A New View of Homesickness



Published:

A new report urges parents and children's doctors to change their thinking about homesickness among children, to see it as a nearly universal but highly preventable and treatable phenomenon — rather than an unavoidable part of childhood.

The report, published in the journal Pediatrics, gives parents and physicians specific guidance to help anticipate and lessen the distress that homesickness can cause among kids and teens at summer camps, hospitals, boarding schools and colleges.

The paper's authors are a clinical psychologist at one of the nation's leading boarding schools, Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, and a University of Michigan physician who specializes in camp health issues.

They're also old friends who first met at summer camp more than 25 years ago.

It's the first time that the evidence about homesickness prevention and treatment, which has been gathered through years of psychological studies, has been presented for pediatricians and family doctors to use.

The authors and the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on School Health that sponsored the report hope that those physicians will add homesickness counseling to children's camp and school physicals, and to the care of hospitalized children.

They also point out special issues for children who have attention deficit disorder or developmental issues — for example, the importance of continuing the use of medications for those conditions while at camp and not taking a "drug holiday."

"For over 100 years camps and schools have patted homesick kids on the back, tried to keep them busy and hoped it will go away," says lead author Christopher Thurber, Ph.D., the staff psychologist at Exeter, research consultant to the American Camp Association and author of a camp handbook for parents. "But research shows that it's healthier, and more effective to think about prevention. This report aims to get the message to parents and those who are taking care of kids before they go to camp."

One of the basic tips for parents and doctors is to talk to kids ahead of any separation, whether it's for camp, college or a hospital stay of even a few days.

"What parents say – and what pediatricians say — beforehand matters, and is very important for the intensity of homesickness," says Edward Walton, M.D., a U-M Health System assistant professor of emergency medicine and pediatrics who serves on the board of the American Camp Association (ACA) and was lead author of a 2005 AAP guideline on summer camp health that was produced in conjunction with the ACA.

One of the most important things for parents and doctors to recognize, and to say to kids before any separation, is that it's normal, not strange, to feel homesick. In fact, research has shown that 90 percent of children attending summer camp feel some levels of homesickness and that 20 percent face a serious level of distress that — if untreated — worsens over time and interferes with their ability to benefit from a camp experience.

Thurber's recent research compared the effectiveness of key preparation tools to camps' standard preparation. The results showed that a combination of coaching parents and educating children about effective coping actually lowered the intensity of first-year campers' homesickness by 50 percent, on average.

ACA now publishes a DVD-CD set "The Secret Ingredients of Summer Camp Success" that makes these evidence-based homesickness prevention strategies publicly available for the first time. It also makes information available to parents online, as part of its effort to preserve, promote and enhance the camp experience for children and adults. ACA is also the only national organization that accredits camps, who must meet up to 300 health and safety standards to gain accreditation through the ACA.

In children whose separation from their parents is sudden and unplanned, such as hospitalization, as many as half experience moderate to severe levels of homesickness that can interfere with their functioning. In fact, Thurber says, special care needs to be taken with children who are hospitalized for an indefinite amount of time, because even a casual remark by a physician or nurse about when the child might be able to go home can cause severe distress and even interfere with care if that date arrives and the child is still in the hospital.


For more routine separations, such as the one million children who go away to school or the 12 million who attend residential (overnight) camp each year, homesickness can get in the way of the important character-building lessons that these experiences bring.
Some of the tips for parents and children's doctors:

Involve children in the decision to spend time away from home, so that children have a sense of control.

Tell children that homesickness is normal, but that they can use strategies like writing letters home, sharing their feelings with other people, and thinking about all the good things that camp or school is giving them, to help ease their worry.

Arrange for a practice time away from home, such as a two- or three-day stay with relatives. If a child has reached high school without having gone to summer camp or more than a night away from home, this is especially important to prepare them for college or independent life.

Practice writing letters, and supply pre-stamped, pre-addressed envelopes and paper before the child leaves home.

Work with the child to learn about the camp, school, or hospital ahead of time, so they know what to anticipate.

If possible, try to introduce them to other campers, counselors or teachers ahead of time. A familiar face can make all the difference in the adjustment to a new environment.

Encourage kids, even older teens heading off to college, to make friends with others and seek out trusted adults to connect to.

