Should Your Kids Play Video Games on Vacation?

Don't let video games steal time for making family connections and vacation memories.


Published:

Vacations are perfect for experiencing rich family connections and memories that your child will miss if plugged into technology.

Melanie Hempe

When you hear the word “vacation,” what comes to mind? Perhaps a break from routine, loosening the reins, indulging in fun activities (and food!) of which you normally wouldn’t partake in the day to day regime?

For a child, it means “Mom and dad are not working and they are paying attention to me.” It’s true, your kids crave time with you — conversations, rich family connections and being present. These are great goals for your family vacation but these goals can easily be derailed if video games find their way into the suitcase.

Before you check in to that vacation spot, unload the car, set up your lounge chair and dive into your summer book, you’re probably going to hear those words…

“Mom, can I play my video game?”  

“Dad, can I have the the wifi password?”

“Mom, we (all my cousins) want to play video games!”

We have a simple response for you.

NO.

We understand this may sound contrary to all things vacation mode, but stick with us to learn ...


8 Reasons Why You Want to Leave Video Games at Home over Vacation!

 

1. Young brains need a break!

Your child’s brain will benefit from a break in the screen routine. Vacation is prime time for kids to try new things, visit with family, relax, reset and give the mind permission to connect with nature, real life, real people and rest instead of fixating upon the virtual world of a game. Remember, the game is not a “relaxing” activity for the brain, rather it jump starts an overproduction of dopamine and activates their fight-flight center causing anxiety, stress and irritability ... not characteristics I typically want to see in my child on vacation.


2. Vacations are perfect for experiencing rich family connections and memories.

Don’t mess up one of your best opportunities to connect as a family because of video games! Your child cannot bond with you or their siblings while being glued to a video game even if it’s a video game everyone's playing together. Family activities allow mutual creativity and communication including facial expressions, body language and vocal tone. It is impossible for video games to build such social skills. While co-play is better than isolated play, non-game time is much better developmentally than staring at a screen together.


3. A game-free vacation removes the “babysitter” temptation.

We know how tempting it is to use the screen as a default babysitter when all you want is a little down time yourself. Try having a quiet time for everyone at the beach from 2-4 p.m. By that time of day everyone needs a break, including the adults. Grab something cool to drink (plan a different fun drink every day) and head to your bunk with a “beach book” (or magazine) that was brought specifically for this purpose.

Using this time to teach your kids how to be alone without a screen in their hands is one of the best things you can do for your kids. They don’t like books and puzzles? Resist the urge to let them turn on YouTube or the TV during this rest time. Teach them how to play solitaire instead. If they doze off that’s OK, too! The late night events are a little easier to handle after some needed down time.


4. Limiting game time on vacation can open the door to creativity and exploration.

We know that game time is often a child’s first choice when it comes to entertaining themselves because it's a low-effort, high-reward activity. And because of the addictive nature of video games, they likely choose to stay in the air-conditioned room with their screen instead of meeting new friends, digging for crabs, fishing or going on that family hike or bike ride.

Give your child/teen the gift of unstructured time by not allowing the game to come on your vacation. If not available, they will find other things to do and explore. Consider getting them a new journal or sketch pad for the trip to keep a travel journal. If they are really into taking pictures, consider one of the new Instax Mini cameras. They can take pictures of things that excite them and tape them into their book. They will be less concerned about posting that beautiful sunset for all their friends to see and actually get to enjoy it without the screen distraction. Encourage them to make creative choices and break the habit of choosing the screen over new life experiences.


5. Your child will get more exercise and vitamin D.

Without a video game to distract him or her, your child can get more movement and more real rough and tumble play which is critical for growing brains. Instead of being curled up on the couch with a blanket on the game, how about a real pillow fight, a blanket fort or a game of hide and seek, or catching fireflies and playing flashlight tag.


6. The gamer is deprived of making memories.

Gaming socially, emotionally and physically removes a child from hanging out and relaxing with the family. Your child needs to learn how to relax by watching you do it. If your child is plugged in, he will miss the priceless memories that simultaneously happen with relaxation.

