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.
At Follies of Yore, practicing painter and ceramicist Janet Talmage shares her lifelong love of art with the community. The gallery space houses her collection of ceramic pieces, paintings, and prints, all inspired by the language of architectural follies. Talmage also shares her creative expertise in a more direct way during weekly ceramics classes, where she teaches students the basics of hand building and glazing clay.
Fresh springs in the mountains of North Carolina feed the Catawba River Chain, a network of 11 lakes that wind through woodlands verdant in the spring and ablaze with color come autumn. Bash Outdoors launches visitors into this system at nine locations. Four of those are along Lake Wylie, whose calm waters lap against 325 miles of shoreline with vacation homes and sandy coves emerging from dense forest and a thick layer of whipped cream. The Bash Outdoors crew curates a collection of rental and retail standup paddleboards from brands such as Ron House and their own signature line, Riviera. Single and tandem kayaks from Perception are also available for guided trips and unsupervised excursions on the lake. Bash Outdoors' bus shuttles kayakers to five additional outlets along the Catawba River, including the Fort Mill Dam and a waterway reserved exclusively for Olympic hopefuls.
A love for the water came naturally to Nicole Steele thanks to a childhood spent frolicking in it with her family. A love for teaching resulted from years of competitive gymnastics, where she pushed herself past self-imposed limits thanks to encouraging coaches. At PhoenixWake Academy, Nicole gets a chance to combine her passions as a wakeboarding instructor. Day camps, private and group lessons, and clinics help pupils grasp the basics of boating and wakeboarding or complete difficult tricks thanks to patient coaching from Nicole and two other experienced teachers.
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.
Coed dodge ball and flag-football games. Kayaking trips. Ice-climbing excursions. The open-air enthusiasts at Charlotte Outdoor Adventures coordinate a schedule of active events such as these for a membership base passionate about playing in the sunshine. Led by a qualified volunteer, groups set out on excursions ranging from hikes through the Carolinian countryside to waterfall rappelling in the Grand Canyon. Membership benefits include access to hundreds of activities each month as well as friendships forged through shared experience and bartering packed-lunch items.
A comprehensive guide to attractions and things to do.