Each winter in the St. Louis area, you'll find a variety of events celebrating bald eagles. The majestic birds flock to the cold Mississippi River in search of food. Towns along the Great River Road offer some of the area's finest spots for eagle watching. They're also among the best places for bald eagle events like Masters of the Sky at the National Great Rivers Museum in Alton, Illinois.
Masters of the Sky is held each year over President's Day weekend. In 2017, it's Saturday, February 18, and Sunday, February 19, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. During the event, the World Bird Sanctuary brings some of its bald eagles, owls, falcons and other birds of prey to the National Great Rivers Museum. You can get an up-close look a the birds and learn all about their annual migrations to the St. Louis area. The animals are part of three hour-long demonstrations held at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., each day.
Seating for each demonstration is limited to 200 people. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for children ages four to 12. Children three and younger who can sit on a parent's lap get in free. Tickets are available for purchase online beginning in early January. General admission to the museum is also free.
Don't Miss the Locks and Dam Tour
While you're at Masters of the Sky, don't miss out on the chance to tour the Melvin Price Locks and Dam right next door. You'll see how the dam works to keep barge traffic moving along the Mississippi River. The large structure is an impressive sight as is spans the water. It is also one of the best places to see bald eagles in the wild, as they soar in the air and swoop down to grab fish. For an even better view, don't forget to bring your binoculars.
More at the Museum
The National Great Rivers Museum is one of the Top 15 Free Attractions in the St. Louis Area. It has more than 20 educational and interactive exhibits about life through the years on the Mississippi River. You can try your hand at steering a barge and learn how goods are transported along the river. Many of the museum's exhibits focus on the river's history and cultural significance in the westward expansion of the United States. The National Great Rivers Museum is located at #2 Locks and Dam Way in Alton, Illinois.
It's open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., except for major holidays including Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. For more information, see the museum website.