5 Extreme Sports for Kids

A world of alternative sports awaits adventurous children.


Published:

BMX racers at the BMX Supercross Track in Rock Hill, S.C.

Photo by Wendy Waddle.

If the young athlete in your life itching to move beyond the baseball field or the basketball court, there’s no lack of opportunity to explore athletic pursuits that aren’t so traditional. Alternative sports, such as rock climbing, aerial arts, skateboarding and parkour, can provide children a number of physical and mental benefits that can last a lifetime.

“The same benefits that a child receives from any sport they will receive from an alternative sport — it really is just a matter of personality and interest,” says Amy Tynan, owner of AerialCLT, an aerial arts gym with locations in Charlotte and Pineville. “The goal is to keep children active and playing.”

While the thought of your child swinging from the rafters or biking full speed through bumpy terrain on a bicycle motocross — also know as BMX — course may make you cringe, experts agree that staying educated and informed about the sport can help alleviate some of that anxiety. Like other sports, alternative activities provide children a number of physical and mental benefits that can last a lifetime. If you have a sensation-seeker who prefers something different from the usual team sports, read on to learn about about five alternative sports kids can explore in Charlotte, and how it might be a fit for your child.


Aerial Silks

Aerial silks are acrobatics performed while hanging from a suspended fabric which is used to wrap, suspend, swing and spiral the performer’s body into various positions. AerialCLT offers aerial silks classes for children ages 8 to 14 years old.

“If the jungle gym is your child’s favorite hangout spot, chances are they will really connect with aerial,” Tynan says. “If your child is one that gets nervous when in a team environment, then aerial arts would be a great alternative for him or her.”

The physical and mental benefits that a child receives from aerial arts are similar to those they would receive from more traditional sports like dance and gymnastics, Tynan says. To get involved in aerial silks, children can register for a semester of classes on the AerialCLT website, or sign up for a 30-minute private lesson to help determine if the sport is a good fit. AerialCLT also allows drop-in visits for the first two weeks of each semester so kids can try a class without commitment.

Like all sports, aerial arts are not without risk of injury, but Tynan says the professional programs are designed to keep students safe. Children practice low to the ground during their first year, and progressively climb higher as they become more experienced. Instructors are within reach at all times and students work over crash pads.

“We are very slow in our teaching progressions and all of our students have to prove competency at a skill before advancing to the next skill,” she says.


Indoor Rock Climbing

Indoor rock climbing is an increasingly popular form of rock climbing performed on artificial structures designed to mimic real outdoor rock. Grant Lindholm, director of youth programs at Inner Peaks Climbing, a rock climbing gym with two locations in Charlotte (Crown Point on Monroe Road and South Tryon Street in Southend), says indoor rock climbing promotes discipline and problem-solving skills for young children. The sport also requires kids to put trust in one another, which creates a sense of community among participants.

“Rock climbing is like solving a puzzle — it takes time and trial-and-error, and pushes us to stay patient,” Lindholm says. “Rock climbing also allows kids to tap into their creativity and come up with their own way of doing things. The rock climbing community is an awesome environment, and it brings people of all backgrounds together.”

Lindholm recommends introducing interested youth to rock climbing between the ages of 5 and 7, when children are able use problem-solving skills they’ve acquired from other activities. Inner Peaks Climbing offers a number of different youth programs including Team Discovery, its most popular program, which introduces rock-climbing fundamentals through activities appropriate for each climber’s age and skill level.

“Young kids have a great awareness of their bodies and know the best ways to move themselves,” Lindholm says. “Most importantly, I believe that if a kid seems interested in climbing, then that’s a good enough reason to go check it out.”


Parkour

Parkour is the sport of moving from one point in a complex environment to another in the fastest and most efficient way possible — running, jumping and climbing over obstacles along the way. Kids can learn to literally bounce off the walls. The sport was developed from military obstacle course training and is often compared to a noncombative martial art.

Acrofitness in Mooresville offers Pee Wee Parkour, a co-ed class for children ages 4-7; and Princess Parkour, a class for girls ages 4 and older. Marie Severance, owner of Acrofitness, says success in parkour, comes with development of whole-body athleticism to meet the sport’s demand for speed, agility, upper- and lower-body strength, flexibility, coordination and timing.

“Parkour is an amazing natural conditioning program,” Severance says. “Students will develop skills which allow them to succeed not only in the parkour program, but in other sports as well.”

Severance says most kids are a good fit for this “fun” way to get in shape, and Acrofitness welcomes students beginning at age 4, or as soon as they are able to follow specific instructions and are tall enough to scale the smaller mat systems.

There are risks associated with the sport, including injuries ranging from simple abrasions to broken bones. The best way to get involved in parkour is to look for a reputable facility and test the waters with a trial class. Proper training and supervised progression can minimize risks, Severance says.

“The televised ‘American Ninja Warrior’ competitions have ignited the thrill [of parkour], and anyone with the desire can succeed,” Severance says. “We are very passionate about parkour, and its fabulous incentive to get students up and inspired to move Spider-Man style!”


Skateboarding

Skateboarding is an alternative sport that has seen a resurgence in popularity over the past several years, with more skate parks opening, more competitions being held and more coverage of the sport on television. In fact, for the first time in history, skateboarding is an event in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Rob Dunfey, founder of GoSkate Skateboard School, based in San Diego, is excited about skateboarding’s “comeback.” GoSkate provides youth lessons in more than 1,300 skate facilities nationwide, including Grayson Skate Park in Charlotte. Certified GoSkate instructors help students master the fundamentals of skateboarding through lessons based on a student’s capabilities.

“Shakespeare said, ‘The world is your oyster,’” Dunfey says. “For skateboarding, the world is your playground.”

Children as young as 4 years old can get involved in skateboarding, Dunfey says. As little as $140 can buy the necessary board, helmet, elbow pads, knee pads and wrist guards; and kids can practice in skate parks or on any open stretch of concrete or asphalt, he says.

The most common skateboarding injuries are minor, such as scraped hands and elbows, bruised shins, and sprained ankles. Data shows that three out of every four skateboarding accidents happen in the first week, Dunfey says, and proper safety gear and professional instruction can help minimize the risk of these incidents.

“Thousands of new skaters have taken lessons with GoSkate and fewer than a dozen incidents have been reported since 2009,” Dunfey says. “A majority of people jump the gun and start skating without help.”


Bicycle Motocross

For bike riders looking to up the ante on adventure, bicycle motocross — or BMX — may be the way to go. In this sport, athletes ride special BMX bikes on dirt tracks or other off-road terrain. BMX races and stunt competitions are popular among more experienced riders.

The Novant Health BMX Supercross Track, run by the City of Rock Hill Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department, offers a free new rider orientation each Tuesday from 6-7 p.m. and on most Saturdays from 3-4 p.m. The orientation provides an introduction to BMX with a progressive approach that prepares riders for competition when they are ready. The track also offers additional clinics to support learning skills beyond the initial orientation session, and provides BMX bike and helmet rentals for $10.

Hornets Nest BMX welcomes interested riders to come watch or practice at Hornets Nest Park in northwest Charlotte. For $5, a new rider can join in a practice. Weather permitting, practices happen Tuesday and Thursday evenings, 6-8 p.m. New riders are required to wear pants, long-sleeve shirts, enclosed shoes and a helmet, and almost any bike can be outfitted for BMX.

The program in Rock Hill has participants as young as age 5 and allows “striders” (kids on bikes without pedals) to try the track. Once they master pedaling, they can begin racing.

“BMX is an all-ages sport. Starting young helps riders develop balance, strength and bike handling skills,” says Laurie Helms, marketing coordinator for the City of Rock Hill Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department. “Kids who take on adventure sports may be more likely to live an active lifestyle as adults, which can bring a number of health benefits, and can also lead to increased self-confidence.”

Emily Schappacher is writer, wife and mom who is soon to dive into swim lessons with her 2-year-old son.

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Daily Calendar

December 2017

Travel back in time on a journey through the Mesozoic Era-the Age of Dinosaurs.  See full-bodied models of incredible creatures that time forgot. Observe predators stalking an armored...

Cost: $6-$7

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Help the wildlife in your backyard survive the winter by making natural (edible) ornaments to hang outside. Explore the nature trail using our winter scavenger hunt.  

Cost: $6-$7

Where:
The Schiele Museum
1500 East Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

What do turtles eat? How do snakes keep warm? Learn the answers to these and many more animal care questions in this behind-the-scenes look at the McDowell Nature Center's animal care program....

Cost: Free

Where:
McDowell Nature Center
15222 York Rd.
Charlotte, NC  28278
View map »


Sponsor: McDowell Nature Center
Telephone: 980-314-1128
Website »

More information

Visit the open-air ice skating rink located across from Fountain Park in Rock Hill. See website for operating hours.

Cost: $10, includes skate rental

Where:
Founders Holiday Ice Rink
205 Saluda St.
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Drive (or walk!) the two miles through town of McAdenville and view more than 375 live trees, 200 wreaths, and a 46-foot wide image of Old Man Winter blowing snowflakes over the lake. ...

Cost: Free

Where:
McAdenville , NC


Website »

More information

Melissa Lynch is a Gaston County resident who loves experimenting with acrylic pours and alcohol inks. This exhibit features abstract lines and pops of color that represent a transitional time...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gaston County Museum
131 W. Main St.
Dallas, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-922-7681
Website »

More information

The 18-piece display of animatronic bears performs classic holiday songs. The 45-minute program starts on the hour. All performances are subject to cancellation so check the website for...

