Inspiring Healthy Living in Special Needs Families


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I felt out of place chatting with moms on a playground at a museum in Denver, Colorado. It was 2013, and we had just temporarily moved out West for my husband's job. I was still reeling from my son Andrew's autism diagnosis that week. I had just reached into my bag for Goldfish when the mom next to me pulled out bananas and sliced green peppers. At the time, a banana and raw peppers seemed like a strange snack to me. I had never packed a whole food for a snack. I never remember whole fruits or vegetables in my own lunch box growing up. 

I grew up in the 1980s in a rural area where a typical packed lunch was a diet soda, a bologna sandwich, a pack of "nabs" crackers and a a Little Debbie cake. Sitting at the museum that day, I was carrying an excess of 250 pounds on my 5-feet-1-inch frame. I had high blood pressure, obstructive sleep apnea, reflex sympathetic dystrophy, and at times, needed a wheelchair.

When I moved to Colorado, I was struck by how healthy the vast majority of people around me seemed. Moms actively climbed alongside kids on the equipment, while I stayed lonely on the bench. I was usually the heaviest woman of those around me. I remember a conversation about my son's recent diagnosis with one mother at the zoo who was eyeing me while I crunched on Doritos and M&Ms.

"Have you thought about going gluten free? Because, I feel like that has helped my daughter's Tourette's. She hasn't had an outburst in two years. I got rid of all gluten and processed food." She went on to explain that she milled her own grain for bread and homeschooled her five children. I thought she was pushy! 

But, if I had to be really honest with myself, those homemade granola bites that mama had offered me were delicious and I was intrigued by her story. Later, in the bathroom, my son was practically clawing at my eyeballs to get out because there was an accelerator hand dryer, and my tears welled up and poured. It had been so hard to walk the inclines of that mountainside zoo in the baking hot sun. I was out of breath, my feet were swollen and my head was swimming with fears over my son's new diagnosis. I didn't understand what occupational therapy was, or gluten for that matter. I didn't know why my child would lay on the sidewalk, refusing to walk through a door if someone was holding it open or bawl for an hour if we took the "wrong street" home. Why did he spin circles in loud restaurants? Why did he walk straight up to kids and spout facts about train model numbers and their corresponding connecting rods instead of just saying hi?

What I did know, is that I was going to have to change much about our lifestyle, including our eating habits. I could feel it. I knew I needed to change, for myself and for my son. At the time, I just didn't know how yet.

Fast Forward

Six years later and my husband, Keith, and I have each lost more than 100 pounds. At last check, my blood pressure was lower than my preschooler's. I have become a certified personal trainer and a certified health coach. I eat a completely plant-based, gluten-free diet and I wouldn't have it any other way. Women and their families that have many different ways of eating come to me for help with healthy-habit formation. Despite our healthy changes, my husband and I still struggle at times to motivate our sons (and ourselves) to choose healthy foods, but we are always open to learning new skills. 

I have one very picky eater, but, surprise, it's not my autistic kid! Andrew's little brother, Jacob, is 4. Jacob has two rare disorders: Hemophilia Factor VIII deficiency, a bleeding disorder; and Marcus Gunn Jaw Winking Syndrome, a disorder that affects the eye and jaw when eating and drinking. He also suffered kidney failure from Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, which was caused by the e.Coli strain 0157:H7. Jacob knows that it was beef that likely caused his nearly fatal illness and that food sensitivities potentially cause some of his ongoing symptoms. He also contracted e.Coli two summers in a row; the last one coinciding perfectly with a major beef recall. This is a long story for another post, suffice it to say, we are concerned about food for many different reasons. Partly because of his medical history, Jacob falls more in line with a typical 4-year-old, in love with broccoli one day and spitting it out the next.

On the other hand, Andrew has developed a mature and adventurous palate to which I credit our parallel growth through various therapies. Andrew is now 9 and has since been dual diagnosed with ADD like his dad. Through my own therapy, I learned that I, too, have Asperger's syndrome, which I should have known from having been diagnosed with synesthesia, a neurological condition associated with autism, as a young adult. 

The journey to get healthy and manage all of our sensory and medical issues has caused my family to be vigilant regarding food and movement. After all, it's through diet and exercise that each person in my family manages our individual conditions and symptoms, from pain and inflammation, to autism-induced constipation, from attention deficits and sensory overload, to addictions and mental health factors. Through hundreds of hours of therapy for each of us in various modalities, training in positive-parenting techniques, trauma recovery and many growing pains, my family has transitioned from a fixed mindset on health to a growth one. We are in a constant state of learning flux and feel called to share what has worked for us. Here are just a few unconventional healthy pathways that may help other families.

Don't Stop Eating Out

My husband used to travel for work, so I challenged myself, whenever possible and within budget, to expose Andrew to "fancier" or even exotic restaurants. Waiters were sometimes nervous to see a stroller or small child coming, but we came anyway. Nicer restaurants had the benefit of being quiet, which gave me a chance to focus on connecting with Andrew and practicing social skills. Rarely did they have hand dryers and never toys or screens, so it was less distracting for us.

