Lazy 5 Ranch. 15100 Mooresville NC 28115. 704-663-1500. The Lazy 5 Ranch is a privately owned exotic animal drive thru park that offers a 3.5 mile safari through the gently rolling pasture lands of Piedmont North Carolina. While visiting the Lazy 5 Ranch you will have the opportunity to view over 750 animals from six different continents. You can see the animals from the safety of your own car or call for reservations on our horse drawn wagons. And be sure to bring your camera! This is a drive-through experience unique to North Carolina. There is no other collections of animals like this in the Southeast. 30 minutes. wwww.lazy5ranch.com
North Carolina Transportation Museum. 411 S. Salisbury Ave. Spencer NC 28159. 800-NCTMFUN. Discover the people and machines that have moved North Carolina. Located on the site of the Southern Railway's former steam locomotive repair facility Spencer Shops, this is where locomotives that hauled Southern's passenger trains and freight trains filled with North Carolina furniture, textiles, tobacco, and produce were serviced from 1896 to the late 1970's. Up to 3,000 people once worked here but today visitors can see an authentic train depot, antique automobiles, and a roundhouse with 25 locomotives. 45 minutes away. www.nctrans.org
Old Salem Museums and Gardens. Old Salem Rd. Winston-Salem NC 27012. 800-OLDSALEM. Old Salem Museum & Gardens is a unique community of original museum buildings, authentic craftsmen practicing their trade, fascinating collections of rare antiques, and one-of-a-kind retail shopping opportunities. The stories and activities experienced by visitors in the museums convey a much larger aspect of early America than just the Moravians who settled in Salem, NC. I-40 east to exit 193-B, 45 minutes away. www.oldsalem.org.
Love Valley. 169 Henry Martin Trail Love Valley NC 28625. 704-592-7451. Love Valley is a town all on its own, located away from the hustle of city life and offering the leisurely atmosphere of an old western community. Love Valley's down town invites visitors to ride in on the dirt road, hitch their horses, stroll along the board way and shop at the country store, horse rental barn, tack shop, gift shop, general store, hardware store, or blacksmith's shop. There's also a saloon, a bar and various other businesses. Parking is available for the visitors by car, as well. Thousands of people frequent Love Valley in the prime season, from Easter to Halloween, for the events including rodeos, horse parades, benefit concerts, cook-offs or a leisurely horseback ride down one of the winding trails. Business are only open on weekends. Horseback riding is available 7 days a week.I-40 west ot Rt 115 north, 45 minutes. www.townoflovevalley.com
North Carolina Zoo. 4401 Parkway Asheboro NC 27205. 800-488-0444. The North Carolina Zoo is located on a 1,500 acre tract on land with more than 500 acres in its African and North American continental regions is a place of wonder and discovery. It is the country's largest and finest walk-through natural habitat zoo. This means that the animals and plants in its exhibits are seen in settings that closely resemble the habitates in which they would live in the wild. 1 hour 15 minutes. Take Rt 64 east to Asheboro then 220 south to Zoo signs, 1 hour 20 minutes away. www.nczoo.org
Mount Airy (Mayberry) Visitor Center. 200 North Main Street Mt. Airy NC 27030. 800-948-0949. Visit Andy Griffith's hometown, the ideal American town that was the inspiration for Mayberry. You'll find some things that the TV show captured, some great entertainment, shopping, dining,wineries and a peaceful scenic setting. It's Like Coming Home Again. I-40 west to I-77 north follow signs, 1 hour away.. www.visitimayberry.com
Discovery Place. 301 N Tryon Street Charlotte NC 28202. 704-372-6261. Discovery Place is dedicated to inspiring exploration of the natural and social world through extraordinary exhibits and educational programs that inform challenge and engage audiences of all ages. As one of the leading hands-on science centers in the country, Discovery Place offers visitors the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of the basics of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in a fun, interactive and informal setting. Located in one of the nation's fastest growing metropolitian areas, Charlotte, North Carolina, Discovery Place offers a family friendly experience surrounded by the excitement of a bustling, urban community. I-40 west to I-77 south, follow signs. 1 hour away. www.discoveryplace.org