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

December 2019

Soothing Santa is an exclusive, sensory-friendly event for families with special needs children and their siblings. Taking place before the mall opens, families have the opportunity to visit...

Cost: Picture packages available for purchase

Where:
Northlake Mall
6801 Northlake Mall Drive
, NC
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Children with special needs and their families can enjoy a sensory-friendly Caring Santa event.

Cost: Photos available for purchase

Where:
Concord Mills
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
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Hike approximately two miles, and stop along the way to talk about various plants, rocks and wildlife.

Cost: $5, plus $5 for parking

Where:
Anne Springs Close Greenway
2573 Lake Haigler Drive
Fort Mill, SC
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Families with special needs are invited to meet Santa at Carolina Place Mall.

Cost: Photos available for purchase

Where:
Carolina Place Mall
11025 Carolina Pl. Pkwy.
, NC
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Wander through each zone of the aquarium to experience thousands of Christmas lights. Dec. 8: Pass Member Preview Event Dec. 14: Scuba Claus Dive Show at 11:15am and 2:30pm Dec. 15: Scuba...

Cost: $13-$22, children 2 and younger free

Where:
SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
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Sponsor: SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
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Drive or stroll through McAdenville to see over 250 evergreens, covered with more than a half million red, white and green lights, plus the town lake circled with dozens of evergreens, draped with...

Cost: Free

Where:
McAdenville, NC


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Classes for adaptive learning and sensory needs meet at 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

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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Families with children on the autism spectrum or children with sensory processing disorders are invited to the aquarium two hours before the public for a sensory friendly underwater journey. The...

Cost: Free

Where:
SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
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Caring Santa is a private event designed for children and young adults with special needs and their families to have an opportunity to visit Santa and have their photos taken. SouthPark has made...

Cost: Photos available for purchase

Where:
SouthPark Mall
4400 Sharon Road
, NC
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Enjoy this enchanting Christmas village offering free 4x6 photos with Santa and family holiday activities. Guests can reserve their free visit and photo with Santa by visiting the Bass Pass...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cabela's
1000 Cabelas Drive
Fort Mill, SC
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Experience age-level appropriate Sunday school classes at 9:30 and 11 a.m. that connect families with larger church programs and ministries while creating a welcoming environment for all families.

Cost: Free

Where:
Matthews United Methodist Church
801 S. Trade St.
Matthews, NC
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Enjoy this enchanting Christmas village offering free 4x6 photos with Santa and family holiday activities. The Santa’s Wonderland Christmas village offers remote control trucks, toy...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops
8181 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
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The 18-piece display of animatronic bears performs classic holiday songs. The 45-minute program starts on the hour. All performances are subject to cancellation so check the website for updates....

Cost: Free

Where:
Founders Hall
100 N. Tryon St.
, NC
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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
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 Our friends from Temple Kol Tikvah will be here to share with us some Jewish traditions and customs.  Please visit the Museum website for more information. ...

Cost: Free with Museum Admission

Where:
Discovery Place Kids-Huntersville
105 Gilead Rd.
Huntersville, NC  28209
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Sponsor: Discovery Place Kids-Huntersville

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Search for animals that didn't travel south for the winter. Registration and parent participation are required.

Cost: Free

Where:
McDowell Nature Preserve
15222 S. York Road
, NC
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Celebrate the new Atrium Health Levine Children’s ER, located within Atrium Health Huntersville Emergency Department. There will be lots of free holiday fun for the whole family, including...

Cost: Free

Where:
Atrium Health Huntersville Emergency Department
16455 Statesville Road
Huntersville, NC
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The Waxhaw Christmas Parade features local school marching bands and floats by businesses and members of the community

Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Waxhaw
Waxhaw, NC


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Archer Paper Goods and Small Hands Big Art are joining forces to host the premier children’s event at Archer Paper Goods’ new shop in Optimist Hall! It’s a perfect setting for your kids to...

Cost: $40

Where:
Archer Paper Goods
1115 North Brevard St.
Suite M201
Charlotte, NC  28206
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Sponsor: Small Hands Big Art
Telephone: 704-564-1444
Contact Name: Jennifer Bryant
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This art masterpiece is sure to help the Grinch's heart grow three sizes.

Cost: $15

Where:
The Arts Council Building
121 E. Main St.
Rock Hill, SC
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Enjoy family activities, hot chocolate, cookies and music at this tree lighting.

Cost: Free

Where:
Johnston YMCA
3025 N Davidson St.
, NC
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Mrs. Claus will visit Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden Friday through Sunday from Nov. 29-Dec. 22 in addition to Christmas Eve from 6 to 8 p.m. Santa Claus will be available for professional photos...

Cost: $10-$19

Where:
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
6500 New Hope Road
Belmont, NC
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Discover Cuban culture through music, games and interactive experiences that will paint a picture of Cuba. This bilingual experience will showcase Cuba's wildlife, biodiversity, history and...

Cost: $18-$22, children younger than 2 free, includes museum admission

Where:
Discovery Place Science
301 N. Tryon St.
, NC
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A lamb is lost, an angel’s credentials are questioned, Mary and Joseph want a divorce and the nativity scene is out of control in this charming, funny and very moving family story of...

Cost: $13-$18

Where:
Fort Mill Community Playhouse
220 Main St.
Fort Mill, SC
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Donate blood or platelets at OneBlood’s North Carolina donation centers and mobile drives in November and December, and you will have the opportunity to send a message that will then be...

Cost: Free

Where:
OneBlood Mobiles and Donor Centers
4447 South Blvd.
, NC
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Sponsor: OneBlood
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Vultures and humans will engage in a fun activity of the trainer's choice.  It could be painting, playground fun or taking a walk with a vulture.

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

Where:
Carolina Raptor Center
6000 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC  28078
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Sponsor: Carolina Raptor Center
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Our engaging team of raptor keepers will show you some of their favorite bird species. Check in the Visitor’s Center whiteboard to see who you can meet each day.

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

Where:
Carolina Raptor Center
6000 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
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Sponsor: Carolina Raptor Center
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A professional instructor will lead families in an engaging cooking experience. End class by enjoying a family activity and the food you created.

Cost: $10-$15

Where:
Morrison Family YMCA
9405 Bryant Farms Road
, NC
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The Polar Express Train Ride, inspired by the run-away hit movie, features a train ride to the North Pole with dancing chefs, cookies, hot chocolate and a presentation of the first gift of...

Cost: $32-$325

Where:
North Carolina Transportation Museum
1 Samuel Spencer Drive
Spencer, NC
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Sponsor: North Carolina Transportation Musem
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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
, NC
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Celebrate the Savior’s birth with family and friends over Christmas dinner. This traditional holiday meal features turkey and carved ham with sides and desserts. Seatings at 5 and 7 pm....

Cost: $9.95-$22.95, children 3 and younger free

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
, NC
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Drive 3.75 miles with 3.5 million lights. Visitors may drive through the lights every night until January 5, excluding Christmas Day. From Thursday to Sunday from December 12 to 29, visitors can...

Cost: $20-$30

Where:
Charlotte Motor Speedway
5555 Concord Pkwy. S.
Concord, NC
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Come downtown and enjoy a festive stroll down Main Street and through Stowe Park after dark to view the themed colorful Christmas trees decorated by local businesses and organizations.

Cost: Free

Where:
Stowe Park
24 S. Main St.
Belmont, NC
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Sponsor: City of Belmont
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This orchestrated light show includes more than 150,000 lights set to music. Begins November 29 and runs nightly through December, starting each evening at dusk.

Cost: Free

Where:
Town Hall Lawn
413 N. Main St.
Mooresville, NC
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Lights is a half-mile walking trail that leads viewers through a series of immersive light installations featuring honeycombs, vines, crystals, and other natural features integrated into the...

Cost: Free, $6 for parking

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
, NC
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Sponsor: USNWC
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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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Santa’s Wonderland will offer free photos with Santa and free family holiday crafts, games and activities.

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops and Cabela's locations
8181 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
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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
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Come get in the holiday spirit with the performance of the renowned Nutcracker Ballet. Sat., 2 and 7pm; Sun., 3pm. For an additional $5 per person, meet the cast of the Nutcracker after the...

Cost: $5-$7

Where:
Matthews Community Center
100 E. W. McDowell St.
Matthews, NC
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Bundle up in your coziest pajamas and for a special screening of "The Polar Express" in the IMAX Dome Theatre. Before the movie, make your own Christmas ornaments and reindeer food, or...

Cost: $17

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

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Uptown Charlotte’s outdoor ice rink returns to the NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza. Take a picture with the giant polar bear, under the tree or in the decorated Ceremonial Garden.

Cost: $12-$16

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame
400 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
, NC
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Sponsor: NASCAR Hall of Fame
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Visit The Ballantyne to view an enchanting display of gingerbread creations. Gingerbread Lane is free to visit and open to the public. Hot cocoa will be available for purchase.

Cost: Free

Where:
The Ballantyne
10000 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy.
, NC
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Visit the open-air ice skating rink located across from Fountain Park in Rock Hill. See website for operating hours.

Cost: $10, includes skate rental

Where:
Founders Holiday Ice Rink
205 Saluda St.
Rock Hill, SC
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Chained and shackled, Marley is condemned for eternity. Marley accepts his one chance to escape his own chains; he must first redeem Scrooge. So begins a journey of laughter and terror, redemption...

Cost: $12-$29

Where:
Armour Street Theatre
307 Armour Street
Davidson, NC
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Sponsor: Davidson Community Players
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They were just four guys from Jersey, until they sang their very first note. Go behind the music and inside the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons in the award-winning true-life musical.

Cost: $34.50+

Where:
Ovens Auditorium
2700 Independence Blvd.
, NC
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This exhibit explores the rise and demise of Charlotte’s Brooklyn neighborhood, once the most vibrant black community in the Carolinas.

Cost: $6-$10, children 5 and younger free

Where:
Levine Museum of the New South
200 E. 7th St.
, NC
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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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Families with special needs can enjoy lessons and activities tailored for persons with disabilities. Children class at 9:30 and 11am. Teen class at 9:30 and 11am. Young adult class at 9:30am.

Cost: Free

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

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Ring in the holiday season with Children’s Theatre of Charlotte’s most-popular show of all time. This hilarious and heartfelt musical comedy, adapted from Barbara Robinson’s...

Cost: $19+

Where:
McColl Family Theatre
300 E. 7th St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-973-2828
Website »

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Theatre Charlotte's holiday tradition is back for its 13th season. Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his late partner, Jacob Marley and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and...

Cost: $28

Where:
The Eloise MacDonald Playhouse
501 Queens Road
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Theatre Charlotte
Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

Studio Drift, founded by Dutch artists Ralph Nauta and Lonneke Gordijn, creates breathtaking sculptures that explore the relationship between humanity, nature and technology

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

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

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This Tchaikovsky classic fairy tale features more than 100 performers, from little ones to international guest artists, with snow, laughter and surprises for the whole family. See website for...

Cost: $20-$30

Where:
Halton Theater
1206 Elizabeth Ave.
, NC
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Carowinds is transformed into a winter wonderland with spectacular holiday experiences. Fri., 5-10pm; Sat., 2-10pm; Sun., 4-10pm.

Cost: $48+, children ages 5 and younger free with Pre-K Pass

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


Website »

More information

Drive through reindeer forest, and see the Christmas Wonderland of Lights. Check out the animal feedings, carousel rides and train rides. S'mores will be available for purchase....

Cost: $7, ages 2 and younger free

Where:
Zootastic Park
385 Ostwalt Amity Road
Troutman, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-245-6446
Website »

More information

This Uptown holiday event is presented as a German-inspired Christmas Market and includes traditional German foods and treats, homemade crafts and gifts, and other featured programming,...

Cost: Free admission

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

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The title, "Coined in the South," refers not only to The Mint Museum’s origins as the first branch of the United States Mint, but also to the acts of inventing and devising....

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

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The Best Christmas Pageant Ever follows the outrageous shenanigans of the Herdman siblings, or “the worst kids in the history of the world” and the Bradley family who struggle to save...

Cost: TBA

Where:
, NC


Telephone: 803-326-7428
Website »

More information

See your favorite Christmas scenes, and hear your favorite songs during this holiday dinner theater experience. See website for showtimes.  No meal will be served at Sunday 2pm shows.

