A Clean Slate for the New School Year

Get started on the right foot to create lasting family habits


Published:

As summer fades and displays of school supplies begin popping up in stores across the city, many parents ponder how they want the school year to unfold for their family. Whether it’s to maximize family time, help a child develop new study habits or foster more independence, we have expert tips on how to set and accomplish new goals.

 

The start of a new school year is an opportunity to reset routines and put practices in place that can become habits as the school year progresses. When thinking about the best ways to organize your family life for the upcoming school year, organization, routines, homework and balancing extracurricular activities are the most cited trouble spots. Take this time at the start of the school to design new routines to help you and your children achieve goals that fit within your family life. 

 

Organize First

Chief among parents concerns is helping children to be more organized. After diligently purchasing, preparing and packing school supplies, many parents are distraught to find that just a few weeks into the school year pencils are already missing, notebooks are disorganized and assignments that were due yesterday are somehow still stuffed in the bottom of their child’s backpack.

“Parents often express that they are tired of nagging and would like support with taking a step back while also ensuring that their child will independently engage in healthy habits,” says Lisa Podell, an executive functioning coach and founder of Better Sessions, a company that empowers people to work, learn and live better through one-on-one support. “Although offering daily reminders can provide an immediate solution, it may lead to a perpetual cycle where your child relies on that parental support for accomplishing daily tasks. I encourage parents to integrate the skills required to be successful at school, such as time management and planning, into their home routine so that kids are exercising these muscles on a daily basis.”

The ability to manage time in class or at home without being rushed, and thinking ahead to know what they need tomorrow or in their next class, can be a challenge for kids. Help foster these skills by practicing at home.

“Set deadlines for simple tasks like finishing dinner or getting ready for bed so your kids have an opportunity to practice time management,” Podell says. “Provide responsibilities that enable your child to practice breaking down tasks into smaller, more manageable steps, and have them mark important dates and events on their own calendar so they begin to see a picture of their week and month ahead.”

Children also need to recognize that organization is a habit that requires effort each day. Bea Moise, parenting coach and founder of the company A Child Like Mine, recommends parents create designated spaces for school items to land each day to help teach organization.

“When things pile up kids can become overwhelmed and shut down,” Moise says, “but by helping them organize their things each day, and by ensuring that everything has its place, you can help them stay on top of their things and be organized and prepared for school.” 

 

Evening Wind Down

In addition to helping children become more independent, many parents have a desire to re-work morning and evening routines that often are off track early in the school year. Want to have a better morning routine? First look at your evening routine, advises Moise.

“The most important routine for parents to establish at the beginning of the school year is an evening routine that includes effective preparation for the next morning,” she says. “A good evening routine is important because, not only does it allow for intentional time for connection between parent and child, it also helps set the tone for the next morning.”

As you craft your evening routine, think about everything that you and your child needs to do to get out the door in the morning, then prepare as much as possible in the evening. Pack backpacks and hang them by the door, lay out the next day’s clothes and consider doing some prep work for breakfast. And, of course, consider bedtime.

“The morning is not going to go smoothly if your child wakes up tired and cranky” Moise says. Prioritize an early bedtime to ensure morning success. 

 

The Morning Checklist

When it comes to morning routine, parents and children need to plan ahead. For kids, Podell recommends a wake-up time that realistically matches your child’s morning pace.

“Kids routinely underestimate how long each morning task will take. Consider timing how long each step takes before the start of the school year and then work backwards to establish a realistic and achievable wake-up time,” she says.

Save yourself time and foster independence by delegating a new task to your child. Start with what you know your child can do on his own like getting dressed or remembering to brush his teeth, then work toward a new goal.

Set up a homework space before school starts and have  your child do a quiet activity like drawing to help them prepare for sustained periods of time focusing at school.

“Select one task that you were in charge of last year and delegate that responsibility to the child for the new school year, such as setting the alarm the night before or packing lunch,” Podell says.

For kids that need a little more support, Moise recommends sitting down before the start of the school year and brainstorming a morning checklist.

“The checklist can include everything that needs to happen in the morning and, often, just having a visual list of these things helps the child move through their routine more independently,” she says.

Give yourself (and your children) a more relaxed start by getting up before they do.

“When you’re already awake and ready, your children are waking up to a structured environment rather than one in which everyone is trying to get ready at the same time,” Moise says.

 

After-School Attitude 

While evening routines set the tone for the next day, and morning routines set the tone for the day, afternoon routines are where many families find challenges. With after-school activities, multiple pickups, and hungry, tired kids, getting children to sit down and do their homework or study can be a real challenge. 

Whether you believe in the value of homework or wish your kids didn’t have to complete any work at home, the reality is that most families attend schools where homework is regularly assigned. When working to establish a homework routine that works for the whole family, think through your priorities before jumping in. 

While good grades are important, a child’s love of learning is what most parents ultimately want. With that in mind, work to create a routine that celebrates learning rather than one that encourages your kids to rush through homework with only their grades in mind.

“Parents should work hard not to bring their own stress to homework time,” Moise says, “Center homework time around positive things associated with acquiring new skills and information, and really work hard to celebrate their hard work and learning.”

Allow kids some downtime when they arrive home from school before asking them to jump into homework. Consider offering them a snack or some outdoor time before breaking out their bookbags. Also have a designated homework spot that’s free of distracting noise and clutter so that kids can focus as they complete their work.

When it comes time to sit down to do homework, have them make a list of what they need to complete and check it off as they finish. Doing this can help homework feel less overwhelming and help kids practice their time-management skills.

In order to help students stay organized, include homework station cleanup in their typical homework routine. Have kids pack their backpacks and place them where they’ll need to grab them on the way out the door in the morning, and tidy their homework spot so it’s clutter-free for their next afternoon. 

 

In the Zone

In addition to creating a good homework routine and a clean, organized homework area, recognize that focus is a skill that kids need practice to develop. Sustained focus can be difficult for kids when they are first transitioning back to school, Podell says. To help kids practice the sort of focus needed to sit down and get homework done, complete a project or prepare for a test, start by intentionally integrating focus practice into their lives before the start of the school year. Set up a homework space before school starts and have your child practice a quiet activity there for a few minutes each day.

“The activity doesn’t have to be school related, your child can increase their focus by simply sitting quietly and reading a comic book, putting together a puzzle or drawing” Podell says, “The key is to start in small increments so that by the time school begins, they are mentally and physically prepared to sit for sustained periods of time.”

