On Site Programs

On-site and outreach programming has been suspended until further notice. We are not currently scheduling any on-site or outreach programs at this time.

We are excited to be able to host a variety of programs at various park sites within the county! The majority of our programming happens right here at Dan Nicholas Park where we have an indoor auditorium, an outdoor amphitheater, and various natural areas that we can utilize, but we also do offer trail walks at both the Eagle Point Nature Preserve and Dunn's Mountain Nature and History Preserve. All of our programs are offered Monday-Friday, with Saturday programs available depending on staff availability. Programs can be scheduled from 10:00am - 2:00pm. To schedule a program see visit our Schedule a Program page.

Animal Program

Ages: Preschool and above

Program Length: 30 minutes *this program can be extended to 45 minutes or an hour upon request*

Number of Participants: Min 10; Max (indoor) 65, Max (outdoor) 100

This program allows participants an up close look at several of our animal ambassadors. This could include native and/or non-native birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates. We discuss basic natural history, species adaptions, and personal history on each animal shown during the program. This program can potentially offer participants a chance to touch some of our animal ambassadors, however this is never guaranteed. This program can be tailored for any audience from preschool to collegiate science classes and everything in between.


Trail Walk (offered at multiple locations)

Ages: 3rd grade and above

Program Length: 1.5 hours (this time can vary)

Number of Participants: Min 5; Max 15

**Participant skill level needed: Beginner/Intermediate (These trails do have some hills and are not stroller/wheelchair accesssible)

This walk takes place on the 2-mile Persimmon Branch trail at Dan Nicholas Park, but is also offered at Dunn's Mountain Nature and History Preserve and Eagle Point Nature Preserve. Both Dunn's Mountain and Eagle Point are located within 5 miles of Dan Nicholas Park. During this walk we discuss history of the location, tree and plant identification, animal habitats, and whatever else we happen to come across. 

**This program is weather permitting and may be cancelled the day of by Nature Center staff.


Nature Walk

Ages: Kindergarten and above

Program Length: 45 minutes (this time can vary)

Number of Participants: Min 5, Max 15

**Participant skill level needed: Beginner (This trail is flat, pack gravel/dirt and is stroller/wheelchair accessible)

The nature walk takes place around the lake at Dan Nicholas Park. This is a shortened version of the trail walk, discussing history of the location, tree and plant identification, animal habitats, and whatever else we happen to come across. This walk is ideal for younger children or individuals with limited physical abilities. 

**This program is weather permitting and may be canceled the day of by Nature Center staff.


Owl Pellet Dissection

Ages: 3rd grade and above

Program Length: 1 hour

Number of Participants: Min 10; Max 25

Participants will be shown how to dissect an owl pellet and identify the prey animal bones that are found within. Some discussion of owl natural history, adaptations, and environmental issues will also take place.


Poisonous Plants & Venomous Animals

Ages: 3rd grade and above

Program Length: 45 minutes

Number of Participants: Min 10; Max 65

This presentation is designed to give a basic understanding of what poisonous and venomous mean as well as give examples of native North Carolina species of plants and animals that you should be on the lookout for. This program does not feature any live animals, however some preserve specimens are occasionally used.


Nature Journaling

Ages: 1st grade and above

Program Length: 1.5 hours

Number of Participants: Min 5; Max 15

This program is designed to introduce participants to nature through art and poetry. Participants will make their own nature journal before heading out into the park to creatively explore their surroundings. 


Skulls & Skins

Ages: 3rd grade and above

Program Length: 30-45 minutes

Number of Participants: Min 10; Max 65

This program allows us to showcase some of our larger animal ambassadors that we typically cannot bring into the classroom through the use of skulls, animal furs, and other bio-facts. This program typically discusses 3-4 native North Carolina animals, and goes into detail about their natural history, adaptations, and conservation.


Working Wild

Ages: 6th grade and above

Program Length: 30-45 minutes

Number of Participants: Min 10; Max 65

Do you dream about working with animals as a career? Do you wonder what it takes to get a job working with animals? If you answered yes to either of those questions then this might just be the program for you. We discuss how our staff obtained their current job roles and we explore all of the many job opportunities available to people who think they want to work with animals.\


How do You Zoo?

Ages: Kindergarten and above

Program Length: 30-45 minutes

Number of Participants Min 10; Max 65

Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes of running a zoo? Are you curious about what it takes to care for a collection of wild animals? This program answers those questions by providing an in depth look into how our facility operates.


Box Turtle Connection Project

Ages: 6th grade and above

Program Length: 1.5 hours (this time can vary)

Number of Participants: Min 5; Max 15

The Box Turtle Connection is a 100 year long study that is underway across the state of North Carolina, with more than 30 active research sites. The goal of this study is to learn more about the status and trends in Box Turtle populations, identify threats, and develop strategies for long term conservation of the species. In this program we discuss the natural history and adaptations of box turtles then venture out into the park to look for Box Turtles for the study. 


Outdoor Skills

Ages: 6th grade and above

Program Length: 1.5 hours

Number of Participants Min 5; Max 15

Participants will discuss what is needed in a survival situation, then have hands on experience with a few basic survival skills (this can include but is not limited to building a shelter, making a fire, and purifying water). No prior experience with outdoor skills is necessary for this program. **This program can be tailored somewhat to meet the needs of the group.


Hook, Line, and Sinker

Ages: 1st grade and above

Program Length: 1.5 hours

Number of Participants: Min 5; Max 15

Join us for a fishing program where participants will learn some of the basics of fishing, handling tackle, identification of fish species, and catch and release techniques. Participants are encouraged to bring their patience as we try our luck fishing at our lake. Rods, tackle, and bait are provided. All animals caught during the program will be released. 


Macroinvertebrate Detectives

Ages: 1st grade and above

Program Length: 1 hour

Number of Participants: Min 5; Max 15

Studying macro-invertebrates is a great way to tell how clean a water source is. In this program participants will use their best detective skills to find the tiny macro-invertebrates that live in the lake at Dan Nicholas Park, and deduce what kind they are in order to determine how clean healthy the ecosystem of the lake really is.


Water Quality Assessment

Ages: 6th grade and above

Program Length: 1 hour

Number of Participants: Min 5; Max 15

In this program we take an up close look at the water quality of the Dan Nicholas Park lake by using age-appropriate scientific methods, and chemistry analysis of water samples. Participants will be able to study how water acts as an important resource for all living things and how water pollution can affect both humans and animals.


Species/Animal Specific Animal Programs

Black Bears

Red Wolves

White-tailed Deer

Raptors of North Carolina

Snakes of North Carolina

Turtles of North Carolina

Ages: 3rd grade and above

Program length: 30-45 minutes

Number of Participants:Min 10

Each of the above programs is an in depth look at the natural history, adaptations, and conservation efforts of that specific species/group of animals.




Printable List of On-site Programs