Cost: $9.50-$37

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


Telephone: 803-802-2300
Website »

More information

Skate on the 5,000 square-foot ice rink. Guests can also enjoy holiday lights and decor; Santa’s Pub, a coffee shop, live music, surprise guests and festive activities.

Cost: $12-$17

Where:
Symphony Park at Southpark Mall
4400 Sharon Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

JStage presents the musical Annie with eight performances suitable for the whole family.  The Saturday, Dec. 14 show at 2 p.m. will be sensory friendly and ALS friendly.

Cost: $15

Where:
Levine Jewish Community Gorelick Hall
5007 Providence Road
, NC
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Website »

More information

Experience the wonder and joy of the holidays at Charlotte Ballet’s "Nutcracker." Clara’s classic tale comes to life with the treasured music of Tchaikovsky performed live by...

Cost: $25-$112

Where:
Belk Theater
130 N. Tryon St.
, NC
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Website »

More information

Celebrate the season with a stroll through a garden winter wonderland. Hot chocolate, smore's, wine and beer will be available for purchase from Rosie's Wine Garden. Tues.-Fri., 4-10pm;...

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Rosie's Wine Garden
940 N. Davidson
, NC
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Website »

More information

See Santa Claus in his custom-built house on the Village Green. See website for schedule.

Cost: $20 for a 5×7 photo and $30 for a USB Stick with all photos

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


Website »

More information

Skate on an ice trail or free skate on 17,000 square feet of ice. Located in the Upper Pond of the Whitewater Center, the skating environment features three areas and an on-ice Airstream...

Cost: $20-$59

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


Website »

More information

Discover why the coldest and darkest season holds some of the warmest and brightest celebrations of the year. Trace the history and development of many of the world's most endearing holiday...

Cost: Planetarium tickets are $5, children 3 and younger free

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


Website »

More information

Enjoy a festive sing-a-long featuring music from Frank Sinatra, Burl Ives, Ella Fitzgerald and more! Get into the spirit of the season with immersive, artistic visuals filling the dome. Be sure to...

Cost: Planetarium tickets are $5, children 3 and younger free

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


Website »

More information

The interactive and family-friendly pop-up will feature specialty Christmas cocktails, mocktails and food selections for children and adults. Jingle City will also include Santa’s...

Cost: $5-$15

Where:
Jingle City
300 E. Morehead St.
, NC
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Website »

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Participants will trace, color and draw to improve fine motor skills.

Cost: $2

Where:
Southview Recreation Center
1720 Vilma St.
, NC
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Website »

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Enjoy stories, crafts and activities at the park.

Cost: Free

Where:
McGee Park
219 Corban Ave.
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

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Come to Hickory Grove Library for a free Healing Hands performance by a trio of Charlotte Symphony musicians.

Cost: Free

Where:
Hickory Grove Library
5935 Hickory Grove Road
, NC
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Website »

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Register online to come watch "The Grinch," rated PG.

Cost: Free

Where:
Myers Park Library
1361 Queens Road
, NC
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Website »

More information

Mrs. Claus will visit Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden Friday through Sunday from Nov. 29-Dec. 22 in addition to Christmas Eve from 6 to 8 p.m. Santa Claus will be available for professional photos...

Cost: $10-$19

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


Website »

More information

Discover Cuban culture through music, games and interactive experiences that will paint a picture of Cuba. This bilingual experience will showcase Cuba's wildlife, biodiversity, history and...

Cost: $18-$22, children younger than 2 free, includes museum admission

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


Website »

More information

Drive or stroll through McAdenville to see over 250 evergreens, covered with more than a half million red, white and green lights, plus the town lake circled with dozens of evergreens, draped with...

Cost: Free

Where:
McAdenville, NC


Website »

More information

Donate blood or platelets at OneBlood’s North Carolina donation centers and mobile drives in November and December, and you will have the opportunity to send a message that will then be...

Cost: Free

Where:
OneBlood Mobiles and Donor Centers
4447 South Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: OneBlood
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

Enjoy this enchanting Christmas village offering free 4x6 photos with Santa and family holiday activities. Guests can reserve their free visit and photo with Santa by visiting the Bass Pass...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cabela's
1000 Cabelas Drive
Fort Mill, SC
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Website »

More information

Children will practice balance, roll and try an obstacle course. Creative play with stories, songs and play dough will follow.

Cost: $25

Where:
Watershed
2101 Shenandoah Ave.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

From the earliest days of Billy Graham’s ministry, he had a special place in his heart for teens and young adults. Come see the new special display, and discover how God used Graham to reach...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Young children 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: $7

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


Website »

More information

This class incorporates songs and movement and ends with a calming story. Please check schedule online for any updates or changes.

Cost: $15

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


Sponsor: Tiny Blooms Yoga
Website »

More information

Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

Cost: $6, $8 on school holidays

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


Website »

More information

Schleich, the world’s largest toy figurine company, is bringing a fun and exciting pop-up shop to Concord Mills. Come play with toys and see a life-size dinosaur.

Cost: Free

Where:
Concord Mills
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Schleich USA
Website »

More information

Enjoy this enchanting Christmas village offering free 4x6 photos with Santa and family holiday activities. The Santa’s Wonderland Christmas village offers remote control trucks, toy...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops
8181 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The 18-piece display of animatronic bears performs classic holiday songs. The 45-minute program starts on the hour. All performances are subject to cancellation so check the website for updates....

Cost: Free

Where:
Founders Hall
100 N. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

With parental guidance, toddlers can jump on the trampoline, play in the foam pit and craw through obstacles. Play time is for children just starting to walk through age 5 who are not yet in...

Cost: $3-$5

Where:
Charlotte Allstar Gymnastics and Cheerleading
11011 Monroe Road
Matthews, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-246-8611
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

La Leche League meetings help mothers worldwide to breastfeed through mother-to-mother support, encouragement, practical information and education. Babies and children are welcome too!

Cost: Free

Where:
Morningstar Lutheran Church
12509 Idlewild Road
Matthews, NC
View map »


Sponsor: La Leche League of North Carolina
Website »

More information

Visit a Lancaster County librarian at Jumpin Jax Fun Center of Lancaster for story time. Regular admission is applied for children who want to stay to play following the event.

Cost: Free story time

Where:
Jumpin Jax of Lancaster
2650 Charlotte Hwy.
Lancaster, SC
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Website »

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Play basketball in a structured environment.

Cost: Free

Where:
Naomi Drenan Recreation Center
750 Beal St.
, NC
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Website »

More information

This parent-supervised indoor playtime lets kids go wild on colorful, clean, padded equipment.

Cost: $10

Where:
Romp n' Roll Northwest Charlotte
3611 Mt. Holly-Huntersville Road
207
, NC
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Website »

More information

Come bring cats and dogs to take pictures with Santa!

Cost: Photos available for purchase

Where:
Carolina Place Mall
11025 Carolina Pl. Pkwy.
, NC
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Celebrate the Savior’s birth with family and friends over Christmas dinner. This traditional holiday meal features turkey and carved ham with sides and desserts. Seatings at 5 and 7 pm....

Cost: $9.95-$22.95, children 3 and younger free

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

More information

Celebrate the Christmas season with fun family activities at the Billy Graham Library. Enjoy the light displays, live nativity, horse-drawn carriage rides, carolers, story time for children,...

Cost: Free, carriage rides cost $4-$8

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


Website »

More information

Lower stress and anxiety with yoga. Focus on breathing and poses that are fun.

Cost: $15

Where:
Charlotte Family Yoga
8230 Poplar Tent
Concord, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Charlotte Family Yoga
Website »

More information

Drive 3.75 miles with 3.5 million lights. Visitors may drive through the lights every night until January 5, excluding Christmas Day. From Thursday to Sunday from December 12 to 29, visitors can...

Cost: $20-$30

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

More information

Come downtown and enjoy a festive stroll down Main Street and through Stowe Park after dark to view the themed colorful Christmas trees decorated by local businesses and organizations.

Cost: Free

Where:
Stowe Park
24 S. Main St.
Belmont, NC
View map »


Sponsor: City of Belmont
Website »

More information

Receive assistance with literacy in fun and interactive ways. Register online.

Cost: Free

Where:
Naomi Drenan Recreation Center
750 Beal St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

GiGiFIT Kids makes exercise fun and empowers individuals with Down syndrome to be more independent and confident in their abilities. GiGiFIT is an application based program and requires a...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gigi's Playhouse Charlotte
9109 Kings Parade Blvd.
, NC
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Website »

More information

This orchestrated light show includes more than 150,000 lights set to music. Begins November 29 and runs nightly through December, starting each evening at dusk.

Cost: Free

Where:
Town Hall Lawn
413 N. Main St.
Mooresville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Lights is a half-mile walking trail that leads viewers through a series of immersive light installations featuring honeycombs, vines, crystals, and other natural features integrated into the...

Cost: Free, $6 for parking

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


Sponsor: USNWC
Website »

More information

Wear your pjs on the second Monday of each month for a family story time that is perfect for bedtime.

Cost: Free

Where:
Plaza Midwood Library
1623 Central Ave
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-416-6200
Website »

More information

Enjoy stories, songs and movement activities in your pajamas!

Cost: Free

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

More information

Participants of all ages will learn proper Jazz dance technique. No previous dance experience required.

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-414-2774
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

Santa’s Wonderland will offer free photos with Santa and free family holiday crafts, games and activities.

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops and Cabela's locations
8181 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

Uptown Charlotte’s outdoor ice rink returns to the NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza. Take a picture with the giant polar bear, under the tree or in the decorated Ceremonial Garden.

Cost: $12-$16

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


Sponsor: NASCAR Hall of Fame
Website »

More information

Visit The Ballantyne to view an enchanting display of gingerbread creations. Gingerbread Lane is free to visit and open to the public. Hot cocoa will be available for purchase.

Cost: Free

Where:
The Ballantyne
10000 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This exhibit explores the rise and demise of Charlotte’s Brooklyn neighborhood, once the most vibrant black community in the Carolinas.

Cost: $6-$10, children 5 and younger free

Where:
Levine Museum of the New South
200 E. 7th St.
, NC
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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

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

Drive through reindeer forest, and see the Christmas Wonderland of Lights. Check out the animal feedings, carousel rides and train rides. S'mores will be available for purchase....

Cost: $7, ages 2 and younger free

Where:
Zootastic Park
385 Ostwalt Amity Road
Troutman, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-245-6446
Website »

More information

See your favorite Christmas scenes, and hear your favorite songs during this holiday dinner theater experience. See website for showtimes.  No meal will be served at Sunday 2pm shows.

Cost: $9.50-$37

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


Telephone: 803-802-2300
Website »

More information

Skate on the 5,000 square-foot ice rink. Guests can also enjoy holiday lights and decor; Santa’s Pub, a coffee shop, live music, surprise guests and festive activities.

Cost: $12-$17

Where:
Symphony Park at Southpark Mall
4400 Sharon Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

See Santa Claus in his custom-built house on the Village Green. See website for schedule.

Cost: $20 for a 5×7 photo and $30 for a USB Stick with all photos

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


Website »

More information

Skate on an ice trail or free skate on 17,000 square feet of ice. Located in the Upper Pond of the Whitewater Center, the skating environment features three areas and an on-ice Airstream...

Cost: $20-$59

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


Website »

More information

Discover why the coldest and darkest season holds some of the warmest and brightest celebrations of the year. Trace the history and development of many of the world's most endearing holiday...

Cost: Planetarium tickets are $5, children 3 and younger free

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


Website »

More information

Enjoy a festive sing-a-long featuring music from Frank Sinatra, Burl Ives, Ella Fitzgerald and more! Get into the spirit of the season with immersive, artistic visuals filling the dome. Be sure to...

Cost: Planetarium tickets are $5, children 3 and younger free

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


Website »

More information

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Preschoolers hear stories and sing songs without a parent or caregiver present in order to foster independence and growth.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Girls are invited to think like engineers, design robots, learn to code, develop apps and more. Register to participate in workshops with changing STEM topics. Sessions from 4-4:45 p.m. and...

