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Michigan dnr > wildlife viewing guide > southern lower peninsula > kensington

115 Kensington Metropark Southern Lower Peninsula

wildlife viewing  |  directions and facility information

   
Photos: © Phil Seng

More than 1,200 acres of water are nestled among the rolling, wooded hills of Kensington Metropark. Part of this park is highly developed and highly used, but the nature study area has been tailored for wildlife viewing. There are seven hiking trails that radiate from the nature center throughout the wetlands, forests, and fields on the site. The Chickadee Loop (1 mile) and Fox Trail (1/2 mile) are the most rustic of the trails. A golf course provides cross-country skiing in winter.

Wildlife Viewing

carp under water
Carp are not native to Michigan, but they do provide
a close-up view of underwater wildlife that is not often
seen. Kids love to watch them! Photo: © Phil T. Seng

If you like viewing white-tailed deer, this is the place to come. Deer are very likely to be observed during any season or time of day. Look for them in open areas along park roads—Route 2 is especially good. For a more natural experience, stalk quietly along the nature trails in the morning or evening. The sandhill crane, pileated woodpecker, and Acadian flycatcher are a few of the 253 bird species that have been identified within Kensington. Wildwing Trail is the longest of the trails (2.5 miles), and it includes a boardwalk that takes you right by an island in Wildwing Lake where great blue herons nest. It’s easiest to see these large wading birds from the boardwalk in April and early May.


The pileated woodpecker is a
large, crow-sized woodpecker
with a vibrant red comb on the top
of its head. Woodpeckers have a
special spongy tissue around
their brains that acts as a
"shock absorber" so they can
make a living pounding their
heads on trees!
Photo: MI DNR

This trail also runs near an osprey "hacking tower," where 23 osprey chicks were released from 1998 to 2002. Go to the "Osprey Watch of Southeast Michigan" website (www.owsem.org) for more information on this important effort to help restore the population of "fish hawks." If you like to see fish, the carp at Kensington are usually very easy to see from the lakeshore near the Nature Center and the boardwalk along Wildwing Trail. Kensington is also home to over 300 kinds of wildflowers.


Many people come to Kensington to see white-tailed deer. A controlled hunting program helps keep the deer from over-populating and damaging the habitat, but they are still seen frequently in the park. Photo: MI DNR

For a little more "pampered" kind of wildlife viewing, consider booking passage on the Island Queen II excursion boat. This passenger boat makes leisurely trips around the lake and can be chartered. Kayaks can also be rented if you prefer quieter transportation.

bluebird box area
Naturalists and volunteers maintain and monitor
a series of bluebird nesting boxes at Kensington.
See the "How You Can Help" icon below
if you are interested in helping out.
Photo: © Phil T. Seng

Family interpretive programs are offered on the weekends year-round, and these include frog walks, nature hikes, and "Astronomy at the Beach," where you can learn more about celestial bodies after a day of wildlife viewing.

 

MapDirections

From Detroit, take I-96 west to Exit 151 or Exit 153. Large signs at both exits direct you to park entrances.

Ownership: Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority. Nature Center: (810) 227-8917; Park Office: (810) 227-8910

Size: 4,337 acres

Closest Towns: Milford, Brighton

Weather and Driving Directions for Milford

Plan Your Trip with travel.michigan.org!

More information can be found by visiting the DNR's site (link leads to web app allowing users to search for campgrounds, harbors, trails and more), or by conducting a Google search:

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