Charleston is providing an early jump on the spring tourism season on the South Carolina coast as it hosts the annual Southeastern Wildlife Exposition.
Between 30,000 and 40,000 usually attend the three-day event that opens Friday but offers visitors previews through the day Thursday.
This year, the expo hosts 120 wildlilfe artists and 300 exhibitors.
There are also popular demonstrations, ranging from raptors from the Center for Birds of Prey to a dock dogs competition featuring retrievers.
Tourism officials say that 2011 should continue a steady, solid recovery for the $18.4 billion tourism industry in the state.