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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September 2018

The First Annual Lighthouse Family Health Fair will feature cooking demonstrations with free samples, blood sugar screenings, BMI testing, natural home remedy demos and free chair massages....

Cost: $25 registration for 5K

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North Meck Park
16131 Old Statesville Road
Huntersville , NC  28078
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Sponsor: Lighthouse Community Events
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The Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
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Come out for a Special Pumpkin Patch Adventure for those with special needs.

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Patterson Farm
10390 Caldwell Road
Mount Ulla, NC
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The event will begin at 11:30 a.m. with Fanfare for the Common Man on the Belk Theater plaza. The indoor concert will begin at noon. This concert is free and open to the public.

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Belk Theater
130 N. Tryon St.
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McDowell Nature Preserve
15222 York Road
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2900 Rocky River Road
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Cost: $6-$7, children under age 3 admitted free. Includes museum admission.

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The Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
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Sun Valley High School
5211 Old Charlotte Hwy.
Monroe, NC
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Matthews UMC offers opportunities for Christian education, discipleship, fellowship and care for persons of all ages with disabilities and their families. Experience age-level appropriate Sunday...

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

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Calvary Church
5801 Pineville–Matthews Road
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Telephone: 704-341-5413
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Family-friendly Halloween attractions for young children, including a costume parade, hay bale maze, foam zone, plus rides. 

Cost: Daily ticket prices start at $48

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Carowinds
14523 Carowinds Blvd.
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This bar + arcade hybrid has over 20 pinball machines, 30 arcade games and other games rotating monthly. On Saturdays and Sundays from noon-5pm the bar opens up to all ages with a parent...

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Abari Game Bar
1721 N. Davidson St
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Telephone: 980-430-4587
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American Girl Southpark Mall
4400 Sharon Road
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Beginner and experienced yogis are all welcome to join the free practice at the southeast end of Independence Park in front of King's College Bring a mat or towel, some water and a few friends.

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Independence Park
300 Hawthorne Ln.
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Historic Rural Hill
4431 Neck Road
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Telephone: 704-875-3113
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Cost: $4-$12, includes museum admission

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N.C. Transportation Museum
1 Samuel Spencer Dr.
Spencer, NC
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Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

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Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
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Cost: Season Subscription Only

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The Eloise MacDonald Playhouse
501 Queens Road
Charlotte, NC
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Sponsor: Theatre Charlotte
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Come enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of Festival in the Park. Stroll through the park while admiring crafts and art, which is available for purchase. Food is also available for purchase. Do not miss...

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Freedom Park
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Pineville Players present The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Do not miss this classic story come to life! See website for showtimes.

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The Hut Meeting Facility
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Many factors must be weighed when exhibiting a work of art, from framing to installation to critical contextualization. This exhibition examines the different considerations that go into displaying...

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

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Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 South Tryon St.
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Cost: $7-$9, Children 5 and younger free

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The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Cultur
551 S. Tryon St.
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Cost: $7-$9, Children 5 and younger free

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The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Cultur
551 S. Tryon St.
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Cost: $7-$9, Children 5 and younger free

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The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Cultur
551 S. Tryon St.
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Hank Willis Thomas is a conceptual artist who lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. The exhibit investigates 20th century protests, reminding museum goers that societal tumult is part of a hard-fought...

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

Where:
The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Cultur
551 S. Tryon St.
, NC
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Enjoy 1,500 square feet of rocks and minerals from around the world. See specimens both common and rare while discovering how the science of earth is ever-changing.  This showcase of the...

Cost: $7, included with museum admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
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Telephone: 704-866-6923
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Cost: Free

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Cabarrus Arts Council
65 Union St. S.
Concord, NC
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Telephone: 704-920-2787
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Dino Safari:  A Prehistoric Adventure Travel back in time on a journey through the Mesozoic Era – the age of dinosaurs. See full-bodied models of incredible creatures that time...

Cost: $6-$7, children under age 3 admitted free. Includes museum admission.

Where:
The Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
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Telephone: 704-866-6923
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Come enjoy fascinating photos, memorabilia, and stories during 12 months of rotating special displays at the Billy Graham Library as part of the celebration...

Cost: Free

Where:
Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
Charlotte, NC  28217
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Telephone: 704-401-3200
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Settle in and get comfortable as we take a journey of imagination. Unearth the untold narratives of nature through stories and then walk about the forest exploring and engaging all of our senses.

Cost: Free

Where:
Reedy Creek Nature Preserve
2900 Rocky River Road
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Cost: Free

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Wallace Pruitt Recreation Center
440 Wesley Heights Way
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Telephone: 980-314-1114
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Cost: $10

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Town Hall
315 Matthews-Indian Trail Road
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Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6908
Website »

More information

Many factors must be weighed when exhibiting a work of art, from framing to installation to critical contextualization. This exhibition examines the different considerations that go into displaying...

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

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


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Enjoy 1,500 square feet of rocks and minerals from around the world. See specimens both common and rare while discovering how the science of earth is ever-changing.  This showcase of the...