For example, what a shame to miss out on the stories grandparents share about Mom and Dad, Uncle Karl’s funny jokes, interesting family conversations and guaranteed laughter. Experiencing new things together makes vacation time fun, priceless, memorable and surprisingly healthy.


7. Your child needs to feel the love.

Parents, your child will feel more loved without the game. Trust me on this one. When you say “no” to the game on vacation, you are telling your child that you want to spend time with him, you love him and you don’t want anything to get in the way of time together. It doesn’t matter how he responds. Deep down, he wants you to pick him instead of packing the game. Deep down, he will be happy that you left it at home; most kids know they need a break.


8. You will get to know your child better.

Who knows what you may discover about your child when the game is not distracting him or her. Without the game in the way, you will have more opportunities to dig deeper and really get to know your child.


Family memories are not made on a video game. If your child has a meltdown because the game is left at home, then they likely have a balance problem. Check out Dr. Dunckley’s book, "Reset Your Child’s Brain."

For more tips on building family connection and balancing digital media in your home, visit Families Managing Media.

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View map »


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Website »

More information

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View map »


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More information

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View map »


Website »

More information

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View map »


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More information

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Where:
Blumenthal Performing Arts
130 N. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Victory Bounce sessions at BounceU of Charlotte occur every second Tuesday of the month. Every Victory Bounce session has free admission, which also includes siblings. Times change every month,...

Cost: Free

Where:
BounceU of Charlotte
10624 Metromont Pkwy.
Suite 300
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-921-8771
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 Culture
551 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Have a silly play date at the latest exhibit at ImaginOn. Designed to develop school readiness and academic skills for young children, Mr. Potato Head leads visitors on adventures ranging from...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Exhibit explores the 1929 Loray Mill Strike, including why strikers chose to organize with the National Textile Workers Union (NTWU) and how the strike influenced mills across the country. The...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gaston County Museum of Art and History
131 West Main St.
Dallas, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The traveling exhibition, constructed with breathtaking architectural detail and accuracy features towers built out of LEGO bricks. Admire the skyscrapers and learn about their cultural...

Cost: $18-$22

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

Discover the intriguing lives of nocturnal animals. This hands-on, family-friendly exhibit delves into dark environments and brings to light the unique animals and plants that live there. Visitors...

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

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


Website »

More information

This exhibition presents an array of genres and features work by six represented artists, Eduardo Cardozo, Juan Dolhare, Carlos Estévez, José Luis Landet, Santiago Quesnel and...

Cost: Free

Where:
LaCa Projects
1429 Bryant St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Exhibit encompasses a multitude of women and their many roles, identities and experiences.

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

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


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Guests will be mesmerized this summer by dozens of vibrant sculptures by Seattle-based artist Jason Gamrath including towering 10-foot orchids, vivid pitcher plants, energetic Venus flytraps and...

Cost: $8-$15, children younger than 2 free, includes garden admission

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


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Kings Mountain Historical Museum
Website »

More information

Charlotte Motor Speedway’s annual Parade of Power features a collection of NASCAR, World of Outlaws, NHRA, monster trucks and other assorted hot rods parading down Bruton Smith Boulevard in...

Cost: Free parade

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


Website »

More information

Explore different media and techniques to make art. Register online.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Teens will explore chemistry as seen in cooking, one of the oldest and most widespread uses of applied chemistry.

Cost: Free

Where:
University City Regional Library
301 East W.T. Harris Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Use critical thinking skills and online resources in a small group setting to escape the room.

Cost: Free

Where:
South County Regional Library
5801 Rea Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Come learn about the new, drop-off homeschool cooperative located in Lake Wylie, SC.

Cost: Free

Where:
Lake Wylie Library
185 Blucher Cir.
Lake Wylie, SC
View map »


Sponsor: Custom Teaching Solutions
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Britax Child Safety
Website »

More information

Learn more about the activities, events, venues,  history and how to get around the Greenway by van. There is no hiking required, but register online prior to the tour.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

In 2013, Billy Graham was officially named “North Carolina’s Favorite Son” when Governor Pat McCrory signed a proclamation from the North Carolina House and Senate. This display...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Registered kids receive two free games of bowling each day of the Kids Bowl Free summer program. Bowl at 10 Park Lanes in Charlotte. George Pappas' Liberty Lanes of Gastonia, Spare Time in...

