Education is Key to Controlling Food Allergies


Published:

When even a Hershey’s Kiss can be devastating, it’s paramount that parents teach their children with food allergies when and how to say "no," especially at school.

Reed Pake, a rising Mooresville sixth-grader, learned this lesson early on. His mom, Wendy Pake, says, "One of his first words was ‘ingredients’ as in ‘what are the ingredients?’ so he helps avoid those situations. Of course, there were times when unsafe food treats were given out; in these cases, he said ‘no, thank you’ and was just a good sport as long as everyone washed their hands afterwards."

Of course, it’s also just as important to educate your child’s teachers and caregivers, and help them understand the seriousness of food allergies.

"The key here is education, education, education and empowering your child’s caregivers with the knowledge that they can effectively handle their food allergies," says Gabriella Carsten, of Waxhaw. Her son, 4-year-old Henry, is allergic to several foods.

"I educate his teachers in detail about his allergies, handing out and showing how to use Epi-pen trainers, and staying in constant contact with his teachers throughout the year regarding parties, celebrations and holiday ‘feasts.’ For any surprises, like a birthday situation, we keep a bag of safe treats for him at school so that if something unsuspected does arise, he is not without," says Carsten.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that food allergies affect 11 million people in the United States. Food allergies lead to 30,000 cases of anaphylaxis, 2,000 hospital stays and 150 deaths each year.
If you’re the parent of a newly diagnosed child, Charlotte Parent is here to help you make living with food allergies a little easier.

Warning Signs
Kay Knight, M.D., of the Alabama Allergy and Asthma Clinic in Birmingham, Ala., says not everyone will react the same way to every food allergen. "Different children can experience different symptoms," she says. Some reactions include:
• Hives
• Swelling of lips, tongue, throat
• Nausea
• Abdominal cramps, diarrhea
• Eczema
• Shortness of breath, wheezing
• Drop in blood pressure
• Loss of consciousness
According to the Food Allergy Initiative, anaphylaxis is the most severe allergic reaction and can include one or more of the symptoms listed above. It is sudden, severe and can be fatal, and it should always be treated as a medical emergency.

Staying Safe
It’s vital that people understand the seriousness of food allergies. "They can be life-threatening and shouldn’t be taken lightly," Dr. Knight says.

"Communication is the biggest key," says Susan Teske, director of clinical nutrition and lactation services at Children’s Hospital in Birmingham, Ala. "Everyone who comes in contact with your child on a regular basis should be aware of the allergy. Awareness is the key."
You can’t be with your child 24/7, so teach him to take responsibility for his own health. Your child should know how to respond when someone offers a treat he cannot have. "Teach your child not to accept food from others or share or trade lunches," Dr. Knight says. "Teach them to say something like, ‘I can’t eat that. I’ll get sick.’ "

Substitutes Available
If your son is allergic to cow’s milk, it doesn’t mean he’ll have to eat his cereal dry forever. Alternatives exist for some foods that cause allergies.

Teske says rice milk or soy milk, such as the Silk brand, are good alternatives to cow’s milk. Dr. Knight adds that rice flour and soy flour are good substitutions for wheat, and fruit purees will work in place of eggs.

And even though your daughter may not be able to eat eggs as a 2-year-old, she might eventually outgrow the allergy. Dr. Knight says about 80 percent of children outgrow allergies to milk, eggs, soy and wheat.

Resources for Living
Having a food-allergic child doesn't mean you have to prepare all of his meals at home. Carsten and Pake have found that several local restaurants are responsive to those with food allergies. Their favorites include Jason’s Deli, Maggiano’s, Chili’s, Red Robin and McDonald’s.
Pake says, "We just have to be very specific and check the hamburger before Reed eats it."

With all the books and Web sites that offer information on living well with food allergies, you’ll be able to make sure your child can enjoy birthday parties and playdates like other kids. Cookbooks offer recipes and online stores offer goodies that are safe for those with food allergies.