Cost: $7, included with museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Let your kids discover the details of the museums galleries in a fun and challenging way. With two levels of difficulty this gallery activity invites participants of all ages to examine art work...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cabarrus Arts Council
65 Union St. S.
Concord, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-920-2787
Website »

More information

Dino Safari:  A Prehistoric Adventure Travel back in time on a journey through the Mesozoic Era – the age of dinosaurs. See full-bodied models of incredible creatures that time...

Cost: $6-$7, children under age 3 admitted free. Includes museum admission.

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Come enjoy fascinating photos, memorabilia, and stories during 12 months of rotating special displays at the Billy Graham Library as part of the celebration...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-401-3200
Website »

More information

 Everyone is welcome at Toddler Tuesday story time! Intended for toddlers and older, this weekly story time includes classic tales and new favorites.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes and Noble
3327 Pineville-Matthews Road
, NC
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Cost: Free

Where:
Kings Mountain Historical Museum
100 East Mountain St.
Kings Mountain , NC  28086
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Telephone: 704-739-1019
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Cost: $8

Where:
Sky Zone
10200 Centrum Pkwy.
Pineville, NC
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Cost: $8

Where:
Big Air Trampoline Park
2408 Sardis Road N.
, NC
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Cost: $6

Where:
Tom Sykes Recreation Center
1501 Euclid Ave.
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Cost: Free

Where:
Rosa Parks Farmers Market
1600 West Trade St.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Mecklenburg County Public Health
Telephone: 704-617-9319
Contact Name: Elliott Royal
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More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Stanley Branch Library
205 N. Peterson St.
Stanley, NC  28164
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Sponsor: Gaston County Public Library
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Southview Recreation Center
1720 Vilma St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-606-7084
Website »

More information

This exhibit tells the story of the coming of railroads after the Civil War and the impact they had on the life, economy, culture, folklore, music and landscape of the mountains. Using videos,...

Cost: $4-$12, includes museum admission

Where:
N.C. Transportation Museum
1 Samuel Spencer Dr.
Spencer, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-636-2889
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6908
Website »

More information

Hank Willis Thomas is a conceptual artist who lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. The exhibit investigates 20th century protests, reminding museum goers that societal tumult is part of a hard-fought...

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

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


Website »

More information

To further unite the nation, in 2018 For Freedoms launched a 50 State Initiative in which multiple organizations and events embodied an array of voices and sparked a national dialogue about art,...

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

Hank Willis Thomas is a conceptual artist who lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. The exhibit investigates 20th century protests, reminding museum goers that societal tumult is part of a hard-fought...

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

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


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Enjoy 1,500 square feet of rocks and minerals from around the world. See specimens both common and rare while discovering how the science of earth is ever-changing.  This showcase of the...

Cost: $7, included with museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
South County Regional Library
5801 Rea Rd.
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View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Tickets start at $25

Where:
McGlohon Theater at Spirit Square
345 N. College St.
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View map »


Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Let your kids discover the details of the museums galleries in a fun and challenging way. With two levels of difficulty this gallery activity invites participants of all ages to examine art work...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cabarrus Arts Council
65 Union St. S.
Concord, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-920-2787
Website »

More information

Dino Safari:  A Prehistoric Adventure Travel back in time on a journey through the Mesozoic Era – the age of dinosaurs. See full-bodied models of incredible creatures that time...

Cost: $6-$7, children under age 3 admitted free. Includes museum admission.

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

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Cost: $5

Where:
Carolina's Aviation Museum
4672 1st Flight Drive
, NC
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Website »

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Come enjoy fascinating photos, memorabilia, and stories during 12 months of rotating special displays at the Billy Graham Library as part of the celebration...

Cost: Free

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

More information

This drop off program for children presents an engineering challenge based on a popular nursery rhyme. After their engineering challenge, participants meet the animals and participate in humane...

Cost: $20

Where:
Rescue Ranch
1424 Turnersburg Hwy.
Statesville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This parade of fashion explores the relationship between changes in the world and changes in clothing. The exhibit highlights some of the peaks of Kings Mountain fashion and showcases some hidden...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-739-1019
Website »

More information

Enjoy stories, movement with music, and a seasonal craft during each Wee Wednesday program. Toddler story time will occur on the third Wednesday of each month for Wee Wednesday.

Cost: $6, children younger than 1 free, included with admission

Where:
Main Street Children’s Museum
133 E. Main St.
Rock Hill, NC
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Telephone: 803-327-6400
Website »

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Children learn about language and literacy through play. Manipulatives and toys will be available for families of children from birth to age 5 to play together. Please drop in for this...

Cost: Free

Where:
South County Regional Library
5801 Rea Road
, NC
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Everyone is welcome at Toddler Tuesday story time! Intended for toddlers and older, this weekly story time includes classic tales and new favorites.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes and Noble
4020 Sharon Road
, NC
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More information

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

Cost: Free

Where:
Huntersville Fire Station 1
110 S. Old Statesville Road
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This exhibit tells the story of the coming of railroads after the Civil War and the impact they had on the life, economy, culture, folklore, music and landscape of the mountains. Using videos,...