I never will forget dining in a fine restaurant with a friend and her children shortly after moving to Charlotte. We had waltzed in dirty, sweaty and smelling like animal feed from a hot day spent at Lazy 5 Ranch. We were obviously out of place in our play clothes. The children may have hidden under the table a time or two, but we were able to expose them to new, fresh-from-the-farm vegetables they would've pushed away at home. It is still one of my most memorable meals. 

The atmosphere in nicer restaurants encourages children to act differently. Jacob may attempt to climb the walls, but if I never take him, he will never learn to sit at the table. Slower paced dining restaurants also encourage slower eating, which is excellent for digestion. When we chew until no lumps remain, this increases blood flow to the stomach and gut and also assists with metabolism. Eating slowly also enables us to pay attention to our hunger cues, of which most special needs children require specific, demonstrated awareness.

Many children on the spectrum have a disconnection of body and mind, or a feeling of being lost in space. I recognize that feeling from my childhood now that I understand I have autism, and it played a role in my previous obesity. I never thought of food as affecting me internally, or externally for that matter. Being mindful during eating helps us connect to what the food is doing within the body, as well as gives us time to think and plan for how it will affect our skin, eyes, face, etc. Will this food make us feel puffy? Will it give us energizing fuel or will it slow us down? How does this food impact my functioning?

Slowing down and savoring our food helps us calm the nervous system, prevent cortisol build up and discourages fight or flight, which is conducive to introducing kids to healthy foods. To encourage Jacob to learn to sit at the table until we have completed a meal, I give him the task of blowing out a candle in the middle of the table when we are done. This has helped him sit for longer at the table, and my oldest gets to have "moon lighting" as he calls the soothing glow.

For those of us on the spectrum or in the special-needs community with misophonia, being in a quieter space allows us to focus on reading facial expressions where needed and keep from going into sensory tunnel vision. There are so many benefits to a low-sensory eating atmosphere. That doesn't, however, mean we shouldn't have to be introduced to loud, bustling environments. It's important to be able to adapt to any environment. Avoiding non-preferred environments strengthens our preference and worsens apprehension. Dr. Carol Armstrong of Cornelius, North Carolina puts it well: "With each time you practice something, your brain becomes faster and better at it." What we practice now is what we are becoming, and this applies so perfectly to eating. 

Get Flexible with Screens

One of our biggest problems with unhealthy eating was the television. I realized we would lounge in front of it, zone out and munch mindlessly. So when I decided to get healthy, I moved the television out of the house and into my husband's office above the garage. I reasoned we could still have the occasional movie night with popcorn; the TV just wouldn't be where we could see it from our kitchen. We also claimed more space to exercise in the living room and we replaced TV with this new nightly hobby. This was not a popular decision in my home. Andrew had many meltdowns on this for months, but I persisted.

We eventually learned new ways to get Andrew to engage with us at the table. We told stories, prayed together and strengthened our connection. We used conversation prompts. We also learned to identify true hunger this way, which is something we have to continually relearn and practice as life gets ever busier and more stressful. I credit this time without television as one of the major contributors to our new health as a family. If you cannot move it out of the house, just hide the remote until you build that basic skeleton of what life is like without it. 

Now, the TV is back in the main house and we are more flexible now that the children are older. We still try to leave our phones and iPads off the table. One thing we tried for a time of transition, which worked well, was a rule of snacking in front of the TV being reserved only for fresh fruits and vegetables — no simple carbohydrates. I also learned that TV time is a great time to get my kiddos to guzzle water, because they do it mindlessly. 

Give Yourself Permission to Go "Low and Slow"

I remind myself daily of this wise advice given to me years ago by our wonderful pediatrician. Normal tasks, including meals, would take longer and be more intense. I would need to plan more time for meals and expect to deal with sensory issues, perseveration (ruminating on a posted rule, for example) and meltdowns. 

Andrew was prescribed a therapeutic sensory diet, including Wilbarger protocol brushing and massage. I would just need to "breathe through" my day, learning ways to increase my own patience with the dichotomy of his slower body pacing and lightning fast speech. You see, instead of the delay and regressions of speech that is typically accompanied with kids on the spectrum, Andrew experienced a delay and regressions of his motor skills. Along with his Asperger's, I was told that my son had low muscle tone, or hypotonia, and, though he was over three years old at the time of his diagnosis, had the motor skills of an eighteen month old baby. At the time of diagnosis, he had actually regressed to fisting his food like an infant, whereas just before his third birthday, he was using a knife and fork. However, his speech was that of a 12-year-old and had been advanced since he was less than 1. This asynchronous development made daily tasks, like just getting dressed or potty training, seem impossible.

