Looking for a local morning or afternoon outing with a little bit of education, a little bit of physical activity and a lot of time in nature? Check out Mecklenburg County's newest nature center, located at Latta Nature Preserve about 20 minutes northwest of Uptown.
Quest, a 13,000-square-foot nature experience, serves as a gateway to exploration, learning and play. Inside the impressive facility, you'll find a 3000-square-foot exhibit hall featuring an expansive interactive display on the importance of water to our survival, live animals, a 6000-gallon aquarium, classrooms, conference rooms, rentable space and the Raptor Center's Gift shop.
There's also an information desk with programs and maps and gear rental (borrow a fishing rod and head down to the lake!). Our favorite attraction is the powerful microscopes under which we could view all sorts of fauna and flora.
Out back, there's a patio overlooking natural space, perfect for a picnic or quiet time in the great outdoors. Later in 2022, this will also be the home of the Raptor Center
at Quest (currently operating just inside the park at their longstanding location.)
Out front, you'll find more than 16 miles of trails traversing 1,460 acres of green space and forested land protecting several endangered plants and a natural heritage site. Trails are open to hikers and horseback riders (but no bikes, please!). Here's a park map
There's also some cool public art, like the gigantic divining rod that graces the front lawn of Quest, along with an information board on dowsing.
Quest at Latta Nature Preserve is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. They also regularly offer a number of programs (click here
to check out what's available and sign up).
This makes for a very pleasant family outing. I guarantee you'll learn something new and enjoy the outdoor experience that Latta Nature Preserve has to offer.
How to get there:
Quest at Latta Nature Preserve is located at 6345 Sample Rd., Huntersville, NC, 28078.