Get lost in a local oasis on our Paw Paw Nature Trail

Discovery Place Nature

The Paw Paw Nature Trail offers Museum visitors a unique experience within the heart of Charlotte. As you embark on this quarter-mile nature loop, you are immediately surrounded by a canopy of mature oaks, hickories and tulip trees. Just a few steps into the trail and you are immersed in a forest seemingly worlds away from the city surrounding this beautiful slice of nature, where wildlife sightings of barred owls, box turtles, rat snakes and white-tailed deer are not uncommon.

Discovery Place Nature’s new Trail Guide takes you on a journey through a unique Piedmont forest exploring the rich relationships between the land, animals and people along the way. To discover these relationships, you will look for five numbered trail markers that directly correspond to pages in the Trail Guide. These pages discuss relationships with the paw paw tree, decomposers, invasive plants, climate and habitat.

Our Trail Guide provides you with a unique lens to explore the forest around you. We encourage you to look up and discover a juicy cluster of native paw paw fruit, or perhaps enjoy a chance encounter with a nesting raccoon.

However, not everything along the trail is as wild as it appears! Our Trail Guide also attempts to tell the story of human intervention with nature. The forests of the Piedmont have a rich history of degradation and neglect, but also of stewardship and restoration.

Copies of the Museum’s Trail Guide, conveniently written in both English and Spanish, can be found at the trail head. It is also available digitally on our website free of charge.

So please come visit Discovery Place Nature, venture down the boardwalk to Fort Wild and allow our new Trail Guide to lead you on your next adventure.

Please remember to return the guide to the box at the end of the trail so others may enjoy!

  • Written by
  • Alden Picard