Cost: $4-$12, includes museum admission

Where:
N.C. Transportation Museum
1 Samuel Spencer Dr.
Spencer, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-636-2889
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6908
Website »

More information

Many factors must be weighed when exhibiting a work of art, from framing to installation to critical contextualization. This exhibition examines the different considerations that go into displaying...

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

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


Website »

More information

Hank Willis Thomas is a conceptual artist who lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. The exhibit investigates 20th century protests, reminding museum goers that societal tumult is part of a hard-fought...

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

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


Website »

More information

To further unite the nation, in 2018 For Freedoms launched a 50 State Initiative in which multiple organizations and events embodied an array of voices and sparked a national dialogue about art,...

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

Hank Willis Thomas is a conceptual artist who lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. The exhibit investigates 20th century protests, reminding museum goers that societal tumult is part of a hard-fought...

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

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


Website »

More information

Show More...
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Enjoy 1,500 square feet of rocks and minerals from around the world. See specimens both common and rare while discovering how the science of earth is ever-changing.  This showcase of the...

Cost: $7, included with museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Take a walk on the wild mushroom side in celebration of Mushroom Month. Discover the fascinating and weird world of mushrooms on a two- to three-mile hike. Participants will learn how to identify a...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 980-314-1128
Website »

More information

Bring your whole family out to enjoy puppet shows, songs and movement activities that support early literacy skill development and help foster a love of books and reading in your child.

Cost: Free

Where:
ImaginOn: The Joe & Joan Martin Center
300 E. 7th St.
, NC
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Website »

More information

Explore solar, wind and water power through interdisciplinary STEAM activities! Each participant will receive a solar car kit to take home. Expect to get wet in the creek during our hydro power...

Cost: $15

Where:
Latta Plantation Nature Preserve
6211 Sample Road
, NC
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Website »

More information

Start by discovering who Rachel was and why she was so important to the environmental movement. Then go exploring, just like she did! Participants must be able to hike up to 1.5 miles on uneven...

Cost: Free

Where:
Reedy Creek Nature Preserve
2900 Rocky River Road
, NC
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Presenters Dr. Laura Flores-Shaw, an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Education and founder of White Paper Press, and Dr. Steven Hughes a pediatric neuropsychologist and...

Cost: $5

Where:
Queens University Sports Complex and Conference Ce
2229 Tyvola Road
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Keystone Montessori School, Omni Montessori School, and Charlotte Montessori School
Website »

More information

Let your kids discover the details of the museums galleries in a fun and challenging way. With two levels of difficulty this gallery activity invites participants of all ages to examine art work...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cabarrus Arts Council
65 Union St. S.
Concord, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-920-2787
Website »

More information

Dino Safari:  A Prehistoric Adventure Travel back in time on a journey through the Mesozoic Era – the age of dinosaurs. See full-bodied models of incredible creatures that time...

Cost: $6-$7, children under age 3 admitted free. Includes museum admission.

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Come enjoy fascinating photos, memorabilia, and stories during 12 months of rotating special displays at the Billy Graham Library as part of the celebration...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-401-3200
Website »

More information

This parade of fashion explores the relationship between changes in the world and changes in clothing. The exhibit highlights some of the peaks of Kings Mountain fashion and showcases some hidden...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-739-1019
Website »

More information

Toddler Time is a great shared experience for child and parent. Let your little ones to discover the joy of being active while bouncing under the supervision of their parents and without...

Cost: $8

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


Website »

More information

Big Air Trampoline Park opens its doors for little ones to jump at their own speed and comfort level. Without the older kids around, the toddlers feel right at home on all the attractions. Big...

Cost: $8

Where:
Big Air Trampoline Park
2408 Sardis Road N.
, NC
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Website »

More information

Little ones and adults discover nature together through crafts, games, songs, animal encounters and outdoor exploration. Choose one time slot per week/theme. Sept. 13 & 14: Going Batty for...

Cost: $4

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


Telephone: 980-314-1128
Website »

More information

This seven-part series will explore and celebrate the power of reading, told through the prism of America’s 100 best-loved novels. Bottled water provided. Bring a lunch or order from these...

Cost: Free

Where:
Main Library
310 North Tryon St.
, NC
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More information

The Evening Farmers Market supports local farmers by providing a location to bring customers and farmers together. Everything sold at the market is locally grown, baked, or crafted by the vendor....

Cost: Free

Where:
Pecan Park
136 North Center St.
Statesville, NC
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Website »

More information

Come join us at Elon Recreation Center for a fun and exciting afterschool program! Kids will enjoy becoming masterminds in creative thinking through games. This club will have board games, video...

Cost: $6

Where:
Elon Recreation Center
11401 Ardrey Kell Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 980-314-1103
Website »

More information

Enjoy food, beverages, and live music at this weekly summer concert series.  There are additional activities like yoga or organized runs on certain nights before the show starts.

Cost: Free; $6 parking fee

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


Telephone: 704-391-3900
Website »

More information

This exhibit tells the story of the coming of railroads after the Civil War and the impact they had on the life, economy, culture, folklore, music and landscape of the mountains. Using videos,...