 

Extracurriculars Matter

When parents are asked to describe the school year in one word, many choose busy. With work, homework, sports and extracurricular activities, many families find it difficult to come together, even for dinner, at all during the week. Avoid the sort of busyness that takes away from family life by considering how any new sport or activity may impact your family’s priorities, and consider how many activities are too many for your family.

“At a certain point, you have to say enough is enough and help your child prioritize their activities,” Moise says. When overscheduled, you may find everyone in the family is stressed and unable to enjoy the little moments. Reduce this stress by identifying how many activities or sports your family can reasonably handle, and be diligent about saying “no” or “next season” to any that cross that boundary. 

 

Settling In 

Good habits take time to establish. While it’s important to evaluate routines to make sure they’re working. Moise recommends giving new practices at least a few weeks before making any changes.

“It takes time to build routines and doing so can feel really hard at first,” she says. 

Another key thing to keep in mind among the busyness of the new school year: “Remember to really, really enjoy these moments. You can’t get the days back as your kids grow and these times are really special.”

 

Julia Pelly lives in east Charlotte with her husband and two young children. You can find more of her work at juliapelly.com. 

 

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October 2019

Families with children in grades kindergarten through five are invited for pancakes and bingo. Register by Oct. 5.

Cost: Free

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Levine Jewish Community Center
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Sponsor: Kings Mountain Historical Museum
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Triple C Brewing Co.
2900 Griffith St.
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Veteran's Park
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Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
6500 S. New Hope Road
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Cost: $30

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Historic Latta Plantation
5225 Sample Road
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SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
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Anne Springs Close Greenway
2573 Lake Haigler Drive
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Telephone: 803-547-4575
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5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.
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Sponsor: U.S. National Whitewater Center
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SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
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Abari Game Bar
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Telephone: 980-430-4587
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Main Street
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Carolina Raptor Center
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Carolina Raptor Center
6000 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
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Sponsor: Carolina Raptor Center
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Matthews United Methodist Church
801 S. Trade St.
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2730 Randolph Road
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5650 Sandusky Blvd.
Concord, NC  28027
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400 East Martin Luther King Blvd
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McColl Family Theatre
300 E. 7th St.
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Telephone: 704-973-2828
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Cost: $7.50-$15

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Hadley Theater
2132 Radcliffe Ave.
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Cost: $20

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Duke Energy Theater at Spirit Square
345 N. College St.
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Telephone: 704-372-1000
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Cost: $5-$10, children 4 and younger free

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Route 29 Pavilion
5650 Sandusky Blvd.
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Cost: $7, children younger than 10 free

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Belk Theater
130 N. Tryon St.
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Cost: $7-$35

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NarroWay Theatre
3327 Hwy. 51 N.
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Mint Museum Uptown
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Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture
551 S. Tryon St.
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Where:
3718 Plyler Mill Road
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Cost: $12-$14

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Matthews Community Center
100 McDowell St.
Matthews, NC
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Sponsor: Matthews Playhouse of the Performing Arts
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Cost: $7-$12, children younger than 2 free

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Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
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Cost: $7-$10, one free adult per child

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Rescue Ranch
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Sponsor: Rescue Ranch
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Cost: Free

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Kings Mountain Historical Museum
100 E. Mountain St.
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View map »


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Cost: $11 for one hour

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DefyGravity Trampoline Park
8116 University City Blvd.
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6000 Conference Drive
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Cost: Free

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The Billy Graham Library
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Altitude Trampoline Park
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Cost: $6, $8 on school holidays

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Suite C
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Cost: $5, cash only

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1080 Maxwell Mill Road
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Telephone: 803-548-3441
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Cost: Free

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12509 Idlewild Road
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Sponsor: La Leche League of North Carolina
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Lancaster, SC
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Wallace Pruitt Recreation Center
440 Wesley Heights Way
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Cost: Free

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Plaza Midwood Library
1623 Central Ave
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Telephone: 704-416-6200
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Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

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


Website »

More information

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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

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 farm to...

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

Where:
Lazy 5 Ranch
15100 Mooresville Road
Mooresville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Veteran's Park
8850 Fairview Road
Mint Hill, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

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In celebration of the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage, this exhibit will look at the lives of Kings Mountain women in the past and present to explore the differences the women have made...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Kings Mountain Historical Museum
Website »

More information

Engage your preschooler with books, activities, stories and songs that encourage language and reading skill development in order to help them grow into successful readers. To celebrate STEAM Month,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Myers Park Library
1361 Queens Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Come discuss "The BFG" by Roald Dahl. New members welcome.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Discover the truth behind urban legends over spooky sweets and creepy games. Register online.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Toddlers can enjoy a special jump session every weekday morning. With each child age 6 and younger, an adult may jump for free, not including DefyGravity socks for $3.

Cost: $11 for one hour

Where:
DefyGravity Trampoline Park
8116 University City Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This weekly story time includes classic tales and new favorites.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

From the earliest days of Billy Graham’s ministry, he had a special place in his heart for teens and young adults. Come see the new special display, and discover how God used Graham to reach...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Come paint pottery with your toddler for just $3/hour.

Cost: $3 per hour

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $8

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $7

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


Website »

More information

Enjoy two stories and and two craft activities. After the program, romp and play in the SEED Wildlife Garden and Children's Garden, or stroll the historic Wing Haven Garden and Bird Sanctuary.

Cost: $10 per family, free for members

Where:
Wing Haven Gardens
260 Ridgewood Ave.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

Cost: $6, $8 on school holidays

Where:
Superior Play Systems
11415 Granite St.
Suite C
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy spooky fun at SEA LIFE Aquarium with activities that are included in aquarium admission. Tues.,12:30pm: SEA Monster Mash Dance Party Sat., 11:15am and 2:30pm: Underwater Pumpkin...

Cost: $13-$22, children 2 and younger free

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


Sponsor: SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
Website »

More information

Toddlers identify words through interactive games and letter recognition.

Cost: Free

Where:
Tuckaseegee Recreation Center
4820 Tuckaseegee Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

With parental guidance, toddlers can jump on the trampoline, play in the foam pit and craw through obstacles. Play time is for children just starting to walk through age 5 who are not yet in...

Cost: $3-$5

Where:
Charlotte Allstar Gymnastics and Cheerleading
11011 Monroe Road
Matthews, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-246-8611
Website »

More information

Watch a King Vulture play on a playground in the Vulture Culture exhibit.

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

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


Sponsor: Carolina Raptor Center
Website »

More information

Come for for hands-on STEAM activities in support of Charlotte Mecklenburg Library’s STEAM Month.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $15

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


Sponsor: Tiny Blooms Yoga
Website »

More information

The museum will play the planetarium show "Spooky Space" every Tuesday through Saturday. "Spooky Space" explores the black holes, zombie stars and spectacular ghostly nebulae...