Cost: Free

Where:
10 Park Lanes
1700 Montford Drive
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Swim in the cool, deep water at Carrigan Farms Quarry. Ages 11 and under must wear a life jacket at all times in the water. Anyone 12 and older are eligible to take the swim test. Bring your rod...

Cost: $15, cash or check only

Where:
The Quarry at Carrigan Farms
1213 Oak Ridge Farm Hwy.
Mooresville, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Carrigan Farms
Telephone: 704-664-1450
Website »

More information

Play learning games that encourage cooperation, critical thinking and problem solving.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Come join story time with other families. 

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Drop off the kids for an evening with The Jolly Lollies. There will be creative play, sing-alongs, dance parties, pizza and a movie.

Cost: $45, $20 for additional sibling

Where:
Suffolk Punch
2911 Griffith St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy free admission on Wednesdays this summer from 5 to 9 p.m. beginning July 3 through August 28.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6908
Website »

More information

CATS, the record-breaking musical spectacular by Andrew Lloyd Webber that has captivated audiences in over 30 countries and 15 languages, is now coming to Charlotte!

Where:
Blumenthal Performing Arts
130 N. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Featuring more than 50 international artists and more than 100 works of art, Under Construction explores the growth of the collage technique and aesthetic in the work of Romare Bearden and his...

Cost: $15-$6; Free for children 4 and younger; Included in admission

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

Have a silly play date at the latest exhibit at ImaginOn. Designed to develop school readiness and academic skills for young children, Mr. Potato Head leads visitors on adventures ranging from...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Exhibit explores the 1929 Loray Mill Strike, including why strikers chose to organize with the National Textile Workers Union (NTWU) and how the strike influenced mills across the country. The...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gaston County Museum of Art and History
131 West Main St.
Dallas, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This modest exhibition presents twenty works created over four decades by seventeen artists from six different nations. Yet all of them, regardless of their style, form, material or subject proved...

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

The traveling exhibition, constructed with breathtaking architectural detail and accuracy features towers built out of LEGO bricks. Admire the skyscrapers and learn about their cultural...

Cost: $18-$22

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

Discover the intriguing lives of nocturnal animals. This hands-on, family-friendly exhibit delves into dark environments and brings to light the unique animals and plants that live there. Visitors...

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

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


Website »

More information

This exhibition presents an array of genres and features work by six represented artists, Eduardo Cardozo, Juan Dolhare, Carlos Estévez, José Luis Landet, Santiago Quesnel and...

Cost: Free

Where:
LaCa Projects
1429 Bryant St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Exhibit encompasses a multitude of women and their many roles, identities and experiences.

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

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


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Guests will be mesmerized this summer by dozens of vibrant sculptures by Seattle-based artist Jason Gamrath including towering 10-foot orchids, vivid pitcher plants, energetic Venus flytraps and...

Cost: $8-$15, children younger than 2 free, includes garden admission

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


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Kings Mountain Historical Museum
Website »

More information

Come decorate cupcakes, and hear a story.

Cost: $6 per child

Where:
SAS Cupcakes
9941 Rea Road
Suite C
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy a morning out watching Dan Menendez, who combines comedy, juggling and music for his performance.

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Northlake Mall
Website »

More information

Come watch "The Emoji Movie."

Cost: Free

Where:
Beatties Ford Road Regional Library
2412 Beatties Ford Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Rising kindergartners participate in stories and activities that build pre-reading skills and help prepare children for success in school. Registration is required.

Cost: Free

Where:
Morrison Regional Library
7015 Morrison Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Celebrate the end of summer with crafts, games and information about library resources.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Throughout pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum, a new mom’s body needs a lot of love. This specialty yoga class is for moms who want to feel re-connected to their bodies and to learn tools...

Cost: $45

Where:
Roper Physical Therapy
301 E Tremont Ave.
Suite B
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Roper Physical Therapy
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Come for family-friendly music, cultural performances, interactive kids' activities and giveaway. Small bites and beverages from local restaurants will be available for purchase.