Cost: Free

Where:
Founders Hall
100 N. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-716-8649
Website »

More information

Selections from one of the nation's most important and comprehensive collections of African-American art. This collection features a number of images from the fifty-eight-piece collection of...

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

The debut of one of the most expansive collections of abstract and contemporary African-American art.

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
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Telephone: 704-374-1565
Website »

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Explores how artists immortalize people, places and memories through the visual arts.

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
The Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Website »

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Both mesmerizing and mysterious, Siobhan’s works represent the interactions, and sometimes conflicts, of her conscious and subconscious minds. These thoughts are characterized by stunning...

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

Santa’s Wonderland returns to Bass Pro Shops and Concord-area families are invited to enjoy this magical Christmas village offering free photos with Santa and free family holiday activities...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops
8181 Concord Mills Blvd
Concord, NC  28027
View map »


Website »

More information

This uptown holiday event is presented as a German-inspired Christmas Market and includes traditional German foods and treats, homemade crafts and gifts, and other featured programming...

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Romare Bearden Park
300 S. Church St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Carowinds will be magically transformed into a winter wonderland full of enchantment and holiday cheer! Become immersed in the season’s spirit with spectacular holiday lights and...

Cost: Starts at $25.

Where:
Carowinds
14523 Carowinds Blvd.
Charlotte, NC  28273
View map »


Website »

More information

The Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden is turned into a winter wonderland. Over 600,000 lights will decorate the space with sparkling fountains and twinkling trees. Also enjoy live music, shopping,...

Cost: $8.95-$14.95

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


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

Drive the 3.5 mile course to see over 3 million lights. Then visit with Santa in the village for a special photo opportunity. The village also includes a petting zoo, a live nativity,...

Cost: $25-$30 per car when village is open; $20 per car when village is closed

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


Telephone: 800-455-3267
Website »

More information

Visit Santa at the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden and get a professional photographer to take pictures of your family. Reservations required.  Nov. 24-26, Dec. 3, 7-10, 14-17

Cost: Packages start at $45. (Admission to the garden is also required)

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


Telephone: (704) 825-4490
Website »

More information

Stroll through the park or take a ride on the Winterland Express to see more than 250,000 Christmas lights. The Celebration of lights will also feature the Double Decker Carousel and performances...

Cost: Free

Where:
Village Park
700 West C. Street
Kannapolis, NC  28081
View map »


Telephone: 704-920-4343
Website »

More information

Visit with Santa, take a pony ride, pet animals, and roast marshmallows over a fire. Even feed a tiger! Sun.-Thur., 6-9pm; Fri.-Sat., 6-10pm.

Cost: $7 per person

Where:
Zootastic Park
385 Ostwalt Amity Road
Troutman , NC
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Telephone: 704-245-6446
Website »

More information

Skate on more than 7,000 square feet of ice in the heart of the city.  The ice rink opens at 5 p.m. Nov. 17. See website for ongoing hours.

Cost: $10 admission; $4 skate rental

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza
400 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
, NC
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Website »

More information

View gingerbread creations by both amateurs and professionals. Vote on your favorites for $1 each; all donations benefit Levine Children's Hospital. 

Cost: Free.

Where:
The Ballantyne Hotel
10000 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy.
, NC
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Telephone: (704) 248-4000
Website »

More information

Explore the term "cabinet of curiosities" with this exhibit that describes a room rather than a piece of furniture. "Cabinets" originated in the 16th century and held large...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gaston County Museum
131 W. Main St.
Dallas, NC
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Telephone: 704-922-7681
Website »

More information

When the worst kids in the history of the world find out there are free snacks at Sunday School, they take it upon themselves to audition for the annual Christmas pageant. Will a group of kids who...

Cost: $12+

Where:
Children's Theatre of Charlotte, McColl Family Theatre
300 E. 7th St.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-973-2828
Website »

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The Year of the Engineer is an initiative celebrating the creativity and imagination of engineers. It includes the opening of an all-new Thinker Space lab and exhibition Think it Up, along with the...

Cost: $13-$17

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

Repticon Charlotte is a reptile event featuring vendors offering reptile pets, supplies, feeders, cages, and merchandise as well as live animal seminars and frequent free raffles for coveted...

Cost: $5-$10

Where:
Cabarrus Arena & Events Center
4751 Highway 49 North
Concord, NC  28025
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Telephone: 863-268-4273
Website »

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Take the train to the North Pole to meet Santa with a live reading of the story The Polar Express, complete with songs from the movie. Hot chocolate and cookies will be served. Open on...

Cost: $30+

Where:
North Carolina Transportation Museum
411 S. Salisbury Ave.
Spencer, NC
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Telephone: 704-636-2889
Website »

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Come watch the classic tale of Scrooge unfold on stage. Check website for performance times. 

Cost: $28

Where:
Theatre Charlotte, The Eloise Macdonald Playhouse
501 Queens Road
, NC
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Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

Matthews Playhouse of the Performing Arts is putting on the holiday classic of "It's a Wonderful Life." Come watch as a guardian angel shows George Bailey what life would have been...

Cost: $11-$13

Where:
Matthews Community Center
100 McDowell Street East
Matthews, NC
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Telephone: 704-846-8343
Website »

More information

Watch as Clara encounters an epic battle between the Mouse King and Nutcrackers, a snowfall, jumping candy canes and the Sugar Plum Fairy. Choreography by Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux and music from the...

Cost: $25-$125

Where:
Charlotte Ballet, Belk Theater
130 N. Tryon St.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

Cameron Mackintosh presents the new production of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg's Tony Award-winning musical.  See website for showtimes.   

Cost: $25+

Where:
Ovens Auditorium.
2700 Independence Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: (704) 372-1000
Website »

More information

Come watch the York County Ballet's performance of The Nutcracker.  See website for showtimes. 

Cost: $15

Where:
Johnson Theatre
115 Johnson Hall
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Telephone: 803-323-2287
Website »

More information

This performance of "Hairspray" is presented by Theatre Street's Teen Cast of students in 6th grade through college.  See website for showtimes. 

Cost: $15

Where:
Dale F. Halton Theater
1206 Elizabeth Ave
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-330-6840
Website »

More information

Come see Theatre Street's Student Cast who are in grades K-5 perform "The Lion King," kids edition.  See website for showtimes. 

Cost: $10

Where:
Tate Hall - Central Piedmont Community College
1206 Elizabeth Ave.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-330-6840
Website »

More information

Winter Wonderland Ice Skating Rink is an open-air holiday experience nestled between South Park Mall and Symphony Park. It features a 5,000 square for ice skating rink, a pub and a coffee shop and...

Cost: $12 for admission, $5 for skate rental

Where:
Symphony Park
4400 Sharon Rd
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This exhibit features more than 40 of Mexico's leading photographers. The photographs in the museum, ranging from just a few inches to floor-to-ceiling murals, explore an assortment...

Cost: $10-$15

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


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

This exhibit features 21st century long gowns, from cocktail attire to wedding dresses. Featured creations by Roberto Cavalli, Dolce & Gabbana, Carolina Herrera, Marc Jacobs, Missoni, Issey...

Cost: $6-$15; free for children 4 and under

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

See your favorite Christmas scenes and hear your favorite songs during this holiday dinner theater experience. See website for showtimes. 

Cost: $7-$35

Where:
The NarroWay Theatre
3327 Hwy. 51 N
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Telephone: 704-831-8893
Website »

More information

Skate on 4,200 square feet of real ice, plus enjoy go karting, play mini golf, and have fun on the spider web. On Nov. 17 from 5-8pm Olaf will be at the Speedpark available for pictures, hugs...

Cost: $12 for ice skating, includes skates. Other activities cost extra

Where:
The Speedpark at Concord Mills
8461 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-527-8464
Website »

More information

Attendees can share Santa’s love for marine life with Scuba Claus dives, engage in classic Christmas tales during holiday story time with Sharky and participate in seasonal favorites such as...

Cost: Included in admission to museum ($10.95-$19.95)

Where:
SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord
8111 Concord Mills Boulevard
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Guests of all ages can participate in seasonal science fun with daily make projects every afternoon at Discovery Place Science.  Check the online calendar for the daily schedule. Activities...

Cost: Included with museum admission (adults, $17; children, $13); excludes IMAX

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

Collards + Culture is a life-size installation that explores African culture and how Africans were brought to the Americas through the Middle Passage. This program is part of the ASC Culture...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

For over a decade, families have creatively celebrated the holiday season with Community School of the Arts’ Gingerbread House Workshops. This annual event has turned into a beloved family...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Children and families can stop in Spangler Library and write a letter to Santa. Send him a Wish List or just say hello-ho-ho! Stationery and a special mailbox for rush delivery will be provided!...

Cost: Free

Where:
ImaginOn, Spangler Library
300 E 7th St
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Travel back in time on a journey through the Mesozoic Era-the Age of Dinosaurs.  See full-bodied models of incredible creatures that time forgot. Observe predators stalking an armored...

Cost: $6-$7

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Chemistry is definitely not just for grown-ups! We may find ourselves in a sticky situation as we make some mucus, or we could try not to blow our tops as we recreate a volcanic explosion! Students...

Cost: $5

Where:
Latta Plantation Nature Center
6211 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC  28078
View map »


Telephone: 980-314-1129
Website »

More information

Why do some birds migrate while others don't? What happens to reptiles and amphibians when it snows? Experience winter adaptations through the eyes of overwintering wildlife, search for...