Because of my Asperger's, I was forced to manage my own sensory symptoms at a time when I was trying to help Andrew navigate his own. I found that my diet markedly increased or decreased my symptoms. Gluten and sugar affected my mood, inflammation and sensitivity to noise and light. Caffeine affected my obsessive compulsive tendencies. Lack of citrus and protein affected my iron and level of fatigue. Lack of complex carbohydrates affected my tryptophan and therefore, my depressive tendencies. Certain food and medicines worsened my rigidity and black and white thinking.  Exercise made me more flexible in my body and mind. I learned that eating gluten and sugar would actually physically cause my brain to swell, along with everything else in my body. 

This was a life-changing analysis through self experiment that trickled to Andrew, then to the rest of my family. I become deeply interested in food and its function in the body. I actually never understood what it was like to be without daily severe sensory issues for the first 35 years of my life. They were so common, I thought they were symptoms of my physical diseases. What I hadn't known is that it was a lack of exercise and food that had actually triggered some of my diseases to begin with. After I changed my eating habits slightly, my RSD calmed. Going plant based almost eliminated it. Over time, my husband and I learned to release the intense feelings we felt, like guilt and overwhelm, in healthy ways, so that the atmosphere of the home was calm and conducive to other healthy habits. 

Don't Make it Too Easy

To this day, the best advice I have received about encouraging healthy habits came from my child's diagnosing doctor in Colorado. She said it would fly in the face of most of the popular advice I would hear about autism, and it sure did! "Never keep anything the same. Don't make it easy for Andrew," she said. As I formed groups, connected with professionals and read literature on autism, the message of strict consistency was so loud, but when we moved to North Carolina, his amazing play therapist echoed his diagnosing doctor, saying, "If he wants a spoon, give him a fork. Let him figure it out." So my theme became: "The world can't adapt to my son. He will have to adapt to the world.

I credit this methodology with Andrew's advanced fluid reasoning skills. His fluid intelligence is strong, because he is used to critically think to solve problems. 
There are so many other methods I have used to encourage our children to adopt healthy habits, from using apps to story prompts, to drumming up a series of extemporaneous ongoing stories like "Penguin Man" and "Cooking Train" to tracking down and purchasing specific postural supports for the table and restroom. We began using whole-plant concentrates, and enrolled the kids in karate and Cub Scouts.

Keith and I get the kids involved in cooking, let them decide their own recipes and meal plans, and use fun subscription services like Little Passports to spark their imaginations. We hold our breath (and sometimes our noses) and give up our need for cleanliness to allow them control and independence in the kitchen. We never give up on introducing more vegetables and fruits into their diets. We are always striving for progress, not perfection, and we still eat fast food, but I now pack bananas and peppers for lunch and make my own vegan, gluten-free snack cakes. ;)

If you would like to begin a journey to health with your family with special needs, know that you are not alone. E-mail me at jama@jamafleming.com.

Jama Fleming, M.B.A., C.P.T., C.H.C. is the owner of a private practice that specializes in helping women and their families find freedom around food. She is a graduate of King University and has resided in Charlotte for six years. She serves in her spare time on the boards of several local organizations and is active at her church. Follow her on Instagram or Facebook.

For support and to make more connections within the Charlotte area, consider joining this private Facebook group Special Friends Connection - Charlotte Area.

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Daily Calendar

May 2019

Prior to opening to the general public, the museum will offer a preparatory session for those with sensory processing issues. Items like sound dampening materials and stress balls will also be...

Cost: $4-$12

Where:
North Carolina Transportation Museum
1 Samuel Spencer Drive
Spencer, NC
View map »


Sponsor: North Carolina Transportation Museum
Website »

More information

Enjoy all-you-can-eat Italian food. Bring the kids to play in the Kid Zone with face painting and Italian lessons. Adults can enjoy live music, dance, prosecco, wine and Peroni beer.

Where:
Gateway Village Promenade
800 W. Trade St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

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Design a doodle bot, build with Makerspace Charlotte and celebrate the 75th Sunday Fun Day!

Cost: Children, free; adults, $6

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

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Sunday is Family Day at the Bigleaf Magnolia Art and Gardens Festival. Register for a family workshop, or drop in to a creation station. Cost and suggested ages vary by activity.

Cost: $2+

Where:
UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens
9090 Craver Road
, NC
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Sponsor: UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens
Website »

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In the summer of 1775, Captain James Jack rode 450 miles to deliver the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence to Congress. In honor of his historic ride, The May 20th Society invites you to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Olde Mecklenburg Brewery
4150 Yancey Road
, NC
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Families will explore spring wildflowers in the nature preserve during this self-led scavenger hunt for prizes.

Cost: Free

Where:
McDowell Nature Preserve
15222 York Road
, NC
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Put on your wellies, and reserve your spot for the tea party, which includes refreshments, crafts and cupcake-decorating.

Cost: $13.50

Where:
American Girl Southpark Mall
4400 Sharon Road
, NC
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Sponsor: American Girl
Telephone: 877-247-5223
Website »

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Enjoy traditional tea fare and pink lemonade, as well as activities for children.

Cost: $25-$40

Where:
Wing Haven Gardens
248 Ridgewood Ave
, NC
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Telephone: 704-331-0664
Website »

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See a variety of European sports cars on April 28 and the third Sunday of every month from May through November. Rain days will be scheduled if needed.

