The North Carolina




Visitor Center

Welcome to the North Carolina Visitor Center

From the mountains to the coast and all points in between

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The Tri-Warriors Triathlon Club, in Pembroke, NC
will be hosting their 7th annual youth triathlon on
Saturday, August 26th on the campus of UNCP. The
event is open to both boys and girls between the ages
of 6-15, but will be limited to the first 300 who enter.

According to the USA Triathlon Organization (USAT),
the sport’s governing body, youth triathlon
participation is at an all-time high because “Today’s
youngsters have the advantage of recognizing triathlon
as a “real” sport. “I tell young people all the time that
they no longer have to feel like they need to play the
“big” sports anymore to be an athlete.” says Mike DeCinti, Race Director.

“Although football, basketball, baseball and soccer get
all the attention, not only is triathlon a great sport, but
I would argue that triathletes are often times more
physically and mentally fit than other athletes.”

The boottom line is that a triathlon combines three things kids like to do: swim, ride their bikes and run
around, but deciding to do these events one after
another, in a somewhat “competitive atmosphere”
takes some serious consideration and preparation. And
it will be up to the adults in these children’s lives to
make sure they give enough respect to the sport so
that they can be ready, be safe and have fun.

So if you are a parent, grandparent, relative or friend
of a child between the ages of 6 and15, I hope that
you will mention this event to them to see if they
would be interested.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to
contact me at (910) 827-2439 or

Mike DeCinti is the race director for the 2017
Tri-Warriors Youth Triathlon and strongly believes
that your children can do some pretty amazing things,
if you just give them the chance and encourage them
along the way.


Total Eclipse of the Park

Across the country, from Oregon to South Carolina, people are getting ready for a big celestial event - The Great American Total Solar Eclipse on August 21, 2017. A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and the Earth, blocking out the light from the sun and casting a 67-mile wide shadow across the planet. As the heavenly bodies move, this shadow travels across the ground averaging a little over 1,600 miles per hour, meaning at its longest duration for a viewer on the ground, 
totality only lasts about 2 minutes and 40 seconds. In the Smokies, we can expect about 2 minutes in totality, when the moon completely blocks the sun's light. During totality, the temperature will noticeably drop, stars may be visible, and birds will stop singing (thinking it's night time.)

So where can you see it in the Smokies? Park staff will be hosting a special event at Clingmans Dome, the park's highest point, but unless you were one of the lucky 1,600 to snag a ticket online this spring, you should make alternate plans. And heads up, Newfound Gap Road may be closed to reduce gridlock. There will be other park events open to the public at Cades Cove and Oconaluftee Visitor Center, but pack your patience and expect a crowd.

In the map below, you can see the western half of the park will be in totality. The closer you can get to the blue line in the bottom left corner, the center of totality, the better your experience will be. Anything outside of the shaded region will not experience totality, only a partial solar eclipse, and that can make a huge difference as a viewer.

Special viewing glasses are required in order to safely view the solar eclipse. A limited number of glasses will be available within the park but please ensure you have them for viewing. You may (and should) take them off only during totality (about 2 minutes) or you'll miss the best part!

Total solar eclipses are fairly rare events. They happen somewhere on Earth about every 18 months, but not in the same spot for about 400 years. The last total solar eclipse in the southeastern US was in 1970 along the Carolina coast and 1900 before that. The next in this neck of the woods won't be until 2045 in Alabama and Mississippi, then 2078 in Georgia and South Carolina, so don't miss this opportunity!

No matter where you live, you can catch the total eclipse from the Smokies live on NASA 360! Click here for more info.


North Carolina Historic Site

Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum

African American Education

Founded in 1902 by Dr. Charlotte Hawkins Brown, Palmer Memorial Institute transformed the lives of more than 2,000 African American students. Today, the campus provides the setting where visitors can explore this unique environment where boys and girls lived and learned during the greater part of the 20th century. The museum links Dr. Brown and Palmer Memorial Institute to the larger themes of African American history, women's history, social history, and education, emphasizing the contributions African Americans made in North Carolina.

Garden Lecture Examines Plants that Diversify the American Landscape
Tryon Palace's August garden lecture features Mark Weathington, the Director of the JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University, presenting a lecture and book signing on his newly released book, Gardening in the South.

Mark travels extensively searching for new plants to diversify the American landscape and lecturing on a variety of topics in horticulture to further the JC Raulston Arboretum's vision of "Planning and Planting a Better World." His explorations and speaking engagements have taken him around the world and throughout the US.

This is a free lecture that will take place in Cullman Hall on Saturday, Aug. 12, from 10am to noon.
Tryon Palace, 529 South Front Street, New Bern, NC 28562



Merchants Millpond State Park

Southern swamp and hardwood forest mingle at Merchants Millpond State Park, adorning the landscape with massive bald cypress trees, beech groves, Spanish moss and exotic wildlife. Canoes and kayaks can be rented or visitors can bring their own for a unique paddling experience. Three types of camping are available at family and group campgrounds, primitive backpacking sites and three remote canoe-in campgrounds reached by paddling trails. The scenic pond is surrounded by picnic grounds, nine miles of hiking trails and a visitor center offering museum-quality exhibits. Some trail segments are open to biking. Fishing is available from the bank, or small boats (trolling motors only) may be launched at the boat ramp.

Merchants Millpond State Park

176 Millpond Road
GatesvilleNC 27938

Some of North Carolina’s greatest treasures can be found off the beaten path. You never know what you might find... an old-time general store, local artisan, or simply a picturesque view that takes your breath away. You’ll be swept away by the untouched natural landscape found on the backroads of this rural county.

In Anson County, you can discover all that and more. Come. Visit. Surround yourself with the beauty of North Carolina’s best kept secret.



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