Cost: $5

Where:
Latta Plantation Nature Center
6211 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC  28078
View map »


Telephone: 980-314-1129
Website »

More information

How does a feather work? Do birds have hollow bones? Why are there so many different types of beaks? What makes songs special? Examine these questions as you discover the world of avian adaptations...

Cost: $5

Where:
Latta Plantation Nature Center
6211 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC  28078
View map »


Telephone: 980-314-1129
Website »

More information

Wear pajamas and come hear holiday stories. There will also be light refreshments and crafts.  Register Online.

Cost: Free

Where:
Clover Public Library
107 Knox St.
Clover, NC
View map »


Telephone: 803-222-3474
Website »

More information

Visit the open-air ice skating rink located across from Fountain Park in Rock Hill. See website for operating hours.

Cost: $10, includes skate rental

Where:
Founders Holiday Ice Rink
205 Saluda St.
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Drive (or walk!) the two miles through town of McAdenville and view more than 375 live trees, 200 wreaths, and a 46-foot wide image of Old Man Winter blowing snowflakes over the lake. ...

Cost: Free

Where:
McAdenville , NC


Website »

More information

Melissa Lynch is a Gaston County resident who loves experimenting with acrylic pours and alcohol inks. This exhibit features abstract lines and pops of color that represent a transitional time...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gaston County Museum
131 W. Main St.
Dallas, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-922-7681
Website »

More information

The 18-piece display of animatronic bears performs classic holiday songs. The 45-minute program starts on the hour. All performances are subject to cancellation so check the website for...

Cost: Free

Where:
Founders Hall
100 N. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-716-8649
Website »

More information

Santa’s Wonderland returns to Bass Pro Shops and Concord-area families are invited to enjoy this magical Christmas village offering free photos with Santa and free family holiday activities...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops
8181 Concord Mills Blvd
Concord, NC  28027
View map »


Website »

More information

On Mondays from September to May, all children under the age of 16 can come paint pottery for just $3/hour.

Cost: $3 per hour

Where:
Dish It Out
7828 Rea Road
#C
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-544-4848
Website »

More information

Bring your little one to Perfect Balance Training Center for "Tot Time" - an hour of free play in the gym. There is no instructor so parents are in charge of their children. No need to...

Cost: $5 cash or $6 with credit card (monthly special available as well)

Where:
Perfect Balance
8850 Monroe Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 980-299-8445
Website »

More information

Celebrate the Christmas season with fun family activities at the Billy Graham Library. Enjoy the light displays and Christ-centered festivities with families from across the Southeast who have made...

Cost: Free; additional cost for carriage rides

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
Charlotte, NC  28217
View map »


Telephone: 704-401-3200
Website »

More information

Carowinds will be magically transformed into a winter wonderland full of enchantment and holiday cheer! Become immersed in the season’s spirit with spectacular holiday lights and...

Cost: Starts at $25.

Where:
Carowinds
14523 Carowinds Blvd.
Charlotte, NC  28273
View map »


Website »

More information

The Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden is turned into a winter wonderland. Over 600,000 lights will decorate the space with sparkling fountains and twinkling trees. Also enjoy live music, shopping,...

Cost: $8.95-$14.95

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


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

Bring your furry friends to Carolina Place to get a picture with Santa and the whole family.  A standard package with (1) 5x7, (1) 4x6, (4) wallets and digital downloads starts at...

Cost: Photo packages vary.

Where:
Carolina Place
11025 Carolina Pl Pkwy
Pineville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Stroll through the park or take a ride on the Winterland Express to see more than 250,000 Christmas lights. The Celebration of lights will also feature the Double Decker Carousel and performances...

Cost: Free

Where:
Village Park
700 West C. Street
Kannapolis, NC  28081
View map »


Telephone: 704-920-4343
Website »

More information

Visit with Santa, take a pony ride, pet animals, and roast marshmallows over a fire. Even feed a tiger! Sun.-Thur., 6-9pm; Fri.-Sat., 6-10pm.

Cost: $7 per person

Where:
Zootastic Park
385 Ostwalt Amity Road
Troutman , NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-245-6446
Website »

More information

Skate on more than 7,000 square feet of ice in the heart of the city.  The ice rink opens at 5 p.m. Nov. 17. See website for ongoing hours.

Cost: $10 admission; $4 skate rental

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza
400 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

View gingerbread creations by both amateurs and professionals. Vote on your favorites for $1 each; all donations benefit Levine Children's Hospital. 

Cost: Free.

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


Telephone: (704) 248-4000
Website »

More information

Explore the moon, stars and beyond in the new planetarium. Housed in the museum's original Charlotte A. Kelly Planetarium, the dome has been retrofitted with a new Digitarium Zeta...

Cost: $8

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

Explore the term "cabinet of curiosities" with this exhibit that describes a room rather than a piece of furniture. "Cabinets" originated in the 16th century and held large...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gaston County Museum
131 W. Main St.
Dallas, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-922-7681
Website »

More information

The Year of the Engineer is an initiative celebrating the creativity and imagination of engineers. It includes the opening of an all-new Thinker Space lab and exhibition Think it Up, along with the...

Cost: $13-$17

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

Winter Wonderland Ice Skating Rink is an open-air holiday experience nestled between South Park Mall and Symphony Park. It features a 5,000 square for ice skating rink, a pub and a coffee shop and...

Cost: $12 for admission, $5 for skate rental

Where:
Symphony Park
4400 Sharon Rd
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

See your favorite Christmas scenes and hear your favorite songs during this holiday dinner theater experience. See website for showtimes. 

Cost: $7-$35

Where:
The NarroWay Theatre
3327 Hwy. 51 N
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Telephone: 704-831-8893
Website »

More information

Skate on 4,200 square feet of real ice, plus enjoy go karting, play mini golf, and have fun on the spider web. On Nov. 17 from 5-8pm Olaf will be at the Speedpark available for pictures, hugs...

Cost: $12 for ice skating, includes skates. Other activities cost extra

Where:
The Speedpark at Concord Mills
8461 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-527-8464
Website »

More information

Guests of all ages can participate in seasonal science fun with daily make projects every afternoon at Discovery Place Science.  Check the online calendar for the daily schedule. Activities...

Cost: Included with museum admission (adults, $17; children, $13); excludes IMAX

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

Collards + Culture is a life-size installation that explores African culture and how Africans were brought to the Americas through the Middle Passage. This program is part of the ASC Culture...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Children and families can stop in Spangler Library and write a letter to Santa. Send him a Wish List or just say hello-ho-ho! Stationery and a special mailbox for rush delivery will be provided!...

Cost: Free

Where:
ImaginOn, Spangler Library
300 E 7th St
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Travel back in time on a journey through the Mesozoic Era-the Age of Dinosaurs.  See full-bodied models of incredible creatures that time forgot. Observe predators stalking an armored...

Cost: $6-$7

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Join Rutherford Rabbit for a seasonally-themed story and craft. Afterwards, children can water vegetable plants, dig for worms, explore the sensory and butterfly gardens and watch the chickens....

Cost: Cost per family (not child) is $10. Free for members.

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


Telephone: 704-331-0664
Website »

More information

Join us in the Spangler Library for a holiday-themed family storytime. Hands-on activities to celebrate the winter season to follow. 

Cost: Free.

Where:
ImaginOn: The Joe & Joan Martin Center
300 East Seventh Street
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-416-4630
Website »

More information

Put on your pajamas and join Mrs. Claus for storytime. There will also be crafts and songs.  Register online.

Cost: Free.

Where:
York County Library System Central Library
138 E Black St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 803-981-5858
Website »

More information

Watch the Matthews Concert Band perform this free holiday concert. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Fullwood Theatre in the Matthews Community Center
100 McDowell Street
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Visit the open-air ice skating rink located across from Fountain Park in Rock Hill. See website for operating hours.

Cost: $10, includes skate rental

Where:
Founders Holiday Ice Rink
205 Saluda St.
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Drive (or walk!) the two miles through town of McAdenville and view more than 375 live trees, 200 wreaths, and a 46-foot wide image of Old Man Winter blowing snowflakes over the lake. ...

Cost: Free

Where:
McAdenville , NC


Website »

More information

Melissa Lynch is a Gaston County resident who loves experimenting with acrylic pours and alcohol inks. This exhibit features abstract lines and pops of color that represent a transitional time...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gaston County Museum
131 W. Main St.
Dallas, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-922-7681
Website »

More information

This annually recurring exhibit fills the museum with model train displays, railroad memorabilia, and antique toys and games. Visitors of all ages will be enchanted as they explore the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kings Mountain Historical Museum
100 E. Mountain St.
Kings Mountain, NC  28086
View map »


Telephone: 704-739-1019
Website »

More information

The 18-piece display of animatronic bears performs classic holiday songs. The 45-minute program starts on the hour. All performances are subject to cancellation so check the website for...

Cost: Free

Where:
Founders Hall
100 N. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-716-8649
Website »

More information

Selections from one of the nation's most important and comprehensive collections of African-American art. This collection features a number of images from the fifty-eight-piece collection of...

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

The debut of one of the most expansive collections of abstract and contemporary African-American art.

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-374-1565
Website »

More information

Explores how artists immortalize people, places and memories through the visual arts.

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
The Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Website »

More information

Both mesmerizing and mysterious, Siobhan’s works represent the interactions, and sometimes conflicts, of her conscious and subconscious minds. These thoughts are characterized by stunning...

