ABOUT THE AREA
From embracing your wild side at the North Carolina Zoo, need for speed at the Petty Museum, meeting the makers in Seagrove, to outdoor adventures, quirky museums and attractions, and farm-fresh escapes, the Heart of North Carolina offers unforgettable getaways for the whole family. Home to the cities of Archdale, Asheboro, Randleman, and Trinity; and the towns of Franklinville, Liberty, Ramseur, Seagrove, and Staley, this area inspires once-in-a-lifetime family-friendly vacations year-round!
BECOME IMMERSED IN ANIMAL ADVENTURES
One of the largest attractions in the state, the North Carolina Zoo delivers fun for family and friends from exciting animal encounters to enchanting outdoor art and is considered an International leader in animal conservation. Situated in the “heart” of central North Carolina near the scenic Uwharrie Mountains, this zoo is the world’s largest natural habitat wildlife park. Guests will encounter 1,600 animals along a five-mile walking trail, and also enjoy hiking, paddleboat rides, taking a spin on a gorgeous endangered species carousel, adult and children’s air hike ropes courses, or the views from the Acacia Station Giraffe Deck. Children can learn about the Zoo’s ambassador animals, and splash in a creek or make mud pies at the Kidzone play area. Discover exotic and native butterflies at the walk-through butterfly habitat. Whether elephants or ostriches, polar bears or puffins, animals of all kinds call the North Carolina Zoo home!
GET TO KNOW THE FIRST FAMILY OF NASCAR
Racing fans know that NASCAR’s roots are soaked to the very tips in moonshine. In fact, the need for “blockade runners” to deliver moonshine to bootleggers in North Carolina created one of the most prominent family dynasties in NASCAR racing. Known as the first family of NASCAR, the Petty’s have won 10 NASCAR championships and more than 250 races. At Petty Family Attractions, families can explore the career of the King of NASCAR himself, Richard Petty, and the unparalleled success story of this stock car racing family including Lee, Kyle, Adam Petty, Thad Moffitt, and Dale Inman. The Petty Museum features cars, memorabilia, trophies, and awards as well as life-size recreations of the Petty family’s characters from Disney-Pixar’s Cars. Most recently, NASCAR fans of all ages were thrilled by Petty’s reappearance in Cars 3 when he reprised his role of Mr. The King, Strip Weathers, and was joined by son Kyle Petty, who voiced Dinoco racer, Cal Weathers. Next door, racing aficionados can explore Petty's Garage where a team of automotive professionals builds high-performance street cars, including custom builds and restorations.
MEET THE MAKERS IN SEAGROVE, THE POTTERY CAPITAL OF THE U.S.
Seagrove is home to the nation’s largest community of working potters—individuals of national and international craft reputations. It’s a pottery lover's paradise! Some families trace their craft bloodlines back through nine generations of potters. More than a mere collection of shops and galleries, Seagrove offers visitors an unprecedented experience—a chance to tour and meet more than 100 working potters in their studios. Driving Seagrove's Pottery Highway provides a unique glimpse into rural America. Studios dot the countryside, tucked among barns, cattle fields, and country gas stations. The Celebration of Seagrove Potters, held annually in November, brings together roughly 70 artisans exhibiting everything from tableware to high-end works of art and offers a chance to shop and view potters in one place at the Historic Luck’s Cannery. The Celebration of Spring, held annually in April, features more than 65 potters and includes a pottery sale, special events, studios tours, and demonstrations. For the ultimate immersion, stay overnight in Seagrove at Seagrove Stoneware Inn!
VISIT CULTURAL AND QUIRKY MUSEUMS & ATTRACTIONS
Visitors can take in local history and heritage during a tour of Linbrook Hall, one of the largest privately-owned homes in the Southeast, Neal's Agricultural & Industrial Museum, and the Historic Hoover House at Linbrook Heritage Estate. Carolina Bronze Sculpture Garden & Foundry allows visitors to take in the area’s natural beauty enhanced with more than 15 large sculptures on display around the grounds. Take a peek inside the foundry to learn more about this fine-art bronze casting facility where sculptors from all over the country have their best works cast into remarkable pieces of art. Nearby, the North Carolina Aviation Museum & Hall of Fame provides an up-close look at stunning military artifacts and civilian memorabilia from WWI to the present; while the American Classic Motorcycle Museum houses one of the largest private collections of antique Harley-Davidson motorcycles in the country including 45 bikes ranging from 1936 to 1978.
INDULGE IN COUNTRYSIDE DELIGHTS & DOWNHOME DINING
Foodies and travelers alike can indulge in all the best the Heart of North Carolina offers, from taking in the countryside at top-rated vineyards, to experiencing one-of-a-kind downhome dining destinations with a side of Southern charm at Magnolia 23, The Table, Something Different Steaks & Kabobs, The Cafe on Loach, Hamilton’s Steakhouse, and The Flying Pig Food & Spirits; or international favorites Basil Thai, Simply Asian, and The Taco Loco. Four Saints Brewing Company, the area’s very first brewery, features a seven-barrel brewhouse and taproom focusing on both traditional and inventive award-winning craft brews. For a bit of country living, travelers can take a leisurely ride out to Millstone Creek Orchards and pick-their-own seasonal fruit or hop on a hayride across the farm. Visitors to local vineyards Native Son and Zimmerman’s tasting rooms will admire the panoramic views of the beautiful surrounding countryside.
WITNESS A CULINARY REVITALIZATION: FROM FARM TO TABLE
From locally sourced farmers markets to on-farm dining, the Heart of North Carolina has undergone a culinary revitalization fueled by agritourism. This epicurean revolution led by farmers and chefs has resulted in special opportunities for foodies to enjoy farm tours and gourmet meals such as “Dinner at the Dairy” at the award-winning Goat Lady Dairy where farm-to-table meals are served in the relaxed atmosphere of their dairy barn. Chef Deanna Clement, The Table Farmhouse Bakery, is also a proud local farm supporter who has fostered long-standing relationships with local farmers and purveyors throughout the region.
EXPERIENCE HEART-POUNDING THRILLS
Test your limits with adrenaline-pumping adventures including Kersey Valley, where visitors can fly through the trees enjoying spectacular scenic views on an aviation-themed zipline that is one of the largest closed-course ziplines in the country. Highflyers can also take a turn on Kersey Valley’s high ropes course, test their skills at outdoor laser tag, or take on the escape room challenge. Soar through the forest along Richland Creek and Mendenhall Waterfalls in the shadow of Purgatory Mountain at Richland Creek ZipLine & Canopy Tour with 14 zip lines, three sky bridges, and one swinging bridge. The North Carolina Zoo also offers a thrilling adult Air Hike ropes course featuring more than 20 obstacles in the air.
GET BACK TO NATURE
Travelers looking to get back to nature and enjoy the outdoors at a slower pace can explore a variety of outdoor adventures from hiking trails in the 51,000-acre Uwharrie National Forest to a relaxing stroll along the Deep River Trail or across the Historic Pisgah Covered Bridge. Golf enthusiasts can indulge in a round at one of a handful of beautiful, yet affordable public golf courses in the region; while disc golf lovers can catch a game at Creekside Park Disc Golf Course, an 18-hole championship disc golf course with a beginner's loop, orienteering course, and three miles of scenic walking trails along Muddy Creek. Travelers that prefer to relax out on the water can try their hand at fishing at Randleman Lake & Marina, showcasing 100 miles of beautiful shoreline.
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- Randolph County / Visit the Heart of NC