Cost: Free

Where:
SouthPark Mall
4400 Sharon Road
, NC
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Website »

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Church of the Redeemer - Kids offers a class for adaptive learning needs and a sensory room during the Sunday School hour (9 a.m.) and worship hour (10:30 a.m.). Volunteers who desire to come...

Cost: Free

Where:
Sun Valley High School
5211 Old Charlotte Hwy.
Monroe, NC
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Sponsor: Church of the Redeemer
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SUP board rentals include paddle, PFD and whistle, which are required while paddle boarding. Renters younger than 18 must have a parent or guardian with them on the water. Bring your dog for an...

Cost: $25 first hour, $14 additional hour

Where:
Windjammer Park
89999 Windjammer Drive
Tega Cay, SC
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Sponsor: The Goat Boater
Website »

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Matthews UMC offers opportunities for Christian education, discipleship, fellowship and care for persons of all ages with disabilities and their families. Experience age-level appropriate Sunday...

Cost: Free

Where:
Matthews United Methodist Church
801 S. Trade St.
Matthews, NC
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Website »

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The Special Needs Ministry at Calvary welcomes all ages and abilities! Guests, including parents and caregivers, are invited to join.

Cost: Free

Where:
Calvary Church
5801 Pineville–Matthews Road
, NC
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Telephone: 704-341-5413
Website »

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Experience creations including sculptures, photography, glass, paintings, ceramics, one-of-a-kind jewelry and mixed media while enjoying eateries and retailers of Birkdale Village.

Cost: Free

Where:
Birkdale Village
16805 Birkdale Commons Pkwy.
Huntersville, NC
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Meet a resident bird and an expert keeper in these half-hour sessions along the Raptor Trail. Saturdays 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., and Sundays 1 and 3 p.m.

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

Where:
Carolina Raptor Center
6000 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
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Sponsor: Carolina Raptor Center
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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
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Telephone: 980-430-4587
Website »

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The City is jazzing up Sunday afternoons with a new four-week jazz series. Food will be available for purchase.

Cost: Free

Where:
Veteran's Park
118 N. Main St.
Kannapolis, NC
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Website »

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Enjoy a 50-foot Alpine climbing tower, a 40-foot challenge tower and zip-line, fishing pond, archery and wooded hiking trails. Try activities like dodgeball, gagaball, basketball, volleyball,...

Cost: $10 per family

Where:
Hemby Program Center
9760 Happy Valley Drive
, NC
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Sponsor: Brace Family Y
Website »

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All ages are welcome to this open gym session with an adult. Enjoy trampolines, a foam pit and inflatables as a family.

Cost: $10 per family, cash only

Where:
Charlotte Allstar Gymnastics and Cheerleading
11011 Monroe Road
Matthews, NC
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Telephone: 704-246-8611
Website »

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Families with special needs can enjoy lessons and activities tailored for persons with disabilities. Children's class at 9:30 and 11am. Teen class at 9:30 and 11am. Young adult class at...

Cost: Free

Where:
Matthews United Methodist Church
801 S. Trade St.
Matthews, NC
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Sponsor: MUMC
Website »

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Enjoy music outdoors with the family. Dates: April 28, May 5 and 19, June 2 and 9, July 4, August 4 and 25, and September 1 and 15.

Cost: Free

Where:
Davidson Village Green
Intersection of Main Street and Concord Road
, NC
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Website »

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

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

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

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

Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

Where:
Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
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Telephone: 704-866-6908
Website »

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

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

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 South Tryon St.
, NC
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Website »

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"Welcome to Brookhill" is a collection of images that, like poetry, stir emotion. The photographs reveal what this neighborhood, like every other neighborhood, has come to be to its...

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

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

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

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

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

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Shop for bargains at this spring consignment sale.

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Lake Norman
500 S. Main Street
Mooresville, NC
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Website »

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Explore another part of the world through the IMAX original film, "Pandas," a breathtaking documentary adventure high in the mountains of Sichuan, China.

Cost: $5-$10

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

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

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

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

More information

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

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

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

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The May 20th Society’s annual commemoration of the MeckDec signing includes military and Colonial re-enactors, historical readings, military parades and cannon firing in uptown...

Cost: Free

Where:
Independence Square
Trade and Tryon Streets
, NC
View map »

More information

Develop literacy and critical thinking skills through books and hands-on activities.

Cost: Free

Where:
Matthews Library
230 Matthews Station St.
Matthews, NC
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Website »

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Come chat about a teen book and participate in related activities.

Cost: Free

Where:
Matthews Library
230 Matthews Station St.
Matthews, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Learn how to read a cookbook and follow a recipe to become a successful cook!

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-416-3000
Website »

More information

Create obstacle courses for Hexbugs using Lego pieces and blocks.

Cost: Free

Where:
University City Regional Library
301 E. W.T. Harris Blvd.
, NC
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Website »

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Discover how movement can bring stories to life in new ways.

