15 Must-Visit Small Towns in North Carolina

From the mountains to the coast, explore these quaint destinations in the Tar Heel State.


Published:

Photo by Bennian/Shutterstock

North Carolina is home to many quaint towns rich in history and natural beauty that provide an opportunity for relaxation and family togetherness, without the noise and traffic of larger cities. If you love the small-town vibe, pack a suitcase to discover the irresistible charm of these road-trip worthy destinations.

Mountains
 

Banner Elk

Photo courtesy of Bill Russ — VisitNC.com

A young boy enjoys a sledding run in Banner Elk.
 

Avery County’s Banner Elk, about 15 miles from Boone, offers an ideal destination for families. “Banner Elk sits between two of the major ski resorts in North Carolina,” says Nancy Owen of the Banner Elk Tourism Development Authority. “On one side of us is Sugar Mountain Resort and on the other side is Beech Mountain Resort, so we’re within a 5-mile radius of two of the biggest winter attractions in North Carolina.”

The town offers plenty of year-round family fun, too. In summer, visit Wildcat Lake, which offers a beach area, swimming, fishing and canoe rentals. It’s also a great spot for a family picnic.

“Our Fourth of July Celebration is really like no other. It’s true classic America,” Owen says. “Thousands of people come to our one stoplight town for this parade. It’s a family tradition.” The parade concludes with a Party in the Park at Tate-Evans Park with food, vendors, a rubber duck race, an egg toss and sack races.

In the fall, Banner Elk is known for its Woolly Worm Festival, held the third weekend in October. The festival celebrates the coming of snow season with worm races, with the winner helping to predict the coming weather.

Insider Tip: You’ll find spectacular mountain views at Apple Hill Farm, an alpaca farm 5 miles from Banner Elk. The private farm frequently hosts tours to see the alpacas, llamas, goats, guardian donkeys, dogs and Mr. Pickles, the pig.


Blowing Rock

Photo courtesy of Todd Bush Photography

"Main Street is the heart of the village, a walkable and friendly place with a mix of unique shops, galleries, independent restaurants," says Amanda Lugenbell of Blowing Rock Tourism Development Authority.
 

Blowing Rock, a 15-minute drive from Boone, is known as the Crown of the Blue Ridge and is located in Watauga and Caldwell counties along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The town is named for The Blowing Rock — an enormous cliff high above the Johns River Gorge, which is 3,000 feet below. Fish or hike at Moses Cone Memorial Park, ride the rails at Tweetsie Railroad, launch an aerial excursion at High Gravity Adventures, or explore a natural gravitational anomaly at Mystery Hill.

“The mix of outdoor activity and energetic entertainment is something families love about our town,” says Amanda Lugenbell of Blowing Rock Tourism Development Authority. “The atmosphere of downtown is another quality that makes Blowing Rock special. Main Street is the heart of the village, a walkable and friendly place with a mix of unique shops, galleries, independent restaurants, and the lovingly maintained Memorial Park — right in the center of it all.”

Nearby attractions include Grandfather Mountain, Julian Price Memorial Park, Linville Caverns and Linville Falls.

Don’t-miss annual events include the July Fourth Celebration and Parade with sack races, a watermelon-eating contest and inflatables. The annual Blowing Rock Halloween Festival features a costume contest, a scavenger hunt and pumpkin-bowling competitions.

Insider tip: Animal-loving families can attend The Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show, which hosts three outdoor shows each summer.


Brevard

Photo courtesy of Transylvania County Tourism Development Authority

Rainbow Falls is a 150-foot tall waterfall in Pisgah National Forest.
 

Brevard is a best known for its scenic beauty. Located about 30 miles from Asheville, Brevard is the county seat of Transylvania County and part of the state’s “Land of the Waterfalls,” a region comprised of more than 200 waterfalls. The city’s proximity to Pisgah National Forest and DuPont State Recreational Forest, where portions of “The Hunger Games” and “Last of the Mohicans” were filmed, makes Brevard popular among outdoor enthusiasts for hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing and fishing.

Kids can search for precious gems at Crystal Mountain Gem Mine or head downtown to browse the aisles of the “coolest toy store on the planet,” O.P. Taylor’s.

Nearby attractions include Sliding Rock, a 60-foot natural waterfall/rock slide perfect for a refreshing splash into the natural pool at the end; and Forest Discovery Center, which offers hands-on exhibits and interactive displays.

Every Memorial Day weekend, enjoy the White Squirrel Festival, a celebration of the town and its famous mascot. Attendees enjoy live music, arts and crafts vendors, kids’ activities, a box derby and a parade.

Insider tip: On the second Friday of every month, Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute, a 200-acre former NASA facility about 17 miles from Brevard, offers “An Evening at PARI,” which includes a tour and outdoor observation session.


Bryson City

Photo courtesy of Bill Russ — VisitNC.com

The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad takes you through a beautiful corner of state into river gorges, across fertile valleys and through tunnels cut out of mountains.
 

Surrounded by mountains, historic Bryson City serves as a depot for the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad that delights families with its scenic rail excursions, such as the Polar Express.

After riding the rails, explore the Smoky Mountain Trains Museum.

Spend a day hiking trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park or rafting/kayaking the Nantahala River. Be sure to visit the Nantahala Outdoor Center for information on guided rafting tours and packages with zip lining and/or train excursion options. Mine for gems at the Deep Creek Tube Center Mining Company or fishing in nearby Fontana Lake.

Enjoy free concerts every Saturday evening from June through October at Riverfront Park, and search for souvenirs in one of many unique arts and crafts shops.

While visiting Bryson City, consider a day trip to nearby Cherokee or Clingmans Dome, the highest point in Tennessee. 

Insider tip: The Great Smoky Mountains is in the 70-mile wide path of the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse happening Monday, Aug. 21. The area offers numerous viewing options, including Swain County Event Park.


Hot Springs

Photo courtesy of Hot Springs Tourism Association

Hot Springs is town rich in history with plenty of charm.
 

This charming mountain town 40 miles north of Asheville is named for natural hot spring waters that have transformed the area a resort destination. First discovered by Native Americans, the natural springs were thought to have healing powers. Today, you can relax in modern Jacuzzi tubs outside on the banks of Spring Creek and the French Broad River at the Hot Springs Resort and Spa.

“There is a truly relaxed vibe in town, and when people slow down and live in the moment, they tend to be happier,” says Stacey Geyer of the Hot Springs Tourism Association.

Hike a portion of the Appalachian Trail, which runs through the town. You can also tube, swim, raft, kayak or fish in Spring Creek and the French Broad or Laurel rivers.

Shop local artisan crafts and dine at one of many locally owned restaurants. Soar through the forest at nearby French Broad Rafting & Ziplines, or take a day trip to Biltmore Estate in Asheville or Chimney Rock State Park in Chimney Rock.

The French Broad River Festival is one the town’s most popular annual events. Held the first weekend in May, the festival features raft races, live music and arts-and-crafts vendors. 

Insider tip: Pack a picnic lunch and climb Max Patch, the 5000-foot bald mountain. It’s an easy walk with picturesque, 360-degree views.


Saluda

Photo courtesy of Saluda Business Association

Saluda's outdoor recreation includes hiking, mountain biking, fishing and plenty of family-friendly tubing options along the Green River.
 

Saluda is “where the Foothills end and the Blue Ridge begins.” This cozy small town, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, offers plenty of outdoor recreation and maintains a strong arts community.

“You’ve got an incredibly quaint, picturesque downtown surrounded by the Greenville Watershed, a protected area, and the Green River Game Lands — 18,000 acres protected by the state,” says Sara Bell of the Saluda Business Association. “Saluda is an oasis.”

