The National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) was founded in 1973 when there were only an estimated 1.3 million turkeys remaining in the North American wilderness. Since then, NWTF staff and over 350,000 members have worked together to enhance the wild turkey population by conserving upland habitat and preserving hunting heritage. Because of their work, there are currently more than 7 million wild turkeys in North America, with an increased habitat quality for countless species. While NWTF is a national organization, their headquarters is located at the Wild Turkey Center in Edgefield, SC, which includes an outdoor education center, a 3,000 square-foot conference center, the Turkey Shoppe (NWTF’s gift shop), a large warehouse, the Palmetto Complex, and a 7,200 square-foot museum.
The Winchester Museum is very unique as it is the only museum in the world dedicated to the restoration, management, and hunting of wild turkeys in North America. It houses numerous attractions, including the world’s largest turkey call, along with many interactive exhibits to attract visitors of all ages. A few notable experiences include a USDA Forest Service helicopter, which simulates a fire burn in a field; a virtual reality theater, which places visitors deep in a spring forest at the break of dawn, mixing the sounds of nature with early morning calls of wild turkeys flying down from their roosts; animated storytellers to help bring the history of turkey hunting and conservation to life; and a shooting simulator.
For guests that prefer more live action, the National Wild Turkey Federation recently launched a 5-year project beginning with a first class shooting range called the Palmetto Complex. The complex is home to 5 trap and skeet shooting courses, 3 sporting clay courses, 5 3D archery courses, and 1 rifle and pistol shooting course. While the shooting range is already open to visitors, and has already hosted several shooting competitions, the plan is to expand the complex to include a 6,000 square-foot pavilion, 185-space RV park, and 6,000 square-foot educational building. The Federation’s CEO, George Thornton, states the overall purpose of the project is “to encourage the protection of more land, not only for hunting, but for bird-watching, camping, fishing, hiking, and all the things that people do outside.”
Whether your interest is in wild turkeys, history, or just an afternoon of family fun, the Wild Turkey Center has plenty of attractions to entertain kids of all ages, especially those kid at heart. NWTF.org