An abundant number of recreational activities fill the space at Purple Planet 3-D Mini Golf. With black lights illuminating patches of neon paints, the indoor and always air-conditioned cooled mini-golf course bends the mind with challenging greens and mind-bending visuals such as aliens and floating satellites. As they navigate the course’s vortex tunnel and fog-filled corridors, golfers wear 3-D glasses, making obstacles appear to pop out and transforming every hole into an even deeper hole. Purple Planet visitors can also hone their billiards skills with games of pool or try their hand at the games at an on-site arcade.
A Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox, the Charlotte Knights develop budding professional ballplayers and earn devout Knights fans in their home—the 10,002-seat Knights Stadium. The Knights have a storied history and an impressive list of orb-striking alumni, including Cal Ripken Jr., Manny Ramirez, and Jon Garland. Visitors take home free giveaways during Friday-night promotions, and mascot Homer the Dragon roams the stadium on his four-wheeler, tossing T-shirts, bopping people with his tail, and advocating for anthropomorphized-dragon civil liberties.
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 person buys a gun, stores it away, and then never learns how to use it. That scenario perplexes Practical Arms founder and director Mark Williams, because knowing how to safely store and operate a firearm requires ongoing training and practice. That's why he and his fellow instructors draw upon their wealth of expertise to train novice and experienced marksmen. Boasting multiple training certifications from organizations such as the North Carolina Department of Justice—plus experience training law-enforcement personnel from agencies such as the FBI and ATF—Mark oversees classes that adhere to NRA curricula, such as the NRA basic pistol-shooting course and home-defense classes. In addition to drilling students in the safe use of firearms, Mark and his team maintain a welcoming, nonthreatening atmosphere by beginning each class with 10 minutes of standup comedy.
Celebrating their 20th anniversary this season, the Charlotte Eagles contend with 10 rival teams for supremacy in the United Soccer League’s Pro division. This year's roster is packed with seasoned players such as Colombian Jorge Herrera and local Charlottean Darryl Roberts, who sits among the league’s top scorers so far in 2012. A glance at the current schedule will help fans plan to attend a game when the sun will be close enough to earth to tan their bodies in home-team orange.
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.