Outdoor recreation includes hiking, mountain biking, fishing and plenty of family-friendly tubing options along the Green River. “Saluda has also attracted a really vibrant artistic community,” Bell says. In May, the town celebrates its arts heritage with the Saluda Arts Festival, which attracts tourists and renowned local and regional artists. The event also features live music and kid-friendly activities.

Saluda is well-known for its annual Coon Dog Day Festival, offering food, live music, parade, crafts, street dancing and more. The event is held the Saturday after July Fourth. 

Insider tip: “The leaf change here is just phenomenal,” Bell says. But, she adds, the town is about 30 minutes south of Asheville, so the colors peak in the second or third week in October rather than the first.


Piedmont
 

Hillsborough
 

Photo courtesy of Chip Henderson — VISITNC.COM

Downtown Hillsborough offers a variety of unique shops.
 

Hillsborough is known as “the small town with a big history” with more than 100 schools, churches and buildings from the late 18th and 19th centuries. Its central location in the state, along with a healthy serving of Southern charm, makes the town an interesting  tourist destination for families.

Take a guided tour of the historic downtown or explore the Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area, a North Carolina State Park offering hiking, picnicking and fishing on the Eno River. The Historic Occoneechee Speedway Trail, NASCAR’s last remaining dirt track, hosted races between 1948 and 1969 and now offers 3 miles of hiking trails near the Eno River that include the 1-mile oval and rusty remnants of the track’s glory days. History buffs will also enjoy the Occaneechi Indian Village and exhibits at Orange County Historical Museum.

Every September, barbecue lovers celebrate Hog Day with plenty of pulled pork, live music, unique gifts, home decor, face painting and bounce houses.

Nearby attractions for kids include Kidzu Children’s Museum in Chapel Hill, Eno River State Park and the Carolina Basketball Museum on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

Insider tip: The best spot for walking, jogging and cycling is Riverwalk, a paved urban greenway along the Eno River and part of North Carolina’s Mountains-to-Sea Trail.


Salisbury
 

Photo courtesy of Rowan County Convention and Visitors Bureau

Salisbury is filled with “history museums, agritourism locations, arts and cultural sites, and a charming downtown."
 

Salisbury is 45 miles from Charlotte and the home of Cheerwine, the popular cherry-flavored soda established in 1917. Salisbury and Rowan County’s “countryside and urban vibe speaks to its unique character,” says Tara Furr, director of public relations and communications for the Rowan County Convention and Visitors Bureau. The area is home to “history museums, agritourism locations, arts and cultural sites, and a charming downtown all within an easy drive from one another,” Furr says.

You can easily spend a day filled with family fun at Dan Nicholas Park, which has paddleboats, a park train, gem mining, a carousel, mini golf, an aquarium a barnyard and a water plaza/splash pad.

Savor the sounds of nature at Eagle Point Nature Preserve, a 200-acre area on High Rock Lake with hiking trails and canoe and fishing access. Help celebrate the 100th anniversary of Cheerwine with the “Cheerwine: 100 Years Exhibit” at Rowan Museum in downtown, or pack a picnic and head to Dunn’s Mountain Park for hiking and outdoor recreation.

Nearby attractions include the North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer, Lazy 5 Ranch in Mooresville and Patterson Farm in China Grove. 

Insider tip: Tiger World, a nonprofit wildlife preserve for exotic animals in Rockwell, is a 20-minute drive from Salisbury. Educational guided tours occur Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.


Pinehurst
 

Photo courtesy of Village of Pinehurst

Through parks and greenways, families can enjoy walking trails, soccer and baseball fields, an in-line hockey rink, tennis courts, a disc-golf course, bocce ball and a splash pad.
 

The famed golf destination known as the Village of Pinehurst has much to offer families in addition to world-class golf courses. Through parks and greenways, families can enjoy walking trails, soccer and baseball fields, an in-line hockey rink, tennis courts, a disc-golf course, bocce ball and a splash pad.

“Pinehurst Resort offers many activities for parents and children alike,” says Melissa Holt, a communications specialist for the Village of Pinehurst. While mom and/or dad hit the links, kids can enjoy indoor games and fun at KidsClub. “Later, the whole family can enjoy the resort’s private lake, Lake Pinehurst, featuring fishing, boat rentals, kayaks, cabanas and more,” Holt says.

Downtown Pinehurst offers boutique shopping and family-friendly dining options. “While you’re there, stop by the Tufts Archives and learn about the Village of Pinehurst’s history,” Holt suggests.

Don’t-miss annual events include Fourth Fest in July with a parade and fireworks, and Holly Arts and Crafts Festival and Oktoberfest in the fall. 

Insider tip: For a delicious Southern breakfast, try the blueberry pancakes or biscuits and gravy at Pinehurst Track Restaurant while watching the horses train at the Harness Track.


Coast
 

Bath
 

Photo courtesy of Bill Russ — VisitNC.com

The harbor at Bath, North Carolina's first town.
 

A roundup of North Carolina’s small towns wouldn’t be complete without the state’s first town, incorporated in 1705. Bath, located on the Pamlico River, near the Pamlico Sound, is rich in history and is a National Historic Landmark. Learn about the town’s first settlers and how Bath became the state’s first port.

“Historic Bath is very scenic,” says Charles Guard, historic interpreter for Bath with the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. “Many people come just to park by Bonner’s Point and sit out and watch the sunset.”

Bath was a favorite haunt of Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard, the pirate, who frequented North Carolina’s coast.

Be sure to visit St. Thomas Episcopal Church, built in 1734, making it the oldest church building in the state. 

Insider tip: In front of the Bonner House, look south across the water. The land visible to the left is Plum Point, sometimes referred to as Teach’s Point after the notorious pirate who lived there.


Beaufort
 

Photo courtesy of Bill Russ ― VisitNC.com

Wild horses on Shackleford Banks, part of the Cape Lookout National Seashore. The horses are believed to be descendants of Spanish mustangs that were brought to North Carolina five centuries ago.
 

Founded in 1709 and incorporated in 1723, Beaufort is North Carolina’s third oldest town and is located along the state’s southern Outer Banks. Be sure to stroll along Front Street, a scenic downtown waterfront area offering a variety of shops and restaurants. The North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort serves as the official repository of artifacts from Blackbeard’s ship, Queen Anne’s Revenge, since the ship ran aground near the town in 1718. See more than 300 pieces from the ship on display, and learn about the coastal environment and the area’s natural history at the museum.

Beaufort Historic Site offers a historic building tour that stops by the courthouse and the building that once housed the apothecary shop and doctor’s office.

Take a ferry or private boat to Rachel Carson Reserve, home to a herd of wild horses and host of summertime educational programs about the reserve’s habitats and animals. See more than 100 wild horses by hopping on a ferry to Shackleford Banks, a barrier island in Cape Lookout National Seashore. 

Insider tip: Book a guided bike tour with Hungry Town Tours, which offers a variety of historic, culinary and scenic tours to explore the historic charm of this small town.


Edenton
 

Photo courtesy of Kip Shaw/Chowan Tourism Development Authority

Tours are available of the 1886 Roanoke River Lighthouse.
 

The first Colonial capital of North Carolina, Edenton offers a lively downtown and distinctive architecture that reflects the town’s 300-year history. Take a walking tour from the Historic Edenton State Historic Site to the 1886 Roanoke River Lighthouse and 1767 Chowan County Courthouse, or a guided tour via trolley to view notable sites in the Edenton Cotton Mill Historic District.

Head to Colonial Park on South Broad Street for a cruise around Edenton Bay. “The Liber-Tea is an electric boat that can take families out for a wonderful maritime tour,” says Nancy Nicholls of the Chowan County Tourism Development Authority.

