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Daniel Boone Native Gardens, 651 Horn in the West Dr., 1 mile east of U.S. 421 (tel. 828/264-6390; www.danielboonegardens.org), next door to the Daniel Boone Theatre, offers a collection of native North Carolina plants in an informal landscaped design set amid 6 acres. Weather permitting, the gardens are open daily from May 1 to October 15 and on weekends in October from 10am to 6pm. June 15 to August 15, they remain open until 8pm. Admission is $2 for visitors 16 and older.

Also adjacent to the theater is the Hickory Ridge Homestead Museum (tel. 828/264-2120; www.horninthewest.com/museum.htm), an 18th-century living-history museum in a re-created log cabin. Traditional craftspeople demonstrate their skills, and there's a homestead store. An apple festival is held on the grounds in late October, and Christmas events are on tap in mid-December. Hours are Tuesday to Sunday 1 to 5pm from May to October and Saturday 10am to 4pm and Sunday 1 to 4pm from November to April. Admission is $2.

Tweetsie Railroad Theme Park, Blowing Rock Road, halfway between Boone and Banner Elk (tel. 800/526-5740 or 828/264-9061; www.tweetsie.com), is fun for the whole family. An old narrow-gauge train winds along a 3-mile route, enduring mock attacks by Indians and outlaws. There's mountain music and other entertainment, along with restaurants, Western shops, country-fair rides, a petting zoo, and a crafts area. The park is open May 5 to May 21 Friday to Sunday from 9am to 6pm, May 26 to August 27 daily from 9am to 6pm, and September 1 to October 29 Friday to Sunday from 9am to 6pm. The park is also open on Labor Day. Admission is $30 for adults and $22 for children 3 to 12. Children 2 and under admitted free. Get your tickets early for the popular Ghost Train night rides (adults $30; children 3-12 $22; free for children 2 and under), part of Tweetsie's Halloween Festival, held on October weekends. An assortment of entertainment and games is available for very young children, for whom the Ghost Train ride is not recommended. Admission to the festival is $26 per person, and gates open at 7:30pm.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.