Unlike their mythical cousin, the velociraptor, modern-day raptors are real birds of prey that strike like death from the sky. Visitors can expect to see a wide variety of these fearsome creatures, from eagles to owls, some of which can be seen up close and personal at one of the center's several live programs and tours. On a clear day, fortunate guests can catch a clear view of the resident raptor, Emma, a white barn owl taken under the wing of the center following a series of broken bones. Too fragile to survive in the wild, Emma now pitches in around the center, raising wildlife awareness and taloning up rogue litter.
Through costumed interpreters and guided walks, Historic Latta Plantation ushers visitors through nearly two centuries of its rich history. The former plantation now serves as a living history farm nestled inside a more-than 700-acre nature preserve. At the working farm, which houses several rare species of historic livestock, staff demonstrate growing short-staple cotton and divulge facts about the resident honeybees, touching on which species were traditionally used for pulling tiny carriages. The farm also brings local history to life through 35 seasonal events ranging from ghost walks and interactive historical celebrations to cooking classes and summer day camps.
Latta Equestrian Center hoists riders of all levels of equestrian experience into the saddle for a 45- to 50-minute guided horseback ride ($25) through the Latta Plantation Nature Preserve. After a brief tutorial on the finer points of gallops and gees, equine-pilots will saunter Western style down the puttyroot, orchid-dotted trails of the preserve atop their one-horsepower vehicles. Throughout the 16 miles of horseback lanes within the preserve, riders will discover their inner Burton Gilliams as a cavalcade of Carolina critters, including gray foxes and red-spotted newts, look on from their apartment windows.
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.
After listening to professional instruction from Local Paddler's guides, total novices can paddle their standup paddleboards through the crystalline waters of North Carolina's lakes and rivers. Instructors teach newbies to stand upright on their boards, showcase J-strokes, sweep strokes, and other fundamentals, and also impart water-safety lessons, such as never drink the entire lake in one sitting. Local Paddler's shop furnishes all equipment for aquatic adventures, which unfold along the scenic shorelines of Falls Lake, Wake Forest Reservoir, Lake Norman, Lake Wylie, Tailrace Marina, Mountain Island Lake, or the Catawba River.
At Curves, exercisers of all fitness levels move around a circuit of hydraulic-resistance machines that have been designed to work with women's bodies and promote weight loss, protect against osteoporosis, and deal with arthritis. An experienced trainer is always nearby to help manage machine-maneuvering and muscle making. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks, filling medicine balls with medicine, and losing your momentum, the hydraulic machines account for different body weights and fitness levels to create resistance that matches one's abilities, which thereby decreases the risk of soreness or injury. Because traditional lift-and-lower motions create bulky muscles, each machine uses push-and-pull motions to create toned, lean muscles perfect for crushing a grapefruit without looking like you can.