Carolina Dance Capital is a family affair. Husband and wife duo Fritz and Annette Schulte own the studio along with their daughter, Nina, who serves as artistic director. The rest of the staff includes eight regular dance instructors and more than 15 guest teachers and choreographers. In a variety of classes, they help students as young as two and as old as whatever to get fit and express themselves through ballet, jazz, tap, yoga, and Zumba.
Class sizes are kept small to encourage close personal attention and a supportive atmosphere. Six studios occupy the 8,700 square foot facility, and each is outfitted with observation windows, spring-loaded floors to prevent injury, and Super Soakers to facilitate Gene Kelly impressions. In addition to classes, pupils of all abilities can partake in cheer camps, workshops, and competitive dance teams. A waiting area for parents is equipped with complimentary WiFi.
From the very first tee shot over a lake to the pond protecting the left side of the 18th green, the course at River Ridge Golf Club pits players against the physical and psychological challenges brought by omnipresent water hazards, including the Neuse River that intersects the course on several holes.
Architect Chuck Smith’s 1997 design weaves course play through a 6,740-yard gauntlet furnished with a plush carpet of bermuda-grass fairways and rough that gives way to fast-moving G-6 bent-grass greens. The course's signature 5th hole rewards golfers who keep their tee shots on the fairway with a short-iron approach that must clear a large pond and any caddies sunbathing in the large greenside bunker.
As a semiprivate club, membership at River Ridge unlocks a slew of benefits not available to the general public. Though the practice area—composed of a driving range and putting and chipping greens—is open to everyone, only members may make use of the locker rooms, club storage, and handicap program provided at the clubhouse. Additionally, members are granted access to special events, tournaments, and PGA pro Tim Cockrell’s lessons, which help players calibrate putting strokes and find their swing after a long time away from the game to search for their favorite golf ball that got lost in the Neuse River.
Course at a Glance:
In 1976, educator, musician, and kinesiologist Robin Wes longed for a children's gym that prioritized personal growth over competition. Unveiled at a time when physical-education classes pushed students to focus almost exclusively on winning, Robin's program was swiftly adopted and is now used in more than 300 Little Gyms worldwide. Robin still pens original music to accompany lessons, which engage whippersnappers aged 4 months to 12 years with gymnastics, dance, karate, and parent and child activities.
Each of The Little Gym's classes introduces simple movements that sharpen motor skills and set brains whirring, allowing kids to progress at their own pace until they can finally build a computer out of macaroni and glitter. Staff members strive to build a base for lifelong social skills and self-assurance with each exercise, including activities rooted purely in fun, such as summer camps or birthday parties, which helped The Little Gym to earn title of #1 Birthday Chain in Parents Magazine.
For more than a decade, The Hitting Zone has helped baseball and softball players hone their slugging skills with top-notch batting cages. Its newly renovated facility includes seven new batting cages, new token machines, professional-quality turf, and enhanced lighting. While three cages devour tokens and spit out speedy pitches, schedule-savvy batters claim one of four regular cages for a designated hour of ball-pummeling against a Cy Young android lookalike.
Opened as a roller-skating center in 1977, Wheels Fun Park broadened its ambitions in 1992 when it bloomed into a full-fledged family fun center. After its metamorphosis, the park incorporated attractions that include an 18-hole mini-golf course, five batting cages, and a quarter-mile go-kart track. Nothing overshadows its roots though, and today's 25,000-square-foot roller rink commands a 14-speaker sound system and a dazzling light show that twinkles in skaters' sparkling eyes along with the glow of two disco balls.
A 6,500-square-foot play gym allows tots to act out the story of the Minotaur of Crete in a labyrinthine system of climbing tubes. An onsite skate park treats boarders to a slew of supervised rails and spines as well as a mini halfpipe. During holidays and when school is not in session, day camps keep kids well fed and well educated in subjects such as the geometry of mini golf.
For a few centuries, Carver’s Falls was closed to the public, and it's easy to see how much the area benefited from that solitude. The natural beauty of its forests and the waterfall at its heart have flourished. But today, the tree canopy has been transformed into an aerial playground. Wires cross the sky, connecting tree to tree. Every day, ZipQuest's guides lead birds-eye tours of the pristine landscape on their expansive zipline network or via the Swing Shot that pendulums vertiginously above Carver's Creek.
Whether the lighting comes from the sun or helmet-mounted lamps, no fewer than two experienced guides lead guests through Carver's Falls' 2.5-hour course. Adventurers fly down eight ziplines—each designed for a long, leisurely glide or an adrenaline-pumping plunge—while pointing out local flora and fauna. Groups pause only to disembark on high platforms anchored to centuries-old trees. Floating spiral staircases and sky bridges, the longest of which stretches 210 feet, interconnect the platforms. A suspension bridge carries explorers over the falls to a penultimate zipline that runs parallel to its creek. At the end of the run, guests catch their breath while looking through the pictures their camera-wielding guide took.