Day Trip to Sylvan Heights Bird Park

I think of myself as a weekend tourist, visiting places in North Carolina with occasional jaunts to Virginia and South Carolina.  The object is to not only reward myself for making it through another work week but to find hidden treasures within a four hour drive or so from home.   This weekend’s destination was about 2 1/2 hours.

Sylvan Heights Bird Park is located in Scotland Neck, North Carolina.  It brings over 2,000 different birds up close and personal.  Species include parrots, flamingos, whooping cranes and water fowl.  This 18-acre park has several walk through aviaries that feature birds from Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and North and South America.  (Adjacent to the park is the Avian Breeding Center which isn’t open to the public.  Together they form the world’s largest water fowl collection.)

The park also offers an area to dig for fossils, a playground, plenty of picnic tables,  short nature trails and a beaver blind.  While we didn’t see a beaver while using the blind, we were fortunate enough to see one on the nearest trail.

The parakeet aviary was one of the most popular.  Obviously comfortable with people, the parakeets were free to fly around and would eat off of hand-held seed sticks and occasionally land on visitors’ arms/shoulders.

The park is perfect for young and old alike.   Nature and photography enthusiasts will appreciate the experience.  Pack a lunch.  Slow down.  Take time to enjoy the wonderful place.  There’s a bit of walking so I’d suggest comfortable shoes.

Scotland Neck is pretty remote.  It doesn’t have a large variety of restaurants or stores but it does have character.  In a way, it’s like time has somehow skipped over it.  I loved the parking spaces – located literally between the north and south bound lanes.  There’s some interesting architecture.  One home in particular made me think of a castle with it’s turret-like roof.

Who knew there would be a world-class facility – open to the public – in Eastern North Carolina?  If you haven’t visited, I recommend you make plans to go.


Sylvan Heights Bird Park is located at:

500 Sylvan Heights Park Way,  Scotland Neck, North Carolina 27874

 

My Perfect Day

Perfect days are hard to come by – but when they come along – you gotta dive in head first. Saturday was beautiful – sunny, highs in upper 70’s and a wonderful sea breeze.  After being stuck inside all week, I had to be outside.  I started with a visit to the river.  

The hermit crabs were doing their thing, crawling over the rocks and each other.

100_1432While the North Carolina coast doesn’t get to experience much in the way of the changing of leaves, nature didn’t totally forget to paint our little corner of the world.  We get wildflowers and berries and on occasion – something other than pine tree needles.

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Boaters took advantage of the day, too.  And while I’m sure this sailor was disappointed at having to be towed in, I loved watching the activity. 

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Sailboat being towed – New River

I met up with my writers group for lunch – that’s always a good time.  

And then I took a detour – went back to my childhood and visited some precious memories.

I grew up on the water.  My father was a commercial fisherman.  I spent my summers hanging out at the fish house. After “heading” shrimp (actually de-heading them is more accurate), I’d go home, get into a swim suit and go back to the fish house where we kids would climb onto the shrimp boats and jump off the sides – swimming in the slough.

My father is retired now.  My brother, however,  is trying to keep the family tradition alive.  He works as a school teacher, serves in the Army Reserves and in his spare time is repairing a boat my father and uncle built some 33 years ago.  

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My father overseeing my brother

There’s still quite a bit of work to do.  The outriggers need to be painted, the fish hold needs some work and the wench needs to be repaired.  But when they finish, she will be beautiful.

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outriggers
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the wench
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The view from the cabin
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a brown pelican

My perfect day reminded my of a line from one of my favorite movies:

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

                                                                                                                           -Ferris Bueller

Here’s hoping that you can slow down and enjoy a perfect day!