Within 93,000 square feet, the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores manages to fit all of the state's and most of the world's main aquatic environments into five galleries. A 30-foot waterfall throws a cool mist over guests as they begin a journey that brings them to the Piedmont gallery, where the aquarium's three spunky river otters?Neuse, Pungo, and Eno?frolic and play poker underwater. Further exhibits promise other memorable encounters, such as the Dinosaur Adventure where visitors come face-to-face with the lifelike extinct creatures, and the Tidal Touch Pool where handlers let visitors touch skates, rays, and select invertebrates. At the epicenter lies the ocean gallery, anchored by a 306,000-gallon tank with a 65-foot viewing window. Sand tiger sharks and moray eels swim about the Living Shipwreck exhibit, a replica of a German U-boat that sank off the United States' East Coast in 1942. Behind the glass of another tank, a young loggerhead sea turtle named Nimbus flashes its gold-toothed smile and rare white coloration.
Divers host live shows twice a day in the ocean tank, answering visitors' questions via special equipment. They've also been known to assist with proposals, unveiling engagement rings as an unsuspecting fianc? peers through the glass. Beyond overseeing the standing exhibits, the staff also ventures outside for numerous educational programs and activities. Participants can catch crabs, fish in the surf, explore the marsh, take a paddleboarding class, or even explore the water on canoeing and kayaking outings.
The IKO-certified instructors at Kite Club Hatteras help their pupils grab hold of kites and soar above the sky-blue waters of The Outer Banks. Using the ocean as their classroom and the back of a sea turtle as their chalkboard, the boarding profs teach students how to launch, land, and master complex techniques during three levels of instruction. Aside from helping pupils gain their IKO certification, they also lead multiday events, during which kiteboarders can relax in beach houses and take lessons on becoming independent riders.
Oceanic experts at North Carolina Maritime Museum share exhibits, artifacts, and artwork documenting the history and ecology of the sea near Beaufort. Your Groupon helps support the Museum Friends Group, a 501(c)3 nonprofit working to recover and display the infamous pirate Blackbeard's flagship, Queen Anne’s Revenge. The group aims to bring the remaining half of the shipwreck into the sunlight, preserve all the historical booty they discover, and salute the accomplishment with proud hook hands. A membership treats fans of the briny to a one-year subscription to the museum's e-newsletter, as well as invitations to members-only previews, including the Blackbeard unveiling in June, a 10% discount at the museum store, advance notice of special events, and more. Other salty exhibits include The Coastal History and Heritage display, boasting artifacts on pirates, shipwrecks, boatbuilding, the seafood industry, marine science, and the tidal properties of large grilled-cheese sandwiches.
The waterscape of Pamlico Sound is so full of game fish that one might expect they'd just hop right into the boat. It's nearly true, but anglers still need a little guidance when casting lines into the shimmering waters of North Carolina's sounds and sea. Fingeance Fishing Charters provides that direction with its souped-up, 27 foot, custom-built sportfishing boat. It's outfitted with fish-catching electronics and a cobia tower that provides an excellent visual and technological advantage in locating water-breathing friends. Fully licensed Captain Joey helms the vessel, and the ship's tech allows for species-specific targeting. That means whether fishing for flounder, striper speckled trout, and redfish they'll find them. Besides fishing ventures, the team also organizes clamming, crabbing, sightseeing, sand-dollar hunting, and sundown tours ideal for the whole family.
Since its 1965 founding in Venice Beach, California, Gold's Gym has dotted the globe with more than 600 locations where professional athletes and exercise newbies gather under the umbrella of personal strength. Nearly 3.5 million Gold's members chart and aim for their fitness peaks, perspiring beneath the gaze of certified personal trainers or pedaling beside peers at cycling sessions. In a diverse lineup of group classes, patrons strengthen cores with Pilates, finger-paint pictures of ninjas in martial arts, and amp up heart rates along to the pulsating soundtracks of Les Mills routines.
Many Gold's Gym locations stockpile futuristic amenities, such as cardio machines with individual iPod docks and televisions that help keep patrons motivated.
True to its roots as a premiere Brazilian Jiu Jitsu center, Alliance Fitness Center offers abundant mat space for students to practice grappling and ground-fighting techniques. But the studio goes beyond the mat, offering an array of fitness machines and bags so trainees can achieve optimal fitness. Utilizing all of Alliance's amenities, instructors lead muay thai, boxing, judo, group strength and conditioning, and Brazilian jujitsu classes—the latter two also offer a women’s-only counterpart class for a more supportive environment. Jiu jitsu also offers children an opportunity to learn self defense and anti-bullying skills.