Fence Lizard at Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge

Things to Do In New Jersey – Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge

Medford New Jersey Wildlife Rehabilitation Center Cares For 4000+ Animals Yearly, Offers Opportunities For Outdoor Recreation

One of my favorite things to do in New Jersey is to spend time outdoors. It’s amazing to me that even though I live only about 20 minutes from one of the largest cities in the country, I can drive an equal distance in the opposite direction and be in the beautiful wilderness that is the New Jersey Pine Barrens. Nestled within these woodlands and cedar swamps is the Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge, a New Jersey wildlife rehabilitation center that is a wonderful destination for outdoor enthusiasts and animal lovers alike.

Hiking the Trails at Woodford Cedar Run | Things to do In New Jersey
Hiking the Trails at Woodford Cedar Run

Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge began as the New Jersey Pine Barrens home of Elizabeth and James Woodford. The Woodfords loved the land and the resident animals. They left dead trees in place and preserved woodland thickets as wildlife habitat. They held environmental education programs and cared for sick and injured animals. Over time, their work became what is known as the Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge.


Hawk at Woodford Cedar Run | Things to Do In New Jersey
Red-Shouldered Hawk at Woodford Cedar Run

Today, Woodford Cedar Run houses the Elizabeth Woodford Nature Center with exhibits that are perfect for fun, hands-on learning for kids. A system of well-marked, easily navigated trails runs through the property, allowing hikers of all abilities to enjoy dry upland pine and oak forest, cedar swamps, and picturesque Cedar Run Lake. On the opposite side of the lake from the nature center, one of the largest wildlife rehabilitation centers on the east coast cares for over 4,000 injured, sick, orphaned, and displaced animals each year. Deer, owls, hawks, fox, raccoons, snakes, and many other native New Jersey animals that might otherwise not survive their illness or injuries find a new lease on life here. Animals that can be returned to their natural habitat are; those who are not releasable find a permanent home in the outdoor Animal Housing Area, which sits adjacent to the wildlife rehabilitation center and serves as an education center for visitors (think “zoo”, but with native animals).

There are lots of things to do that make Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge a fantastic New Jersey destination. In addition to hiking the trails and visiting the Nature Center and Outdoor Animal area, the refuge offers guided hikes, fun and educational workshops, photography sessions with the animals, children’s programs, and special events such as “Autumn with the Animals” and “Wine and Wildlife” the proceeds of which benefit the good work done at Woodford Cedar Run. The refuge also runs programs for school and scout groups, a children’s summer camp, and hosts birthday parties.

If you’d like to support the fantastic work that Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge does, there are a number of ways that you can help. The first is through donation of cash or items needed for the care of the animals, operation and maintenance of the facilities, and presentation of educational programs. Volunteers are the lifeblood of the organization and are needed for all facets of operation including caring for wildlife, helping with educational programs, event planning, office work, and more. Memberships are available, as are symbolic adoptions of the resident animals. The refuge also welcomes Boy and Girls Scouts who would like to do a service project to earn their Eagle rank or Gold, Silver or Bronze awards. Finally, a really fun way to help is by attending a special event such as Autumn With The Animals festival or Hoot, Waddle and Stroll – a 5K trail run and 1-mile stroll suitable for all ages.

Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge is located at 4 Sawmill Road in Medford, New Jersey and is open Monday-Saturday from 10am to 5pm and Sunday from 12pm to 4pm. Visit the refuge online (or call 856-983-3329) for more information including directions, a current schedule of things to do, and information on the wildlife rehabilitation center including information on ways to help and what to do if you find an animal that you think may need some help .


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5 thoughts on “Things to Do In New Jersey – Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge”

  1. Lovely article about a truly remarkable facility. One item I take issue with is that if you need to “think zoo,” realize that the resident animals there are only in captivity as a very last resort. They are not gathered for the purposes of showcasing.

    1. Hi Tom – thanks for your comment! The mission of most reputable zoos is to educate the public and promote conservation of species and their habitat. So while the Animal Housing Area at Woodford Cedar Run is not a zoo in the traditional sense, it serves a similar function to these zoos in that it educates visitors about the animal species and cautions the public as to the negative consequences that result when humans interfere with nature. I paused in using that comparison, but felt it was the easiest way to create a mental picture of the area for those who have not visited Woodford yet. Thanks for checking in!

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