Activities for Children With Special Needs

A look at local venues that offer sensory-friendly fun for kids.


Published:

World Alive aquarium at Discovery Place Science.

Discovery Place

My son, Ben, loves to be out in the community, however, an outing requires planning ahead because he uses a wheelchair and is nonverbal. Throughout Ben’s life, my husband and I have discovered many opportunities in Charlotte to indulge Ben in his need to see and be seen. Below are recommendations of sensory-friendly activities and venues for children.

Discover Nature

Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation provides outdoor and recreational opportunities for people with special needs. There are more than 15 parks throughout the county with accessible walkways, adapted swings and sensory equipment with unique visual, tactile, and auditory stimulation. Specially trained staff members teach workshops on cooking, gardening, swimming and arts and crafts at Marion Diehl Recreation Center where you can also sign up for summer camp and year-round programs.

Marion Diehl Recreation Center, 2219 Tyvola Road, Charlotte. 980-314-1314 | parkandrec.com


Experience Immersion

The Yager Group Multi-Sensory Environment is located in the Easter Seals UCP Center. The room is designed to stimulate the senses and promote feelings of well-being and relaxation. The room has lighting effects, sensory activities, tactile experiences, sound effects and motion stimulation. Cost is $25 for a 30-60 minute session.

The Yager Group Multi-Sensory Environment, 716 Marsh Road, Charlotte. 704-522-9912


Read a Book

Charlotte Mecklenburg Library offers Sensory Storytime workshops at the Beatties Ford Regional branch, ImaginOn: The Joe and Joan Martin Center, and Matthews branch library. Staff leads stories, songs, and activities designed for children with autism spectrum disorders, sensory integration issues or other developmental disabilities. Find the calendar of storytimes at cmlibrary.org and select sensory programs in the calendar menu for more details.

  • Beatties Ford Regional, 2412 Beatties Ford Road, Charlotte | 704-416-3000
  • ImaginOn: The Joe and Joan Martin Center, 300 E. Seventh St., Charlotte | 704-416-4600
  • Matthews Library, 230 Matthews Station St., Matthews | 704-416-5000

Sensory_Friendly_Storytime_at_Charlotte_Mecklenburg_Library

Photo courtesy of Charlotte Mecklenburg Library

Kids play hot potato with a sensory ball at Sensory Storytime. 


Explore With Your Senses

Discovery Place museums are a great place for children to investigate their environment. Hands-on games, touch-and-feel activities and experiential learning opportunities are available at each museum. Discovery Place Science provides visual supports, including picture schedules, that are available at the front desk to help guests navigate visits to the museum.

Discovery Place Kids is setup like a mini-town, and kids  pretend-play at the bank, grocery store, cafè, fire station and other businesses. Check each museum website for programming for children with special needs. 


Enjoy a Performance

Let your child experience a production with the house lights at half, music lowered and the ability to move around the theater. Charlotte Ballet offer a sensory-friendly performance of the “Nutcracker” in December and the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte has sensory-friendly showtimes for each of its regular season performances. Weighted lap toys, fidget toys and headphones are offered to guests.

  • Charlotte Ballet, 701 N. Tryon St., Charlotte. 704-372-0101 | charlotteballet.org
  • Children’s Theatre of Charlotte. 300 E. Seventh St. Charlotte. 704-973-2828 | ctcharlotte.org

Watch a Movie

AMC offers Sensory Friendly Films. Movies are shown with the lights up and the volume lowered. Children are free to move around and talk during the movie.  Movies are available on the second and fourth Saturday of every month. Check local theater listings for prices, movies and showtimes.

  • AMC Carolina Pavilion 22, 9541 South Boulevard, Charlotte. 704-643-1507
  • AMC Concord Mills 24, 8421 Concord Mills Blvd., Concord. 704-979‐0197

Jump, Bounce and Climb

Companies that specialize in high-energy activities offer special nights for children who need the environment tweaked a bit. They may turn off the music, dim the lights and dial down the distractions for kids with special needs. Victory Bounce at BounceU is free the second Tuesday of each month from 2-4 p.m. for families that have children with special needs. Sky High Sports offers discounted admission of $5.50 for children with special needs the first Tuesday of each month from 3-6 p.m.