Cost: $15, includes museum admission

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


Website »

More information

Mrs. Claus will visit Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden Friday through Sunday from Nov. 29-Dec. 22 in addition to Christmas Eve from 6 to 8 p.m. Santa Claus will be available for professional photos...

Cost: $10-$19

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


Website »

More information

Bring your cameras, and come enjoy a story time and visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus!

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, Robert Earl Keen and his band will pay homage to the space race and all things celestial in an out-of-this-world evening of family...

Cost: $33+

Where:
Knight Theater
430 South Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

Discover Cuban culture through music, games and interactive experiences that will paint a picture of Cuba. This bilingual experience will showcase Cuba's wildlife, biodiversity, history and...

Cost: $18-$22, children younger than 2 free, includes museum admission

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


Website »

More information

Drive or stroll through McAdenville to see over 250 evergreens, covered with more than a half million red, white and green lights, plus the town lake circled with dozens of evergreens, draped with...

Cost: Free

Where:
McAdenville, NC


Website »

More information

Donate blood or platelets at OneBlood’s North Carolina donation centers and mobile drives in November and December, and you will have the opportunity to send a message that will then be...

Cost: Free

Where:
OneBlood Mobiles and Donor Centers
4447 South Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: OneBlood
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

Enjoy this enchanting Christmas village offering free 4x6 photos with Santa and family holiday activities. Guests can reserve their free visit and photo with Santa by visiting the Bass Pass...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cabela's
1000 Cabelas Drive
Fort Mill, SC
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

From the earliest days of Billy Graham’s ministry, he had a special place in his heart for teens and young adults. Come see the new special display, and discover how God used Graham to reach...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Come paint pottery with your toddler for just $3/hour.

Cost: $3 per hour

Where:
Dish It Out
7828 Rea Road
#C
, 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

Classes involve a story, craft, exploration stations and time with two animal ambassadors. Topics include: Life on the Farm in Sept., Halloween and Pumpkins in Oct., Thanksgiving in Nov.,...

Cost: $7 per child, first adult free, $10 per additional adult

Where:
Rescue Ranch
1424 Turnersburg Hwy.
Statesville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Young children 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: $7

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

Sessions are structured and include a fairy host, tea party with light snack, dress-up clothes, craft, face painting or light makeup, and story time.

Cost: $20

Where:
Tiaras and Tales
921 Crossroads Plaza
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

Cost: $6, $8 on school holidays

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


Website »

More information

This annual exhibit fills the Museum with model train displays assembled by local “S” Gaugers, as well as railroad memorabilia, and antique toys and games. Visitors of all ages will be...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Kings Mountain Historical Museum
Website »

More information

Schleich, the world’s largest toy figurine company, is bringing a fun and exciting pop-up shop to Concord Mills. Come play with toys and see a life-size dinosaur.

Cost: Free

Where:
Concord Mills
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Schleich USA
Website »

More information

Enjoy this enchanting Christmas village offering free 4x6 photos with Santa and family holiday activities. The Santa’s Wonderland Christmas village offers remote control trucks, toy...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops
8181 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The 18-piece display of animatronic bears performs classic holiday songs. The 45-minute program starts on the hour. All performances are subject to cancellation so check the website for updates....

Cost: Free

Where:
Founders Hall
100 N. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

With parental guidance, toddlers can jump on the trampoline, play in the foam pit and craw through obstacles. Play time is for children just starting to walk through age 5 who are not yet in...

Cost: $3-$5

Where:
Charlotte Allstar Gymnastics and Cheerleading
11011 Monroe Road
Matthews, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-246-8611
Website »

More information

Each class brings a new theme while making arts and crafts. Registration required.

Cost: $6

Where:
Town Hall
315 Matthews-Indian Trail Road
Indian Trail, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This class combines yoga and play for moms and babies 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

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

This workshop is open to all ages. No previous dance experience is required.

Cost: Free

Where:
Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School Recreation Site
500 Bilmark Ave.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

Where:
BounceU of Matthews
9129 Monroe Rd Ste 145-150
Matthews, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-921-8771
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-921-8771
Website »

More information

Celebrate the true meaning of Christmas at the Billy Graham Library with a children’s painting activity on the heated patio. Children will be led and coached to exercise their artistic...

Cost: $25

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


Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
Website »

More information

This parent-supervised indoor playtime lets kids go wild on colorful, clean, padded equipment.

Cost: $10

Where:
Romp n' Roll Northwest Charlotte
3611 Mt. Holly-Huntersville Road
207
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

JazzArts Charlotte will present WeBop, an award-winning early-childhood jazz education program. Registration is required.

Cost: Free

Where:
Albemarle Road Presbyterian Church
6740 Albemarle Road
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: JazzArts Charlotte
Website »

More information

Get free entry to The Schiele Museum every second Tuesday of the month from 4-8 p.m.

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Duke Energy
Website »

More information

Celebrate the Savior’s birth with family and friends over Christmas dinner. This traditional holiday meal features turkey and carved ham with sides and desserts. Seatings at 5 and 7 pm....

Cost: $9.95-$22.95, children 3 and younger free

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


Website »

More information

Celebrate the Christmas season with fun family activities at the Billy Graham Library. Enjoy the light displays, live nativity, horse-drawn carriage rides, carolers, story time for children,...

Cost: Free, carriage rides cost $4-$8

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


Website »

More information

Drive 3.75 miles with 3.5 million lights. Visitors may drive through the lights every night until January 5, excluding Christmas Day. From Thursday to Sunday from December 12 to 29, visitors can...

Cost: $20-$30

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


Website »

More information

Come for information, support and conversation with other breastfeeding families every second Tuesday of the month. Children and support people are welcome.

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: La Leche League of Grier Heights
Website »

More information

Come downtown and enjoy a festive stroll down Main Street and through Stowe Park after dark to view the themed colorful Christmas trees decorated by local businesses and organizations.

Cost: Free

Where:
Stowe Park
24 S. Main St.
Belmont, NC
View map »


Sponsor: City of Belmont
Website »

More information

Receive assistance with literacy in fun and interactive ways. Register online.

Cost: Free

Where:
Naomi Drenan Recreation Center
750 Beal St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This orchestrated light show includes more than 150,000 lights set to music. Begins November 29 and runs nightly through December, starting each evening at dusk.

Cost: Free

Where:
Town Hall Lawn
413 N. Main St.
Mooresville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Latin Dance explores the Caribbean dance styles of Salsa, Bachata and Merengue in a fun and energetic dance environment. The class is open to all ages and no previous dance experience is required.

Cost: Free

Where:
Belle Johnston Community Center
1000 Johnston Drive
Pineville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Lights is a half-mile walking trail that leads viewers through a series of immersive light installations featuring honeycombs, vines, crystals, and other natural features integrated into the...

Cost: Free, $6 for parking

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


Sponsor: USNWC
Website »

More information

Come enjoy a safe place to walk or run on your own or with family and friends. The lights are left on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Cost: Free

Where:
Bailey Road Park
11536 Bailey Road
Cornelius, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Latin Dance explores the Caribbean dance styles of Salsa, Bachata and Merengue in a fun and energetic dance environment.

Cost: Free

Where:
Albemarle Road Recreation Center
5027 North Idlewild 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

Santa’s Wonderland will offer free photos with Santa and free family holiday crafts, games and activities.

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops and Cabela's locations
8181 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

Uptown Charlotte’s outdoor ice rink returns to the NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza. Take a picture with the giant polar bear, under the tree or in the decorated Ceremonial Garden.

Cost: $12-$16

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


Sponsor: NASCAR Hall of Fame
Website »

More information

Visit The Ballantyne to view an enchanting display of gingerbread creations. Gingerbread Lane is free to visit and open to the public. Hot cocoa will be available for purchase.

Cost: Free

Where:
The Ballantyne
10000 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This exhibit explores the rise and demise of Charlotte’s Brooklyn neighborhood, once the most vibrant black community in the Carolinas.

Cost: $6-$10, children 5 and younger free

Where:
Levine Museum of the New South
200 E. 7th St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

Theatre Charlotte's holiday tradition is back for its 13th season. Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his late partner, Jacob Marley and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and...

Cost: $28

Where:
The Eloise MacDonald Playhouse
501 Queens Road
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Theatre Charlotte
Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

Drive through reindeer forest, and see the Christmas Wonderland of Lights. Check out the animal feedings, carousel rides and train rides. S'mores will be available for purchase....

Cost: $7, ages 2 and younger free

Where:
Zootastic Park
385 Ostwalt Amity Road
Troutman, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-245-6446
Website »

More information

Get one free child ticket with the purchase of an adult ticket on Tuesdays. Each additional child ages 3-12 will cost $5.

Cost: $15 for adult

Where:
Sea Life Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This Uptown holiday event is presented as a German-inspired Christmas Market and includes traditional German foods and treats, homemade crafts and gifts, and other featured programming,...

Cost: Free admission

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


Website »

More information

The title, "Coined in the South," refers not only to The Mint Museum’s origins as the first branch of the United States Mint, but also to the acts of inventing and devising....

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


Website »

More information

See your favorite Christmas scenes, and hear your favorite songs during this holiday dinner theater experience. See website for showtimes.  No meal will be served at Sunday 2pm shows.

Cost: $9.50-$37

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


Telephone: 803-802-2300
Website »

More information

Skate on the 5,000 square-foot ice rink. Guests can also enjoy holiday lights and decor; Santa’s Pub, a coffee shop, live music, surprise guests and festive activities.

Cost: $12-$17

Where:
Symphony Park at Southpark Mall
4400 Sharon Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Celebrate the season with a stroll through a garden winter wonderland. Hot chocolate, smore's, wine and beer will be available for purchase from Rosie's Wine Garden. Tues.-Fri., 4-10pm;...

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Rosie's Wine Garden
940 N. Davidson
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

See Santa Claus in his custom-built house on the Village Green. See website for schedule.

Cost: $20 for a 5×7 photo and $30 for a USB Stick with all photos

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


Website »

More information

Skate on an ice trail or free skate on 17,000 square feet of ice. Located in the Upper Pond of the Whitewater Center, the skating environment features three areas and an on-ice Airstream...

Cost: $20-$59

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


Website »

More information

Discover why the coldest and darkest season holds some of the warmest and brightest celebrations of the year. Trace the history and development of many of the world's most endearing holiday...

Cost: Planetarium tickets are $5, children 3 and younger free

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


Website »

More information

Enjoy a festive sing-a-long featuring music from Frank Sinatra, Burl Ives, Ella Fitzgerald and more! Get into the spirit of the season with immersive, artistic visuals filling the dome. Be sure to...

Cost: Planetarium tickets are $5, children 3 and younger free

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


Website »

More information

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Crack the case in a fun escape room experience.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Explore computer science education with Girls Who Code. Register online.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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

More information

Discover the world of science through books,  activities, and experiments. Register online.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Mrs. Claus will visit Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden Friday through Sunday from Nov. 29-Dec. 22 in addition to Christmas Eve from 6 to 8 p.m. Santa Claus will be available for professional photos...

Cost: $10-$19

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


Website »

More information

Live at the Mint celebrates Charlotte’s dynamic arts community. Enjoy the inventive sound of Latin fusion band Chócala.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Britax Child Safety
Website »

More information

Participants will mix, measure and produce an all-natural beauty product from the historical recipes from African American culture.

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Artisan Preparatory
Website »

More information

Discover Cuban culture through music, games and interactive experiences that will paint a picture of Cuba. This bilingual experience will showcase Cuba's wildlife, biodiversity, history and...

Cost: $18-$22, children younger than 2 free, includes museum admission

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


Website »

More information

Drive or stroll through McAdenville to see over 250 evergreens, covered with more than a half million red, white and green lights, plus the town lake circled with dozens of evergreens, draped with...

Cost: Free

Where:
McAdenville, NC


Website »

More information

Donate blood or platelets at OneBlood’s North Carolina donation centers and mobile drives in November and December, and you will have the opportunity to send a message that will then be...