Cost: $4-$12, includes museum admission

Where:
N.C. Transportation Museum
1 Samuel Spencer Dr.
Spencer, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-636-2889
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6908
Website »

More information

Enter the dazzling world of Disney magic, live on ice! From wheels to waves, icy wonderlands to infinity and beyond, your family's favorite Disney moments come to life at Disney On Ice presents...

Cost: Tickets start at $20

Where:
Spectrum Center
333 East Trade St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Many factors must be weighed when exhibiting a work of art, from framing to installation to critical contextualization. This exhibition examines the different considerations that go into displaying...

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

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


Website »

More information

Hank Willis Thomas is a conceptual artist who lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. The exhibit investigates 20th century protests, reminding museum goers that societal tumult is part of a hard-fought...

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

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


Website »

More information

To further unite the nation, in 2018 For Freedoms launched a 50 State Initiative in which multiple organizations and events embodied an array of voices and sparked a national dialogue about art,...

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

Hank Willis Thomas is a conceptual artist who lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. The exhibit investigates 20th century protests, reminding museum goers that societal tumult is part of a hard-fought...

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

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


Website »

More information

The NASCAR Cup Series is coming to the Charlotte Motor Speedway, and NBC Sports and North Shore Animal League America teamed up to host the NASCAR on NBC “Pup” Series at SouthPark...

Cost: Free

Where:
Southpark Mall
4400 Sharon Road
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: North Shore Animal League and NBC

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Enjoy 1,500 square feet of rocks and minerals from around the world. See specimens both common and rare while discovering how the science of earth is ever-changing.  This showcase of the...

Cost: $7, included with museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Do you like to canoe, kayak, or paddle board? Are you looking for an exciting way to challenge yourself while studying aquatic ecosystems? Find your way to the water this fall as we paddle our...

Cost: $10

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


Website »

More information

Come LOL at clean comedy for all ages by some of the best improv groups in the Carolinas, including With Teenage Handbook, Brothers Grimprov, Background Noise and Family Friendly.

Cost: $4.66

Where:
Knight Gallery at Spirit Square
345 North College St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

Learn the basics of outdoor survival during Survival 101. The USNWC Outdoor School staff will provide a brief overview of the seven priorities of survival, including positive mental attitude, fire...

Cost: Free admission; $6 for parking

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


Website »

More information

Come out to enjoy live music! July 13 - The Tams, July 27 - Jim Quick, Aug. 17 - Too Much Sylvia, Aug. 31. - The Continental Divide, Sept. 28 - Steve Owens and Summertime Band

Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Mount Holly
South Main St.
Mount Holly, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The stars of the NASCAR Spring Cup Series compete for the top starting spot for the Bank of America 500. The entertainment lineup also features the Better Half Dash as the ladies of NASCAR...

Cost: $12; free for children 13 and under

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


Telephone: 704-455-3200
Website »

More information

Let your kids discover the details of the museums galleries in a fun and challenging way. With two levels of difficulty this gallery activity invites participants of all ages to examine art work...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cabarrus Arts Council
65 Union St. S.
Concord, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-920-2787
Website »

More information

Dino Safari:  A Prehistoric Adventure Travel back in time on a journey through the Mesozoic Era – the age of dinosaurs. See full-bodied models of incredible creatures that time...

Cost: $6-$7, children under age 3 admitted free. Includes museum admission.

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Come enjoy fascinating photos, memorabilia, and stories during 12 months of rotating special displays at the Billy Graham Library as part of the celebration...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-401-3200
Website »

More information

This parade of fashion explores the relationship between changes in the world and changes in clothing. The exhibit highlights some of the peaks of Kings Mountain fashion and showcases some hidden...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-739-1019
Website »

More information

Little ones and adults discover nature together through crafts, games, songs, animal encounters and outdoor exploration. Choose one time slot per week/theme. Sept. 13 & 14: Going Batty for...

Cost: $4

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


Telephone: 980-314-1128
Website »

More information

Stretch out your wiggles at children's yoga story time, hosted by yoga instructor, Stefanie Ezratty from Bellies and Blooms. She will instruct kids on some basic yoga positions that go along...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Little Music Makers Classes are designed for children with various developmental delays. Instructor , Melissa Reinhardt, MSEd, MT-BC will use activities to target those developmental areas while...

Cost: $25 per class; $80 per month

Where:
Piedmont Music Therapy, LLC
220 Westinghouse Blvd.
Suite 402
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Join Clayworks for this hands-on workshop; learn about different pottery techniques and how to manipulate clay to create a variety of fun and functional ceramic projects. Preregistration...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Clayworks, Inc.
Telephone: 980-498-1487
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 »


Website »

More information

Favorite area food and dessert trucks will provide varied menus including seafood, Tex-Mex, burgers, sandwiches, specialty dishes and more. Enjoy local/region...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Spend your evening socializing, playing games and participating in friendly competition, all while having a great time with your peers!

Cost: Free

Where:
Southview Recreation Center
1720 Vilma St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 980-314-1105
Website »

More information

Drop off your children for a night of fun while you hit the town. Activities include laser tag, jump-n-play, rock climbing, mini bowling, ropes courses, bumper cars, and arcade games. Children...

