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This year, the title of Queen Charlotte has passed to a new young groundhog, who will make a weather forecast from the privacy of her royal chambers and continue brushing up on her regal manners for next year's public event.

Groundhog Day is approaching and all around the United States, people eagerly await the proclamation of more wintry weather or the promise of an early spring.

Here at Charlotte Nature Museum, we recently coronated a new Queen Charlotte. As with any young royal, the process of learning what it takes to be a queen and to represent the city of Charlotte can be a daunting challenge, especially for a groundhog who is less than a year old!

So what does it take for a new groundhog to become Queen Charlotte, or for any of our animal residents to become a program animal?

For Queen Charlotte, her training has started very simply, with a goal to get her acclimated to the behaviors and manners we expect from a queen.

The first step was to get settled in her private chambers. From there, sh… Keep reading.

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Meet all of our animal friends at Petapalooza this Saturday from 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

We had a great time talking with Colleen and Eugene about traditional and non-traditional pets on WCNC yesterday.

Check out the video below and meet all of our animal friends at Petapalooza this Saturday from 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

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Filed Under: In the Museum
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The groundhog is probably the most commonly known mammal in our region that goes through a true hibernation. Hibernating is what certain animals do to survive extreme weather.

Winter is approaching fast. Many animals have migrated or acquired a thicker coat to prepare for the cold, while others animals are getting ready to hibernate.

What does hibernate mean? Hibernating is what certain animals do to survive extreme weather. It's an interesting adaptation that is a state of inactivity. The animal's heart and breathing rates go down as well as their body temperature. This allows the animal to use very little energy through the cold months.

Why is this beneficial for the animal?

During the winter, food can be very hard to find. It becomes more stressful and draining for the animal to constantly forage or search, usually coming up empty handed. Because of this, spending more time asleep or in a state of hibernation gives the animal a higher chance of su… Keep reading.

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Naturalist Leslie Wilhoit holds a corn snake.

When I tell people I am a naturalist, I usually get weird looks because they aren't entirely sure what that entails.

Whenever I try to explain what exactly I do, it is really hard to put it in words. The easy answer for me is simply, everything. A naturalist's job can incorporate many different things, depending on where you work.

At Charlotte Nature Museum we have three naturalists. We have large programs we are in charge of but on a daily basis we do roughly the same things. For example, I am in charge of public programs, class curriculum and Butterfly Pavilion, but the other naturalists help me with daily upkeep.

Because there is a lot to do at the Museum, we have many checklists and scheduled programs to make sure we get everything thing done in a timely manner.

Every day … Keep reading.

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Charlotte Nature Museum Members enjoy exclusive access to the Museum for Spinning Spiders & Creepy Crawlers, our October Creature Feature.

From ghosts and superheroes to witches and princesses, our littlest Charlotte Nature Museum Members trick-or-treated their way into our hearts at Saturday's Boo Bash.

Boo Bash gave Members exclusive access to the Museum for Spinning Spiders & Creepy Crawlers, our October Creature Feature. They enjoyed arts and crafts, face painting, storytelling, mini golf and live animal encounters, all before the Museum opened to the public.

Check out our slideshow at right to see photos from this spook-tacular event.

Not a Member? Click here to discover the benefits.…

Filed Under: In the Museum
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The flying squirrel might be the animal that is hardest to see at the Museum. Flying squirrels are arboreal, or tree dwelling, so they like to make nests up high. They are also nocturnal animals, so they are awake at night and sleep during the day.

Many animals at Charlotte Nature Museum are out and about when you visit, while some are more of a challenge to see.

But there is a clear reason for this. Most of the animals that don't move often or are hidden are nocturnal animals.

Nocturnal animals are awake at night and sleep during the day. (Animals that are awake during the day are called diurnal.)

Some of our animals that are nocturnal include the flying squirrel, skunk and opossum. Because the Museum is only open during the day, our nocturnal animals typically are sleeping or hiding while visitors are here.

The flying squirrel might be the animal that is hardest to see at the Museum. Flying squirrels are arboreal, or tree dwelling, so they like to make nests up high.

Our flying squirrel prefers to make a small nest … Keep reading.

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