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Halifax has historic, feathery marvels

Posted July 3, 2009

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— Whole new worlds – old and American, feathery and foreign – entertain and educate visitors to Halifax County.

From Africa, Australia, South and North America, more than 1,000 birds of 170 species roost at Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park, near Scotland Neck.

"The children each lunch here; they play. You can spend the whole day here," said parent Colleen Edmonsten, who brings her boys to the park so often that she bought a membership.

A Rosella parrot hatchling is among Sylvan Heights' newest arrivals. There's also Matilda, a Cereopsis goose from Australia, whose honk sounds like a pig grunting. Matilda is a big part of the park's educational programs for children.

"She's a real sweetie. We're lucky to have her," said Brent Lubbock, marketing director for the Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Society.

Sylvan Heights was established primarily for the protection of waterfowl, but has spread its wings to cover tours and educational programs. Admission is $7 or less.

Across the county, visitors explore human history in historic Halifax.

The town hosted North Carolina's colonial legislature when it passed the Halifax Resolves on April 12, 1776. The measure empowered the colony's Congressional representatives to vote for independence from Great Britain.

"The idea that the colonies could be free and independent was a new idea, and the first time that was put into writing was the Halifax Resolves," said Carl Burke, with the Halifax Historical Society.

Visitors can stop by the restored Tap Room, where Adele Parker shows children toys that don't need a power cord and introduce them to a simpler life.

Parker said children are particularly interested by Jacob's Ladder, a string of wood blocks that when held at one end creates the illusion of a cascade.

"The kids really loves this. They figure out how something so simple can create an illusion like this," Parker said.

The re-created bit of a simpler, yet history-filled life in Halifax has proven popular, Burke said.

"Over five years, I've seen at least 100,000 people visit, and our admission price is free," he marveled.

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  • ForestForestGump Jul 3, 2009

    Oh, I forgot to mention, Sylvan-Heights is located in Scotland Neck. That is only about 15 miles from Historic Halifax. Great for a day trip - then could go up to Roanoke Rapids to visit the Canal Museum.

  • ForestForestGump Jul 3, 2009

    Sylvan-Heights is ABSOLUTELY amazing. They have the largest collection of waterfowl in the world, some in their collection are extinct and they have been successful in breeding. Gotta' check out the Flamingos. Who would have ever guessed that this gem was right here in eastern NC?