The town also offers kayaking, canoeing, camping and trails for walking and birding.

Visit the Edenton National Fish Hatchery, operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, to learn about the hatchery’s role in preservation.

Annual events include Edenton Music and Water Festival each summer with free boat rides, live music, arts-and-crafts vendors, dancing and a guided sunset paddle activity.

The town’s Peanut Festival is held the first weekend in October and features a parade, Battle of the Bands event, arts-and-crafts vendors, and a 5K run/walk. 

Insider tip: See a show at the Rocky Hock Playhouse, a live Christian musical theater.


Manteo

PHOTO COURTESY OF CHIP HENDERSON — VISITNC.COM

Enjoy the scenic views of the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse and Manteo waterfront.
 

This coastal town on Roanoke Island is packed with family fun and history lessons. The scenic downtown waterfront is dotted with restaurants and gift shops, and is ideal for leisurely strolls and spectacular views of the harbor. One of the town’s most recognizable gems is the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse, the only in-shore lighthouse on the Outer Banks.

See a movie at the Pioneer Theatre, which claims the oldest single-screen theater in America. Additional family attractions include North Carolina Aquariums on Roanoke Island, Elizabethan Gardens and Roanoke Island Festival Park, a must-visit destination for learning about the area’s Native American history and first English colony settlement. While there, climb aboard the Elizabeth II, a 16-century replica ship, or explore American Indian Town, a new exhibit that represents what English explorers found in the late 16th century. Learn about the Lost Colony at Roanoke Adventure Museum or by attending a summer performance of America’s longest-running outdoor drama, “The Lost Colony.” 

Insider tip: Elizabethan Gardens hosts Wet and Wild Wednesday for young kids June 21-Aug. 16. Children can learn about plants and water, pot a take-home plant, and cool off with water sprinklers, squirt toys and a water cannon. The event is free with admission.


New Bern

Photo courtesy of Tryon Place

The gardens at Tryon Palace
 

Historic New Bern is an alluring Southern town along the Trent and Neuse rivers known as North Carolina’s first state capitol and the birthplace of Pepsi-Cola. It boasts a lively downtown consisting of shops, restaurants and riverfront attractions.

Tryon Palace, North Carolina’s first state capitol, is now a living history attraction offering character interpretation, tours and programs. Visit the Birthplace of Pepsi and the Pepsi Store on Middle Street to view and buy memorabilia, and stop by the New Bern Firemen’s Museum to learn about the oldest fire company in the state.

New Bern is also near the Croatan National Forest that offers 159,000 acres for camping, picnicking, swimming, canoeing, hiking and observing wildlife. Picnic at Union Point Park, in the historic downtown district. It features a gazebo, walkway, boat launches, a fishing pier and a small playground. Young kids can slide, swing and climb at the fort-like structure at  Kidsville at Seth West Parrot Park. 

Insider tip: Tour historic New Bern in a fully restored 1929 Ford Model A. Tours are booked via Aerie Bed and Breakfast Guest House and Conference Center, one block from Tryon Palace.


Ocracoke

Photo by Melinda Fondrie Sutton

The village of Ocracoke is popular with families who love outdoor recreation and water sports.
 

The island of Ocracoke is accessible only by plane or ferry, but it should still make your list of must-visit towns. There are no traffic lights, chain restaurants or movie theaters, making Ocracoke a simple and unique paradise for beach lovers to visit.

“Shells are plentiful on the 16 miles of clean, untouched, virgin seashore, without any houses, condos or high rise hotels over your shoulder,” says Helena Stevens, travel and tourism director for Ocracoke. “We are truly unique.”

The village is popular for families who love outdoor recreation. “Go kayaking on Silver Lake or explore Springer’s Point Nature Preserve, one of Blackbeard the Pirate’s haunts,” Stevens suggests.

Families can take an offshore adventure by chartering a fishing expedition, sailing Pamlico Sound or visiting Teach’s Hole, where Blackbeard was beheaded in 1718.

Experience Blackbeard’s Pirate Jamboree the last weekend in October to see a historically accurate pirate encampment and watch three ships re-create the last hours of Blackbeard’s life. Visitors are encouraged to wear their best buccaneer gear to this event.

The village welcomes summer with the Ocrafolk Festival — three days of music and storytelling that takes place during the first full weekend in June.

Insider tip: Capture the perfect family photo at Springer’s Point, which offers wide panoramic views.


Myra Wright is the web editor of Carolina Parent and Piedmont Parent. She frequently writes about North Carolina travel and loves exploring the state with her husband and three kids.

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Daily Calendar

May 2019

Prior to opening to the general public, the museum will offer a preparatory session for those with sensory processing issues. Items like sound dampening materials and stress balls will also be...

Cost: $4-$12

Where:
North Carolina Transportation Museum
1 Samuel Spencer Drive
Spencer, NC
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Sponsor: North Carolina Transportation Museum
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Enjoy all-you-can-eat Italian food. Bring the kids to play in the Kid Zone with face painting and Italian lessons. Adults can enjoy live music, dance, prosecco, wine and Peroni beer.

Where:
Gateway Village Promenade
800 W. Trade St.
, NC
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Design a doodle bot, build with Makerspace Charlotte and celebrate the 75th Sunday Fun Day!

Cost: Children, free; adults, $6

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
, NC
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Sunday is Family Day at the Bigleaf Magnolia Art and Gardens Festival. Register for a family workshop, or drop in to a creation station. Cost and suggested ages vary by activity.

Cost: $2+

Where:
UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens
9090 Craver Road
, NC
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Sponsor: UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens
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In the summer of 1775, Captain James Jack rode 450 miles to deliver the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence to Congress. In honor of his historic ride, The May 20th Society invites you to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Olde Mecklenburg Brewery
4150 Yancey Road
, NC
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Families will explore spring wildflowers in the nature preserve during this self-led scavenger hunt for prizes.

Cost: Free

Where:
McDowell Nature Preserve
15222 York Road
, NC
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Put on your wellies, and reserve your spot for the tea party, which includes refreshments, crafts and cupcake-decorating.

Cost: $13.50

Where:
American Girl Southpark Mall
4400 Sharon Road
, NC
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Sponsor: American Girl
Telephone: 877-247-5223
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Enjoy traditional tea fare and pink lemonade, as well as activities for children.

Cost: $25-$40

Where:
Wing Haven Gardens
248 Ridgewood Ave
, NC
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Telephone: 704-331-0664
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See a variety of European sports cars on April 28 and the third Sunday of every month from May through November. Rain days will be scheduled if needed.

Cost: Free

Where:
SouthPark Mall
4400 Sharon Road
, NC
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Church of the Redeemer - Kids offers a class for adaptive learning needs and a sensory room during the Sunday School hour (9 a.m.) and worship hour (10:30 a.m.). Volunteers who desire to come...

Cost: Free

Where:
Sun Valley High School
5211 Old Charlotte Hwy.
Monroe, NC
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Sponsor: Church of the Redeemer
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SUP board rentals include paddle, PFD and whistle, which are required while paddle boarding. Renters younger than 18 must have a parent or guardian with them on the water. Bring your dog for an...

Cost: $25 first hour, $14 additional hour

Where:
Windjammer Park
89999 Windjammer Drive
Tega Cay, SC
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Sponsor: The Goat Boater
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Matthews UMC offers opportunities for Christian education, discipleship, fellowship and care for persons of all ages with disabilities and their families. Experience age-level appropriate Sunday...

Cost: Free

Where:
Matthews United Methodist Church
801 S. Trade St.
Matthews, NC
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The Special Needs Ministry at Calvary welcomes all ages and abilities! Guests, including parents and caregivers, are invited to join.

