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Resident groundhog Queen Charlotte did not see her shadow today, predicting an early spring for the Charlotte area.

The recent mild weather is just a sign of warmer days to come.

Resident groundhog Queen Charlotte did not see her shadow today, predicting an early spring for the Charlotte area.

Our preeminent prognosticator made her royal proclamation in a special Groundhog Day celebration at Charlotte Nature Museum.

She also weighed in on Sunday’s Super Bowl matchup, foretelling a Carolina Panthers victory over the Denver Broncos.

As Queen Charlotte’s first public prediction since ascending to the throne in 2015, the ceremony took place in the Great Hall for her safety and comfort. She was escor… Keep reading.

Filed Under: In the Museum
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Chipmunks and ground squirrels are among the few animals that truly hibernate.

As the weather turns cold, many animals have gone into hibernation to get through the winter.

But hibernation isn't the only type of dormancy an animal can experience, and winter isn't the only time of year animals might go to sleep or reduce their activity to survive.

The environment that an animal lives in affects their dormancy behavior greatly.

Animals might go through hibernation, brumation or estivation (aestivation). These terms can be confusing because there are similarities between them all, but there are distinct details that make each process different.

Most people are f… Keep reading.

Filed Under: Ask a Naturalist
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Opossums are known for their strong sense of smell. As an enrichment activity, Museum naturalists might hide the opossum's food in a box so she can smell her meal and scavenge for it just like she would in the wild.

Have you ever walked through Creature Cavern and wondered about the interesting objects in the animal enclosures?

Sometimes you might see large cardboard boxes, branches, snake sheds or hanging toys where our animal residents live.

It may look like these objects do not belong in there, but in fact they do! The other Naturalists and I put these objects in with the animals to give them enrichment. 

Enrichment is a way to keep animals active, thinking and exploring, just like they do in nature. It is important that our animals continue to use their natural instincts and behaviors, even t… Keep reading.

Filed Under: Ask a Naturalist
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Fresh Start Chunky Puzzle Insects ($10.00) - This hand-crafted wooden puzzle features colorful pieces that are easy for small hands to grasp and stand up for pretend play. Ages 2 and up.

Need some help with your holiday shopping?

Charlotte Nature Museum now carries a variety of Melissa & Doug gift items that are sure to delight the little ones in your life. Melissa & Doug is an American toy company specializing in unique educational toys, crafts and games.

All items are available at Trail’s End Store, open six days a week during regular Museum hours.

Charlotte Nature Museum Members receive a 20% discount on all purchases. All purchases help support educational programs provided by the Museum.

Fresh Start Chunky Puzzle Insects ($10.00) – This hand-crafted wooden puz… Keep reading.

Filed Under: In the Museum
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As we approach the 75th anniversary of Discovery Place Inc., we are embarking on a planning process with Mecklenburg County, who owns Charlotte Nature Museum site, and the community to imagine a new future for the Museum. The vision is to create a world-class natural science center which will help visitors understand and appreciate the natural world.

In 1951, Charlotte Nature Museum opened as one of the first facilities in the southeast focused on bringing families and nature together.

As we approach the 75th anniversary of Discovery Place Inc., we have embarked on a facility planning process to imagine a new future for Charlotte Nature Museum.  

The vision is to create a world-class natural science center which will help visitors understand and appreciate the natural world. 

We are at the beginning of a process to work with the County, which owns the Charlotte Nature Museum site, and the community to envision a new future for the… Keep reading.

Filed Under: In the Museum
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The distinct leaves of the paw paw tree make it easy to identify. This important tree species is native to the eastern United States.

We are so lucky here to have a forest of old, majestic trees in Fort Wild, our outdoor play area.

I can’t name every single tree we have in the area but some common ones you might see include pine, walnut, hickory, oak, sweet gum and maples, among many others. You can tell these trees apart by looking at their leaves, bark, fruit and even buds.

But I want to talk about one very specific tree on the Paw Paw Nature Trail. It is what we named the trail after, the paw paw tree.

This tree is not very well known but it is a beautiful native species of the eastern United States. Though it do… Keep reading.

Filed Under: Ask a Naturalist
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