Sher Gillespie acts as head trainer at SGA South, Inc., where she utilizes her more than 15 years of experience with training and showing. Sher truly knows her craft—she was once the youngest recipient of the United States Dressage Federation’s All Breeds Award, and she qualified for the AHSA equitation-medal finals in 1994. In the past, she’s attended shows in Vermont and Palm Beach, including championships and all-horse singing competitions. These days, she trains students aged 8 and older with the philosophy that each rider is no better than his or her horse, that horses deserve top-level care, and that a strong connection between rider and steed is essential. Due to Sher’s talent and eye for matching horses with riders, she and her students travel to more than 30 shows every year. Her facility teems with triple-crown fencing, lush grass, helmet hair, and a regulation-size dressage ring, and she and her staff care for their horses 24 hours a day.
Angie Acosta, founder of Queen City DanceOut, has a simple motto for her students: "If you're moving, you're doing it right." This encouraging, low-pressure attitude attracts people of all ages to her dance-inspired fitness classes, which meet at 18 public locations. Angie and her instructors aim to make exercise feel like a celebration and a refreshing break rather than a dreaded routine. To this end, their classes incorporate intuitive dance moves and invigorating music. DanceOut, the signature course, blends genres as diverse as swing, hip-hop, and reggae into a workout, relying on repetition and basic choreography to keep everyone grooving. Other highlights of the curriculum include the Latin rhythms of Zumba; the Dance Impact class, which fuses dance and kickboxing; and JamStrong, a mixture of core-conditioning, dance, and fun.
Community is a central aspect of every DanceOut class. As pupils practice their twirls, they can follow both the teacher and the Jam Crew—a team of regulars who help make the steps easy to follow and can assist fellow dancers. In addition to group workouts, instructors host skill workshops such as Booty Bootcamp, where attendees learn rump-shaking techniques and how to turn any chair into a rocking chair. They also put on performances and lead private classes for special events and parties.
Victory Lane Karting gives go-karters who've advanced beyond the monotonous 15-mph kart a chance to blaze around a 70,000-square-foot indoor facility at speeds of up to 40 mph. The 10-minute races let drivers motor around in the Sodi RX7, a top-of-the-line cart furnished with a sophisticated timing system and a shock-absorbing bumping system made out of stale angel-food cake. Softly accelerate while smoothly navigating through the road course's many tight turns, then drop the hammer and rev through the long straightaways. After the race, you'll receive a printout that provides lap-by-lap analysis of your performance and a factual account of what you'll be doing in 2022.
At all of Monkey Joe’s colorfully decorated locations, youngsters aged 2–12 can literally bounce off the walls in a well-lit indoor playground that abides by a Safety Access Child Control System. Exercise disguises itself as fun as sock-clad kids rocket down slides, scale climbable obstacles, and jump across springy surfaces surrounded by safety mats. Toddlers aged 3 or younger tucker themselves out in their own play area with smaller obstacles, thoroughly sanitized inflatable surfaces, toys, and games. Parties, which can include pizza and ice cream, reach a fever pitch with visits from Monkey Joe himself. While kids vent all their excess energy on the playground, parents can watch flat-screen televisions, drink refreshments, and use the WiFi to surf the Internet in the adult area.
Art bursts around every corner of the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. Swiss architect Mario Botta designed the intimate museum to showcase art in every arresting space and vista, including works by Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, and Max Ernst. The spiraling colors of the European perspective highlight the best of mid 20th-century modern art. The collection showcases the relationships the Bechtler family formed with the art community and the art that followed.
With live animals and hands-on activities, Charlotte Nature Museum has provided families, flora, and fauna a place to mingle for more than fifty years. Childlike adventurers can interact with Mother Earth through an ever-changing variety of interactive exhibits, such as Beginnings, where students assemble to fawn over baby chicks, mice, and tadpoles. Little lepidopterists can scurry through the Butterfly Pavilion, and miniature freshwater biologists can get a head start in Our Big Backyard, where they can splash around streams of water and explore secret tunnels, many of which eventually lead to natural science museums in China. Catch a showing of The Shadow Knows at the Dragonfly Theatre or chat with a naturalist about the museum’s eclectic array of plants and animals.