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

Santa’s Wonderland returns to Bass Pro Shops and Concord-area families are invited to enjoy this magical Christmas village offering free photos with Santa and free family holiday activities...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops
8181 Concord Mills Blvd
Concord, NC  28027
View map »


Website »

More information

This uptown holiday event is presented as a German-inspired Christmas Market and includes traditional German foods and treats, homemade crafts and gifts, and other featured programming...

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Romare Bearden Park
300 S. Church St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Charlotte’s Road to Revolution Exhibition is composed of 17 original oil paintings by Charlotte artist Dan Nance, 20 interpretive panels and eighteenth-century antiques that tell the story of...

Cost: $7-$10

Where:
The Charlotte Museum of History
3500 Shamrock Drive
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-568-1774
Website »

More information

Bring your little one to Perfect Balance Training Center for "Tot Time" - an hour of free play in the gym. There is no instructor so parents are in charge of their children. No need to...

Cost: $5 cash or $6 with credit card (monthly special available as well)

Where:
Perfect Balance
8850 Monroe Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 980-299-8445
Website »

More information

Take a brief hike in the woods and then settle in next to a cozy fire. Roast chestnuts and sip on hot chocolate. Register online. 

Cost: Free.

Where:
Reedy Creek Nature Preserve
2900 Rocky River Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 980-314-1119
Website »

More information

Celebrate the Christmas season with fun family activities at the Billy Graham Library. Enjoy the light displays and Christ-centered festivities with families from across the Southeast who have made...

Cost: Free; additional cost for carriage rides

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
Charlotte, NC  28217
View map »


Telephone: 704-401-3200
Website »

More information

Carowinds will be magically transformed into a winter wonderland full of enchantment and holiday cheer! Become immersed in the season’s spirit with spectacular holiday lights and...

Cost: Starts at $25.

Where:
Carowinds
14523 Carowinds Blvd.
Charlotte, NC  28273
View map »


Website »

More information

The Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden is turned into a winter wonderland. Over 600,000 lights will decorate the space with sparkling fountains and twinkling trees. Also enjoy live music, shopping,...

Cost: $8.95-$14.95

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


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

Bring your pet to Monroe Crossing to get a picture with the whole family, furry-friend included. There is also a Santa Paws Party on Dec. 19 from 6:30-7:30pm where families can bring their...

Where:
Monroe Crossing
2115 W. Roosevelt Blvd.
Monroe, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Stroll through the park or take a ride on the Winterland Express to see more than 250,000 Christmas lights. The Celebration of lights will also feature the Double Decker Carousel and performances...

Cost: Free

Where:
Village Park
700 West C. Street
Kannapolis, NC  28081
View map »


Telephone: 704-920-4343
Website »

More information

Visit with Santa, take a pony ride, pet animals, and roast marshmallows over a fire. Even feed a tiger! Sun.-Thur., 6-9pm; Fri.-Sat., 6-10pm.

Cost: $7 per person

Where:
Zootastic Park
385 Ostwalt Amity Road
Troutman , NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-245-6446
Website »

More information

Skate on more than 7,000 square feet of ice in the heart of the city.  The ice rink opens at 5 p.m. Nov. 17. See website for ongoing hours.

Cost: $10 admission; $4 skate rental

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza
400 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

View gingerbread creations by both amateurs and professionals. Vote on your favorites for $1 each; all donations benefit Levine Children's Hospital. 

Cost: Free.

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


Telephone: (704) 248-4000
Website »

More information

Explore the moon, stars and beyond in the new planetarium. Housed in the museum's original Charlotte A. Kelly Planetarium, the dome has been retrofitted with a new Digitarium Zeta...

Cost: $8

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

Explore the term "cabinet of curiosities" with this exhibit that describes a room rather than a piece of furniture. "Cabinets" originated in the 16th century and held large...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gaston County Museum
131 W. Main St.
Dallas, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-922-7681
Website »

More information

The Year of the Engineer is an initiative celebrating the creativity and imagination of engineers. It includes the opening of an all-new Thinker Space lab and exhibition Think it Up, along with the...

Cost: $13-$17

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

Winter Wonderland Ice Skating Rink is an open-air holiday experience nestled between South Park Mall and Symphony Park. It features a 5,000 square for ice skating rink, a pub and a coffee shop and...

Cost: $12 for admission, $5 for skate rental

Where:
Symphony Park
4400 Sharon Rd
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

See your favorite Christmas scenes and hear your favorite songs during this holiday dinner theater experience. See website for showtimes. 

Cost: $7-$35

Where:
The NarroWay Theatre
3327 Hwy. 51 N
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Telephone: 704-831-8893
Website »

More information

Skate on 4,200 square feet of real ice, plus enjoy go karting, play mini golf, and have fun on the spider web. On Nov. 17 from 5-8pm Olaf will be at the Speedpark available for pictures, hugs...

Cost: $12 for ice skating, includes skates. Other activities cost extra

Where:
The Speedpark at Concord Mills
8461 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-527-8464
Website »

More information

Get one free child ticket with the purchase of an adult ticket on Tuesdays. Each additional child (ages 3-12) receives a discount as well, costing only $5 each. 

Cost: $15 for adult

Where:
Sea Life Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
View map »


Telephone: 866-229-1573
Website »

More information

Guests of all ages can participate in seasonal science fun with daily make projects every afternoon at Discovery Place Science.  Check the online calendar for the daily schedule. Activities...

Cost: Included with museum admission (adults, $17; children, $13); excludes IMAX

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

Collards + Culture is a life-size installation that explores African culture and how Africans were brought to the Americas through the Middle Passage. This program is part of the ASC Culture...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Children and families can stop in Spangler Library and write a letter to Santa. Send him a Wish List or just say hello-ho-ho! Stationery and a special mailbox for rush delivery will be provided!...

Cost: Free

Where:
ImaginOn, Spangler Library
300 E 7th St
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Travel back in time on a journey through the Mesozoic Era-the Age of Dinosaurs.  See full-bodied models of incredible creatures that time forgot. Observe predators stalking an armored...

Cost: $6-$7

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

School is out. Come celebrate by hiking Crowders Mountain and learning about its history.  Register online. 

Cost: $25

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


Telephone: 704-875-1391
Website »

More information

Become a nature detective as we explore the amazing world around us through stories, crafts, and activities related to each week's topic.  This is a drop off program.

Cost: $3

Where:
Latta Plantation Nature Center
6211 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC  28078
View map »


Telephone: 980-314-1129
Website »

More information

Discover nature through the eyes of your toddler through stories, crafts, and activities related to each week's topic. 

Cost: $3

Where:
Latta Plantation Nature Center
6211 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC  28078
View map »


Telephone: 980-314-1129
Website »

More information

Visit the library for a free showing of the movie "Polar Express," rated G. Feel free to wear pajamas! Canned food donations are encouraged. Bring two or more and receive a special...

Cost: Free.

Where:
Mooresville Public Library, Youth Services Community Room
304 S. Main St.
Mooresville, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-664-2927
Website »

More information

See all of the favorite characters from the TV special including Santa and Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster, Clarice, Yukon Cornelius and, of course, Rudolph, as they...

Cost: Tickets start at $29.50.

Where:
Ovens Auditorium
2700 E. Independence Blvd.
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Visit the open-air ice skating rink located across from Fountain Park in Rock Hill. See website for operating hours.

Cost: $10, includes skate rental

Where:
Founders Holiday Ice Rink
205 Saluda St.
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Drive (or walk!) the two miles through town of McAdenville and view more than 375 live trees, 200 wreaths, and a 46-foot wide image of Old Man Winter blowing snowflakes over the lake. ...

Cost: Free

Where:
McAdenville , NC


Website »

More information

Melissa Lynch is a Gaston County resident who loves experimenting with acrylic pours and alcohol inks. This exhibit features abstract lines and pops of color that represent a transitional time...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gaston County Museum
131 W. Main St.
Dallas, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-922-7681
Website »

More information

Certified technicians will check and help families install carseats. No appointment necessary. Bring your vehicle, seat and if possible the child for the most assistance. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Matthews Police Department
1201 Crews Road
Matthews, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Certified technicians will check and help families install carseats. No appointment necessary. Bring your vehicle, seat and if possible the child for the most assistance. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department
Freedom Division
4150 Wilkinson Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This annually recurring exhibit fills the museum with model train displays, railroad memorabilia, and antique toys and games. Visitors of all ages will be enchanted as they explore the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kings Mountain Historical Museum
100 E. Mountain St.
Kings Mountain, NC  28086
View map »


Telephone: 704-739-1019
Website »

More information

The 18-piece display of animatronic bears performs classic holiday songs. The 45-minute program starts on the hour. All performances are subject to cancellation so check the website for...

Cost: Free

Where:
Founders Hall
100 N. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-716-8649
Website »

More information

Children ages 3-5 years can share stories through books, songs, and other activities. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Statesville Library
201 N. Tradd St.
Statesville, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-878-3097
Website »

More information

Selections from one of the nation's most important and comprehensive collections of African-American art. This collection features a number of images from the fifty-eight-piece collection of...

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

The debut of one of the most expansive collections of abstract and contemporary African-American art.

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-374-1565
Website »

More information

Explores how artists immortalize people, places and memories through the visual arts.

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
The Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Website »

More information

Both mesmerizing and mysterious, Siobhan’s works represent the interactions, and sometimes conflicts, of her conscious and subconscious minds. These thoughts are characterized by stunning...