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

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


Website »

More information

Play basketball in a structured environment.

Cost: Free

Where:
Arbor Glen Outreach Center
1520 Clanton Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Come discuss an assigned book. New members welcome. Register online.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Play interactive games geared towards social development involving physical activities.

Cost: Free

Where:
Arbor Glen Outreach Center
1520 Clanton Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6908
Website »

More information

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 farm to...

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

Where:
Lazy 5 Ranch
15100 Mooresville Road
Mooresville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

Get one free child ticket with the purchase of an adult ticket on Tuesdays. Each additional child ages 3-12 will cost $5.

Cost: $15 for adult

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


Website »

More information

The title, "Coined in the South," refers not only to The Mint Museum’s origins as the first branch of the United States Mint, but also to the acts of inventing and devising....

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


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage, this exhibit will look at the lives of Kings Mountain women in the past and present to explore the differences the women have made...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Kings Mountain Historical Museum
Website »

More information

Enjoy games, sports, arts and crafts, and adventures to the playground and gym!

Cost: $15

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


Website »

More information

Search for wildlife in fields, forests and streams to learn how each species makes its home in the nature preserve.

Cost: $4

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


Sponsor: Latta Nature Center
Website »

More information

Explore the plants that make the nature preserve a beautiful and important habitat.

Cost: $4

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


Sponsor: Latta Nature Center
Website »

More information

Snap photos, draw pictures, take notes, and flex your inner scientist while creating a living record of the park as it changes throughout the year.

Cost: $4

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


Sponsor: Latta Nature Center
Website »

More information

Come discuss "Henri's scissors" by Jeanette Winter. New members welcome.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Britax will offer free Car Seat 101 Sessions for expecting parents at its Americas Headquarters in Fort Mill. Session will feature Nationally Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians working...

Cost: Free

Where:
Britax Child Safety, Inc.
4140 Pleasant Road
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Sponsor: Britax Child Safety
Website »

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


Website »

More information

A technician will help you learn how to install your seat correctly in your vehicle. Bring your child, seat, and vehicle and plan to spend at least 20 minutes. No appointment required.  

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Toddlers can enjoy a special jump session every weekday morning. With each child age 6 and younger, an adult may jump for free, not including DefyGravity socks for $3.

Cost: $11 for one hour

Where:
DefyGravity Trampoline Park
8116 University City Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

From the earliest days of Billy Graham’s ministry, he had a special place in his heart for teens and young adults. Come see the new special display, and discover how God used Graham to reach...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $7

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $8

Where:
BounceU Charlotte
10624 Metromont Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

Cost: $6, $8 on school holidays

Where:
Superior Play Systems
11415 Granite St.
Suite C
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

With parental guidance, toddlers can jump on the trampoline, play in the foam pit and craw through obstacles. Play time is for children just starting to walk through age 5 who are not yet in...

Cost: $3-$5

Where:
Charlotte Allstar Gymnastics and Cheerleading
11011 Monroe Road
Matthews, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-246-8611
Website »

More information

Enjoy stories, movement with music and a seasonal craft..

Cost: $5-$8, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

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


Website »

More information

Little ones are invited to jump, roll and play in the Carolina Flipz gym!

Cost: $5

Where:
Carolina Flipz
11812 Carolina Place Pkwy.
Suite B
Pineville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Homeschool students receive discounted admission at Jumpin Jax Fun Center of Lancaster.

Cost: $8

Where:
Jumpin Jax of Lancaster
2650 Charlotte Hwy.
Lancaster, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Come join story time with other families. 

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Bring your seat , child and vehicle, and plan to spend at least 20 minutes with a technician. No appointment is necessary.

Cost: Free

Where:
Cornelius Fire Station
19729 S. Main St.
Cornelius, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The museum will play the planetarium show "Spooky Space" every Tuesday through Saturday. "Spooky Space" explores the black holes, zombie stars and spectacular ghostly nebulae...

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

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


Website »

More information

Explore the Mint Museum's exhibitions.

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

Learn different basketball drills, basketball workouts, strength and conditioning and mentoring. Registration is required.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6908
Website »

More information

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 farm to...

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

Where:
Lazy 5 Ranch
15100 Mooresville Road
Mooresville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

Never Abandon Imagination showcases nearly 100 original works, featuring illustrations from "Dungeons and Dragons, Magic: The Gathering," and Tony DiTerlizzi’s many fantasy and...

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free, included with admission

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


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

From the safety of their suburban stretch circle, the girls soccer team navigates big questions and wages tiny battles with all the vim and vigor of a pack of adolescent warriors. See website for...

Cost: $7.50-$15

Where:
Hadley Theater
2132 Radcliffe Ave.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Studio Drift, founded by Dutch artists Ralph Nauta and Lonneke Gordijn, creates breathtaking sculptures that explore the relationship between humanity, nature and technology

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free, included with admission

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


Website »

More information

The title, "Coined in the South," refers not only to The Mint Museum’s origins as the first branch of the United States Mint, but also to the acts of inventing and devising....

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


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage, this exhibit will look at the lives of Kings Mountain women in the past and present to explore the differences the women have made...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Kings Mountain Historical Museum
Website »

More information

At Tinkergarten, families meet outdoors to connect and learn through play. In this free trial class, children of various ages and needs will explore, solve problems, communicate, collaborate and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Colonel Francis Beatty Park
4330 Weddington Road
Matthews, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Tinkergarten
Website »

More information

Come for a Halloween party complete with snacks, crafts and a movie. Don't forget to wear your costume! Register online. Parent attendance is required.

Cost: Free

Where:
Cornelius Arts Center
19725 Oak St.
Cornelius, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Engage your child with stories, songs and activities in English and Spanish.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

See a puppet show with songs and activities that support early literacy and foster a love of books.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

“Hoo” wants to learn about owls? Learn about these amazing birds through stories, video and games, then make a 3D owl picture complete with feathers!

Cost: Free

Where:
Concord Public Library
27 Union St.
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Learn how to texturize and manipulate clay to create art. Registration is required.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

The hilarious Peabody Award-winning hit TV comedy is coming to Charlotte. A self-conscious teen becomes a martial arts master under the tutelage of Bruce Lee's ghost.

Cost: $25+

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


Website »

More information

The Pennzoil AutoFair presented by Advance Auto Parts will feature more than 10,000 automotive vendor displays. In addition, kids can enjoy a play zone and eat fair food.