Cost: Free

Where:
Calvary Church
5801 Pineville–Matthews Road
, NC
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Telephone: 704-341-5413
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Experience creations including sculptures, photography, glass, paintings, ceramics, one-of-a-kind jewelry and mixed media while enjoying eateries and retailers of Birkdale Village.

Cost: Free

Where:
Birkdale Village
16805 Birkdale Commons Pkwy.
Huntersville, NC
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Meet a resident bird and an expert keeper in these half-hour sessions along the Raptor Trail. Saturdays 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., and Sundays 1 and 3 p.m.

Cost: $8-$12, children 3 and younger free

Where:
Carolina Raptor Center
6000 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
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Sponsor: Carolina Raptor Center
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On Saturdays and Sundays from noon-5pm, the arcade bar opens to all ages with a parent or guardian present.

Cost: Cost for games

Where:
Abari Game Bar
1721 N. Davidson St.
, NC
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Telephone: 980-430-4587
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The City is jazzing up Sunday afternoons with a new four-week jazz series. Food will be available for purchase.

Cost: Free

Where:
Veteran's Park
118 N. Main St.
Kannapolis, NC
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Enjoy a 50-foot Alpine climbing tower, a 40-foot challenge tower and zip-line, fishing pond, archery and wooded hiking trails. Try activities like dodgeball, gagaball, basketball, volleyball,...

Cost: $10 per family

Where:
Hemby Program Center
9760 Happy Valley Drive
, NC
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Sponsor: Brace Family Y
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All ages are welcome to this open gym session with an adult. Enjoy trampolines, a foam pit and inflatables as a family.

Cost: $10 per family, cash only

Where:
Charlotte Allstar Gymnastics and Cheerleading
11011 Monroe Road
Matthews, NC
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Telephone: 704-246-8611
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Families with special needs can enjoy lessons and activities tailored for persons with disabilities. Children's class at 9:30 and 11am. Teen class at 9:30 and 11am. Young adult class at...

Cost: Free

Where:
Matthews United Methodist Church
801 S. Trade St.
Matthews, NC
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Sponsor: MUMC
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Enjoy music outdoors with the family. Dates: April 28, May 5 and 19, June 2 and 9, July 4, August 4 and 25, and September 1 and 15.

Cost: Free

Where:
Davidson Village Green
Intersection of Main Street and Concord Road
, NC
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Dive into these crustacean's habitats, learn crazy crabby facts, and face off with Crabzilla, the Japanese Spider Crab whose legs can span up to 15 feet.

Cost: $11-$20, includes museum admission, children younger than 2 free

Where:
SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
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Creepy Nature is designed to share the actual science of weird and unusual plants and animals. This exhibit features horror fiction concepts like vampires, zombies, mummies and alien invaders....

Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

Where:
Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
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Telephone: 704-866-6908
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Featuring more than 50 international artists and more than 100 works of art, Under Construction explores the growth of the collage technique and aesthetic in the work of Romare Bearden and his...

Cost: $15-$6; Free for children 4 and younger; Included in admission

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 South Tryon St.
, NC
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"Welcome to Brookhill" is a collection of images that, like poetry, stir emotion. The photographs reveal what this neighborhood, like every other neighborhood, has come to be to its...

Cost: $7-$9, Children 5 and younger free

Where:
The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Culture
551 S. Tryon St.
, NC
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tapestries and rugs designed by artists usually associated with painting, sculpture, and architecture. Examples of the more familiar media will be installed alongside the textiles. The Bechtler...

Cost: $5-$9, Children younger than 10 free

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 South Tryon St.
, NC
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Shop for bargains at this spring consignment sale.

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Lake Norman
500 S. Main Street
Mooresville, NC
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Explore another part of the world through the IMAX original film, "Pandas," a breathtaking documentary adventure high in the mountains of Sichuan, China.

Cost: $5-$10

Where:
Discovery Place Science
301 N Tryon St.
, NC
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This modest exhibition presents twenty works created over four decades by seventeen artists from six different nations. Yet all of them, regardless of their style, form, material or subject proved...

Cost: $5-$9, Children younger than 10 free

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
, NC
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Kids can get creative in Block Party, the new interactive building exhibit for children.

Cost: $6-$7, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
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The May 20th Society’s annual commemoration of the MeckDec signing includes military and Colonial re-enactors, historical readings, military parades and cannon firing in uptown...

Cost: Free

Where:
Independence Square
Trade and Tryon Streets
, NC
View map »

More information

Develop literacy and critical thinking skills through books and hands-on activities.

Cost: Free

Where:
Matthews Library
230 Matthews Station St.
Matthews, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Come chat about a teen book and participate in related activities.

Cost: Free

Where:
Matthews Library
230 Matthews Station St.
Matthews, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Learn how to read a cookbook and follow a recipe to become a successful cook!

Cost: Free

Where:
Beatties Ford Road Regional Library
2412 Beatties Ford Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-416-3000
Website »

More information

Create obstacle courses for Hexbugs using Lego pieces and blocks.

Cost: Free

Where:
University City Regional Library
301 E. W.T. Harris Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Discover how movement can bring stories to life in new ways.

Cost: Free

Where:
Cornelius Library
21105 Catawba Ave.
Cornelius, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Make masterpieces out of recycled book pages.

Cost: Free

Where:
Lake Wylie Public Library
185 Blucher Cir.
Lake Wylie, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Every Monday, Sky High Sports has a special for little jumpers. The facility is still open during Munchkin Monday, so older guests may also be jumping. Munchkin Monday may be canceled on...

Cost: $4-$10

Where:
Sky High Sports
601 N. Polk St.
Pineville, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-889-5867
Website »

More information

Preschoolers complete nature themed literature activities, crafts and hikes while using their imaginations! All guests will meet at the Adventure Center. 1/21: Snow 2/4: Winter Bird Feeders...

Cost: $2; additional $5 entry fee for nonmembers

Where:
Anne Springs Close Greenway
194 Adventure Road
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Children ages 6 and younger can jump at a discounted rate, and for an additional $2, parents can jump too. All jumpers need to purchase Altitude Trampoline Socks for $2.

Cost: $6.95

Where:
Altitude Trampoline Park
3490 E. Franklin Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Come play in the open gym. All students younger than 3 must have an adult present at all times. Some Mondays are closed due to holidays, so please call to verify playtime.

Cost: $5, cash only

Where:
Carolina Stars
1080 Maxwell Mill Road
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Telephone: 803-548-3441
Website »

More information

Enjoy a variety of stories based on the seasons. Learn about bugs, frogs, plants and other garden friends. Follow story time with a self-guided scavenger hunt.

Cost: $7-$13, children younger than 2 free, included with admission

Where:
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
6500 S. New Hope Road
Belmont, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

This program is designed to engage young African American males in a variety of fun and educational activities to develop a positive sense of identity and improve character.

Cost: Free

Where:
Wallace Pruitt Recreation Center
440 Wesley Heights Way
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 980-314-1114
Website »

More information

Explore various painting techniques, and express your imagination.  There will be no class on May 27 for Memorial Day.

Cost: $20

Where:
Berewick Recreation Center
5910 Dixie River Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy stories, songs and movement activities, and wear pajamas! Milk and cookies will be served.

Cost: Free

Where:
Matthews Library
230 Matthews Station St.
Matthews, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Kids will have fun doing unstructured gymnastics.

Cost: $10-$15, cash only

Where:
Carolina Stars
1080 Maxwell Mill Road
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Telephone: 803-548-3441
Website »

More information

Dive into these crustacean's habitats, learn crazy crabby facts, and face off with Crabzilla, the Japanese Spider Crab whose legs can span up to 15 feet.

