Stanley Rehder Carnivorous Plant Garden at Piney Ridge Nature Preserve

Stanley Rehder Carnivorous Plant Garden at Piney Ridge Nature Preserve – Wilmington

This is quite a unique attraction, as you don’t often see a whole place themed around carnivorous plants. The location features a concrete walking trail, well-designed wooden decks for observation, and an impressive array of carnivorous plants. These include Venus Flytraps and Pitcher Plants.

The nature preserve opens during daytime hours every day. The North Carolina Coastal Land Trust holds a conservation easement dedicated to the protection of the garden.


Stanley Rehder was a Wilmington native horticulturalist who was very interested in flesh-eating plant species. In fact, it’s safe to say that these plants were his life’s work. Ironically, the carnivorous plant garden lies three-quarter acres behind the Alderman Elementary School.

It’s one of the few microclimates in the world that can foster healthy outdoor growth for these kinds of plants. Visitors are welcome, and they can take a stroll through at any time during the daytime hours that they wish.

Every Saturday morning, free plant hikes are offered to those who want to get a closer look at the various carnivorous plant species. Anyone who wishes to take part must wear closed-toed shoes that feature some level of durability. That’s to be expected, considering that the plants not only have teeth, but they also have flesh-eating tendencies. 

Though Rehder died in 2012, he would have been very disappointed with the 2013 incident that made its way onto the news. Unfortunately, over 1000 Venus flytrap plants, which were valued at about $20,000, were stolen from the location. It was one of several thefts of similar plants throughout the area, according to the authorities. 

On the brighter side of things, the unfortunate phenomenon meant that a new state law was passed, which made taking a Venus flytrap unlawfully a felony. If nothing else, it means that the plants get to stay where they belong.

Visitor Information

If you’re interested in visiting the location, you can get to the Stanley Rehder Carnivorous Plant Garden using the Cross City Trail. Alternatively, you can park adjacent to the Alderman elementary school, which is just in front of the garden. 

It’s not a very big space, as it’s less than an acre in size. However, the plants grow in a very dense pattern. All the species are native to the Cape Fear area, and you are advised to follow the line of stepping stones laid out. You also want to be careful about including children in your excursion. Though the plants are somewhat dangerous, they have an inviting, colorful look that lends itself to the tremendous viewing pleasure. 

Alternatively, you can use one of the observation decks mentioned above to see things from another viewpoint. The destination is highly relaxing, and it also doesn’t have an admission cost for locals or visitors.

There aren’t any complicated exhibits or schedules to wrap your head around. However, if you do have any queries that are not cleared up here, feel free to go to the Wilmington Parks and Recreation website and call the phone number listed for any clarification you need. 

Did you love playing with trains as a child? Do you have interest in the history of the railroad? Visit Wilmington Railroad Museum.

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