In the small (very small) North Carolina town of Scotland Neck, an hour and 40 minute drive east from Raleigh, there is a nice-sized avian park named Sylvan Heights.
It takes about two hours to walk around the entire park on paved sidewalks and tour each separate aviary area as well as a couple of wetland boardwalks. The birds are everywhere and the experience of being inside the enclosures with them is different from a zoo, where you can easily view the animals, but there is always a fence or glass barrier between you and them.
Unfortunately, there is no restaurant on the grounds, and while there are a few restaurants a few miles away in Scotland Neck and Rocky Mount, we think it’s best to get take out or pack yourself a picnic lunch beforehand so you can picnic at the park. The weather was really nice for us, so a picnic was just the thing. An added bonus is the nice little playground for kids near the picnic tables.
There are of course more ducks (some familiar and also some really exotic ones) than you can shake a stick at:
The aviaries are loosely separated by different varieties of birds per continent.
The flamingos seem a bit smaller than you might expect. Not sure if this flock is younger, or likely a different variety than what we’re used to seeing.
This African Guinea Fowl was particularly friendly/aggressive (depending on how you looked at it), repeatedly nipping at our shoes and clothes and eventually trying to make a break for it when we opened the gate to leave his enclosure. He was cute, but it was hard to tell what his true agenda was.
The highlight of the park is of course the Landing Zone. They have “seed sticks” you can purchase for a dollar and use to feed the plentiful parakeets. Quite a bit of fun, for kids and adults alike. Just be sure to watch your feet for the beautiful little birds strolling by as you stare up at the flock sitting in trees and flying around you everywhere.
And keep on the lookout for the dreaded swarm!