Cost: $13; children 13 and younger free with a paying adult

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


Website »

More information

Toddlers can enjoy a special jump session every weekday morning. With each child age 6 and younger, an adult may jump for free, not including DefyGravity socks for $3.

Cost: $11 for one hour

Where:
DefyGravity Trampoline Park
8116 University City Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Toddlers will participate in a fun, kid friendly workout.

Cost: Free

Where:
Tuckaseegee Recreation Center
4820 Tuckaseegee Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Children express themselves creatively through art.

Cost: Free

Where:
Tuckaseegee Recreation Center
4820 Tuckaseegee Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

From the earliest days of Billy Graham’s ministry, he had a special place in his heart for teens and young adults. Come see the new special display, and discover how God used Graham to reach...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $8

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $7

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $8

Where:
BounceU Charlotte
10624 Metromont Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

Cost: $6, $8 on school holidays

Where:
Superior Play Systems
11415 Granite St.
Suite C
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

With parental guidance, toddlers can jump on the trampoline, play in the foam pit and craw through obstacles. Play time is for children just starting to walk through age 5 who are not yet in...

Cost: $3-$5

Where:
Charlotte Allstar Gymnastics and Cheerleading
11011 Monroe Road
Matthews, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-246-8611
Website »

More information

Toddlers will participate in a fun, kid friendly workout.

Cost: Free

Where:
Tuckaseegee Recreation Center
4820 Tuckaseegee Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Little ones are invited to jump, roll and play in the Carolina Flipz gym!

Cost: $5

Where:
Carolina Flipz
11812 Carolina Place Pkwy.
Suite B
Pineville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The museum will play the planetarium show "Spooky Space" every Tuesday through Saturday. "Spooky Space" explores the black holes, zombie stars and spectacular ghostly nebulae...

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

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


Website »

More information

Get your creative juices flowing as you create art.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Wind down after a busy day with bedtime stories and soothing songs. Come in your jammies, and bring your favorite stuffed animal.

Cost: Free

Where:
Kannapolis Library
850 Mountain St.
Kannapolis, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Bring awareness to the mind, body and breath through yoga poses. All are welcome, from beginners to seasoned yogis!

Cost: $5 per person (free for members); $5 per car for parking

Where:
Anne Springs Close Greenway
291 Dairy Barn Ln.
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6908
Website »

More information

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 farm to...

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

Where:
Lazy 5 Ranch
15100 Mooresville Road
Mooresville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

Never Abandon Imagination showcases nearly 100 original works, featuring illustrations from "Dungeons and Dragons, Magic: The Gathering," and Tony DiTerlizzi’s many fantasy and...

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free, included with admission

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


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

From the safety of their suburban stretch circle, the girls soccer team navigates big questions and wages tiny battles with all the vim and vigor of a pack of adolescent warriors. See website for...

Cost: $7.50-$15

Where:
Hadley Theater
2132 Radcliffe Ave.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Studio Drift, founded by Dutch artists Ralph Nauta and Lonneke Gordijn, creates breathtaking sculptures that explore the relationship between humanity, nature and technology

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free, included with admission

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


Website »

More information

The title, "Coined in the South," refers not only to The Mint Museum’s origins as the first branch of the United States Mint, but also to the acts of inventing and devising....

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


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Queen City Tattoo and Arts Festival will feature live tattooing, contests, more than 250 artists, vendors, live music, face painting, 3-D pumpkin carving, magic acts, balloon animals, ...

Cost: $20-$45

Where:
Charlotte Convention Center
501 S. College St.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: United Ink Productions
Website »

More information

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage, this exhibit will look at the lives of Kings Mountain women in the past and present to explore the differences the women have made...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Kings Mountain Historical Museum
Website »

More information

Preschoolers participate in pumpkin science.

Cost: Free

Where:
Mooresville Public Library
304 S. Main St.
Mooresville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Homeschoolers are invited to a day of fun and science at Carolina Raptor Center. Students can enjoy a presentation, walk the Raptor Trail, trivia scavenger hunt and a raptor craft. The science...

Cost: $8-$12, $2 off for teachers and students

Where:
Carolina Raptor Center
6000 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
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Sponsor: Carolina Raptor Center
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Get your hands dirty while learning about nature and creating nature-inspired crafts.

Cost: $4

Where:
Latta Nature Center
6211 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
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Sponsor: Latta Nature Center
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Enjoy a free comedy show, bounce house, face painting and yard games! Food, beer and wine will be available to purchase.

Cost: Free

Where:
Crossing Paths Park
120 Blythe Drive
Indian Trail, NC
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Enjoy the show's interactive magic and jaw-dropping illusions that will have you rubbing your eyes in disbelief. See objects float in mid-air, vanish in the blink of an eye and more!

Cost: $18+

Where:
Knight Theater
550 S. Tryon St.
, NC
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Sponsor: MOBB Productions, Inc.
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Drop off kids for games, relays, a craft and dinner. Participants must be potty trained.

Cost: $40

Where:
My Gym Ballantyne
9852 Rea Road
Suite A2
, NC
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There will be treats and games. End the evening with a free showing of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince on the 28-foot outdoor movie screen! Guests can reserve a firepit for $25.

Cost: Free

Where:
Hunter House and Gardens
412 S. Old Statesville Road
Huntersville, NC
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The Pennzoil AutoFair presented by Advance Auto Parts will feature more than 10,000 automotive vendor displays. In addition, kids can enjoy a play zone and eat fair food.

Cost: $13; children 13 and younger free with a paying adult

Where:
Charlotte Motor Speedway
5555 Concord Pkwy. South
Concord, NC
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Explore the nature preserve alongside a naturalist. Be prepared to hike 2-3 miles. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Cost: Free

Where:
Latta Nature Center
6211 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
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Sponsor: Latta Nature Center
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Toddlers can enjoy a special jump session every weekday morning. With each child age 6 and younger, an adult may jump for free, not including DefyGravity socks for $3.

Cost: $11 for one hour

Where:
DefyGravity Trampoline Park
8116 University City Blvd.
, NC
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From the earliest days of Billy Graham’s ministry, he had a special place in his heart for teens and young adults. Come see the new special display, and discover how God used Graham to reach...

Cost: Free

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


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

Cost: $7

Where:
Altitude Trampoline Park
3490 E. Franklin Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
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Preschoolers can bounce with their parents in a safe, climate-controlled facility. 

