Inspired by the Yadkin-Pee Dee River Basin and the Carolina Thread Trail system, the “The Enchanted River Trail” emerged as a major theme of the indoor and outdoor space of Explore. Each exhibit promotes connections to the river and the landscape of the Pee Dee region. Explore also hopes to inspire connections to health and wellness through outdoor recreation, regional fishing, and agriculture.
An iconic tree serves as the central focal point to anchor the nature trail. The adventurous personality of the interior of museum shines in its nature inspired design. Rustic charm provides a warm welcome that is equal parts familiar and intriguing. Design elements are natural, organic, and approachable. “The Enchanted River Trail” is a pint-sized nature trail where the rich culture of the Pee Dee region comes alive. Visitors of all ages become active participants in a ‘tiny town’ community, themed around a scenic nature trail and river basin. An emphasis on the natural world, directly informed by the region, is reflected in the diversity of the activities found at each Trail Stop.
“The Enchanted River Trail” is a pint-sized nature trail where the rich culture of the Pee Dee region comes alive. Visitors of all ages become active participants in a ‘tiny town’ community, themed around a scenic nature trail and river basin. An emphasis on the natural world, directly informed by the region, is reflected in the diversity of the activities found at each Trail Stop. The heart of the experience is a circular nature trail punctuated by Trail Stops in a “Choose Your Own Adventure” style offering endless hours of open play. This arrangement provides caregivers long sight lines for security and presents an ease of access to the space for patrons of all ages.
Open-ended, creative activities encourage curiosity, independence, and wellness. These interests foster a sense of community through collaboration and shared experiences that families will return to again and again.
Start your journey off right! Just like beginning your day with a healthy breakfast, the small General Store at the trail head greets young adventurers with an assortment of healthy goods and supplies for their journey along the river. Load up your picnic basket with everything you need, hop on one of the trikes and you’re off!
Everyone loves stories from the trail. Take some time at the Post Office to express yourself and share your love for the Pee Dee with a post card or two. Mail them off to be displayed at the Enchanted Tree or take them home as a memento.
Not long after departing the trail head and General Store, you happen upon a grand live oak tree with sprawling branches. At the base of the tree, there are plenty of surprises to explore. If you need a pit stop already, settle in and gaze above at the twinkling lights and ever changing collection of artwork that previous explorers have created and left behind.
The perfect spot for the smallest adventurers, our Nest, is a protected area just off the trail for children 3 years of age and younger. Comfy tummy time mats and a soft crawling terrain make this highly engaging area ideal for growing minds and bodies.
Fishing is not only a relaxing pastime, but also an important industry. Young visitors who choose to stop at the Boat Launch will enjoy fishing the Pee Dee River while learning about local species, the importance of fish as part of a healthy diet and water safety. Kids, put on your life jackets!
Did you ever wonder where all of the fresh produce came from at the General Store? Well, our Enchanted Trail happens to pass by a locally operated Family Farm. The farm loves visitors and is eager to accept help from anyone who wants to pitch in with the planting and harvesting. You might even be recruited to make a delivery back to the General Store. So hop on a tractor and let’s get to work!
Pitch your tent, pull a log up to the cozy fire and enjoy your picnic lunch. Reward yourself with a sweet treat by roasting a marshmallow after a good hike and balanced meal. Stay at the Campground as long as you like. There is plenty to do, by exploring the tent and camper. Be sure to say “hello” to the park ranger if they stop by.
There is a quiet respite to be found at the end of the trail. The Ranger’s Cabin + First Aid Station is just that. It is a lower sensory area for explorers who need to step out of the main trail action. Snuggle up with some stone pillows, borrow some books from the Ranger’s collection and learn about self-care on the trail. Sometimes, we all need a little refuge from the wild.