  • BounceU Charlotte, 10624 Metromont Pkwy., Charlotte and 9129 Monroe Road, Suite 145, Matthews. 704-921-8771 | bounceu.com
  • Sky High Sports, 601 N. Polk St., Pineville. 704-889-5867 | clt.skyhighsports.com

 

Vanessa Infanzon is a freelance writer in Charlotte. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @morethanVMI.

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Daily Calendar

November 2017

A private event designed for children and young adults with special needs and their families to have the opportunity to visit with Santa and have photos taken. Concord Mills has made the...

Cost: Free; additional cost for photos.

Where:
Concord Mills at the Dining Pavilion
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $6-$7

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Get inspiration for your wreaths, tree or mantel, and shop for a unique gift for the hard-to-buy-for person on your list from the almost 500 exhibitors. Also enjoy a collectors’...

Cost: $3-$12, children 5 and younger admitted free

Where:
The Park Expo and Conference Center
800 Briar Creek Road
Charlotte, NC  28205
View map »


Website »

More information

This private event is designed for children and young adults with special needs and their families to have the opportunity to visit with Santa and have photos taken. SouthPark has made the...

Cost: Free; additional cost for photos.

Where:
SouthPark Mall
4400 Sharon Road
West Plaza Entrance
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Go on hike and search for places where a wild turkey might live, learn some new facts about them and play a game or two. 

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-875-1391
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 980-314-1128
Website »

More information

Bring your family pet to Northlake Mall for photos with Santa. 

Cost: Photos available for purchase, starting at $24.99.

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $10, includes skate rental

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


Website »

More information

Carolina Renaissance Festival Returns to Huntersville. For 8 fun-filled weekends, opening September 30th through November, the annual Carolina Renaissance Festival presents a full day of...

Cost: $14 - $25

Where:
Carolina Renaissance Festival Fairgrounds
16445 Poplar Tent Road
Huntersville, NC  28078
View map »


Telephone: 704-896-5555
Website »

More information

Chomp a Turkey Leg before Turkey Day and don't miss the last chance of the year to experience your best day out in history. Donate canned foods at the festival entrance and SAVE $15 by...

Cost: $14 - $25

Where:
Carolina Renaissance Festival Fairgrounds
16445 Poplar Tent Road
Huntersville, NC  28078
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-374-1565
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $7-$9

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Discovery Place will teach you about turkeys this month. Come listen to the turkey talk and make a turkey hat. 

Cost: Included in price of admission to museum ($13-$17)

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $8.95-$14.95

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


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

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

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

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


Telephone: 800-455-3267
Website »

More information

Young mates set sail on a self-guided pirate voyage aboard our miniature pirate ship, the Adventure, at anchor in the Explorer's Outpost.  Children can dress-up, learn and play at their...

Cost: $6-$7

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


Sponsor: The Schiele Museum of Natural History
Telephone: 704-866-6923
Contact Name: Philip McGinnis
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $10 admission; $4 skate rental

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-922-7681
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $13-$17

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

The CPCC Opera Theatre presents Engelbert Humperdinck's "Hansel and Gretel." Fri. and Sat., 7:30pm; Sun., 2:30pm.

Cost: $10-$20

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


Telephone: 704-330-6534
Website »

More information

This fun dog show tests a variety of breeds on their agility, obedience, and showmanship. See website for times. 

Cost: $5 for parking

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


Telephone: 704-920-3976
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $30+

Where:
North Carolina Transportation Museum
411 S. Salisbury Ave.
Spencer, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-636-2889
Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $10-$15

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


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

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

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

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


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

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

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

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


Telephone: 704-527-8464
Website »

More information

Visit Santa’s Workshop near the Village Green at Blakeney this holiday season for portraits with Santa Claus. Hours vary. See website for more details. Spectacular light show...

Cost: Free (Photo packages available for purchase)

Where:
Blakeney Shopping Center
9839 Rea Road
Charlotte, NC  28277
View map »


Website »

More information

This exhibit explores Da Vinci's engineering genius. Though he is mostly known for his art, Da Vinci was a creator in more than one way. He designed machines such as the assault tank,...

