Raptor Encounters

Raptor Encounters Cover

Curator Natalie Childers introduces a visitor to vulture babies during the Vulture Venture summer raptor encounter. Photo by Jessica Hudgins.

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Never a day passes but that I do myself the honor to commune with some of nature's varied forms. – George Washington Carver

What (or whom?) will you encounter on the Raptor Trail?

Enjoy a variety of "nose to beak" encounters with some of our most interesting raptor species. Whether your passion is eagles or vultures, corvids or owls, there is an experience waiting here for you. Tickets will be sold online up until 24 hours before the encounter and in the Visitor Center up until 30 minutes before the encounter begins.

Raptor Encounters Details 

Offered Sundays at 1:00 pm
CRC opens at 10 am starting July 16, 2017
Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend

Not ADA accessible.
Must be 7 or older to participate, children 16 and under must be accompanied by an adult.
Fees include Regular Admission.

The Flights of the Forest Show is FREE ALL SUMMER. The Sunday show is at 11 am. Choose the appropriate buttons below to also reserve your tickets for the Flight Show.

Eagle Encounter

Take a step into the Eagle Aviary if you dare, have a conversation with Zlaty, the Golden Eagle, and tour Marcy’s Eagle Research Observatory. During this 45 minute encounter, participants will get “nose to beak” with some of our Bald and Golden Eagle residents and have an opportunity to take a photograph with one of these majestic creatures. The Eagle Encounter costs $20/each for members and $25/each for non-members (includes admission fee). Reservations are recommended. Limited to 4 participants. 

Eagle Encounters are available on the following Sundays: May 28, June 4, June 11, June 18, June 25, July 2, July 9, July 16, July 23, July 30, August 6, August 13, August 20, August 27 and September 3. 

Eagle Encounter Registration   Eagle Encounter+Flight Show Registration




Behind the Curtain at the Flight Show

Take Flight with our flight team as you learn what it takes to get our Flights of the Forest flight show ready. During this 45-minute encounter, participants will learn about the ins and outs of training using positive reinforcement from CRC’s staff trainers. Participants cap off the experience by flying some of our flight team stars including Willow, the Barn Owl. Behind the Curtain costs $20/each for members and $25/each for non-members (includes admission fee). Reservations are recommended. Limited to 4 participants. Only offered during the summer.

Behind the Scenes at the Flight Show is available on the following Sundays: May 28, June 11, June 25, July 9, July 23, July 30, August 6, August 13, August 20, August 27 and September 3.

Behind the Curtain Registration   Behind the Curtain+Flight Show Registration




Vulture Venture

Take a walk with one of CRC’s resident vultures during a daily training session. Take flight with Nebari, the Black Vulture, as he prepares for his flight show responsibilities. Experience a painting session with our Black Vulture, Tombstone, and take home your very own Vulture Masterpiece. Participants will also learn all about vultures and conservation of their species worldwide so that they can tell the world about the need for these birds also known as nature’s garbage men! The Vulture Venture costs $20/each for members and $25/each for non-members (includes admission fee).  Reservations are recommended. Limited to 4 participants. Wondering what it is all about? Check out this video from Queen City Weekend about the Vulture Venture.

Vulture Ventures are available on the following Sundays May 28, June 11, June 25, July 9, July, 16, July 23, August 6, August 13, August 20, August 27 and September 3.

Vulture Venture Registration   Vulture Venture+Flight Show Registration




Private Raptor Encounters

Can’t make one of the scheduled raptor encounters? You can work with our staff to create a private raptor encounter themed like many of those listed above. Please note that some of our encounters are only offered at certain times of the year. Private Raptor Encounters for up to 4 people cost $150 for members or non-members. To discuss your options, please email Colleen Roddick at croddick@carolinaraptorcenter.org. Include what programs you are interested in, the size of your group and some possible dates and times in your email.

Heat Index Procedure and Guideline

When the heat index is over 95 degrees CRC will cancel all bird appearances, flight shows, and encounters. If you purchase tickets in advance, someone from our Visitor Services team will contact you directly about the cancelation. If you have any questions about this, please call our Visitor Center at (704) 875-6521 x.107. Please check our website the day of your visit for the most recent changes in program and event schedules.

Why we cancel shows because of heat...more info.