Cost: $25 online, $30 at the door

Where:
Sports Connection - Ballantyne or Northlake Locations
, NC


Website »

More information

Bring your blanket and chairs and enjoy a movie in the park. Food available for purchase. Movie begins at dusk. April 27 at Crooked Creek Park, 5900 Oakwood Ln, Indian Trail....

Cost: Free

Where:
, NC


Website »

More information

Enjoy food, beverages, and live music at this weekly summer concert series.  There are additional activities like yoga or organized runs on certain nights before the show starts.

Cost: Free; $6 parking fee

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


Telephone: 704-391-3900
Website »

More information

Fear rises when darkness falls when Carowinds is transformed from a “theme park” into a “scream park” during the annual haunt of SCarowinds. Experience the thrills of your...

Cost: Cost of Carowinds admission

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


Website »

More information

Listen to music every Friday and Saturday throughout the summer at Stonecrest Shopping Center.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Funtasticks After Dark Event Series is a unique, family-friendly indoor and outdoor experience under the stars. The upcoming After Dark event offers free admission, free parking and free...

Cost: Free

Where:
Funtasticks Charlotte
10400 Cadillac St.
Pineville, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Funtasticks Charlotte
Telephone: 843-683-1157
Website »

More information

It’s safe, scary fun for the whole family! Kids will enjoy the Halloween shows and trick-or-treating. Take a chilling journey into the night on the Ghost Train- if you dare! Advance...

Cost: $38

Where:
Tweetsie Railroad
300 Tweetsie Railroad Ln.
Blowing Rock, NC  28605
View map »


Sponsor: Tweetsie Railroad
Website »

More information

Get lost in the giant seven-acre corn maze featuring over two miles of interconnecting paths. Take a hayride, play cornhole and hike the trails. See website for times. 

Cost: $11+

Where:
Historic Rural Hill
4431 Neck Road
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-875-3113
Website »

More information

This exhibit tells the story of the coming of railroads after the Civil War and the impact they had on the life, economy, culture, folklore, music and landscape of the mountains. Using videos,...

Cost: $4-$12, includes museum admission

Where:
N.C. Transportation Museum
1 Samuel Spencer Dr.
Spencer, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-636-2889
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6908
Website »

More information

Enter the dazzling world of Disney magic, live on ice! From wheels to waves, icy wonderlands to infinity and beyond, your family's favorite Disney moments come to life at Disney On Ice presents...

Cost: Tickets start at $20

Where:
Spectrum Center
333 East Trade St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Day Out With Thomas Offers an opportunity for children and their families to take a 25-minute ride with Thomas the Tank Engine and to meet Sir Topham Hatt. Every event has a Thomas and Friends...

Cost: Tickets start at $20

Where:
N.C. Transportation Museum
411 South Salisbury Ave.
Spencer, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-636-2889
Website »

More information

Old Town Rock Hill will fire up its first KCBS sanctioned BBQ competition! The main streets of downtown will be lined with some of the best BBQ in the region, as well as entertainment, a car cruise...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fountain Park
300 E. Main St.
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Based on Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book, this full-length Tony Award-winning Broadway musical follows Matilda Wormwood, a  girl who immerses herself in books. Matilda uses...

Cost: $22+

Where:
McColl Family Theater
300 E. 7th St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Many factors must be weighed when exhibiting a work of art, from framing to installation to critical contextualization. This exhibition examines the different considerations that go into displaying...

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

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


Website »

More information

Hank Willis Thomas is a conceptual artist who lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. The exhibit investigates 20th century protests, reminding museum goers that societal tumult is part of a hard-fought...

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

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


Website »

More information

To further unite the nation, in 2018 For Freedoms launched a 50 State Initiative in which multiple organizations and events embodied an array of voices and sparked a national dialogue about art,...

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

Hank Willis Thomas is a conceptual artist who lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. The exhibit investigates 20th century protests, reminding museum goers that societal tumult is part of a hard-fought...

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

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


Website »

More information

The Church and Crown collide when King Henry II names his reluctant friend Thomas Becket the Archbishop of Canterbury. Can their longstanding friendship withstand the clash of church versus state?...

Cost: $10+

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


Telephone: 704-330-6534
Website »

More information

The Carolina Farm Trust will present the Carolina Jubilee, a two-day music and food festival. Bands vary from blues and funk to Americana and folk. Near the heart of the festival grounds is the...

Cost: $10-$55, children younger than 15 free, parking extra

Where:
VanHoy Farms
742 Jericho Road
Harmony, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-264-6088
Website »

More information

The NASCAR Cup Series is coming to the Charlotte Motor Speedway, and NBC Sports and North Shore Animal League America teamed up to host the NASCAR on NBC “Pup” Series at SouthPark...

Cost: Free

Where:
Southpark Mall
4400 Sharon Road
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: North Shore Animal League and NBC

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Wear purple, and support pediatric cancer with this run that features races for all levels, including a 1-mile fun run, kids zone, DJ, family-friendly activities and concessions. 

Cost: $25+

Where:
Ballantyne Corporate Park
15801 Brixham Hill Ave.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Come out to the Piedmont Farmer's Market for games, apple cider samples, crafts for kids, food trucks, live music, a raffle, book signings and face painting!

