This indispensable wildlife hospital is located on N.C. Highway 24, 5 miles west of U.S. Highway 70. It's the red brick house with a pond and bridge in the front yard. Outer Banks Wildlife Shelter (OWLS) has become a much-depended-on agency along the Crystal Coast for assistance with wounded wildlife. This nonprofit group cares for more than 1,000 injured or sick birds, mammals and reptiles annually through the efforts of volunteers and licensed rehabilitators. Individuals finding injured or sick wildlife are asked to call and then deliver the animal to OWLS.
Scheduled tours happen on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 2 PM and include a look at the hospital, orphan nurseries and the permanent resident hawks, owls, opossum, vultures and falcons. Groups are asked to call ahead to schedule a tour. The fee is $3 per person for scheduled tours with children younger than 2 admitted free. The facility also offers a nature trail open during daylight hours. A self-guided tour, which costs $2.50 per person, is a trail walk. Wildlife outreach programs are available to school groups. Year-round programs for kids include Wild Encounters and the Junior Rehabilitation Program (ages 10 to 12), Wild by Nature (ages 7 to 9) and Art Encounters art camp, all of which require preregistration and fees. A gift shop and wildlife reference library are also on site. The sanctuary operates Monday through Saturday from 9 AM to 5 PM and Sunday 1 to 5 PM. Be sure to stop by the OWLS gift shop in the facility.
OWLS brings some of their permanent residents to the Sculpt for Wildlife event to meet the public to show why they are raising money for the shelter. OWLS will have their educational animals on hand through out the day to meet the public to show what they do for our local wildlife. Throughout the month of April OWLS has onsite appearances with their Live Birds of Prey at the annual Belk Charity sale in Morehead City. Check out the OWLS website for more information on these two fund raising events.
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