52 Weeks of Fun

Not Just Destination Finders, But Destination Storytellers


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Corolla Horses and Center for Wildlife Education


The wild horses of Corolla, North Carolina, on the Outer Banks, are said to have arrived sometime in the 1500s. At the time, Spain was still in the process of conquering the New World. They brought horses with them via boat. One of these boats started to sink, and the extra cargo was jettisoned to lighten the load. The ‘extra cargo’ in this case, were the horses. The horses came to shore and started their own herd. They found a ready-made food supply in the beach and marsh grasses and plenty of fresh water in small ponds.

The reason these horses have such a mild temperament is that they were literally bred to it. Calm horses, ones that can remain unbothered by the sound of swords, cannons, and guns, work best in war. This is why Outer Banks Horses just stand there while cars and people swarm around them, although the law requires humans to stay at least 50 feet away. Although just a two-mile walk from the village, the best way to see the wild horses now is by commercial horse tour.

Corolla is a must-see nautical village scented with the spray of the salty sea. It's located on NC Highway 12 along a thin strip of land bordered on the east by the tempestuous Atlantic Ocean, and on the west by the inland waterway of Currituck Sound. Corolla is home to the Currituck Beach Lighthouse, whose beacon first beckoned to sailors at sea in 1875, and to the art nouveau Whalehead in Historic Corolla, a turn of the century hunt club for sportsmen.

The quaint village is also home to one of North Carolina's natural history gems called the Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education. The center, which opened in 2006, is an impressive and marvelous 22,000 square foot interpretive center for young and old alike to explore the history and vast diversity of North Carolina's wildlife. The center is located on the grounds of Historic Corolla Park, a beautiful setting of 29 acres of oak trees, where families can stroll the grounds and even bring a picnic while they enjoy the view and the setting before or after visiting the center.

This educational facility is dedicated to exploring coastal North Carolina’s natural history and heritage. Part of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, the Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education is located in Corolla, at Currituck Heritage Park. The Center offers both indoor and outdoor attractions for visitors to enjoy. The Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education offers many educational opportunities including the Citizen Science initiatives with the Network for Endangered Sea Turtles.

Known as the sportsman's paradise, especially in regards to duck hunting, it is historically ingrained as the lifeblood of the region. The center has a large collection of over 200 collectible and artistic antique waterfowl decoys to prove it. Ducks Unlimited got its start in the area way as well. Visitors can step back in time as a duck blind display set up in a simulated salt marsh allows one to revisit the old days when hunting was the sport of kings and the provinces of exclusive hunt clubs, such as the Whalehead in Historic Corolla, which is located next door to the center.

Just a half-hour’s drive from Corolla is Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head, which houses a 3,000-gallon aquarium that features a custom background that represents an underwater coquina rock shelf. Life on the Ledge, the vertical aquarium that provides a home to eels and fish, is located in the pier house gallery,

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A 52 Weeks of Fun Fascinating Fact about Corolla Horses and Center for Wildlife Education

Up until the mid-1980s, anyone who wanted a horse just captured one from the herd of Corolla mustangs. As a result, many of the horses with the most colorful markings were sold off.

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  • Corolla Horses and Center for Wildlife Education
  • Corolla
  • (252) 453-0221