Cost: Free

Where:
Piedmont Farmer's Market
Concord, NC


Website »

More information

Enjoy 1,500 square feet of rocks and minerals from around the world. See specimens both common and rare while discovering how the science of earth is ever-changing.  This showcase of the...

Cost: $7, included with museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Come get photos with the Shell-Pennzoil Ford show car, driven by Joey Logano in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. We love to talk shop, cars, racing and oil-so stop by and say hello! Event...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Bring your furry friend for Paws in the Park! Enjoy police dog education, vendors, pet photos and paw art for your pet.

Cost: Free

Where:
Stowe Park
24 S. Main St.
Belmont, NC
View map »


Website »

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This living history event will give visitors a glimpse of what daily life was like for the garrison of Fort Dobbs through on-going displays of camp life, historic cooking, and scheduled musket and...

Cost: Free ($2 donation suggested)

Where:
Fort Dobbs
438 Fort Dobbs Road
Statesville, NC
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The UNC Charlotte International Festival is a celebration of people, places and culture vibrantly displayed through exhibition booths staffed by UNC Charlotte international students and members of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnhardt Student Activity Center-UNC Charlotte
9201 University City Blvd.
Charlotte, NC  28223
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This one-day event and juried art show will be held on the Town Green. Visitors will be able to meet artists and purchase their artwork. In addition, visitors can enjoy live jazz entertainment, art...

Cost: Free

Where:
210 Matthews Station St.
Matthews, NC
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Join the Charlotte Museum of History in celebrating Charlotte’s unique mid-century modern architectural history. The home tour takes visitors inside private homes to see some of the best...

Cost: Ages 12 and older

Where:
Charlotte Museum of History
3500 Shamrock Drive
, NC
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The 3rd Annual BikeFest will be held at George Poston Park, which is home to more than 10 miles of mountain bike trails. BikeFest will feature the grand opening of its pumptrack, live music, food...

Cost: Free

Where:
George Poston Park
1101 Lowell Spencer Mtn Road
Gastonia, NC
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Sponsor: Gaston County Parks and Recreation
Telephone: 704-922-2164
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Get outside and develop a better understanding of the natural world during Take a Child Outside. All outdoor programs will go on rain or shine; appropriate...

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

Where:
Museum of York County
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
Rock Hill, SC  29732
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Sponsor: Culture and Heritage Museums
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Come join Clayworks for a Creative Clay Workshop! Thanks to the ASCs Culture Blocks Program, Clayworks will lead participants in a hand on clay workshop for all ages. Projects will be taken to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Wallace Pruitt Recreation Center
440 Wesley Heights Way
, NC
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Telephone: 980-314-1114
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A hike through our nature trails will allow participants to identify species of dinosaurs specific to the region that eventually became the Carolinas, along with indigenous plants and other...

Cost: Free

Where:
Reedy Creek Nature Preserve
2900 Rocky River Road
, NC
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Rowan Salisbury Schools and the Rowan Public Library invite readers to the Wallace Educational Forum for a fun-filled literacy event. Enjoy a local author presentation, a storyteller, snow-cones,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Wallace Educational Forum
500 North Main St.
Salisbury, NC  28144
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Sponsor: Rowan Salisbury Schools
Telephone: 704-630-6103
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Event features store-wide savings throughout the day. From 11am to 4pm, garden experts will give an overview of available services, show off their portfolios, as well as answer general...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pike Nurseries
12630 N. Community House Road
, NC
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Festival Latinoamericano, Charlotte’s signature cultural event, returns for its 28th year with internationally renowned musical acts and dance performances, a diverse authentic selection of...

Cost: Free until 2 p.m.

Where:
Symphony Park at South Park Mall
4400 Sharon Road
, NC
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Telephone: 704-458-8072
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Visit the Microsoft Store, and celebrate your love for all things blocky and brilliant with our official MINECON Earth Party! Come play and watch Minecraft, play trivia and enter a costume contest....

Cost: Free

Where:
Microsoft Store at SouthPark Mall
4400 Sharon Road, M11
Charlotte, NC  28211
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"Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" turns 20 years old this September! Come celebrate this incredible milestone of a modern classic.

Cost: Free

Where:
Harrisburg Library
201 Sims Pkwy.
Harrisburg, NC
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The contenders for the NASCAR XFINITY Series Championship will fight to the finish with Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series regulars in a Saturday-free-for-all at NASCAR’s home track.  Wear...

Cost: Tickets start at $25; children younger than 13 free

Where:
Charlotte Motor Speedway
5555 Concord Pkwy. S.
Concord, NC
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Come for a full afternoon of chili tastings, live music, beer and wine, local vendors, bungee trampolining and a kids' zone with inflatables.

Cost: $10; children 8 and younger free

Where:
Iredell County Fairgrounds
630 North Main St.
Troutman, NC
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Paint a faux pumpkin, and make it into a planter for succulents. All necessary materials are included. Learn painting techniques and how to plant and care for the plants. Ninety minutes of...

Cost: $26

Where:
7th Street Public Market
224 E. 7th St.
, NC
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Join Charlotte Knights Charities for the second annual Uptown Rundown 5K, presented by Professional Sports Catering at BB&T Ballpark! Registration includes access to the race after-party,...

