Gold panning at Reed Gold Mine (Image via nchistoricsites.org)[/caption]
Reed Gold Mine – This location is the first documented gold find ever in the United States, where a Revolutionary War soldier named John Reed discovered a 17-pound gold nugget on his farm. Today, the Reed Gold Mine's underground tunnels are open to visitors for guided tours and gold panning, where you have the chance to discover your own gold! Admission and tours – FREE. Gold panning - $3 per pan.</li>
- Charlotte Nature Museum – Want to see animals up close and personal? Come to the Charlotte Nature Museum and visit exhibitions such as "Creature Cavern" and see owls and snakes or the "Paw Paw Nature Trail", which is the museum's enchanting 100-year old forest. Don't forget to visit the "Butterfly Pavilion" and see radiant butterflies flutter all around you. Fee - $6.
- Bechtler Museum of Modern Art – If you love art, specifically paintings, you will enjoy the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, which features works of the 20th century. A few focus areas of the collection are "School of Paris", "European Perspective" and "American and British Artists." Fee: $8 - General Admission, $6 - College Students with ID.
- Historic Latta Plantation - The Latta Plantation was once a cotton plantation first built in 1800. Here, you can learn more about short-staple cotton planting, see rare breeds of historic livestock, and stop by the honeybee exhibit. Be sure to check their calendar, as they host 30+ special events year-round. Fee - $7.
- The Light Factory – Pictures are worth a thousand words, so come to The Light Factory, where you can view pictures that are worth many more! If you ever wanted to learn more about photography, this is the place you need to visit. You can take a basic tour, where you will be guided through the Knight and Middleton McMillan Galleries, which will give you a better understanding of contemporary photography. A specialized tour consists of experiencing first-hand how photographs are developed through a darkroom demonstration. Basic tours - $5; specialized tours - $10+ per person.
- The Evening Muse – If you would like to spend your night listening to some astounding musical talents, be sure to stop by The Evening Muse. The venue features artists ranging from acoustic to full electric bands in a variety of genres such as alternative, Americana, blues, country, hip-hop, jazz, pop, reggae, rock and R&B. Tickets range depending on who is performing, but they are as low as $3.
- NBA Charlotte Bobcats – Want to catch a basketball game to see the Charlotte Bobcats, the team owned by the legendary basketball player, Michael Jordan? The Charlotte Bobcats are one of North Carolina's most renowned sports teams. Why not see a game while you're in the area? Tickets start at $8 per seat at the Time Warner Cable Arena per game.
- The Billy Graham Library – Billy Graham is a world-renowned pastor born in Charlotte, North Carolina. This interactive library showcases his upbringing from a farm boy to a pastor with ample photographs, memorabilia, and short video clips. You will have a chance to tour the Graham family home place and meditate in the Memorial Prayer Garden. Admission – FREE.
- Independence Park – This 24-acre park is a great place to spend your day outdoors with a picnic! In addition to picnic shelters, this park provides a playground, Ping-Pong tables, basketball courts, tennis courts, baseball field, soccer field, reflecting pond, and playground. Visitors and locals love spending time at Independence Park. No admission needed.
- The North Carolina Transportation Museum – This 54-acre museum site is filled of exhibitions featuring original locomotives from the 1950s, including one built for the United States Armed Services, used by the Army and Navy. You can also sneak a peek at the Wright Flyer (a full-size replica of the one built by the Wright Brothers), the Hospital Car, and the popular exhibit "Wagons, Wheels and Wings." Museum admission - $6. </ol>
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Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Ani is a fan of exploring new places through photography and the local cuisine. After earning her BFA in photography from NYU and gaining communications experience at International Planned Parenthood Federation, she joined InterExchange in 2012, and worked as the Marketing Producer until 2016.