Discovery Place Nature Exploration Weekend

35 Years at Wildacres

Join Discovery Place educators on a journey into the Blue Ridge Mountains for an unplugged weekend of outdoor adventures. Nature lovers of all ages are welcome!

At an elevation of 3,300 feet, Wildacres is a beautiful retreat center in Little Switzerland, NC. Renowned naturalists and outdoor professionals will lead classes and workshops, hikes and explorations. Relax or play as you choose, away from the distractions of television, Wi-Fi or cell phone service. A variety of activities will be available for children and adults, including:

  • Stargazing
  • Introduction to Fly Fishing and Tying
  • Introduction to Wild Edibles
  • Salamander Hike
  • Owl Prowl
  • Sunrise Bird Walk
  • Camping Readiness 101
  • Campfire Cooking
  • Mountain Mining and Gemstone Panning
  • Appalachian Wildflower Photography
  • Phosphorescent Minerals Night Mine Tour ($15 additional fee)
  • And much more!
Register Now
  • All Ages
  • May 05 - May 07
  • $200 per Adult / $100 per Child (includes all lodging, meals and activities)
  • Everyone is Invited


  • What should I pack? 

    • Comfortable, casual clothing and sturdy, comfortable sneakers and/or hiking boots. Spring can bring unpredictable weather in the Blue Ridge Mountain, so be prepared for a range of temperatures. Pack warm layers and a light rain jacket.

    • Toiletries such as soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, etc

    • Binoculars, camera, bug spray, sunscreen and water bottle

    If you plan to attend the all-day hike, make sure you have a day pack with a dry pair of socks, sweater or jacket, rain gear and water bottle.

    Flashlights, telescopes, journals, sketch pads and field guidebooks are optional.

    Alarm clocks are not provided in the guest rooms. Wildacres staff will ring a bell to wake you, but if you prefer to set an alarm, please bring your own clock.

  • What are the living accommodations like?

    Rooms at Wildacres are simple and rustic, with a double bed, twin bed and private bath. Discovery Place has been assigned a block of rooms, and each family or group will be assigned individual rooms within the block. If you require special accommodations, such as handicap access, please contact Courtney Hurd at or 704.972.4905. We cannot accommodate requests for specific rooms, floors, views, etc.

  • Are meals included in my registration fee? 

    Yes, five meals are included in each registration fee, from dinner on Friday through breakfast on Sunday. Meals are served family-style in the Wildacres dining room at designated meal times (see Daily Schedule). If you forgot to note any dietary restrictions on your registration form, please email this information to  

  • Where can I purchase any items I forgot to pack?

    There is a Walmart about 15 minutes from the retreat center. 

  • Is there Wi-Fi or cell phone service?

    There is no Wi-Fi and cell phone service is inconsistent. Wildacres discourages the use of phones, tablets and computers so that everyone can truly enjoy the nature experience.  

  • Will I receive any communications prior to the event?

    Yes, an email will be sent to all registered participants with additional information about the retreat closer to May 3.

  • How do I sign up for activities? 

    Sign-up sheets will be available during welcome and introductions on Friday. 

  • Can I bring my own snacks and drinks?

    Yes. There is a shared refrigerator on the property where you can store drinks and perishable snacks. We suggest labeling your items.

  • Can I bring my pet to Wildacres?

    Pets are not allowed in any building at Wildacres. Service dogs are welcome.  

  • How can I be reached in case of an emergency?

    If someone needs to reach you, they should call 828.756.4573, and the staff will get you a message. Non-emergency calls may be made between 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.