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.
Amidst the painted pots and chalk drawings in the Children's Museum of Winston-Salem's Surprise Garden stands the Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam's Kaleidoscape. Far from a hands-off installation, the multi-colored, crocheted structure is always covered with swinging, climbing kids. Clambering is an equally popular activity inside the nonprofit museum, whose lobby is full of wavy platforms and a beanstalk climber that stretches all the way to the second floor.
But climbing isn't the only way to stay busy at Children's Museum of Winston-Salem. At other exhibits, youngsters can pretend-steer a rowboat, man the conveyer belt inside a child-sized Krispy Kreme factory, and construct buildings with magnetized blocks. After full days of play, kids can unwind during staff-led story times in the museum library or gather with other children for programs such as teatimes.
Surrounded by the carefully clipped hedges of a formal garden, Reynolda House Museum of American Art lets visitors contemplate canvases in the stately surroundings of a turn-of-the-century tobacco baron's mansion. Armed with personalized membership cards, members gain free admission to the museum’s permanent collection, which includes works by Mary Cassatt and Georgia O'Keeffe. Gorge hungry eyes on the soulful iron-horse portraits of railroad photographer O. Winston Link, on display until June 19, or pick up pointers from the Modern Masters from the Smithsonian American Art Museum (October 7–December 31). Reynolda House will be the two nomadic exhibitions’ sole stop in North Carolina this year before wandering off in search of new adventure.
Visitors can expect to see a wide variety of fearsome raptors, from eagles to owls, some of which can be seen up close and personal at one of the center's several live programs and tours or in cinematic splendor in the upcoming Raptors of the Silver Screen (limited engagement beginning November 26; admission is not included with this Groupon). On a clear day, fortunate guests can catch a clear view of the resident raptor, Emma, a white barn owl taken under the Carolina Raptor Center's wing following a series of broken bones. Too fragile to survive in the wild, Emma now pitches in around the center, raising wildlife awareness and taloning up rogue litter.
The Light Factory's snapshot savants school camera wielders of all skill levels about basic lighting and composition techniques before shepherding them through uptown Charlotte on a guided two-hour photo expedition. First, instructors help participants get the most out of their frozen moments by reviewing basic camera techniques such as adjusting shutter speed, framing shots, and accurately placing bunny ears. Then groups of up to 100 shutterbugs will venture into uptown Charlotte's tangle of streets to trap the souls of its modern buildings in confining rectangles, creating carefully composed photographic keepsakes. Escape work early to attend the excursion at 4 p.m. on your chosen date, or opt for the 10 a.m. sojourn to capture cold-blooded buildings as they climb nearby rocks to bask in the morning light.
The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art is dedicated to the celebration and analysis of the strongest aspects of mid- century modernism as reflected in the holdings of the Bechtler collection. The collection comprises more than 1,400 works by 20th-century modern artists.