Around the shores of Jordan Lake, a squad of outdoor enthusiasts works to cultivate environmental stewardship in youngsters through discovery-based classes and events that disguise education in a cloak of fun. Codirectors Eleanor Herr and Denise Nelson both possess a passion for nature, degrees in early-childhood education, and the creativity to combine the two into exciting programs.
Lessons and field trips designed for public- or home-schooled children instill a love of nature while adhering to the Common Core State and North Carolina Essential Standards for education. Events for kids and their families, such as a full-moon night hike with a campfire, encourage bonding that can strengthen telepathic communication during future potato-sack races. Weekly nature camps for ages 6–11 keep young brains blossoming in the summer. Jordan Lake Environment Education also hosts birthdays, replete with themed activities, coloring books, and free time for any self-provided cake and refreshments.
Each issue of Bon Appétit stuffs the hungry minds of more than 1.4 million subscribers with dozens of recipes as well as several feature-length morsels of food news and information about restaurants and entertaining. Plus, its glossy, full-color pages sparkle with advice from professional chefs and updates on culinary trends, such as macaroons made from turduckens stuffed with cupcakes.
Youngsters bound across a sea of slides and playground equipment spread across the 6,500-square-foot indoor oasis at PlayNation Parties & Playgrounds of Morrisville. Rescue play time from the evil grips of rain, cold weather, and homework taped to meteorites by heading indoors for uninterrupted fun during open-play hours—Tuesday–Friday afternoons and select times on weekends. Kids burn energy as they climb on wooden playsets and rock walls, hang around on tire swings, and jump to their heart's content in a bouncy castle. Wee little ones can toddle around Breckenridge Village, a separate play area with two wooden playhouses designed specifically for pint-size citizens. Admission transfers a full day of action to each child, and punch cards can cover a single child for multiple visits or a herd of wild things for a single day.
While the kids are at play, adults relax in PlayNation's two parent lounges, which come equipped with flat-screen TVs, comfy seats, and a Wii gaming station. The sheltered playground floods every chamber with light so parents can clearly pick out their progeny. It also sports a colorful foam floor to help prevent boo-boos resulting from tiny tumbles or attempts to stage a children's production of Cliffhanger.
Founded in 1902, when everyone walked uphill both ways, the Bulls have evolved into one of the country's best-known minor-league teams. Boasting a rich history and talented prospects making their way to the majors, the Bulls play in the 15-year-old Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Featuring a 10,000-seat capacity, comfy extra-wide seating, a new video board, and a sublime view of the bull perched atop the 32-foot Blue Monster in left field, the Durham Bulls Athletic Park is a superb place to witness the 2009 AAA National Champions run, hit, and skillfully communicate with a flurry of dexterous semaphore. Stocked with young talent, the Bulls will showcase several players in 2010 that are sure to soon end up on a major-league roster. Inspired by 23-year-old Desmond Jennings—who posted a .325 batting average and .419 on-base percentage last year—and 22-year-old, hard-throwing Jeremy Hellickson—who fanned 70 batters and walked only 15 in 57.1 innings—the Bulls are primed for another title run through an action-packed schedule this year.
The two Rs in R&R Grill represent father-and-son co-owners, Rob and Ross, who moved to Chapel Hill permanently after falling in love with the area. However, they soon noticed an alarming trend; cookie-cutter chain restaurants began to replace local businesses, a pattern Rob and Ross sought to change with R&R Grill. At their eatery, Rob and Ross infuse the menu of casual American cuisine with fresh produce and meats, making every dish in-house. St. Louis ribs glisten under a coating of chipotle barbecue sauce and a jumbo lump crab cake shares plate space with garlic sautéed shrimp. Diners can match their meals with draft beers, wine, and specialty cocktails or fresh air on the expansive outdoor patio.
As a child, Ruth Warren learned to value creativity over consumption. Her parents—who grew up during the Great Depression—taught their children to make ornaments from magazines, matchbooks, and bottle caps, paper dolls from catalogs, and even their house from salvaged wood and nails. As an adult, Ruth still celebrates these values as an artist and the marketing coordinator for The Scrap Exchange. The nonprofit company collects materials from more than 250 industries within a 100-mile radius, looking to repurpose everything from foam, paper, zippers, test tubes, fabric, and vintage goods into art and craft supplies.
Staffers have aims beyond just reducing waste and promoting environmental awareness: they hope to create a vibrant community. Alongside merchandise, their shop makes room for craft classes, an art gallery, and an artists’ marketplace of items created with discarded materials. Everyone is welcome to work inside a 400-square-foot design center, outfitted with sewing machines, a serger, a die-cut machine, a button-making machine, T-shirt hot press, and more than 300 reference books. The inspirational space earned a feature on Apartment Therapy, as well as Santa's nice list.