This post is of our first day and last day in The Outer Banks. I chose to link them together as “Pillars of Flight” as the second location is of the first successful flight of an airplane and the first location is where you can still partake of rudimentary flight today. You can take hang gliding lessons at Jockey’s Ridge State Park, they in fact call it a hang gliding school. As we drove into Nags Head we saw them running off the dunes attempting to achieve lift but they were gone when we arrived at the park later on that afternoon. The kids really enjoyed climbing up and rolling down the dunes. The park is like a giant sandbox. I kept remarking that I had never seen anything like it before. When dunes block the bay and ocean – it’s like a desert. There’s a great visitor’s center at the park as well, showcasing many of the animals and plants that make their homes in the dunes.
They Wright Brother’s Memorial seems pretty simplistic if you don’t keep in mind just what it represents. We stopped by here on our last day, taking advantage of the RV parking. The kids enjoyed walking each of the four stones trying to guess who the pilot was. The fourth flight went so much further than the previous three. Sarah and I wagered on which pilot flew furthest. She won. The visitors center was under renovation while we were there and I’m sure it’s going to be great. I’ll consider this visit an introductory lesson. Next time we’ll delve a little deeper as the kids will be a little older.
Both of these places exhibit present day and past flying attempts and you can see much more in the video below:
We were very fortunate to eat at some fine restaurants while in OBX. The pictures below were taken at The Blue Moon Beach Grill and Good Winds Restaurant. We also ate at The Kill Devil Grill our last night in the banks. We were planning to head back home that morning but decided not to really leave until about 7 pm as we were enjoying ourselves so much.
Please be sure to stay tuned in as we’re about to embark on another adventure. We’ll try to capture as much as we can, preserving memories and informing others. Thanks for stopping by.
A lot of The Outer Banks is seasonal. We came here for winter break so many of the tourist traps were closed for the winter and I’m sure there’s fun to be had at them but they are just that, traps. The wild side, that is the wildlife refuges, is open year round.
We traveled The Outer Banks from Carolla to Ocracoke but our first visit was to Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, just a couple miles from our campground. Our kids have grown to love hikes and let me just say that these are more like “walks” but there’s beauty to be seen just the same. Pea Island’s North Pond Wildlife Trail is an out and back stroll with a small observation tower at the end. There’s numerous water fowl to be seen and we spotted a couple of turtles as well.
Our next venture was in Ocracoke, the southernmost tip of The Outer Banks. Springer’s Point Nature Preserve is a quaint hike through woodlands that ends at a beach. It’s actually hidden in a neighborhood. There’s no street parking in the subdivision but you can park at a nearby church. There are numerous little touches installed by caretakers of the trail along the way and even an old little cemetery near the end.
The picture above and next couple below are of the beach at the end of Springer’s Point. It was a wonderful place to have lunch and there’s even a crab sanctuary at the point.
Next we went to The Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge. We walked both The Creef Cut Trail (which seems to have been renamed) and Sandy Ridge Trail. We also drove around some of the gravel roads within the park scoping out wildlife. Sadly perhaps, we saw no alligators. Seems its still a little cold to see them. We saw no bears either. We did talk to a woman that had been watching an otter, in fact she said she saw the otter eating a turtle but we only saw birds and turtles. Do you think the wildlife can hear us coming?
We had gone the whole week without seeking out the Spanish Colonial Wild Mustangs so we ventured out our last day in OBX in fact even after we checked out of the campground. We actually parked our camper at The Wright Brothers Memorial and took the Jeep out to The Currituck National Wildlife Refuge to search for these horses that have been living here since the 1500’s.
Permits for off road beach driving are not necessary in Carolla so we took the Jeep out on the beach in search of the elusive wild horses. Sad to say they were just that. We only had about 90 minutes and drove some back “roads” even interrogating a couple of locals and a helpful EMT at the fire hall but saw nary an equine. There were some horses at Ocracoke but they’re not wild anymore as they’re in a small pen and are actually called Banker’s Ponies. There’s a National Park Service Viewing Stand which is actually a deck in front of the fence. I’d skip the hour plus ferry ride if that’s all you’re heading to Ocracoke for.
You can see more of these wonderful refuges in the video below (in fact Alligator River was all video, no stills). We’re definitely coming back here someday and will spend more time looking for the wild horses. A week wasn’t enough time. Stay tuned as we’ll show you Jockey’s Ridge State Park and The Wright Brother’s Memorial next. Thanks for stopping by.
It’s very rare that kids are going to be healthy before and during your vacation. Inevitably somebody’s health will decline right before departing, leaving you with a conundrum. Even better, they develop one of the worst colds of the year while you’re away, out of state. This past February we had both. Ryan was diagnosed with strep throat the week before we left and Ava got strep during our trip. Amoxicillin mended both quickly. At least we dodged the flu.
We passed the time while Ava was at Urgent Care by visiting the Theodosia Burr Playground in Nags Head. I thought the history of Ms. Burr was quite interesting and you can see more of the playground in the video at the bottom of the page.
After visiting the pharmacy for the magic pink medicine we headed to the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island. We really enjoyed the shark exhibit, the alligators (one’s a real rare white alligator), and the ray tank in which the kids were sure to soak their shirts right up their armpits.
What the kids enjoyed the most was the Sea Turtle Exhibit. At the aquarium you can see a real Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Center and then get your own toy turtle to diagnose and rehabilitate. The turtles all had different problems diagnosed and the kids were responsible to treat, observe and ultimately set them free again. We spent a lot of time at this part of the aquarium and I really think they learned a lot. I’m so proud of them for being outgoing and asking questions of the staff. I hope they always stay “worldly.”
Outside of the aquarium was a nature trail which took you to a garden and a play area in which the kids could climb, make mud pies and explore . It was the perfect outing for the day and they all wanted to go back for another visit but we didn’t have time- seeing so many things on The Outer Banks.
You can see more of The North Carolina Aquarium and The Theodosia Burr Playground in the video below. Stay tuned for the wild side of The Outer Banks in the next post. Thanks for stopping by.