In 1995, a group of families with children struck by CDH came together to form Cherubs, an organization designed to provide support and information to those touched by the condition. CDH, or congenital diaphragmatic hernia, is a rare condition that causes a malformation in a gestating fetus's diaphragm. The diaphragm either forms with holes or doesn't form at all, allowing the abdominal organs into the chest cavity and hindering the growth of the lungs. Roughly 50% of babies born with this heartbreaking condition don't survive, and those who do survive suffer from numerous and costly medical issues. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Cherubs helps families—more than 4,300 across the world, at current count—understand and persevere through the issues of CDH, while supporting efforts to find the cause and develop treatments for the condition.
One of the ways they achieve this is through their annual Masquerading Angels Ball, a formal event punctuated by elegant masks, live music, and plenty of libations. There, tuxedoed men and gowned women savor gourmet appetizers and cocktails from a cash bar as they play poker and blackjack at casino tables, all in an effort to fight a tragic children's medical condition.
A love for the water came naturally to Nicole Steele thanks to a childhood spent frolicking in it with her family. A love for teaching resulted from years of competitive gymnastics, where she pushed herself past self-imposed limits thanks to encouraging coaches. At PhoenixWake Academy, Nicole gets a chance to combine her passions as a wakeboarding instructor. Day camps, private and group lessons, and clinics help pupils grasp the basics of boating and wakeboarding or complete difficult tricks thanks to patient coaching from Nicole and two other experienced teachers.
Kidventurez is a blank canvas where children's ideas spring to life. As the mind behind the creative space, owner Stephanie Walker used her own experience as a mother to concoct the facility. "I really love the whole concept of kids using their minds to play," she told Midtown Raleigh News.
Inside, pintsized visitors hop across various stations that spur ingenuity, such as the performing stage, where they can put on plays for friends, and Kenzie's Kitchen, where they can practice burning fake popcorn in a fake microwave. Smaller children enjoy the freedom of Toddler Town's scaled-down attractions, and parents, similarly, enjoy the freedom of either sitting back and watching playtime unfold or leaving for a short respite.
The licensed and insured fishing guides from Outdoor Expeditions USA, LLC have cast countless lures into the waters of Jordan Lake and Harris Lake. Their target? Largemouth bass. They lead fishing trips in search of the popular game fish aboard their Triton 20HP Pro, which can seat two fisherman, one guide, and as many fish as the three can juggle.
Entering its inaugural season, the 10 unique scenes of Haunted Forest at Panic Point challenge adventurous scare devils to brave 2,000 feet of moonlit terror, where they'll meet the meat-eating proprietor of a circus staffed by cannibals and a pack of grannies seeking revenge. Like a convention for claustrophobes, the entire attraction takes place outdoors, so the assorted axe murderers and maniacs can attack from any angle. After escaping the forest's treacherous tendrils, guests can gather any remaining sanity in the Circle, Panic Point's sphere of safety, where they can dance the devilish night away to tunes spun by a live DJ or watch classic horror movies projected on a 31-foot screen.
Parking: Parking lot
Most popular offering: Family Day
Pro Tip: Old fashioned outdoor fun where children run, climb, jump, and explore at their own pace.
Good for Kids: Yes
Walk-ins Welcome: Yes
When Melinda—owner of Three Bears Acres—looks back on her own childhood, she remembers a time of carefree joy. She recalls running off into the woods with friends after breakfast, hunting for salamanders and building forts, and returning home only when hunger called her. As a mother of three, Melinda found that same sense of play and freedom to be missing from her children's tightly scheduled lives. She wanted to make a place for kids and their families to celebrate activities with similar freedoms.
The result is Three Bears Acres, which is part educational farm, part massive playground. The farm boasts flowers, fruits, and vegetables, which visitors can tend, harvest, and even bring home to cook. Staff members and the website have a few suggested recipes in which to use the fresh-grown produce. The playground, meanwhile, consists of more than just towers, slides, bridges with troll tolls, and tunnels. Kids cook up anything they can imagine in the Mud Kitchen. They blast each other with water guns in the shaded Water Wars arena, or try their hand as street artists on the Grafitti Wall. Parents get into these activities too, and Melinda says the most rewarding part of her job is "seeing children and parents happy."
In honor of Women’s History Month, Groupon is celebrating an inspiring group of women: business leaders whose companies and brands enrich their communities. Thanks to the dedication and ingenuity of these leaders, local communities across the country are stronger and more diverse.
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