Cost: Free

Where:
Renaissance West Community Initiative
3610 Nobles Ave.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Come enjoy the bounce house, face painting, yard games and music! Food, beer and wine will be available to purchase.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Celebrate the full moon with a gathering in the woods and on the trails. Participants must be able to walk up to two miles on uneven terrain.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Explore songs and stories through interactive activities. Register online.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

In 2013, Billy Graham was officially named “North Carolina’s Favorite Son” when Governor Pat McCrory signed a proclamation from the North Carolina House and Senate. This display...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $8

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


Website »

More information

Registered kids receive two free games of bowling each day of the Kids Bowl Free summer program. Bowl at 10 Park Lanes in Charlotte. George Pappas' Liberty Lanes of Gastonia, Spare Time in...

Cost: Free

Where:
10 Park Lanes
1700 Montford Drive
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Swim in the cool, deep water at Carrigan Farms Quarry. Ages 11 and under must wear a life jacket at all times in the water. Anyone 12 and older are eligible to take the swim test. Bring your rod...

Cost: $15, cash or check only

Where:
The Quarry at Carrigan Farms
1213 Oak Ridge Farm Hwy.
Mooresville, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Carrigan Farms
Telephone: 704-664-1450
Website »

More information

Hear music at the greenway every Thursday in June, July and August. Bring chairs, blankets, and money for food trucks, beer, wine and sodas. See website for the food truck and band lineup, as well...

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

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


Website »

More information

On Thursday evenings, starting June 6 through August 29, listen to live music at Blakeney Shopping Center.

Cost: Free

Where:
Blakeney Shopping Centers
9839 Rea Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Bring your neighbors, kids and pups for free music. Craft beer and snacks from Hawthorne's Pizza available for purchase.

Cost: Free

Where:
6621 Monroe Road
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: MoRA - Monroe Road Advocates
Website »

More information

River Jam brings live musical performances to the world’s largest man-made whitewater river. See website for information about River Jam Run, open water swim, big water sessions, yoga and...

Cost: Free, $6 for parkig

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6908
Website »

More information

CATS, the record-breaking musical spectacular by Andrew Lloyd Webber that has captivated audiences in over 30 countries and 15 languages, is now coming to Charlotte!

Where:
Blumenthal Performing Arts
130 N. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Featuring more than 50 international artists and more than 100 works of art, Under Construction explores the growth of the collage technique and aesthetic in the work of Romare Bearden and his...

Cost: $15-$6; Free for children 4 and younger; Included in admission

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

Have a silly play date at the latest exhibit at ImaginOn. Designed to develop school readiness and academic skills for young children, Mr. Potato Head leads visitors on adventures ranging from...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Exhibit explores the 1929 Loray Mill Strike, including why strikers chose to organize with the National Textile Workers Union (NTWU) and how the strike influenced mills across the country. The...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gaston County Museum of Art and History
131 West Main St.
Dallas, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This modest exhibition presents twenty works created over four decades by seventeen artists from six different nations. Yet all of them, regardless of their style, form, material or subject proved...

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

The traveling exhibition, constructed with breathtaking architectural detail and accuracy features towers built out of LEGO bricks. Admire the skyscrapers and learn about their cultural...

Cost: $18-$22

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

Discover the intriguing lives of nocturnal animals. This hands-on, family-friendly exhibit delves into dark environments and brings to light the unique animals and plants that live there. Visitors...

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

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


Website »

More information

This exhibition presents an array of genres and features work by six represented artists, Eduardo Cardozo, Juan Dolhare, Carlos Estévez, José Luis Landet, Santiago Quesnel and...

Cost: Free

Where:
LaCa Projects
1429 Bryant St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Exhibit encompasses a multitude of women and their many roles, identities and experiences.

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

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


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Guests will be mesmerized this summer by dozens of vibrant sculptures by Seattle-based artist Jason Gamrath including towering 10-foot orchids, vivid pitcher plants, energetic Venus flytraps and...