Before the separation, don't make comments that express anxiety or ambivalence about the child going away. Even "I hope you'll be okay" or "what will I do without you" can leave a child worried that something bad might happen to them or their parents, and make them preoccupied with thoughts of home.

Use a calendar to show exactly the amount of time a child will be away, if that's known. Predictability and perspective on the length of separation is important whenever possible.

Don't make a "pick up plan" or a deal with a child to bring he or she home if they don't like the experience of being away. This undermines the child's sense that their parents have confidence in their ability to be on their own, and set an expectation that they won't like the new experience.

Warn children against keeping feelings of homesickness to themselves, doing something "bad" in order to get sent home or trying to escape.

If your child takes medicine for attention, behavior or psychological conditions, don't use camp as an excuse to take a "drug holiday." Make sure that they, and the camp's nurse or counselors, know their medication schedule and the importance of sticking to it.

If your child has special medical needs, such as diabetes or asthma, make sure that the camp or school they'll be going to has staff who knows how to handle day-to-day care and emergencies. Parents who have managed their child's care intensely can have an extra hard time giving up that control, and children can sense that anxiety.

Above all, know whether your child is really ready for a separation. If you're not sure, ask their doctor – but not while the child can hear the conversation.

All in all, summer camp and other separations from home can be great "life training" experiences for children, building their independence and teaching self-reliance and social skills that they'll use throughout life, says Walton and Thurber, who met when they were boys at the YMCA's Camp Belknap on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire, and worked there together this past summer.

Ultimately, they says, parents and pediatricians must work together to help children prepare for and cope with separations, while camp directors, boarding school staff, hospital Child Life specialists and others can help treat homesickness once it arises.

Resources for parents, physicians and camp/school/hospital staff:
Homesickness prevention information and The Summer Camp Handbook, by Christopher Thurber - www.campspirit.com
American Camp Association Online Resource for Families –www.CampParents.org? ?American Camp Association accredited camp locator: find.ACAcamps.org
American Camp Association DVD/CD: The Secret Ingredients of Summer Camp Success
American Academy of Pediatrics - www.AAP.org

About ACA?The American Camp Association works to preserve, promote, and enhance the camp experience for children and adults. ACA-accredited camp programs ensure that children are provided with a diversity of educational and developmentally challenging learning opportunities. There are over 2,400 ACA-accredited camps that meet up to 300 health and safety standards. For more information, visit www.ACAcamps.org.?

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

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Show More...
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Cost: $7, included with museum admission

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1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
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View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

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Telephone: 704-920-2787
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Cost: $6-$7, children under age 3 admitted free. Includes museum admission.

Where:
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Telephone: 704-866-6923
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Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

Where:
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1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
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View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6908
Website »

More information

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Show More...
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Cost: $7, included with museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

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Telephone: 704-920-2787
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More information

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

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View map »


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More information

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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

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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

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Cost: Free

Where:
Veterans Park
201 Huntersville-Concord Road
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View map »


Sponsor: Town of Huntersville
Website »

More information

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Cost: $5

Where:
Rowan County Fairgrounds
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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...
Show Less...

Spend the Mecklenburg County Teacher Workday in the kitchen! Learn important steps in baking and how certain ingredients react to each other.

Cost: $84

Where:
Flour Power Kids Cooking Studio
9826 Sandy Rock Place
Suite E
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-246-6069
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

Discover the world of science through books, hands-on educational activities and experiments about cooking and apples! Registration required; call to register.

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-416-3800
Website »

More information

Come to the 7th Street Market for food and fun. All the regular vendors will be open, plus there will be almost 75 different games to play! Play games from all eras and for all skill levels!

Cost: Free

Where:
7th Street Public Market
224 E. 7th St.
, NC
View map »


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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

Where:
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

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

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

Discover nature with your little one through stories, crafts and activities related to the topic. Must be accompanied by an adult. Sept. 5: Soil and Worm Adventures Sept. 19: It's Apple...

Cost: $4

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


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: Free

Where:
Main Street Children’s Museum
133 E. Main St.
Rock Hill, NC
View map »


Telephone: 803-327-6400
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
4020 Sharon Road
, NC
View map »


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:
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

The Tony-winning play with music, based on the best-selling novel, upends the century-old story of how a miserable orphan boy becomes the legendary Peter Pan. Featuring a dozen actors portraying...