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

Santa’s Wonderland returns to Bass Pro Shops and Concord-area families are invited to enjoy this magical Christmas village offering free photos with Santa and free family holiday activities...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops
8181 Concord Mills Blvd
Concord, NC  28027
View map »


Website »

More information

This uptown holiday event is presented as a German-inspired Christmas Market and includes traditional German foods and treats, homemade crafts and gifts, and other featured programming...

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Romare Bearden Park
300 S. Church St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Charlotte’s Road to Revolution Exhibition is composed of 17 original oil paintings by Charlotte artist Dan Nance, 20 interpretive panels and eighteenth-century antiques that tell the story of...

Cost: $7-$10

Where:
The Charlotte Museum of History
3500 Shamrock Drive
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-568-1774
Website »

More information

Bring your little one to Perfect Balance Training Center for "Tot Time" - an hour of free play in the gym. There is no instructor so parents are in charge of their children. No need to...

Cost: $5 cash or $6 with credit card (monthly special available as well)

Where:
Perfect Balance
8850 Monroe Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 980-299-8445
Website »

More information

What makes snow and where does it come from? Is every snowflake unique? Explore the science of snow and create a glittering snowflake decoration of your own to take home. 

Cost: Included in price of admission to museum ($8)

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
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

Celebrate the Christmas season with fun family activities at the Billy Graham Library. Enjoy the light displays and Christ-centered festivities with families from across the Southeast who have made...

Cost: Free; additional cost for carriage rides

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
Charlotte, NC  28217
View map »


Telephone: 704-401-3200
Website »

More information

Carowinds will be magically transformed into a winter wonderland full of enchantment and holiday cheer! Become immersed in the season’s spirit with spectacular holiday lights and...

Cost: Starts at $25.

Where:
Carowinds
14523 Carowinds Blvd.
Charlotte, NC  28273
View map »


Website »

More information

The Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden is turned into a winter wonderland. Over 600,000 lights will decorate the space with sparkling fountains and twinkling trees. Also enjoy live music, shopping,...

Cost: $8.95-$14.95

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


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

Join us for some mid-week cheer from 5-8 pm at Waverly! Start a new holiday tradition with us that includes a night full of entertainment including music, shopping, sweet treats, cookie...

Cost: Free

Where:
Waverly
Ardrey Kell and Providence Road
Charlotte, NC  28277
View map »


Telephone: 704-665-5608
Website »

More information

Enjoy fire, s'mores, fun, and friends at a McDowell Nature Preserve campfire. Meeting place will be at McDowell Campground to spend the evening learning about fire safety, making...

Cost: Free

Where:
McDowell Nature Center
15222 York Rd.
Charlotte, NC  28278
View map »


Sponsor: McDowell Nature Center
Telephone: 980-314-1128
Website »

More information

Stroll through the park or take a ride on the Winterland Express to see more than 250,000 Christmas lights. The Celebration of lights will also feature the Double Decker Carousel and performances...

Cost: Free

Where:
Village Park
700 West C. Street
Kannapolis, NC  28081
View map »


Telephone: 704-920-4343
Website »

More information

Visit with Santa, take a pony ride, pet animals, and roast marshmallows over a fire. Even feed a tiger! Sun.-Thur., 6-9pm; Fri.-Sat., 6-10pm.

Cost: $7 per person

Where:
Zootastic Park
385 Ostwalt Amity Road
Troutman , NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-245-6446
Website »

More information

Skate on more than 7,000 square feet of ice in the heart of the city.  The ice rink opens at 5 p.m. Nov. 17. See website for ongoing hours.

Cost: $10 admission; $4 skate rental

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza
400 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The Birth is a collection of dramatic performance, dance and live music, designed to bring the Christmas story to life in a unique way. Present by: Starving Artist Productions.  See...

Cost: $16-$24

Where:
Duke Energy Theater at Spirit Square
345 N. College St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

View gingerbread creations by both amateurs and professionals. Vote on your favorites for $1 each; all donations benefit Levine Children's Hospital. 

Cost: Free.

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


Telephone: (704) 248-4000
Website »

More information

Explore the moon, stars and beyond in the new planetarium. Housed in the museum's original Charlotte A. Kelly Planetarium, the dome has been retrofitted with a new Digitarium Zeta...

Cost: $8

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

Explore the term "cabinet of curiosities" with this exhibit that describes a room rather than a piece of furniture. "Cabinets" originated in the 16th century and held large...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gaston County Museum
131 W. Main St.
Dallas, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-922-7681
Website »

More information

The Year of the Engineer is an initiative celebrating the creativity and imagination of engineers. It includes the opening of an all-new Thinker Space lab and exhibition Think it Up, along with the...

Cost: $13-$17

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

Winter Wonderland Ice Skating Rink is an open-air holiday experience nestled between South Park Mall and Symphony Park. It features a 5,000 square for ice skating rink, a pub and a coffee shop and...

Cost: $12 for admission, $5 for skate rental

Where:
Symphony Park
4400 Sharon Rd
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This exhibit features more than 40 of Mexico's leading photographers. The photographs in the museum, ranging from just a few inches to floor-to-ceiling murals, explore an assortment...

Cost: $10-$15

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


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

This exhibit features 21st century long gowns, from cocktail attire to wedding dresses. Featured creations by Roberto Cavalli, Dolce & Gabbana, Carolina Herrera, Marc Jacobs, Missoni, Issey...

Cost: $6-$15; free for children 4 and under

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

See your favorite Christmas scenes and hear your favorite songs during this holiday dinner theater experience. See website for showtimes. 

Cost: $7-$35

Where:
The NarroWay Theatre
3327 Hwy. 51 N
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Telephone: 704-831-8893
Website »

More information

Skate on 4,200 square feet of real ice, plus enjoy go karting, play mini golf, and have fun on the spider web. On Nov. 17 from 5-8pm Olaf will be at the Speedpark available for pictures, hugs...

Cost: $12 for ice skating, includes skates. Other activities cost extra

Where:
The Speedpark at Concord Mills
8461 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-527-8464
Website »

More information

Guests of all ages can participate in seasonal science fun with daily make projects every afternoon at Discovery Place Science.  Check the online calendar for the daily schedule. Activities...

Cost: Included with museum admission (adults, $17; children, $13); excludes IMAX

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

Collards + Culture is a life-size installation that explores African culture and how Africans were brought to the Americas through the Middle Passage. This program is part of the ASC Culture...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Children and families can stop in Spangler Library and write a letter to Santa. Send him a Wish List or just say hello-ho-ho! Stationery and a special mailbox for rush delivery will be provided!...

Cost: Free

Where:
ImaginOn, Spangler Library
300 E 7th St
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Travel back in time on a journey through the Mesozoic Era-the Age of Dinosaurs.  See full-bodied models of incredible creatures that time forgot. Observe predators stalking an armored...

Cost: $6-$7

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

School is out. Visit the Nature Center, Raptor Center, and Historic Plantation all in one day. Get a tour and see behind the scenes. Dress for the outdoors.

Cost: $25

Where:
Latta Plantation Nature Center
6211 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC  28078
View map »


Telephone: 980-314-1129

More information

Come join us for a very Grinch Christmas celebration. 

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 803-547-4114
Website »

More information

Celebrate the shortest day of the year with a family campfire. Make s'mores and stargaze. Register online. Dress for the weather. 

Cost: Free.

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


Telephone: 704-875-1391
Website »

More information

The Hampton Inn and Suites at Phillips Place will transform into a 3D light show. There will be goodie bags for the first 300 children to each show, complimentary hot chocolate, snow, holiday...

Cost: Free

Where:
Phillips Place
6800 Phillips Place Ct.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-714-7656
Website »

More information

50 of Russia's brightest ballet stars will bring this classic ballet to life. 

Cost: $35-$55

Where:
Knight Theater
430 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: (704) 372-1000
Website »

More information

Watch a showing of the holiday classic "It's a Wonderful Life."

Cost: Free

Where:
The Charles Mack Citizen Center
215 N. Main St.
Mooresville , NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-662-3334
Website »

More information

Visit the open-air ice skating rink located across from Fountain Park in Rock Hill. See website for operating hours.

Cost: $10, includes skate rental

Where:
Founders Holiday Ice Rink
205 Saluda St.
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Drive (or walk!) the two miles through town of McAdenville and view more than 375 live trees, 200 wreaths, and a 46-foot wide image of Old Man Winter blowing snowflakes over the lake. ...

Cost: Free

Where:
McAdenville , NC


Website »

More information

Enjoy a moment with your smallest, and together, experience a story about being little. What does a “wee” one have to give? PlayPlay! Theatre performances are simple plots made...

Cost: $12

Where:
Levine Jewish Community Center
5007 Providence Road
Charlotte, NC  28226
View map »


Website »

More information

Melissa Lynch is a Gaston County resident who loves experimenting with acrylic pours and alcohol inks. This exhibit features abstract lines and pops of color that represent a transitional time...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gaston County Museum
131 W. Main St.
Dallas, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-922-7681
Website »

More information

This annually recurring exhibit fills the museum with model train displays, railroad memorabilia, and antique toys and games. Visitors of all ages will be enchanted as they explore the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kings Mountain Historical Museum
100 E. Mountain St.
Kings Mountain, NC  28086
View map »


Telephone: 704-739-1019
Website »

More information

The 18-piece display of animatronic bears performs classic holiday songs. The 45-minute program starts on the hour. All performances are subject to cancellation so check the website for...