Cost: Included in price of admission to museum ($13-$17)

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

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

Cost: $6-$7

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

What is this field of study designed around? Young scientists can delve into different occupations and learn more about careers in science.

Cost: $5

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


Telephone: 704-875-1391
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $10, includes skate rental

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


Website »

More information

Preschool-age children can explore nature with songs, games, crafts, and play in Lost Hollow.

Cost: $10 per parent/child; $6 for each additional participant

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


Telephone: 704-829-1252
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $3 per hour

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


Telephone: 704-544-4848
Website »

More information

Even the youngest children in the family can enjoy sensory exploration and fun with activities and songs in the garden.

Cost: $10 per parent/child; $6 for each additional participant

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


Telephone: 704-829-1252
Website »

More information

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

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

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


Telephone: 980-299-8445
Website »

More information

Discovery Place will teach you about turkeys this month. Come listen to the turkey talk and make a turkey hat. 

Cost: Included in price of admission to museum ($13-$17)

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $8.95-$14.95

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


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Photo packages vary.

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


Website »

More information

Young mates set sail on a self-guided pirate voyage aboard our miniature pirate ship, the Adventure, at anchor in the Explorer's Outpost.  Children can dress-up, learn and play at their...

Cost: $6-$7

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


Sponsor: The Schiele Museum of Natural History
Telephone: 704-866-6923
Contact Name: Philip McGinnis
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $10 admission; $4 skate rental

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $8

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-922-7681
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $13-$17

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Telephone: 704-527-8464
Website »

More information

Visit Santa’s Workshop near the Village Green at Blakeney this holiday season for portraits with Santa Claus. Hours vary. See website for more details. Spectacular light show...

Cost: Free (Photo packages available for purchase)

Where:
Blakeney Shopping Center
9839 Rea Road
Charlotte, NC  28277
View map »


Website »

More information

This exhibit explores Da Vinci's engineering genius. Though he is mostly known for his art, Da Vinci was a creator in more than one way. He designed machines such as the assault tank,...

Cost: Included in price of admission to museum ($13-$17)

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

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

Cost: $6-$7

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Join Rutherford Rabbit to enjoy a seasonally themed story and take-home craft activity in the Children’s Garden. Children can water the vegetable plants, dig for worms, explore the sensory...

Cost: $10/family (free to Wing Haven members)

Where:
Wing Haven Children's Garden
260 Ridgewood Ave.
Charlotte, NC  28209
View map »


Telephone: 704-331-0664
Website »

More information

Floats, marching bands, dance and tumbling troupes, vintage and modern modes of transport, plus plenty of fun and entertainment for the family, and of course Santa.

Cost: Free

Where:
Main Street
Beginning at Statesville Ave.
Mooresville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $10, includes skate rental

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-739-1019
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-374-1565
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $7-$9

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $7-$10

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


Telephone: 704-568-1774
Website »

More information

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

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

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


Telephone: 980-299-8445
Website »

More information

Discovery Place will teach you about turkeys this month. Come listen to the turkey talk and make a turkey hat. 

Cost: Included in price of admission to museum ($13-$17)

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $8.95-$14.95

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


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

Young mates set sail on a self-guided pirate voyage aboard our miniature pirate ship, the Adventure, at anchor in the Explorer's Outpost.  Children can dress-up, learn and play at their...

Cost: $6-$7

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


Sponsor: The Schiele Museum of Natural History
Telephone: 704-866-6923
Contact Name: Philip McGinnis
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $10 admission; $4 skate rental

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $8

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-922-7681
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $13-$17

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Telephone: 704-527-8464
Website »

More information

Visit Santa’s Workshop near the Village Green at Blakeney this holiday season for portraits with Santa Claus. Hours vary. See website for more details. Spectacular light show...

Cost: Free (Photo packages available for purchase)

Where:
Blakeney Shopping Center
9839 Rea Road
Charlotte, NC  28277
View map »


Website »

More information

This exhibit explores Da Vinci's engineering genius. Though he is mostly known for his art, Da Vinci was a creator in more than one way. He designed machines such as the assault tank,...

