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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July 2017

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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

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Cost: $6-$7

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

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Cost: $9-$10

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
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Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

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Cost: $10-$25

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


Telephone: 704-373-6261
Website »

More information

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Cost: $4-$8

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


Telephone: 704-353-9200
Website »

More information

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Cost: $6-$12; children under 4 free

Where:
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, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

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Cost: $6-$12; children under 4 free

Where:
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, NC
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Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

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Cost: $5-$8

Where:
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Website »

More information

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Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

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Cost: See website for prices

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, NC


Website »

More information

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View map »


Telephone: 704-588-2600
Website »

More information

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View map »


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Website »

More information

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Cost: $9-$10

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

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More information

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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

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Cost: Free

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View map »


Telephone: 704-416-4600
Website »

More information

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Cost: $9-$10

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

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Cost: $5-$8

Where:
Museum of York County
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
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View map »


Telephone: 803-329-2121
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

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View map »


Telephone: 704-892-6841
Website »

More information

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Cost: $13-$17

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


Telephone: 704-373-6261
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-922-7681
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

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View map »


Telephone: 803-684-2327
Website »

More information

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McDowell Nature Preserve
15222 York Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 980-314-2267
Website »

More information

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View map »


Telephone: 704-416-6600
Website »

More information

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Website »

More information

This series features high-thrill races and can't miss exhibitions like school bus races and drag-racing burnout exhibitions. In this race, future NASCAR stars compete in a Power Wheels race....

Cost: $8; children under 13 free

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


Telephone: 800-455-FANS
Website »

More information

Enjoy 1,500 square feet of bugs, butterflies, beetles, moths, flies, and other six-legged creatures from around the world. This scientific collection features real preserved specimens...

Cost: $6-$7

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Enjoy a fascinating look at all the wonders of eclipses, when one celestial object blocks the view of another. Discover what eclipses are, how and when they occur, a perfect lead-in to our...

Cost: $9-$10

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

The Science of Ripley's Believe It or Not! presents an extraordinary collection of intriguing objects and astonishing artifacts from Ripley's Believe It or Not! Go places you've never...

Cost: $10-$25

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


Telephone: 704-373-6261
Website »

More information

This survey includes more than 150 works of art, including five original kinetic sculptures, spanning the forty-year career of the revolutionary Swiss kinetic artist. Mon., Wed., Thurs., and Sat.,...

Cost: $4-$8

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


Telephone: 704-353-9200
Website »

More information

The work of artists on display includes that of Romare Bearden, Rockwell Kent, and Salvador Dali among others. "Art in the Book" provides a glimpse into the wide variety of illustrative...

Cost: $6-$12; children under 4 free

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


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

This exhibition, featuring 12 important paintings, drawings and prints, as well as a rare example of the artist's sculpture, will give them the opportunity to do so. Through the use of a rich...

Cost: $6-$12; children under 4 free

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


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

Preschoolers engage with books and activities that encourage language and pre-reading skills. Dress comfortably for creative movement.

Cost: Free

Where:
North County Regional Library
16500 Holly Crest Lane
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-416-6000
Website »

More information

Currently the only Egyptian mummy in North Carolina. Families can explore the culture and history of the 22nd Dynasty, uncover the mystery of mummification in the hands-on CSI Lab, and meet...

Cost: $6

Where:
Iredell Museums
134 Court St.
Statesville, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-873-7347
Website »

More information

K(NO)W Justice K(NO)W Peace is a community-created exhibit about police-involved shootings throughout the nation and here in Charlotte. Co-created with activists and law enforcement, the media,...

Cost: $5-$8

Where:
Levine Museum of the New South
200 E. Seventh St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-333-1887
Website »

More information

In the 1920s, Cleveland County experienced an economic boom and bust, the heyday of the textile mills, the birth of the political engine known as the Shelby Dynasty, and improved education,...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-739-1019
Website »

More information

Swim in the cool, deep water at Carrigan Farms Quarry. The quarry is only open to the public on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, June 13-Aug. 24 from 10am-3pm. Ages 11 and under must wear a...

Cost: $12

Where:
Carrigan Farms Quarry
West Entrance
1213 Oak Ridge Farm Hwy.
Mooresville, NC  28115
View map »


Website »

More information

Discover a settler's life from 250 years ago. Examine buildings and fence construction, explore the kitchen garden and meet heritage livestock. Visit with a live interpreter as they go about...

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Monkey Joe’s North Carolina locations are celebrating summer with special offers for each weekday: Monday: 20% off meal packages Tuesday: Toddler Tuesday, children 4 and younger will...

Cost: See website for prices

Where:
Monkey Joe's University, Pineville, Gastonia and Matthews locations
, NC


Website »

More information

Back by popular demand, the high-flying acrobats from Cirque Imagine return to Carowinds Theatre. Moms, dads and kids can watch spectacular stunts and acrobatics right before their very eyes....

Cost: Cost of Carowinds admission

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


Telephone: 704-588-2600
Website »

More information

Get out of the heat and enjoy a refreshing day at the gallery. Featuring a wide array of cooling images of oceans, rivers, brooks and nautical themes. Enjoy refreshments all month as well as...