Cost: $8

Where:
BounceU Charlotte
10624 Metromont Pkwy.
, NC
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Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

Cost: $6, $8 on school holidays

Where:
Superior Play Systems
11415 Granite St.
Suite C
, NC
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Young children can jump with other little ones. Parents and caregivers jump free! W8less socks required.

Cost: $10 per hour

Where:
W8Less LKN
10442-A Bailey Road
Cornelius, NC
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With parental guidance, toddlers can jump on the trampoline, play in the foam pit and craw through obstacles. Play time is for children just starting to walk through age 5 who are not yet in...

Cost: $3-$5

Where:
Charlotte Allstar Gymnastics and Cheerleading
11011 Monroe Road
Matthews, NC
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Telephone: 704-246-8611
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Visit a Lancaster County librarian at Jumpin Jax Fun Center of Lancaster for movement and yoga through stories. Regular admission is applied for children who want to stay to play following the...

Cost: Free story time

Where:
Jumpin Jax of Lancaster
2650 Charlotte Hwy.
Lancaster, SC
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The museum will play the planetarium show "Spooky Space" every Tuesday through Saturday. "Spooky Space" explores the black holes, zombie stars and spectacular ghostly nebulae...

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

Where:
Museum of York County
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
Rock Hill, SC
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Play basketball in a structured environment.

Cost: Free

Where:
Arbor Glen Outreach Center
1520 Clanton Road
, NC
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Starting in May and running through October, come out to Camp North End in the Boileryard on Friday nights for food and music. Children and leashed pets welcome!

Cost: Free

Where:
Boileryard at Camp North End
1824 Statesville Ave.
, NC
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Enjoy the relaxed sounds of local artists on the Gateway lawn. The Gateway Canteen will be open and offering a full menu as well as dinner specials. No outside food or alcohol allowed.

Cost: $5 for parking

Where:
Greenway Gateway
2573 Lake Haigler Drive
, NC
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Enjoy food, music and laid-back environment. Children and pets on a leash welcome.

Cost: Free.

Where:
Camp Northend
1824 Statesville Ave.
Charlotte, NC
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Food Truck Friday at Fountain Park in Old Town Rock Hill will feature food trucks, local restaurants, local beers, wine, children's activities and live music.

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Fountain Park, Old Town Rock Hill
300 E. Main St.
Rock Hill, SC
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Register online for a night of gaming!

Cost: $35

Where:
Commandpost Gaming
8700 Pineville-Matthews Road
Pineville, NC
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Sponsor: Commandpost Gaming
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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: $48+

Where:
Carowinds
14523 Carowinds Blvd.
, NC
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It's safe, scary fun for the whole family! Kids will enjoy the Halloween shows and trick-or-treating. And take a chilling journey into the night on the Ghost train. Advance tickets are required.

Cost: $38-$44 for adults, ages 2 and younger free

Where:
Tweetsie Railroad
300 Tweetsie Railroad Lane
Blowing Rock, NC
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Stravinsky's "Firebird" follows the spellbinding story of a prince and princesses caught in a struggle with an ogre, and the fantastic Firebird who saves them.

Cost: $28+

Where:
Belk Theater
130 N. Tryon St.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-972-2000
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Dive into these crustacean's habitats, learn crazy crabby facts, and face off with Crabzilla, the Japanese Spider Crab whose legs can span up to 15 feet.

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

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

Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

Where:
Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
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Telephone: 704-866-6908
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Come enjoy food, music, rides, arts, crafts and a chili cook off. Stop by the family stage on Saturday for kid-friendly performances.

Cost: Free, additional cost for rides

Where:
Lake Park
1000 Johnston Drive
Pineville, NC
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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 farm to...

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

Where:
Lazy 5 Ranch
15100 Mooresville Road
Mooresville, NC
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tapestries and rugs designed by artists usually associated with painting, sculpture, and architecture. Examples of the more familiar media will be installed alongside the textiles. The Bechtler...

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

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 South Tryon St.
, NC
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Never Abandon Imagination showcases nearly 100 original works, featuring illustrations from "Dungeons and Dragons, Magic: The Gathering," and Tony DiTerlizzi’s many fantasy and...

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
, NC
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Telephone: 704-337-2000
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Richard Childress Racing and the NASCAR Hall of Fame will launch an exhibit to honor the 50th anniversary of Richard Childress Racing using artifacts, race cars, images and audio/video displays.

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

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame
400 East Martin Luther King Blvd
, NC
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Kids can get creative in Block Party, the new interactive building exhibit for children.

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

Where:
The Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
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Fly to new heights in the Tony Award-winning musical that never gets old. Join Peter as he whisks the Darling children off to Neverland in a story filled with magic, delight and adventure. Show...

Cost: $15+

Where:
McColl Family Theatre
300 E. 7th St.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-973-2828
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From the safety of their suburban stretch circle, the girls soccer team navigates big questions and wages tiny battles with all the vim and vigor of a pack of adolescent warriors. See website for...

Cost: $7.50-$15

Where:
Hadley Theater
2132 Radcliffe Ave.
, NC
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This new play by Tony Wright features a mysterious countess from Eastern Europe who moves outside London in the 1920s. The story parallels the undead themes of the classic ballet,...

Cost: $20

Where:
Duke Energy Theater at Spirit Square
345 N. College St.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-372-1000
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Bring your cameras, lawn chairs, and blankets to experience a family-friendly festival featuring more than 50 hot air balloons, live music, food, wine and craft beer, kids' zone, and artisan...

Cost: $10-$35; children 12 and under free

Where:
Statesville Regional Airport
260 Hangar Drive
Statesville, NC
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Come to NarroWay Productions for dinner and a show! With aerial artists, blacklight effects and sword-wielding angels and demons, this show is a physical representation of what happened spiritually...

Cost: $7-$35

Where:
NarroWay Theatre
3327 Hwy. 51 N.
Fort Mill, SC
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Sponsor: NarroWay Productions
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Studio Drift, founded by Dutch artists Ralph Nauta and Lonneke Gordijn, creates breathtaking sculptures that explore the relationship between humanity, nature and technology

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
, NC
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Corn maze, hayrides, pumpkin bowling, kids play area, gem mining, corn hole, horseshoes, animal barn and more. September hours: Fri., 6-10pm; Sat., 11am-10pm; Sun., 1-6pm. October...

Cost: $8-$13, plus extra fees for certain activities, children 3 and younger free

Where:
3718 Plyler Mill Road
Monroe, NC


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The title, "Coined in the South," refers not only to The Mint Museum’s origins as the first branch of the United States Mint, but also to the acts of inventing and devising....