Here are some resources recommended by Dr. Knight and Teske and moms of kids with food allergies:
• Parents of Allergic Kids, www.pakcharlotte.org, is a Charlotte network of friends who support each other. The group seeks "to raise awareness about the prevalence and severity of food allergies. We also want to educate parents, caregivers, professionals, and our children’s peers about safely caring for our children."
• Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN), www.foodallergy.org, aims to build public awareness of food allergy through the media, education, advocacy and research efforts. The site also includes recipes, answers to common questions and a guide for the newly diagnosed.
• Food Allergy Initiative, www.foodallergyinitiative.com, is a nonprofit that raises funds for the treatment and cure of food allergies. Each of the top eight allergens has its own page that lists products that are common sources for the allergen. Alternatives to the allergen are also included.
• Food Allergy Information & Training Helper, www.foodallergyfaith.org, is a nonprofit designed to educate the public. Alabama mom Heather Garner started the site after her daughter developed food allergies.
• Allergy Grocer: www.allergygrocer.com
• Divvies foods: www.divvies.com
• Vermont Nut Free: www.vermontnutfree.com
• "The Parent’s Guide to Food Allergies," by Marianne S. Barber
• "Getting Started With Food Allergies: A Guide for the Newly Diagnosed," by FAAN, is filled with the basics. It also provides tips on grocery shopping, food labels and eating out.
• "Understanding and Managing Your Child’s Food Allergies," by Scott Sicherer
• "The Food Allergy News Cookbook"
• "What’s to Eat? The Milk-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free Food Allergy Cookbook," by Linda Marienhoff Coss

Tiffani Hill-Patterson writes about parenting, health and fitness. She can be found on the Web at www.tiffanihillpatterson.com.

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July 2020

Have a fun night with the family at the ballpark.

Cost: $10-$15, children 3 and younger free

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Sims Park
1001 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way
Gastonia, NC
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Chuck E. Cheese
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Sun Valley High School
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Matthews United Methodist Church
801 S. Trade St.
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On Saturdays and Sundays from noon-5pm, the arcade bar opens to all ages with a parent or guardian present.

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Abari Game Bar
1721 N. Davidson St.
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Telephone: 980-430-4587
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Goldfish Swim School
13403 S. Ridge Drive
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Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free

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Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
, NC
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Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
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Carowinds
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Cost: $45+, children ages 3-5 free entry with a Pre-K Pass

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Carowinds Paladium
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Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
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Sponsor: Authentic Teaching
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Cost: $21-$31

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New Hope Baptist Church
2024 Redbud Drive
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Cost: $11 for one hour

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DefyGravity Trampoline Park
8116 University City Blvd.
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The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
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Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
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Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

Cost: $8, $10 on weekends and school holidays

Where:
Superior Play Systems
11415 Granite St.
Suite C
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Multiplied: Edition MAT and the Transformable Work of Art examines the rise of three-dimensional objects issued in editions, which emerged as an international phenomenon in the 1960s and 1970s.

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

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


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More information

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

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


Website »

More information

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Contact Name: Valorie Liggett
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Cost: $11 for one hour

Where:
DefyGravity Trampoline Park
8116 University City Blvd.
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George Beverly Shea and Cliff Barrows presented faith of Jesus Christ in song. Come discover the ways the Lord used their efforts and their music to open hearts around the world. Read inspiring...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
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Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
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Cost: $8, $10 on weekends and school holidays

Where:
Superior Play Systems
11415 Granite St.
Suite C
, NC
View map »


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Teach or play with your child in the heated pool.

Cost: $5 per swimmer, max $15 per family

Where:
Goldfish Swim School
13403 S. Ridge Drive
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View map »


Website »

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Cost: $7 per hour for each jumper with special needs and immediate family members

Where:
Defy Gravity Trampoline Park
8116 University City Blvd.
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Cost: $8; free for children 13 and younger

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Charlotte Motor Speedway
5555 Concord Pkwy. S.
Concord, NC
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Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
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More information

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

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


Website »

More information

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Cost: $15

Where:
, NC


Sponsor: Pinkyswear Foundation
Contact Name: Valorie Liggett
Website »

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Toddlers can enjoy a special jump session every weekday morning. With each child age 6 and younger, an adult may jump for free, not including DefyGravity socks for $3.

Cost: $11 for one hour

Where:
DefyGravity Trampoline Park
8116 University City Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

George Beverly Shea and Cliff Barrows presented faith of Jesus Christ in song. Come discover the ways the Lord used their efforts and their music to open hearts around the world. Read inspiring...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
Website »

More information

Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

Cost: $8, $10 on weekends and school holidays

Where:
Superior Play Systems
11415 Granite St.
Suite C
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Explore the Mint Museum's exhibitions without charge.

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

This exhibition is the first to focus exclusively on the black basalt sculpture made by Josiah Wedgwood and other Staffordshire potters in late eighteenth-century England. 

