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The Museum will be closed September 2 - 3 for staff development. Planning a field trip? Our 2014-2015 Education Guide is now available. Click on Education to download. From cake to snakes, Charlotte Nature Museum birthday parties are Wild By Nature.
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WCNC anchor Larry Sprinkle stopped by the Museum recently to give parents some ideas for entertaining their children this summer.

Check out the video below to see Larry pet an opossum, interview Grandpa Tree, explore the fairy garden in Fort Wild and more!

Keep reading.

Filed Under: In the Museum
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Copperheads have a distinct hourglass pattern on their skin. Young copperheads also have a bright green tail. Photo credit: Virginia Herpetological Society

We are lucky that we don't have many venomous snakes here in Mecklenburg County. We mostly only have to keep our eyes out for copperheads. So, do you know how to identify one?

There are several ways to tell if a snake is a copperhead, but the easiest and safest way is to look at their pattern. The darker spots on the back of the snake are in an hourglass shape, meaning they are wider on the sides and thinner in the middle.

If you look at a copperhead from the side, the hourglass spots touch the ground. Most similarly patterned snakes have spots that do not reach all the way to the underside of the snake.

Copperheads also have diamond-shaped heads and cat-like eyes. These two characteristics are not as easy to spot as the snake's patterned skin, so it can make identifying much ha… Keep reading.

Filed Under: Ask a Naturalist
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Don your wings and fly in this Saturday for the second annual Fairy Festival.

Something's aflutter at Charlotte Nature Museum…

Don your wings and fly in for the second annual Fairy Festival, happening this Saturday from 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

We'll have activities throughout the Museums to celebrate the wonders of spring and delight magical creatures of all ages:

• Discover your fairy or gnome name in the Naturalist Lab
• Get your hand painted in Peetie's Place
• Go on a fairy door scavenger hunt in Creature Cavern
• Strike a pretty pose and have your picture made on a special toadstool in the Great Hall
• Create art with Pixie Playdough on the Deck
• Build a fairy or gnome house along the Paw Paw Nature Trail
• Make your own fairy or gnome wand in Fort Wild
• Blow bubbles in the Fairy Garden

Be sure to stop by Dragonfly Theatre at 10:30 a.m. or 1… Keep reading.

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Despite the myth, mother birds won't abandon their young after they've been touched by a human. Before you consider touching or moving a baby bird, first make sure the animal has truly been abandoned.

We get a lot of calls from worried residents about baby animals, especially this time of year. Spring is the perfect time to see young rabbits, birds and other sorts of native animals around.

But what should we do if we think one has been abandoned or hurt?

First make sure the animal has truly been abandoned. Cottontail rabbits are out of the nest in as little as three weeks, and their mothers only visit the nest to feed. This occurs twice a day for as little as five minutes! You can mark the top of the nest with thin twigs in a tic-tac-toe pattern, and the mother will move the sticks when she visits.

Unless you can see the deceased mother nearby, watch from a safe distance to see if the mother returns after a few days. If the baby has flies buzzing around it or is covered in fec… Keep reading.

Filed Under: Ask a Naturalist
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Throughout its metamorphosis, a butterfly changes from an egg to larva to pupa before becoming an adult butterfly. Copyright - 2014 oakdome.com

Metamorphosis is one of my favorite things to teach here at Charlotte Nature Museum!

In fact, we have a whole class devoted just to learning the difference between the metamorphosis and simple growth life cycles.

Metamorphosis is a fancy word that means to transform or change. Lots of animals change slightly as they grow. A person, for example, doesn't look exactly the same their whole life. But they don't grow wings or have their lungs change to gills as they become adults.

Animals that go through metamorphosis have drastic changes from their egg to adult stages.

One animal that comes to mind is the butterfly. This time of year, these beautiful creatures are starting to make their way back into our gardens and yards, and we are seeing their eggs, caterpillars and chrysalis eve… Keep reading.

Filed Under: Ask a Naturalist
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Every year on April 22, we celebrate Earth Day by finding ways to give back to the place we call home and learning how to help care for and protect our planet throughout the year. But have you ever thought about when and how it all started?

Every year on April 22, we celebrate Earth Day by finding ways to give back to the place we call home and learning how to help care for and protect our planet throughout the year.

But have you ever thought about when and how it all started?

Before the first Earth Day, conditions were far worse than what they are today. Factories were allowed to dump tons of toxic garbage into streams and black clouds of harmful smoke into the air! No one would get in trouble because it was not against the law to do this.

Slowly, people were starting to see how this was harming the water, the land and even themselves. Helping the environment was becoming more and more important to everyone.

On April 22, 1970, the first Earth Day was organized by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson. Millions of American… Keep reading.

Filed Under: Ask a Naturalist
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