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
, NC
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The Queen City Tattoo and Arts Festival will feature live tattooing, contests, more than 250 artists, vendors, live music, face painting, 3-D pumpkin carving, magic acts, balloon animals, ...

Cost: $20-$45

Where:
Charlotte Convention Center
501 S. College St.
, NC
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Sponsor: United Ink Productions
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Festival attracts more than 60,000 visitors each year to enjoy crafts, food, entertainment, kids’ attractions and plenty of apples.

Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Lincoln
115 W. Main St.
Lincolnton, NC
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Happy Howl-i-days! Receive a 15-minute, holiday-themed pet portrait session in exchange for a donation of $25 or an in-kind donation of items on HSC’s Amazon Wish List. 100% of the...

Cost: $25

Where:
Reflections by Rhiannon Portrait Boutique
9741 Southern Pine Blvd.
Suite J
, NC
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Gaston Outside has teamed up with TechWorks Gaston and Code.org to present two interactive coding sessions. Children can pick their favorite songs and create a program to make characters dance...

Cost: Free

Where:
TechWorks Gaston
52A Ervin St.
Suite 203
Belmont, NC
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Sponsor: Gaston Outside, TechWorks Gaston
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In this special story time, come share donuts and stories with your dad, grandpa, uncle or caregiver.

Cost: Free

Where:
ImaginOn: The Joe & Joan Martin Center
300 E. 7th St.
, NC
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Bring gift-filled shoe boxes for children in need to the Billy Graham Library for a day of fellowship, music, food, giveaways and more to benefit Operation Christmas Child. For information on...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
, NC
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Celebrate fall by harvesting seasonal vegetables, preparing the beds for a winter crop, creating seasonal crafts an exploring the garden for creepy crawlies. Festive refreshments will be...

Cost: $15-$20

Where:
Wing Haven Gardens
260 Ridgewood Ave.
, NC
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Don't miss the Apple Harvest Festival at Windy Hill Orchard. See the livestock and enjoy a hayride. Shop for goods at the farm stand, and try some of the delicious apple cider.

Cost: $10-$12

Where:
Windy Hill Orchard and Cider Mill
1860 Black Hwy.
York, SC
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In celebration of the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage, this exhibit will look at the lives of Kings Mountain women in the past and present to explore the differences the women have made...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kings Mountain Historical Museum
100 E. Mountain St.
Kings Mountain, NC
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Sponsor: Kings Mountain Historical Museum
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Bring your bikes for a morning of fun learning to ride your bike without training wheels. Toss off the training wheels, learn to glide and balance, peddle, pump and ride.

Cost: Free

Where:
Clanton Park
1520 Clanton Road
, NC
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Period dressed interpreters will lead a living history event that centers on farm-related fall activities. Fun fall activities will include bobbing for apples, corn pit and relay races. Hear...

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

Where:
Historic Brattonsville
144 Brattonsville Road
McConnells, SC
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From face-painting, stilt-walkers, book talks, poetry slam and food, there is something for everyone! RSVP online.

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Downtown York
27 North Congress St.
York, SC  29745
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Sponsor: York Economic Development Council
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Experience and savor Turkish food and coffee, performances and cultural demonstrations.

Cost: $5

Where:
Oasis Shriners
604 Doug Mayes Pl.
, NC
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Sometimes radar can detect more than weather. Discover the strangest things found on radar.

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

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
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Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month by learning dance moves and some basic Spanish.

Cost: Free

Where:
Ferguson Branch Library
913 N. Pryor St.
Gastonia, NC
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Dress your pet for a costume parade around the outside of the Library.  Bring a can of dog or cat food to donate.

Cost: Free

Where:
Mooresville Public Library
304 S. Main St.
Mooresville, NC
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Engage your child with stories, songs and activities in English, Mandarin Chinese and Spanish.

Cost: Free

Where:
Myers Park Library
1361 Queens Road
, NC
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Opera Xpress presents a musical story designed for students grades K-5. This version of "The Ugly Duckling" goes a bit further than the classic tale. The duckling, more awkward than ugly,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Caldwell Presbyterian Church
1609 East 5th St.
, NC
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Explore stories in creative ways with a building theme.

Cost: Free

Where:
University City Regional Library
301 East W.T. Harris Blvd.
, NC
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Learn how to make a unique project out of clay. Projects will be taken back to Clayworks to be fired and glazed before being returned to Grier Heights Community Center for pickup.

Cost: Free

Where:
Greer Heights Community Center
3100 Leroy St.
, NC
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Taste some of the best grilled cheeses in town with unlimited grilled cheese samples. Festival also features live music, games, beer, bloody marys and mimosas, vendors and free samples of...

Cost: $20-$45

Where:
Southend Station
1441 S Tryon Street
Charlotte, NC  28203
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Stallings Fest is a community fall festival that has amusements, craft and food vendors, live entertainment, fireworks and more!

Cost: Free

Where:
Stallings Municipal Park
324 Stallings Road
Stallings, NC
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Create your own art at our Creation Stations throughout The Galleries.

Cost: Free

Where:
Cabarrus Arts Council
65 Union Street S.
Concord, NC
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Ghouls and their mummies are invited to Center Court at the SouthPark mall dressed in costume to receive a sweet treat, while supplies last. Take part in a Boo Box craft and pose for a photo...

Cost: Free

Where:
American Girl Southpark Mall
4400 Sharon Road
, NC
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Sponsor: American Girl
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Enjoy live music, food and fun for the whole family! Musical guests include Tootie Hogan, David Childers and The Continental Divide.

Cost: Free

Where:
Tuckaseege Park
165 Broome St.
Mount Holly, NC
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Sponsor: City of Mount Holly
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Event will feature activities inspired by some of Disney Junior's most popular television series including Vampirina, Puppy Dog Pals and T.O.T.S. This event does not include live character...

Cost: Free

Where:
SouthPark Mall
4400 Sharon Road
, NC
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 TechWorks Gaston and Code.org are offering a coding course. Learn to program a simple maze game using the Scratch programming language. No coding experience is required.

Cost: Free

Where:
TechWorks Gaston, Belmont
52A Ervin St.
Suite 203
Belmont, NC
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Sponsor: Gaston Outside, TechWorks Gaston
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Do a series of arts and craft projects with yarn.

Cost: Free

Where:
ImaginOn: The Joe & Joan Martin Center
300 E. 7th St.
, NC
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Start out from the Adventure Center and look for signs that winter is approaching.

Cost: Free, $5 for parking

Where:
Anne Springs Close Greenway
194 Adventure Road
Fort Mill, SC
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Arts+ teaching artists will lead participants through various art projects. Live music will accompany the workshop.