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

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


Website »

More information

Multiplied: Edition MAT and the Transformable Work of Art examines the rise of three-dimensional objects issued in editions, which emerged as an international phenomenon in the 1960s and 1970s.

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

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


Website »

More information

The Things Come Apart exhibit reveals the inner workings of common, everyday items. Images explore how things are designed and how technology has evolved over time.

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

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


Website »

More information

This exhibit explores the various aspects of walls, which includes the artistic, social, political and historical aspects, as well as the physical barriers like fences or sand berms. The space is...

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

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


Website »

More information

Join us for our Pinkyswear Virtual Kids Triathlon event. This virtual event which kicks off formally on June 1st for all ages and abilities, and the triathlon can be completed anywhere! The...

Cost: $15

Where:
, NC


Sponsor: Pinkyswear Foundation
Contact Name: Valorie Liggett
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Drop off your little ones to explore, play and learn during Music Mondays, Theater Thursdays and Food Fridays. A small snack is provided. Register online.

Cost: $21-$31

Where:
New Hope Baptist Church
2024 Redbud Drive
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Toddlers can enjoy a special jump session every weekday morning. With each child age 6 and younger, an adult may jump for free, not including DefyGravity socks for $3.

Cost: $11 for one hour

Where:
DefyGravity Trampoline Park
8116 University City Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

George Beverly Shea and Cliff Barrows presented faith of Jesus Christ in song. Come discover the ways the Lord used their efforts and their music to open hearts around the world. Read inspiring...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
Website »

More information

Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

Cost: $8, $10 on weekends and school holidays

Where:
Superior Play Systems
11415 Granite St.
Suite C
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Hear live music every Thursday, June 4 through August 13. Bring chairs, blankets, and money for food trucks, beer, wine and sodas. See website for lineup.

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

River Jam brings live music outdoors, right in the middle of the world’s largest man-made whitewater river. Hear music on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, as well as during each of...

Cost: $6 for parking

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Website »

More information

This exhibition is the first to focus exclusively on the black basalt sculpture made by Josiah Wedgwood and other Staffordshire potters in late eighteenth-century England. 

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

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


Website »

More information

Multiplied: Edition MAT and the Transformable Work of Art examines the rise of three-dimensional objects issued in editions, which emerged as an international phenomenon in the 1960s and 1970s.

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

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


Website »

More information

The Things Come Apart exhibit reveals the inner workings of common, everyday items. Images explore how things are designed and how technology has evolved over time.

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

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


Website »

More information

This exhibit explores the various aspects of walls, which includes the artistic, social, political and historical aspects, as well as the physical barriers like fences or sand berms. The space is...

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

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


Website »

More information

Join us for our Pinkyswear Virtual Kids Triathlon event. This virtual event which kicks off formally on June 1st for all ages and abilities, and the triathlon can be completed anywhere! The...

Cost: $15

Where:
, NC


Sponsor: Pinkyswear Foundation
Contact Name: Valorie Liggett
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Drop off your little ones to explore, play and learn during Music Mondays, Theater Thursdays and Food Fridays. A small snack is provided. Register online.

Cost: $21-$31

Where:
New Hope Baptist Church
2024 Redbud Drive
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Toddlers can enjoy a special jump session every weekday morning. With each child age 6 and younger, an adult may jump for free, not including DefyGravity socks for $3.

Cost: $11 for one hour

Where:
DefyGravity Trampoline Park
8116 University City Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

George Beverly Shea and Cliff Barrows presented faith of Jesus Christ in song. Come discover the ways the Lord used their efforts and their music to open hearts around the world. Read inspiring...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
Website »

More information

Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

Cost: $8, $10 on weekends and school holidays

Where:
Superior Play Systems
11415 Granite St.
Suite C
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Caregivers and their littles learn new yoga poses with songs and games. Multiple class rates available.

Cost: $20

Where:
Tiny Blooms Yoga
15905 Brookway Drive
Suite 4106
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Teach or play with your child in the heated pool.

Cost: $5 per swimmer, max $15 per family

Where:
Goldfish Swim School
13403 S. Ridge Drive
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

rab dinner from a variety of local food trucks at this weekly rally. Visit the website for a list of participating trucks.