Cost: Free

Where:
Charlotte Fine Art Gallery
7510 Pineville-Matthews Road
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-541-0741
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:
The Harvey B. Gantt Center
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:
The Harvey B. Gantt Center
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:
The Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

NASCAR race weekends are more than just cars racing on the track. Visit the NASCAR Hall of Fame, and discover some of the pre-race and infield activities that make a NASCAR experience different...

Cost: $19.95 admission

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame
400 East Martin Luther King Blvd.
Charlotte, NC  2802
View map »


Telephone: 888-902-6463
Website »

More information

Toddler can enjoy storytime each week in the children's area. 

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-364-0626
Website »

More information

Enjoy two great mini programs in the science theater. First explore the constellations of summer in a seasonal stargazing tour of the night sky. Then, encounter the beautiful Northern Lights in a...

Cost: $9-$10

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
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

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

Created in collaboration with Playskool and GE, kids can design, build and work together to make amazing Tinkertoy structures using GE Technology as their guide. Experiment with renewable energy...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-416-4600
Website »

More information

Meet a variety of live animals from the museum's collection and learn their names, where they live, what they eat and how they survive. There will be hands-on opportunities with live animals....

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

Accompany a safari guide on a prehistoric adventure through our featured exhibit. Surprises, special activities and "secret" information about the dinosaurs that await the...

Cost: $9-$10

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Search for and keep mineral treasures like garnets, topaz, rubies, emeralds and rose quartz in the running water sluice.

Cost: $10-$11

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Did An Asteroid Really Kill the Dinosaurs? Sixty five (65) million years ago the last of the non-avian dinosaurs vanished from the fossil record.  Scientists have discovered evidence that...

Cost: $9-$10

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Created by Betty Brin Children's Museum in collaboration with the US Forest Service, this interactive nature-themed exhibit is packed with fun activities that highlight ways that kids and...

Cost: $5-$8

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


Telephone: 803-329-2121
Website »

More information

This year is the 30th birthday of Waldo from the series "Where's Waldo." Patrons are invited to stop by the store and pick up a Waldo passport so they can search for him in local area...

Cost: Free

Where:
Main Street Books
126 S. Main St.
Davidson, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-892-6841
Website »

More information

Celebrate shark week with a variety of activities, including crafts, exploring for finds such as shark teeth and nautiloid shells, anatomy of a shark, and more. Mon-Sat., 9am-5pm; Sun., noon-5pm.

Cost: $13-$17

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


Telephone: 704-373-6261
Website »

More information

The 2017 BMX World Championships will be held in Rock Hill in late July. Visit the website for a full schedule of events. 

Cost: $3-$12.50; children 5 and under free

Where:
Novant Health BMX Supercross Track
1307 Riverwalk Pkwy.
Rock Hill, SC
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

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

At one of the Garden's ponds, students can investigate and learn about organisms that live in, on, or near the water by collecting pond samples making observations.

Cost: $8-$12

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


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

Musical storyteller Jamie will lead young readers with tunes on a guitar and ukele that fit the story of the day. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Main Street Books
126 S. Main St.
Davidson, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-892-6241
Website »

More information

Join Dr. Steve Fields, Curator of Natural History at the Museum of York County, and learn how the city is named Rock Hill and what types of rocks and minerals have been discovered here.  ...

Cost: $5-$8

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


Telephone: 803-329-2121
Website »

More information

This summer, Denali Moose Tracks Ice Cream invites you to eat free ice cream for a cause in the 10,000 Scoop Challenge. The goal is to raise $10,000 for The Salvation Army. Charlotte has four hours...

Cost: Free

Where:
At Trade and Tryon in uptown Charlotte
Charlotte, NC  28202

More information

Enjoy 1,500 square feet of bugs, butterflies, beetles, moths, flies, and other six-legged creatures from around the world. This scientific collection features real preserved specimens...

Cost: $6-$7

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Enjoy a fascinating look at all the wonders of eclipses, when one celestial object blocks the view of another. Discover what eclipses are, how and when they occur, a perfect lead-in to our...

Cost: $9-$10

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

The Science of Ripley's Believe It or Not! presents an extraordinary collection of intriguing objects and astonishing artifacts from Ripley's Believe It or Not! Go places you've never...

Cost: $10-$25

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


Telephone: 704-373-6261
Website »

More information

This survey includes more than 150 works of art, including five original kinetic sculptures, spanning the forty-year career of the revolutionary Swiss kinetic artist. Mon., Wed., Thurs., and Sat.,...

Cost: $4-$8

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


Telephone: 704-353-9200
Website »

More information

The work of artists on display includes that of Romare Bearden, Rockwell Kent, and Salvador Dali among others. "Art in the Book" provides a glimpse into the wide variety of illustrative...

Cost: $6-$12; children under 4 free

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


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

This exhibition, featuring 12 important paintings, drawings and prints, as well as a rare example of the artist's sculpture, will give them the opportunity to do so. Through the use of a rich...