Cost: $8-$15, children younger than 2 free, includes garden admission

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


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Kings Mountain Historical Museum
Website »

More information

Learn about and be inspired by the impressionist painter , Claude Monet. Create a replica of his painting of the bridge at Giverny.

Cost: $24

Where:
Kidcreate Studio
636 Crown Pointe Lane
Suite 101
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Celebrate Back to School with free ice cream and music.

Cost: Free

Where:
Lake Wylie Public Library
185 Blucher Cir.
Lake Wylie, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Come explore and learn more about one of the most ancient forms of drawing media, charcoal. Participants will practice their skills with the guidance of a professional artists. RSVP online for the...

Cost: $5

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


Website »

More information

Come meet local kindergarten teachers, visit a mock classroom, practice getting lunch at a pretent cafeteria, practice tying shoes, try literacy games and more.

Cost: Free

Where:
Discovery Place Kids-Huntersville
105 Gilead Road
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Southern Avenue combines the talents of a talented set of young musicians who create music that carries the Southern soul legacy into the 21st century.

Cost: Free

Where:
Spirit Square
345 N. College St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy the cooler temperatures of the evening while playing games. Finish the night with a campfire and marshmallows. Feel free to bring your own game or borrow one at the nature center.

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Latta Nature Center
Website »

More information

Watch the Carolina Panthers take on the Buffalo Bills in the first preseason home game.

Cost: $39+

Where:
Bank of America Stadium
800 S. Mint St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

In 2013, Billy Graham was officially named “North Carolina’s Favorite Son” when Governor Pat McCrory signed a proclamation from the North Carolina House and Senate. This display...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Registered kids receive two free games of bowling each day of the Kids Bowl Free summer program. Bowl at 10 Park Lanes in Charlotte. George Pappas' Liberty Lanes of Gastonia, Spare Time in...

Cost: Free

Where:
10 Park Lanes
1700 Montford Drive
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Come sing, dance, learn instruments and listen to stories with Bach 2 Rock of Huntersville.

Cost: Free

Where:
Veteran's Park
201 Huntersville-Concord Road
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy a round of mini golf for $5 per person until 5pm.

Cost: $5, free for children 4 and younger

Where:
Mr. Putty's Fun Park
2333 Dam Road
Tega Cay, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Bring your lunch and a blanket to watch a movie at the library.

Cost: Free

Where:
Davidson Library
119 S. Main St.
Davidson, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Food Truck Friday at Fountain Park in Old Town Rock Hill will feature food trucks, local restaurants, local beers, wine, children's activities and live music.

Cost: Free admission

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


Website »

More information

Register online for a night of gaming!

Cost: $35

Where:
Commandpost Gaming
8700 Pineville-Matthews Road
Pineville, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Commandpost Gaming
Website »

More information

Come to NarroWay Productions for dinner and a show! Before the kings and after all the deliverers were at rest, there was a time of judges when every man did what was right in his own eyes....

Cost: $10-$37

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


Sponsor: NarroWay Productions
Website »

More information

Come listen to music every Friday and Saturday throughout the summer, except June 21, which is Movie on the Green.

Cost: Free

Where:
The Green at Promenade on Providence
corner of Providence Road and Interstate 485
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Celebrate 20 years of music at Stonecrest with weekly family fun.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Join Birkdale Village for live music every Friday and Saturday night from June 1 to August 31. Bring a chair or a blanket.

Cost: Free

Where:
Birkdale Village
8712 Lindholm Drive
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

River Jam brings live musical performances to the world’s largest man-made whitewater river. See website for information about River Jam Run, open water swim, big water sessions, yoga and...

Cost: Free, $6 for parkig

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


Website »

More information

Come to Stallings Municipal Park to watch a family movie at sunset. May 17: "Lilo and Stitch" (PG) June 21: Mary Poppins Returns" (PG) July 19: Avengers: Infinity War"...

