The Historic Latta Plantation Nature Preserve is located twenty minutes from downtown Charlotte, in Huntersville, North Carolina. The Preserve offers something for everyone, from outdoor activities, to educational opportunities in the form of a restored plantation and grounds, and the Carolina Raptor Center.
In 1799, Scotsman James Latta, purchased 100 acres of land and a log cabin from Moses Hayes in northern Mecklenburg County. In 1800, Latta built a two-story Federal style house and over the next several years began purchasing additional tracts of land, until he owned over 700 acres. Latta was a slave owner, and with the help of 30 slaves, his plantation became an economic success raising cotton.
Although later owners of the property continued to accumulate land, it’s the James Latta era with it’s restored Federal home, replica kitchen house, and livestock which are the focus of the tours. Additional plans for slave quarters are in production to illustrate an accurate portrayal of plantation life by highlighting the lives of the Latta slaves.
Throughout the year, Latta Plantation features many educational programs for interested groups and schools, including Revolutionary and Civil War reenactments, life on the farm, a primitive skills workshop, and an African American Experience Exhibit.
Hours of operation are Monday through Saturday: 10 am to 4:30 pm. Sunday: from 1 pm to 4:30 pm. Their gift shop hours are Monday through Saturday: 10 am to 5 pm. Sunday: 1 pm to 5 pm.
The plantation may even be rented for meetings and birthdays parties. For more information visit http://www.lattaplantation.org or call 704-875-2312.
If history isn’t your forte, also located on the Preserve is the Carolina Raptor Center. The center is a non-profit organization dedicated to the rehabilitation of birds of prey and public education. It houses the country’s largest collection of raptors, including owls, falcons, vultures, hawks and eagles.
The Carolina Raptor Center tries to rehabilitate and release as many raptors back into the wild as possible, but non-releasable birds become members of their Wild Wings Program, and travel the country educating businesses and schools on the habits and conservation of these magnificent birds.
Tours of the outdoor center costs $5 for adults, $3 for students and $4 for seniors, but many other opportunities for learning are available.
On first weekend of each month, the Center offers a Behind the Scenes tour, where visitors can witness initial exams of newly arrived raptors as well as getting up close and personal with the Education Birds that tour the country.
On the second weekend of each month, the center offers Meet the Keepers. Visitors get to meet the staff and will have the opportunity to ask questions about natural behaviors, history, and the personalities of each species.
Hours of operation are Monday through Saturday: 10 am to 5 pm and Sunday: Noon to 5 pm. For more information, visit http://www.carolinaraptorcenter.org or call 704-875-6521.
For an afternoon of learning in a beautiful setting, Latta Plantation and the Carolina Raptor Center are hidden jewels in a rapidly growing metropolitan area.