In the Visitor Center are hands on exhibits with puppets and making animal tracks for the younger
children. You can also find the Reception Desk, Washroom facilities and our Gift Shop. The reminder of
the Visitor Center hosts a variety of smaller animals that through Behavioral or Physical Disabilities are
unable to be released. (See the Exhibit Trail tour for information on these disabilities.) There are also two
large windows that open into the Kitchen where food is prepared for all of the animals and into the nursery
where babies are kept.
Looking in the Nursery you can see a white board in the back of the room listing all the current patients.
Willowbrook participates in a breeding program for the rare Blanding's Turtle so you may see quite a high
number listed on the board for them. If you're really lucky it may be feeding time and you can see one of the
staff members or volunteers performing this task. Right next to the Nursery is the Kitchen. Here food is
prepared for upwards of 200 or more animals every day (during the busy times). Many animals get "chow". Rabbit
chow, duck chow, or other dried pellet type of foods that are formulated with their special diets in mind.
The refrigerators contain perishables like fruits, vegetables and meat products such as BOP. BOP is short for
Bird Of Prey. It's a combination of meat products similar to what their natural diet would contain. The Kestrel
indoors and the Hawks, Eagles, Owls and Vultures outside get this as part of their diet.
In the center of the room are our resident Blue Jays. Some were raised as babies (see the Exhibit Trail tour
for more information as to why this is bad) by well intentioned people and some have wing injuries. The Green
Heron in the far cage is blind. It shares the cage with a Purple Martin, a Sora and during the Summer,
an adult Blanding's Turtle. Part of the normal lifecycle of this turtle involves hibernation. Since the
Exhibit Room doesn't get cold and snowy it needs some help to stimulate the hibernation urge. Willowbrook
has climate controlled equipment (kind of like a refrigerator) that provides the right temperature and conditions
for the turtle to enter hibernation. In the spring the conditions are changed to help bring it back out of
hibernation. See if you can identify each bird by looking at the signs in front of the cages.