Carolina Raptor Center

Carolina Raptor Center, Huntersville: Hours, Address, Carolina Raptor Center Reviews: 4.5/5

Carolina Raptor Center
Science Museums • Nature & Wildlife Areas
10:00 AM - 12:30 PM
1:30 PM - 4:00 PM
10:00 AM - 12:30 PM
1:30 PM - 4:00 PM
10:00 AM - 12:30 PM
1:30 PM - 4:00 PM
10:00 AM - 12:30 PM
1:30 PM - 4:00 PM
10:00 AM - 12:30 PM
1:30 PM - 4:00 PM
Talk a Walk on the Wild Side at Carolina Raptor Center What will you find on your walk around the 3/4 mile Raptor Trail? Over 30 species of raptors and other birds of prey are featured on this walk on the wild side. Owls and Vultures. Hawks and Eagles. Falcons, Corvids and other species that just don't fall into any of these categories. Have you seen a Bald Eagle up close? The Raptor Trail features a nesting pair of Bald Eagles who live out back in the Eagle Aviary. Our Spectacled Owl just can't wait to tell you what she thinks about living here at CRC, but you might have to listen carefully to what she has to say - she's a shy one. Did you know that Vultures and Corvids are some of the smartest birds around. No bird brains here! Lots of human mythology surrounds both of these families of avian brainiacs. Crows have been known to drop nuts into crosswalks so that cars can crack them and then wait for the light to change and retrieve the goodies! Behind the scenes at CRC is our Raptor Hospital, where we see approximately 900 raptor patients a year (please no songbirds or possums!). If you can't make our behind the scenes tour, don't worry, the exhibit "A Day in the Life of a Raptor Hospital" will show you what goes on there - day and night.
Suggested duration
1-2 hours
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344 reviews
Very good

Tim D
178 contributions
Sep 2020
Large array of raptors to see. They have limited hours and spacing requirements with reservations required. Difficult to take pictures because of the netting used to keep the birds in their enclosures. They will be moving into a new facility that is still under construction. They say the new facility will be improved for the birds and for taking pictures. They should be in the new facility early 2021.
Written September 28, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Syl O
Charlotte, NC6 contributions
Feb 2020
Great place to visit a lot of different birds who have been saved and cannot be released back into the wild. Every time I come there is a different event to see with these birds. One time the owls were tucking into their mice. This time the Golden Eagle was running around with his dinner in his claw and stomping around with it on the ground. My favorites will always be the vultures. Lots of vultures to see here. They are too cool! Lots of fun facts about the birds also make this a great fun and educational trip!
Written February 10, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Baltimore, MD171 contributions
Jun 2019
This past summer I went with my family to the Carolina Raptor Center to celebrate father's day. It was a great experience. The birds were so beautiful and we learned a lot from the staff. I also really enjoyed the plaques that described birds in myths. It was a wonderful way to spend our last day in Huntersville.
Written January 8, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Charlotte, NC438 contributions
Aug 2021
I really hioep this palce gets better, I think it may. I would really love to give the Carolina Raptor Center 5 stars. They have a dedicated staff to a very specialized mission that I truly respect. The staff was very knowledgeable, even if not particularly available. My 3 stars are for the physical venue. The information signs where very informative, clean and readable. But there were so many roped off unused areas, even the important large aviary at the end of the trail. The 3/4 mile trail is a bit treacherous, not at all stroller friendly, dusty, debris, exposed roots and drainage tubes...look down while you walk! Even the bricked walks were hazardous. Demonstration areas were roped off and unused, maybe due lack of staff? I love their mission and of course the raptors, but this place is definitely in need of some grounds and functional management. Maybe... with so many areas and activities rope off, discarded and unavailable... they could adjust the admission price to compensate?
Written August 11, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Brittney K
1 contribution
Jun 2020 • Couples
In no way should you give this company any of your money or business! I am absolutely appalled with the treatment birds recieve from this "non profit" turned in a hawk 2 days ago and the killed it because and I quote "they had no use for it" . This is absolutely disgusting I even donted money for the birds Healthcare they took the money and then killed it! They are supposed to protect these birds instead they kill them. So if you want to take your children somewhere for a nice afternoon out think about how that company treats these birds while your not watching .
Written June 4, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brittney: I am sorry that you were disappointed with your experience with our Raptor Hospital. The goal of the Raptor Hospital is to rehabilitate and return birds to the wild that are able to fend for themselves. It would have been very cruel to return a bird to the wild that is unable to hunt. Much of what we do is regulated by US Fish and Wildlife, and they hold us to the highest standard. Every permanent bird in our collection has to play a role in our education program. We are not allowed to keep them just because we want to -- they have to have a job and we have to have a place to keep them. Birds that are unable to return to the wild cannot just be admitted into our permanent collection it is against the federally mandated rules. Because of Covid-19 we were unable to take birds into the hospital for almost two months - devastating for our staff. Contrary to what you have expressed above, it is always heartbreaking for us to have to make a decision to put down a bird, but we have quality of life protocols in place to help us make these hard decisions. I am sorry that our staff was not able to explain these things in a way that would make you feel better about the treatment of the hawk you brought in. If you have any additional questions, I encourage you to email me at Regards, Michele Miller Houck Associate Executive Director
Written June 20, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Crab Orchard, WV168 contributions
Mar 2021 • Couples
I belive 2011 was the last time I visited. A lot has changed due to Covid-19. My stars are based on the current situation. It appears a lot of activities have been suspended due to covid.

