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It is the time of year when families are looking for activities that are not influenced by the weather. Learning the history of a sport that started in the South is one great way to spend a cool, autumn day.

NASCAR Hall of Fame

Whether or not you’re a NASCAR fan, you probably are more familiar with the sport than you realize. The NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina, will take you on a trip down memory lane with its display of race cars memorializing the history of automobile racing.

If you’re lucky, you might just have a close encounter with living history while you’re there. Racing legend Pete Hamilton just happened to be touring the Hall of Fame with his kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids while we there. It was the first time he had seen his No. 40 race car fully restored and on display in the Hall of Honor.

There’s a lot more to do than just stare at shiny cars, however. There are fun, interactive exhibits and a racing simulator. Be sure to do the practice simulator before doing the actual race, however. Once you crash in the actual simulator, you’re done, and it’s not as easy as it looks.

The facility is very accomodating. There’s plenty of room for strollers to get through the exhibits, and there are elevators and ramps to help you navigate the different levels.

10 Park Lanes

If you’re not up for driving around the city for a bite to eat, there is a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant attached to the NASCAR Hall of Fame, right past the gift shop.

But if you’re looking for something a little unique, head over to 10 Park Lanes. It’s about a 15 minute drive from the Hall of Fame, and completely worth it, even if you’re not in the mood to bowl. There’s nothing like 10 Park Lanes in the Upstate.

The bowling alley has been here since 1963, and has a fun, retro vibe, despite the modern, computerized scoring. The food is great, and the portions are huge. The kids loved the cheeseburger sliders and wings. The barbecue is amazing. It’s smoked in-house and it’s legitimately Southern. In fact, the restaurant was featured on The Food Network program, “Rebel Eats.”

Remember to check group-buy sites such as Groupon and LivingSocial for discounted deals before you head out.

You can go

NASCAR Hall of Fame

  • 401 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd
  • Charlotte, NC 28202
  • 888-902-6463
  • www.nascarhall.com

10 Park Lanes

  • 1700 Montford Lane
  • Charlotte, NC 28209
  • 704-523-7633
  • www.rollten.com
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