The John Heinz Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum, or just Tinicum as we usually call it, is one of my favorite places in Philly. It’s so close to the airport and so accessible from South Philly yet it feels like you’re nowhere near the city. It was established in 1972 to preserve the natural area of the marsh, to promote environmental education and allow visitors to study the wildlife.
In the past, we’ve always gone early in the morning on a weekend or a weekday before work, which is great time to go. It’s still relatively quiet and there is usually a good amount of wildlife to be seen. The terrain here is very flat so it’s a good place for a run or a relaxing walk. If you do go for a run, make sure to slow down for at least part of the way to keep an eye out for the turtles and other semi-camouflaged wildlife hanging out. You’ll also see plenty of birdwatchers walking around with fancy equipment. According to the Heinz refuge website, there have been over 300+ species recorded at the refuge with more than 80 species nesting there.
On this particular trip we decided to take advantage of the longer days and sunlight and went after work. The park was staying open until about 9/9:30 that day I think. We brought our dog which made the walk a little stressful as we overestimated him a bit. He’s an older guy with shorter legs so he wasn’t able to the 3 mile loop like we thought he would. We took turns carrying the old man which added some strength training to our cardio. Seeing the sun go down over the marshy landscape was beautiful. Tinicum is great, and if you do go on a weekend morning along with the wildlife, see if you can spot the guy who rides his bike with his dog in a baby bjorn. He’s the best and it seems like he’s always there!