Frequently Asked Questions

What are your operating hours?
Trails are open 6 AM – 9 PM every day.  The Nature Center is open 8 Am – 4:30 PM Tuesday – Friday, 11 Am – 4 PM Saturday and Sunday.  Nature Center is closed on Monday.  Nature Center is open Memorial Day, July 4, Labor Day, and the day after Thanksgiving 11 AM – 4 PM.  Nature Center is closed New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day.

Are you a City Park?
No , Heckrodt is a private nonprofit organization.  We operate independently from the City of Menasha.

How are you funded?
Heckrodt relies on donations from individuals, corporations, and foundations for our operations.  Grants support development and operation of education programs.  We do not charge general admission, but a drop box is located in the gallery of the Nature Center to collect free-will contributions by visitors.

How many people visit Heckrodt each year?
You might be surprised to learn that HWR welcomes more than 50,000 visitors to the Reserve each year. We teach more than 10,000 people in naturalist-led education programs.  The balance are general public visitors.

Are dogs allowed on your trails?
No.  Pets are not permitted on the trails.  ”Uniformed” assistance animals are welcome.  The police department may have their uniformed K-9 unit on the trail from time to time.

Can we ride our bikes through the Reserve?
No, bikes are not permitted on the trails.  Foot traffic only please.  Strollers, wheelchairs, and motorized medical aids are permitted. Joggers are welcome.

Do you have mosquitoes?
Yes.  At certain times of the year we have mosquitoes.  No, we don’t spray to control them as they are an important part of the food chain.  We encourage you to spray to protect yourself from them though.

When do you feed the animals in the Nature Center?
Our critters are typically fed on Tuesday and Friday.  Due to the small size of staff and our busy teaching schedule, we cannot set a specific time for feeding.  We feed as we have time to do it.  Usually we feed in the afternoon.    Birds are also fed on Tuesday and Friday, but feeding time is unpredictable.

If we’re there when you are feeding, can we feed the animals?
We’ll leave that to the professionals.  You are welcome to watch.

Can we hold the live animals?
Only professional staff and trained volunteers handle our live animals.

Do you feed the deer?
No, we don’t feed the deer.  However, they do know where our birdfeeders are and when we fill them.

Can we bring food for the animals outside?
Please do not bring food for our native critters.  This makes them dependent upon us, and is not healthy. Feeding of animals by visitors is prohibited.

I caught a squirrel (groundhog, chipmunk, skunk, or any other critter) in my yard and I don’t want it there.  Can I bring it to Heckrodt and let it go?
No.  Release of any animal on the Reserve is prohibited and will result in a fine if you are caught.

Can I catch frogs, turtles, snakes, etc at Heckrodt to take home?  Can I pick the pretty flowers?
All animals and plants on Heckrodt property are protected.  Anyone caught removing critters or plants from our property will be fined. All plants and animals should be observed with eyes only and not harassed during your visit.

I found an injured or orphaned critter.  Will you take care of it?
Heckrodt is not a licensed wildlife rehabilitation facility and we cannot accept injured or orphaned wildlife. We also cannot come to your house, place of business, etc. to pick up injured or orphaned wildlife. We will be happy to give you the name of licensed rehabilitators in our area that you can contact.

Do you rent your facilities?
The Presentation Room of the Nature Center is available for public rental during our regular operating hours – there is no evening rental.  HWR’s education programs have first priority in room usage.  Room rental fees apply to all rentals.  Special rates are available to registered nonprofit organizations.  Expect a level of noise consistent with regular Nature Center operations during any rental – large education groups, families with excited children, etc.  Renters are expected to clean up after their rental or deposit fees will be retained.   Rental of our outbuildings may also be available depending on education needs.