Field Trip: Meet alligators, boa constrictors, flying squirrels and more!

By Bradley Allf, Educational Events Specialist, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, and Lori A. Williams, North Carolina Chapter of The Wildlife Society

An Emerald Tree Boa (Corallus caninus) patiently awaits your arrival to the Living Collections in the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. ©Karen Swain, NCMNS

Attendees of TWS 2016, if you haven’t yet registered for a field trip, consider experiencing the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences up close and personal.

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A 10-minute ride from the conference in downtown Raleigh, this field trip offers a behind-the-scenes tour of the largest natural sciences museum in the southeast. Participants will experience two, rarely-seen parts of the museum—the Ornithology Collection and the Living Collections.

The renowned Ornithology Collection contains more than 24,000 specimens and has some of the rarest specimens in North Carolina, including one of the largest wing collections in the US. On this expert-guided tour, you’ll see mounts, skeletons, and skins of the most amazing birds in the world, and learn why collections like this one are so important for bird researchers, conservationists, and even artists. Plus, you’ll have the chance to ask the experts all your most burning questions about birds, like why some owls have fluffy feet, and whether penguins really have feathers.

An endangered McCord’s Box Turtle is one of hundreds of unique animals in the NC Museum of Natural Sciences Living Collections. ©Karen Swain, NCMNS

An endangered McCord’s Box Turtle is one of hundreds of unique animals in the NC Museum of Natural Sciences Living Collections. ©Karen Swain, NCMNS

After the ornithology tour, we will head upstairs to the Living Collections—the largest live animal collection of its kind in the country! This tour provides an amazing opportunity to meet alligators, boa constrictors, flying squirrels, and the hundreds of other animals that call the Living Collections home. Learn how these animals serve as ambassadors for their wild counterparts in museum programs held all over the state, and why the museum has such a large collection. Don’t miss this unique chance to see a side of the museum few visitors have the opportunity to see. Take advantage of this unique field trip opportunity while there’s still room!