Spring is just around the corner and with it comes an abundance of opportunities to explore and enjoy the Carolinas. Why not make this spring season one to remember by embarking on an aquatic animal adventure (have you ever heard of catfish noodling?) or float down the Dan River in the shadow of Hanging Rock. Get a bit adventurous, try your hand at some of the most fascinating gemstone mining operations in the Carolinas. And definitely don't forget to plan ahead for Mother's Day – we have some great ideas ready for you! So what are you waiting for, spring is calling – start planning now!

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Two wild horses run on the beach near Corolla, NC

Wild and free! Make the most of your beach vacation in Corolla, NC. The Outer Banks.

Corolla – Outer Banks NC

A Currituck County Destination

With the arrival of spring, many families are planning to hit the road and find their way here. So head north up Hwy. 12 to Corolla where you will find the  legendary Corolla Wild Horses, iconic sites like the Currituck Beach Lighthouse, Whalehead and the new Currituck Maritime Museum. Find your local treasure in Corolla Outer Banks. Find shopping, dining and entertainment with the new Corolla OBX Mobile App, available on the App Store and Google Play. If you want to see the horses, read How to see the wild horses of the Outer Banks.

Exotic cats at the Animal Park at Conservators Center in Burlington, NC

Experience wildlife at the Animal Park at Conservators Center in Burlington, NC.

Burlington-Alamance County

Featuring the Animal Park at the Conservators Center

Get a unique view of big cats, wolves, and other exotic animals—often from just 5 feet away! Most visitors experience an “oofing,” the earth-shaking, collective roar of several lion prides. You will be equally enchanted by our smaller residents, including binturongs, singing dogs, lemurs, servals, and other rare species.

School kids and instructor on a boardwalk at the Eastern 4-H Center in Columbia, NC

Kids make discoveries daily at the Eastern 4-H Center in Columbia, NC.

Eastern 4-H Center

Owned and operated by NC State University, we are located on the Albemarle Sound about an hour from the Outer Banks. The Eastern 4-H Center provides environmental education field trips, along with teambuilding and recreational opportunities at our exceptional facility in a natural setting. Their highly qualified staff help you “make the best better”. Design and implement your own program with your materials and staff, or get assistance from expert instructors with planning and materials. You can visit for the day or stay for an overnight experience, where the center will provide lodging and meals.

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students mine gemstones at the Schiele Museum in Gastonia

A day of discovery at the Schiele Museum in Gastonia, NC.

The Schiele Museum

  • 1500 East Garrison Blvd., Gastonia, NC 28054
  • 704-866-6900
  • Learn more about The Schiele Museum

Your class can experience dinosaur fossils, wildlife exhibits, American Indian artifacts, and a trip through space during a field trip to The Schiele Museum and James H. Lynn Planetarium. Customize your visit to include a science or nature presentation that supports the lessons from your classroom, then let your students enjoy museum exhibits, live animals at The Farm, and natural mazes on the Nature Trail. With equal parts learning and fun, your students will remember their fascinating field trip forever! Get the details and book your visit at schielemuseum.org.

Students on a field trip to Catawba Science Center in Hickory, NC, study electricity

Budding scientists experiment with electricity on a field trip at the Catawba Science Center in Hickory, NC.

Catawba Science Center

Catawba Science Center is a non-profit science and technology museum offering rotating hands-on exhibits, saltwater and freshwater aquarium galleries, and a state-of-the-art digital planetarium. Interactive and educational school field trips to the museum feature grade-specific hands-on experiences in natural, physical, and earth sciences. All of the museum's programs complement the NC Common Core & Essential Standards and goals. Visitors learn about animals, plants, astronomy, physics, weather, technology, and more, in an inclusive atmosphere for people of all ages!

A monkey enjoys the sunshine at Tiger World.

Monkey business – Joanna is looking for all her friends at Tiger World!

Tiger World

  • 4400 Cook Road, Rockwell, NC, 28138
  • 704-279-6363
  • Learn more at TigerWorld.us

Lea Jaunakais had a passion to make a difference and take part in the global conservation and education of Endangered and Endangered species, launching Tiger World in 2007. After acquiring a shut-down zoo, Tiger World opened to visitors on July 1, 2008. Tiger World is now home to 54 different species, including 14 endangered species, compared to just a handful different cat and primate species when it first opened. Every year, Tiger World reaches over 100,000 visitors, including more than 30,000 schoolchildren. Tiger World staff are passionate about educating people about animals and fostering an appreciation for them.

Man on mountain bike

Make Cook's Sports and Outfitters your destination for uniforms and equipment.

Cooks Sports and Outfitters

  • 1402 Willow Ln, North Wilkesboro, NC 28659
  • 336-667-4121
  • Learn more and shop online at CooksSports.com

Cook's is a full-line sporting-goods retailer that carries items for men and women, including clothing and footwear, for activities including camping, kayaking, biking, fitness, and exercise. A group of outside sales representatives from Cook's committed team provides services to high schools, colleges, travel teams, and recreation departments across North Carolina. Cook's also has an on-site screen-printing facility where T-shirts, sweatshirts, and other spirit wear gear may be personalized. Cook's excellent team sporting-goods section is one of the biggest in the region.

Shell in the sand at an Onslow county, NC, beach

Low-tides and sunny skies reveal beautiful ocean treasures at Bear Inlet Hammocks Beach State Park

Onslow County, NC

  • Learn more about the beaches and locally inspired shops, restaurants and things to do in Onslow County, NC

In Onslow County, you can find places to dine and shop that are locally inspired, activities, notable sites, events, and more. There is something special to see, experience, and do in every corner of the county, from the rural coastal plains settlement of Richlands to Jacksonville, as well as the coastal towns of Swansboro and Sneads Ferry, and the stunning North Topsail Beach. #OnlyinOnslow,

Wild animals with long horns watch passersby at Eudora Farms Wildlife Safari Park

Just one of the many amazing sights to see at Eudora Wildlife Safari Park in Salley, SC.

Eudora Wildlife Safari Park

Eudora Wildlife Safari Park in Salley, SC, is home to more than 300 exotic species. As South Carolina's first drive-through safari, you can drive your own car through the park to see exotic animals. The three-mile drive-through the safari park is an ideal activity for creating lifelong memories. The park also hosts birthday parties and other special occasions.



Find things to do in Carolina Traveler magazine

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