Raptor Research Foundation

Field Trips


Grandfather Mountain State Park

Grandfather Mountain State Park 

Banner Elk, North Carolina 

6:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. 

50-person maximum capacity 

Price: $82

Description: Explore North Carolina's natural beauty at Grandfather Mountain State Park! Attendees will enjoy the scenic 2-hour charter bus ride to the mountain, where you will be greeted by the park's expert naturalists. From there, you will have the option to shuttle to the famous Mile High Swinging Bridge first or participate in an educational program highlighting the rare and endangered plants and animals found on Grandfather Mountain. There will also be time for self-guided tours of the park before returning to Charlotte in time for the evening Icebreaker Event.

Bring your binoculars, camera, hiking shoes, and a raincoat. This trip is rain or shine. You are encouraged to bring your own snacks and water. Boxed lunches will be provided. 

Grandfather Mountain website: https://grandfather.com/visit/

Latta Nature Preserve

Latta Nature Preserve Birding and Carolina Raptor Center Hospital Tour 

Huntersville, North Carolina 

9:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. 

20-person maximum capacity 

Price: $34

Come visit Latta Nature Preserve for a combined field trip of a guided birding walk and a tour at the Carolina Raptor Center’s Raptor Hospital. Latta Nature Preserve’s green peninsula spans 1,400 acres which extends into Mountain Island Lake, making it Mecklenburg County’s largest nature preserve. The Carolina Raptor Center is home to a zoo trail with over 30 birds on exhibit and the Raptor Hospital. The Raptor Hospital admits 800-1,000 raptors each year. The guided birding portion will be led by Ron Clark (bio below) and takes approximately 2 hours. The Raptor Hospital tour will allow you to see behind the scenes with an up-close look into the hospital on a guided tour with the Hospital Staff. Boxed lunches will be provided.  

Ron Clark bio: Ron Clark has been a friend of Carolina Raptor Center for the past 28 years and an avid birder for just as long. Ron leads up to 3 walks a month for the local Audubon Society around Mecklenburg County as well as leading birding trips all around the United States.  

 Latta Nature Preserve map: https://izbnc.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Latta-NP-Brochure-and-Map-small.pdf

NASCAR Hall of Fame

NASCAR Hall of Fame and Uptown Charlotte 

Charlotte, North Carolina 

9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. 

30-person maximum capacity 

Price: $46

Whether you’re a history buff or a casual fan, the NASCAR Hall of Fame is a place to explore and experience the most popular form of motorsports in America. With more than 50 interactive experiences, there is excitement for everyone including classic and present-day cars as well as digital interactive exhibits, hand-on experiences, realistic racing simulators, and fascinating memorabilia from all the legends of NASCAR.  

Lunch is not provided but be sure to try one of our local favorites that are within walking distance. 

NASCAR Hall of Fame website: https://www.nascarhall.com/about-the-hall

North Carolina Zoo

North Carolina Zoo 

Asheboro, North Carolina 

7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. 

50-person maximum capacity 

Price: $60

This is an all-day field trip to the world’s largest natural habitat zoo. The North Carolina Zoological Park is situated on 2,600 wooded acres near Asheboro, North Carolina and houses more than 1,700 animals of over 250 species.

You will leave the hotel in Charlotte at 7:30 a.m. and take a 90-minute bus ride to Asheboro, NC. For the next 6 hours you can explore 500 developed acres at your leisure. Utilize the tram system to move from continent to continent but plan on bringing your walking shoes. 5 miles of walking trails take you to the various habitats including Rocky Coast, Desert, Forest, Grasslands, Streamside and Cypress Swamp. 

Four restaurants and several snack bars offer food and drink for every taste. 

The bus will leave at 3 p.m. for the return trip to Charlotte and will arrive at the hotel at 4:30 p.m. 



  • Bus leaves Hotel in Charlotte at 7:30 a.m. 
  • Arrive at NC Zoo at 9 a.m. 
  • Lunch on your own at one of several restaurants on zoo property (see map) 
  • Bus leaves North Carolina Zoo at 3 p.m. 
  • Arrive at hotel in Charlotte at 4:30 p.m. 


Zoo Map: https://www.nczoo.org/sites/default/files/2023-10/NCZ-2023-Location-Map-Fall-2023.pdf 

Dining at the Zoo: https://www.nczoo.org/visit/dining