With that being said, I still enjoyed and hope to bring our grandkids when it's back to normal.

Very nice gift shop. Friendly, helpful employees.

I could spend all day just watching the beautiful eagles!
Written March 21, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Laura P
Fort Myers, FL76 contributions
Sep 2020
Would give 5 stars, but not 100% of the center is operational, due to COVID-19 (animal educational shows, for example). Wonderful place; very educational. Wish we could have visited the raptor hospital. Not too much open in Charlotte, so we got our tickets the week before and off we went. Not disappointed.
Written September 8, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Roxboro, NC14 contributions
Jul 2021
We really enjoyed the Raptor Center. We were really impressed with the number of beautiful birds there that were very well cared for and accessible for the visitor to see. This center cares for injured birds and will release them back into the wild whenever possible. The staff were very knowledgeable and happy to show off the work they are doing to rehabilitate these amazing animals. We look forward to going back again.
Written October 10, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

North Carolina1 contribution
I love going to the Carolina Raptor Center. I have a love for birds in general but even if you do not the Raptor Center offers an interesting and educational experience. There are birds of prey to observe. You learn about their care and why they are there. They also offer lectures to broaden the experience to teach about birds of prey in nature. It is a must see for all animal lovers of any age.
Written April 21, 2005
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Romeo, MI216 contributions
Jul 2015 • Family
I've visited solo three times before when I vacationed in the area and this time I returned with my siblings. The Carolina Raptor Center is absolutely unique, extremely educational, and they are doing really great things for raptors countrywide.The Raptor Center is located inside the Latta Plantation Nature Preserve and is hard to miss from the road.

The center consists of trails, which is just under a mile walk, that have varying sizes of enclosures with over 20 different species of raptor to see and learn about. Wear walking shoes, the paths are very well kept but you will do some walking on wood chips. Make sure to check the website ahead of time and see what programs they have going on during your visit. The center has a variety of shows available, some are free and some you have to buy tickets for, there are boards outside of the visitors center also which lists times for the days shows. The Behind the Scenes tour is best for 13 and over who are looking for more information on rehabilitation. The free "Meet the Raptors" tour is good for all ages and you have the opportunity to see two of the raptors up close. My biggest tip for nature buffs visiting solo or with older children is to arrive as soon as the center opens on a week day, the trails are quiet empty for the first few hours which is quite nice and I noticed many of the raptors may be closer to the front of their enclosures at this time versus when there are a lot of people and children.

On this visit I purchased a Behind the Scenes tour. This tour met right outside of the visitor center and was very informative. The guide took us to the owl observation building which had two owls that were being exercised, this is where the rehabilitated animals go for observation before being released. It is a semi short walk on a well kept wood chip path. Then we were taken into the raptor hospital itself, you do not get a tour of the hospital but instead a slide show at the front desk about the raptors, what we can do to help them, and what the CRC does for them. I enjoyed the tour, however, I do not believe it is the best choice for any children under 10-13. The front desk area in the hospital is where they prepare the food for all the raptors so there is a good chance you may see rats, squirrel, and various other small dead animals being cut up and distributed into cups and because of the feeder animals there is also a certain smell that some may be bothered by, two children left during our tour. Also the slide show that you see in the hospital, though very interesting and well put together, may not keep the interest of kids. I personally would have liked to see more of the actual hospital or other enclosures but I understand why that might not be possible based on the animals rehabilitation. We also saw the free Meet the Raptors tour in which a volunteer brought out a red tailed hawk as well as a barn owl and talked about both animals, it is a great photo opportunity if you were hoping to get a good shot of a raptor without a cage between the two of you.

The trail itself is wonderful, the enclosures are well kept and nicely built and each has an information plaque. Be sure to grab a map from the visitors center, the trails connect and loop and it is easy to miss some raptors. Do not miss the eagle enclosure, if you have some time sit on the benches for a while and you may have a chance to hear the eagles calling to each other. We heard them communicating for a while on this visit and it was amazing, sounds straight out of Jurassic Park!

Once you're finished with the raptor center for the day look into visiting Latta Plantation nature preserve, there are other things to do right near the center such as the plantation itself or the nature center.
Written July 7, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Carolina Raptor Center

Carolina Raptor Center is open:
  • Wed - Sun 10:00 AM - 12:30 PM
  • Wed - Sun 1:30 PM - 4:00 PM