Cost: Season Subscription Only

Where:
The Eloise MacDonald Playhouse
501 Queens Road
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Theatre Charlotte
Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

Do not miss the fun and excitement of the Rowan County Fair! Check the website for special themed days.

Cost: $5

Where:
Rowan County Fairgrounds
1560 Julian Road
Salisbury, 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...
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

Come check out the latest and greatest mountain bikes from Specialized and Santa Cruz at Bike Source Demo Days. Various models and sizes will be made available by Bike Source for you to take out on...

Cost: Free admission; $6 for parking

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


Website »

More information

Special guest speaker Pastor David Chadwick of Forest Hill Church will present a challenge to continue and finish the work of Bible translation.

Cost: Free

Where:
JAARS Townsend Auditorium
7405 Jaars Road
Waxhaw, NC  28173
View map »


Website »

More information

These monthly meetings feature STEAM professionals sharing topics chosen by teens for teens. Check out food, conversation and an interactive component.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Cirque Italia, the first traveling Water Circus, presents a new a luxurious experience where technology and preforming arts are mixed to create a one-of-a-kind show. Cirque Italia sets out to...

Cost: $10-$50

Where:
Northlake Mall
6801 Northlake Mall Drive
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 941-704-8572
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
View map »


Website »

More information

Get crafty on Thursdays in Indian Trail! Register online prior to the event.

Cost: $6

Where:
Town Hall
315 Matthews-Indian Trail Road
Indian Trail, NC
View map »


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
View map »


Website »

More information

Kids will learn how to navigate off-trail and build their confidence and comfort in wooded spaces. Participants should wear long pants and closed-toe shoes and bring a water bottle. We will always...

Cost: $4

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


Website »

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
View map »


Website »

More information

All ages are welcome for these hands on clay pottery workshops. Join a Clayworks' teaching artist and learn how to roll, pinch, poke, slip and score clay to make a project that will last a...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-416-6400
Website »

More information

Enjoy summer nights with outdoor music. Food and alcohol available to purchase. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Crossing Paths Park
120 Blythe Dr.
Indian Trail, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Jam out on the third Thursday of every month to a different band. Enjoy the warm weather while rocking out in Crossing Paths Park. Guests can also enjoy lawn games, a kids playground, wine and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Crossing Paths Park
120 Blythe Dr.
Indian Trail, NC
View map »


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

The Tony-winning play with music, based on the best-selling novel, upends the century-old story of how a miserable orphan boy becomes the legendary Peter Pan. Featuring a dozen actors portraying...

Cost: Season Subscription Only

Where:
The Eloise MacDonald Playhouse
501 Queens Road
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Theatre Charlotte
Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

Do not miss the fun and excitement of the Rowan County Fair! Check the website for special themed days.

Cost: $5

Where:
Rowan County Fairgrounds
1560 Julian Road
Salisbury, 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...
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

Discover the secrets of the animals at Reedy Creek Nature Center. This is your time for a close encounter with one of our animals. Children must be accompanied by adult.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Hike deep into wild at McDowell Nature Preserve to find unexplored areas for fun and adventure. Together as a family, participants will create games and activities while learning from nature....

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 980-314-1128
Website »

More information

If you love chocolate, you will love our dinner tonight! Participants will make oven baked chicken tenders and oven baked fries for dinner, followed by delicious chocolate lava cakes for dessert.

Cost: $39

Where:
Flour Power Kids Cooking Studio
9826 Sandy Rock Place
Suite E
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-246-6069
Website »

More information

Cirque Italia, the first traveling Water Circus, presents a new a luxurious experience where technology and preforming arts are mixed to create a one-of-a-kind show. Cirque Italia sets out to...

Cost: $10-$50

Where:
Northlake Mall
6801 Northlake Mall Drive
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 941-704-8572
Website »

More information

The event is open to the public and will feature the family-friendly movie “Despicable Me 3” on the BB&T Ballpark videoboard beginning at 7:30 p.m. The main gates to BB&T...

Cost: Free with canned food item donation

Where:
BB&T Ballpark
324 S. Mint St.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Carolinas Realty
Website »

More information

Flow, relax, and enjoy a day full of yoga, wine, kombucha, and more at the inaugural Flow Fest; blending elements of wellness and mindfulness in a natural outdoor setting. Practices will be held...

