The Coastal North Carolina National Wildlife Refuges Gateway Visitor Center (Gateway Visitor Center in short) represents eleven national wildlife refuges and one national fish hatchery, offering an invitation to visit them all. Interactive exhibits teach visitors about each of the refuges in the Coastal North Carolina National Wildlife Refuges Complex, from Cedar Island National Wildlife Refuge to Currituck National Wildlife Refuge. The center is staffed by trained volunteers to answer questions and offer suggestions for visiting any of the refuges in the complex.

About Us

The Gateway Visitor Center serves as an introduction to the nine refuges in the Coastal North Carolina National Wildlife Refuge Complex, as well as two other refuges and a national fish hatchery in the area: Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, and Edenton National Fish Hatchery. The nine Coastal North Carolina NWR Complex refuge websites can be found below:

Alligator River NWR     Cedar Island NWR     Currituck NWR     Mackay Island NWR     Mattamuskeet NWR     Pea Island NWR     Pocosin Lakes NWR     Roanoke River NWR     Swanquarter NWR

Visit Us

Refuge Education Programs

The nine refuges in the Coastal North Carolina NWR Complex host a variety of guided tours and educational programs. Ride along on a tram tour, learn about red wolves and bears, paddle out into the waters of the refuges, or see thousands of wintering waterfowl!

Learn More about Tours and Programs

Gateway Visitor Center

Through interactive exhibits, audio-visual programs, and even a virtual airplane ride, visitors may experience a field trip to each refuge with hopes to entice them to visit these special places.  See how the Outer Banks will change as the sea level rises. Sit for a spell in the old Dare Forest Supply Store and experience life through a short multi-sensory film, when Buffalo City was a bustling logging and moonshining town! In this small theater you will also have an opportunity to watch 2 other nature and area-related films. In the main lobby, try to find 37 critters hiding in the pocosin diorama. Peek into a red wolf den. Have a picture taken of you as a wildlands firefighter! A short interpreted nature trail wanders through the woods behind the center.

The center is staffed by volunteers. Our non-profit friends group, Coastal Wildlife Refuge Society, operates Wild Things, a gift shop that offers innovative wildlife-related gift items such as nature identification guides, children's toys and books, jewelry, apparel and other items to make your visit both enjoyable and memorable. All proceeds benefit refuge programs.

Our Library

Alligator River and Pea Island NWR Interpretive Program Schedule

Alligator River and Pea Island National Wildlife Refuges offer a variety of fun and educational seasonal programs. During the summer, programs range from interpretive presentations to tram and canoe tours. During the off season (Sep-May), the refuges host bird walks and special events.

Pocosin Lakes NWR Interpretive Programs Schedule

Pocosin Lakes NWR is excited to announce regular weekly programs to share the refuge's fascinating wildlife with visitors. Come to the Red Wolf Center to learn about these endangered wolves and visit a pair of live wolves. Or, see nature in a new way through special programs with Pocosin Arts or...

Get Involved

The Gateway Visitor Center depends on dedicated volunteers to provide information, answer questions, and assist with guided programs. There are many opportunities at Gateway and refuges throughout the Coastal North Carolina National Wildlife Refuges Complex for different kinds of volunteers, as well as internships and partnerships. 

Location and Contact Information