Silence fills the forest as a masked paintball player creeps over logs and leaves, unable to find the opposing team he knows is there. Suddenly, a shower of colored paint spews from behind a nearby tree, and the battle begins. Such moments unfold daily at PBC Paintball Park's facilities. Their staff, all of whom are paintball players themselves, have designed both wooded and concept fields at Greensboro, Charlotte, and Greenville. At Greensboro, wooded landscapes transform into a battlefield with bunkers, creeks, and large forts. Felled trees and dense foliage give players ample cover amid the undeveloped woods of Greenville's fields, while tournaments unfold across PBC Charlotte's level terrain. Additionally, PBC Paintball Parks are affiliated with Paintball Central, which runs three stores in North Carolina where players can stock up on enough paintball gear to ready themselves for the inevitable cartoon-character rebellion.
Instructors at The Painted Parrot take a lighthearted approach to painting. Each strives to empower budding artists with guidance and feedback but emphasize creative expression over technical form. Their studio space reinforces the cheerful, no-pressure vibe: green and blue walls peek out from beneath previous classes’ paintings, and the studio’s resident parrots, JoJo, Petie, and Ralphie, squawk out commands for crackers or deliver lectures on art history over the popping of BYOB bottle corks.
Strikers Family Sportscenter & Bowling induces smiles in players of all ages with traditional open bowling as well as black-light-lit Rock n Bowl bowling on Fridays from midnight to 3 a.m. In addition to leagues and tournaments, the center hosts birthday parties and noncompetitive eating contests at the onsite snack bar. During karaoke nights, which take place in the lounge on Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., Strikers encourages vocalists of all experience levels to come out, sign up, and belt it out.
Nine teachers. Twelve styles of classes. Seven days of class per week. Whether they’re expectant mothers, 7-year-old children, or lifelong power-yoga practitioners, yogis come to Om Yoga’s studio to practice their chosen ancient body-bending art. In each class, the instructors adhere to the eight-limbed philosophy of Ashtanga yoga, modifying the poses and stretches for students of all experience levels.
Many studios focus solely on two principles of yoga: asanas (poses) and pranayama (breath control). However, Om Yoga’s teachers focus on a practice that involves all eight aspects of this traditional art, which include such intangibles as morality, self-observation, and even the ability to control the senses, a helpful trick when staring into the sun while standing next to an angry skunk.
Designed by three-time U.S. Open champion Hale Irwin, the course at Waterford Golf Club hugs the banks of the Catawba River, immersing players in a wooded landscape teeming with natural obstacles and omnipresent waterways. Golfers must manipulate the flight, angle, and lethargic attitude of their shots to avoid dense thickets of towering hardwoods that line Bermuda fairways and water that comes into play on 16 of 18 holes.
Players tee off from one of four sets of tees, each named after a world-famous course, and send shots skyward in pursuit of a final resting place on bentgrass greens. Pre- or post-round, players can hit range balls or piñatas filled with divot tools off of grass tees or hone short-game finesse at the club's practice facility.
At Clay Escape, hundreds of blank clay pieces line the walls, waiting for a new life in someone’s garden, kitchen, or dining room. Instructors help visitors pick the piece that best suits their artistic intention, and then painters go to work selecting from more than 74 paint colors and 92 specialty glazes with which to decorate their pottery. Stencils and sponges help fuel the artistic process, and a computer generates endless images for potters to paint onto a bowl or glue to a sibling’s cheek. One week later, pieces emerge glistening and brilliant, ready to take home. Clay Escape also hosts private parties for events such as birthdays, bridal showers, or Girl Scout and church meetings, and it also holds special events for holidays such as Father’s Day.:m]]