Cost: $6-$12; children under 4 free

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


Telephone: 704-337-2000
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

Children will learn fun yoga sequencesand apply yoga principles through interactive games. 

Cost: $15 per drop-in visit or purchase a pass for ten classes

Where:
YWCA of Central Carolinas
3420 Park Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-525-5770
Website »

More information

Currently the only Egyptian mummy in North Carolina. Families can explore the culture and history of the 22nd Dynasty, uncover the mystery of mummification in the hands-on CSI Lab, and meet...

Cost: $6

Where:
Iredell Museums
134 Court St.
Statesville, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-873-7347
Website »

More information

K(NO)W Justice K(NO)W Peace is a community-created exhibit about police-involved shootings throughout the nation and here in Charlotte. Co-created with activists and law enforcement, the media,...

Cost: $5-$8

Where:
Levine Museum of the New South
200 E. Seventh St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-333-1887
Website »

More information

In the 1920s, Cleveland County experienced an economic boom and bust, the heyday of the textile mills, the birth of the political engine known as the Shelby Dynasty, and improved education,...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-739-1019
Website »

More information

Swim in the cool, deep water at Carrigan Farms Quarry. The quarry is only open to the public on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, June 13-Aug. 24 from 10am-3pm. Ages 11 and under must wear a...

Cost: $12

Where:
Carrigan Farms Quarry
West Entrance
1213 Oak Ridge Farm Hwy.
Mooresville, NC  28115
View map »


Website »

More information

Discover a settler's life from 250 years ago. Examine buildings and fence construction, explore the kitchen garden and meet heritage livestock. Visit with a live interpreter as they go about...

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Monkey Joe’s North Carolina locations are celebrating summer with special offers for each weekday: Monday: 20% off meal packages Tuesday: Toddler Tuesday, children 4 and younger will...

Cost: See website for prices

Where:
Monkey Joe's University, Pineville, Gastonia and Matthews locations
, NC


Website »

More information

Back by popular demand, the high-flying acrobats from Cirque Imagine return to Carowinds Theatre. Moms, dads and kids can watch spectacular stunts and acrobatics right before their very eyes....

Cost: Cost of Carowinds admission

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


Telephone: 704-588-2600
Website »

More information

Get out of the heat and enjoy a refreshing day at the gallery. Featuring a wide array of cooling images of oceans, rivers, brooks and nautical themes. Enjoy refreshments all month as well as...

Cost: Free

Where:
Charlotte Fine Art Gallery
7510 Pineville-Matthews Road
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-541-0741
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:
The Harvey B. Gantt Center
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:
The Harvey B. Gantt Center
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:
The Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

Find out what you can do to save our oceans. We will talk about sustainability and how important it is to recycle. Also at 1:45pm.

Cost: $10

Where:
Discovery Place KIDS
105 Gilead Road
Huntersville, 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

Observe the fascinating ways snakes eat their prey. Learn about what and how the museum staff feeds the snakes, why they need snakes and ask questions about snakes you may have been pondering...

Cost: $6-$7

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Enjoy two great mini programs in the science theater. First explore the constellations of summer in a seasonal stargazing tour of the night sky. Then, encounter the beautiful Northern Lights in a...

Cost: $9-$10

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Explore the mint museum's exhibitions.

Cost: Free

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph | 2730 Randolph Road
Mint Museum Uptown | 500 South Tryon Street
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-337-2018
Website »

More information

Both locations of The Mint Museum offer free general admission every Wednesday from 5–9 p.m.

Cost: Free

Where:
The Mint Museum
500 S Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Website »

More information

Bring your lawn chairs, drinks and snacks, and be prepared to dance at this weekly event that features the music of local bands.

Cost: Free

Where:
Romare Bearden Park
301 S. Mint St.
, 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

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

Created in collaboration with Playskool and GE, kids can design, build and work together to make amazing Tinkertoy structures using GE Technology as their guide. Experiment with renewable energy...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-416-4600
Website »

More information

Meet a variety of live animals from the museum's collection and learn their names, where they live, what they eat and how they survive. There will be hands-on opportunities with live animals....

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

Accompany a safari guide on a prehistoric adventure through our featured exhibit. Surprises, special activities and "secret" information about the dinosaurs that await the...

Cost: $9-$10

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Search for and keep mineral treasures like garnets, topaz, rubies, emeralds and rose quartz in the running water sluice.

Cost: $10-$11

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Did An Asteroid Really Kill the Dinosaurs? Sixty five (65) million years ago the last of the non-avian dinosaurs vanished from the fossil record.  Scientists have discovered evidence that...

Cost: $9-$10

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Created by Betty Brin Children's Museum in collaboration with the US Forest Service, this interactive nature-themed exhibit is packed with fun activities that highlight ways that kids and...

Cost: $5-$8

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


Telephone: 803-329-2121
Website »

More information

This year is the 30th birthday of Waldo from the series "Where's Waldo." Patrons are invited to stop by the store and pick up a Waldo passport so they can search for him in local area...