Cost: Free

Where:
OneBlood Mobiles and Donor Centers
4447 South Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: OneBlood
Website »

More information

Certified technicians will check and help families install car seats. No appointment necessary. Bring your vehicle, seat and if possible the child for the most assistance. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Matthews Police Department
1201 Crews Road
Matthews, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Enjoy this enchanting Christmas village offering free 4x6 photos with Santa and family holiday activities. Guests can reserve their free visit and photo with Santa by visiting the Bass Pass...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cabela's
1000 Cabelas Drive
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

From the earliest days of Billy Graham’s ministry, he had a special place in his heart for teens and young adults. Come see the new special display, and discover how God used Graham to reach...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Young children 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: $7

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 Charlotte
10624 Metromont Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

Cost: $6, $8 on school holidays

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


Website »

More information

This annual exhibit fills the Museum with model train displays assembled by local “S” Gaugers, as well as railroad memorabilia, and antique toys and games. Visitors of all ages will be...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Kings Mountain Historical Museum
Website »

More information

Schleich, the world’s largest toy figurine company, is bringing a fun and exciting pop-up shop to Concord Mills. Come play with toys and see a life-size dinosaur.

Cost: Free

Where:
Concord Mills
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Schleich USA
Website »

More information

Enjoy this enchanting Christmas village offering free 4x6 photos with Santa and family holiday activities. The Santa’s Wonderland Christmas village offers remote control trucks, toy...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops
8181 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The 18-piece display of animatronic bears performs classic holiday songs. The 45-minute program starts on the hour. All performances are subject to cancellation so check the website for updates....

Cost: Free

Where:
Founders Hall
100 N. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Make new friends and bond with your little one during this active, play based music clas. Enjoy music, movement and storytime followed by open play.

Cost: $5, cash only

Where:
Lanti Performing Arts
323 Unionville Indian Trail Road
Indian Trail, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

With parental guidance, toddlers can jump on the trampoline, play in the foam pit and craw through obstacles. Play time is for children just starting to walk through age 5 who are not yet in...

Cost: $3-$5

Where:
Charlotte Allstar Gymnastics and Cheerleading
11011 Monroe Road
Matthews, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-246-8611
Website »

More information

Parents and caregivers are invited to Stroller Tours, a series of docent-led museum tours that rotate between all three Levine Center for the Arts institutions, the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art,...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Homeschool students receive discounted admission at Jumpin Jax Fun Center of Lancaster.

Cost: $8

Where:
Jumpin Jax of Lancaster
2650 Charlotte Hwy.
Lancaster, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Come join story time with other families. 

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Come play all arcade games for half the price all day on Wednesday.

Cost: Price per game varies

Where:
Bowlero
210 E. Trade St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Exercise your artistic abilities, no matter your skill level, while being led by a professional artist to create a beautiful canvas to take home as a reminder of the true meaning of Christmas....

Cost: $25

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


Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
Website »

More information

Learn the movement of the pieces and basic chess strategy.

Cost: Free

Where:
Naomi Drenan Recreation Center
750 Beal St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Increase your strength, endurance and agility for sports.

Cost: Free

Where:
Naomi Drenan Recreation Center
750 Beal St.
, 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

Visit Waverly for some mid-week cheer. Start a new holiday tradition that includes a night full of entertainment, including music, shopping, sweet treats and of course, a visit from Santa!

Cost: Free

Where:
Waverly Charlotte
, NC


Website »

More information

Celebrate the Savior’s birth with family and friends over Christmas dinner. This traditional holiday meal features turkey and carved ham with sides and desserts. Seatings at 5 and 7 pm....

Cost: $9.95-$22.95, children 3 and younger free

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


Website »

More information

Celebrate the Christmas season with fun family activities at the Billy Graham Library. Enjoy the light displays, live nativity, horse-drawn carriage rides, carolers, story time for children,...

Cost: Free, carriage rides cost $4-$8

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


Website »

More information

Kids will build with Legos while utilizing their imaginations.

Cost: $10

Where:
Elon Recreation Center
11401 Ardrey Kell Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Drive 3.75 miles with 3.5 million lights. Visitors may drive through the lights every night until January 5, excluding Christmas Day. From Thursday to Sunday from December 12 to 29, visitors can...

Cost: $20-$30

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


Website »

More information

Come downtown and enjoy a festive stroll down Main Street and through Stowe Park after dark to view the themed colorful Christmas trees decorated by local businesses and organizations.

Cost: Free

Where:
Stowe Park
24 S. Main St.
Belmont, NC
View map »


Sponsor: City of Belmont
Website »

More information

Practice fire safety and fire building techniques while enjoying hot cocoa. Register online.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

This teaches scratching, blending and creating beats. The program also teach the business side of entrepreneurship.

Cost: Free

Where:
Tuckaseegee Recreation Center
4820 Tuckaseegee Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This orchestrated light show includes more than 150,000 lights set to music. Begins November 29 and runs nightly through December, starting each evening at dusk.

Cost: Free

Where:
Town Hall Lawn
413 N. Main St.
Mooresville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Lights is a half-mile walking trail that leads viewers through a series of immersive light installations featuring honeycombs, vines, crystals, and other natural features integrated into the...

Cost: Free, $6 for parking

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


Sponsor: USNWC
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

Santa’s Wonderland will offer free photos with Santa and free family holiday crafts, games and activities.

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops and Cabela's locations
8181 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

Uptown Charlotte’s outdoor ice rink returns to the NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza. Take a picture with the giant polar bear, under the tree or in the decorated Ceremonial Garden.

Cost: $12-$16

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


Sponsor: NASCAR Hall of Fame
Website »

More information

Visit The Ballantyne to view an enchanting display of gingerbread creations. Gingerbread Lane is free to visit and open to the public. Hot cocoa will be available for purchase.

Cost: Free

Where:
The Ballantyne
10000 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Visit the open-air ice skating rink located across from Fountain Park in Rock Hill. See website for operating hours.

Cost: $10, includes skate rental

Where:
Founders Holiday Ice Rink
205 Saluda St.
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Chained and shackled, Marley is condemned for eternity. Marley accepts his one chance to escape his own chains; he must first redeem Scrooge. So begins a journey of laughter and terror, redemption...

Cost: $12-$29

Where:
Armour Street Theatre
307 Armour Street
Davidson, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Davidson Community Players
Website »

More information

This exhibit explores the rise and demise of Charlotte’s Brooklyn neighborhood, once the most vibrant black community in the Carolinas.

Cost: $6-$10, children 5 and younger free

Where:
Levine Museum of the New South
200 E. 7th 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

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

Theatre Charlotte's holiday tradition is back for its 13th season. Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his late partner, Jacob Marley and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and...

Cost: $28

Where:
The Eloise MacDonald Playhouse
501 Queens Road
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Theatre Charlotte
Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

Studio Drift, founded by Dutch artists Ralph Nauta and Lonneke Gordijn, creates breathtaking sculptures that explore the relationship between humanity, nature and technology

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

Drive through reindeer forest, and see the Christmas Wonderland of Lights. Check out the animal feedings, carousel rides and train rides. S'mores will be available for purchase....

Cost: $7, ages 2 and younger free

Where:
Zootastic Park
385 Ostwalt Amity Road
Troutman, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-245-6446
Website »

More information

This Uptown holiday event is presented as a German-inspired Christmas Market and includes traditional German foods and treats, homemade crafts and gifts, and other featured programming,...

Cost: Free admission

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


Website »

More information

The title, "Coined in the South," refers not only to The Mint Museum’s origins as the first branch of the United States Mint, but also to the acts of inventing and devising....

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


Website »

More information

See your favorite Christmas scenes, and hear your favorite songs during this holiday dinner theater experience. See website for showtimes.  No meal will be served at Sunday 2pm shows.

Cost: $9.50-$37

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


Telephone: 803-802-2300
Website »

More information

Skate on the 5,000 square-foot ice rink. Guests can also enjoy holiday lights and decor; Santa’s Pub, a coffee shop, live music, surprise guests and festive activities.

Cost: $12-$17

Where:
Symphony Park at Southpark Mall
4400 Sharon Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Celebrate the season with a stroll through a garden winter wonderland. Hot chocolate, smore's, wine and beer will be available for purchase from Rosie's Wine Garden. Tues.-Fri., 4-10pm;...

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Rosie's Wine Garden
940 N. Davidson
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

See Santa Claus in his custom-built house on the Village Green. See website for schedule.

Cost: $20 for a 5×7 photo and $30 for a USB Stick with all photos

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


Website »

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Skate on an ice trail or free skate on 17,000 square feet of ice. Located in the Upper Pond of the Whitewater Center, the skating environment features three areas and an on-ice Airstream...

Cost: $20-$59

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


Website »

More information

Discover why the coldest and darkest season holds some of the warmest and brightest celebrations of the year. Trace the history and development of many of the world's most endearing holiday...

Cost: Planetarium tickets are $5, children 3 and younger free

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


Website »

More information

Enjoy a festive sing-a-long featuring music from Frank Sinatra, Burl Ives, Ella Fitzgerald and more! Get into the spirit of the season with immersive, artistic visuals filling the dome. Be sure to...

Cost: Planetarium tickets are $5, children 3 and younger free

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


Website »

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Come for a story and fun in the kitchen! This week features, "The Bears' Christmas"

Cost: $5-$10

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


Website »

More information

Engage your child with stories, songs and activities in English and Spanish.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Engage your child with stories, songs and activities in English and Spanish.

Cost: Free

Where:
Independence Regional Library
6000 Conference Drive
, NC
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Website »

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Bring your cameras, and come enjoy a story time and visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus!

Cost: Free

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

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Mrs. Claus will visit Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden Friday through Sunday from Nov. 29-Dec. 22 in addition to Christmas Eve from 6 to 8 p.m. Santa Claus will be available for professional photos...

Cost: $10-$19

Where:
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
6500 New Hope Road
Belmont, NC
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Website »

More information

Join TCPD for treats, a Santa sighting and a guided light tour through Tega Cay.

Cost: Free

Where:
Glennon Center At Tega Cay Golf Club
15083 Molokai Drive
Tega Cay, SC
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Website »

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Join residents as they pull the yule log through town to Legacy Park where it will be ignited. The evening continues with caroling and a visit from Santa. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Pharr Yarns Main Office
100 Main St.
McAdenville, NC
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Website »

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Enjoy books, songs, movement, sensory experiences and playtime.

Cost: Free

Where:
Main Library Rock Hill
138 E. Black St.
Rock Hill, SC
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Website »

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Meet other fans of anime, manga and Japanese culture. Snacks provided.

Cost: Free

Where:
Scaleybark Library
101 Scaleybark Road
, NC
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Website »

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Grab your golden ticket, and bring the pure imagination of Willy Wonka to life with games, crafts and lots of holiday fun! Feel free to wear a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory costume.

Cost: Free

Where:
Kannapolis Library
850 Mountain St.
Kannapolis, NC
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Website »

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Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder or sensory sensitivity and their families are invited to a special holiday evening at Discovery Place Kids. Enjoy a low-sensory experience with Santa and...

Cost: $5

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


Website »

More information

Discover Cuban culture through music, games and interactive experiences that will paint a picture of Cuba. This bilingual experience will showcase Cuba's wildlife, biodiversity, history and...

Cost: $18-$22, children younger than 2 free, includes museum admission

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


Website »

More information

Drive or stroll through McAdenville to see over 250 evergreens, covered with more than a half million red, white and green lights, plus the town lake circled with dozens of evergreens, draped with...

Cost: Free

Where:
McAdenville, NC


Website »

More information

Donate blood or platelets at OneBlood’s North Carolina donation centers and mobile drives in November and December, and you will have the opportunity to send a message that will then be...

Cost: Free

Where:
OneBlood Mobiles and Donor Centers
4447 South Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: OneBlood
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

Enjoy this enchanting Christmas village offering free 4x6 photos with Santa and family holiday activities. Guests can reserve their free visit and photo with Santa by visiting the Bass Pass...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cabela's
1000 Cabelas Drive
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

From the earliest days of Billy Graham’s ministry, he had a special place in his heart for teens and young adults. Come see the new special display, and discover how God used Graham to reach...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
, 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

Young children 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: $7

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 Charlotte
10624 Metromont Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

Cost: $6, $8 on school holidays

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


Website »

More information

This annual exhibit fills the Museum with model train displays assembled by local “S” Gaugers, as well as railroad memorabilia, and antique toys and games. Visitors of all ages will be...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Kings Mountain Historical Museum
Website »

More information

The 12th Annual Community Nativity Festival is a family-friendly event for people of all ages. View more than 400 nativity sets from around the world, and enjoy performances by local choirs...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
7036 McIlwaine Road
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Sponsor: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Website »

More information

Schleich, the world’s largest toy figurine company, is bringing a fun and exciting pop-up shop to Concord Mills. Come play with toys and see a life-size dinosaur.

