McDowell Nature Center and Preserve

McDowell Nature Center serves as the gateway to the 1108-acre McDowell Nature Preserve and is the source for educational programs and information on the preserve's natural communities, flora, and fauna. The preserve, the oldest in Mecklenburg County, has been left 90% undeveloped and protects mostly forested, rolling terrain along the banks of Lake Wylie.


McDowell Nature Center features live, native animals, an exhibit hall, and a gift shop. Outside, visitors can stop and observe nature in action at the National Wildlife Federation certified Backyard Habitat Garden which includes bird feeding stations, butterfly gardens, garden pond, and a demonstration compost area.

Hours & Admission

Monday - Saturday 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Sunday 1:00 - 5:00 p.m.

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Find Us

McDowell Nature Center and Preserve

15222 York Road
Charlotte, NC 28278
704-588-5224 phone

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Parking & Transit

McDowell Nature Center and Nature Preserve is located at 15222 York Road in southwestern Mecklenburg County. Traveling South on I-77 from Charlotte: Near the NC/SC border, take Exit 90 onto Carowinds Boulevard. Go west approximately 3 miles to Highway 49 (York Road). Turn left on Highway 49 and travel 4 miles. The nature preserve entrance is on the right.