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Looking to celebrate the arrival of bald eagles to town?

Check out the annual Bald Eagle Days Environmental Fair and Wild Life Art Show, set for Jan. 11-13 at the QCCA Expo Center in Rock Island.

Read on for all you need to know about Bald Eagle Days.

When and where

The Bald Eagle Days festival kicks off Friday and runs through Sunday, Jan. 11-13. It will be open to the public from 4-8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at the QCCA Expo Center, 2621 4th Ave., Rock Island. 

Get tickets

Admission costs $6 for adults and $1 for kids ages 6-15. Admission is free for kids 5 or younger. From 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, kids under the age of 15 get in for free. You can buy passes at the door or by visiting qccaexpocenter.com/bald-eagle-event.html.

Biggest around

The Bald Eagle Days celebration hosted in Rock Island has been dubbed the largest event of its kind in the Midwest. In previous years, about 20,000 people have attended the festivities at the expo center.

What to see

Over these three days, the 60,000-square-foot expo center will transform into an indoor wildlife exhibit. There will be live eagle programs, live bird of prey demonstrations and more than 100 display booths with information on outdoors-related organizations. Various birds from the Wild Bird Sanctuary in Valley Park, Missouri, and animals from Niabi Zoo, Coal Valley, will also be there.

New sights

You’ll get the chance to see plenty of animals foreign to the Midwest. The 2019 demonstrator is again Big Run Wolf Ranch and the Exotic Animal Sanctuary, which features a visit from Bubba, an 8-foot alligator. There will also be a 20-foot climbing tower.

Take a tour

Admission to the expo center provides guests with the opportunity to join the QC Audubon Society for free guided bus tours around the QCA for outdoor eagle viewing. There will be a free shuttle bus service from the Expo Center to Sunset Marina in Rock Island where spotters will guide eagle-watching opportunities.

Show times

Here's the schedule for wildlife shows happening in the auditorium at the expo center: 

Friday

4:30 p.m.  Incredible Bats

5:30 p.m. Birds of Prey 

6:30 p.m. Big Run Wolf Ranch

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Saturday

10:30 a.m. Jim Nesci 

11:30 a.m. Birds of Prey

12:30 p.m. Big Run Wolf Ranch

1:30 p.m. Jim Nesci 

2:30 p.m. Birds of Prey 

3:30 p.m. Big Run Wolf Ranch

4:30 p.m. Jim Nesci

5:30 p.m. Birds of Prey 

6:30 p.m. Big Run Wolf Ranch

Sunday 

10:30  a.m. Incredible Bats 

11:30 a.m. Birds of Prey 

12:30 p.m. Big Run Wolf Ranch 

1:30 p.m. Incredible Bats

2:30 p.m. Birds of Prey

3:30 p.m. Big Run Wolf Ranch

Focus on conservation and kids

One of the overlying missions of Bald Eagle Days is conserving the area’s natural resources, most notably the Mississippi River. The annual event also serves as a field trip opportunity for many area schools. Bus loads of schoolchildren typically visit Bald Eagle Days and for many of them, it's their first sighting of snakes, monkeys, hawks, owls and eagles. Educating children about wildlife and conservation is an important part of the Bald Eagle Days.

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Amanda Hancock is a reporter covering food, arts and entertainment in the Quad-Cities (and beyond).