The National Eagle Center’s history includes growing from an Eagle Watch observation deck in 1989, to a year-round store front on Wabasha’s Main Street in 2000, and the spectacular $5 million architecturally renowned interpretive center in 2007. We are now embarking on the next phase of delivering on our vision to become the world’s most comprehensive source of information and inspiration about our country’s most treasured symbol—the eagle.

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From its stunning location on the banks of the Mississippi River in Minnesota’s oldest city, the National Eagle Center, seeded with an $8 million grant from the State of Minnesota, is engaged in a $10 million capital campaign to revitalize our riverfront location, expand our facilities, and enrich our visitor experience. We are approaching this expansion with the kind of penetrating focus and long-distance vision that the eagle possesses. The eagle is a unique cultural icon that connects America’s history and its possibilities. Native Americans were the first to teach and inspire us about the awesome spirit and symbolic power of the eagle. The eagle and its important role with Native Americans reminds us of the importance of respecting and encouraging diverse communities in America. In addition, the eagle is one of America’s most prominent environmental success stories and is a reminder that we must diligently conserve our natural world. Finally, over 235 years ago the eagle became our national symbol and instantly became everything American and Americana. The image of the eagle is a universal symbol that connects Americans with America’s cultural history and values.

We are steadfast in our commitment to perpetuating a future where the eagle evokes reverence for its place in the natural world, where its symbolism provides insight to our history and inspiration for our future, and where its study helps ensure our stewardship of the environment in which we all will thrive.

John Wodele
Campaign Chair

Meg Gammage-Tucker, PhD, CFRE


Expanded space
19,000 sq/ft

Riverfront Development
Amphitheater and landscaping celebrating spirit of place, history, and heritage.

Renovation and Re-use
4 Historic Buildings

Port Improvements
Accommodate large excursion boats, recreational watercraft and fishing.

Additional Walkways
To historic downtown Wabasha

Mississippi River
Improved surface storm water management

Environmental Leadership
Facility rating and bird safe glass


Estimated Cost
$18 Million

Minnesota State Bonding
$8 million
Granted in 2018 session

Local Gifts Pledged as of May 2019
$2.7 million

State/National Capital Campaign Goals
$7.3 million

Ground Breaking

Grand Opening

Critical Need


The National Eagle Center has a 30-year history of providing an immersive experience designed to inspire people to a shared appreciation of our great
national symbol.

Our eagle ambassadors work hard to inspire and educate visitors every day. However, our current center cannot adequately house, display and provide interactive learning with enough live eagles and related raptors to meet demand—especially on weekends when the number of visitors often exceeds 1,000 people per day.

Planned Improvements

  • an enhanced mew for up-close eagle interaction
  • an off-site avian care facility for working and retired eagles
  • additional live eagles to expand education outreach to schools, hospitals, veteran’s organizations and Native American communities.

Critical Need


Since opening our stunning interpretive center twelve years ago in the midst of the Upper Mississippi National Wildlife Refuge in Wabasha, Minnesota, the National
Eagle Center has awed, inspired and educated nearly one million visitors from the region, across the country and around the world. Non-releasable live “eagle ambassadors” create the centerpiece of the National

Eagle Center visitor experience. Visitors encounter these amazing birds nose-to- beak with no bars or glass between them. Every visitor feels the wonder, awe and inspiration that comes from this proximity which is matched only when they look out the Center’s expansive windows and thrill to see wild eagles soaring above the Mississippi River.

Expanding and improving educational opportunities

  • 125-seat auditorium
  • Adjacent riverfront amphitheater
  • Expanded exhibit space
  • Expanded educational programming
  • Additional eagles for expanded outreach programming

Critical Need


A bold expression of a fledgling republic’s aspirations and bravado, the American bald eagle has been designed, drawn, illustrated, stamped, engraved, painted, sculpted, carved, photographed, and etched by thousands of artists and artisans since 1782, when it first appeared as the central figure of the Great Seal of the United States of America. The widely varied use of the bald eagle tells the story of our nation and its values and customs. The eagle remains the nation’s single most iconic living symbol and uniquely portrays our collective experience as Americans.

The remarkable Preston Cook Collection, which was recently gifted to the National Eagle Center, contains over 25,000 eagle-related items—from the everyday to the rare—that reflect American life, art and culture from the American Revolution to the present. Collection highlights include original paintings and prints by renowned artists from John James Audubon to Andy Warhol, a military commissioning document signed by President Abraham Lincoln, and thousands of other rare objects dating from the 18th century to today.

The National Eagle Center looks forward to curating the Preston Cook Collection and sharing it with the public in a way that will inspire visitors to learn and appreciate the important role eagles have played in American history, art, literature, commerce, and culture. The vast encyclopedic collection will add fascinating depth and breadth to the National Eagle Center mission and greatly enhance the future visitor experience.

Critical Need


Financial support for the National Eagle Center’s expansion already includes a solid foundation of individual gifts from our most dedicated members and supporters. These heartfelt gifts range from five dollars to one million dollars and continue to come in daily.

In addition to these gifts, the campaign is now entering a second stage that will offer naming and sponsorship opportunities to individuals, families and corporations at gift levels of $250,000 and above.

We thank you for your interest in this exciting and important project. We look forward to further discussions on how, working together, we can jointly accomplish the goal of an expanded National Eagle Center in Wabasha, Minnesota that is the pride of our region, state and nation.

This vision is at the heart of our campaign’s promise.
We hope you will join in this noble effort.

Give to the National Eagle Center’s Soaring Higher Expansion Campaign!


If you would like to discuss additional ways to support an expanded National Eagle Center, please give us a call at 651-565-4989 or send your donation do:

National Eagle Center
Attn: Soaring Higher
50 Pembroke Ave. S.
Wabasha, MN 55981

Please make checks payable to “National Eagle Center”.

The National Eagle Center is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization.
Donations to Eaglewatch, Inc. (dba National Eagle Center) are tax-deductable to the extent allowed by law.