An affable red-footed tortoise named Confucius and a gentle black rat snake named Oreo greet visitors at Cold Blooded Encounters as founder Sean Amidon, a former reptile handler at Disney's Animal Kingdom, supplies a steady stream of compelling facts. Secluded and multispecies habitats house more than 150 species of amphibians, fish, reptiles, and invertebrates, including fire salamanders, jewel cichlids, Kenyan sand boas, and whip scorpions. Annual memberships grant gift-shop discounts, guest passes, and a family photo posed with an animal. Cold Blooded Encounters also reaches out to school groups from preschools to colleges with effusive educational programs and sends ambassadors to birthday parties, where children can help feed turtles or pose for photos with 8-foot snakes.
With a 12-year basketball career spent in the NBA minor league and FIBA Europe, BeReady director Ben Ebong believes the academy's vision is bigger than basketball alone. The game has had a profound influence on his life. It’s taught him to be a leader, face challenges, deal with disappointment, and become a valuable member of a team. These are the same principles he instills in the players at each youth basketball camp. With the help of experienced coaches and professional speakers, the academy's program aims to build character in addition to athletic training. While learning fundamental basketball skills, students will begin to understand the discipline needed to compete at a high level and appreciate the importance of an active lifestyle. Much like team mascots who preemptively glue their heads on before doing backflips, they’ll learn to set goals and draw up plans of action for achieving them.
The FAA-certified flight instructors that represent Alpha One Air Service impart winged wisdom to their students, whether the goal includes a casual discovery flight or full pilot certification. Before taking off on their own, students learn about safety regulations and procedures in a safe environment. Novices hoping for a glimpse of flight training before diving into a full certification regimen can sign up for the Discovery flight program, which allows students to take the controls of a light aircraft while an instructor watches closely. On-ground training and in-flight piloting sessions can be scheduled for different days.
Professional bobsled teams shave seconds off their time by breathing in unison and leveraging flexibility during turns. Master the techniques necessary to defeating hardened gangs of bobsled criminals with today's deal: for $39, you get a month of unlimited classes at Gotta Yoga Studio, a $135 value. Gotta Yoga's cozy studio is located about 10 miles outside of downtown Charlotte. With 30 days of unlimited classes, you don't have to commit to a particular style or time slot. Bring your own mat, or rent one of Gotta Yoga's for $2 per session.
The Reddoor II labels itself an "elegant erotic boutique," stocking a variety of lingerie, lubricants, and adult toys for imaginative bedroom escapades. The shop's adult provisions have charmed Charlotte customers for more than seven years with award-winning goods from brands such as Jimmyjane and California Exotic Novelties, making displays of affection more intimate and easier to express than love notes blurrily translated into firework displays.
When rock-climbing couple Christy and Scott Thrift got engaged, Christy was dangling off the side of Stone Mountain. The same adventurous spirit that elevated their engagement informs their married life, which they spend running their wilderness guiding service, Thrifty Adventures. While some of the duo’s trips require previous outdoor experience, most welcome all participants, and range from ice climbing adventures to rock climbing and backpacking trips. Along the way, Scott and Christy teach safety basics, climbing techniques, and strategies for preserving natural surroundings, such as refraining from nibbling on the mountain.