Cost: Free

Where:
Concord Mills
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Schleich USA
Website »

More information

Enjoy this enchanting Christmas village offering free 4x6 photos with Santa and family holiday activities. The Santa’s Wonderland Christmas village offers remote control trucks, toy...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops
8181 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
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Website »

More information

The 18-piece display of animatronic bears performs classic holiday songs. The 45-minute program starts on the hour. All performances are subject to cancellation so check the website for updates....

Cost: Free

Where:
Founders Hall
100 N. Tryon St.
, NC
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Website »

More information

With parental guidance, toddlers can jump on the trampoline, play in the foam pit and craw through obstacles. Play time is for children just starting to walk through age 5 who are not yet in...

Cost: $3-$5

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

More information

Combine outdoor adventure and art on the second Thursday of the month. Registration is required.

Cost: $5-$10

Where:
David Phillips Activity Center
946 Burrage Road
Concord, NC
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Website »

More information

Watch a King Vulture play on a playground in the Vulture Culture exhibit.

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

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


Sponsor: Carolina Raptor Center
Website »

More information

Play basketball in a structured environment.

Cost: Free

Where:
Naomi Drenan Recreation Center
750 Beal St.
, NC
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Website »

More information

SoL offers children opportunities to explore nature and to create while learning Spanish. There is no class on Nov. 28.

Cost: $25

Where:
Watershed
2101 Shenandoah Ave.
, NC
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Website »

More information

Celebrate the Savior’s birth with family and friends over Christmas dinner. This traditional holiday meal features turkey and carved ham with sides and desserts. Seatings at 5 and 7 pm....

Cost: $9.95-$22.95, children 3 and younger free

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

More information

Celebrate the Christmas season with fun family activities at the Billy Graham Library. Enjoy the light displays, live nativity, horse-drawn carriage rides, carolers, story time for children,...

Cost: Free, carriage rides cost $4-$8

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


Website »

More information

Drive 3.75 miles with 3.5 million lights. Visitors may drive through the lights every night until January 5, excluding Christmas Day. From Thursday to Sunday from December 12 to 29, visitors can...

Cost: $20-$30

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


Website »

More information

Come downtown and enjoy a festive stroll down Main Street and through Stowe Park after dark to view the themed colorful Christmas trees decorated by local businesses and organizations.

Cost: Free

Where:
Stowe Park
24 S. Main St.
Belmont, NC
View map »


Sponsor: City of Belmont
Website »

More information

Swing, stomp and sing with your little ones in this interactive introduction to jazz for preschoolers and caregivers. Registration is required.

Cost: Free

Where:
Central Steele Creek Presbyterian Church
9401 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: JazzArts Charlotte
Website »

More information

Wind down after a busy day with bedtime stories and soothing songs. Come in your jammies, and bring your favorite stuffed animal.

Cost: Free

Where:
Kannapolis Library
850 Mountain St.
Kannapolis, NC
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Website »

More information

This orchestrated light show includes more than 150,000 lights set to music. Begins November 29 and runs nightly through December, starting each evening at dusk.

Cost: Free

Where:
Town Hall Lawn
413 N. Main St.
Mooresville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Lights is a half-mile walking trail that leads viewers through a series of immersive light installations featuring honeycombs, vines, crystals, and other natural features integrated into the...

Cost: Free, $6 for parking

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


Sponsor: USNWC
Website »

More information

Come enjoy a safe place to walk or run on your own or with family and friends. The lights are left on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Cost: Free

Where:
Bailey Road Park
11536 Bailey Road
Cornelius, NC
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Website »

More information

See the dazzling light shows at 6:30 and 7:30 p.m., and enjoy visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus, face painters, balloon artists, and hot chocolate.

Cost: Free

Where:
Phillips Place
6800 Phillips Place Ct.
, 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

Santa’s Wonderland will offer free photos with Santa and free family holiday crafts, games and activities.

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops and Cabela's locations
8181 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

Uptown Charlotte’s outdoor ice rink returns to the NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza. Take a picture with the giant polar bear, under the tree or in the decorated Ceremonial Garden.

Cost: $12-$16

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


Sponsor: NASCAR Hall of Fame
Website »

More information

Visit The Ballantyne to view an enchanting display of gingerbread creations. Gingerbread Lane is free to visit and open to the public. Hot cocoa will be available for purchase.

Cost: Free

Where:
The Ballantyne
10000 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Visit the open-air ice skating rink located across from Fountain Park in Rock Hill. See website for operating hours.

Cost: $10, includes skate rental

Where:
Founders Holiday Ice Rink
205 Saluda St.
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Chained and shackled, Marley is condemned for eternity. Marley accepts his one chance to escape his own chains; he must first redeem Scrooge. So begins a journey of laughter and terror, redemption...

Cost: $12-$29

Where:
Armour Street Theatre
307 Armour Street
Davidson, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Davidson Community Players
Website »

More information

This exhibit explores the rise and demise of Charlotte’s Brooklyn neighborhood, once the most vibrant black community in the Carolinas.

Cost: $6-$10, children 5 and younger free

Where:
Levine Museum of the New South
200 E. 7th 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

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

Theatre Charlotte's holiday tradition is back for its 13th season. Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his late partner, Jacob Marley and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and...

Cost: $28

Where:
The Eloise MacDonald Playhouse
501 Queens Road
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Theatre Charlotte
Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

Studio Drift, founded by Dutch artists Ralph Nauta and Lonneke Gordijn, creates breathtaking sculptures that explore the relationship between humanity, nature and technology

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

Drive through reindeer forest, and see the Christmas Wonderland of Lights. Check out the animal feedings, carousel rides and train rides. S'mores will be available for purchase....

Cost: $7, ages 2 and younger free

Where:
Zootastic Park
385 Ostwalt Amity Road
Troutman, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-245-6446
Website »

More information

This Uptown holiday event is presented as a German-inspired Christmas Market and includes traditional German foods and treats, homemade crafts and gifts, and other featured programming,...

Cost: Free admission

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


Website »

More information

The title, "Coined in the South," refers not only to The Mint Museum’s origins as the first branch of the United States Mint, but also to the acts of inventing and devising....

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


Website »

More information

Actors, singers, dancers and musicians bring Christmas music and characters to life. Meet Santa, Mrs. Claus and the elves, and sing along to Christmas music. End the evening with musical...

Cost: $10

Where:
Church 180
2685 Celanese Road
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Telephone: 803-417-4220
Website »

More information

See your favorite Christmas scenes, and hear your favorite songs during this holiday dinner theater experience. See website for showtimes.  No meal will be served at Sunday 2pm shows.

Cost: $9.50-$37

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


Telephone: 803-802-2300
Website »

More information

Skate on the 5,000 square-foot ice rink. Guests can also enjoy holiday lights and decor; Santa’s Pub, a coffee shop, live music, surprise guests and festive activities.

Cost: $12-$17

Where:
Symphony Park at Southpark Mall
4400 Sharon Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Experience the wonder and joy of the holidays at Charlotte Ballet’s "Nutcracker." Clara’s classic tale comes to life with the treasured music of Tchaikovsky performed live by...

Cost: $25-$112

Where:
Belk Theater
130 N. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Celebrate the season with a stroll through a garden winter wonderland. Hot chocolate, smore's, wine and beer will be available for purchase from Rosie's Wine Garden. Tues.-Fri., 4-10pm;...

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Rosie's Wine Garden
940 N. Davidson
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

See Santa Claus in his custom-built house on the Village Green. See website for schedule.

Cost: $20 for a 5×7 photo and $30 for a USB Stick with all photos

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


Website »

More information

Skate on an ice trail or free skate on 17,000 square feet of ice. Located in the Upper Pond of the Whitewater Center, the skating environment features three areas and an on-ice Airstream...

Cost: $20-$59

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


Website »

More information

Discover why the coldest and darkest season holds some of the warmest and brightest celebrations of the year. Trace the history and development of many of the world's most endearing holiday...

Cost: Planetarium tickets are $5, children 3 and younger free

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


Website »

More information

Enjoy a festive sing-a-long featuring music from Frank Sinatra, Burl Ives, Ella Fitzgerald and more! Get into the spirit of the season with immersive, artistic visuals filling the dome. Be sure to...

Cost: Planetarium tickets are $5, children 3 and younger free

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


Website »

More information

The interactive and family-friendly pop-up will feature specialty Christmas cocktails, mocktails and food selections for children and adults. Jingle City will also include Santa’s...

Cost: $5-$15

Where:
Jingle City
300 E. Morehead St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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Homeschooling families are invited to bring history to life through hands-on activities.

Cost: $6 per student, adults free

Where:
Fort Dobbs
438 Fort Dobbs Road
Statesville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Stop by for a free car seat safety check from a Certified Passenger Safety Technician. It helps to have children present for the seat check, if possible. No appointment necessary.

Cost: Free

Where:
Flint Hill Fire Dept. Station 1
1950 Hwy 21 Bypass
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Meet with a nationally certified Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST) who will teach you the correct way to install your child's seat, provide safety recommendations and answer questions....

Cost: Free

Where:
Flint Hill Fire Dept. Station 1
1950 Hwy. 21 Bypass
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Sponsor: Britax Child Safety
Website »

More information

  Baby Café is a free resource for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers to get support from our certified lactation consultants (IBCLC) and to share experiences with other moms. A lactation...

Cost: Free

Where:
OKRA
1912 Commonwealth Ave
Charlotte, NC  28205
View map »


Sponsor: Novant Health Baby Cafe
Telephone: 704-384-7510
Contact Name: Bardeen Forman
Website »

More information

Enjoy stories, songs, crafts and snacks.

Cost: $5

Where:
Southview Recreation Center
1720 Vilma St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Come to MyGym in Ballantyne for cookies and cocoa with Santa! Sessions are 3:30-5pm and 5:30-7pm.

Cost: $15

Where:
MyGym Ballantyne
9852 Rea Road
Suite A2
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Reserve your time-slot and enjoy games, activities and treats before and after your photo with Santa! Bring your own camera.

Cost: $25

Where:
Romp n' Roll NW Charlotte
3611 Mt. Holly-Huntersville Road
207
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Mrs. Claus will visit Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden Friday through Sunday from Nov. 29-Dec. 22 in addition to Christmas Eve from 6 to 8 p.m. Santa Claus will be available for professional photos...

Cost: $10-$19

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


Website »

More information

Drop kids off for a pizza dinner and action-packed adventures. This month, kids play laser tag! Register online.

Cost: $35-$40

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


Website »

More information

Bring the kids to enjoy hot chocolate with Santa. Guests can also assemble a gift basket for the coffee lover on your list.

Cost: Free admission

Where:
York Coffee Roastery
132 Blackburn St.
York, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

In this magical workshop, little artists will create a 3D sculpture of Olaf!

Cost: $45

Where:
Small Hands Big Art
8025 Ardrey Kell Road
Suite 103
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Small Hands Big Art
Website »

More information

Celebrate the holiday season with this special themed tour. Ghost stories were once part of many historical Christmas traditions. Hear ghost stories along with tales of Christmas traditions while...

Cost: $15-$20

Where:
Historic Rosedale Plantation
3427 N. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Historic Rosedale
Website »

More information

Discover Cuban culture through music, games and interactive experiences that will paint a picture of Cuba. This bilingual experience will showcase Cuba's wildlife, biodiversity, history and...

Cost: $18-$22, children younger than 2 free, includes museum admission

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


Website »

More information

Drive or stroll through McAdenville to see over 250 evergreens, covered with more than a half million red, white and green lights, plus the town lake circled with dozens of evergreens, draped with...

Cost: Free

Where:
McAdenville, NC


Website »

More information

Donate blood or platelets at OneBlood’s North Carolina donation centers and mobile drives in November and December, and you will have the opportunity to send a message that will then be...

Cost: Free

Where:
OneBlood Mobiles and Donor Centers
4447 South Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: OneBlood
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

Enjoy this enchanting Christmas village offering free 4x6 photos with Santa and family holiday activities. Guests can reserve their free visit and photo with Santa by visiting the Bass Pass...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cabela's
1000 Cabelas Drive
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Explore many different techniques and materials including paint, clay, print making, drawing, building and sculpting. There will be no class on Nov. 29.

