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Why do people love visiting Rowan County?

We’re kinda’ country and kinda’ cool! One part is rural. Rolling countryside, parks, rivers, lakes, farms and unique agri-tourism sites. The other, faster paced. An urban center with Broadway worthy theater, live music, shopping and restaurant dives. Here, in Rowan County, you have the freedom to conveniently visit both cultures bound together by our heritage and history. Conveniently located off of Interstate 85 between Charlotte and the Greensboro and Winston-Salem areas, Rowan County is often described as a relief from the larger metros and is a perfect overnight or day-trip destination.

FAMILY FUN

All aboard at the NC Transportation Museum! Children of all ages are sure to enjoy the thrill of riding the rails. Big kids can get ‘Behind the Throttle,’ as test your skills as a real-life engineer for the day. Escape on a fall or spring excursion to savor the beautiful countryside or simply take in the history of all types of transportation. The little kids can hang out with Thomas the Tank during one of his special visits, or they can even take a ride to the North Pole with Santa on the Polar Express.

Learn what it’s like to be a farmer at Patterson Farm. At this family farm kids can interact with barnyard animals, pick their own strawberries or pumpkins, play at PawPaw Carl’s playground and zigzag their way through the corn maze. While you’re there stock up on what’s ripe now. Feed your family with nothing but the freshest fruits and veggies from the market.

Take a wild safari ride through Lazy 5 Ranch, a privately owned exotic animal drive-thru park. While visiting, you’ll have the opportunity to view over 750 animals from six different continents. View these animals from your own car or reserve a horse drawn wagon ride while following the 3.5-mile trail. Throughout the journey, friendly animals come to your car window; often eating feed right from your hand!

Tiger World Endangered Wildlife Preserve is a nonprofit animal conservation and educational center dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, and preservation of exotic animals. Their goal is to provide the best environment in captivity for the animals while also providing a stimulating learning environment for visitors. The intimate setting is a great place to bring the family and learn about the animals up close and personal.

Dan Nicholas Park is a 425-acre park including a 10-acre fishing lake with paddle boats. Join the fun in the Rowan Wildlife Adventure zone and the Hurley Family Water Plaza. Ride the carousel or even the miniature train into Salisbury’s Gold Rush Days and pan for gems at the Miner Moose Gem Mine.

Nick’s Playground—A playground for all kids to enjoy! Dan Nicholas Park has added a playground that is specifically geared towards children with disabilities.  The playground is designed to promote interactive play between disabled children and their non-disabled peers. There are all sorts of fun activities for the children to do including a set of swings with accessible seats, a side-by-side slide as well as traditional slides, a contained accessible climber to the top of the middle deck, a hand-over-hand ladder for wheelchairs and activity stations on the ground and at each level. Other activities include tic-tac-toe, driver panels, pachinko, ball mazes and more. 

SIP & SAVOR

Just off the tracks we’re chugging along and crafting up brews at New Sarum Brewing Company and Morgan Ridge Railwalk Brewery & Eatery. Take in live music in Downtown Salisbury or follow your nose to Hap’s Grill for the best all-American hotdog and cheeseburger. Looking for a little something more authentic? Try Mambo Grill and Tapas for original Cuban flair, discover fine dining at La Cava, located in an old historic church, or sit out on the only rooftop patio within a 50-mile radius at Go Burrito, whose own Salisbury Pineapple Margarita, infused with Cheerwine, is sure to quench anyone’s thirst.

CHEERWINE

Savor the sweet goodness of what is the South’s most recognizable soft drink in its hometown! Cheerwine, a unique cherry flavor drink, was created in 1917 in Salisbury and is a family owned business to this very day. Kick back on streets of Downtown Salisbury and enjoy everything Cheerwine from glass bottled Cheerwine, to Cheerwine floats, Cheerwine slushies, Cheerwine ice cream, Cheerwine cake, Cheerwine infused margaritas and more. Here, it’s legendary!

ROOTED IN THE LAND

Indulge yourself in the rich southern charm of Rowan County wineries. Escape for an afternoon of wine tasting with friends at Old Stone Vineyard or enjoy a savory glass and while relaxing alongside a picturesque view at Cauble Creek Vineyard. Morgan Ridge Vineyards is a go-to for wine and gourmet food. Or, try something a little different, like specialty port wines, at Douglas Vineyard.

BACK IN THE DAY

Famous guests have been a common, yet colorful, thread throughout the history of Rowan County.  The stories date back to the 18th century when Lord Cornwallis and his troops made camp throughout the county. Salisbury was chosen as the site for the only prison in North Carolina to house captured Union troops during the Civil War. Andrew Jackson studied law here, and Daniel Boone spent his childhood days hunting and fishing on the Yadkin River. Senator Elizabeth Dole was born and raised in Salisbury.  Washington, Polk, Taft, Roosevelt, and Eisenhower are just a few of the Presidents who have personally enjoyed the southern hospitality of Rowan County. In Rowan County, there are 11 historic districts, 10 in Salisbury and one in Spencer.  Downtown Salisbury hosts two house museums, the Josephus Hall House and the Utzman-Chambers House.  The Hall House features Federal-style architecture with additions from the Greek revival and Victorian eras.  The Utzman-Chambers House is a Federal townhouse and is one of few remaining in the Piedmont.  Both houses feature original fixtures and antique furnishings from Rowan County.

HISTORIC SALISBURY TROLLEY TOURS

Take a ride through Downtown Salisbury and let our narrators guide you by historic sites such as the original Cheerwine building, the Salisbury National Cemetery and the site of the only prison in North Carolina during the Civil War. You will also see film locations of popular movies and TV shows and hear a ghost story or two. Discover shopping, restaurants, theaters and plenty of public art. Enjoy learning about the city's past and how it has influenced the present on an F&M Bank Trolley every Saturday from April - October. This one-hour tour begins at 11 a.m. at the Rowan County Visitors Center.

IN SEARCH FOR YOUR FAMILY TREE?

For those looking for the history of their ancestors, search no more.  The Rowan Public Library’s Edith M. Clark History Room is sure to have some answers.  Salisbury’s extensive genealogy research dates back to the 1700s, with information from the 13 original Southern and Middle Atlantic colonies.  The collection also focuses on all of North Carolina with significant holdings from bordering states and those showing heavy migration in and out of North Carolina’s Piedmont. 

IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Downtown Salisbury is indeed a city of the arts. With three local theaters, Norvell Children’s Theater, Meroney Theater and Lee Street Theatre, a nationally accredited art gallery, Waterworks Visual Arts Center, the Salisbury Symphony, and a revered outdoor Sculpture Show you’re sure to find a bustling arts and cultural scene around every turn.  

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