Cost: Free

Where:
Stallings Municipal Park
340 Stallings Road
Matthews, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6908
Website »

More information

Concerts start at 7pm; movies start at dusk. June 14: Rivermist June 21: "A Dog’s Way Home" June 30: Charlotte Symphony, begins at 8:15pm July 5: New Kids...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pineville Lake Park
1000 Johnston Drive
Pineville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

CATS, the record-breaking musical spectacular by Andrew Lloyd Webber that has captivated audiences in over 30 countries and 15 languages, is now coming to Charlotte!

Where:
Blumenthal Performing Arts
130 N. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Featuring more than 50 international artists and more than 100 works of art, Under Construction explores the growth of the collage technique and aesthetic in the work of Romare Bearden and his...

Cost: $15-$6; Free for children 4 and younger; Included in admission

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

The Carolina Woodstock Festival will commemorate the 50th anniversary of peace and music. Hear live music on multiple stages and shop the vendors. Festival Hours: Fri., Aug. 16, 4-11pm. Sat.,...

Cost: $5-$20

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


Sponsor: Rowan County Fair Grounds
Website »

More information

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

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

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


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

Have a silly play date at the latest exhibit at ImaginOn. Designed to develop school readiness and academic skills for young children, Mr. Potato Head leads visitors on adventures ranging from...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Exhibit explores the 1929 Loray Mill Strike, including why strikers chose to organize with the National Textile Workers Union (NTWU) and how the strike influenced mills across the country. The...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gaston County Museum of Art and History
131 West Main St.
Dallas, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This modest exhibition presents twenty works created over four decades by seventeen artists from six different nations. Yet all of them, regardless of their style, form, material or subject proved...

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

The traveling exhibition, constructed with breathtaking architectural detail and accuracy features towers built out of LEGO bricks. Admire the skyscrapers and learn about their cultural...

Cost: $18-$22

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

Discover the intriguing lives of nocturnal animals. This hands-on, family-friendly exhibit delves into dark environments and brings to light the unique animals and plants that live there. Visitors...

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

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


Website »

More information

This exhibition presents an array of genres and features work by six represented artists, Eduardo Cardozo, Juan Dolhare, Carlos Estévez, José Luis Landet, Santiago Quesnel and...

Cost: Free

Where:
LaCa Projects
1429 Bryant St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Exhibit encompasses a multitude of women and their many roles, identities and experiences.

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

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


Website »

More information

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Guests will be mesmerized this summer by dozens of vibrant sculptures by Seattle-based artist Jason Gamrath including towering 10-foot orchids, vivid pitcher plants, energetic Venus flytraps and...

Cost: $8-$15, children younger than 2 free, includes garden admission

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


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

Come hear Grammy-winning music and comedy from America's Favorite Cowboys! Shows at noon and 3 p.m. 

Cost: $32-$50, free for children younger than 2

Where:
Tweetsie Railroad
300 Tweetsie Railroad Lane
Blowing Rock, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Tweetsie Railroad
Website »

More information

These STEAM activities include a specialized lesson, two recipes, and a movement activity. Registration is required.

Cost: $40-$45

Where:
David W Phillips Activity Center
946 Burrage Road
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Kings Mountain Historical Museum
Website »

More information

Go on various hiking trips around the Charlotte area and connect with nature.

Cost: $5

Where:
West Charlotte Recreation Center
2401 Kendall Drive
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Learn about the role of reptiles in a wildlife habitat with Wildlife Educator, Stephen Hughes. Following the presentation, families will have the opportunity to visit with the animals and create a...

Cost: $15-$20 per family

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


Website »

More information

Come out to Discovery Place Science, and see robots in action. Learn about the Mars rover and all the robotics used in the space program. See a Bot Battle, and vote on your favorite robots in the...

Cost: $15-$19, free for children younger than 2, included with admission

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


Website »

More information

Kids can explore fire trucks, police cars, a backhoe and more. Watch a demonstration by the Matthews Police Department K9 unit. The first 200 guests can enjoy a free, small Kona Ice.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Kids of all ages and grown-ups, too, can learn to ride a bike using the balance bike method.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Make an aquatic site assessment through family-friendly activities at the pond along the Nature Trail.

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

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


Website »

More information

The Humane Society of Charlotte will fee-waive and deeply discount adoption fees to facilitate as many adoptions as possible in one day. Adoption price includes, spay/neuter surgery, up-to-date...