Cost: $25

Where:
Watershed
2101 Shenandoah Ave.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

From the earliest days of Billy Graham’s ministry, he had a special place in his heart for teens and young adults. Come see the new special display, and discover how God used Graham to reach...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Young children 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: $7

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


Website »

More information

Sessions are structured and include a fairy host, tea party with light snack, dress-up clothes, craft, face painting or light makeup, and story time.

Cost: $20

Where:
Tiaras and Tales
921 Crossroads Plaza
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $8

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


Website »

More information

Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

Cost: $6, $8 on school holidays

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


Website »

More information

Young children can jump with other little ones. Parents and caregivers jump free! W8less socks required.

Cost: $10 per hour

Where:
W8Less LKN
10442-A Bailey Road
Cornelius, NC
View map »


Website »

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This annual exhibit fills the Museum with model train displays assembled by local “S” Gaugers, as well as railroad memorabilia, and antique toys and games. Visitors of all ages will be...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kings Mountain Historical Museum
100 E. Mountain St.
Kings Mountain, NC
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Sponsor: Kings Mountain Historical Museum
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The 12th Annual Community Nativity Festival is a family-friendly event for people of all ages. View more than 400 nativity sets from around the world, and enjoy performances by local choirs...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
7036 McIlwaine Road
Huntersville, NC
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Sponsor: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
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Schleich, the world’s largest toy figurine company, is bringing a fun and exciting pop-up shop to Concord Mills. Come play with toys and see a life-size dinosaur.

Cost: Free

Where:
Concord Mills
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
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Sponsor: Schleich USA
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Enjoy this enchanting Christmas village offering free 4x6 photos with Santa and family holiday activities. The Santa’s Wonderland Christmas village offers remote control trucks, toy...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops
8181 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
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The 18-piece display of animatronic bears performs classic holiday songs. The 45-minute program starts on the hour. All performances are subject to cancellation so check the website for updates....

Cost: Free

Where:
Founders Hall
100 N. Tryon St.
, NC
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Shop local and regional small businesses before the holidays.

Cost: Free

Where:
1100 Metropolitan Ave.
, NC
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With parental guidance, toddlers can jump on the trampoline, play in the foam pit and craw through obstacles. Play time is for children just starting to walk through age 5 who are not yet in...

Cost: $3-$5

Where:
Charlotte Allstar Gymnastics and Cheerleading
11011 Monroe Road
Matthews, NC
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Telephone: 704-246-8611
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Visit a Lancaster County librarian at Jumpin Jax Fun Center of Lancaster for movement and yoga through stories. Regular admission is applied for children who want to stay to play following the...

Cost: Free story time

Where:
Jumpin Jax of Lancaster
2650 Charlotte Hwy.
Lancaster, SC
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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
, NC
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Enjoy a fantastic Friday in this afterschool program.

Cost: $7

Where:
Tom Sykes Recreation Center
1501 Euclid Ave.
, NC
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The Polar Express Train Ride, inspired by the run-away hit movie, features a train ride to the North Pole with dancing chefs, cookies, hot chocolate and a presentation of the first gift of...

Cost: $32-$325

Where:
North Carolina Transportation Museum
1 Samuel Spencer Drive
Spencer, NC
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Sponsor: North Carolina Transportation Musem
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Enjoy the wonder of the park dazzlingly lit for the holidays. Ride a nighttime train. Advanced tickets are required.

Cost: $38-$44 for adults, ages 2 and younger free

Where:
Tweetsie Railroad
300 Tweetsie Railroad Lane
Blowing Rock, NC
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Sponsor: Tweetsie Railroad
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Celebrate the Savior’s birth with family and friends over Christmas dinner. This traditional holiday meal features turkey and carved ham with sides and desserts. Seatings at 5 and 7 pm....

Cost: $9.95-$22.95, children 3 and younger free

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
, NC
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Celebrate the Christmas season with fun family activities at the Billy Graham Library. Enjoy the light displays, live nativity, horse-drawn carriage rides, carolers, story time for children,...

Cost: Free, carriage rides cost $4-$8

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
, NC
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Drive 3.75 miles with 3.5 million lights. Visitors may drive through the lights every night until January 5, excluding Christmas Day. From Thursday to Sunday from December 12 to 29, visitors can...

Cost: $20-$30

Where:
Charlotte Motor Speedway
5555 Concord Pkwy. S.
Concord, NC
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Experience music, Santa visits, Christmas Tree Lane, wagon rides, life size snow globe, Holiday Light Spectacular and more. Wagon rides begin at the Christian Mission on Broad Street.

Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Mooresville
Broad and Main Streets
Mooresville, NC
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Come downtown and enjoy a festive stroll down Main Street and through Stowe Park after dark to view the themed colorful Christmas trees decorated by local businesses and organizations.

Cost: Free

Where:
Stowe Park
24 S. Main St.
Belmont, NC
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Sponsor: City of Belmont
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This orchestrated light show includes more than 150,000 lights set to music. Begins November 29 and runs nightly through December, starting each evening at dusk.

Cost: Free

Where:
Town Hall Lawn
413 N. Main St.
Mooresville, NC
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Experience Christmas by Candlelight at Historic Latta Plantation! Take holiday themed tours throughout the historic house followed by hot cider and cookies by the fireside. Purchase tickets online...

Cost: $25

Where:
Historic Latta Plantation
5225 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
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Lights is a half-mile walking trail that leads viewers through a series of immersive light installations featuring honeycombs, vines, crystals, and other natural features integrated into the...

Cost: Free, $6 for parking

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
, NC
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Sponsor: USNWC
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Treat the kids and yourself to a fun night out! Drop kids off to run, play and dance. Pizza dinner is included.

Cost: $25

Where:
Romp n' Roll NW Charlotte
3611 Mt. Holly-Huntersville Road
207
, NC
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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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Santa’s Wonderland will offer free photos with Santa and free family holiday crafts, games and activities.

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops and Cabela's locations
8181 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
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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
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Uptown Charlotte’s outdoor ice rink returns to the NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza. Take a picture with the giant polar bear, under the tree or in the decorated Ceremonial Garden.

Cost: $12-$16

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame
400 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
, NC
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Sponsor: NASCAR Hall of Fame
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Visit The Ballantyne to view an enchanting display of gingerbread creations. Gingerbread Lane is free to visit and open to the public. Hot cocoa will be available for purchase.

Cost: Free

Where:
The Ballantyne
10000 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy.
, NC
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Visit the open-air ice skating rink located across from Fountain Park in Rock Hill. See website for operating hours.

Cost: $10, includes skate rental

Where:
Founders Holiday Ice Rink
205 Saluda St.
Rock Hill, SC
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Chained and shackled, Marley is condemned for eternity. Marley accepts his one chance to escape his own chains; he must first redeem Scrooge. So begins a journey of laughter and terror, redemption...

Cost: $12-$29

Where:
Armour Street Theatre
307 Armour Street
Davidson, NC
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Sponsor: Davidson Community Players
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This exhibit explores the rise and demise of Charlotte’s Brooklyn neighborhood, once the most vibrant black community in the Carolinas.

Cost: $6-$10, children 5 and younger free

Where:
Levine Museum of the New South
200 E. 7th St.
, NC
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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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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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Ring in the holiday season with Children’s Theatre of Charlotte’s most-popular show of all time. This hilarious and heartfelt musical comedy, adapted from Barbara Robinson’s...

Cost: $19+

Where:
McColl Family Theatre
300 E. 7th St.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-973-2828
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Theatre Charlotte's holiday tradition is back for its 13th season. Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his late partner, Jacob Marley and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and...

Cost: $28

Where:
The Eloise MacDonald Playhouse
501 Queens Road
, NC
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Sponsor: Theatre Charlotte
Telephone: 704-372-1000
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George Bailey's guardian angel, Clarence, falls to Earth, and shows Bailey how his town, family and friends would have turned out if he had never been born. See website for showtimes.

Cost: $14-$16

Where:
Matthews Playhouse
100 McDowell Street E.
Matthews, NC
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Studio Drift, founded by Dutch artists Ralph Nauta and Lonneke Gordijn, creates breathtaking sculptures that explore the relationship between humanity, nature and technology

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

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
, NC
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Carowinds is transformed into a winter wonderland with spectacular holiday experiences. Fri., 5-10pm; Sat., 2-10pm; Sun., 4-10pm.

Cost: $48+, children ages 5 and younger free with Pre-K Pass

Where:
Carowinds
14523 Carowinds Blvd.
, NC
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Drive through reindeer forest, and see the Christmas Wonderland of Lights. Check out the animal feedings, carousel rides and train rides. S'mores will be available for purchase....

Cost: $7, ages 2 and younger free

Where:
Zootastic Park
385 Ostwalt Amity Road
Troutman, NC
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Telephone: 704-245-6446
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This Uptown holiday event is presented as a German-inspired Christmas Market and includes traditional German foods and treats, homemade crafts and gifts, and other featured programming,...

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Uptown Charlotte
406 N. Tryon St.
, NC
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The title, "Coined in the South," refers not only to The Mint Museum’s origins as the first branch of the United States Mint, but also to the acts of inventing and devising....

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
, NC
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The Best Christmas Pageant Ever follows the outrageous shenanigans of the Herdman siblings, or “the worst kids in the history of the world” and the Bradley family who struggle to save...

Cost: TBA

Where:
, NC


Telephone: 803-326-7428
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Actors, singers, dancers and musicians bring Christmas music and characters to life. Meet Santa, Mrs. Claus and the elves, and sing along to Christmas music. End the evening with musical...

Cost: $10

Where:
Church 180
2685 Celanese Road
Rock Hill, SC
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Telephone: 803-417-4220
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See your favorite Christmas scenes, and hear your favorite songs during this holiday dinner theater experience. See website for showtimes.  No meal will be served at Sunday 2pm shows.

Cost: $9.50-$37

Where:
The NarroWay Theatre
3327 Hwy. 51 N.
Fort Mill, SC
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Telephone: 803-802-2300
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Skate on the 5,000 square-foot ice rink. Guests can also enjoy holiday lights and decor; Santa’s Pub, a coffee shop, live music, surprise guests and festive activities.

Cost: $12-$17

Where:
Symphony Park at Southpark Mall
4400 Sharon Road
, NC
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The Huntersville Holiday 5K will be held on Friday night at 7pm. The Huntersville Half Marathon will begin Saturday morning at 8am.

Cost: $25-$140

Where:
16620 Cranlyn Road
Huntersville, NC
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Experience the wonder and joy of the holidays at Charlotte Ballet’s "Nutcracker." Clara’s classic tale comes to life with the treasured music of Tchaikovsky performed live by...

Cost: $25-$112

Where:
Belk Theater
130 N. Tryon St.
, NC
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Celebrate the season with a stroll through a garden winter wonderland. Hot chocolate, smore's, wine and beer will be available for purchase from Rosie's Wine Garden. Tues.-Fri., 4-10pm;...

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Rosie's Wine Garden
940 N. Davidson
, NC
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See Santa Claus in his custom-built house on the Village Green. See website for schedule.

Cost: $20 for a 5×7 photo and $30 for a USB Stick with all photos

Where:
Blakeney Shopping Centers
9839 Rea Road
, NC
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Skate on an ice trail or free skate on 17,000 square feet of ice. Located in the Upper Pond of the Whitewater Center, the skating environment features three areas and an on-ice Airstream...

Cost: $20-$59

Where:
U.S. National Whitewater Center
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.
, NC
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Discover why the coldest and darkest season holds some of the warmest and brightest celebrations of the year. Trace the history and development of many of the world's most endearing holiday...

Cost: Planetarium tickets are $5, children 3 and younger free

Where:
The Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
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Enjoy a festive sing-a-long featuring music from Frank Sinatra, Burl Ives, Ella Fitzgerald and more! Get into the spirit of the season with immersive, artistic visuals filling the dome. Be sure to...

Cost: Planetarium tickets are $5, children 3 and younger free

Where:
The Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
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The interactive and family-friendly pop-up will feature specialty Christmas cocktails, mocktails and food selections for children and adults. Jingle City will also include Santa’s...

