The Taste of Charlotte unrolls a five-block red carpet of family-friendly merriment, presenting culinary celebrations from area restaurants, live music, and myriad entertainment options. Use the coins to score smoky samples from 2010 Best of the Taste winner Outlaw BBQ Shack or a decadent delight from Divine Pies Bakery (restaurant samples range from one to three coins). Take shelter from stampeding herds of street performers at the Tavern, in which hardworking taste buds can treat themselves to soothing sips of New Belgium beers and Twisted wines, including pinot grigio and moscato (beverages range from two to four coins).
Old Salem Museums & Gardens whisks visitors to the cozy streets of a reconstructed 18th-century Moravian town that encompasses 100 restored and reclaimed buildings and expansive, pristine gardens. As they stroll through the 90-acre homage to early Americana, visitors can interact with hands-on activities, such as the German paper-cutting art of Scherenschnitte or the colonial tradition of libeling a governor with accusations of actually governing. Old Salem's horticultural marvels include the Miksch Garden—a living illustration of Moravian subsistence farming—and the Family Gardens of Salt Street, which demonstrate the innovative practice of seed saving. In addition to year-round attractions, special exhibits rotate through town, celebrating momentous occasions, notable people, and game-changing presidential pets. After traversing the grounds, visitors can peruse souvenirs at a number of gift shops or sidle into Winkler’s Bakery for a piece of renowned Moravian sugar cake.
Snakes slither in glass display cases, and lizards wriggle in the hands of trained handlers as they're held up in full view of a curious crowd. This is the scene as one of Repticon's presenters educates attendees on the biology, behavior, and typing speeds of exotic cold-blooded creatures at one of the year-round shows held in cities across the country. Reptile and amphibian breeders, scholars, and handlers engage audiences in lectures and demonstrations in the midst of live reptile exhibits, family activities, and displays for exotic-pet supplies. Presentations may focus on the genetics of large snake species, the specifics of exotic-pet care, and the effect that tiny hats have on the image of arachnids such as tarantulas, scorpions, and spiders.
A Cape Fear naturalist with a master's degree in environmental science and captain's credentials from the United States Coast Guard, Captain Joe Abbate is just the guy to follow into North Carolina's swamps and coastal waterways. Joe and his nautical team at Wrightsville Scenic Beach Tours lead expeditions along the Atlantic coast that range from birding tours to sunset expeditions to excursions in which passengers learn to talk like a pirate from Don Juan Cortez, a swashbuckling historical reenactor. The company's fleet consists of two ships: Shamrock, a 27-foot, motorized catamaran that can carry up to 22 passengers, and Island Hopper a 22-foot skiff that can navigate both the open water and marsh grass.
Designed by architect Rafael Viñoly, the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University not only houses precious works of art that span centuries; it is a work of art itself. Composed of five separate, rectangular volumes, the Nasher Museum compartmentalizes its 65,000 square feet of space elegantly and efficiently. Two pavilions host rotating exhibits and another pavilion contains the permanent collection. In addition, an auditorium seats 173 people and features lectures and film screenings, whereas the final pavilion houses two classrooms, in addition to the museum's store and café, where members receive discounts.
Holiday Art Shows gathers together a wide array of contemporary and traditional artwork for arts and crafts fairs held in Lexington, Kentucky; Wilmington, North Carolina; and St. Augustine, Florida. Visitors can shop for paintings, photography, and sculptures to decorate their homes or drape themselves in handmade jewelry and fiber art. A knowledgeable jury reviews each artist's offerings to ensure a high-quality selection.
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