CityView Magazine

May 2022

CityView Magazine - Fayetteville, NC

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Page 20 of 53 | 17 children aged 7 to 80,'' Mike said. From there, tour the park 's continentally themed aviaries and the two newest exhibits, the Wings of the Tropics and Birds of Paradise aviaries. As you move west through the park, you may also catch a glimpse of some exciting new arrivals: two very prehistoric-looking young cassowaries and two baby African fish eagles (the first successful breeding in North America in 25 years). While Sylvan Heights is a fun family destination, it "goes a lot further than just being a public attraction with birds," said Katie Lubbock, communications coordinator for the park. "It's more about educating people about why we need birds and their habitat. I don't think there's another place quite like it in the world, in what we do with environmental education, in what we do with teaching future conservationists and biologists." at conservation mission is a recurring theme throughout the park and is truly the passion of the Sylvan Heights founders and staff. However, conservation in the modern world does come with some hard realities, as Mike said. "We keep quite a lot of endangered species and breed them, and certain species are loaned out to zoos for breeding. Eventually, the idea is to send them back (to the wild), but the problem is we can breed the birds but if they don't have habitat they don't have anywhere to go. … e habitat is disappearing, and as it disappears so do the birds and everything else around." Still, he remains hopeful. "We try to do our little bit anyways and hold on to what we have." As Sylvan Heights Bird Park is a nonprofit organization, all proceeds from admission, gi shop sales, and membership purchases go to supporting the bird collection and continuing the park 's education and conservation efforts at home and abroad. Upper-level members also receive an invitation to Duck ling Day on June 11, the only day of the year the behind-the-scenes Avian Breeding Center is open to the public. Here, members can see where hundreds of duck lings, goslings, and swan cygnets are hatched and reared, tour the center's private aviaries, and view several rare waterfowl species that may not be on display at the park. At the end of the day, if guests walk away with one feeling, the park hopes it's a newly kindled interest in birds. Mike agreed: "It gives me a lot of satisfaction seeing how people who haven't been involved with birds before see birds in a different light." Sylvan Heights Bird Park Address: 500 Sylvan Heights Park Way, Scotland Neck Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday Cost: Adults 13-61, $12; Seniors 62+, $11; Children 3-12, $9; children 2 and younger, free; 10% military discount. Annual memberships start at $39 per person and include free admission to Sylvan Heights and the North Carolina Zoo and 50% off admission to all N.C. aquariums. Contact: 252-826-3186; Tip: Aer your park visit, we recommend dining at La Casetta restaurant in Scotland Neck for Italian favorites, including a variety of pizzas, salads, sandwiches, pasta dishes and desserts. Eight walk-through aviaries allow visitors to interact with birds, including macaws, American flamingos and parakeets. PHOTO BY K ATIE LUBBOCK

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