WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) -- Sandy beaches, historic architecture and year-round fishing, golfing and boating are a few of the best-known attractions in the Wilmington-Cape Fear area of the North Carolina coast.
However, some visitors will be fascinated by what may be the region's most unusual offering: a Venus flytrap trail.
The plant, which is native to the area, catches and eats live insects. However, it stands less than 8 inches high -- contrary to its portrayal in Hollywood as a giant man-eater.
Summer is prime viewing time for the flytrap. Just remember, you can look, but don't touch -- the plants are surprisingly fragile and it's illegal to poach them.
In Wilmington, Venus flytraps and related carnivorous plants can be found at the Herbert Bluethenthal Memorial Wildflower Preserve on the University of North Carolina campus at 601 College Road in Wilmington; in the carnivorous plant gardens on the Waterwise Trail at Airlie Gardens, 300 Airlie Road; in the Bog Garden, at the arboretum at New Hanover County Cooperative Extension, 6206 Oleander Drive; and on the nature trail behind the Alderman Elementary School at Independence Boulevard and Canterbury Road.
Nearby, you'll find the plants on the Flytrap Trail at Carolina Beach State Park, 1010 State Park Road; in the Cape Fear Conservatory at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, 900 Loggerhead Road, Kure Beach; on the Sand Ridge Nature Trail at Lake Waccamaw State Park, 40 miles west of Wilmington; and in the Green Swamp Preserve near the town of Supply, about a half-hour from Wilmington.
Finally, you can buy one to take home at Flytrap Farms, also in the town of Supply at 1930 Civietown Road SW.
For more information about the area, visit www.gocapefearcoast.com.