Lake Norman Nature Adventure

Lake Norman Nature Adventure

Carolina Raptor Center in Huntersville is home to eagles, falcons, owls, hawks and other birds of prey

Just north of Charlotte along Interstate 77, picturesque Lake Norman paints the landscape with sparkling water and offers all kinds of nature-related attractions. You can tour the massive greenhouses that nurture plants for local flower gardens, dine on the waterfront, take a hot-air balloon ride and capture a magnificent sunset.

2-Day Itinerary

Day 1: Explore area attractions and enjoy a waterfront picnic and outdoor shopping and dining.

Day 2: Visit a nature center and an energy explorium then take a hot air balloon ride over Lake Norman.

Day 1: Greenhouses, hands-on learning & outdoor entertainment

Start your day sunny-side-up with breakfast at Toast Café or The Egg at Davidson, two friendly local eateries. With extensive breakfast menus, you’ll be sure to find something delicious that will leave you energized for the day ahead. Your next stop is the Davidson Sculpture Garden at Davidson College to see magnificent outdoor sculptures.

Spend your morning visiting Metrolina Greenhouses. Enjoy a tour of the largest single-site heated greenhouse in the U.S. You’ll see beautiful and vibrant flowers in seasonal displays of spring bedding plants, summer annuals, fall mums and pansies, and winter poinsettias.

Stop by Bagel Bin & Deli and pick up a fresh sandwich or salad perfect for a waterfront picnic at Blythe Landing. With a playground, sand volleyball courts, floating piers and a beautiful view, this is a great place to stop and enjoy a nice lunch by the water.

Then travel east to the Blue Planet Water Environmental Center and learn about the journey water takes in the Lake Norman community. At this hands-on educational center, adults and children can test water quality, operate water pumps, and learn about the water source for the area with interactive learning stations.

Next visit Birkdale Village and enjoy a great combination of shopping and dining. With bubbling interactive water fountains and colorful gardens, you’ll love walking through the village and popping into stores lining the main street. Then dine at your choice of restaurants, such as Bonefish Grill, Red Rocks Café, Dressler’s or nearby Galway Hooker Irish Pub.

Day 2: Nature, energy & a hot air balloon ride

Start the day at the Latta Plantation Nature Center, which includes the Latta Plantation Equestrian Center with 13 miles of hiking and horseback riding. It’s also home to the Carolina Raptor Center, which features eagles, falcons, owls, hawks and other birds of prey. You can also walk on the Nature Trail, watch the bald eagles nesting, and learn about raptor rehabilitation, research and conservation.

Then visit Duke Energy’s EnergyExplorium and learn about everything from the McGuire Nuclear Station to how and why Lake Norman was built. Explore creative and fun exhibits about the environment, weather, electricity and the nuclear energy process. Then, check out the field guides and activities on the beautiful mile-long nature trail that borders Lake Norman or spend time in the butterfly garden.

Next, have a late lunch at Prosciutto’s Pizzeria Pub & Restaurant, the area’s only Boston-themed pizzeria. Billed as “Lake Norman’s Best Pizza,” this unique restaurant features delicious brick oven pizza along with pasta, subs and salads.

Finally, see the nature and scenery of the area in a hot air balloon ride at sunset with Balloons Over Charlotte. Seeing Lake Norman and the surrounding area from the air is a wonderful experience and the perfect way to end your nature-filled trip.

Enjoy all this trip idea has to offer by mixing and matching to your particular interest. Be sure to check days and hours of operation for each venue.

Lake Norman Convention and Visitors Bureau

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