The Latta Plantation Nature Preserve sits on Mountain Island lake, offering locals and visitors to the Davidson, North Carolina area a plethora of outdoor activities to enjoy all year round. Whether you enjoy hiking, biking, horseback riding, or would rather get out on an adventure tour or on the water for some fishing or boating, there are no lack of options of ways to explore the Latta Plantation Nature Preserve. In its midst you’ll also find the Historic Latta Plantation where you can learn all about the land’s heritage and come to appreciate it’s beauty all the more.
History of the Latta Plantation Nature Preserve
Initially bought and owned by James Latta himself, a traveling merchant who decided to put down roots in Mecklenburg County in 1799, the Latta Plantation Nature Preserve was a working cotton plantation for most of the 19th century. In the 1940s the land became a Boy Scout camp, and was used for military exercises throughout the years. Finally in 1981 Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department opened the land to the public.
Latta Plantation Nature Center
The educational center of the Latta Plantation Nature Preserve, the Nature Center is full of information about the land you’ll be exploring. Observe nature in action in the National Wildlife Federation certified Backyard Habitat Garden in which you’ll find bird feeders, butterfly gardens, a pond teeming with life, and a demonstration compost area. You’ll also find self-guided interpretative trail maps so you can learn even more about the preserve.
Equestrian Center and Raptor Center
The many miles of trails at the Latta Plantation Nature Preserve can be enjoyed by both hiking and horseback riding. Pony rides, horse shows, and lessons are perfect for entertaining your children while visiting the area so be sure to stop by if you’ve got some horse enthusiasts in your group! The Raptor Center is a rehabilitation center devoted to helping conserve birds of prey for the diverse southeastern habitat. Birds of prey are most frequently injured and killed by vehicles, as they will typically hunt on wide open roadways that are surrounded by forests.
Historic Latta Plantation
The Latta Plantation is open every day except for Monday, offering tours of the beautiful plantation home multiple times a day. The home is beautifully restored and decorated with period antique furniture collected throughout the years since the restoration process began in the 1970s. The plantation is still operated today by Latta Place Inc and is a working farm, though mainly for educational purposes. Visitors will get to see the donkeys, mules, cows, sheep, chickens and pigs that live happily on the farm to this day. The farm also has a small growing crop of cotton which is used for daily educational programs. You will also see the kitchen garden and honeybee exhibit. Every aspect of the farm was crucial to providing sustenance to plantation families throughout the years. When visiting you will be astounded at how much work it must have been for the Latta family not only to live on the land, but to try and make profit off it as well, especially without the help of the mechanized farming equipment you’ll find on modern farms.
For more ideas of things to do while in the area, check out this free Davidson vacation guide!