Cost: Included in price of admission to museum ($13-$17)

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

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

Cost: $6-$7

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Spend the school day off outside as a family! Come for a hike around the preserve and then learn different ways to build primitive forts with friends and family. Registration required for all...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 980-314-1128
Website »

More information

Come to Town Center to listen to a reading of "Thanksgiving for Emily Ann" by Teresa Johnston. Then participate in activities.   

Cost: $10

Where:
Discovery Place Kids - Huntersville
Huntersville, NC


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

This annual event includes visits from Sir Purr, the TopCats, PurrCussion, the Black and Blue Crew and Santa, along with food trucks and activities for kids.

Cost: Free

Where:
Bank of America Stadium
Corner of Mint and Graham streets
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $10, includes skate rental

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


Website »

More information

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

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

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-739-1019
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-878-3097
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-374-1565
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $7-$9

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $7-$10

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


Telephone: 704-568-1774
Website »

More information

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

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

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


Telephone: 980-299-8445
Website »

More information

Discovery Place will teach you about turkeys this month. Come listen to the turkey talk and make a turkey hat. 

Cost: Included in price of admission to museum ($13-$17)

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
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:
Huntersville Fire Station 1
110 S. Old Statesville Road
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Explore the Mint Museum's exhibitions.

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $8.95-$14.95

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


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

Young mates set sail on a self-guided pirate voyage aboard our miniature pirate ship, the Adventure, at anchor in the Explorer's Outpost.  Children can dress-up, learn and play at their...

Cost: $6-$7

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


Sponsor: The Schiele Museum of Natural History
Telephone: 704-866-6923
Contact Name: Philip McGinnis
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $7 per person

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


Telephone: 704-245-6446
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $10 admission; $4 skate rental

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $8

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-922-7681
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $13-$17

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $10-$15

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


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

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

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

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


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

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

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

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


Telephone: 704-527-8464
Website »

More information

Visit Santa’s Workshop near the Village Green at Blakeney this holiday season for portraits with Santa Claus. Hours vary. See website for more details. Spectacular light show...

Cost: Free (Photo packages available for purchase)

Where:
Blakeney Shopping Center
9839 Rea Road
Charlotte, NC  28277
View map »


Website »

More information

This exhibit explores Da Vinci's engineering genius. Though he is mostly known for his art, Da Vinci was a creator in more than one way. He designed machines such as the assault tank,...

Cost: Included in price of admission to museum ($13-$17)

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Buy tickets to get breakfast with Santa on Thanksgiving Day. Tickets include a choice of breakfast sandwich, side of fruit or yogurt, non-alcoholic beverage, one photo with Santa, and a VIP...

Cost: $25

Where:
Coco & The Director, Marriott City Center
100 W Trade St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Walk or run this 5k on Thanksgiving to support the Belmont Community Organization.

Cost: Donations (checks preferred)

Where:
200 N Main St
Belmont, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

There's a race so each member of the family can burn calories before the big meal. Choose from a Tot Trot, 1-Mile Fun Run, 5K and 8K. Special awards for the best costumes. All finishers...

Cost: $10-$33

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


Website »

More information

Bring the family for a healthy holiday and help support more than 5,000 families in need. 5K and Fun Run.

Cost: $10-$20.

Where:
Mooresville/Lake Norman Christian Mission
266 N. Broad St.
Mooresville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $6-$7

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Kick off the season with marching bands, large balloons and floats, and live performances in front of the Levine Center for the Arts on South Tryon Street. See replay on WBTV.  The...

Cost: Free

Where:
Tryon Street to 9th Street
, NC


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $10, includes skate rental

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-739-1019
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-374-1565
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $7-$9

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free admission

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $7-$10

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


Telephone: 704-568-1774
Website »

More information

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

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

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


Telephone: 980-299-8445
Website »

More information

Discovery Place will teach you about turkeys this month. Come listen to the turkey talk and make a turkey hat. 

Cost: Included in price of admission to museum ($13-$17)

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $8.95-$14.95

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


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

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

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

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


Telephone: 800-455-3267
Website »

More information

Young mates set sail on a self-guided pirate voyage aboard our miniature pirate ship, the Adventure, at anchor in the Explorer's Outpost.  Children can dress-up, learn and play at their...