Cost: $6 for parking

Where:
U.S. National Whitewater Center
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.
, 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

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

Explore the natural world through arts and crafts with different themes for each session. Registration required.

Cost: $4

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


Telephone: 980-314-1129
Website »

More information

The local puppeteer troupe from MyGym Lake Norman will lead an interactive and imaginative puppet show with songs and book readings.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Come enjoy a fantastic Friday with our afterschool program! Participants will have a wide variety of activities to choose from, and our staff will have a specialized activity that varies weekly.

Cost: $6

Where:
Tom Sykes Recreation Center
1501 Euclid Ave.
, NC
View map »


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

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

This food truck rally is family and dog-friendly and features 10-15 area food trucks, live music, and a gated kids' playground. 

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Trinity Presbyterian Church
3115 Providence Road
, 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

Enjoy food trucks, Old Town restaurants, local beers, wine, children's activities, and live music.  

Cost: Free admission

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


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

Come out to Downtown Rock Hill's Fountain Park to enjoy Food Truck Friday, which begins May 18 and runs through October. The event occurs every third Friday of the month and includes both live...

Cost: Free

Where:
Old Town Rock Hill
300 E. Main St.
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


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

Mooresville Parks and Recreation presents Movies on Main! All movies will be shown on the Town Hall lawn in Downtown Mooresville. Movies start at dark, and concessions are available for purchase...

Cost: Free

Where:
Town Hall Lawn
413 North Main St.
Mooresville, NC
View map »

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

Come out for food, carnival rides, inflatables and live entertainment. Special Needs Fun Day held Fri., Sept. 21 from 1-3pm. Other hours are: Fri., 5-11pm; Sat., 11am-11pm.

Cost: Free; additional cost for rides and food

Where:
Rescue Squad Park
7889 Galway Ln.
Denver, 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

The Tony-winning play with music, based on the best-selling novel, upends the century-old story of how a miserable orphan boy becomes the legendary Peter Pan. Featuring a dozen actors portraying...

Cost: Season Subscription Only

Where:
The Eloise MacDonald Playhouse
501 Queens Road
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Theatre Charlotte
Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

The Cleveland County Arts Council will present the 16th Annual Art of Sound weekend concert series in Uptown Shelby. A variety of musicians and groups will perform in several different venues with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Uptown Shelby
Shelby, NC


Sponsor: Cleveland County Arts Council
Website »

More information

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...

Cost: Free

Where:
Freedom Park
, NC


Website »

More information

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

Where:
The Hut Meeting Facility
413 Johnston Drive
Pineville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Do not miss the fun and excitement of the Rowan County Fair! Check the website for special themed days.

Cost: $5

Where:
Rowan County Fairgrounds
1560 Julian Road
Salisbury, NC
View map »


Website »

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Sale features fall and winter children's clothing, maternity, baby gear and kid's furniture. All proceeds fund student scholarships. Shop Fri., 6-9pm and Sat., 8am-noon.

Cost: Free

Where:
Covenant Community Preschool
3415 Union Road
Gastonia, NC  28056
View map »


Sponsor: Covenant Community Preschool
Telephone: 704-616-9253
Website »

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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
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
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Website »

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Do not miss the 5th Annual Union County Heritage Festival and Wild Turkey 5K, which also includes a kids' fun run! Visitors will enjoy live entertainment, food, vendors, exhibitors, games,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Union County Agricultural Center
3230 Presson Road
Monroe, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Union County Extension Master Gardeners
Website »

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The Stiletto Sprint benefits the Carolinas Ovarian Cancer Fund. Sprinters can register as a competitive sprinter, non-competitive sprinter, volunteer, or Ruby Red Slipper, a category created for...

Cost: $30+

Where:
Symphony Park at SouthPark Mall
4400 Sharon Road
, NC
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Sponsor: Atrium Health
Website »

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Head to the mountains for a relaxing day of walking along the trails at Moses Cone Memorial Park. This is a wonderful time of year to visit this open area to take in the fall sun and late blooming...

Cost: $12

Where:
Reedy Creek Nature Preserve
2900 Rocky River Road
, NC
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Join the fight against blood cancer by registering and raising funds for this walk and run.