Cost: $5-$15

Where:
Jingle City
300 E. Morehead St.
, NC
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Find that Christmas spirit, and register for the Santa Hustle at Stowe Park. Kids' dash begins at 7:30 a.m. The half marathon begins at 8 a.m., and the 5K begins at 8:15 a.m.

Cost: $10-$60

Where:
Stowe Park
24 S. Main St.
Belmont, NC
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Enjoy a delicious breakfast buffet, holiday music and a picture  with Santa. Seatings available at 8, 9 and 10 a.m.

Cost: $12-$17, includes digital photo

Where:
Anne Springs Close Greenway
2573 Lake Haigler Drive
Fort Mill, SC
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Sponsor: Anne Springs Close Greenway
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Come enjoy breakfast at the North Pole with Santa! The first session is from 8:30-9:30am, and the second session is from 10-11am. Preregister for event.

Cost: $5

Where:
Indian Trail Town Hall
315 Matthews-Indian Trail Road
Indian Trail, NC
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Jingle all the way to a cure at the The Arthritis Foundation’s Jingle Bell Run.

Cost: $30+

Where:
St. Matthew Catholic Church
8015 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy.
, NC
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Sponsor: Arthritis Foundation
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Kids celebrate the birth of Jesus with a painting activity, cookies, milk and a story! RSVP by emailing nicolas@pumcfortmill.org.

Cost: Free

Where:
Philadelphia Church
1691 Hwy. 160 West
Fort Mill, SC
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Sponsor: Philadelphia UMC
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From the slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains to the savannahs of the Coastal Plain, North Carolina is home to a large diversity of habitats. Get hands-on with North Carolina critters, and learn...

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

Where:
Discovery Place Nature
1658 Sterling Road
, NC
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Sponsor: Discovery Place Nature
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Meet at Reedy Creek Nature Preserve to walk your pup and meet other dog owners.

Cost: Free

Where:
Reedy Creek Nature Preserve
2900 Rocky River Road
, NC
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This living history will give visitors a glimpse of what daily life was like for the garrison of Fort Dobbs. On-going displays of camp life and historic cooking will be offered, as well as musket...

Cost: Free, $2 donation suggested

Where:
Fort Dobbs
438 Fort Dobbs Road
Statesville, NC
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Learn about Christmas in different countries, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Las Posadas and more.

Cost: $8

Where:
The Bridge at Arts+
4100 Raleigh St.
, NC
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Kick off your SAT prep with a free practice SAT exam. Register online.

Cost: Free

Where:
Scaleybark Library
101 Scaleybark Road
, NC
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Walk through the woods, then enjoy hot chocolate while crafting as a family.

Cost: $6

Where:
Reedy Creek Nature Preserve
2900 Rocky River Road
, NC
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Ceramic teaching artists will walk participants through a clay project from start to finish. Call 980-314-1115 to register.

Cost: Free

Where:
Tuckaseegee Recreation Center
4820 Tuskaseegee Road
, NC
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Sponsor: Clayworks
Telephone: 980-314-1115
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Clayworks will lead participants in a hands-on clay workshop.

Cost: Free

Where:
Tuckaseegee Recreation Center
4820 Tuckaseegee Road
, NC
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Sponsor: ASC Culture Blocks
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Kids and parents can come create functional, seasonal clay projects.

Cost: $10

Where:
McDowell Arts Center
123 McDowell St.
Matthews, NC
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Visit participating businesses along Union Street collecting edible decorations to create a gingerbread house to take home. Reservations strongly suggested.

Cost: $10 per child

Where:
Downtown Concord
Union Street
Concord, NC
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Shop more than 30 local vendors while listening to live music.

Cost: Free

Where:
Ballantyne Village
14825 Ballantyne Village Way
, NC
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Gather the whole family for Charlotte Symphony's "Magic of Christmas" and Carolina Voices's "The Singing Christmas Tree." This celebration is complete with...

Cost: $19+

Where:
Knight Theater
430 S. Tryon St.
, NC
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Sponsor: Charlotte Symphony
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Engage your child with stories, songs and activities in English, Mandarin Chinese and Spanish.

Cost: Free

Where:
Myers Park Library
1361 Queens Road
, NC
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A prize will be given to the best Santa Claus look-a-like. After the trail race, grab your canine companion and hit the trails for the We Believe Santa 5K Dog Jog.

Cost: $30-$37

Where:
U.S. National Whitewater Center
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.
, NC
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Shop more than 30 local vendors, and hear live music.

Cost: Free

Where:
Ballantyne Village
14825 Ballantyne Village Way
, NC
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Participate in a variety of experiments, engineering projects or math puzzles. Register online.

Cost: Free

Where:
Mint Hill Library
6840 Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Mint Hill, NC
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Cultural Blocks will help provide this photography, videography and journalism program for teens.

Cost: Free

Where:
Arbor Glen Outreach Center
1520 Clanton Road
, NC
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Prepare for Kwanzaa by learning its history and traditions in an artful way. This workshop will honor the history of Kwanzaa and feature best tips on how to celebrate Kwanzaa at home.

Cost: $5

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 South Tryon St.
, NC
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Performers use a combination of bilingual stories (Spanish/English), music, musical instruments, toys, puppets and games to interact with the audience.

Cost: Free

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
, NC
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Bring your family to create festive arts and crafts. Materials and treats will be provided. Register online.

Cost: Free

Where:
The Bridge at Arts+
4100 Raleigh St.
, NC
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Come weave a festive basket! All skill levels are welcome.

Cost: $25

Where:
James K. Polk State Historic Site
12031 Lancaster Hwy.
Pineville, NC
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These two-hour workshop experiences will be intended for families and appropriate for all ages.

Cost: Free

Where:
University City Regional Library
301 East W.T. Harris Blvd.
, NC
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Come out for face painters, trackless train, bounce house, carriage rides, goodie bags for kids, and a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Cost: Free

Where:
Strawberry Hill
Providence Road and Sardis Road
, NC
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Come enjoy treats at the museum with Mrs. Claus!

Cost: $15 per parent and child

Where:
Museum of the Waxhaws
8215 Waxhaw Hwy.
Waxhaw, NC
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Each workshop features a different art project accompanied by live music.

Cost: Free

Where:
Scaleybark Library
101 Scaleybark Road
, NC
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Sponsor: ASC Culture Blocks
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Explore stories and build structures using several different materials.

Cost: Free

Where:
ImaginOn: The Joe & Joan Martin Center
300 E. 7th St.
, NC
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Create a one-of-a-kind gift for loved ones this holiday season, and learn how to tell your own family's story. Kids ages  5 to 12 invited to join The Charlotte Museum of History and The...

Cost: $5

Where:
The Charlotte Museum of History
3500 Shamrock Drive
, NC
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The garden will have 52 decorated garden beds, hundreds of luminaries, live music, food trucks, hot cider and cookies. Topping off the evening is a visit by Santa!

Cost: Free

Where:
Mount Holly Community Garden
126 N. Main St.
Mount Holly, NC
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Visit Lowell for the annual Christmas Parade, which will begin at 4 p.m. with a tree lighting ceremony following at 5 p.m. Food trucks and Santa will be at the tree lighting.

Cost: Free

Where:
First Baptist Church
400 W. 1st St.
Lowell, NC
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Create a ceramic gingerbread house! This collaborative workshop is for adults and children Finished kiln fired pieces will be available for pick up the following Saturday. One adult may...

Cost: $50 per house

Where:
Small Hands Big Art
8025 Ardrey Kell Road
Suite 103
, NC
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Sponsor: Small Hands Big Art
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The 23rd Annual Lighted Boat Parade is a lake-wide event that is open to the public. Concessions begin at 5pm, and Santa arrives via fireboat at 6pm with the parade to follow.

Cost: Free

Where:
The Peninsula Yacht Club
18501 Harbor Light Blvd.
Cornelius, NC
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Mrs. Claus will visit Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden Friday through Sunday from Nov. 29-Dec. 22 in addition to Christmas Eve from 6 to 8 p.m. Santa Claus will be available for professional photos...

Cost: $10-$19

Where:
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
6500 New Hope Road
Belmont, NC
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Luminaries will light the streets of MillBridge, leading visitors through a covered bridge to a lit Christmas tree. There will be horse-drawn carriage rides, hot chocolate and s’mores, and a...

Cost: Free

Where:
MillBridge
1401 Millbridge Pkwy.
Waxhaw, NC  28173
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Thousands attend this event each year, so make sure to get your spot early!

Cost: Free

Where:
Main St. and Dale Earnhardt Blvd.
Kannapolis, NC


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Watch this evening parade with a Grinch theme!

Cost: Free

Where:
Main Street
Lancaster, SC
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This annual holiday event will feature music from the 17th and 18th centuries, seasonal readings, and  carols. Musicians appear in period attire. Performances at 7 and 8:30 p.m.

Cost: $8-$16

Where:
St. Mary's Chapel
1129 East 3rd St.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-333-1235
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Hear holiday music performed by the Charlotte Concert Band. Selections will include "Polar Express," "Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and more.

Cost: $5-$10

Where:
Myers Park High School Auditorium
2400 Colony Road
, NC
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Celebrate the holidays with a home track round up. Come and create your own NASCAR holiday treasures, from a helmet to a trophy.

Cost: $18-$25, included with admission

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame
400 East Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
, NC
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Discover Cuban culture through music, games and interactive experiences that will paint a picture of Cuba. This bilingual experience will showcase Cuba's wildlife, biodiversity, history and...

Cost: $18-$22, children younger than 2 free, includes museum admission

Where:
Discovery Place Science
301 N. Tryon St.
, NC
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Drive or stroll through McAdenville to see over 250 evergreens, covered with more than a half million red, white and green lights, plus the town lake circled with dozens of evergreens, draped with...

Cost: Free

Where:
McAdenville, NC


Website »

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Come get your dog's picture made with Santa for free with a donation to CBHBB Rescue.

Cost: Free with donation

Where:
Lucky Dog Bark and Brew
2220 Thrift Road
, NC
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Donate blood or platelets at OneBlood’s North Carolina donation centers and mobile drives in November and December, and you will have the opportunity to send a message that will then be...

Cost: Free

Where:
OneBlood Mobiles and Donor Centers
4447 South Blvd.
, NC
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Sponsor: OneBlood
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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
7325 Smith Corners Blvd., Charlotte
, NC
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Bring your camera and take your picture with Santa and Mrs. Claus! Come enjoy breakfast, a performance in the theater and make a take-home holiday craft. Sessions at 9am and 10:45am.

Cost: $7-$10

Where:
Matthews Community Center
100 E. W. McDowell St.
Matthews, NC
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Telephone: 704-321-7275
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Young children 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: $7

Where:
Altitude Trampoline Park
3490 E. Franklin Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
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Enjoy this enchanting Christmas village offering free 4x6 photos with Santa and family holiday activities. Guests can reserve their free visit and photo with Santa by visiting the Bass Pass...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cabela's
1000 Cabelas Drive
Fort Mill, SC
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Come create functional, seasonal clay projects! September's theme is "back to school." In October, make spooky face pots, and in November, make turkey bowls. Create clay...

Cost: $10

Where:
McDowell Arts Center
123 McDowell St.
Matthews, NC
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From the earliest days of Billy Graham’s ministry, he had a special place in his heart for teens and young adults. Come see the new special display, and discover how God used Graham to reach...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
, NC
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Repticon Charlotte features vendors offering reptile pets, supplies, feeders, cages and merchandise, as well as live animal seminars and free raffles for coveted prizes. See website for times and...

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

Where:
Cabarrus Arena & Events Center
4751 Highway 49 N.
Concord, NC  28025
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Sponsor: Repticon Reptile and Exotic Animal Expos
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This annual exhibit fills the Museum with model train displays assembled by local “S” Gaugers, as well as railroad memorabilia, and antique toys and games. Visitors of all ages will be...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kings Mountain Historical Museum
100 E. Mountain St.
Kings Mountain, NC
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Sponsor: Kings Mountain Historical Museum
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The 12th Annual Community Nativity Festival is a family-friendly event for people of all ages. View more than 400 nativity sets from around the world, and enjoy performances by local choirs...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
7036 McIlwaine Road
Huntersville, NC
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Sponsor: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
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Enjoy this enchanting Christmas village offering free 4x6 photos with Santa and family holiday activities. The Santa’s Wonderland Christmas village offers remote control trucks, toy...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops
8181 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
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The 18-piece display of animatronic bears performs classic holiday songs. The 45-minute program starts on the hour. All performances are subject to cancellation so check the website for updates....