Cost: Free

Where:
Cornelius Library
21105 Catawba Ave.
Cornelius, NC
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Website »

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Make masterpieces out of recycled book pages.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Every Monday, Sky High Sports has a special for little jumpers. The facility is still open during Munchkin Monday, so older guests may also be jumping. Munchkin Monday may be canceled on...

Cost: $4-$10

Where:
Sky High Sports
601 N. Polk St.
Pineville, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-889-5867
Website »

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Preschoolers complete nature themed literature activities, crafts and hikes while using their imaginations! All guests will meet at the Adventure Center. 1/21: Snow 2/4: Winter Bird Feeders...

Cost: $2; additional $5 entry fee for nonmembers

Where:
Anne Springs Close Greenway
194 Adventure Road
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Website »

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Children ages 6 and younger can jump at a discounted rate, and for an additional $2, parents can jump too. All jumpers need to purchase Altitude Trampoline Socks for $2.

Cost: $6.95

Where:
Altitude Trampoline Park
3490 E. Franklin Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Come play in the open gym. All students younger than 3 must have an adult present at all times. Some Mondays are closed due to holidays, so please call to verify playtime.

Cost: $5, cash only

Where:
Carolina Stars
1080 Maxwell Mill Road
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Telephone: 803-548-3441
Website »

More information

Enjoy a variety of stories based on the seasons. Learn about bugs, frogs, plants and other garden friends. Follow story time with a self-guided scavenger hunt.

Cost: $7-$13, children younger than 2 free, included with admission

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


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

This program is designed to engage young African American males in a variety of fun and educational activities to develop a positive sense of identity and improve character.

Cost: Free

Where:
Wallace Pruitt Recreation Center
440 Wesley Heights Way
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 980-314-1114
Website »

More information

Explore various painting techniques, and express your imagination.  There will be no class on May 27 for Memorial Day.

Cost: $20

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


Website »

More information

Enjoy stories, songs and movement activities, and wear pajamas! Milk and cookies will be served.

Cost: Free

Where:
Matthews Library
230 Matthews Station St.
Matthews, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Kids will have fun doing unstructured gymnastics.

Cost: $10-$15, cash only

Where:
Carolina Stars
1080 Maxwell Mill Road
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Telephone: 803-548-3441
Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6908
Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Explore another part of the world through the IMAX original film, "Pandas," a breathtaking documentary adventure high in the mountains of Sichuan, China.

Cost: $5-$10

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

See the Cabarrus Arts Council's newest exhibition, "On Paper." The exhibition will feature a wide array of artwork including cut and sculpted paper, collage and works on paper by...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Galleries
65 Union St. S.
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Participate in educational and therapeutic activities for children with special needs with Little Achievers, a sub group of the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Charlotte.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Paint on canvases for the Juice and Paint theme. This will be a Homeschool Rocks finale before summer break.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Some of NASCAR’s biggest names will battle each other for bragging rights in GoPro Motorplex’s rental fleet of go-karts.

Cost: Free

Where:
GoPro Motorplex
130 Motorplex Drive
Mooresville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

In support of FrogWatch USA, go on a frog walk and report all the different frog calls you hear. Learn about the local frogs, and discover how you can take part in this program at home.

Cost: $8, free for children younger than 2, includes museum admission

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


Website »

More information

This weekly story time includes classic tales and new favorites.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes and Noble: Arboretum
3327 Pineville-Matthews Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $8

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


Website »

More information

Children ages 6 and younger can jump at a discounted rate, and for an additional $2, parents can jump too. All jumpers need to purchase Altitude Trampoline Socks for $2.

Cost: $6.95

Where:
Altitude Trampoline Park
3490 E. Franklin Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy a story and craft activity in the Children’s Garden. Children can water vegetable plants, dig for worms and explore the gardens.

Cost: $10 per family, free for members

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


Website »

More information

This class combines yoga and play through  poses, songs and calming time.

Cost: $15

Where:
Tiny Blooms Yoga
15905 Brookway Drive
Suite 4106
Huntersville, NC  28078
View map »


Sponsor: Tiny Blooms Yoga
Website »

More information

Come discuss the book of the month. New members welcome! Light refreshments will be served. Registration is required.

Cost: Free

Where:
Matthews Library
230 Matthews Station St.
Matthews, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-416-5000
Website »

More information

Learn how to supervise children, recognize safety hazards, handle first-aid situations, play age-appropriate games, change diapers, carry out parents' instructions and discuss job...

Cost: $65-$95

Where:
Morrison Family YMCA
9405 Bryant Farms Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-716-4600
Website »

More information

Come make fun, kid-friendly campfire meals. Registration is required. May 21: Banana Boats June 18: Dogs in a Blanket July 16: Waffle Cone S’mores Aug. 20: Pizza Pies

Cost: $10-$15

Where:
Anne Springs Close Greenway
2573 Lake Haigler Drive
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6908
Website »

More information

"Welcome to Brookhill" is a collection of images that, like poetry, stir emotion. The photographs reveal what this neighborhood, like every other neighborhood, has come to be to its...

