In The Community


Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge is an active part of the Outer Banks and its communities. We actively seek ways to work cooperatively with our neighbors. We always welcome local residents to take advantage of opportunities for outdoor recreation on the refuge. Above is a mural featured in the National Wildlife Refuges Visitor Center. It was designed and painted by the Advanced Art Class at Manteo High School, under the guidance and direction of Robin York.

Wings Over Water, an annual event that occurs every year in the fall, offers an incredible assortment of ways to experience the wildness and uniqueness of the area.

Over 100 field trips take participants to places all over the Outer Banks and surrounding area. Whether you prefer birding, paddling, photography, walking, boating, Wings Over Water offers something for everyone!

All of the proceeds from this event go to the Coastal Wildlife Refuge Society - a non-profit organization established and incorporated in 1989 by a group of local citizens to provide support for National Wildlife Refuges in eastern North Carolina.

Visit the Wings Over Water website for more information. The Society uses the proceeds to fund transportation grants for school groups to visit local national wildlife refuges.


The US Fish and Wildlife Service is proud to partner with the Coastal Wildlife Refuge Society and the Dare County Arts Council to host the Wildlife/Wildlands of Eastern North Carolina Art ExposThese exhibitions are held quarterly at the National Wildlife Refuges Visitor Center auditorium in Manteo, NC and feature works by local artists.  The art included in the exhibitions must highlight native wildlife and habitats from the area.  It is a great way to recognize local artists.


National Wildlife Refuges Visitor Center is open and free to visit seven days a week. The Visitor Center, located on the north end of Roanoke Island on the opposite side of US 64 from The Lost Colony, Ft Raleigh, and the Elizabethan Gardens, is open to the public from 9 am until 4 pm Monday - Saturday and 12 noon until 4 pm Sunday (and is closed Thanksgiving and Christmas). The gallery features a wide variety of educational and entertaining exhibits including a Cessna airplane where visitors may "fly-over" the eleven national wildlife refuges represented at the Center.  Realistic dioramas, interactive exhibits and a multi-sensory theater with three distinct productions make a visit here educational and fun.

The Coastal Wildlife Refuge Society hosts "Wild Things", their Book/Gift Shop where visitors may purchase refuge items and a wide assortment of books and other educational merchandise.  Wild Things is located in the Coastal NC National Wildlife Refuges Gateway Visitor Center.


The Free Preschool Young Naturalists Program is scheduled each Friday at the National Wildlife Refuges Visitor Center on Roanoke Island. Children 5 and under, along with their parents, grandparents, or caregivers are invited to explore the natural world through hands-on education. The program is geared specifically for ages 2-5; however, toddlers and infants are welcome to come along as a part of a group or older children as helpers.  Each hour-long session includes indoor and outdoor activities.  Be prepared to have fun learning about nature while taking a hike, hearing a story, doing a craft or exploring the exhibit hall.