Lazy 5 Ranch
Visitors can get wild and see animals at the ranch, 15100 Mooresville Road, Mooresville.
Hours: 9 a.m. until one hour before sunset Mondays-Saturdays; 1 p.m. until one hour before sunset Sundays. Visitors are to arrive at least one hour before closing time to see all attractions. Reservations for wagon rides recommended. 704-663-5100 or www.lazy5ranch.com.
Activities: The Lazy 5 Ranch is home to 750 animals from six continents. These animals can be viewed by horse-drawn wagon, or from your own vehicle while traveling along a 3.5 mile safari trail. There's also a walk-through petting zoo, an antique horse barn, a playground, a picnic area and a blacksmith shop. Lazy 5 Ranch also helps in the recovery of several endangered species including the Grevy's zebra, scimitar horned oryx and the ring-tailed lemur. It is privately owned and operated by Henry Hampton, who has raised exotic animals for more than 35 years.
Target Audience: All ages.
Cost: General admission is $5.50-$8.50; wagon rides are $3-$5. Feed is $3 a bucket. Call for reservations on a wagon ride.
Directions: From Charlotte: I-77N to exit 36 Mooresville. Turn right onto N.C. 150 East for 10 miles. It will be on the left. The Mooresville address is actually located in Rowan County. Look for visitor's entrance.
Distance from Charlotte: About 1 hour.
Nearby: Patterson Farm Inc. dates back to 1919, but didn't start selling produce until 1964. First known as James A. Patterson & Sons, the farm was incorporated with its current name in 1992. The third-generation farm grows 350 acres of tomatoes (one of the largest growers in the state), 36 acres of strawberries, 40 acres of pumpkins and 15,000 poinsettias. During peak season, it employs more than 300 people. Tours and seasonal activities for all ages vary throughout the year. www.pattersonfarminc.com.