Carolina Raptor Center
6000 Sample Road, Huntersville. 704-875-6521. www.carolinaraptorcenter.org.
Hours: Until March 31, the center is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Beginning April 1 through Oct. 31, the center is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sunday.
Activities: Visitors can take a self-guided tour and view more than 23 species of raptors on a 3/4-mile long nature trail. The center is located inside Latta Plantation Nature Preserve on the banks of Mountain Island Lake. Currently, guests can view the Raptors of the Silver Screen exhibit, featuring owls from this season's movies. The center also offers interactive exhibits, movie trivia, fact and fiction activities, a castle turret play area and a scavenger hunt for children. Visitors also have the opportunity to get up close and personal with the preserve's American bald eagles in the eagle aviary. The center enables those from home to view the eagles via webcam on the center's website, or individuals can purchase an eagle research experience for up to 10 people for $250. This experience will take guests on an hour-long journey where they will hear from eagle expert Mathias Engelmann, see an eagle nesting video and then venture into the eagle research observatory.
Cost: $10 for adults; seniors, $8 for military and teachers; $6 for students ages 5 and older; free for children 4 and younger and members. For groups of 15 or more, admission is $6 per person.
Target Audience: All ages.
Directions from uptown: On Beatties Ford Road in Huntersville, turn onto Sample Road.
Distance from Charlotte: About 25 minutes.