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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July 2019

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

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

Where:
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
6500 S. New Hope Road
Belmont, NC
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Telephone: 704-825-4490
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In celebration of the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage, this exhibit will look at the lives of Kings Mountain women in the past and present to explore the differences the women have made...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kings Mountain Historical Museum
100 E. Mountain St.
Kings Mountain, NC
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Sponsor: Kings Mountain Historical Museum
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Enjoy food, wine, crepes, culinary demonstrations, music, dance and pétanque.

Cost: $5

Where:
Nevin Community Park
6000 Statesville Road
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Sponsor: Charlotte French Festival
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Enjoy French food, wine, music, dance and the pétanque initiation and tournament. Bring leashed dogs for the canine costume contest.

Cost: $5, children younger than 3 free

Where:
Nevin Community Park
6000 Statesville Road
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Participate in art projects, gallery experiences, artist demos and family yoga. Chill out during the hot summer with cool crafts at the Mint! This month collage a frozen Popsicle, make a breezy...

Cost: $6, children free

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Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
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Join aquatic turtles on the Nature Center lawn as they go for a dip in the turtle pools.

Cost: Free

Where:
Latta Nature Center
6211 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
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Little super heroes will love Marvel Super Hero Day with appearances from Spider-Man and Black Panther. Kids can also run the bases!

Cost: $12+

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BB&T Stadium
324 S. Mint St.
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Tony Award-winning Broadway legend, Betty Buckley stars in this universally acclaimed musical. "Hello, Dolly!" pays tribute to the original. See website for showtimes.

Cost: $25+

Where:
Belk Theater
130 N. Tryon St.
, NC
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Church of the Redeemer - Kids offers a class for adaptive learning needs and a sensory room during the Sunday School hour (9 a.m.) and worship hour (10:30 a.m.). Volunteers who desire to come...

Cost: Free

Where:
Sun Valley High School
5211 Old Charlotte Hwy.
Monroe, NC
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Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello, and Michelangelo will be appearing at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Extra appearance Saturday Night at 7 p.m. 

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

Where:
Tweetsie Railroad
300 Tweetsie Railroad Lane
Blowing Rock, NC
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Matthews UMC offers opportunities for Christian education, discipleship, fellowship and care for persons of all ages with disabilities and their families. Experience age-level appropriate Sunday...

Cost: Free

Where:
Matthews United Methodist Church
801 S. Trade St.
Matthews, NC
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The Special Needs Ministry at Calvary welcomes all ages and abilities! Guests, including parents and caregivers, are invited to join.

Cost: Free

Where:
Calvary Church
5801 Pineville–Matthews Road
, NC
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Telephone: 704-341-5413
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Meet YouTube celebrities and compete in tournaments. Participate in the costume contest, shop merchandise, watch stage shows and build with LEGOs. Try the MINECRAFT escape room and Acer VR mixed...

Cost: $50+

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The Park Expo and Conference Center
800 Briar Creek Road
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Swim in the cool, deep water at Carrigan Farms Quarry. Ages 11 and under must wear a life jacket at all times in the water. Anyone 12 and older are eligible to take the swim test. Bring your rod...

Cost: $15, cash or check only

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The Quarry at Carrigan Farms
1213 Oak Ridge Farm Hwy.
Mooresville, NC
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Telephone: 704-664-1450
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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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The event includes a reenactment of the 1780 battle between the local Patriot militia and Loyalist troops commanded by the loathed British commander Capt. Christian Huck. Sat., 10am-4pm; Sun.,...

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

Where:
Historic Brattonsville
1444 Brattonsville Road
McConnells, SC
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Meet a resident bird and an expert keeper in these half-hour sessions along the Raptor Trail. Saturdays 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., and Sundays 1 and 3 p.m.

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

Where:
Carolina Raptor Center
6000 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
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Be amazed by the show put on by these native and exotic flight birds and their trainers at this annual sensation.

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

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Carolina Raptor Center
6000 Sample Road
Huntersville, 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.
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Telephone: 980-430-4587
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Enjoy a 50-foot Alpine climbing tower, a 40-foot challenge tower and zip-line, fishing pond, archery and wooded hiking trails. Try activities like dodgeball, gagaball, basketball, volleyball,...

