplement their Eagle Days events, visitors can plan to partake in the Lake area’s many enjoyable wintertime activities including winter hikes in two state parks, splashing around at a large indoor waterpark, playing classic games at various arcades, shopping at the state’s largest premium outlet mall, playing a round of golf at one of 13 courses (weather permitting), fishing from heated docks and/or relaxing at an award-winning spa.
For other fun events, or for more information on all attractions and lodging and dining options at the “Best Recreational Lake” in the Nation, visit the the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitor Bureau’s award-winning website, www.FunLake.com, or call 1-800-FUN-LAKE (386-5253).