Cost: Free

Where:
Founders Hall
100 N. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-716-8649
Website »

More information

Selections from one of the nation's most important and comprehensive collections of African-American art. This collection features a number of images from the fifty-eight-piece collection of...

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

The debut of one of the most expansive collections of abstract and contemporary African-American art.

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-374-1565
Website »

More information

Explores how artists immortalize people, places and memories through the visual arts.

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
The Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Website »

More information

Both mesmerizing and mysterious, Siobhan’s works represent the interactions, and sometimes conflicts, of her conscious and subconscious minds. These thoughts are characterized by stunning...

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

Santa’s Wonderland returns to Bass Pro Shops and Concord-area families are invited to enjoy this magical Christmas village offering free photos with Santa and free family holiday activities...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops
8181 Concord Mills Blvd
Concord, NC  28027
View map »


Website »

More information

This uptown holiday event is presented as a German-inspired Christmas Market and includes traditional German foods and treats, homemade crafts and gifts, and other featured programming...

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Romare Bearden Park
300 S. Church St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Charlotte’s Road to Revolution Exhibition is composed of 17 original oil paintings by Charlotte artist Dan Nance, 20 interpretive panels and eighteenth-century antiques that tell the story of...

Cost: $7-$10

Where:
The Charlotte Museum of History
3500 Shamrock Drive
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-568-1774
Website »

More information

Bring your little one to Perfect Balance Training Center for "Tot Time" - an hour of free play in the gym. There is no instructor so parents are in charge of their children. No need to...

Cost: $5 cash or $6 with credit card (monthly special available as well)

Where:
Perfect Balance
8850 Monroe Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 980-299-8445
Website »

More information

Get a quick thirty minute free tour of one of the following museums: Harvey B. Gantt Center, Mint Museum Uptown and Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Locations vary
, NC


Website »

More information

Celebrate the Christmas season with fun family activities at the Billy Graham Library. Enjoy the light displays and Christ-centered festivities with families from across the Southeast who have made...

Cost: Free; additional cost for carriage rides

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
Charlotte, NC  28217
View map »


Telephone: 704-401-3200
Website »

More information

Carowinds will be magically transformed into a winter wonderland full of enchantment and holiday cheer! Become immersed in the season’s spirit with spectacular holiday lights and...

Cost: Starts at $25.

Where:
Carowinds
14523 Carowinds Blvd.
Charlotte, NC  28273
View map »


Website »

More information

The Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden is turned into a winter wonderland. Over 600,000 lights will decorate the space with sparkling fountains and twinkling trees. Also enjoy live music, shopping,...

Cost: $8.95-$14.95

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


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

Drive the 3.5 mile course to see over 3 million lights. Then visit with Santa in the village for a special photo opportunity. The village also includes a petting zoo, a live nativity,...

Cost: $25-$30 per car when village is open; $20 per car when village is closed

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


Telephone: 800-455-3267
Website »

More information

Stroll through the park or take a ride on the Winterland Express to see more than 250,000 Christmas lights. The Celebration of lights will also feature the Double Decker Carousel and performances...

Cost: Free

Where:
Village Park
700 West C. Street
Kannapolis, NC  28081
View map »


Telephone: 704-920-4343
Website »

More information

Visit with Santa, take a pony ride, pet animals, and roast marshmallows over a fire. Even feed a tiger! Sun.-Thur., 6-9pm; Fri.-Sat., 6-10pm.

Cost: $7 per person

Where:
Zootastic Park
385 Ostwalt Amity Road
Troutman , NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-245-6446
Website »

More information

Skate on more than 7,000 square feet of ice in the heart of the city.  The ice rink opens at 5 p.m. Nov. 17. See website for ongoing hours.

Cost: $10 admission; $4 skate rental

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza
400 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The Birth is a collection of dramatic performance, dance and live music, designed to bring the Christmas story to life in a unique way. Present by: Starving Artist Productions.  See...

Cost: $16-$24

Where:
Duke Energy Theater at Spirit Square
345 N. College St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

View gingerbread creations by both amateurs and professionals. Vote on your favorites for $1 each; all donations benefit Levine Children's Hospital. 

Cost: Free.

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


Telephone: (704) 248-4000
Website »

More information

Explore the moon, stars and beyond in the new planetarium. Housed in the museum's original Charlotte A. Kelly Planetarium, the dome has been retrofitted with a new Digitarium Zeta...

Cost: $8

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

Explore the term "cabinet of curiosities" with this exhibit that describes a room rather than a piece of furniture. "Cabinets" originated in the 16th century and held large...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gaston County Museum
131 W. Main St.
Dallas, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-922-7681
Website »

More information

The Year of the Engineer is an initiative celebrating the creativity and imagination of engineers. It includes the opening of an all-new Thinker Space lab and exhibition Think it Up, along with the...

Cost: $13-$17

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

Watch as Clara encounters an epic battle between the Mouse King and Nutcrackers, a snowfall, jumping candy canes and the Sugar Plum Fairy. Choreography by Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux and music from the...

Cost: $25-$125

Where:
Charlotte Ballet, Belk Theater
130 N. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

Winter Wonderland Ice Skating Rink is an open-air holiday experience nestled between South Park Mall and Symphony Park. It features a 5,000 square for ice skating rink, a pub and a coffee shop and...

Cost: $12 for admission, $5 for skate rental

Where:
Symphony Park
4400 Sharon Rd
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This exhibit features more than 40 of Mexico's leading photographers. The photographs in the museum, ranging from just a few inches to floor-to-ceiling murals, explore an assortment...

Cost: $10-$15

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


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

This exhibit features 21st century long gowns, from cocktail attire to wedding dresses. Featured creations by Roberto Cavalli, Dolce & Gabbana, Carolina Herrera, Marc Jacobs, Missoni, Issey...

Cost: $6-$15; free for children 4 and under

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

See your favorite Christmas scenes and hear your favorite songs during this holiday dinner theater experience. See website for showtimes. 

Cost: $7-$35

Where:
The NarroWay Theatre
3327 Hwy. 51 N
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Telephone: 704-831-8893
Website »

More information

Skate on 4,200 square feet of real ice, plus enjoy go karting, play mini golf, and have fun on the spider web. On Nov. 17 from 5-8pm Olaf will be at the Speedpark available for pictures, hugs...

Cost: $12 for ice skating, includes skates. Other activities cost extra

Where:
The Speedpark at Concord Mills
8461 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-527-8464
Website »

More information

Guests of all ages can participate in seasonal science fun with daily make projects every afternoon at Discovery Place Science.  Check the online calendar for the daily schedule. Activities...

Cost: Included with museum admission (adults, $17; children, $13); excludes IMAX

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

Collards + Culture is a life-size installation that explores African culture and how Africans were brought to the Americas through the Middle Passage. This program is part of the ASC Culture...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Children and families can stop in Spangler Library and write a letter to Santa. Send him a Wish List or just say hello-ho-ho! Stationery and a special mailbox for rush delivery will be provided!...

Cost: Free

Where:
ImaginOn, Spangler Library
300 E 7th St
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Travel back in time on a journey through the Mesozoic Era-the Age of Dinosaurs.  See full-bodied models of incredible creatures that time forgot. Observe predators stalking an armored...

Cost: $6-$7

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Why not consider Earth-friendly gift wrap for your gifts this season? Enjoy creating some festive upcycled gift wrap here at Latta Plantation Nature Center. See what you can do with newspapers,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Latta Plantation Nature Center
6211 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC  28078
View map »


Telephone: 980-314-1129
Website »

More information

Join us in The Block for a special movie and popcorn! This week's movie is "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."

Cost: Free

Where:
ImaginOn, Spangler Library
300 E 7th St
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Visit the open-air ice skating rink located across from Fountain Park in Rock Hill. See website for operating hours.

Cost: $10, includes skate rental

Where:
Founders Holiday Ice Rink
205 Saluda St.
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Drive (or walk!) the two miles through town of McAdenville and view more than 375 live trees, 200 wreaths, and a 46-foot wide image of Old Man Winter blowing snowflakes over the lake. ...

Cost: Free

Where:
McAdenville , NC


Website »

More information

Enjoy a moment with your smallest, and together, experience a story about being little. What does a “wee” one have to give? PlayPlay! Theatre performances are simple plots made...

Cost: $12

Where:
Levine Jewish Community Center
5007 Providence Road
Charlotte, NC  28226
View map »


Website »

More information

Melissa Lynch is a Gaston County resident who loves experimenting with acrylic pours and alcohol inks. This exhibit features abstract lines and pops of color that represent a transitional time...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gaston County Museum
131 W. Main St.
Dallas, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-922-7681
Website »

More information

This annually recurring exhibit fills the museum with model train displays, railroad memorabilia, and antique toys and games. Visitors of all ages will be enchanted as they explore the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kings Mountain Historical Museum
100 E. Mountain St.
Kings Mountain, NC  28086
View map »


Telephone: 704-739-1019
Website »

More information

The 18-piece display of animatronic bears performs classic holiday songs. The 45-minute program starts on the hour. All performances are subject to cancellation so check the website for...

Cost: Free

Where:
Founders Hall
100 N. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-716-8649
Website »

More information

Selections from one of the nation's most important and comprehensive collections of African-American art. This collection features a number of images from the fifty-eight-piece collection of...

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

The debut of one of the most expansive collections of abstract and contemporary African-American art.