Cost: Free

Where:
Independence Regional Library
6000 Conference Drive
, NC
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Come out in your Halloween costume for pumpkin decorating, face painting, games and lots of candy!

Cost: Free

Where:
The Arboretum Shopping Center
8008 Providence Road
, NC
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Enjoy music performances, German cuisine, a kids' play zone, wiener dog races and beer for guests ages 21 and older.

Cost: Free

Where:
Fountain Park
300 E. Main St.
Rock Hill, SC
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Kids will delight in Halloween activites, including balloon twisters, airbrush tattoos, bounce houses, vendors, Dracula dodgeball, balling with the boogieman, arts and crafts, a maize, a costume...

Cost: Free

Where:
Huntersville Recreation Center
11836 Verhoeff Drive
Huntersville, NC
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Trick-or-treat with the merchants Saturday from 5-6:30 p.m. Stick around to watch the outdoor movie, "Hocus Pocus." The movie will begin at dusk, approximately 7 p.m. on the Green....

Cost: Free

Where:
The Green at Promenade on Providence
corner of Providence Road and Interstate 485
, NC
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The evening will include live animals, crafts, night hikes, hayrides, hot dog meal, s'mores and storytelling. Register online for this rain-or-shine event.

Cost: $7, children younger than 2 free

Where:
McDowell Nature Center
15222 York Road
, NC
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Volunteer guides will lead tours through the neighborhood and share scary tales and history about the mill village known as NoDa. Tours leave every 15 minutes and run approximately one hour. Stop...

Cost: Free

Where:
NoDa Charlotte
, NC


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Come for fun games, awesome prizes, delicious candy and cakewalks. Unlimited game play wristbands are $5. Enjoy food vendors, a costume contest, a bounce house and the judging of the carved...

Cost: Free

Where:
100 Center St.
Cramerton, NC
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The Pennzoil AutoFair presented by Advance Auto Parts will feature more than 10,000 automotive vendor displays. In addition, kids can enjoy a play zone and eat fair food.

Cost: $13; children 13 and younger free with a paying adult

Where:
Charlotte Motor Speedway
5555 Concord Pkwy. South
Concord, NC
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Come play with your kids at My Gym! Parent participation is required. Parents wear socks; children go barefoot.

Cost: $10 per child

Where:
My Gym Southpark
5110 Park Road
2D
, NC
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Little ones bounce under the supervision of their parents and without interference from bigger kids. Jumpers need Sky Socks, which are available for purchase, and a signed waiver.

Cost: $8

Where:
Sky Zone (Pineville and Charlotte locations)
10200 Centrum Pkwy., Pineville
7325 Smith Corners Blvd., Charlotte
, NC
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Register for 90 minutes of hands-on Lego Robotics with a certified K-8 public educator. Each week, scholars will build a robot with new features. No prior experience is required. Locations...

Cost: $35

Where:
Aloft Charlotte Ballantyne
13139 Ballantyne Corporate Pl.
, NC
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Sponsor: Digi-Bridge
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Young children can jump at a discounted rate, and for an additional $2, parents can jump too. All jumpers need to purchase Altitude Trampoline Socks for $2.

Cost: $7

Where:
Altitude Trampoline Park
3490 E. Franklin Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
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Join this family-friendly open art session where your little Picasso can shine! Each week will be different activities including easel painting, sensory stations and themed art projects.

Cost: $10

Where:
Noah's Art of Southpark
5110 Park Road
2C
, NC
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Sponsor: Noah's Art of Southpark
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From the earliest days of Billy Graham’s ministry, he had a special place in his heart for teens and young adults. Come see the new special display, and discover how God used Graham to reach...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Celebrate fall the last three weekends in October on the Anne Springs Close Greenway with wagon rides, pumpkin patch, corn crib, haybale maze, pedal carts, horse rides, face painting, farm animals...

Cost: Chaperone passes $5, activity passes $15, children 3 and younger free, $5 for pa

Where:
Anne Springs Close Greenway
2573 Lake Haigler Drive
Fort Mill, SC
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Telephone: 803-547-4575
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Repticon Charlotte features vendors offering reptile pets, supplies, feeders, cages and merchandise, as well as live animal seminars and free raffles for coveted prizes. See website for times and...

Cost: $5-$10, free for children younger than 5

Where:
Cabarrus Arena & Events Center
4751 Highway 49 N.
Concord, NC  28025
View map »


Sponsor: Repticon Reptile and Exotic Animal Expos
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Beginners and seasoned yogis are invited to practice. Please bring a mat and water bottle.

Cost: $5, additional $5 for parking

Where:
Anne Springs Close Greenway
291 Dairy Barn Lane
Fort Mill, SC
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The Carolina Renaissance Festival is filled with charming cottages, castles, kitchens and pubs, all with simulated architecture of a 16th century European village. Oct. 5-6: Opening Weekend...

Cost: $15-$26

Where:
Carolina Renaissance Festival
16445 Poplar Tent Road
Huntersville, NC
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Carowinds presents family-friendly Halloween attractions for young children, including a costume parade, hay bale maze, foam zone, pedal tractors and rides.

Cost: $48+, children ages 5 and younger free with Pre-K Pass

Where:
Carowinds
14523 Carowinds Blvd.
, NC
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Enjoy spooky fun at SEA LIFE Aquarium with activities that are included in aquarium admission. Tues.,12:30pm: SEA Monster Mash Dance Party Sat., 11:15am and 2:30pm: Underwater Pumpkin...

Cost: $13-$22, children 2 and younger free

Where:
SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
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Sponsor: SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
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Create a natural fairy house in Lost Hollow that will remain at the Garden for all to enjoy. Listen to fairy stories, and create your own fairy wand.

Cost: $8-$15

Where:
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
6500 S. New Hope Road
Belmont, NC
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On Saturdays and Sundays from noon-5pm, the arcade bar opens to all ages with a parent or guardian present.

Cost: Cost for games

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


Telephone: 980-430-4587
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Learn about vultures found at Carolina Raptor Center.

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

Where:
Carolina Raptor Center
6000 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
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Vultures and humans will engage in a fun activity of the trainer's choice.  It could be painting, playground fun or taking a walk with a vulture.

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

Where:
Carolina Raptor Center
6000 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC  28078
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Sponsor: Carolina Raptor Center
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Our engaging team of raptor keepers will show you some of their favorite bird species. Check in the Visitor’s Center whiteboard to see who you can meet each day.