Cost: Free

Where:
Main Street Books
126 S. Main St.
Davidson, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-892-6841
Website »

More information

Celebrate shark week with a variety of activities, including crafts, exploring for finds such as shark teeth and nautiloid shells, anatomy of a shark, and more. Mon-Sat., 9am-5pm; Sun., noon-5pm.

Cost: $13-$17

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


Telephone: 704-373-6261
Website »

More information

The 2017 BMX World Championships will be held in Rock Hill in late July. Visit the website for a full schedule of events. 

Cost: $3-$12.50; children 5 and under free

Where:
Novant Health BMX Supercross Track
1307 Riverwalk Pkwy.
Rock Hill, SC
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

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

In honor of teachers' dedication to the nation's youth, teachers and their families can take guided tours and sample food for free while they learn about the historical programs at Historic...

Cost: Free for teachers and their families

Where:
Historic Brattonsville
1444 Brattonsville Road
McConnells, SC
View map »


Telephone: 803-684-2327
Website »

More information

Calling all Bingo lovers! This summer pastime is fun and educational for kids as they learn exciting facts about nature, birds and weather with themed Bingo games! Visit on select Thursday...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 980-314-1128
Website »

More information

Enjoy 1,500 square feet of bugs, butterflies, beetles, moths, flies, and other six-legged creatures from around the world. This scientific collection features real preserved specimens...

Cost: $6-$7

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Enjoy a fascinating look at all the wonders of eclipses, when one celestial object blocks the view of another. Discover what eclipses are, how and when they occur, a perfect lead-in to our...

Cost: $9-$10

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

The Science of Ripley's Believe It or Not! presents an extraordinary collection of intriguing objects and astonishing artifacts from Ripley's Believe It or Not! Go places you've never...

Cost: $10-$25

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


Telephone: 704-373-6261
Website »

More information

This survey includes more than 150 works of art, including five original kinetic sculptures, spanning the forty-year career of the revolutionary Swiss kinetic artist. Mon., Wed., Thurs., and Sat.,...

Cost: $4-$8

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


Telephone: 704-353-9200
Website »

More information

The work of artists on display includes that of Romare Bearden, Rockwell Kent, and Salvador Dali among others. "Art in the Book" provides a glimpse into the wide variety of illustrative...

Cost: $6-$12; children under 4 free

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


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

This exhibition, featuring 12 important paintings, drawings and prints, as well as a rare example of the artist's sculpture, will give them the opportunity to do so. Through the use of a rich...

Cost: $6-$12; children under 4 free

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


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

Preschoolers engage with books and activities that encourage language and pre-reading skills. Dress comfortably for creative movement.

Cost: Free

Where:
North County Regional Library
16500 Holly Crest Lane
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-416-6000
Website »

More information

Currently the only Egyptian mummy in North Carolina. Families can explore the culture and history of the 22nd Dynasty, uncover the mystery of mummification in the hands-on CSI Lab, and meet...

Cost: $6

Where:
Iredell Museums
134 Court St.
Statesville, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-873-7347
Website »

More information

K(NO)W Justice K(NO)W Peace is a community-created exhibit about police-involved shootings throughout the nation and here in Charlotte. Co-created with activists and law enforcement, the media,...

Cost: $5-$8

Where:
Levine Museum of the New South
200 E. Seventh St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-333-1887
Website »

More information

In the 1920s, Cleveland County experienced an economic boom and bust, the heyday of the textile mills, the birth of the political engine known as the Shelby Dynasty, and improved education,...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-739-1019
Website »

More information

Swim in the cool, deep water at Carrigan Farms Quarry. The quarry is only open to the public on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, June 13-Aug. 24 from 10am-3pm. Ages 11 and under must wear a...

Cost: $12

Where:
Carrigan Farms Quarry
West Entrance
1213 Oak Ridge Farm Hwy.
Mooresville, NC  28115
View map »


Website »

More information

Discover a settler's life from 250 years ago. Examine buildings and fence construction, explore the kitchen garden and meet heritage livestock. Visit with a live interpreter as they go about...

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Monkey Joe’s North Carolina locations are celebrating summer with special offers for each weekday: Monday: 20% off meal packages Tuesday: Toddler Tuesday, children 4 and younger will...

Cost: See website for prices

Where:
Monkey Joe's University, Pineville, Gastonia and Matthews locations
, NC


Website »

More information

Back by popular demand, the high-flying acrobats from Cirque Imagine return to Carowinds Theatre. Moms, dads and kids can watch spectacular stunts and acrobatics right before their very eyes....

Cost: Cost of Carowinds admission

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


Telephone: 704-588-2600
Website »

More information

Get out of the heat and enjoy a refreshing day at the gallery. Featuring a wide array of cooling images of oceans, rivers, brooks and nautical themes. Enjoy refreshments all month as well as...

