America's Best History Spotlight

On this page we're going to Spotlight the lesser known historic sites and attractions that dot the history landscape across the USA and are worth a visit if you're in their area. And while they may be lesser known, some are very unique, and will be that rare find. You'll be, at times, on the ground floor, or maybe even know something others don't. It'll be fun. Visit them.

Trexler Game Preserve

Trexler Game Preserve and Horseshoe Trail, Pennsylvania

Nature saw a hard winter for the northeast section of the country at the beginning of 2014, but spring is finally here. It's time to lace up those hiking boots or sneakers and trail along some historic paths in the suburban Philadelphia to Harrisburg, and Allentown region, see nature as it blossoms, plus some creatures or two. And two unique places to visit, that many forget even amongst local residents, are a preserve and zoo not far outside that's been greeting visitors since 1906, and a trail that reaches from Valley Forge all the way to Harrisburg, tred by colonists going from forge to forge, and some say, long ago Indian tribes on their way to camps in the eastern parts of the state of Pennsylvania before the Trail of Tears took many west to Oklahoma. Photo above: Fall colors at the Trexler Game Preserve and Lehigh Valley Zoo.

Info, What's There Now, History Nearby

Bison Herd, Trexer Game Preserve

Trexer Game Preserve, Pennsylvania

The Trexler Game Preserve has been around since 1906 when businessman Harry C. Trexler, the founder of Pennsylvania Power and Light, thought that the bison, white-tailed deer, and elk herds were heading toward extinction and needed a safe place to roam. So he bought acreage north of the Allentown area and a group of bison and deer at first and established a preserve.

Today, you can roam the preserve for free and still see herds of bison, elk, and deer, plus travel fourteen trails covering 26 miles. There's even a primitive campsite there for scout groups, right next to the buffalo, for them to stay at. And there's been a lot of improvements to the amenities at the preserve over the last five years, including signage, trailheads, and an Environmental Center.

But for many, particularly your children, there's also a twenty-nine acre zoo built in 1974, for you to visit. There is a fee for that. And for others, including children and adults alike, there's a spot on the Jordan River along the preserve road to the bison herd, where you get to drive through the stream. For some reason, we really liked that. And there's plenty of places to picnic, with lots of picnic tables along the river and elsewhere.

Since the Trexler Nature Preserve was established in 1906, over five million people have visited. The Lehigh Valley Zoo saw 135,000 visitors in 2013.

Photo above: Bison herd at the Trexler Game Preserve. Photo Below: Covered Bridge on one of the trails at the Trexler Nature Preserve

Covered Bridge on trail at Trexler Nature Preserve

Where Is It

It's a bit deep in Lehigh County, but not far off Route 22 and Route 78. From the west, you can get there by taking the Route 100 exit and traveling north. From the east, take the Rt. 309 north exit, go 7.7 miles and turn left on Mill Creek Road. Look for signs to the various sections of the Preserve or the Zoo as you go.

What is There Now

Trexler Game Preserve
1,108 acres of Nature Preserve.
26 miles of walking trails. 11.8 miles of horseback riding trails.
Bison and Elk Habitat (not in the zoo).
The Lehigh Valley Zoo.
An Environmental Center.
Plenty of picnic tables, place to pull over and park, fishing or kayaking on the Jordan River, covered bridges and walkways.

Trexler Nature Preserve - 1906
Lehigh Valley Zoo - 1974

How Much to Visit
Trexler Nature Preserve - Free, including the bison and elk herds.

Lehigh Valley Zoo - Peak Season (April 1 to October 31)
Adult - $13.00
Senior - $12.00
Child (2-11) - $11.00
Child (Under 2) - Free

Rates are lower during the off-peak season. The zoo and nature preserve are open all year long.

Hours Open
Zoo is open 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. April to October. 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. November to March.

Trexler Nature Preserve
Lehigh Valley Zoo

Museum of Indian Culture

History Nearby

Close to the Trexler Nature Preserve and Lehigh Valley Zoo are interesting sites such as the Museum of Indian Culture, the Lehigh County Museum, and Lock Ridge Furnace Museum. At the eastern edge of the Horseshoe Trail, you've got Valley Forge National Historical Park. Midway, you'll pass through Hopewell Furnace and French Creek State Park. And when you're nearing Harrisburg, you'll be at the Appalachian Trail.

Photo above. Museum of Indian Culture, Allentown, Pennsylvania.

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