I know how hard it is to get young kids out of the house to go somewhere - even quick outings require you to pack enough snacks, diapers, and toys to make you think you’ll be gone for a week. And who wants to wrestle kids in and out of carseats just to find out that your destination isn’t kid-friendly? That’s why I’ve decided to visit Triangle area sites to see if they’re worth your trip. I won’t use a rating system but I’ll try to describe what you’ll see well enough for you to decide if your kids would find it interesting. I’ll also give you the heads up on bathrooms, stroller accessibility and any other SNAFUs I encounter.


Sylvan Heights Bird Park - Scotland Neck

Visitor's Center

     Sylvan Heights is a one mile loop walk through enclosures with birds from all different continents. As you walk through the North America section through to Australia, you'll see the domestic to the exotic - from turkeys and owls, to kookaburras and toucans.

      I took all 3 of my kids to Sylvan and all four of us had a blast pointing out all of the amazingly colorful specimens. Even my five year-old girl admitted she had a good time after expecting it to be a boring trip. There was enough to see to keep my 8 month-old from fussing about being in the stroller. And my two year-old lagged behind at every exhibit trying to absorb every last bit of the experience.

    You start your visit at the visitor's center where you buy your tickets. It was $9 for me and $5 for my five year-old ( age 3 and under get in free). There was an incubator in the visitor's center with several different species of bird's eggs in it, along with two newly hatched ducklings. A member of the Park staff took one of the ducklings out for my kids to pet. There is also a small gift shop in the visitor's center.

      Next, you move outside to start exploring the different enclosures along the trail. The trail is hard-packed sand so it's stroller accessible but if you visit after a significant rain you should expect some mud.
All of the exhibits are outside so you'll also want to keep an eye on the weather - the day we were there it was hot and humid. Some of the enclosures have gates that allow you to walk right in. While we were in one of these, a medium sized blue bird came right up to us. The bird was so close my two year-old son could have touched it. And though he didn't touch it, he did back it into a corner where it promptly flapped its' wings and scared my son to death. But my son was undaunted by the experience and was willing to enter another enclosure later on.

My son and his feathered friend right before the flap.

    We didn't make it all the way to the Treehouse or the Beaver Blind and we still spent about two hours at the Park. My kids were rewarded at the end of the loop by a playground and fossil dig. I was more interested in the fossil dig than my kids, and found a couple pieces of fossilized coral.

     Someone was really thinking when they designed the bathrooms along the trail because even the bathrooms had exhibits. While you were waiting for other people to finish in the potty you could see a working beehive and an aquarium of poison dart frogs. The bathrooms were also very clean, although they didn't pass inspection from my daughter who noticed a tiny spider in one of the stalls, but she has exceptionally high standards. The sinks are at normal height so you will have to give small children a boost to wash their hands.

     It was a one and a half hour drive to get to Sylvan coming from the east side of Raleigh. And with T-Mobile as my carrier, I had no cell service at the park. There is also no food service at Sylvan so for lunch you're left with the few offerings in Scotland Neck. 

     Still, for an injury count of one skinned knee and $20 in souvenirs this was a great adventure.

No comments:

Post a Comment