Cost: Free

Where:
Charlotte Fine Art Gallery
7510 Pineville-Matthews Road
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-541-0741
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:
The Harvey B. Gantt Center
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:
The Harvey B. Gantt Center
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:
The Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

NASCAR race weekends are more than just cars racing on the track. Visit the NASCAR Hall of Fame, and discover some of the pre-race and infield activities that make a NASCAR experience different...

Cost: $19.95 admission

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame
400 East Martin Luther King Blvd.
Charlotte, NC  2802
View map »


Telephone: 888-902-6463
Website »

More information

Enjoy two great mini programs in the science theater. First explore the constellations of summer in a seasonal stargazing tour of the night sky. Then, encounter the beautiful Northern Lights in a...

Cost: $9-$10

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Bring blankets and lawn chair to this weekly outdoor concert series. Visit website for a list of scheduled performers.

Cost: $5 per person; $5 per car for parking

Where:
Anne Springs Close Greenway
Comporium Ampitheater
291 Dairy Barn Lane
Ft. Mill, SC
View map »


Telephone: 803-547-4575
Website »

More information

Enjoy food, beverages, and live music at this weekly summer concert series. 

Cost: $5 parking fee

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


Telephone: 704-391-3900
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

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

Created in collaboration with Playskool and GE, kids can design, build and work together to make amazing Tinkertoy structures using GE Technology as their guide. Experiment with renewable energy...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-416-4600
Website »

More information

Meet a variety of live animals from the museum's collection and learn their names, where they live, what they eat and how they survive. There will be hands-on opportunities with live animals....

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

Accompany a safari guide on a prehistoric adventure through our featured exhibit. Surprises, special activities and "secret" information about the dinosaurs that await the...

Cost: $9-$10

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Search for and keep mineral treasures like garnets, topaz, rubies, emeralds and rose quartz in the running water sluice.

Cost: $10-$11

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Did An Asteroid Really Kill the Dinosaurs? Sixty five (65) million years ago the last of the non-avian dinosaurs vanished from the fossil record.  Scientists have discovered evidence that...

Cost: $9-$10

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Created by Betty Brin Children's Museum in collaboration with the US Forest Service, this interactive nature-themed exhibit is packed with fun activities that highlight ways that kids and...

Cost: $5-$8

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


Telephone: 803-329-2121
Website »

More information

This year is the 30th birthday of Waldo from the series "Where's Waldo." Patrons are invited to stop by the store and pick up a Waldo passport so they can search for him in local area...

Cost: Free

Where:
Main Street Books
126 S. Main St.
Davidson, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-892-6841
Website »

More information

Celebrate shark week with a variety of activities, including crafts, exploring for finds such as shark teeth and nautiloid shells, anatomy of a shark, and more. Mon-Sat., 9am-5pm; Sun., noon-5pm.

Cost: $13-$17

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


Telephone: 704-373-6261
Website »

More information

The 2017 BMX World Championships will be held in Rock Hill in late July. Visit the website for a full schedule of events. 

Cost: $3-$12.50; children 5 and under free

Where:
Novant Health BMX Supercross Track
1307 Riverwalk Pkwy.
Rock Hill, SC
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

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

Little ones can stay and play in the tunnel, stepping stones, and play kitchen at the library. 

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-664-2927
Website »

More information

Enjoy 1,500 square feet of bugs, butterflies, beetles, moths, flies, and other six-legged creatures from around the world. This scientific collection features real preserved specimens...

Cost: $6-$7

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Enjoy a fascinating look at all the wonders of eclipses, when one celestial object blocks the view of another. Discover what eclipses are, how and when they occur, a perfect lead-in to our...

Cost: $9-$10

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

The Science of Ripley's Believe It or Not! presents an extraordinary collection of intriguing objects and astonishing artifacts from Ripley's Believe It or Not! Go places you've never...

Cost: $10-$25

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


Telephone: 704-373-6261
Website »

More information

This survey includes more than 150 works of art, including five original kinetic sculptures, spanning the forty-year career of the revolutionary Swiss kinetic artist. Mon., Wed., Thurs., and Sat.,...

Cost: $4-$8

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


Telephone: 704-353-9200
Website »

More information

The work of artists on display includes that of Romare Bearden, Rockwell Kent, and Salvador Dali among others. "Art in the Book" provides a glimpse into the wide variety of illustrative...

Cost: $6-$12; children under 4 free

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


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

This exhibition, featuring 12 important paintings, drawings and prints, as well as a rare example of the artist's sculpture, will give them the opportunity to do so. Through the use of a rich...

Cost: $6-$12; children under 4 free

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


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

Currently the only Egyptian mummy in North Carolina. Families can explore the culture and history of the 22nd Dynasty, uncover the mystery of mummification in the hands-on CSI Lab, and meet...

Cost: $6

Where:
Iredell Museums
134 Court St.
Statesville, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-873-7347
Website »

More information

K(NO)W Justice K(NO)W Peace is a community-created exhibit about police-involved shootings throughout the nation and here in Charlotte. Co-created with activists and law enforcement, the media,...