Cost: $11-$20, includes museum admission, children younger than 2 free

Where:
SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Creepy Nature is designed to share the actual science of weird and unusual plants and animals. This exhibit features horror fiction concepts like vampires, zombies, mummies and alien invaders....

Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

Where:
Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6908
Website »

More information

tapestries and rugs designed by artists usually associated with painting, sculpture, and architecture. Examples of the more familiar media will be installed alongside the textiles. The Bechtler...

Cost: $5-$9, Children younger than 10 free

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 South Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Exhibit explores the 1929 Loray Mill Strike, including why strikers chose to organize with the National Textile Workers Union (NTWU) and how the strike influenced mills across the country. The...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gaston County Museum of Art and History
131 West Main St.
Dallas, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Explore another part of the world through the IMAX original film, "Pandas," a breathtaking documentary adventure high in the mountains of Sichuan, China.

Cost: $5-$10

Where:
Discovery Place Science
301 N Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This modest exhibition presents twenty works created over four decades by seventeen artists from six different nations. Yet all of them, regardless of their style, form, material or subject proved...

Cost: $5-$9, Children younger than 10 free

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

See the Cabarrus Arts Council's newest exhibition, "On Paper." The exhibition will feature a wide array of artwork including cut and sculpted paper, collage and works on paper by...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Galleries
65 Union St. S.
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Kids can get creative in Block Party, the new interactive building exhibit for children.

Cost: $6-$7, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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Participate in educational and therapeutic activities for children with special needs with Little Achievers, a sub group of the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Charlotte.

Cost: Free

Where:
South County Regional Library
5801 Rea Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Paint on canvases for the Juice and Paint theme. This will be a Homeschool Rocks finale before summer break.

Cost: Free

Where:
University City Regional Library
301 E. W.T. Harris Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Some of NASCAR’s biggest names will battle each other for bragging rights in GoPro Motorplex’s rental fleet of go-karts.

Cost: Free

Where:
GoPro Motorplex
130 Motorplex Drive
Mooresville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

In support of FrogWatch USA, go on a frog walk and report all the different frog calls you hear. Learn about the local frogs, and discover how you can take part in this program at home.

Cost: $8, free for children younger than 2, includes museum admission

Where:
Discovery Place Nature
1658 Sterling Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This weekly story time includes classic tales and new favorites.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes and Noble: Arboretum
3327 Pineville-Matthews Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Little ones bounce under the supervision of their parents and without interference from bigger kids. Jumpers need Sky Socks, which are available for purchase, and a signed waiver.

Cost: $8

Where:
Sky Zone
10200 Centrum Pkwy.
Pineville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Children ages 6 and younger can jump at a discounted rate, and for an additional $2, parents can jump too. All jumpers need to purchase Altitude Trampoline Socks for $2.

Cost: $6.95

Where:
Altitude Trampoline Park
3490 E. Franklin Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy a story and craft activity in the Children’s Garden. Children can water vegetable plants, dig for worms and explore the gardens.

Cost: $10 per family, free for members

Where:
Children's Garden at Wing Haven
260 Ridgewood Ave.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This class combines yoga and play through  poses, songs and calming time.

Cost: $15

Where:
Tiny Blooms Yoga
15905 Brookway Drive
Suite 4106
Huntersville, NC  28078
View map »


Sponsor: Tiny Blooms Yoga
Website »

More information

Come discuss the book of the month. New members welcome! Light refreshments will be served. Registration is required.

Cost: Free

Where:
Matthews Library
230 Matthews Station St.
Matthews, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-416-5000
Website »

More information

Learn how to supervise children, recognize safety hazards, handle first-aid situations, play age-appropriate games, change diapers, carry out parents' instructions and discuss job...

Cost: $65-$95

Where:
Morrison Family YMCA
9405 Bryant Farms Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-716-4600
Website »

More information

Come make fun, kid-friendly campfire meals. Registration is required. May 21: Banana Boats June 18: Dogs in a Blanket July 16: Waffle Cone S’mores Aug. 20: Pizza Pies

Cost: $10-$15

Where:
Anne Springs Close Greenway
2573 Lake Haigler Drive
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Dive into these crustacean's habitats, learn crazy crabby facts, and face off with Crabzilla, the Japanese Spider Crab whose legs can span up to 15 feet.

Cost: $11-$20, includes museum admission, children younger than 2 free

Where:
SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Creepy Nature is designed to share the actual science of weird and unusual plants and animals. This exhibit features horror fiction concepts like vampires, zombies, mummies and alien invaders....

Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

Where:
Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6908
Website »

More information

"Welcome to Brookhill" is a collection of images that, like poetry, stir emotion. The photographs reveal what this neighborhood, like every other neighborhood, has come to be to its...

Cost: $7-$9, Children 5 and younger free

Where:
The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Culture
551 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Exhibit explores the 1929 Loray Mill Strike, including why strikers chose to organize with the National Textile Workers Union (NTWU) and how the strike influenced mills across the country. The...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gaston County Museum of Art and History
131 West Main St.
Dallas, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Explore another part of the world through the IMAX original film, "Pandas," a breathtaking documentary adventure high in the mountains of Sichuan, China.

Cost: $5-$10

Where:
Discovery Place Science
301 N Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

See the Cabarrus Arts Council's newest exhibition, "On Paper." The exhibition will feature a wide array of artwork including cut and sculpted paper, collage and works on paper by...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Galleries
65 Union St. S.
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Kids can get creative in Block Party, the new interactive building exhibit for children.

Cost: $6-$7, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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Discover the nature of local greenways and their importance to the environment in Mecklenburg County.

Cost: Free

Where:
McAlpine Regional Park
8711 Monroe Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Discover nature through stories, crafts and activities related to the topic.

Cost: $4

Where:
Latta Nature Center
6211 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Explore the amazing world through stories, crafts and activities.

Cost: $6

Where:
Latta Nature Center
6211 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Participants will make ice cream in a bag while participating in some activities and games.

Cost: Free

Where:
Hickory Grove Recreation Center
6709 Pence Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy puppet shows, songs and movement activities that support early literacy.

Cost: Free

Where:
Mint Hill Library
6840 Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Mint Hill, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Children ages 6 and younger can jump at a discounted rate, and for an additional $2, parents can jump too. All jumpers need to purchase Altitude Trampoline Socks for $2.

Cost: $6.95

Where:
Altitude Trampoline Park
3490 E. Franklin Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Spend time with your child learning about God and having fun.

Cost: Free

Where:
The Grounds Bookstore and Cafe
8335 Browne Road
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: The Grounds Bookstore and Cafe
Website »

More information

Preschoolers can bounce with their parents in a safe, climate-controlled facility. 

Cost: $8

Where:
BounceU (Matthews and Charlotte locations)
10624 Metromont Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Come join story time with other families. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble: Morrison Place
4020 Sharon Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Explore the Mint Museum's exhibitions.

Cost: Free

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph, 2730 Randolph Road
Mint Museum Uptown, 500 S. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

Explore nature in and around the recreation center Register online.

Cost: Free

Where:
West Charlotte Recreation Center
2401 Kendall Drive
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Instructors will provide assistance to students in grades K-12 in reading and math. The instructions will be primarily facilitated by NC Educator licensed teachers.  

Cost: Free

Where:
Revolution Park Sports Academy
1225 Remount Road
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Revolution Park Sports Academy

More information

Charlotte Ballet's Cultural Dance Program presents African Dance classes. Classes are drop-in format, open to all ages and free of charge for participants. There is also child supervision...

Cost: Free

Where:
Sugar Creek Recreation Center
943 West Sugar Creek Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Dive into these crustacean's habitats, learn crazy crabby facts, and face off with Crabzilla, the Japanese Spider Crab whose legs can span up to 15 feet.