Cost: $10 per family

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Hemby Program Center
9760 Happy Valley Drive
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Meet one of the animal ambassadors for a photo opportunity, and take a behind the scenes tour of the Raptor Hospital. Get an up close look at an Eagle. Children younger than 16 must be...

Cost: $28-$32

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Carolina Raptor Center
6000 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
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Sponsor: Carolina Raptor Center
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Watch as the athletic dogs launch into the pool while chasing after their favorite toys, all earning points based on how far they soar.

Cost: Free

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Tryon International Equestrian Center
4066 Pea Ridge Road
Mill Spring, NC  28756
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When a mysterious talking groundhog steals young Ellie’s homework, she takes off down a hole after it and finds herself in a place where nothing is as it seems, the Land of Rejected Fairy...

Cost: $15

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The Hut
413 Johnston Dr.
Pineville, NC
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Sponsor: Pineville Players
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Families with special needs can enjoy lessons and activities tailored for persons with disabilities. Children's class at 9:30 and 11am. Teen class at 9:30 and 11am. Young adult class at...

Cost: Free

Where:
Matthews United Methodist Church
801 S. Trade St.
Matthews, NC
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Sponsor: MUMC
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From the pen of playwright and novelist Robert Inman, this historical drama shares the story of the resourceful people who settled the Carolinas and their crucial role in a battle that played a...

Cost: $20

Where:
Joy Performance Center
202 S. Railroad Avenue
Kings Mountain, 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

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SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
8111 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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Featuring more than 50 international artists and more than 100 works of art, Under Construction explores the growth of the collage technique and aesthetic in the work of Romare Bearden and his...

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

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 South Tryon St.
, NC
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"Welcome to Brookhill" is a collection of images that, like poetry, stir emotion. The photographs reveal what this neighborhood, like every other neighborhood, has come to be to its...

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

Where:
The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Culture
551 S. Tryon St.
, NC
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tapestries and rugs designed by artists usually associated with painting, sculpture, and architecture. Examples of the more familiar media will be installed alongside the textiles. The Bechtler...

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

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 South Tryon St.
, NC
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Never Abandon Imagination showcases nearly 100 original works, featuring illustrations from "Dungeons and Dragons, Magic: The Gathering," and Tony DiTerlizzi’s many fantasy and...

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

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
, NC
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Telephone: 704-337-2000
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This modest exhibition presents twenty works created over four decades by seventeen artists from six different nations. Yet all of them, regardless of their style, form, material or subject proved...

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

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
, NC
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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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The traveling exhibition, constructed with breathtaking architectural detail and accuracy features towers built out of LEGO bricks. Admire the skyscrapers and learn about their cultural...

Cost: $18-$22

Where:
Discovery Place Science
301 N. Tryon St.
, NC
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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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Discover the intriguing lives of nocturnal animals. This hands-on, family-friendly exhibit delves into dark environments and brings to light the unique animals and plants that live there. Visitors...

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

Where:
The Museum of York County
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
Rock Hill, SC
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Guests can enjoy unique shark activities, including hidden shark facts throughout the aquarium and chances to win prizes. Meet a baby bamboo shark, and see real Megalodon shark teeth.

Cost: $13+

Where:
SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Suite 8461
Concord, NC
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Guests will be mesmerized this summer by dozens of vibrant sculptures by Seattle-based artist Jason Gamrath including towering 10-foot orchids, vivid pitcher plants, energetic Venus flytraps and...

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

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


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Kings Mountain Historical Museum
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Come for traditional storytelling.

Cost: Free

Where:
Beatties Ford Road Regional Library
2412 Beatties Ford Road
, NC
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Join Dorian Kurpoas to learn about what it takes to be a pharmacist.

Cost: Free

Where:
Hickory Grove Library
5935 Hickory Grove Road
, NC
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Learn about increasing confidence and reducing anxiety, and sew a heart to take home.

Cost: Free

Where:
Main Library Rock Hill
138 E. Black St.
Rock Hill, NC
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Journey into the past and explore the time of the dinosaurs with hands-on activities and fossil investigations. Registration is required.