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Explore another part of the world through the IMAX original film, "Pandas," a breathtaking documentary adventure high in the mountains of Sichuan, China.

Cost: $5-$10

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


Website »

More information

See the Cabarrus Arts Council's newest exhibition, "On Paper." The exhibition will feature a wide array of artwork including cut and sculpted paper, collage and works on paper by...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Galleries
65 Union St. S.
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Discover the nature of local greenways and their importance to the environment in Mecklenburg County.

Cost: Free

Where:
McAlpine Regional Park
8711 Monroe Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Discover nature through stories, crafts and activities related to the topic.

Cost: $4

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


Website »

More information

Explore the amazing world through stories, crafts and activities.

Cost: $6

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


Website »

More information

Participants will make ice cream in a bag while participating in some activities and games.

Cost: Free

Where:
Hickory Grove Recreation Center
6709 Pence Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy puppet shows, songs and movement activities that support early literacy.

Cost: Free

Where:
Mint Hill Library
6840 Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Mint Hill, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Children ages 6 and younger can jump at a discounted rate, and for an additional $2, parents can jump too. All jumpers need to purchase Altitude Trampoline Socks for $2.

Cost: $6.95

Where:
Altitude Trampoline Park
3490 E. Franklin Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Spend time with your child learning about God and having fun.

Cost: Free

Where:
The Grounds Bookstore and Cafe
8335 Browne Road
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: The Grounds Bookstore and Cafe
Website »

More information

Preschoolers can bounce with their parents in a safe, climate-controlled facility. 

Cost: $8

Where:
BounceU (Matthews and Charlotte locations)
10624 Metromont Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Come join story time with other families. 

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Explore the Mint Museum's exhibitions.

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

Explore nature in and around the recreation center Register online.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Instructors will provide assistance to students in grades K-12 in reading and math. The instructions will be primarily facilitated by NC Educator licensed teachers.  

Cost: Free

Where:
Revolution Park Sports Academy
1225 Remount Road
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Revolution Park Sports Academy

More information

Charlotte Ballet's Cultural Dance Program presents African Dance classes. Classes are drop-in format, open to all ages and free of charge for participants. There is also child supervision...

Cost: Free

Where:
Sugar Creek Recreation Center
943 West Sugar Creek Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6908
Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

"Welcome to Brookhill" is a collection of images that, like poetry, stir emotion. The photographs reveal what this neighborhood, like every other neighborhood, has come to be to its...

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Explore another part of the world through the IMAX original film, "Pandas," a breathtaking documentary adventure high in the mountains of Sichuan, China.

Cost: $5-$10

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

See the Cabarrus Arts Council's newest exhibition, "On Paper." The exhibition will feature a wide array of artwork including cut and sculpted paper, collage and works on paper by...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Galleries
65 Union St. S.
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Create, experiment and practice teamwork teamwork in age appropriate challenges. May the force be with you! Explore the vastness of space in this session.

Cost: $15

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


Website »

More information

Use multiple critical thinking skills and the library's online resources in a small group setting to solve puzzles and codes in an interactive escape room game.

Cost: Free

Where:
Independence Regional Library
6000 Conference Drive
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Explore space with activities, games and an out-of-this world snack! Register online.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $8

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


Website »

More information

Children ages 6 and younger can jump at a discounted rate, and for an additional $2, parents can jump too. All jumpers need to purchase Altitude Trampoline Socks for $2.

Cost: $6.95

Where:
Altitude Trampoline Park
3490 E. Franklin Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Sing to songs, move to the music and enjoy an active practice with caregiver and child. Parent or guardian must be present in class.

Cost: $15

Where:
Blossom Tree Wellness
15905 Brookway Drive
Suite 4106
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Tiny Blooms Yoga
Website »

More information

Preschoolers can bounce with their parents in a safe, climate-controlled facility. 

Cost: $8

Where:
BounceU (Matthews and Charlotte locations)
10624 Metromont Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Little ones and adults discover nature together through crafts, games, songs, animal encounters and outdoor exploration. March 16-17, Inching Along; May 23-24: Life of a Ladybug. Registration...

Cost: $4

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


Website »

More information

Make a variety of crafts each week to take home. Parent participation and registration are required.

Cost: $4

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


Website »

More information

This class incorporates songs and movement and ends with a calming story.

Cost: $15

Where:
Tiny Blooms Yoga
15905 Brookway Drive
Suite 4106
Huntersville, NC  28078
View map »


Sponsor: Tiny Blooms Yoga
Website »

More information

Rock out to live entertainment, access to racing’s brightest stars, giveaways and interactive displays. Each day starting at noon, vendor displays, kids’ activities,...

Cost: Free for festival; tickets to Romare Bearden Park's concerts start at $15

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


Website »

More information

Come out every Thursday for live music in Uptown.

Cost: Free

Where:
Epicentre
210 East Trade St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Learn how to supervise children, recognize safety hazards, handle first-aid situations, play age-appropriate games, change diapers, carry out parents' instructions and discuss job...