Cost: $11-$20, includes museum admission, children younger than 2 free

Where:
SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Creepy Nature is designed to share the actual science of weird and unusual plants and animals. This exhibit features horror fiction concepts like vampires, zombies, mummies and alien invaders....

Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

Where:
Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6908
Website »

More information

Featuring more than 50 international artists and more than 100 works of art, Under Construction explores the growth of the collage technique and aesthetic in the work of Romare Bearden and his...

Cost: $15-$6; Free for children 4 and younger; Included in admission

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 South Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

"Welcome to Brookhill" is a collection of images that, like poetry, stir emotion. The photographs reveal what this neighborhood, like every other neighborhood, has come to be to its...

Cost: $7-$9, Children 5 and younger free

Where:
The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Culture
551 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

tapestries and rugs designed by artists usually associated with painting, sculpture, and architecture. Examples of the more familiar media will be installed alongside the textiles. The Bechtler...

Cost: $5-$9, Children younger than 10 free

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 South Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Exhibit explores the 1929 Loray Mill Strike, including why strikers chose to organize with the National Textile Workers Union (NTWU) and how the strike influenced mills across the country. The...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gaston County Museum of Art and History
131 West Main St.
Dallas, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Explore another part of the world through the IMAX original film, "Pandas," a breathtaking documentary adventure high in the mountains of Sichuan, China.

Cost: $5-$10

Where:
Discovery Place Science
301 N Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This modest exhibition presents twenty works created over four decades by seventeen artists from six different nations. Yet all of them, regardless of their style, form, material or subject proved...

Cost: $5-$9, Children younger than 10 free

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

See the Cabarrus Arts Council's newest exhibition, "On Paper." The exhibition will feature a wide array of artwork including cut and sculpted paper, collage and works on paper by...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Galleries
65 Union St. S.
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Kids can get creative in Block Party, the new interactive building exhibit for children.

Cost: $6-$7, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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Create, experiment and practice teamwork teamwork in age appropriate challenges. May the force be with you! Explore the vastness of space in this session.

Cost: $15

Where:
Latta Nature Center
6211 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Use multiple critical thinking skills and the library's online resources in a small group setting to solve puzzles and codes in an interactive escape room game.

Cost: Free

Where:
Independence Regional Library
6000 Conference Drive
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Explore space with activities, games and an out-of-this world snack! Register online.

Cost: Free

Where:
Fort Mill Public Library
1818 2nd Baxter Crossing
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Little ones bounce under the supervision of their parents and without interference from bigger kids. Jumpers need Sky Socks, which are available for purchase, and a signed waiver.

Cost: $8

Where:
Sky Zone
10200 Centrum Pkwy.
Pineville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Children ages 6 and younger can jump at a discounted rate, and for an additional $2, parents can jump too. All jumpers need to purchase Altitude Trampoline Socks for $2.

Cost: $6.95

Where:
Altitude Trampoline Park
3490 E. Franklin Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Sing to songs, move to the music and enjoy an active practice with caregiver and child. Parent or guardian must be present in class.

Cost: $15

Where:
Blossom Tree Wellness
15905 Brookway Drive
Suite 4106
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Tiny Blooms Yoga
Website »

More information

Preschoolers can bounce with their parents in a safe, climate-controlled facility. 

Cost: $8

Where:
BounceU (Matthews and Charlotte locations)
10624 Metromont Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Little ones and adults discover nature together through crafts, games, songs, animal encounters and outdoor exploration. March 16-17, Inching Along; May 23-24: Life of a Ladybug. Registration...

Cost: $4

Where:
McDowell Nature Preserve
15222 York Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Make a variety of crafts each week to take home. Parent participation and registration are required.

Cost: $4

Where:
Berewick Recreation Center
5910 Dixie River Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This class incorporates songs and movement and ends with a calming story.

Cost: $15

Where:
Tiny Blooms Yoga
15905 Brookway Drive
Suite 4106
Huntersville, NC  28078
View map »


Sponsor: Tiny Blooms Yoga
Website »

More information

Rock out to live entertainment, access to racing’s brightest stars, giveaways and interactive displays. Each day starting at noon, vendor displays, kids’ activities,...

Cost: Free for festival; tickets to Romare Bearden Park's concerts start at $15

Where:
Uptown Charlotte
Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Come out every Thursday for live music in Uptown.

Cost: Free

Where:
Epicentre
210 East Trade St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Learn how to supervise children, recognize safety hazards, handle first-aid situations, play age-appropriate games, change diapers, carry out parents' instructions and discuss job...

Cost: $65-$95

Where:
Morrison Family YMCA
9405 Bryant Farms Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-716-4600
Website »

More information

River Jam brings live musical performances to the world’s largest man-made whitewater river. See website for information about River Jam Run, open water swim, big water sessions, yoga and...

Cost: Free, $6 for parkig

Where:
U.S. National Whitewater Center
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Dive into these crustacean's habitats, learn crazy crabby facts, and face off with Crabzilla, the Japanese Spider Crab whose legs can span up to 15 feet.

Cost: $11-$20, includes museum admission, children younger than 2 free

Where:
SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Creepy Nature is designed to share the actual science of weird and unusual plants and animals. This exhibit features horror fiction concepts like vampires, zombies, mummies and alien invaders....

Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

Where:
Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6908
Website »

More information

Featuring more than 50 international artists and more than 100 works of art, Under Construction explores the growth of the collage technique and aesthetic in the work of Romare Bearden and his...

Cost: $15-$6; Free for children 4 and younger; Included in admission

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 South Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

"Welcome to Brookhill" is a collection of images that, like poetry, stir emotion. The photographs reveal what this neighborhood, like every other neighborhood, has come to be to its...

Cost: $7-$9, Children 5 and younger free

Where:
The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Culture
551 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

tapestries and rugs designed by artists usually associated with painting, sculpture, and architecture. Examples of the more familiar media will be installed alongside the textiles. The Bechtler...

Cost: $5-$9, Children younger than 10 free

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 South Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Exhibit explores the 1929 Loray Mill Strike, including why strikers chose to organize with the National Textile Workers Union (NTWU) and how the strike influenced mills across the country. The...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gaston County Museum of Art and History
131 West Main St.
Dallas, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Explore another part of the world through the IMAX original film, "Pandas," a breathtaking documentary adventure high in the mountains of Sichuan, China.

Cost: $5-$10

Where:
Discovery Place Science
301 N Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This modest exhibition presents twenty works created over four decades by seventeen artists from six different nations. Yet all of them, regardless of their style, form, material or subject proved...

Cost: $5-$9, Children younger than 10 free

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

See the Cabarrus Arts Council's newest exhibition, "On Paper." The exhibition will feature a wide array of artwork including cut and sculpted paper, collage and works on paper by...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Galleries
65 Union St. S.
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Kids can get creative in Block Party, the new interactive building exhibit for children.

Cost: $6-$7, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Guests will be mesmerized this summer by dozens of vibrant sculptures by Seattle-based artist Jason Gamrath including towering 10-foot orchids, vivid pitcher plants, energetic Venus flytraps and...

Cost: $8-$15, children younger than 2 free, includes garden admission

Where:
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
6500 S. New Hope Road
Belmont, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

The Hot Wheels is taking the Legends Tour experience Concord Walmart store parking lot. There will be a gaming console, Hot Wheels track play station and a vending machine giving fans a chance to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Walmart
150 Concord Commons Pl. SW
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Hike unexplored areas for fun and adventure, and learn through activities.

Cost: Free

Where:
McDowell Nature Preserve
15222 York Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This clinic teaches the basics of orienteering, including how to read map features and compasses, recognizing symbols and how to effectively use both for navigation. Stick around for live music...

Cost: Free, $6 for parking

Where:
U.S. National Whitewater Center
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Hear this duo blend country and blues in Spirit Square.

