Carolina Raptor Center
6000 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC 28078
The Carolina Raptor Center at the beautiful nature preserve on the Latta Plantation is like a living museum and rehabilitation center for birds of prey. Summer is a great time to hike the Raptor Trail. Kids will be greeted by 25 species of native and exotic raptors, like the hawk, falcon, eagle, merlin, kite and vulture. There’s a coffee talk series for those wanting a more in-depth look at these species. The kids can become a bird sleuth investigator or go on an owl prowl.
15100 Mooresville Road
Mooresville, NC 28115
www.lazy5ranch.comJust 30 minutes from Charlotte, there’s a safari heading out to view hundreds of exotic animals from six different continents. At the Lazy 5 Ranch, get a ride on a horse-drawn wagon or guests can view from the comfort of a personal car. No pets are allowed. On the tour, expect to see cattle, horses, sheep and goats, deer and elk, giraffes, a rhino, pigs, camels, llamas, birds, ducks, porcupines and tortoises. Bring lots of water to stay hydrated on this safari.
3513 Highway 74 W., Suite B
Monroe, NC 28110
www.coldbloodedencounters.comCold Blooded Encounters is a reptile zoo. See over 150 kinds of reptiles, amphibians and bugs. Some are for touching and others are not. The zoo is currently producing a web series called The Cold Blooded Encounters Adventure Show. Summer is the time for outdoor exhibits and turtle races. Learn about the species living in the Sonoran Desert — the largest and hottest desert in North America. Check out the zoo Facebook for educational and humorous videos.Related: Best Summer Reading Events For Kids In Charlotte
2135-C Ayrsley Town Blvd.
Charlotte, NC 28273
www.fintastic.usEducation is a major component of this super store called Fintastic. .It’s the closest thing to a public aquarium, and it’s free. Visit the 1,200-gallon shark tank. Find out that the Sandy Black Tip and Bamboo sharks are not that mean. Every Sunday, participate in the shark feeding. Six tickets are given out for this event. Overall, there’s 18,000 gallons of water, fish, coral and plants to view, including two to three reef tanks replicated to the natural environment. Greg Sowers was an accountant before starting this aquarium-like store. He’s traveled the nation looking at some of the best aquarium stores in his 21 years of entrepreneurial endeavors. Summer is a perfect time to get the kids off the electronics and into a new family hobby. Fish keeping can be an opportunity to teach the kids some major concepts of life. It is an interactive event that parents can do with children. Here’s a tip from this professional fish keeper: don’t buy a cheap filtration system because it is the heart, liver and kidney of the tank.
301 N. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC 28202
www.discoveryplace.orgDiscovery Place in uptown Charlotte always has a lot going on for the family. Animal Grossology is an exhibit on display through September 2nd. It’s adapted from the children’s best-selling book “Grossology.” Learn about blood suckers, dookie lovers, cows, dung beetles and more. The museum has an aquarium guided tour with hands-on opportunities to find out about oceans and the underwater world.Related: Best Places For Horseback Riding In Charlotte
Catherine Lash engagingly connects with people. She has learned that interested listening and thoughtful questioning are the means through which collaboration creates a story. She grew up traveling the world and learning military life in an Air Force family of seven. She currently lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with her husband and three kids. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.