Cost: $6-$7

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


Sponsor: The Schiele Museum of Natural History
Telephone: 704-866-6923
Contact Name: Philip McGinnis
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $7 per person

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


Telephone: 704-245-6446
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $10 admission; $4 skate rental

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $8

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-922-7681
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $13-$17

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $10-$15

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


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

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

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

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


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

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

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

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


Telephone: 704-527-8464
Website »

More information

Visit Santa’s Workshop near the Village Green at Blakeney this holiday season for portraits with Santa Claus. Hours vary. See website for more details. Spectacular light show...

Cost: Free (Photo packages available for purchase)

Where:
Blakeney Shopping Center
9839 Rea Road
Charlotte, NC  28277
View map »


Website »

More information

This exhibit explores Da Vinci's engineering genius. Though he is mostly known for his art, Da Vinci was a creator in more than one way. He designed machines such as the assault tank,...

Cost: Included in price of admission to museum ($13-$17)

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

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

Cost: $6-$7

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

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

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

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


Telephone: (704) 825-4490
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $10, includes skate rental

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-739-1019
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-374-1565
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $7-$9

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

This living Christmas history event features the 1800 period plantation home decorated in traditional holiday decor, and dressed re-enactors who demonstrate how the festivities changed in the 100...

Cost: $8-$9; free for children under 5

Where:
Historic Latta Plantation
5225 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-875-2312
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free admission

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $7-$10

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


Telephone: 704-568-1774
Website »

More information

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

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

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


Telephone: 980-299-8445
Website »

More information

Discovery Place will teach you about turkeys this month. Come listen to the turkey talk and make a turkey hat. 

Cost: Included in price of admission to museum ($13-$17)

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Sycamore Brewing
Contact Name: Katelyn Carpenter
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $25+

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $8.95-$14.95

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


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

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

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

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


Telephone: 800-455-3267
Website »

More information

Young mates set sail on a self-guided pirate voyage aboard our miniature pirate ship, the Adventure, at anchor in the Explorer's Outpost.  Children can dress-up, learn and play at their...

Cost: $6-$7

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


Sponsor: The Schiele Museum of Natural History
Telephone: 704-866-6923
Contact Name: Philip McGinnis
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $7 per person

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


Telephone: 704-245-6446
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $10 admission; $4 skate rental

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $8

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-922-7681
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $12+

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


Telephone: 704-973-2828
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $13-$17

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $5-$33

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


Telephone: 704-831-8893
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $30+

Where:
North Carolina Transportation Museum
411 S. Salisbury Ave.
Spencer, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-636-2889
Website »

More information

Watch the story of Maria and the Von Trapps unfold in Belk Theater. See website for showtimes.

Cost: $25+

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


Telephone: (704) 372-1000
Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $10-$15

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


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

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

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

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


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

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

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

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


Telephone: 704-527-8464
Website »

More information

Visit Santa’s Workshop near the Village Green at Blakeney this holiday season for portraits with Santa Claus. Hours vary. See website for more details. Spectacular light show...

Cost: Free (Photo packages available for purchase)

Where:
Blakeney Shopping Center
9839 Rea Road
Charlotte, NC  28277
View map »


Website »

More information

This exhibit explores Da Vinci's engineering genius. Though he is mostly known for his art, Da Vinci was a creator in more than one way. He designed machines such as the assault tank,...

Cost: Included in price of admission to museum ($13-$17)

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $6-$7

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Shop for holiday gifts featuring over 60 local and regional vendors who sell only handmade and homemade items.

Cost: Free

Where:
Anne Springs Close Greenway
288 Dairy Barn Lane
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Telephone: 803-547-4575
Website »

More information

Bring your kid to Home Depot to make a homemade holiday picture frame that doubles as an ornament. After building the frame, your child can decorate it with paint and holiday stickers.  All...

Cost: Free

Where:
Home Depots in the area
, NC


Website »

More information

Ray Evernham’s fifth annual AmeriCarna LIVE car show presented by Ingersoll Rand and MSC Industrial Supply Co. will again be open to all cars and held at Ingersoll Rand’s North American...

