In a 2011 interview with the Rocky Mount Telegram, George Millar reveals he has been a facilitating fun for a long time. "Soccer wasn't in existence when we started," he points out, and neither were home video games. Noticing a dearth of places in his hometown where kids and families could safely enjoy themselves, he put his skills as a professional contractor to work. In 10 outdoor batting cages, he installed pitching machines that sling baseballs and softballs from T-ball speeds up to 80 miles per hour. Next, he and his crew of five guys—all of whom are still operating the business today—built an 18-hole mini-golf course modeled after those in Myrtle Beach, designing a path that winds past waterfalls, natural plantings, and tricky bunkers filled with saltwater taffy. An arcade blares with games and the crack of pool balls ricocheting inside, and an elephant-shaped inflatable bounce house bobs with jumpers inside until they come zipping out down its slide.
Nine holes fill the par 35 course at Peachtree Hills Country Club, their undulating fairways and bunkers surrounded by natural pine. From the back tees, the holes total 2,718 yards in length, challenging golfers to master the timeless art of racing a cart to the end in under two minutes.
With 18 acres of blooming gardens and natural North Carolina wetlands, the Sylvan Heights Bird Park provides a home for more than 2,000 ducks, geese, and exotic egg layers. As they stroll along the trails and waterfront, guests can observe birds hailing from almost every continent, such as peacocks, flamingos, and toucans. In addition to the walk-through aviaries, the park aims to educate and entertain visitors with interactive children’s programs, tours, and activities such as scavenger hunts. Among its many attractions are the Bird’s Nest Treehouse and Beaver Pond Blind, both of which highlight the importance of wetland conservation, as well as the Landing Zone, where visitors can feed the birds with a seed stick.
Rather than relying on lectures and stuffy articles, Imagination Station Science and History Museum engages visitors of all ages in the sciences with a range of dynamic exhibits and interactive programs. The museum—housed in Wilson's former federal post office and courthouse—thrills guests with rotating displays as well as 22 permanent exhibits. These hands-on galleries house animal collections, which include live specimens such as turtles and albino lizards. A range of educational programs such as field trips, themed science day camps, and science demonstrations complement these exhibits. The interactive center is also a resource for local information—a small, regional history exhibit on the third floor detail local history and culture.
Short Track Racing Experience gives racing fans the chance to feel the rush of adrenaline and white-knuckled intensity of driving and riding in a real stock car. Within Southern National Motorsports Park, participants slide in alongside a professional driver during ride-along experiences, or they take the helm themselves during driving experiences. Packages range from the Qualifying Ride, which includes three full speed laps as well as warm-up and cooldown laps, to the Race Day Experience, which allows the driver to zip around the track 120 times while a professional provides one-on-one coaching.