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-374-1565
Website »

More information

Explores how artists immortalize people, places and memories through the visual arts.

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
The Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Website »

More information

Both mesmerizing and mysterious, Siobhan’s works represent the interactions, and sometimes conflicts, of her conscious and subconscious minds. These thoughts are characterized by stunning...

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

Bring your toddler each week for free play at the Statesville Library. We will play music, read a short story and have different activities for your little one to explore. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Statesville Library
201 N. Tradd St.
Statesville, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-878-3097
Website »

More information

Santa’s Wonderland returns to Bass Pro Shops and Concord-area families are invited to enjoy this magical Christmas village offering free photos with Santa and free family holiday activities...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops
8181 Concord Mills Blvd
Concord, NC  28027
View map »


Website »

More information

This uptown holiday event is presented as a German-inspired Christmas Market and includes traditional German foods and treats, homemade crafts and gifts, and other featured programming...

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Romare Bearden Park
300 S. Church St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Charlotte’s Road to Revolution Exhibition is composed of 17 original oil paintings by Charlotte artist Dan Nance, 20 interpretive panels and eighteenth-century antiques that tell the story of...

Cost: $7-$10

Where:
The Charlotte Museum of History
3500 Shamrock Drive
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-568-1774
Website »

More information

Bring your little one to Perfect Balance Training Center for "Tot Time" - an hour of free play in the gym. There is no instructor so parents are in charge of their children. No need to...

Cost: $5 cash or $6 with credit card (monthly special available as well)

Where:
Perfect Balance
8850 Monroe Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 980-299-8445
Website »

More information

Get free entry to the Schiele Museum every second Tuesday of the month from 4-8pm and every fourth Friday of the month from 1-5pm. 

Cost: Free

Where:
The Schiele Museum
1500 East Garrison Boulevard
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

This family-friendly event features craft brews, wine, cider, live music and the best food trucks in Charlotte. Bring the whole family, including your dogs. Along...

Cost: Free

Where:
Sycamore Brewing
2161 Hawkins St.
Charlotte, NC  28203
View map »


Sponsor: Sycamore Brewing
Contact Name: Katelyn Carpenter
Website »

More information

Celebrate the Christmas season with fun family activities at the Billy Graham Library. Enjoy the light displays and Christ-centered festivities with families from across the Southeast who have made...

Cost: Free; additional cost for carriage rides

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
Charlotte, NC  28217
View map »


Telephone: 704-401-3200
Website »

More information

Carowinds will be magically transformed into a winter wonderland full of enchantment and holiday cheer! Become immersed in the season’s spirit with spectacular holiday lights and...

Cost: Starts at $25.

Where:
Carowinds
14523 Carowinds Blvd.
Charlotte, NC  28273
View map »


Website »

More information

The Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden is turned into a winter wonderland. Over 600,000 lights will decorate the space with sparkling fountains and twinkling trees. Also enjoy live music, shopping,...

Cost: $8.95-$14.95

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


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

Drive the 3.5 mile course to see over 3 million lights. Then visit with Santa in the village for a special photo opportunity. The village also includes a petting zoo, a live nativity,...

Cost: $25-$30 per car when village is open; $20 per car when village is closed

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


Telephone: 800-455-3267
Website »

More information

Stroll through the park or take a ride on the Winterland Express to see more than 250,000 Christmas lights. The Celebration of lights will also feature the Double Decker Carousel and performances...

Cost: Free

Where:
Village Park
700 West C. Street
Kannapolis, NC  28081
View map »


Telephone: 704-920-4343
Website »

More information

Visit with Santa, take a pony ride, pet animals, and roast marshmallows over a fire. Even feed a tiger! Sun.-Thur., 6-9pm; Fri.-Sat., 6-10pm.

Cost: $7 per person

Where:
Zootastic Park
385 Ostwalt Amity Road
Troutman , NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-245-6446
Website »

More information

Skate on more than 7,000 square feet of ice in the heart of the city.  The ice rink opens at 5 p.m. Nov. 17. See website for ongoing hours.

Cost: $10 admission; $4 skate rental

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza
400 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The Birth is a collection of dramatic performance, dance and live music, designed to bring the Christmas story to life in a unique way. Present by: Starving Artist Productions.  See...

Cost: $16-$24

Where:
Duke Energy Theater at Spirit Square
345 N. College St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

View gingerbread creations by both amateurs and professionals. Vote on your favorites for $1 each; all donations benefit Levine Children's Hospital. 

Cost: Free.

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


Telephone: (704) 248-4000
Website »

More information

Explore the moon, stars and beyond in the new planetarium. Housed in the museum's original Charlotte A. Kelly Planetarium, the dome has been retrofitted with a new Digitarium Zeta...

Cost: $8

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

Explore the term "cabinet of curiosities" with this exhibit that describes a room rather than a piece of furniture. "Cabinets" originated in the 16th century and held large...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gaston County Museum
131 W. Main St.
Dallas, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-922-7681
Website »

More information

When the worst kids in the history of the world find out there are free snacks at Sunday School, they take it upon themselves to audition for the annual Christmas pageant. Will a group of kids who...

Cost: $12+

Where:
Children's Theatre of Charlotte, McColl Family Theatre
300 E. 7th St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-973-2828
Website »

More information

The Year of the Engineer is an initiative celebrating the creativity and imagination of engineers. It includes the opening of an all-new Thinker Space lab and exhibition Think it Up, along with the...

Cost: $13-$17

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
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Take the train to the North Pole to meet Santa with a live reading of the story The Polar Express, complete with songs from the movie. Hot chocolate and cookies will be served. Open on...

Cost: $30+

Where:
North Carolina Transportation Museum
411 S. Salisbury Ave.
Spencer, NC
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Telephone: 704-636-2889
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Watch as Clara encounters an epic battle between the Mouse King and Nutcrackers, a snowfall, jumping candy canes and the Sugar Plum Fairy. Choreography by Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux and music from the...

Cost: $25-$125

Where:
Charlotte Ballet, Belk Theater
130 N. Tryon St.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

Winter Wonderland Ice Skating Rink is an open-air holiday experience nestled between South Park Mall and Symphony Park. It features a 5,000 square for ice skating rink, a pub and a coffee shop and...

Cost: $12 for admission, $5 for skate rental

Where:
Symphony Park
4400 Sharon Rd
, NC
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Website »

More information

This exhibit features more than 40 of Mexico's leading photographers. The photographs in the museum, ranging from just a few inches to floor-to-ceiling murals, explore an assortment...

Cost: $10-$15

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St
, NC
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Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

This exhibit features 21st century long gowns, from cocktail attire to wedding dresses. Featured creations by Roberto Cavalli, Dolce & Gabbana, Carolina Herrera, Marc Jacobs, Missoni, Issey...

Cost: $6-$15; free for children 4 and under

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
, NC
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Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

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Skate on 4,200 square feet of real ice, plus enjoy go karting, play mini golf, and have fun on the spider web. On Nov. 17 from 5-8pm Olaf will be at the Speedpark available for pictures, hugs...

Cost: $12 for ice skating, includes skates. Other activities cost extra

Where:
The Speedpark at Concord Mills
8461 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
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Telephone: 704-527-8464
Website »

More information

Guests of all ages can participate in seasonal science fun with daily make projects every afternoon at Discovery Place Science.  Check the online calendar for the daily schedule. Activities...

Cost: Included with museum admission (adults, $17; children, $13); excludes IMAX

Where:
Discovery Place Science
301 N. Tryon St
, NC
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Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

Collards + Culture is a life-size installation that explores African culture and how Africans were brought to the Americas through the Middle Passage. This program is part of the ASC Culture...

Cost: Free

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

More information

Children and families can stop in Spangler Library and write a letter to Santa. Send him a Wish List or just say hello-ho-ho! Stationery and a special mailbox for rush delivery will be provided!...

Cost: Free

Where:
ImaginOn, Spangler Library
300 E 7th St
, NC
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Website »

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Travel back in time on a journey through the Mesozoic Era-the Age of Dinosaurs.  See full-bodied models of incredible creatures that time forgot. Observe predators stalking an armored...

Cost: $6-$7

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
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Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

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Visit the open-air ice skating rink located across from Fountain Park in Rock Hill. See website for operating hours.

Cost: $10, includes skate rental

Where:
Founders Holiday Ice Rink
205 Saluda St.
Rock Hill, SC
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Drive (or walk!) the two miles through town of McAdenville and view more than 375 live trees, 200 wreaths, and a 46-foot wide image of Old Man Winter blowing snowflakes over the lake. ...

Cost: Free

Where:
McAdenville , NC


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Enjoy a moment with your smallest, and together, experience a story about being little. What does a “wee” one have to give? PlayPlay! Theatre performances are simple plots made...

Cost: $12

Where:
Levine Jewish Community Center
5007 Providence Road
Charlotte, NC  28226
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Melissa Lynch is a Gaston County resident who loves experimenting with acrylic pours and alcohol inks. This exhibit features abstract lines and pops of color that represent a transitional time...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gaston County Museum
131 W. Main St.
Dallas, NC
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Telephone: 704-922-7681
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Eat a pancake breakfast, enjoy festive crafts, watch a movie, ice skate and get a photo with Santa.

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame
400 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Charlotte, NC  28202
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Telephone: 704-654-4400
Website »

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This annually recurring exhibit fills the museum with model train displays, railroad memorabilia, and antique toys and games. Visitors of all ages will be enchanted as they explore the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kings Mountain Historical Museum
100 E. Mountain St.
Kings Mountain, NC  28086
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Telephone: 704-739-1019
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The 18-piece display of animatronic bears performs classic holiday songs. The 45-minute program starts on the hour. All performances are subject to cancellation so check the website for...

