What started with a Broad-Winged Hawk, has now evolved into a full facility that has taken care of over 25,000 raptors. While the location and facility have changed several times throughout the years, with the current location being at the Quest Center, the mission to take care of and educate our community about these amazing birds has not changed. The Carolina Raptor Center has grown quite a bit since its humble beginnings in the UNC-Charlotte biology building.
The Carolina Raptor Center is a Raptor-first facility that prioritizes the raptors, and the Raptor Trail's design reflects that. It continues to be a fantastic way for us to be able to connect with the raptors and admire their beauty and different talents that make them unique. The trail is quite simple as it’s a connected loop which is nice and easy to navigate!
The design of the loop is so the birds have adequate space and feel comfortable while also giving visitors an amazing experience to take in the experience of being around raptors from all over the world. The Raptor Trail features all types of birds you would never expect to see in Lake Norman! The Raptor Trail is the perfect way to spend a free day here in Lake Norman and is for sure an experience you will not want to miss!
The Raptor Hospital has taken over 25,000 raptors ever since its opening. The service the Carolina Raptor Center plays in taking care of these animals is nothing short of magnificent. While it is cool to have the center where you can come and see raptors that you normally wouldn’t see in Lake Norman, the main focus of the CRC is the hospital and rehabilitation of injured raptors.
After the rehabilitation, they get to release the birds back into the wild completely healthy and self-sustaining. The raptor hospital even gives information on the birds brought in so you can follow along on their recovery process and they even let groups have the opportunity to have the thrilling experience of releasing a bird back out into the wild for it to roam free and healthy once again.
The Carolina Raptor Center has several different programs, summer camps, and resources for visitors to take full advantage of. Whether it is a “Keeper Chat” where you can learn from one of the keepers that work at the CRC, a “Fly-By” where you can get up close to one of the resident birds, or even a “Meet-A-Raptor” where you get to experience being nose to beak with one of the CRC resident birds!
The CRC also holds summer camps for a memory-making summer of outdoor fun with educational opportunities making it a summer they will not forget. They offer different weeks for different ages to aim for the experience to be age-friendly so all elementary school ages can enjoy it!
How to get Involved
At the Carolina Raptor Center, they are all about being the voice for these birds and helping spread the message of things we can do as humans to take care of them and keep them safe from our own actions. The staff is always looking for volunteers in several different fields including Docents, Aviary Caretakers, Raptor Rescue Teams, and many more. They even have a youth volunteer opportunity with a program called the "Soar Program".
The CRC is all about everyone doing their part connecting with wildlife and doing the right things to keep them safe. There are also several opportunities to get together in groups and serve wildlife and do your part in protecting these birds through group volunteering. Groups of 10-20 can volunteer for 2-3 hours and not only grow closer together but also grow closer to the nature roaming Lake Norman and the Latta Nature Preserve. Sponsored volunteer projects make the biggest impact in the community and they play a big part in the success of the mission of the Carolina Raptor Center.
The Carolina Raptor Center is such a special place with such a special mission, and we are fortunate to have it right here in Huntersville! Whether it's to volunteer, learn more, or just experience raptors you otherwise wouldn't be able to, you have to come to the Carolina Raptor Center! There is something for everyone in the family and they have cemented themselves as a must-see attraction in North Carolina!