Cost: $5-$8

Where:
Levine Museum of the New South
200 E. Seventh St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-333-1887
Website »

More information

In the 1920s, Cleveland County experienced an economic boom and bust, the heyday of the textile mills, the birth of the political engine known as the Shelby Dynasty, and improved education,...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-739-1019
Website »

More information

Discover a settler's life from 250 years ago. Examine buildings and fence construction, explore the kitchen garden and meet heritage livestock. Visit with a live interpreter as they go about...

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Monkey Joe’s North Carolina locations are celebrating summer with special offers for each weekday: Monday: 20% off meal packages Tuesday: Toddler Tuesday, children 4 and younger will...

Cost: See website for prices

Where:
Monkey Joe's University, Pineville, Gastonia and Matthews locations
, NC


Website »

More information

Back by popular demand, the high-flying acrobats from Cirque Imagine return to Carowinds Theatre. Moms, dads and kids can watch spectacular stunts and acrobatics right before their very eyes....

Cost: Cost of Carowinds admission

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


Telephone: 704-588-2600
Website »

More information

Get out of the heat and enjoy a refreshing day at the gallery. Featuring a wide array of cooling images of oceans, rivers, brooks and nautical themes. Enjoy refreshments all month as well as...

Cost: Free

Where:
Charlotte Fine Art Gallery
7510 Pineville-Matthews Road
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-541-0741
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:
The Harvey B. Gantt Center
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:
The Harvey B. Gantt Center
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:
The Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

Find out what you can do to save our oceans. We will talk about sustainability and how important it is to recycle. Also at 1:45pm.

Cost: $10

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

Enjoy two great mini programs in the science theater. First explore the constellations of summer in a seasonal stargazing tour of the night sky. Then, encounter the beautiful Northern Lights in a...

Cost: $9-$10

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
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

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

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Trinity Presbyterian Church
3115 Providence Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Sample food and beverages from a variety of food trucks and enjoy live entertainment at this weekly event. 

Cost: Free

Where:
329 McGill Ave. NW
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Join Dilworth neighbors in this family and pet-friendly food truck fest each week. 

Cost: Free admission

Where:
1324 E. Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Spirit Square will host weekly free outdoor concerts or movies, with concessions available for purchase. Movie line-up will be announced later this summer. 

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Unwind with Bluegrass and Americana music, food trucks, beverages, and more. 

Cost: Free admission

Where:
First Ward Park
301 E. 7th St.
, 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

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

Created in collaboration with Playskool and GE, kids can design, build and work together to make amazing Tinkertoy structures using GE Technology as their guide. Experiment with renewable energy...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-416-4600
Website »

More information

Meet a variety of live animals from the museum's collection and learn their names, where they live, what they eat and how they survive. There will be hands-on opportunities with live animals....

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

Accompany a safari guide on a prehistoric adventure through our featured exhibit. Surprises, special activities and "secret" information about the dinosaurs that await the...

Cost: $9-$10

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Search for and keep mineral treasures like garnets, topaz, rubies, emeralds and rose quartz in the running water sluice.

Cost: $10-$11

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Did An Asteroid Really Kill the Dinosaurs? Sixty five (65) million years ago the last of the non-avian dinosaurs vanished from the fossil record.  Scientists have discovered evidence that...

Cost: $9-$10

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Visit the 80,000 square foot floor with more than 100,000 new and gently-used everything you can imagine to outfit the kids. From infants to teens we've got what you need.  From toys to...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-507-7615
Website »

More information

Created by Betty Brin Children's Museum in collaboration with the US Forest Service, this interactive nature-themed exhibit is packed with fun activities that highlight ways that kids and...

Cost: $5-$8

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


Telephone: 803-329-2121
Website »

More information

This year is the 30th birthday of Waldo from the series "Where's Waldo." Patrons are invited to stop by the store and pick up a Waldo passport so they can search for him in local area...

Cost: Free

Where:
Main Street Books
126 S. Main St.
Davidson, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-892-6841
Website »

More information

Celebrate shark week with a variety of activities, including crafts, exploring for finds such as shark teeth and nautiloid shells, anatomy of a shark, and more. Mon-Sat., 9am-5pm; Sun., noon-5pm.

Cost: $13-$17

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


Telephone: 704-373-6261
Website »

More information

The 2017 BMX World Championships will be held in Rock Hill in late July. Visit the website for a full schedule of events. 

Cost: $3-$12.50; children 5 and under free

Where:
Novant Health BMX Supercross Track
1307 Riverwalk Pkwy.
Rock Hill, SC
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

Show More...
Show Less...

Help celebrate National Lasagna Day. Vendors will be handing out free lasagna recipes that use fresh ingredients. Who knew there were so many different recipes to try? Stop by the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Charlotte Regional Farmes Market
1801 Yorkmont Road
Charlotte, NC  28217
View map »


Telephone: 704-357-1269
Website »

More information

The Schiele Museum's Animal Husbandry Interns showcase their animal knowledge, talent and skills using live animals, hands-on opportunities, crafts and activities to promote wildlife...