Cost: Free

Where:
Spirit Square
345 N. College St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Come watch movies in Village Park!     May 24: "Incredibles II"     June 7: "Sandlot"     June 21: "Jumanji"...

Cost: Free

Where:
Village Park
700 West C St.
Kannapolis, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Children ages 6 and younger can jump at a discounted rate, and for an additional $2, parents can jump too. All jumpers need to purchase Altitude Trampoline Socks for $2.

Cost: $6.95

Where:
Altitude Trampoline Park
3490 E. Franklin Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Preschoolers can bounce with their parents in a safe, climate-controlled facility. 

Cost: $8

Where:
BounceU (Matthews and Charlotte locations)
10624 Metromont Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Little ones and adults discover nature together through crafts, games, songs, animal encounters and outdoor exploration. March 16-17, Inching Along; May 23-24: Life of a Ladybug. Registration...

Cost: $4

Where:
McDowell Nature Preserve
15222 York Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Participate in educational and therapeutic activities for children with special needs with Little Achievers, a sub group of the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Charlotte.

Cost: Free

Where:
South County Regional Library
5801 Rea Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Kids will learn some basic yoga positions that go along with the story.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes and Noble - Birkdale Village
8725 Townley Road
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Rock out to live entertainment, access to racing’s brightest stars, giveaways and interactive displays. Each day starting at noon, vendor displays, kids’ activities,...

Cost: Free for festival; tickets to Romare Bearden Park's concerts start at $15

Where:
Uptown Charlotte
Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Make a unique project out of clay that will last a lifetime. Projects will be taken back to Clayworks to be fired and glazed before being returned to Grier Heights Community Center for pickup.

Cost: Free

Where:
Greer Heights Community Center
3100 Leroy St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 980-498-1487
Website »

More information

Starting in May and running through October, come out to Camp North End in the Boileryard on Friday nights for food and music. Children and leashed pets welcome!

Cost: Free

Where:
Boileryard at Camp North End
1824 Statesville Ave.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Matthews presents food trucks, kids' activities, craft beer and wine, and weekly bands.

Cost: Free

Where:
Stumptown Park
120 S. Trade St.
Matthews, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy live music, food trucks and a beverage garden. May 10 and 24, and June 7 and 21.

Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Belmont
S. Main St.
Belmont, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Bring your blanket and chairs and enjoy a movie in the park. Food available for purchase. Movie begins at dusk. March 29 and Aug. 23 at Crooked Creek Park, 5900 Oakwood Ln.,...

Cost: Free

Where:
, NC


Website »

More information

Come listen to music every Friday and Saturday throughout the summer, except June 21, which is Movie on the Green.

Cost: Free

Where:
The Green at Promenade on Providence
corner of Providence Road and Interstate 485
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Celebrate 20 years of music at Stonecrest with weekly family fun.

Cost: Free

Where:
Stonecrest Shopping Center
7900 Rea Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

River Jam brings live musical performances to the world’s largest man-made whitewater river. See website for information about River Jam Run, open water swim, big water sessions, yoga and...

Cost: Free, $6 for parkig

Where:
U.S. National Whitewater Center
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Dive into these crustacean's habitats, learn crazy crabby facts, and face off with Crabzilla, the Japanese Spider Crab whose legs can span up to 15 feet.

Cost: $11-$20, includes museum admission, children younger than 2 free

Where:
SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Creepy Nature is designed to share the actual science of weird and unusual plants and animals. This exhibit features horror fiction concepts like vampires, zombies, mummies and alien invaders....

Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

Where:
Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6908
Website »

More information

Featuring more than 50 international artists and more than 100 works of art, Under Construction explores the growth of the collage technique and aesthetic in the work of Romare Bearden and his...

Cost: $15-$6; Free for children 4 and younger; Included in admission

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 South Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

"Welcome to Brookhill" is a collection of images that, like poetry, stir emotion. The photographs reveal what this neighborhood, like every other neighborhood, has come to be to its...

Cost: $7-$9, Children 5 and younger free

Where:
The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Culture
551 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

tapestries and rugs designed by artists usually associated with painting, sculpture, and architecture. Examples of the more familiar media will be installed alongside the textiles. The Bechtler...

Cost: $5-$9, Children younger than 10 free

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 South Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The Mint Hill Madness festival offers something for everyone, food, music, a family carnival, an arts and crafts fair, parade, and a spectacular firework show. Fireworks begin at approximately 10...

Cost: Free

Where:
Mint Hill Veterans Memorial Park
8850 Fairview Road
Mint Hill, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Town of Mint Hill
Website »

More information

Exhibit explores the 1929 Loray Mill Strike, including why strikers chose to organize with the National Textile Workers Union (NTWU) and how the strike influenced mills across the country. The...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gaston County Museum of Art and History
131 West Main St.
Dallas, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Explore another part of the world through the IMAX original film, "Pandas," a breathtaking documentary adventure high in the mountains of Sichuan, China.

Cost: $5-$10

Where:
Discovery Place Science
301 N Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This modest exhibition presents twenty works created over four decades by seventeen artists from six different nations. Yet all of them, regardless of their style, form, material or subject proved...

Cost: $5-$9, Children younger than 10 free

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Richard Childress Racing and the NASCAR Hall of Fame will launch an exhibit to honor the 50th anniversary of Richard Childress Racing using artifacts, race cars, images and audio/video displays.

Cost: $12-$25, children 2 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame
400 East Martin Luther King Blvd
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

See the Cabarrus Arts Council's newest exhibition, "On Paper." The exhibition will feature a wide array of artwork including cut and sculpted paper, collage and works on paper by...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Galleries
65 Union St. S.
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The story of this great Apache leader comes to life and is a triumphant story of hope and healing that transcends time.

Cost: $10-$37

Where:
NarroWay Theatre
3327 Hwy 51
Fort Mill, SC  29715
View map »


Sponsor: NarroWay Productions
Telephone: 803-802-2300
Website »

More information

Kids can get creative in Block Party, the new interactive building exhibit for children.

Cost: $6-$7, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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Guests will be mesmerized this summer by dozens of vibrant sculptures by Seattle-based artist Jason Gamrath including towering 10-foot orchids, vivid pitcher plants, energetic Venus flytraps and...

Cost: $8-$15, children younger than 2 free, includes garden admission

Where:
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
6500 S. New Hope Road
Belmont, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

Cover the different types of fish and the different methods used to catch them.

Cost: $10-$15

Where:
Anne Springs Close Greenway Scoville Dock
2573 Lake Haigler Drive
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Come for a stroll around Discovery Place Nature’s Paw Paw Nature Trail.

Cost: $8, free for children younger than 2, included with museum admission

Where:
Discovery Place Nature
1658 Sterling Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Listen to a story, and meet Wonder Woman and Spider Man.

Cost: $9

Where:
SAS Cupcakes
9941 Rea Road
Suite C
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This ongoing nature program is designed to inspire children and adults to explore the natural world of the Carolina Piedmont. This Saturday is "Natural History Jeopardy."

Cost: $5-$8, free for children younger than 3, Included with admission

Where:
The Museum of York County
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Don’t miss NASCAR’s rising stars competing in the May 25 Alsco 300, a daytime donnybrook for sun-drenched supremacy.

Cost: $26.75+

Where:
Charlotte Motor Speedway
5555 Concord Pkwy. S.
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Discover the world of science through books, hands-on educational activities and experiments.

Cost: Free

Where:
Sugar Creek Library
4045 North Tryon St.
Suite A
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Discuss teen fandom of pop culture while enjoying snacks and fun geek activities.

Cost: Free

Where:
Scaleybark Library
101 Scaleybark Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

One of the country’s largest gospel music festivals is returning to Carowinds, featuring Mary Mary, Marvin Sapp, Travis Greene, Jonathan McReynolds and more.

