Observe the World Around You

National parks offer a unique experience for watching wildlife. Animals in parks are wild—visitors have the amazing opportunity to view animals as they live and interact with each other in their natural homes.

But with that privilege comes responsibility. Visitors are responsible for their own safety and for the safety of the animals, too. Simply put, leave animals alone—no touching, no feeding, no harassing. 

Just remember to keep your distance, and enjoy your experience watching wildlife.

a bison covered snow

Winter Sightings

It might be chilly, but animals are on the move!

a young woman watches a marmot from a distance

7 Ways to Safely Watch Wildlife

The safety of these animals, as well as your safety, depends on everyone using good judgment and following these simple guidelines.

a beach covered in elephant seal cows and pups

Elephant Seals at Point Reyes

From December through March, park visitors can observe a breeding colony of elephant seals from Elephant Seal Overlook near Chimney Rock.

Elementary student bird watching with binoculars

Pro tips

Want to watch wildlife like a pro? Get some Watching Wildlife 101 with these pro tips.

Elementary student bird watching with binoculars

Bring This, Not That

What to bring to enhance your experience and what items you should leave at home

a black and white small bird holds onto a tree branch

Downy Woodpecker

Learn more about this small woodpecker who can be spotted in Shenandoah National Park-even in the winter!

Last updated: January 9, 2020

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