Cost: Free admission

Where:
The Humane Society of Charlotte
2700 Toomey Ave.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy a free movie at the library.

Cost: Free

Where:
Mountain Island Library
4420 Hoyt Galvin Way
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Sit, stand or lay atop of the water, and enjoy the sights of nature. All equipment is provided; registration is required.

Cost: $25

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


Website »

More information

Monster trucks hit the dirt track for a night of high-flying action. Fans can arrive early for photos with some of the machines, inflatables, autographs with drivers, and other pre-race...

Cost: $10-$25

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


Telephone: 800-455-FANS
Website »

More information

Kick off the school year with Independence High School faculty, staff, boosters, marching band, athletes and families. The evening will include bounce houses for the kids, corn hole and giant...

Cost: Free

Where:
Town of Mint Hill
4430 Mint Hill Village Lane
Mint Hill, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Come out to Waverly for a Saturday night concert featuring The Breakfast Club.

Cost: Free

Where:
Waverly
Providence Road and Ardrey Kell Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Steve Langley of Soap Box Circus will perform for families.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

See a free movie at Tuckaseege Park! Activities will begin at 7 p.m., and the movie will begin around dusk.

Cost: Free

Where:
Tuckaseege Park
165 Broome St.
Mount Holly, NC  28120
View map »


Sponsor: City of Mount Holly
Website »

More information

Watch a free, outdoor movie in Uptown. May 25: "Back to the Future" June 22: "The Goonies" July 27: "Jurassic Park" Aug. 17: "Jumanji"

Cost: Free

Where:
Uptown Charlotte
406 N. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Learn the fundamentals of SUP in a fun, safe environment. Coaches discuss waterway safety, laws and etiquette, and basic paddling technique. Participants need to be able to swim.

Cost: $45

Where:
Tega Cay Beach and Swim Club
4088 Beach Club Lane
Tega Cay, SC
View map »


Sponsor: The Goat Boater, Lake Wylie Paddleboarding
Website »

More information

Car owners and enthusiasts gather to celebrate their passion for cars and showcase their prized classics, customs and hot rods.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Come play with your kids at My Gym! Parent participation is required. Parents wear socks; children go barefoot.

Cost: $10 per child

Where:
My Gym Southpark
5110 Park Road
2D
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $8

Where:
Sky Zone (Pineville and Charlotte locations)
10200 Centrum Pkwy.
Pineville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Join this family-friendly open art session where your little Picasso can shine! Each week will be different activities including easel painting, sensory stations and themed art projects.

Cost: $10

Where:
Noah's Art of Southpark
5110 Park Road
2C
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Noah's Art of Southpark
Website »

More information

Watch "Toy Story," and meet some of the characters from the movie! The first 25 parents or guardians in line with their children to meet characters are eligible to receive a Starbucks...

Cost: Free

Where:
Rea Farms
Sandy Rock Place
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Paddle the edges of McDowell Nature Preserve with certified instructors while enjoying nature. Children ages five to nine are required to be in a tandem with an adult. Registration is required.

Cost: $20 single, $25 tandem

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


Website »

More information

In 2013, Billy Graham was officially named “North Carolina’s Favorite Son” when Governor Pat McCrory signed a proclamation from the North Carolina House and Senate. This display...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Beginners and seasoned yogis are invited to practice. Please bring a mat and water bottle.

Cost: $5, additional $5 for parking

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


Website »

More information

Learn about the unique, bizarre and interesting adaptations plants develop in order to survive in different habitats.

Cost: $8-$15, children younger than 2 free, includes garden admission

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


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

Sensory Friendly Screenings are designed for a sensitive audience in a safe and accepting environment. July 20 - "Lion King" ​August 17 - "Angry Birds 2" ​September...

Cost: $5

Where:
Stone Theaters, RedStone 14 Cinemas
9650 Red Stone Drive
(Park West 14 in Mooresville, Sun Valley 14 in Indian Trail, RedStone 14 in Indian Land)
Indian Land, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Meet a resident bird and an expert keeper in these half-hour sessions along the Raptor Trail. Saturdays 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., and Sundays 1 and 3 p.m.