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

Where:
Carolina Raptor Center
6000 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
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Sponsor: Carolina Raptor Center
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The museum will play the planetarium show "Spooky Space" every Tuesday through Saturday. "Spooky Space" explores the black holes, zombie stars and spectacular ghostly nebulae...

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

Where:
Museum of York County
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
Rock Hill, SC
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Come watch a movie outdoors in the pumpkin patch.

Cost: Free

Where:
Greater Life Pumpkin Patch
17025 Lancaster Hwy.
, NC
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Sponsor: Greater Life Baptist Church
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Come watch the Charlotte Independence soccer team kick it at the Sportsplex at Matthews.

Cost: $15+

Where:
Sportsplex at Matthews
1505 Tank Town
Matthews, NC
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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: $48+

Where:
Carowinds
14523 Carowinds Blvd.
, NC
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It's safe, scary fun for the whole family! Kids will enjoy the Halloween shows and trick-or-treating. And take a chilling journey into the night on the Ghost train. Advance tickets are required.

Cost: $38-$44 for adults, ages 2 and younger free

Where:
Tweetsie Railroad
300 Tweetsie Railroad Lane
Blowing Rock, NC
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Stravinsky's "Firebird" follows the spellbinding story of a prince and princesses caught in a struggle with an ogre, and the fantastic Firebird who saves them.

Cost: $28+

Where:
Belk Theater
130 N. Tryon St.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-972-2000
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If you're feeling brave, check out The 13th Acre, a haunted trail open on Fridays and Saturdays. Enter Aw Shucks Farms on the right. The 13th Acre is at the back of the property. No...

Cost: $13

Where:
3718 Plyler Mill Road
Monroe, NC
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Come out for a night of fun watching some classic films on the big screen and under the stars. Movies begin at dusk. May 11: "Top Gun" (parents' night) June 1: "Jurassic...

Cost: Free

Where:
Midwood Park Amphitheater
2100 Wilhelmina Ave.
, NC
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Dive into these crustacean's habitats, learn crazy crabby facts, and face off with Crabzilla, the Japanese Spider Crab whose legs can span up to 15 feet.

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

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

Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

Where:
Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
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Telephone: 704-866-6908
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Come enjoy food, music, rides, arts, crafts and a chili cook off. Stop by the family stage on Saturday for kid-friendly performances.

Cost: Free, additional cost for rides

Where:
Lake Park
1000 Johnston Drive
Pineville, NC
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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 farm to...

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

Where:
Lazy 5 Ranch
15100 Mooresville Road
Mooresville, NC
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tapestries and rugs designed by artists usually associated with painting, sculpture, and architecture. Examples of the more familiar media will be installed alongside the textiles. The Bechtler...

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

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 South Tryon St.
, NC
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Never Abandon Imagination showcases nearly 100 original works, featuring illustrations from "Dungeons and Dragons, Magic: The Gathering," and Tony DiTerlizzi’s many fantasy and...

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
, NC
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Telephone: 704-337-2000
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Richard Childress Racing and the NASCAR Hall of Fame will launch an exhibit to honor the 50th anniversary of Richard Childress Racing using artifacts, race cars, images and audio/video displays.

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

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame
400 East Martin Luther King Blvd
, NC
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Kids can get creative in Block Party, the new interactive building exhibit for children.

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

Where:
The Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
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Fly to new heights in the Tony Award-winning musical that never gets old. Join Peter as he whisks the Darling children off to Neverland in a story filled with magic, delight and adventure. Show...

Cost: $15+

Where:
McColl Family Theatre
300 E. 7th St.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-973-2828
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From the safety of their suburban stretch circle, the girls soccer team navigates big questions and wages tiny battles with all the vim and vigor of a pack of adolescent warriors. See website for...

Cost: $7.50-$15

Where:
Hadley Theater
2132 Radcliffe Ave.
, NC
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This new play by Tony Wright features a mysterious countess from Eastern Europe who moves outside London in the 1920s. The story parallels the undead themes of the classic ballet,...

Cost: $20

Where:
Duke Energy Theater at Spirit Square
345 N. College St.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-372-1000
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Bring your cameras, lawn chairs, and blankets to experience a family-friendly festival featuring more than 50 hot air balloons, live music, food, wine and craft beer, kids' zone, and artisan...

Cost: $10-$35; children 12 and under free

Where:
Statesville Regional Airport
260 Hangar Drive
Statesville, NC
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The adventurous, young Madeline is very good at getting into trouble, but she's also fantastic in solving problems. The biggest problem comes up when Lord Covington decides to sell...

Cost: $12-$14

Where:
Matthews Playhouse
100 McDowell Street E.
Matthews, NC
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Come to NarroWay Productions for dinner and a show! With aerial artists, blacklight effects and sword-wielding angels and demons, this show is a physical representation of what happened spiritually...

Cost: $7-$35

Where:
NarroWay Theatre
3327 Hwy. 51 N.
Fort Mill, SC
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Sponsor: NarroWay Productions
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Studio Drift, founded by Dutch artists Ralph Nauta and Lonneke Gordijn, creates breathtaking sculptures that explore the relationship between humanity, nature and technology

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
, NC
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Corn maze, hayrides, pumpkin bowling, kids play area, gem mining, corn hole, horseshoes, animal barn and more. September hours: Fri., 6-10pm; Sat., 11am-10pm; Sun., 1-6pm. October...

Cost: $8-$13, plus extra fees for certain activities, children 3 and younger free

Where:
3718 Plyler Mill Road
Monroe, NC


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Come for tractor displays, farm demonstrations, food vendors, a lawnmower pull on Friday and a tractor pull on Saturday.

Cost: $5, free for children 13 and younger

Where:
Hodges Family Farm
3900 Rocky River Road
, NC
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Every weekend from September 28 through October 27, visitors can take a hayride, interact with animal ambassadors and attempt our apple chucking. Enjoy the corn maze and playground. Sept. 28-29:...

Cost: $7-$12, children younger than 2 free

Where:
Rescue Ranch
1424 Turnersburg Hwy.
Statesville, NC  28625
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Sponsor: Rescue Ranch
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The title, "Coined in the South," refers not only to The Mint Museum’s origins as the first branch of the United States Mint, but also to the acts of inventing and devising....

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
, NC
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Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s are hosting free, family-friendly Halloween events. Activities include free crafts and games for kids, a Halloween costume parade, trick-or-treating and a free 4x6...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops and Cabela's locations
8181 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
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Annual Guides

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

Your guide to raising kids in the Queen City, plus our 2019 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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