Cost: $38-$69

Where:
Carowinds Paladium
14523 Carowinds Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Come see "Christopher Robin." The concession stand will be selling popcorn and other snacks. The film will begin shortly after sunset.

Cost: Free

Where:
Ebenezer Park
4490 Boatshore Road
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Come play with your kids at My Gym! Parent participation is required. Parents wear socks; children go barefoot.

Cost: $10 per child

Where:
My Gym Southpark
5110 Park Road
2D
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Little ones bounce under the supervision of their parents and without interference from bigger kids. Jumpers need Sky Socks, which are available for purchase, and a signed waiver.

Cost: $8

Where:
Sky Zone (Pineville and Charlotte locations)
10200 Centrum Pkwy.
Pineville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Come for 90 minutes of hands-on Lego Robotics with a certified K-8 public educator! Each week, scholars will build a robot with new features. No prior experience required.

Cost: $35

Where:
Ballantyne Hotel
10000 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Digi-Bridge
Website »

More information

Paddle the edges of McDowell Nature Preserve with certified instructors while enjoying nature. Children ages five to nine are required to be in a tandem with an adult. Registration is required.

Cost: $20 single, $25 tandem

Where:
McDowell Nature Preserve
15222 York Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Join this family-friendly open art session where your little Picasso can shine! Each week will be different activities including easel painting, sensory stations and themed art projects.

Cost: $10

Where:
Noah's Art of Southpark
5110 Park Road
2C
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Noah's Art of Southpark
Website »

More information

Guided trail rides are open to riders of all experience levels.

Cost: $45-$50

Where:
Anne Springs Close Greenway
1058 Horse Road
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Swim in the cool, deep water at Carrigan Farms Quarry. Ages 11 and under must wear a life jacket at all times in the water. Anyone 12 and older are eligible to take the swim test. Bring your rod...

Cost: $15 per person, cash or check only

Where:
The Quarry at Carrigan Farms
1213 Oak Ridge Farm Hwy.
Mooresville, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Carrigan Farms
Telephone: 704-664-1450
Website »

More information

Meet a resident bird and an expert keeper in these half-hour sessions along the Raptor Trail. Saturdays 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., and Sundays 1 and 3 p.m.

Cost: $8-$12, children 3 and younger free

Where:
Carolina Raptor Center
6000 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Carolina Raptor Center
Website »

More information

Participants learn critical reading and writing skills, advocacy, volunteerism, art, videography, public speaking and more.

Cost: Free

Where:
President James K Polk State Historic Site
12031 Lancaster Hwy.
Pineville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

On Saturdays and Sundays from noon-5pm, the arcade bar opens to all ages with a parent or guardian present.

Cost: Cost for games

Where:
Abari Game Bar
1721 N. Davidson St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 980-430-4587
Website »

More information

Rock out to live entertainment, access to racing’s brightest stars, giveaways and interactive displays. Each day starting at noon, vendor displays, kids’ activities,...

Cost: Free for festival; tickets to Romare Bearden Park's concerts start at $15

Where:
Uptown Charlotte
Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Learn about vultures found at Carolina Raptor Center.

Cost: $8-$12, children 3 and younger free, included with admission to Raptor Trail

Where:
Carolina Raptor Center
6000 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Glide along the water while enjoying nature. Registration is required.

Cost: $15 single, $20 tandem

Where:
McDowell Nature Preserve
15222 York Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Instructors will provide assistance to students in grades K-12 in reading and math. The instructions will be primarily facilitated by NC Educator licensed teachers.  

Cost: Free

Where:
Revolution Park Sports Academy
1225 Remount Road
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Revolution Park Sports Academy

More information

Teens ages 16 and younger receive three hours of discounted jumping. Jumpers are required to purchase Altitude Trampoline Socks for an additional $2.

Cost: $19.95

Where:
Altitude Trampoline Park
3490 E. Franklin Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Come listen to music every Friday and Saturday throughout the summer, except June 21, which is Movie on the Green.

Cost: Free

Where:
The Green at Promenade on Providence
corner of Providence Road and Interstate 485
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Celebrate 20 years of music at Stonecrest with weekly family fun.

Cost: Free

Where:
Stonecrest Shopping Center
7900 Rea Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

River Jam brings live musical performances to the world’s largest man-made whitewater river. See website for information about River Jam Run, open water swim, big water sessions, yoga and...

Cost: Free, $6 for parkig

Where:
U.S. National Whitewater Center
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Watch a free, outdoor movie in Uptown. May 25: "Back to the Future" June 22: "The Goonies" July 27: "Jurassic Park" Aug. 27: "Jumanji"

Cost: Free

Where:
Uptown Charlotte
406 N. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Dive into these crustacean's habitats, learn crazy crabby facts, and face off with Crabzilla, the Japanese Spider Crab whose legs can span up to 15 feet.

Cost: $11-$20, includes museum admission, children younger than 2 free

Where:
SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Creepy Nature is designed to share the actual science of weird and unusual plants and animals. This exhibit features horror fiction concepts like vampires, zombies, mummies and alien invaders....

Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

Where:
Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6908
Website »

More information

Featuring more than 50 international artists and more than 100 works of art, Under Construction explores the growth of the collage technique and aesthetic in the work of Romare Bearden and his...

Cost: $15-$6; Free for children 4 and younger; Included in admission

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 South Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

"Welcome to Brookhill" is a collection of images that, like poetry, stir emotion. The photographs reveal what this neighborhood, like every other neighborhood, has come to be to its...

Cost: $7-$9, Children 5 and younger free

Where:
The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Culture
551 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

tapestries and rugs designed by artists usually associated with painting, sculpture, and architecture. Examples of the more familiar media will be installed alongside the textiles. The Bechtler...

Cost: $5-$9, Children younger than 10 free

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 South Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The Mint Hill Madness festival offers something for everyone, food, music, a family carnival, an arts and crafts fair, parade, and a spectacular firework show. Fireworks begin at approximately 10...

Cost: Free

Where:
Mint Hill Veterans Memorial Park
8850 Fairview Road
Mint Hill, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Town of Mint Hill
Website »

More information

Exhibit explores the 1929 Loray Mill Strike, including why strikers chose to organize with the National Textile Workers Union (NTWU) and how the strike influenced mills across the country. The...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gaston County Museum of Art and History
131 West Main St.
Dallas, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Explore another part of the world through the IMAX original film, "Pandas," a breathtaking documentary adventure high in the mountains of Sichuan, China.

Cost: $5-$10

Where:
Discovery Place Science
301 N Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This modest exhibition presents twenty works created over four decades by seventeen artists from six different nations. Yet all of them, regardless of their style, form, material or subject proved...

Cost: $5-$9, Children younger than 10 free

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Richard Childress Racing and the NASCAR Hall of Fame will launch an exhibit to honor the 50th anniversary of Richard Childress Racing using artifacts, race cars, images and audio/video displays.

Cost: $12-$25, children 2 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame
400 East Martin Luther King Blvd
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The story of this great Apache leader comes to life and is a triumphant story of hope and healing that transcends time.

Cost: $10-$37

Where:
NarroWay Theatre
3327 Hwy 51
Fort Mill, SC  29715
View map »


Sponsor: NarroWay Productions
Telephone: 803-802-2300
Website »

More information

Kids can get creative in Block Party, the new interactive building exhibit for children.

Cost: $6-$7, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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Annual Guides

G.P.S. [Go.Play.See]

Your guide to raising kids in the Queen City, plus our 2018 Readers' Favorites for places to play, explore and learn with the kids.

Education Guide

A comprehensive guide to independent, private, charter and public schools in Cabarrus, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Union and York counties.
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