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

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

  Stop by for educational hands-on LEGO® based sessions with Build Me Up Bricks 4 Kidz of Fort Mill. Boys and girls ages 4-13+ can participate in one of three different sessions...

Cost: $6

Where:
Museum of York County
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
Rock Hill, SC  29732
View map »


Telephone: 803-329-2121
Website »

More information

The Hello Kitty Cafe Truck returns to Northlake Mall bearing goodies such as macarons, mini cakes, Hello Kitty products and more. Families can also participate in the MallStars Chalk Art...

Cost: Free admission

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


Telephone: 704-921-2000
Website »

More information

Join staff members as they read stories about turning everyday situations into amazing super adventures. Children are invited to come dressed as their favorite superhero, villain or character, and...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-364-0626
Website »

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Shop back to school and have fun doing it. Bring the whole family and join us for Back to School themed activities including a fashion show, balloon artist, face painting, music and snacks....

Cost: Free

Where:
Belk-Northlake Mall
7115 Northlake Mall Drive
Charlotte, NC  28216
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Meet local author Renate Moore, then sit back and enjoy as she reads excerpts from her book “A Frog in Grandma’s Cup." After the reading, there will be time for her to...

Cost: $8-$16

Where:
Cajun Canvas
11116-B South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28273
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Telephone: 704-504-5224
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Children ages Pre-K to 9 can explore the universe through 3-D virtual reality  models of the solar system and create squishy intergalactic slime using basic kitchen table ingredients. Early...

Cost: $25

Where:
University City
1520 Overland Park Lane
Suite 1 -107
Charlotte, NC  28262
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Telephone: 704-502-2836
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Enjoy 1,500 square feet of bugs, butterflies, beetles, moths, flies, and other six-legged creatures from around the world. This scientific collection features real preserved specimens...

Cost: $6-$7

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
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Telephone: 704-866-6923
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Enjoy a fascinating look at all the wonders of eclipses, when one celestial object blocks the view of another. Discover what eclipses are, how and when they occur, a perfect lead-in to our...

Cost: $9-$10

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
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Telephone: 704-866-6900
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The Science of Ripley's Believe It or Not! presents an extraordinary collection of intriguing objects and astonishing artifacts from Ripley's Believe It or Not! Go places you've never...

Cost: $10-$25

Where:
Discovery Place Science
301 N. Tryon St.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-373-6261
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This survey includes more than 150 works of art, including five original kinetic sculptures, spanning the forty-year career of the revolutionary Swiss kinetic artist. Mon., Wed., Thurs., and Sat.,...

Cost: $4-$8

Where:
The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-353-9200
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The work of artists on display includes that of Romare Bearden, Rockwell Kent, and Salvador Dali among others. "Art in the Book" provides a glimpse into the wide variety of illustrative...

Cost: $6-$12; children under 4 free

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
, NC
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Telephone: 704-337-2000
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This exhibition, featuring 12 important paintings, drawings and prints, as well as a rare example of the artist's sculpture, will give them the opportunity to do so. Through the use of a rich...

Cost: $6-$12; children under 4 free

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-337-2000
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Paddle the edges of McDowell Nature Preserve with ACA certified instructors and enjoy time with your family, while learning about the natural history that makes Lake Wylie a great destination for...

Cost: $15

Where:
McDowell Nature Center
15222 York Road
Charlotte, NC  28278
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Telephone: 980-314-1128
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Thanks to the launch of a new scholarship fund, Lil Miss Fits Dance Studio will offer free dance classes Saturday mornings in July and August. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Lil Miss Fits Dance Studio
2925 E. Independence Blvd.
Charlotte, NC  28205
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Telephone: 315-383-2462
Contact Name: Jiya Williams
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Currently the only Egyptian mummy in North Carolina. Families can explore the culture and history of the 22nd Dynasty, uncover the mystery of mummification in the hands-on CSI Lab, and meet...

Cost: $6

Where:
Iredell Museums
134 Court St.
Statesville, NC
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Telephone: 704-873-7347
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K(NO)W Justice K(NO)W Peace is a community-created exhibit about police-involved shootings throughout the nation and here in Charlotte. Co-created with activists and law enforcement, the media,...

Cost: $5-$8

Where:
Levine Museum of the New South
200 E. Seventh St.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-333-1887
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In the 1920s, Cleveland County experienced an economic boom and bust, the heyday of the textile mills, the birth of the political engine known as the Shelby Dynasty, and improved education,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kings Mountain Historical Museum
100 East Mountain St.
Kings Mountain, NC  28086
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Telephone: 704-739-1019
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Discover a settler's life from 250 years ago. Examine buildings and fence construction, explore the kitchen garden and meet heritage livestock. Visit with a live interpreter as they go about...

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
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Telephone: 704-866-6900
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Monkey Joe’s North Carolina locations are celebrating summer with special offers for each weekday: Monday: 20% off meal packages Tuesday: Toddler Tuesday, children 4 and younger will...

