“There’s nothing to do here,” is a familiar sentiment heard when describing Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. But, there are plenty of things to do — both in hot and cold months — if you know where to look. One such hidden gem is the Neuseway Nature Park in Kinston, North Carolina.
The park is about an hour’s drive from Jacksonville, but it is worth the drive. Kinston itself is a historical city with a lot of unique shops, restaurants, and activities. After many years of decline, it is really starting to make a comeback by bringing in unique experiences for people of all ages.
What to Do at Neuseway Nature Park
The Neuseway Nature Park is a reasonably sized complex with multiple buildings. They have a train car that you — err, your kids — can play on, seasonal activities, a nature center with local animals, a science building with a planetarium, a playground, and an RV site. You’ll find interactive educational activities for children of all ages, both inside and out. The little ones can play with fake food in the farmers market and barn, learn in the doctor’s center, play with Legos, and test out various hands-on science experiments. The nature center has all kinds of local animals, including snakes, an alligator, fish, lizards, and even a cockatiel.
Your older children can enjoy interacting with the various exhibits in the science building and actually learn something at the same time! One of the larger exhibits in the science building is a digestive system with entrances at various parts of the building.
How Long Should You Plan For?
If you’re coming from Jacksonville, you can expect about a half-day trip. Plan to go in the morning, and pack a lunch or eat at one of the local restaurants before driving back home. It’s not a huge place, but it’s fun for a morning or afternoon.
How Much Does it Cost?
This is the best part. It is absolutely free! There is no admission to any portion of the facilities, including the planetarium. There is a small fee if you want to go into the train car, but you can look in the windows first and decide if that’s something you want to do.
The Neuseway Nature Park is a great day trip — perfect for both summer and winter activities, as many of the exhibits are inside. Definitely pack a lunch or plan to stop into one of the local eateries right around the corner while you’re there.
The park is probably not a place you’re going to trek out to on a regular basis, but if you haven’t been yet, add it to your to-do list!
Want more things to do near MCB Lejeune? Check out our guide to Living Like a Local: MCB Camp Lejeune.
Photo Credits: Eastern Sky Photography NC