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.
The Economist's globe-spanning scope, comprehensive analysis, and crushing, unflinching grasp on world economics make it required reading for people, people persons, and people-shaped cacti looking to stay up-to-date on world news, politics, and business. In addition to the weekly publications—including the magazine's 20+ Special Reports and its Technology Quarterly—subscribers to The Economist also receive special benefits, such as The World in 2012, a special annual volume that predicts trends for the coming year. Subscribers also get unrestricted access to the online site, with a fully searchable archive dating back to the Neolithic Internet era (1997), as well as free access to The Economist in audio, which includes the option to listen to digital recordings of all print articles or to download them as a weekly podcast. For updates on the go or “on the sitting down on a park bench enjoying the scenery,” access The Economist on an iPhone or iPad—every photo, article, and chart is delivered to subscribers' devices by Thursday at 4 p.m. EST.
Students at The Rock MMA & Fitness Center get the chance to learn from and train with an undefeated professional boxer, a 10-year jujitsu veteran, and a professional mixed-martial-arts fighter. All accolades just happen to belong to one man, Coach Matt. Joined by wrestling veteran Coach Brian and a team of qualified instructors, Matt teaches a full week of martial-arts classes, such as kickboxing, jujitsu, boxing, and mixed martial arts. He rounds out the schedule with conditioning and fitness-focused training, including a boot camp and hours set aside for open use of any of the gym's equipment.
Designed by golf legend Arnold Palmer, Birkdale Golf Club’s course transforms natural beauty into challenging obstacles, with 200 acres of rolling hills intersected by streams and framed by mature pines. The course’s bermuda fairways lie beyond elevation changes that give way to greenscapes festooned with ponds and deep, stone-lined bunkers that test players to use every club in their bags before desperately reaching for the oversized soup ladle. Once approach shots find the green, golfers must putt precisely atop the firm and true crenshaw bentgrass greens.
Birkdale Golf Club pampers players before and after rounds with a practice range and onsite tavern trimmed with rich wood hues and green leather barstools. The club also staffs a team of PGA pro instructors who school pupils in the arts of swinging and scorecard penmanship with private lessons and group clinics.
Course at a Glance:
Travels In Wine Tours' co-founders, Kimberlee Young and Derek Schuler, share their love of wine, food, and travel with curious tourists through tours designed and led by certified sommeliers. Epicurean scenic tours of boutique wineries, personalized luxury Napa vacations, and custom weekend getaways marry viticultural education with flavorful indulgence as guests take in picturesque panoramas of vineyards that stretch to the horizon before curving upward and forming bridges to the moon.
Hawthorne's New York Pizza & Bar's dough-slingers serve a piping-hot menu of pasta, heroes, and hand-tossed pizzas, earning a 2011 Charlotte Magazine Voters' Choice award for best pizza. Edible disks are spooned with sauce and configured for specialty deliciousness with such options as the luau pizza⎯a blend of pineapple, bacon, smoked pulled pork, and caramelized onions wrapped up in a grass skirt ($9–$18)⎯and the Sicilian's thick, square crust clad only in mozzarella ($14.50). Herbs and gorgonzola cheese roam across hills of pasta and valleys stuffed with chicken or sausage in the gorgonzola pasta ($10.50), and the philly cheesesteak hero ($8.85) laces standard white american cheese with the illicit flavors of chipotle mayo. Chefs layer eggplant rollentini ($11) with a blend of mozzarella, ricotta, and romano cheeses before spackling it with pesto and oven-baking it to monumental deliciousness.