Cost: Free

Where:
Founders Hall
100 N. Tryon St.
, NC
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Teddy Bear Tea will include lunch and festive activities for families. Proceeds from this event will benefit Hospitality House of Charlotte. Seatings are 10 a.m. to noon or 1 to 3 p.m. Children...

Cost: $28-$60, children younger than 2 free

Where:
The Westin Charlotte
601 S. College St.
, NC
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Shop local and regional small businesses before the holidays.

Cost: Free

Where:
1100 Metropolitan Ave.
, NC
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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
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Come shop the day away! General Admission includes a Girl Tribe tote bag and a La Croix beverage.

Cost: $5-$10, children younger than 12 free

Where:
Charlotte Convention Center
501 S. College St.
, NC
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Vultures and humans will engage in a fun activity of the trainer's choice.  It could be painting, playground fun or taking a walk with a vulture.

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

Where:
Carolina Raptor Center
6000 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC  28078
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Sponsor: Carolina Raptor Center
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Explore the expressive, active and creative benefits of dance.

Cost: $10

Where:
Elon Recreation Center
11401 Ardrey Kell Road
, NC
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Our engaging team of raptor keepers will show you some of their favorite bird species. Check in the Visitor’s Center whiteboard to see who you can meet each day.

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

Where:
Carolina Raptor Center
6000 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
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Sponsor: Carolina Raptor Center
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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
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Sponsor: Northlake Mall
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Celebrate the holiday season with traditions from the 18th and 19th centuries at Historic Brattonsville. Hear fiddle music, and dance alongside historically-dressed interpreters. Try candle...

Cost: $10

Where:
Historic Brattonsville
1444 Brattonsville Road
McConnells, SC
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Celebrate the season at Promenade on Providence the first three Saturdays of December. Dec. 7: Santa and Carriage Rides Dec. 14: Cookies and Crafts with Mrs. Claus on the Green Dec. 21:...

Cost: Free

Where:
Promenade on Providence
10844 Providence Road
, NC
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A professional artist will guide and assist with the art that is perfect for Santa's milk and cookies. Pieces are fired in the kiln and ready for pick up within a week.

Cost: $20-$24

Where:
Ballantyne Arts Center
11318 North Community House Road
, NC
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The Polar Express Train Ride, inspired by the run-away hit movie, features a train ride to the North Pole with dancing chefs, cookies, hot chocolate and a presentation of the first gift of...

Cost: $32-$325

Where:
North Carolina Transportation Museum
1 Samuel Spencer Drive
Spencer, NC
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Sponsor: North Carolina Transportation Musem
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Enjoy the wonder of the park dazzlingly lit for the holidays. Ride a nighttime train. Advanced tickets are required.

Cost: $38-$44 for adults, ages 2 and younger free

Where:
Tweetsie Railroad
300 Tweetsie Railroad Lane
Blowing Rock, NC
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Sponsor: Tweetsie Railroad
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Celebrate the Savior’s birth with family and friends over Christmas dinner. This traditional holiday meal features turkey and carved ham with sides and desserts. Seatings at 5 and 7 pm....

Cost: $9.95-$22.95, children 3 and younger free

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
, NC
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Celebrate the Christmas season with fun family activities at the Billy Graham Library. Enjoy the light displays, live nativity, horse-drawn carriage rides, carolers, story time for children,...

Cost: Free, carriage rides cost $4-$8

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
, NC
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Drive 3.75 miles with 3.5 million lights. Visitors may drive through the lights every night until January 5, excluding Christmas Day. From Thursday to Sunday from December 12 to 29, visitors can...

Cost: $20-$30

Where:
Charlotte Motor Speedway
5555 Concord Pkwy. S.
Concord, NC
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Come downtown and enjoy a festive stroll down Main Street and through Stowe Park after dark to view the themed colorful Christmas trees decorated by local businesses and organizations.

Cost: Free

Where:
Stowe Park
24 S. Main St.
Belmont, NC
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Sponsor: City of Belmont
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This orchestrated light show includes more than 150,000 lights set to music. Begins November 29 and runs nightly through December, starting each evening at dusk.

Cost: Free

Where:
Town Hall Lawn
413 N. Main St.
Mooresville, NC
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Experience Christmas by Candlelight at Historic Latta Plantation! Take holiday themed tours throughout the historic house followed by hot cider and cookies by the fireside. Purchase tickets online...

Cost: $25

Where:
Historic Latta Plantation
5225 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
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Lights is a half-mile walking trail that leads viewers through a series of immersive light installations featuring honeycombs, vines, crystals, and other natural features integrated into the...

Cost: Free, $6 for parking

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
, NC
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Sponsor: USNWC
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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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Santa’s Wonderland will offer free photos with Santa and free family holiday crafts, games and activities.

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops and Cabela's locations
8181 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
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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
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Uptown Charlotte’s outdoor ice rink returns to the NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza. Take a picture with the giant polar bear, under the tree or in the decorated Ceremonial Garden.

Cost: $12-$16

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame
400 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
, NC
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Sponsor: NASCAR Hall of Fame
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Visit The Ballantyne to view an enchanting display of gingerbread creations. Gingerbread Lane is free to visit and open to the public. Hot cocoa will be available for purchase.

Cost: Free

Where:
The Ballantyne
10000 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy.
, NC
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Visit the open-air ice skating rink located across from Fountain Park in Rock Hill. See website for operating hours.

Cost: $10, includes skate rental

Where:
Founders Holiday Ice Rink
205 Saluda St.
Rock Hill, SC
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Chained and shackled, Marley is condemned for eternity. Marley accepts his one chance to escape his own chains; he must first redeem Scrooge. So begins a journey of laughter and terror, redemption...

Cost: $12-$29

Where:
Armour Street Theatre
307 Armour Street
Davidson, NC
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Sponsor: Davidson Community Players
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This exhibit explores the rise and demise of Charlotte’s Brooklyn neighborhood, once the most vibrant black community in the Carolinas.

Cost: $6-$10, children 5 and younger free

Where:
Levine Museum of the New South
200 E. 7th St.
, NC
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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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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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Ring in the holiday season with Children’s Theatre of Charlotte’s most-popular show of all time. This hilarious and heartfelt musical comedy, adapted from Barbara Robinson’s...

Cost: $19+

Where:
McColl Family Theatre
300 E. 7th St.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-973-2828
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Theatre Charlotte's holiday tradition is back for its 13th season. Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his late partner, Jacob Marley and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and...

Cost: $28

Where:
The Eloise MacDonald Playhouse
501 Queens Road
, NC
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Sponsor: Theatre Charlotte
Telephone: 704-372-1000
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George Bailey's guardian angel, Clarence, falls to Earth, and shows Bailey how his town, family and friends would have turned out if he had never been born. See website for showtimes.

Cost: $14-$16

Where:
Matthews Playhouse
100 McDowell Street E.
Matthews, NC
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Studio Drift, founded by Dutch artists Ralph Nauta and Lonneke Gordijn, creates breathtaking sculptures that explore the relationship between humanity, nature and technology

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

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
, NC
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Carowinds is transformed into a winter wonderland with spectacular holiday experiences. Fri., 5-10pm; Sat., 2-10pm; Sun., 4-10pm.

Cost: $48+, children ages 5 and younger free with Pre-K Pass

Where:
Carowinds
14523 Carowinds Blvd.
, NC
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Drive through reindeer forest, and see the Christmas Wonderland of Lights. Check out the animal feedings, carousel rides and train rides. S'mores will be available for purchase....

Cost: $7, ages 2 and younger free

Where:
Zootastic Park
385 Ostwalt Amity Road
Troutman, NC
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Telephone: 704-245-6446
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Wander through each zone of the aquarium to experience thousands of Christmas lights. Dec. 8: Pass Member Preview Event Dec. 14: Scuba Claus Dive Show at 11:15am and 2:30pm Dec. 15: Scuba...

Cost: $13-$22, children 2 and younger free

Where:
SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
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Sponsor: SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
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This Uptown holiday event is presented as a German-inspired Christmas Market and includes traditional German foods and treats, homemade crafts and gifts, and other featured programming,...

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Uptown Charlotte
406 N. Tryon St.
, NC
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Enjoy a family friendly performance of this holiday favorite presented by the Harris Dance Company. See website for performance schedule.

Cost: $15

Where:
Charlotte Latin School
9502 Providence Road
, NC
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Sponsor: Harris YMCA
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The title, "Coined in the South," refers not only to The Mint Museum’s origins as the first branch of the United States Mint, but also to the acts of inventing and devising....

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
, NC
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The Best Christmas Pageant Ever follows the outrageous shenanigans of the Herdman siblings, or “the worst kids in the history of the world” and the Bradley family who struggle to save...

Cost: TBA

Where:
, NC


Telephone: 803-326-7428
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Actors, singers, dancers and musicians bring Christmas music and characters to life. Meet Santa, Mrs. Claus and the elves, and sing along to Christmas music. End the evening with musical...

Cost: $10

Where:
Church 180
2685 Celanese Road
Rock Hill, SC
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Telephone: 803-417-4220
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See your favorite Christmas scenes, and hear your favorite songs during this holiday dinner theater experience. See website for showtimes.  No meal will be served at Sunday 2pm shows.

Cost: $9.50-$37

Where:
The NarroWay Theatre
3327 Hwy. 51 N.
Fort Mill, SC
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Telephone: 803-802-2300
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Skate on the 5,000 square-foot ice rink. Guests can also enjoy holiday lights and decor; Santa’s Pub, a coffee shop, live music, surprise guests and festive activities.

Cost: $12-$17

Where:
Symphony Park at Southpark Mall
4400 Sharon Road
, NC
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The Huntersville Holiday 5K will be held on Friday night at 7pm. The Huntersville Half Marathon will begin Saturday morning at 8am.

Cost: $25-$140

Where:
16620 Cranlyn Road
Huntersville, NC
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JStage presents the musical Annie with eight performances suitable for the whole family.  The Saturday, Dec. 14 show at 2 p.m. will be sensory friendly and ALS friendly.

Cost: $15

Where:
Levine Jewish Community Gorelick Hall
5007 Providence Road
, NC
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Experience the wonder and joy of the holidays at Charlotte Ballet’s "Nutcracker." Clara’s classic tale comes to life with the treasured music of Tchaikovsky performed live by...

Cost: $25-$112

Where:
Belk Theater
130 N. Tryon St.
, NC
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Celebrate the season with a stroll through a garden winter wonderland. Hot chocolate, smore's, wine and beer will be available for purchase from Rosie's Wine Garden. Tues.-Fri., 4-10pm;...

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Rosie's Wine Garden
940 N. Davidson
, NC
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See Santa Claus in his custom-built house on the Village Green. See website for schedule.

Cost: $20 for a 5×7 photo and $30 for a USB Stick with all photos

Where:
Blakeney Shopping Centers
9839 Rea Road
, NC
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Skate on an ice trail or free skate on 17,000 square feet of ice. Located in the Upper Pond of the Whitewater Center, the skating environment features three areas and an on-ice Airstream...

Cost: $20-$59

Where:
U.S. National Whitewater Center
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.
, NC
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Discover why the coldest and darkest season holds some of the warmest and brightest celebrations of the year. Trace the history and development of many of the world's most endearing holiday...

Cost: Planetarium tickets are $5, children 3 and younger free

Where:
The Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
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Enjoy a festive sing-a-long featuring music from Frank Sinatra, Burl Ives, Ella Fitzgerald and more! Get into the spirit of the season with immersive, artistic visuals filling the dome. Be sure to...

Cost: Planetarium tickets are $5, children 3 and younger free

Where:
The Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
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The interactive and family-friendly pop-up will feature specialty Christmas cocktails, mocktails and food selections for children and adults. Jingle City will also include Santa’s...

Cost: $5-$15

Where:
Jingle City
300 E. Morehead St.
, NC
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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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