Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge, Vero Beach

4.3
#3 of 6 in Parks in Vero Beach
Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge is a United States National Wildlife Refuge located just off the western coast of Orchid Island in the Indian River Lagoon east of Sebastian, Florida. The refuge consists of a 3acre island that includes an additional 2.5acre of surrounding water and is located off the east coast of Florida of the Indian River Lagoon. Established by an executive order of President Theodore Roosevelt on March 14, 1903, Pelican Island was the first national wildlife refuge in the United States. It was created to protect egrets and other birds from extinction through plume hunting.Early historyPelican Island’s bird populations were threatened because of increased American settlement around the area in the mid-19th century. Many of the exotic birds were killed for their feathers, used in the fashion industry. Plumes from the birds were used to adorn ladies' hats of the day and at the time were worth more than their weight in gold.Paul Kroegel, a German immigrant, moved to Florida in 1881 and lived on the west bank of Indian River Lagoon. He was fascinated with the pelicans on the island. Being able to see the island from his home, Paul would watch the pelicans and other water birds. He eventually took an interest in the island and its protection. However, there was not any state or federal law to help him so he took control of the situation himself. Kroegel sailed to the island to stand guard and protect the birds and the island.
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Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge Reviews
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4.5
TripAdvisor
  • July 10, 2017
    This is the one where Teddy Roosevelt said"Is there anything to prevent me from making this a national refuge? When the answer came back no, Pelican Island became the first of many. How many? Walk the...  more »
  • June 24, 2017
    We turned in here while staying at Disney's Vero Beach Resort. We were intrigued with the history behind this refuge and reading the brochure/website before our visit. We can say that we didn't have t...  more »
  • June 17, 2017
    Maybe there is a specific time of the year for pelicans? We were driving past and turned in on a whim, so we came unprepared. On a Saturday morning mid-June this place was completely deserted by both ...  more »
Google
  • June 20, 2017
    Wild and rustic landscape plenty of hiking trails... mosquito repellent in the summer is a must! Very Scenic Boardwalk
  • June 1, 2017
    Very well maintained and easy to access. Unfortunately, I couldn't get close enough to anything to photograph well (even with 600mm).
  • June 28, 2017
    Very quiet place. I've never seen many people around.
  • April 5, 2017
    Nice place to tour. Call ahead for reservations.
  • May 9, 2017
    Beautiful sunsets over the pond near the butterfly garden

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