This place was a huge surprise on a freezing December day. Riverlands is located on the Mississippi River, just outside of St Louis on the Missouri side of the river. We visited to check on a report in the newspaper that a young Snowy Owl was spending some time on the mighty Mississippi River. Unfortunately the Snowy Owl was gone after a day or so, but we were surprised to see the river full of Trumpeter Swans, White Pelicans, various kinds of ducks, and lots of other migratory bird life. The park and viewing area are situated along the river, and have a lot of scrub trees and shrubs along the water supporting several varieties of hawk. We were also hoping to see some Bald Eagles at the Ellis Island area of the sanctuary, but were just a little early in the year for that. The Ranger said the eagles would be in residence a little later in the winter, as the temperatures cooled farther North, and their food sources froze over.
Riverlands has a very nice facility, including a large enclosed glass viewing area, rest rooms, and an information desk. The small town of Alton, Illinois is nearby across the river, and has several good places to eat. We had a great lunch at the State Street Market, 208 State St, Alton, IL, with excellent soup (mushroom asparagus) and sandwiches.