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Resident Culture Brewing Company
2101 Central Ave.
, NC
View map »


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More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Sycamore Brewing
2161 Hawkins St.
, NC
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Cost: Free

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


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Cost: Free

Where:
Oak Street Mill
19725 Oak St.
Cornelius, NC
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Cost: $25

Where:
Romp n' Roll NW Charlotte
3611 Mt. Holly-Huntersville Road
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, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Live the story of Stephen and the Apostles. Experience the rousing power of ANNO DOMINI: the year of our Lord while enjoying a Greek dinner.

Cost: $10-$40

Where:
NarroWay Theater
3327 Highway 51
Fort Mill, SC  29715
View map »


Website »

More information

River Jam brings live music outdoors, right in the middle of the world’s largest man-made whitewater river. Hear music on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, as well as during each of...

Cost: $6 for parking

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Website »

More information

This exhibition is the first to focus exclusively on the black basalt sculpture made by Josiah Wedgwood and other Staffordshire potters in late eighteenth-century England. 

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

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


Website »

More information

Multiplied: Edition MAT and the Transformable Work of Art examines the rise of three-dimensional objects issued in editions, which emerged as an international phenomenon in the 1960s and 1970s.

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

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


Website »

More information

The Things Come Apart exhibit reveals the inner workings of common, everyday items. Images explore how things are designed and how technology has evolved over time.

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

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


Website »

More information

See the original, Broadway-style dinner show, and experience the story of Stephen and the Apostles. See website for showtimes.

Cost: $10-$40

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


Sponsor: NarroWay Productions
Telephone: 803-802-2300
Website »

More information

This exhibit explores the various aspects of walls, which includes the artistic, social, political and historical aspects, as well as the physical barriers like fences or sand berms. The space is...

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

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


Website »

More information

Join us for our Pinkyswear Virtual Kids Triathlon event. This virtual event which kicks off formally on June 1st for all ages and abilities, and the triathlon can be completed anywhere! The...

Cost: $15

Where:
, NC


Sponsor: Pinkyswear Foundation
Contact Name: Valorie Liggett
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Learn about women in history who championed the cause of women's suffrage in this country and overseas in the late 19th and early 20th century in this performance by Jessica Michna with...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

George Beverly Shea and Cliff Barrows presented faith of Jesus Christ in song. Come discover the ways the Lord used their efforts and their music to open hearts around the world. Read inspiring...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
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

Live the story of Stephen and the Apostles. Experience the rousing power of ANNO DOMINI: the year of our Lord while enjoying a Greek dinner.

Cost: $10-$40

Where:
NarroWay Theater
3327 Highway 51
Fort Mill, SC  29715
View map »


Website »

More information

The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library presents monthly story times at 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. every second Saturday of the month.

Cost: Free

Where:
Northlake Mall Live 360° Games Court
6801 Northlake Mall Drive
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Northlake Mall
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River Jam brings live music outdoors, right in the middle of the world’s largest man-made whitewater river. Hear music on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, as well as during each of...

Cost: $6 for parking

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.
, NC
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Sponsor: USNWC
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Bring chairs and blankets to watch movies in the park. Concessions will be available for purchase. The second Saturday of the month, May through September with a Halloween special on Oct. 17. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Stowe Park
24 S. Main St.
Belmont, NC
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This exhibition is the first to focus exclusively on the black basalt sculpture made by Josiah Wedgwood and other Staffordshire potters in late eighteenth-century England. 

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

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
, NC
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Multiplied: Edition MAT and the Transformable Work of Art examines the rise of three-dimensional objects issued in editions, which emerged as an international phenomenon in the 1960s and 1970s.

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

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
, NC
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The Things Come Apart exhibit reveals the inner workings of common, everyday items. Images explore how things are designed and how technology has evolved over time.

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

Where:
Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
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See the original, Broadway-style dinner show, and experience the story of Stephen and the Apostles. See website for showtimes.

Cost: $10-$40

Where:
NarroWay Theatre
3327 Hwy 51
Fort Mill, SC
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Sponsor: NarroWay Productions
Telephone: 803-802-2300
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This exhibit explores the various aspects of walls, which includes the artistic, social, political and historical aspects, as well as the physical barriers like fences or sand berms. The space is...

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

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
, NC
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Join us for our Pinkyswear Virtual Kids Triathlon event. This virtual event which kicks off formally on June 1st for all ages and abilities, and the triathlon can be completed anywhere! The...

Cost: $15

Where:
, NC


Sponsor: Pinkyswear Foundation
Contact Name: Valorie Liggett
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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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