Cost: See website for fee schedule

Where:
BB&T Ballpark
324 S. Mint St.
, NC
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In order to build the perfect campfire, you need fuel, heat, and little bit of science. Experiment around the campfire, and watch the chemical reaction when heat is applied to a marshmallow! ...

Cost: Free

Where:
Latta Plantation Nature Center
6211 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC  28078
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Telephone: 980-314-1129
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The market runs from June through September. Multiple vendors offer fresh produce, as well as a selection of homemade goods like salsa, butter, honey, bread, eggs, cheese, soaps, cookies, and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Liberty Park
225 E. Iredell Ave.
Mooresville, NC  28115
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Dino Safari:  A Prehistoric Adventure Travel back in time on a journey through the Mesozoic Era – the age of dinosaurs. See full-bodied models of incredible creatures that time...

Cost: $6-$7, children under age 3 admitted free. Includes museum admission.

Where:
The Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
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Telephone: 704-866-6923
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Toddler Time is a great shared experience for child and parent. Let your little ones to discover the joy of being active while bouncing under the supervision of their parents and without...

Cost: $8

Where:
Sky Zone
10200 Centrum Pkwy.
Pineville, NC
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Come enjoy fascinating photos, memorabilia, and stories during 12 months of rotating special displays at the Billy Graham Library as part of the celebration...

Cost: Free

Where:
Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
Charlotte, NC  28217
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Telephone: 704-401-3200
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Paddle the edges of McDowell Nature Preserve with our certified and experienced instructors while enjoying nature with your family. Tours are from 9:30-11:30am and 2-4pm. All equipment provided....

Cost: $15 single; $20 tandem

Where:
McDowell Nature Preserve
15222 York Road
, NC
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Telephone: 980-314-1128
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Family-friendly Halloween attractions for young children, including a costume parade, hay bale maze, foam zone, plus rides. 

Cost: Daily ticket prices start at $48

Where:
Carowinds
14523 Carowinds Blvd.
, NC
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Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Step back in time at the 25th Annual Rennaissance Festival in Huntersville! Enjoy entertainment, rides, shopping, food, and free parking at this rain-or-shine event.

Cost: Tickets start at $14, Children 5 and younger free

Where:
Carolina Renaissance Festival Fairgrounds
16445 Poplar Tent Road
Huntersville , NC  28078
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Telephone: 704-896-5555
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This parade of fashion explores the relationship between changes in the world and changes in clothing. The exhibit highlights some of the peaks of Kings Mountain fashion and showcases some hidden...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kings Mountain Historical Museum
100 East Mountain St.
Kings Mountain , NC  28086
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Telephone: 704-739-1019
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If you play an instrument, or just like to listen to live music, come out to the Visitors’ Center in downtown Statesville each Saturday morning. All levels of music ability and anyone who...

Cost: Free

Where:
Statesville Visitors Center
118 West Broad St.
Statesville, NC
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Guided trail rides are led by a member of the Greenway's equestrian staff and are available on Saturdays from September to May. Trail rides are open to riders ages 9 and older of all experience...

Cost: $45 for members; $50 for nonmembers

Where:
Anne Springs Close Greenway
1058 Horse Road
Fort Mill, SC
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This bar + arcade hybrid has over 20 pinball machines, 30 arcade games and other games rotating monthly. On Saturdays and Sundays from noon-5pm the bar opens up to all ages with a parent...

Where:
Abari Game Bar
1721 N. Davidson St
, NC
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Telephone: 980-430-4587
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Come out and learn to express yourself through the art of dance, painting, rapping, poetry, singing, and much more.

Cost: Free

Where:
Southview Recreation Center
1720 Vilma St.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-606-7084
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Music and Movement activities for ages one, two and three! All ages are welcome to attend, and infants receive free admission. Come jam to stories and songs!

Cost: $2 per child

Where:
UWI- Kidz Greenhouse Cafe
5237 Albemarle Road
Suites 211-213
, NC
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Sponsor: United World Initiative's
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The Carolina Fly Fishing Club will host this beginner series on fly fishing. The series will meet three Saturdays for three hours each time. Sept. 22: Learn the basics and how to tie a wooly...

Cost: $20-$25

Where:
The Museum of York County
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
Rock Hill, NC
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Explore books and stories in creative ways through interactive activities including math, science and games.

Cost: Free

Where:
ImaginOn: The Joe & Joan Martin Center
300 E. 7th St.
, NC
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Explore books and stories in creative ways through interactive activities including math, science and games.

Cost: Free

Where:
ImaginOn: The Joe & Joan Martin Center
300 E. 7th St.
, NC
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Enjoy food, beverages, and live music at this weekly summer concert series.  There are additional activities like yoga or organized runs on certain nights before the show starts.

Cost: Free; $6 parking fee

Where:
U.S. National Whitewater Center
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-391-3900
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Fear rises when darkness falls when Carowinds is transformed from a “theme park” into a “scream park” during the annual haunt of SCarowinds. Experience the thrills of your...