Cost: $65-$95

Where:
Morrison Family YMCA
9405 Bryant Farms Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-716-4600
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free, $6 for parkig

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6908
Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

"Welcome to Brookhill" is a collection of images that, like poetry, stir emotion. The photographs reveal what this neighborhood, like every other neighborhood, has come to be to its...

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Explore another part of the world through the IMAX original film, "Pandas," a breathtaking documentary adventure high in the mountains of Sichuan, China.

Cost: $5-$10

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

See the Cabarrus Arts Council's newest exhibition, "On Paper." The exhibition will feature a wide array of artwork including cut and sculpted paper, collage and works on paper by...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Galleries
65 Union St. S.
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

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

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

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


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

The Hot Wheels is taking the Legends Tour experience Concord Walmart store parking lot. There will be a gaming console, Hot Wheels track play station and a vending machine giving fans a chance to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Walmart
150 Concord Commons Pl. SW
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Hike unexplored areas for fun and adventure, and learn through activities.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

This clinic teaches the basics of orienteering, including how to read map features and compasses, recognizing symbols and how to effectively use both for navigation. Stick around for live music...

Cost: Free, $6 for parking

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


Website »

More information

Hear this duo blend country and blues in Spirit Square.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Come watch movies in Village Park!     May 24: "Incredibles II"     June 7: "Sandlot"     June 21: "Jumanji"...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Children ages 6 and younger can jump at a discounted rate, and for an additional $2, parents can jump too. All jumpers need to purchase Altitude Trampoline Socks for $2.

Cost: $6.95

Where:
Altitude Trampoline Park
3490 E. Franklin Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Preschoolers can bounce with their parents in a safe, climate-controlled facility. 

Cost: $8

Where:
BounceU (Matthews and Charlotte locations)
10624 Metromont Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Little ones and adults discover nature together through crafts, games, songs, animal encounters and outdoor exploration. March 16-17, Inching Along; May 23-24: Life of a Ladybug. Registration...

Cost: $4

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


Website »

More information

Participate in educational and therapeutic activities for children with special needs with Little Achievers, a sub group of the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Charlotte.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Kids will learn some basic yoga positions that go along with the story.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes and Noble - Birkdale Village
8725 Townley Road
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Rock out to live entertainment, access to racing’s brightest stars, giveaways and interactive displays. Each day starting at noon, vendor displays, kids’ activities,...

Cost: Free for festival; tickets to Romare Bearden Park's concerts start at $15

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


Website »

More information

Make a unique project out of clay that will last a lifetime. Projects will be taken back to Clayworks to be fired and glazed before being returned to Grier Heights Community Center for pickup.

Cost: Free

Where:
Greer Heights Community Center
3100 Leroy St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 980-498-1487
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Matthews presents food trucks, kids' activities, craft beer and wine, and weekly bands.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Enjoy live music, food trucks and a beverage garden. May 10 and 24, and June 7 and 21.

Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Belmont
S. Main St.
Belmont, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Bring your blanket and chairs and enjoy a movie in the park. Food available for purchase. Movie begins at dusk. March 29 and Aug. 23 at Crooked Creek Park, 5900 Oakwood Ln.,...

Cost: Free

Where:
, NC


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free, $6 for parkig

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6908
Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

"Welcome to Brookhill" is a collection of images that, like poetry, stir emotion. The photographs reveal what this neighborhood, like every other neighborhood, has come to be to its...

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

The Mint Hill Madness festival offers something for everyone, food, music, a family carnival, an arts and crafts fair, parade, and a spectacular firework show. Fireworks begin at approximately 10...

Cost: Free

Where:
Mint Hill Veterans Memorial Park
8850 Fairview Road
Mint Hill, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Town of Mint Hill
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Explore another part of the world through the IMAX original film, "Pandas," a breathtaking documentary adventure high in the mountains of Sichuan, China.

Cost: $5-$10

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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

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See the Cabarrus Arts Council's newest exhibition, "On Paper." The exhibition will feature a wide array of artwork including cut and sculpted paper, collage and works on paper by...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Galleries
65 Union St. S.
Concord, NC
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Website »

More information

The story of this great Apache leader comes to life and is a triumphant story of hope and healing that transcends time.

Cost: $10-$37

Where:
NarroWay Theatre
3327 Hwy 51
Fort Mill, SC  29715
View map »


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

More information

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

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

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

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

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

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


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

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Cover the different types of fish and the different methods used to catch them.

Cost: $10-$15

Where:
Anne Springs Close Greenway Scoville Dock
2573 Lake Haigler Drive
Fort Mill, SC
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Website »

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Come for a stroll around Discovery Place Nature’s Paw Paw Nature Trail.

Cost: $8, free for children younger than 2, included with museum admission

Where:
Discovery Place Nature
1658 Sterling Road
, NC
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Listen to a story, and meet Wonder Woman and Spider Man.

Cost: $9

Where:
SAS Cupcakes
9941 Rea Road
Suite C
, NC
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This ongoing nature program is designed to inspire children and adults to explore the natural world of the Carolina Piedmont. This Saturday is "Natural History Jeopardy."