Cost: $8-$12, children 3 and younger free

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


Sponsor: Carolina Raptor Center
Website »

More information

Be amazed by the show put on by these native and exotic flight birds and their trainers at this annual sensation.

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

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


Sponsor: Carolina Raptor Center
Website »

More information

On Saturdays and Sundays from noon-5pm, the arcade bar opens to all ages with a parent or guardian present.

Cost: Cost for games

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


Telephone: 980-430-4587
Website »

More information

Learn about vultures found at Carolina Raptor Center.

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

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


Website »

More information

Meet one of the animal ambassadors for a photo opportunity, and take a behind the scenes tour of the Raptor Hospital. Get an up close look at an Eagle. Children younger than 16 must be...

Cost: $28-$32

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


Sponsor: Carolina Raptor Center
Website »

More information

Come for music and fun! Children will enjoy the kids’ zone with inflatables, and everyone will enjoy food truck fare. See website for band schedule and list of participating food trucks....

Cost: Free

Where:
Runde Park
5110 Windward Drive
Tega Cay, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Come to NarroWay Productions for dinner and a show! Before the kings and after all the deliverers were at rest, there was a time of judges when every man did what was right in his own eyes....

Cost: $10-$37

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


Sponsor: NarroWay Productions
Website »

More information

Come listen to music every Friday and Saturday throughout the summer, except June 21, which is Movie on the Green.

Cost: Free

Where:
The Green at Promenade on Providence
corner of Providence Road and Interstate 485
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Celebrate 20 years of music at Stonecrest with weekly family fun.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Join Birkdale Village for live music every Friday and Saturday night from June 1 to August 31. Bring a chair or a blanket.

Cost: Free

Where:
Birkdale Village
8712 Lindholm Drive
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

River Jam brings live musical performances to the world’s largest man-made whitewater river. See website for information about River Jam Run, open water swim, big water sessions, yoga and...

Cost: Free, $6 for parkig

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6908
Website »

More information

The Charlotte Pride Parade and Festival will feature a youth zone, family zone, karaoke bar, HIV testing and food for purchase. The parade is on Sunday, Aug.18 from 1-3pm. Festival runs Sat.,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Uptown Charlotte
N. Tryon Street
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

CATS, the record-breaking musical spectacular by Andrew Lloyd Webber that has captivated audiences in over 30 countries and 15 languages, is now coming to Charlotte!

Where:
Blumenthal Performing Arts
130 N. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Featuring more than 50 international artists and more than 100 works of art, Under Construction explores the growth of the collage technique and aesthetic in the work of Romare Bearden and his...

Cost: $15-$6; Free for children 4 and younger; Included in admission

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

Have a silly play date at the latest exhibit at ImaginOn. Designed to develop school readiness and academic skills for young children, Mr. Potato Head leads visitors on adventures ranging from...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Exhibit explores the 1929 Loray Mill Strike, including why strikers chose to organize with the National Textile Workers Union (NTWU) and how the strike influenced mills across the country. The...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gaston County Museum of Art and History
131 West Main St.
Dallas, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This modest exhibition presents twenty works created over four decades by seventeen artists from six different nations. Yet all of them, regardless of their style, form, material or subject proved...

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

The traveling exhibition, constructed with breathtaking architectural detail and accuracy features towers built out of LEGO bricks. Admire the skyscrapers and learn about their cultural...

Cost: $18-$22

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

Discover the intriguing lives of nocturnal animals. This hands-on, family-friendly exhibit delves into dark environments and brings to light the unique animals and plants that live there. Visitors...

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

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


Website »

More information

This exhibition presents an array of genres and features work by six represented artists, Eduardo Cardozo, Juan Dolhare, Carlos Estévez, José Luis Landet, Santiago Quesnel and...

Cost: Free

Where:
LaCa Projects
1429 Bryant St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Exhibit encompasses a multitude of women and their many roles, identities and experiences.

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

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture
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 2019 Readers' Favorites for places to play, explore and learn with the kids.

Education Guide

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