Outdoor recreation abounds in Lenoir County, where visitors can find a world-class nature center, family-friendly hiking trails, stocked fishing ponds, a drag strip, Kinston Indians baseball, a nationally acclaimed disc-golf course, 11 bustling parks (including a popular splash pad at Fairfield Park) and a whole lot more.
Back to Nature
In 2009, more than 75,000 people visited the Neuseway Nature Center, one of the countyâs top attractions. Located on 55 acres along the scenic Neuse River, the Neuseway Nature Center features several hiking trails, stocked catfish ponds, canoes, an 18-foot wall for rock climbing and a saltwater âtouch tankâ where children can feel sea urchins, starfish and other creatures. The park allows tent and RV camping as well as picnicking, and a miniature train called Big Daddyâs Express will take children and adults on a ride for a small fee. Also at the park are a planetarium, a fossil dig, and a hands-on health and science museum. A fun new addition is a huge tepee for rent on the banks of the Neuse, with room for eight people to spend the night. Visit www.neusewaypark.com for more information.
The Class A Kinston Indians â a farm team of the Cleveland Indians baseball team â are another major draw to Lenoir County. âThe Indians are quite well known regionally, and the games are a wonderful family experience,â says Lenoir County Tourism Director Lucy Marston. Historic Grainger Stadium, the K-Tribeâs home, has won awards for its immaculately-maintained field, and the stadium was renovated recently to provide new scoreboard technology, comfortable seating and plenty of restroom space. Visit www.kinstonindians.com for more information.
Get in Gear
The Kinston Drag Strip has been around since 1960, and fans can see as many as 150 cars battle for up to seven hours during a regular race at the track. Find more information at www.kdsmotorsports.com.
North Carolina has a wealth of excellent golf venues, and Kinston is home to four of them. The city courses â Falling Creek Golf Course, Kinston Country Club, Bill Fay Park Golf Course and Cutter Creek Golf Club â challenge golfers of all skill levels.
Barnet Parkâs nationally acclaimed 18-hole disc golf course winds through the woods around the scenic park, offering a great mix of wooded and open holes. An active roster of games and tournaments draws disc golf players to Kinston from around the nation. Visit www.kinstondiscgolf.com for more information.
Gone to the Dogs
The brand-new 32-acre Rotary Dog Park, just down the road from the Neuseway Nature Center, features large ponds, open areas and walking trails for dog training and exercise.
Other Places to Play
The Kinston-Lenoir County Parks & Recreation Department offers a wide range of athletic programs throughout the year, including soccer, football, tennisâ basketballâ baseball, bowling, softballâ group exercise classes and more. Get details at www.kinstonrec.com. Other recreation attractions include the annual Kinston 8000: Run for the River event, an 8K race and one-mile fun run; Tullâs Millpond, a 200-acre millpond thatâs open to the public for fishing, kayaking and canoeing; and West Water Park, featuring five pools and a four-story water slide.