Cost: $5-$8, free for children younger than 3, Included with admission

Where:
The Museum of York County
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
Rock Hill, SC
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Don’t miss NASCAR’s rising stars competing in the May 25 Alsco 300, a daytime donnybrook for sun-drenched supremacy.

Cost: $26.75+

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

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Discover the world of science through books, hands-on educational activities and experiments.

Cost: Free

Where:
Sugar Creek Library
4045 North Tryon St.
Suite A
, NC
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Discuss teen fandom of pop culture while enjoying snacks and fun geek activities.

Cost: Free

Where:
Scaleybark Library
101 Scaleybark Road
, NC
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One of the country’s largest gospel music festivals is returning to Carowinds, featuring Mary Mary, Marvin Sapp, Travis Greene, Jonathan McReynolds and more.

Cost: $38-$69

Where:
Carowinds Paladium
14523 Carowinds Blvd.
, NC
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Come see "Christopher Robin." The concession stand will be selling popcorn and other snacks. The film will begin shortly after sunset.

Cost: Free

Where:
Ebenezer Park
4490 Boatshore Road
Rock Hill, SC
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Come play with your kids at My Gym! Parent participation is required. Parents wear socks; children go barefoot.

Cost: $10 per child

Where:
My Gym Southpark
5110 Park Road
2D
, NC
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Little ones bounce under the supervision of their parents and without interference from bigger kids. Jumpers need Sky Socks, which are available for purchase, and a signed waiver.

Cost: $8

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

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Come for 90 minutes of hands-on Lego Robotics with a certified K-8 public educator! Each week, scholars will build a robot with new features. No prior experience required.

Cost: $35

Where:
Ballantyne Hotel
10000 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy.
, NC
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Sponsor: Digi-Bridge
Website »

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

Cost: $20 single, $25 tandem

Where:
McDowell Nature Preserve
15222 York Road
, NC
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Website »

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

Cost: $10

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

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Guided trail rides are open to riders of all experience levels.

Cost: $45-$50

Where:
Anne Springs Close Greenway
1058 Horse Road
Fort Mill, SC
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Website »

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

Cost: $15 per person, cash or check only

Where:
The Quarry at Carrigan Farms
1213 Oak Ridge Farm Hwy.
Mooresville, NC
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Sponsor: Carrigan Farms
Telephone: 704-664-1450
Website »

More information

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

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

Where:
Carolina Raptor Center
6000 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
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Sponsor: Carolina Raptor Center
Website »

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Participants learn critical reading and writing skills, advocacy, volunteerism, art, videography, public speaking and more.

Cost: Free

Where:
President James K Polk State Historic Site
12031 Lancaster Hwy.
Pineville, NC
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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

Rock out to live entertainment, access to racing’s brightest stars, giveaways and interactive displays. Each day starting at noon, vendor displays, kids’ activities,...

Cost: Free for festival; tickets to Romare Bearden Park's concerts start at $15

Where:
Uptown Charlotte
Tryon St.
, NC
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Website »

More information

Learn about vultures found at Carolina Raptor Center.

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

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


Website »

More information

Glide along the water while enjoying nature. Registration is required.

Cost: $15 single, $20 tandem

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


Website »

More information

Instructors will provide assistance to students in grades K-12 in reading and math. The instructions will be primarily facilitated by NC Educator licensed teachers.  

Cost: Free

Where:
Revolution Park Sports Academy
1225 Remount Road
, NC
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Sponsor: Revolution Park Sports Academy

More information

Teens ages 16 and younger receive three hours of discounted jumping. Jumpers are required to purchase Altitude Trampoline Socks for an additional $2.

Cost: $19.95

Where:
Altitude Trampoline Park
3490 E. Franklin Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

Where:
Stonecrest Shopping Center
7900 Rea Road
, NC
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Website »

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

Cost: Free, $6 for parkig

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

More information

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

Cost: Free

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

More information

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

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

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

More information

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

Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6908
Website »

More information

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

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

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 South Tryon St.
, NC
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Website »

More information

"Welcome to Brookhill" is a collection of images that, like poetry, stir emotion. The photographs reveal what this neighborhood, like every other neighborhood, has come to be to its...

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

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

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

The Mint Hill Madness festival offers something for everyone, food, music, a family carnival, an arts and crafts fair, parade, and a spectacular firework show. Fireworks begin at approximately 10...

Cost: Free

Where:
Mint Hill Veterans Memorial Park
8850 Fairview Road
Mint Hill, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Town of Mint Hill
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Explore another part of the world through the IMAX original film, "Pandas," a breathtaking documentary adventure high in the mountains of Sichuan, China.

Cost: $5-$10

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

The story of this great Apache leader comes to life and is a triumphant story of hope and healing that transcends time.

Cost: $10-$37

Where:
NarroWay Theatre
3327 Hwy 51
Fort Mill, SC  29715
View map »


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

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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Annual Guides

G.P.S. [Go.Play.See]

Your guide to raising kids in the Queen City, plus our 2018 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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