Cost: $15-$35

Where:
University Research Park
10101 David Taylor Drive
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Be The Match- National Marrow Donor Program
Website »

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Families of all ages can try science challenges that inspire teamwork, shape critical thinking skills and introduce families to STEM topics. Solve crime using science clues, explore prehistoric...

Cost: $13-$17

Where:
Discovery Place Science
301 N. Tryon St.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-373-6261
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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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Celebrate the history and culture of Gold Hill with arts, crafts, a parade, bluegrass music, food and heritage living exhibits. The parade begins at 9am, followed by all-day entertainment provided...

Where:
Gold Hill Mines Historic Park
735 Saint Stephens Church Road
Gold Hill, NC
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Telephone: 704-267-9439
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Come out for the Wild Vine Half Marathon and 5K. Stick around for Flow Fest.

Cost: $30-$50

Where:
U.S. National Whitewater Center
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-391-3900
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Lovers of live bluegrass, barbeque and local hand-made pottery come together to enjoy “Piedmont Pottery and Pickin’.” Traditional and contemporary regional potters, including...

Cost: Adults $8, Seniors $7, Youth $5, members and ages 3 and younger free

Where:
Historic Brattonsville's Hightower Hall
1036 Brattonsville Road
McConnells, SC  29726
View map »


Sponsor: Culture and Heritage Museums
Telephone: 803-818-6767
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Museum Day Live is brought to the community in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution and provides another opportunity for the Museum to open its doors free of charge. Register online...

Cost: Free

Where:
Carolina's Aviation Museum
4672 1st Flight Dr.
, NC
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Cast a fly while enjoying the peaceful side of Lake Wylie at McDowell Nature Preserve. Learn about fly fishing from an expert at the nature center, and test your new skills. All equipment...

Cost: $5

Where:
McDowell Nature Preserve
15222 York Road
, NC
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Telephone: 980-314-1128
Website »

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Discover how to attract bats to your backyard by building a bat box. Bats can eat up to 1,000 mosquitoes in an hour! All materials will be supplied, and power tools will be used to design the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Reedy Creek Nature Preserve
2900 Rocky River Road
, NC
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Join naturalist, Elizabeth Rockholt, and explore the stunning world of wildflowers. Learn the names of some of our more common flowers as well as the amazing techniques they use to survive each...

Cost: Free for members, $5 for nonmembers

Where:
Anne Springs Close Greenway
1604 Highway 21 Bypass
Fort Mill, NC
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See and touch live reptiles and amphibians!  Cheer on our museum turtles in the annual turtle race, dissect a frog, take a guided walk to our pond and have fun learning through numerous...

Cost: $3 in addition to paid museum admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28056
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Telephone: 704-866-6900
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Come out to Statesville Avenue Presbyterian Church's Fall Festival! While here, receive a free high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes screening from Novant Health.

Cost: Free

Where:
Statesville Avenue Presbyterian Church
3435 Nevins Road
, NC
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Telephone: 336-277-1880
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Join the Town of Mount Pleasant for the Amateur BBQ Cook-Off and Wing Contest! Enjoy food and craft vendors, entertainment and kids activities.

Cost: Free

Where:
8590 Park Drive
Mount Pleasant, NC
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Come see the vehicles of all sizes and support the Foundation for Fort Mill Schools while enjoying face painting, crafts and food trucks!

Cost: $4

Where:
Doby's Bridge Elementary
1000 Dragon Way
Fort Mill, SC  29715
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City Barbeque Huntersville is celebrating its one-year anniversary with free pork sandwiches for the first 200 guests. There will also be family-friendly activities and a chance to win free BBQ for...

Cost: Free

Where:
City Barbeque Huntersville
15425 Hodges Cir.
Huntersville, NC  28078
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Come listen to the adorable book before frosting your own gold sprinkle cupcake!

Cost: $9 per child; parents free

Where:
SAS Cupcakes
9941 Rea Road
Ste. C
, NC
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Website »

More information

The second annual Charlotte Kids Fest aims to inspire and motivate young minds with artistic, creative, educational and playful experiences that transform a child’s understanding of the...

Cost: Free

Where:
UNC Charlotte
N. Tryon Street and JW Clay Blvd.
Charlotte, NC
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Sponsor: University City Partners
Contact Name: Darlene Heater
Website »

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Criss Cross Mangosauce will present a Spanish/English story time with music, plays and stories. All families interested in raising bilingual and globally-minded children are welcome!