Cost: See website for prices

Where:
Monkey Joe's University, Pineville, Gastonia and Matthews locations
, NC


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Back by popular demand, the high-flying acrobats from Cirque Imagine return to Carowinds Theatre. Moms, dads and kids can watch spectacular stunts and acrobatics right before their very eyes....

Cost: Cost of Carowinds admission

Where:
Carowinds
14523 Carowinds Blvd.
Charlotte, NC  28273
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Telephone: 704-588-2600
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Get out of the heat and enjoy a refreshing day at the gallery. Featuring a wide array of cooling images of oceans, rivers, brooks and nautical themes. Enjoy refreshments all month as well as...

Cost: Free

Where:
Charlotte Fine Art Gallery
7510 Pineville-Matthews Road
Charlotte, NC
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Telephone: 704-541-0741
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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:
The Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
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Telephone: 704-547-3700
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The debut of one of the most expansive collections of abstract and contemporary African-American art.

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
The Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
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Telephone: 704-374-1565
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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
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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:
The Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
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Telephone: 704-547-3700
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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
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Sponsor: Lakeshore Learning Store
Telephone: 704-849-2450
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Carolina Raptor Center's high flying, gravity defying summer flight show features CRC’s trainers putting our native and exotic birds through their paces in free flight. Experience the...

Cost: $8-$12; free for ages 3 and under

Where:
Carolina Raptor Center
6000 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC  28078
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Enjoy two great mini programs in the science theater. First explore the constellations of summer in a seasonal stargazing tour of the night sky. Then, encounter the beautiful Northern Lights in a...

Cost: $9-$10

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
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Telephone: 704-866-6900
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Enjoy food, beverages, and live music at this weekly summer concert series. 

Cost: $5 parking fee

Where:
U.S. National Whitewater Center
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-391-3900
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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
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Sponsor: The Schiele Museum of Natural History
Telephone: 704-866-6923
Contact Name: Philip McGinnis
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Discover 400 years of Catawba Indian history as you explore replicated structures that reflect the life and culture of the Carolina Woodlands. Weather permitting;...

Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission.

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
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Sponsor: The Schiele Museum of Natural History
Telephone: 704-866-6923
Contact Name: Philip McGinnis
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Created in collaboration with Playskool and GE, kids can design, build and work together to make amazing Tinkertoy structures using GE Technology as their guide. Experiment with renewable energy...

Cost: Free

Where:
ImaginOn: The Joe & Joan Martin Center
300 E. 7th St.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-416-4600
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Meet a variety of live animals from the museum's collection and learn their names, where they live, what they eat and how they survive. There will be hands-on opportunities with live animals....

Cost: $6-$7

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
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Telephone: 704-866-6900
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Accompany a safari guide on a prehistoric adventure through our featured exhibit. Surprises, special activities and "secret" information about the dinosaurs that await the...

Cost: $9-$10

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
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Telephone: 704-866-6900
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Search for and keep mineral treasures like garnets, topaz, rubies, emeralds and rose quartz in the running water sluice.

Cost: $10-$11

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
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Telephone: 704-866-6900
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Did An Asteroid Really Kill the Dinosaurs? Sixty five (65) million years ago the last of the non-avian dinosaurs vanished from the fossil record.  Scientists have discovered evidence that...

Cost: $9-$10

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
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Telephone: 704-866-6900
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Visit the 80,000 square foot floor with more than 100,000 new and gently-used everything you can imagine to outfit the kids. From infants to teens we've got what you need.  From toys to...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Park Expo & Conference Center
800 Briar Creek Road
Charlotte, NC  28205
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Telephone: 704-507-7615
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Created by Betty Brin Children's Museum in collaboration with the US Forest Service, this interactive nature-themed exhibit is packed with fun activities that highlight ways that kids and...

Cost: $5-$8

Where:
Museum of York County
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
Rock Hill, SC
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Telephone: 803-329-2121
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This year is the 30th birthday of Waldo from the series "Where's Waldo." Patrons are invited to stop by the store and pick up a Waldo passport so they can search for him in local area...

Cost: Free

Where:
Main Street Books
126 S. Main St.
Davidson, NC
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Telephone: 704-892-6841
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Celebrate shark week with a variety of activities, including crafts, exploring for finds such as shark teeth and nautiloid shells, anatomy of a shark, and more. Mon-Sat., 9am-5pm; Sun., noon-5pm.

Cost: $13-$17

Where:
Discovery Place Science
301 N. Tryon St.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-373-6261
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The 2017 BMX World Championships will be held in Rock Hill in late July. Visit the website for a full schedule of events. 

Cost: $3-$12.50; children 5 and under free

Where:
Novant Health BMX Supercross Track
1307 Riverwalk Pkwy.
Rock Hill, SC
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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
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Telephone: 704-922-7681
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Encore Theatre Company Youth Guild presents "Seussical the Musical" for two weekends only, ending a three-week rehearsal intensive. Cast, ages 13-21, are part of an audition-only company...

Cost: $10

Where:
The Haid Theatre, Belmont Abbey College
100 Belmont-Mt. Holly Road
Belmont, NC  28012
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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.