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Award: Best Kept Secret! 

 Sometimes we're so busy dreaming of far-off places, we miss the wonders right in front of our nose.

That could be the case with Perth Wildlife Reserve Conservation Area, a 635-acre natural area along the Tay Marsh and river just five minutes from downtown Perth.

 It's an unassuming piece of property off Rideau Ferry Road, but once you arrive you can sense immediately it's a special spot.

The 3.5 kilometres of quiet, grassy trails guide you through a huge range of habitats: from grassy meadows and pollinator gardens to sun-dappled forests, thriving wetlands, sprawling marshlands to the open water of the Tay River.

It's a place for quiet reflection, fresh air and exercise – no phones or gadgets required.

No matter the season, if you take your time and keep your eyes peeled, you're bound to be treated to at least a few wildlife sightings during your visit. Deer and ducks abound, and wild turkeys call it home, as well. 

The wetland embayment along Jebbs Creek – installed in 2018 to restore spawning and nursery habitat for fish – teems with croaking frogs, basking turtles and Great Blue Herons looking for their lunch.

Bring your binoculars to maximize what you can see from the Tay Marsh lookout, which offers a sweeping view of the marsh and river.

And next time you're craving adventure in an exotic locale, take an hour in your own backyard to enjoy Perth Wildlife Reserve. You may find home is more extraordinary than you thought.

For all the details and directions, visit https://www.rvca.ca/conservation-areas/fee-required/perth-wildlife-reserve-ca