Cost: Cost of Carowinds admission

Where:
Carowinds
14523 Carowinds Blvd.
, NC
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Listen to music every Friday and Saturday throughout the summer at Stonecrest Shopping Center.

Cost: Free

Where:
Stonecrest Shopping Center
7900 Rea Road
, NC
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It’s safe, scary fun for the whole family! Kids will enjoy the Halloween shows and trick-or-treating. Take a chilling journey into the night on the Ghost Train- if you dare! Advance...

Cost: $38

Where:
Tweetsie Railroad
300 Tweetsie Railroad Ln.
Blowing Rock, NC  28605
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Sponsor: Tweetsie Railroad
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Enjoy movies under the stars and on the big screen on the last Saturday of the month (except July).  May 26: "Raiders of the Lost Ark" June 30: "Karate Kid" August 25:...

Cost: Free

Where:
Midwood Park Amphitheater
2100 Wilhelmina Ave.
, NC
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Get lost in the giant seven-acre corn maze featuring over two miles of interconnecting paths. Take a hayride, play cornhole and hike the trails. See website for times. 

Cost: $11+

Where:
Historic Rural Hill
4431 Neck Road
Huntersville, NC
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Telephone: 704-875-3113
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This exhibit tells the story of the coming of railroads after the Civil War and the impact they had on the life, economy, culture, folklore, music and landscape of the mountains. Using videos,...

Cost: $4-$12, includes museum admission

Where:
N.C. Transportation Museum
1 Samuel Spencer Dr.
Spencer, NC
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Telephone: 704-636-2889
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Creepy Nature is designed to share the actual science of weird and unusual plants and animals. This exhibit features horror fiction concepts like vampires, zombies, mummies, and alien...

Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

Where:
Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
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Telephone: 704-866-6908
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Enter the dazzling world of Disney magic, live on ice! From wheels to waves, icy wonderlands to infinity and beyond, your family's favorite Disney moments come to life at Disney On Ice presents...

Cost: Tickets start at $20

Where:
Spectrum Center
333 East Trade St.
, NC
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Day Out With Thomas Offers an opportunity for children and their families to take a 25-minute ride with Thomas the Tank Engine and to meet Sir Topham Hatt. Every event has a Thomas and Friends...

Cost: Tickets start at $20

Where:
N.C. Transportation Museum
411 South Salisbury Ave.
Spencer, NC
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Telephone: 704-636-2889
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Old Town Rock Hill will fire up its first KCBS sanctioned BBQ competition! The main streets of downtown will be lined with some of the best BBQ in the region, as well as entertainment, a car cruise...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fountain Park
300 E. Main St.
Rock Hill, SC
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Based on Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book, this full-length Tony Award-winning Broadway musical follows Matilda Wormwood, a  girl who immerses herself in books. Matilda uses...

Cost: $22+

Where:
McColl Family Theater
300 E. 7th St.
, NC
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Many factors must be weighed when exhibiting a work of art, from framing to installation to critical contextualization. This exhibition examines the different considerations that go into displaying...

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

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 South Tryon St.
, NC
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Hank Willis Thomas is a conceptual artist who lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. The exhibit investigates 20th century protests, reminding museum goers that societal tumult is part of a hard-fought...

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

Where:
The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Cultur
551 S. Tryon St.
, NC
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To further unite the nation, in 2018 For Freedoms launched a 50 State Initiative in which multiple organizations and events embodied an array of voices and sparked a national dialogue about art,...

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

Where:
The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Cultur
551 S. Tryon St.
, NC
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"Welcome to Brookhill" is a collection of images that, like poetry, stir emotion. The photographs reveal what this neighborhood, like every other neighborhood, has come to be to its...

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

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

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Hank Willis Thomas is a conceptual artist who lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. The exhibit investigates 20th century protests, reminding museum goers that societal tumult is part of a hard-fought...

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

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

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The Church and Crown collide when King Henry II names his reluctant friend Thomas Becket the Archbishop of Canterbury. Can their longstanding friendship withstand the clash of church versus state?...

Cost: $10+

Where:
Dale F. Halton Theater
1206 Elizabeth Ave.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-330-6534
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Try the pumpkin slingshot, and let children play in the giant corn box and the straw castle. Visit the  pumpkin patch, and for an additional cost, enjoy a horse drawn wagon ride through the...

Cost: $8-$11; children younger than 2 free

Where:
Lazy 5 Ranch
15100 Mooresville Road
Mooresville, NC
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Telephone: 704-663-5100
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The Carolina Farm Trust will present the Carolina Jubilee, a two-day music and food festival. Bands vary from blues and funk to Americana and folk. Near the heart of the festival grounds is the...

Cost: $10-$55, children younger than 15 free, parking extra

Where:
VanHoy Farms
742 Jericho Road
Harmony, NC
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Telephone: 704-264-6088
Website »

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The NASCAR Cup Series is coming to the Charlotte Motor Speedway, and NBC Sports and North Shore Animal League America teamed up to host the NASCAR on NBC “Pup” Series at SouthPark...

Cost: Free

Where:
Southpark Mall
4400 Sharon Road
, NC
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Sponsor: North Shore Animal League and NBC

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Annual Guides

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

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

Education Guide

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