Weekend Plans: Spend time with a critter

Celebrate MLK weekend with a trip to Bald Head Island, Apex, or Asheville to learn about saltwater creatures, take an educational hike on the American Tobacco Trail, or hike with a rescue dog. This is a great weekend to spend with the entire family, or perhaps a canine that you might even get to take home!

WP.Cost Coast: Critters and Cocoa

Looking for an excuse to travel to Bald Head Island,? On Friday, the BHI Conservancy staff are putting on a program where participants can meet the residents of North Carolina tidal pools, maritime forests and salt marshes! The program is perfect for kids, and will be held indoors in the Barrier Island Study Center. A great opportunity to get hands-on learning experience with the creatures you might encounter while visiting a beach. This program is from 1- 2 p.m., and is $7. Hot chocolate will be available.

No worries if you can’t make it this week, the program runs at the same time every Friday in January!

Vital stats: Critters and Cocoa, Friday, 1 p.m., Barrier Island Study Center, Bald Head Island. $7. More info and to sign up: dorseybhic@gmail.com or go here.

Saturday forecast: It’s indoors.

Looking ahead: US Open Fat Bike Championship, Blockade Runner, Wrightsville Beach, March 12. More info here.

Piedmont: Winter Morning Wildlife Hike

WP.PiedmontRegister now to secure your spot on Saturday’s Winter Morning Wildlife Hike on the American Tobacco Trail! Join park staff on an educational hike to the Beaver Creek wetlands, where you can learn about an array of waterfowl, songbirds, and other wildlife. All ages welcome. The hike will begin at 9:30 a.m. and finish around 11 a.m.

Vital stats: Winter Morning Wildlife Hike, American Tobacco Trail/New Hill access, 1309 New Hill-Olive Chapel Road, Apex, Saturday, 11 a.m. Cost is $5/family. More info at 919.387.4324 or go here.

Saturday forecast: Partly cloudy day with a high of 55.

Looking ahead: Great Backyard Bird Count, nationwide, Feb. 12-15. More info here.

Mountains: Outward Hound Hike

WP.MountainsThere’s a popular animal shelter bumper sticker that reads: “Who saved who?” That’s the sentiment behind Sunday’s Outward Hound Hike by the Brother Wolf Animal Rescue in Asheville. Show up, get a rescue pup, take a hike.

The Outward Hound Hikes are important for the dogs to stay healthy, both physically and mentally, and allows them to get a break from the everyday life at the animal rescue. Pretty much the same deal for whoever’s on the other end of the leash.

Can’t make Sunday’s hike? No matter, there’s an Outward Hound Hike every Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday morning at 9.

Vital stats: Outward Hound Hike, Brother Wolf Animal Shelter, Asheville, Sunday, a.m. For more information, go here.

Sunday forecast: High of 32 with a chance of snow! (Make sure to bundle up for this adventure.)

Looking ahead: DuPont State Forest hike: Triple, High and Hooker falls, Saturday, Jan. 30, Carolina Mountain Club. Details here.

— by Emily Reeves, intern

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Those are our thoughts on the weekend. Find more options at the sources listed below.


Comprehensive calendar for the Cape Fear/Wilmington/southern N.C. coast searchable by date and event name.

Coastal Guide
Comprehensive calendar including nature programs from a variety of coastal conservation and research agencies that offer nature programs. Covers the entire coast.

Crystal Cost Tourism Authority
Comprehensive calendar focusing on the Crystal Coast. Good source for programs offered by N.C. Coastal Federation, Cape Lookout National Park, N.C. National Estuarine Research Reserve and other costal conservation and research agencies that offer nature programs.

Comprehensive calendar including programs for the Outer Banks and Crystal Coast.

North Carolina Coast Host
Comprehensive calendar for the entire coast that lets you search for events by day, by region, by county, by city or by event (based on key word).

This Week Magazine
Primary focus is the Crystal Coast (North Carolina’s coastal midsection).


Asheville Citizen-Times
From the main page, click on “Outdoors,” then WNC Outdoors calendar.

Blue Ridge Outdoors
Searchable calendar lets you extend your reach to events throughout the mid-Atlantic and Southeast (or you can just limit it to North Carolina). Also lets you search a boatload of categories, ranging from Hiking, Mountain Biking and Climbing to Trail Running, Triathlon and Road Walking.

The Mountain Times
From the main page, click on “Calendars,” then Main Events.

Todd’s Calendar



Charlotte Observer events calendar
Comprehensive calendar searchable by category, including Nature, Recreation, Recreation & Wellness, Running

Charlotte Parent
Comprehensive calendar concentrating on things the family can do together.


Comprehensive calendar includes a Sports & Recreation category.

Piedmont Parent
Comprehensive calendar concentrating on things the family can do together.


Comprehensive calendar searchable by category, including: Birding, Boating, Cycling, Nature, Rec & Wellness, Recreation, Running, Swimming, Tennis, Yoga.

Carolina Parent
Comprehensive calendar concentrating on things the family can do together.


Great Outdoor Provision Co.
Calendar includes three weekly events for each of its seven markets: Chapel Hill, Charlotte, Greensboro, Greenville, Raleigh, Wilmington and Winston-Salem. Search by market.

Office of Environmental Education
One calendar for the numerous Environmental Education Centers statewide.

North Carolina State Parks
Lets you search for programs at the state’s parks, recreation areas and natural areas by location, by month, by topic. To reach the calendar from the home page, click on “Education,” then “Fun & Free Programs at Parks.”

National Forests in North Carolina
From the home page, click on Carolina Connections for news updates on the state’s four national forests as well as hints on recreational opportunities and a detailed rundown of recreation areas and the amenities at each.

U.S. National Wildlife Refuges
Rundown, by month, of regular activities at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service refuges in North Carolina.

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