Locations and Structures
Finding Inspiration at Every Turn
There's a lot to see at the preserve. Check out some of the destinations below - see if you can find them all when you come visit! There are new things being added to the preserve all the time by the many dedicated volunteers who are passionate about preserving this awesome resource for our community.
The visitors center is a quaint two-story with AC right next to the parking area. It serves as the headquarters for the preserve and is staffed during park hours. You can normally find some bug spray on the front porch, as well as a "tick-o-meter, and some information about ongoing programs
The pavilion is located near the entrance and can serve as a place for gatherings, picnic, or events. It is complete with solar panels to power lights, music, media presentations, and young imaginations. Get a selfie with the big wings!
This large deck is an easy hike from the parking area, and stands proudly above the placid waters of Lake Ballard. See how many colorful turtles you can spot sunbathing or fighting over log space; or take a gander through the integrated binocular telescope at hawks nesting on the other side!
At the oyster peer, which juts out into the Hoffler Creek, along the Living Shore Line you can find many oysters and other creatures like clam, worms, shrimp, and mud crabs; it is the perfect place to teach young people about the critters that inhabit this fascinating and complex ecosystem.
Creek-side Kayak Launch
A new kayak launch has been installed next to the oyster pier in the Hoffler Creek! Rent a kayak from the visitors center, then come slide it into the creek to explore the many nooks and crannies of this gorgeous waterway, which connects to the Chesapeake Bay!
The kayak shed stands between the creek and the lake, and contains life jackets and paddles for the kayaks and canoes, as well as some equipment for maintaining the living shore line. This structure also has solar power for operating a small water pump to make use of gray water.
White Bird Blind
The white bird blind has been erected towards the western end of the Riparian Trail. Here, visitors can get a good look at the large birds inhabiting the salt marsh while staying mostly concealed from the wildlife. The biggest of the "white birds" referenced are the majestic egrets who call this place home.
At the extreme North West section of the park, at the very end of the Homestead Trail, you will come upon the Willet Blind. There is a placard where you can read about the Willet Family for which this blind was named, and a bench where you can sit and observe wildlife out in the marsh without worrying about being observed back.
Pick up a brochure at the visitors center to learn about the rich history that this blind commemorates. As the newest blind in the preserve, there are stepstools for the little ones to peer through at the wondrous creatures going about their business on the shores of the Hoffler Creek. There is also a geocache hidden here... can you find it?!
The floating dock at the western end of Lake Ballard has a new kayak luanch! This is the perfect place to get up close and personal with the turtles, bugs, and other creatures that call the lake home. This is where you will slide your kayak into the placid water when you come out for a the full-moon kayak experience.
Salt Marsh Deck
As a reward for reaching the end of the Bluebird Trail, surrounded by wildflowers, the salt marsh deck curves out over the pluf mud of the expansive salt marsh surrounding this section of Hoffler Creek. Here, you can get a good look at this fascinating ecosystem which is vitally important to many native creatures, from little fiddler crabs to the majestic blue heron.