5 Places for Science-Themed Summer Fun in Charlotte
Make learning fun this summer at one of these local spots.
The Schiele Museum offers gem mining during the summer months.
Forget summer brain drain. The kids (and you!) can find plenty of places to experience science--all in fun environments.
This museum has a little bit of everything—from rotating exhibits like the extensive one featuring the solar system to permanent exhibitions on natural history, wildlife, American Indians, and live creatures such as prairie dogs, turtles, and other reptiles. Outside of the museum are a variety of outdoor exhibits designed to help visitors enjoy a bit of nature with their learning. The nature trail (a little less than one mile) features a pine forest, pond, and stream, and the 18th-century backcountry farm has live animals for visitors to see. Cool off in the newly-renovated planetarium and learn about the constellations in the summer sky before you go. The Schiele Museum of Natural History, 1500 E. Garrison Blvd., Gastonia.
This museum has always been a favorite with my family because of its location right in the heart of uptown and numerous things for kids of all ages to check out. Where else can you watch rats play basketball? The natural habitats in the “World Alive” section are uniquely designed and feature diverse creatures, the little ones will get a kick of out “KidScience,” an area of the museum specifically designed for ages 7 and under, and there’s also plenty for future engineers, chemists, biologists, and more. Take in a 3D film included in the museum admission, or pay a little extra for one of The IMAX Dome Theatre’s educational films. A new exhibit featuring the Rubik’s Cube opens this month. Discovery Place, 301 N. Tryon St.
If you belong to a homeschool group or want to get some friends and their kids together for a science field trip over the summer, check out the EnergyExplorium in Huntersville, which only caters to groups of 10 and by appointment. Permanent exhibits teach visitors about energy and fish and wildlife with the help of hands-on activities and fun games. There’s also a nature trail and butterfly garden which provides a great view of Lake Norman. You can also attend one of McGuire Nuclear Station’s free “Movies on the Lake” events. EnergyExplorium-Duke Energy, 13339 Hagers Ferry Road.
Life-science enthusiasts never tire of the Charlotte Nature Museum, especially with its close proximity to Freedom Park. Weekly programs teach children about topics focusing on animals, wildlife, insects, and more, and the butterfly garden is majestic for all ages. The outdoor exhibit “Fort Wild” allows children to stretch and play in between checking out the other exhibits, and kids can visit with animals at the museum at special events such as Farm Day on June 18. Charlotte Nature Museum, 1658 Sterling Road.
Looking to venture a little further out for a science day? The Catawba Science Center, located in Hickory, has exhibits on nanoscale science, germs, astronomy, inventors, and weather, along with a naturalist center and science courtyard. There’s also a butterfly habitat, a planetarium that features shows for children of all ages and aquariums with both salt and freshwater touch galleries. Catawba Science Center, 243 3rd Ave. NE, Hickory.