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The Duke Lemur Center is a sanctuary for rare and endangered prosimian primates – mostly lemurs – located a few miles from the Duke University campus. The sanctuary is the largest of its kind in the world, and houses nearly 250 non-primates across 21 species, on 85 acres. The center focuses on conservation, research, and outreach, but provides opportunities for guided tours seven days a week. Visitors can tour the grounds with a staff photographer, paint with lemurs, or experience a day in the shoes of a lemur caretaker. Tours are by appointment only, and should be reserved several weeks in advance.
Crowder District Park offers visitors 33 acres (13.35 hectares) of wetlands and hardwood forests, and is a hub of outdoor activities and educational opportunities. Park amenities include picnic shelters, walking trails, playgrounds, a volleyball court, an outdoor amphitheater, and a 3-acre (1.2 hectares) pond with a boardwalk and an observation deck. Educational activities designed for children and their families are held at the park throughout the year. The park is a great place to enjoy an afternoon walk, or take part in organized arts and crafts activities and stargazing nights.
Historic Yates Mill County Park is a 174-acre (70 hectares) wildlife refuge and environmental research center with open lands and a small pond offering visitors fishing, hiking, and bird-watching opportunities. Yates Mill is the last operating, water-powered gristmill in North Carolina’s Capital County. Mill tours and corn grinding demonstrations are offered throughout the year, as are seasonal educational and holiday programs. The visitor center sells finished stone-ground cornmeal and vintage postcards as souvenirs.
Spread over 4,200 acres (1699 hectares) of opaque forested areas, the Eno River State Park is a popular outdoor destination that boasts of nearly 28 miles (45 kilometers) of some of the finest hiking trails in North Carolina. The Eno River runs alongside these trails, which leads hikers through old-growth forests, rocky landscapes, and historic vestiges. The vestiges are mainly gristmills from the time of the Eno River's settlement, with as many as 30 mills lining the river's banks at the time. A number of interesting trails help explore various corners of the park, from the steep trail leading to Cox Mountain, to the Eno Trace that offers avenues to view wildlife. In spring, the Pump Station trail is an excellent way to take in views of wildflowers sprinkled across small mounds. Other popular activities in the park include angling, camping, wildlife photography, picnicking, and canoeing and kayaking.