Cost: Free

Where:
Founders Hall
100 N. Tryon St.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-716-8649
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Selections from one of the nation's most important and comprehensive collections of African-American art. This collection features a number of images from the fifty-eight-piece collection of...

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
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Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

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The debut of one of the most expansive collections of abstract and contemporary African-American art.

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
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Telephone: 704-374-1565
Website »

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Explores how artists immortalize people, places and memories through the visual arts.

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
The Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
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Both mesmerizing and mysterious, Siobhan’s works represent the interactions, and sometimes conflicts, of her conscious and subconscious minds. These thoughts are characterized by stunning...

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
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Telephone: 704-547-3700
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Santa’s Wonderland returns to Bass Pro Shops and Concord-area families are invited to enjoy this magical Christmas village offering free photos with Santa and free family holiday activities...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops
8181 Concord Mills Blvd
Concord, NC  28027
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Lakeshore Learning Stores provide fun, free crafts every Saturday from 11am to 3pm. Visit Bit.ly/freecraftsforkids for the featured craft of the week or call your local Lakeshore Learning store for...

Cost: Free

Where:
Lakeshore Learning Store
10005 E. Independence Blvd.
Matthews, NC  28105
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Sponsor: Lakeshore Learning Store
Telephone: 704-849-2450
Website »

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This uptown holiday event is presented as a German-inspired Christmas Market and includes traditional German foods and treats, homemade crafts and gifts, and other featured programming...

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Romare Bearden Park
300 S. Church St.
, NC
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Website »

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Come to family storytime at Barnes & Noble. Activities to follow. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble, Morrison Place
4020 Sharon Road
, NC
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Telephone: 704-364-0626
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Charlotte’s Road to Revolution Exhibition is composed of 17 original oil paintings by Charlotte artist Dan Nance, 20 interpretive panels and eighteenth-century antiques that tell the story of...

Cost: $7-$10

Where:
The Charlotte Museum of History
3500 Shamrock Drive
, NC
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Telephone: 704-568-1774
Website »

More information

​Santa will be roaming the mall on these special days handing out treats and stopping for photos. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Charlotte Premium Outlets
5404 New Fashion Way
, NC
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Website »

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What makes snow and where does it come from? Is every snowflake unique? Explore the science of snow and create a glittering snowflake decoration of your own to take home. 

Cost: Included in price of admission to museum ($8)

Where:
Discovery Place Nature
1658 Sterling Road
, NC
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Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

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Come to BLACKLION for free photos with Santa. Fun backdrops for selfies and a few of Santa's friends will also be there. Feel free to bring your personal cameras. 

Cost: Free

Where:
BLACKLION
10635 Park Rd
, NC
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Telephone: 704-541-1148
Website »

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Celebrate the Christmas season with fun family activities at the Billy Graham Library. Enjoy the light displays and Christ-centered festivities with families from across the Southeast who have made...

Cost: Free; additional cost for carriage rides

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
Charlotte, NC  28217
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Telephone: 704-401-3200
Website »

More information

Carowinds will be magically transformed into a winter wonderland full of enchantment and holiday cheer! Become immersed in the season’s spirit with spectacular holiday lights and...

Cost: Starts at $25.

Where:
Carowinds
14523 Carowinds Blvd.
Charlotte, NC  28273
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Website »

More information

The Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden is turned into a winter wonderland. Over 600,000 lights will decorate the space with sparkling fountains and twinkling trees. Also enjoy live music, shopping,...

Cost: $8.95-$14.95

Where:
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
6500 S. New Hope Road
Belmont, NC
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Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

Drive the 3.5 mile course to see over 3 million lights. Then visit with Santa in the village for a special photo opportunity. The village also includes a petting zoo, a live nativity,...

Cost: $25-$30 per car when village is open; $20 per car when village is closed

Where:
Charlotte Motor Speedway
5555 Concord Pkwy.
Concord, NC
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Telephone: 800-455-3267
Website »

More information

Stroll through the park or take a ride on the Winterland Express to see more than 250,000 Christmas lights. The Celebration of lights will also feature the Double Decker Carousel and performances...

Cost: Free

Where:
Village Park
700 West C. Street
Kannapolis, NC  28081
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Telephone: 704-920-4343
Website »

More information

Visit with Santa, take a pony ride, pet animals, and roast marshmallows over a fire. Even feed a tiger! Sun.-Thur., 6-9pm; Fri.-Sat., 6-10pm.

Cost: $7 per person

Where:
Zootastic Park
385 Ostwalt Amity Road
Troutman , NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-245-6446
Website »

More information

Skate on more than 7,000 square feet of ice in the heart of the city.  The ice rink opens at 5 p.m. Nov. 17. See website for ongoing hours.

Cost: $10 admission; $4 skate rental

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza
400 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The Birth is a collection of dramatic performance, dance and live music, designed to bring the Christmas story to life in a unique way. Present by: Starving Artist Productions.  See...

Cost: $16-$24

Where:
Duke Energy Theater at Spirit Square
345 N. College St.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

View gingerbread creations by both amateurs and professionals. Vote on your favorites for $1 each; all donations benefit Levine Children's Hospital. 

Cost: Free.

Where:
The Ballantyne Hotel
10000 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy.
, NC
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Telephone: (704) 248-4000
Website »

More information

Explore the term "cabinet of curiosities" with this exhibit that describes a room rather than a piece of furniture. "Cabinets" originated in the 16th century and held large...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gaston County Museum
131 W. Main St.
Dallas, NC
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Telephone: 704-922-7681
Website »

More information

When the worst kids in the history of the world find out there are free snacks at Sunday School, they take it upon themselves to audition for the annual Christmas pageant. Will a group of kids who...

Cost: $12+

Where:
Children's Theatre of Charlotte, McColl Family Theatre
300 E. 7th St.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-973-2828
Website »

More information

The Year of the Engineer is an initiative celebrating the creativity and imagination of engineers. It includes the opening of an all-new Thinker Space lab and exhibition Think it Up, along with the...

Cost: $13-$17

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

Stop by for some hot beverages and relaxation with crafting. We will be cutting paper snowflakes and coloring beautiful winter scenes before the bustle of the holidays. Registration required for...

Cost: Free

Where:
McDowell Nature Center
15222 York Rd.
Charlotte, NC  28278
View map »


Sponsor: McDowell Nature Center
Telephone: 980-314-1128
Website »

More information

Watch as Clara encounters an epic battle between the Mouse King and Nutcrackers, a snowfall, jumping candy canes and the Sugar Plum Fairy. Choreography by Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux and music from the...

Cost: $25-$125

Where:
Charlotte Ballet, Belk Theater
130 N. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

Winter Wonderland Ice Skating Rink is an open-air holiday experience nestled between South Park Mall and Symphony Park. It features a 5,000 square for ice skating rink, a pub and a coffee shop and...

Cost: $12 for admission, $5 for skate rental

Where:
Symphony Park
4400 Sharon Rd
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This exhibit features more than 40 of Mexico's leading photographers. The photographs in the museum, ranging from just a few inches to floor-to-ceiling murals, explore an assortment...

Cost: $10-$15

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


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

This exhibit features 21st century long gowns, from cocktail attire to wedding dresses. Featured creations by Roberto Cavalli, Dolce & Gabbana, Carolina Herrera, Marc Jacobs, Missoni, Issey...

Cost: $6-$15; free for children 4 and under

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

Skate on 4,200 square feet of real ice, plus enjoy go karting, play mini golf, and have fun on the spider web. On Nov. 17 from 5-8pm Olaf will be at the Speedpark available for pictures, hugs...

Cost: $12 for ice skating, includes skates. Other activities cost extra

Where:
The Speedpark at Concord Mills
8461 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-527-8464
Website »

More information

Sit on Santa's lap, ride his horse, play on the farm playground and pat and hold bunnies, pig, sheep, goats, chicken, duck, cows, and puppies. Have your camera ready to take Christmas pictures!...

Cost: $7 per person; $5 kids horse rides.

Where:
Whispering Hope Farm
1405 Crowders Creek Road
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Attendees can share Santa’s love for marine life with Scuba Claus dives, engage in classic Christmas tales during holiday story time with Sharky and participate in seasonal favorites such as...

Cost: Included in admission to museum ($10.95-$19.95)

Where:
SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord
8111 Concord Mills Boulevard
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Guests of all ages can participate in seasonal science fun with daily make projects every afternoon at Discovery Place Science.  Check the online calendar for the daily schedule. Activities...

Cost: Included with museum admission (adults, $17; children, $13); excludes IMAX

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

Collards + Culture is a life-size installation that explores African culture and how Africans were brought to the Americas through the Middle Passage. This program is part of the ASC Culture...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Children and families can stop in Spangler Library and write a letter to Santa. Send him a Wish List or just say hello-ho-ho! Stationery and a special mailbox for rush delivery will be provided!...

Cost: Free

Where:
ImaginOn, Spangler Library
300 E 7th St
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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Annual Guides

GPS [Go. Play. See.]

Your guide to raising kids in the Queen City, plus our 2017 Readers' Favorites for places to play, explore and learn with the kids.

Education Guide

This comprehensive guide covers preschool, private, charter and public schools in Cabarrus, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Union and York counties.
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