I am 42 years old and a mother raising two children, but there are some things that take me straight back to childhood.

Growing up in North Carolina, I had the pleasure of visiting various parts of the state, taking in local attractions and enjoying the best that this state has to offer.

As a mother, it seems important to show these sites to my children. Why should they grow up and not know their home state, a place that citizens from other states come to visit?

The North Carolina State Fair may not be high on the list of priorities, but I usually look forward to it. This yearís fair will take place Thursday to Oct. 21, in Raleigh, N.C.

The Tilt-a-Whirl, the bumper cars, the teriyaki chicken and being able to shoot basketball are all fun. When Iím shooting basketball, I try to best my children. Yes, Iím grown, but I get immensely competitive because in that moment, Iím trying to teach them that Iím not old and to show them that all the years I spent on a basketball court have some pay back. I may not be the best at some things, but I know I can go to the state fair and bring back goodies based on my basketball shooting alone. Thatís fun.

Iím a fan of teriyaki and I make it a point to always get the teriyaki chicken kabobs.

The North Carolina Zoo is a must see. Iíve gone to other zoos, but Iím partial to the one in Asheboro, N.C.

I look for the lions, elephants, seals and other animals. It is in this environment that their intelligence and sense of playfulness is evident. Itís amazing to watch a mother instinctively take care of her young.

At the zoo, I make it a point to check out the snake aquarium. Itís as close to a snake as Iíd ever want to be. I can only take so much, but I try to remember identifying information in case I ever come across one in my back yard.

We held a Family reunion years ago at Sunset Beach. My Family swam, enjoyed each otherís company, ate good food and took lots of pictures. Every now and again, I leaf through the old photos, but more than that, I still hold the memories in my heart.

Carowinds is another great destination. My son and I have survived the Intimidator, an exhilarating roller coaster ride. Frankly, I remember praying and promising that I would never ride it again. But, as soon as the ride was over and I saw how much fun my son had, I offered to ride it again just for his sake.

Iím looking forward to a date with some pulled pork and French fries when I go back.

And then there are the mountains. Soon, I hope to return to Lake Junaluska, a place where my Family and I repeatedly vacationed as a kid. Nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains, I remember it as beautifully pristine. Just the drive into the mountains, particularly during the fall when the leaves change colors, is breathtaking.

New to my list are places that I did not visit as a kid. As a recent resident to Cumberland County, I find that I donít have to leave the county for good fun. My Family and I are fond of Mazarick Park and Lake Rim Park. We love to walk the trails, to skip rocks, to listen to the birds. At Hope Mills Park, my sons either shoot basketball or hang out with their friends while I run the track.

Whether we are at the Millstone catching a good movie or at Round-a-Bout rollerskating, we always manage to have fun, and Iím immediately drawn back into childhood. Itís as though Iím the young kid at the theater watching ďE.T.Ē for the first time or whiling away a Saturday at the roller rink.