Exploring Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center in Huntingdon County

The pond and surrounding pollinator gardens at Shaver's Creek Environmental Center outside State College.

Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center is a Penn State owned and operated nature and wildlife learning center, located just 12 miles outside of State College in rural Huntingdon County.

Map to Shaver's Creek Environmental Center near State College, PA.
Map to Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center near State College, PA.

Adjacent to the Stone Valley Recreation Area, Shaver’s Creek main draw is the opportunity to see PA wildlife in an up close and personal fashion.

A resident bald eagle at Shaver's Creek Environmental Center.
A resident bald eagle at the aviary.

In particular, the recently-renovated Aviary has more than 20 non-releasable birds of prey that live on-site, including many species of owls, hawks, and eagles. 

The Klingsberg Aviary at Penn State's Shaver's Creek Environmental Center.
The Klingsberg Aviary.

Admission is free and Shaver’s Creek is open everyday from mid-February through mid-December, but in the age of COVID, it would be prudent to call ahead at 814-863-2000 to confirm.

Shaver's Creek Environmental Center entrance sign.
Entrance sign.

How to Find Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center

Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center is located at 3400 Discovery Road, Petersburg, PA 16669.

Shaver's Creek is part of Penn State's Stone Valley Recreation Area in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania.
Shaver’s Creek is adjacent to Penn State’s Stone Valley Recreation Area in Huntingdon County.

If navigating by GPS, use coordinates 40.667459, -77.909994 to find the Shaver’s Creek parking lot.

The entrance to Shaver's Creek Environmental Center outside State College, PA.

The Best Things to Do at Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center

The main office and headquarters at Shaver’s Creek is this lodge-like building pictured below.

Main office building at Shaver's Creek Environmental Center.
Main office building.

Inside, you’ll find the Discovery Room, home to many live amphibians and reptiles, all native PA wildlife.

Reptile and amphibian exhibits at Shaver's Creek Environmental Center.
Reptile and amphibian exhibits in the Discovery Room.

There are also plenty of interactive displays that teach visitors more about Pennsylvania’s native wildlife.

Educational display inside Shaver's Creek Environmental Center.
Educational display about PA wildlife tracks.

Exiting the back of the Discovery Room, you’ll encounter the big draw at Shaver’s Creek – the Aviary.

The Aviary at Shaver's Creek Environmental Center in Huntingdon County, PA.
The Aviary.

Visiting the Aviary at Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center

The recently-renovated Aviary is a series of large, parallel enclosures, each housing a Pennsylvania bird of prey.

The aviary enclosures at Shaver's Creek Environmental Center.
The aviary enclosures.

Ever wondered how your wingspan stacks up against a mature turkey vulture?!

Turkey vulture wingspan display at Shaver's Creek Environmental Center.
Turkey vulture wingspan display.

The birds housed at the Aviary are here because of injuries that would prevent them from surviving in the wild.

Explanation of why birds are at the Shaver's Creek Aviary in Huntingdon County, PA.
Explanation of why birds are at the aviary.

You won’t have many opportunities to get closer to a mature bald eagle than you will at Shaver’s Creek!

A bald eagle at Shaver's Creek in Huntingdon County.
A bald eagle at Shaver’s Creek in Huntingdon County.

Informational storyboards outside each enclosure give you a brief introduction to the various resident raptors.

Bald Eagle enclosure at Shaver's Creek Environmental Center.
Bald Eagle storyboard.

The barred owls are another favorite species of mine at the Aviary.

Barred owls at Shaver's Creek Environmental Center.
Two of the barred owls at the Aviary.

Barred owls are one of the primary owls you hear “hooting” if you camp overnight in PA’s forests.

Barred Owl enclosure at Shaver's Creek Environmental Center.
Barred Owl storyboard.

The Great Horned Owl at the Aviary looks like an extra from a Harry Potter movie!

Great Horned Owl at Shaver's Creek Environmental Center.
Great Horned Owl.

A mature Great Horned Owl can have a wingspan of up to 5 feet!

Great Horned Owl enclosure at Shaver's Creek Environmental Center.
Great Horned Owl storyboard.

There are many other species housed here, including hawks, vultures, and falcons.

Aviary enclosures at Penn State's Shaver's Creek Environmental Center.
Aviary enclosures.

Other Attractions at Shaver’s Creek

The grounds around Shaver’s Creek are beautifully landscaped with many colorful pollinator gardens.

Pollinator Gardens at Shaver's Creek Environmental Center.
Pollinator Gardens.

In the summer months, it’s not uncommon to see large numbers of butterflies and bees working the blooms in these gardens.

Butterfly in one of the pollinator gardens at Shaver's Creek in Huntingdon County.
Butterfly in one of the pollinator gardens.

The Pond at Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center

One of my personal favorite spots at Shaver’s Creek is the pond between the parking area and main headquarters building.

The pond at Shaver's Creek Environmental Center.
The pond near the main headquarters building.

While not particularly large, it is teeming with PA wildlife!

A frog at Shaver's Creek Environmental Center in Huntingdon County.

Common sights there in the summer months are frogs and dragonflies.

Dragonfly at Shaver's Creek in Penn State's Stone Valley Recreation Area.

Less common, but still possible, are snakes!

Snakes at Shaver's Creek Environmental Center.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking learn about PA wildlife in a more natural (and less-chaotic) setting than you would at a big-city zoo, then it’s hard to beat the free admission, free parking, and up-close experience you get at Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center in Huntingdon County!

Red-tailed hawk enclosure at the Aviary at Shaver's Creek.
Red-tailed hawk enclosure at the Aviary.

The wonderfully landscaped grounds make a great getaway for anyone with an interest in PA wildlife and nature, and the recent renovations are reason enough to return, even if you’ve visited in the past.

The pond and surrounding pollinator gardens at Shaver's Creek Environmental Center outside State College.

Nearby Attractions

Whipple Dam State Park is within minutes of Shaver’s Creek, and is also the closest of the 5 state parks that surround State College.

Sunrise at Whipple Dam State Park.
Sunrise at Whipple Dam State Park in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania.

Greenwood Furnace State Park is also closeby in Huntingdon County.

Summertime view of the dam at Greenwood Furnace State Park.
Summertime view of the dam at Greenwood Furnace State Park.

Jo Hays Vista is a nearby roadside overlook on top of Pine Grove Mountain, one of the five best scenic overlooks near State College.

The view of Penn State campus from Jo Hays Vista.
The view of State College and the Penn State campus from Jo Hays Vista.

The 10 Best Things to Do in Huntingdon County will introduce you to even more natural and manmade attractions within an hour of Shaver’s Creek.

Exploring Indian Lookout in the Rothrock State Forest.
The author at Indian Lookout in Huntingdon County.

The Arboretum at Penn State is a fantastic collection of botanic gardens, fountains, ponds, walking trails, and pollinator habitats all located on the north end of the Penn State main campus in State College.

Crossing the bridge from Penn State campus towards the Arboretum.
Crossing the bridge from Penn State campus towards the Arboretum.

The Pennsylvania Military Museum in Centre County honors the service of Pennsylvanians in all branches of the military, from colonial times to the present day.

The Pennsylvania Military Museum in Boalsburg, PA.
The Pennsylvania Military Museum in Boalsburg.

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Rusty Glessner is an award-winning photographer, lifelong Pennsylvanian, and creator of the PA Bucket List travel blog.

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