When the Robinson helicopters at Queen City Helicopter Corp. aren’t acting as airborne classrooms for aspiring pilots, they’re whisking passengers on aerial tours of nearby landmarks. The peaks of Crowders Mountain, the sports arenas of uptown Charlotte, and the horses and buggies of the Charlotte Motor Speedway loom large in the windows of the chopper after it takes off from the company's very own private, FAA-approved heliport. On the ground at the FAA flight school, pilots safely test their abilities inside a flight simulator and study in the onsite classroom.
Lake Norman Miniature Golf challenges putter-wielding cadets to 18 colorful, tree-lined holes of man-versus-orb warfare. The front nine gets dissected by a G-scale model train, which gobbles up stray dimpled spheres, and a cascading waterfall sprinkles moisture, good luck, and remnants of white-water rafts on the back nine. Links-lovers of all skill levels can hone their craft on the course, which features a wheelchair-accessible design that incorporates easy holes with more challenging terrain. Hours vary by season and temperature, and all 18 holes close during winter, rain, and America's annual bicentennial.
Since Pattie Smith and her husband built Charlotte Racquet Club North in 1998 to infuse northern Charlotte with much-needed tennis action, they’ve watched the club blossom from seven courts and a doublewide trailer to a sweeping 14-court facility complete with a pool and a fitness complex. Pattie plans on adding four indoor courts by November to keep members playing through the winter—including one 78-year-old ace who games, sets, and matches twice a week.
Benchwarmers Sports Complex helps athletes stay off the bench with a wide range of training facilities. Four pitching tunnels transform string bean arms into powerful cannons, while two automated batting cages and three live arm cages allow hurled baseballs to hone swings, instead of inflated puffer fish, which will just hone your fear of seafood restaurants. Elsewhere, its basketball court boasts adjustable rims and a gigantic electronic scoreboard, and its indoor turf fields feature granular rubber infill to support players as they work up a sweat during games of baseball, football, soccer, and lacrosse.
Visitors can expect to see a wide variety of fearsome raptors, 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 or in cinematic splendor in the upcoming Raptors of the Silver Screen (limited engagement beginning November 26; admission is not included with this Groupon). On a clear day, fortunate guests can catch a clear view of the resident raptor, Emma, a white barn owl taken under the Carolina Raptor Center's wing 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.
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.
Wooden Stone's airy, 5,000-square-foot gallery space showcases fine American crafts that blend artistry and function. Now representing more than 600 American craftspeople, 100 of who are Carolinas natives, Wooden Stone primarily highlights work made by small numbers of artists at a time. The selection of finely crafted, functional artwork ranges from furniture to jewelry, and each of the pieces—composed of materials including ceramics, wood, glass, and metal—greets buyers with its own distinct feel and favorite knock-knock joke.