Cost: Free

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
, NC
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Website »

More information

This eclectic art crawl showcases local vendors, two stages of live performances, craft beer, food trucks and activities for kids. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Oak Street Mill
19725 Oak St.
Cornelius, NC
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Website »

More information

Come and explore a large cove of Lake Wylie in this 1.5-hour hike from the Nature Center. Get an up-close look at a beaver lodge and a possible beaver sighting.  Pre-registration is required.

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 980-314-1128
Website »

More information

Flour Power is celebrating its fifth year with a birthday party! Kids can make mini pizzas and decorate birthday cupcakes. Flour Power will host giveaways and raffles. Register online.

Cost: Free

Where:
Flour Power Kids Cooking Studios: Quail Corners
8438 Park Road
, NC
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Website »

More information

Stroll the historic streets of Downtown Davidson and browse more than 40 of the areas best artisans. Find a wide variety of handmade gifts including pottery, jewelry, photography, fine art,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Downtown Davidson
108 South Main St.
Davidson, NC  28036
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Telephone: 704-975-5478
Website »

More information

Support the American Cancer Society by attending this "Singin' for a Reason" concert. David Britt, local country music artist, will be performing this benefit performance.

Cost: $25 in advance

Where:
Visulite Theatre
1615 Elizabeth Ave.
, NC
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Website »

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Cirque Italia, the first traveling Water Circus, presents a new a luxurious experience where technology and preforming arts are mixed to create a one-of-a-kind show. Cirque Italia sets out to...

Cost: $10-$50

Where:
Northlake Mall
6801 Northlake Mall Drive
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 941-704-8572
Website »

More information

Flow, relax, and enjoy a day full of yoga, wine, kombucha, and more at the inaugural Flow Fest; blending elements of wellness and mindfulness in a natural outdoor setting. Practices will be held...

Cost: $6 for parking

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

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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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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
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Telephone: 704-401-3200
Website »

More information

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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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
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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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Website »

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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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Website »

More information

This ongoing nature program features a tour, demonstration or activity designed to inspire children and adults to explore the natural world of the Carolina Piedmont.

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

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


Website »

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Join one of our naturalists on the fourth Saturday of each month for a stroll around Discovery Place Nature’s Paw Paw Nature Trail. We’ll use our senses of sight, hearing, smell and...

Cost: $8; free for members and children younger than 2, included with admission

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


Telephone: 980-430-4587
Website »

More information

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
View map »


Telephone: 704-606-7084
Website »

More information

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
View map »


Sponsor: United World Initiative's
Website »

More information

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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Website »

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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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Website »

More information

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
View map »


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

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

Come out for food, carnival rides, inflatables and live entertainment. Special Needs Fun Day held Fri., Sept. 21 from 1-3pm. Other hours are: Fri., 5-11pm; Sat., 11am-11pm.

Cost: Free; additional cost for rides and food

Where:
Rescue Squad Park
7889 Galway Ln.
Denver, NC
View map »


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
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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

The Tony-winning play with music, based on the best-selling novel, upends the century-old story of how a miserable orphan boy becomes the legendary Peter Pan. Featuring a dozen actors portraying...

Cost: Season Subscription Only

Where:
The Eloise MacDonald Playhouse
501 Queens Road
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Theatre Charlotte
Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

The Cleveland County Arts Council will present the 16th Annual Art of Sound weekend concert series in Uptown Shelby. A variety of musicians and groups will perform in several different venues with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Uptown Shelby
Shelby, NC


Sponsor: Cleveland County Arts Council
Website »

More information

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...

Cost: Free

Where:
Freedom Park
, NC


Website »

More information

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

Where:
The Hut Meeting Facility
413 Johnston Drive
Pineville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Do not miss the fun and excitement of the Rowan County Fair! Check the website for special themed days.

Cost: $5

Where:
Rowan County Fairgrounds
1560 Julian Road
Salisbury, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Sale features fall and winter children's clothing, maternity, baby gear and kid's furniture. All proceeds fund student scholarships. Shop Fri., 6-9pm and Sat., 8am-noon.

Cost: Free

Where:
Covenant Community Preschool
3415 Union Road
Gastonia, NC  28056
View map »


Sponsor: Covenant Community Preschool
Telephone: 704-616-9253
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

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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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