Cost: $5 - $150

Where:
Ingersoll Rand
800 Beaty St.
Davidson, NC  28036
View map »


Website »

More information

Kids can learn the basics of the high-tech treasure hunt called geocaching with tips, tools, and by using a GPS unit and smartphone app. 

Cost: $10 per family

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


Telephone: 704-875-1391
Website »

More information

Stop by for refreshments, the annual tree lighting, choir and dance performances, holiday crafts, carriage rides, vendors, and a visit from Santa. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Cornelius Town Hall
21445 Catawba Ave.
Cornelius, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Telephone: (704) 825-4490
Website »

More information

Celebrate the start of the holiday season with live music, entertainment, kids activities, fireworks and more. 

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-920-4343
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $10, includes skate rental

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-739-1019
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-374-1565
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $7-$9

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

This living Christmas history event features the 1800 period plantation home decorated in traditional holiday decor, and dressed re-enactors who demonstrate how the festivities changed in the 100...

Cost: $8-$9; free for children under 5

Where:
Historic Latta Plantation
5225 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-875-2312
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Join us on the last Saturday of the month for an educational walk around the Paw Paw Nature Trail with a Museum naturalist to discover the beauty and diversity of the bottomland forest habitat.

Cost: $8

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


Website »

More information

Lakeshore Learning Stores provide fun, free crafts every Saturday from 11am to 3pm. Visit Bit.ly/freecraftsforkids for the featured craft of the week or call your local Lakeshore Learning store for...

Cost: Free

Where:
Lakeshore Learning Store
10005 E. Independence Blvd.
Matthews, NC  28105
View map »


Sponsor: Lakeshore Learning Store
Telephone: 704-849-2450
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free admission

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $7-$10

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


Telephone: 704-568-1774
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

Where:
BLACKLION
10635 Park Rd
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-541-1148
Website »

More information

Discovery Place will teach you about turkeys this month. Come listen to the turkey talk and make a turkey hat. 

Cost: Included in price of admission to museum ($13-$17)

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $25+

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $8.95-$14.95

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


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

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

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

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


Telephone: 800-455-3267
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-920-4343
Website »

More information

Young mates set sail on a self-guided pirate voyage aboard our miniature pirate ship, the Adventure, at anchor in the Explorer's Outpost.  Children can dress-up, learn and play at their...

Cost: $6-$7

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


Sponsor: The Schiele Museum of Natural History
Telephone: 704-866-6923
Contact Name: Philip McGinnis
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $7 per person

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


Telephone: 704-245-6446
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $10 admission; $4 skate rental

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-922-7681
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $12+

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


Telephone: 704-973-2828
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $13-$17

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

Enjoy a performance of the infamous Nutcracker Ballet. Space is limited; tickets must be purchased in advance. Sat., 7pm; Sun., 3pm. 

Cost: $5 for adults; $3 for children 12 and under

Where:
Matthews Community Center
100 W. McDowell St.
Matthews, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-321-7275
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $5-$33

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


Telephone: 704-831-8893
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $30+

Where:
North Carolina Transportation Museum
411 S. Salisbury Ave.
Spencer, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-636-2889
Website »

More information

Watch the story of Maria and the Von Trapps unfold in Belk Theater. See website for showtimes.

Cost: $25+

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


Telephone: (704) 372-1000
Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $10-$15

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


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

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

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

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


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

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

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

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


Telephone: 704-527-8464
Website »

More information

Visit Santa’s Workshop near the Village Green at Blakeney this holiday season for portraits with Santa Claus. Hours vary. See website for more details. Spectacular light show...

Cost: Free (Photo packages available for purchase)

Where:
Blakeney Shopping Center
9839 Rea Road
Charlotte, NC  28277
View map »


Website »

More information

This exhibit explores Da Vinci's engineering genius. Though he is mostly known for his art, Da Vinci was a creator in more than one way. He designed machines such as the assault tank,...

Cost: Included in price of admission to museum ($13-$17)

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

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Annual Guides

GPS [Go. Play. See.]

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

Education Guide

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