Cost: Free

Where:
Plaza Midwood Library
1623 Central Ave.
, NC
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In 2013, Billy Graham was officially named “North Carolina’s Favorite Son” when Governor Pat McCrory signed a proclamation from the North Carolina House and Senate. This display...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
, NC  28217
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Registered kids receive two free games of bowling each day of the Kids Bowl Free summer program. Bowl at 10 Park Lanes in Charlotte. George Pappas' Liberty Lanes of Gastonia, Spare Time in...

Cost: Free

Where:
10 Park Lanes
1700 Montford Drive
, NC
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Preschoolers complete nature themed activities, crafts and hikes while using their imaginations! 6/3: Prowlers at Night 6/17: Tree-mendous Trees! 7/1: Crickets & Grasshoppers 7/15:...

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

Where:
Anne Springs Close Greenway
288 Dairy Barn Lane
Fort Mill, SC
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Preschoolers can bounce with their parents in a safe, climate-controlled facility. 

Cost: $8

Where:
BounceU (Matthews and Charlotte locations)
9129 Monroe Road
Ste. 145-150
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $15, cash or check only

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


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

More information

Reserve your spot at Open Bounce, a play session for children of all ages.

Cost: $11

Where:
BounceU
9129 Monroe Road
Ste. 145-150
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $5, cash only

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


Telephone: 803-548-3441
Website »

More information

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

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

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


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

Learn about the aspects of good character and explore real-world decision-making. Enjoy board and video games during the second half of the program. Register online.

Cost: Free

Where:
Hickory Grove Library
5935 Hickory Grove Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6908
Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $18-$22

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

Guests can enjoy unique shark activities, including hidden shark facts throughout the aquarium and chances to win prizes. Meet a baby bamboo shark, and see real Megalodon shark teeth.

Cost: $13+

Where:
SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Suite 8461
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

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

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

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


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

This day marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 launch from Earth. Celebrate this historic date with fun programs all morning. See website for event schedule.

Cost: $8, included with museum admission

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Kings Mountain Historical Museum
Website »

More information

Celebrate the day 50 years ago when Apollo 11 began its historic flight to the moon. Create your own paper rocket and see how it fares, learn about rocket fuel and blast off at Discovery Place...

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

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


Website »

More information

Launch mini-rockets, watch a preview of the documentary, “Chasing the Moon” in the planetarium, and find out how the astronauts learned how to navigate by the stars.

Cost: $6-$10, free for children 3 and younger, included with admission

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


Website »

More information

On this day 50 years ago, a rocket launched some very brave astronauts into space. Learn about these astronauts and the rockets that took them to another world.

Cost: $11, children younger than 1 free, included with museum admission

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


Website »

More information

Join the MACUSA Fantastic Beasts Task Force to find magical creatures.

Cost: Free

Where:
Gaston County Public Library
1555 East Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Gaston County Public Library
Website »

More information

Learn about insects and explore creepy crawlies with this program by Parks and Rec.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

This 45-minute puppet show is based on stories from children's picture books.

Cost: Free

Where:
Steele Creek Library
4045 N. Tryon St.
Suite A
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Troupe 801 is a professional touring puppet troupe comprised of individuals with special needs. Free tickets available through CTC Box Office.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Big laughs, unforgettable characters and life lessons highlight this Porkchop Productions favorite. Performances at 2, 4:30 and 5:30pm.

Cost: Free

Where:
Fort Mill Public Library
1818 2nd Baxter Crossing
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

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $8

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $8

Where:
BounceU (Matthews and Charlotte locations)
9129 Monroe Road
Ste. 145-150
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $15, cash or check only

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


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

More information

Reserve your spot at Open Bounce, a play session for children of all ages.

Cost: $11

Where:
BounceU
9129 Monroe Road
Ste. 145-150
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $15

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


Sponsor: Tiny Blooms Yoga
Website »

More information

The Bojangles’ Summer Shootout provides up-and-coming drivers with valuable experience in Legend Cars and Bandoleros on Charlotte’s frontstretch quarter-mile oval. Gates open at 5...

Cost: $8; free for children 13 and younger

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $10-$15

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6908
Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $18-$22

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Guests can enjoy unique shark activities, including hidden shark facts throughout the aquarium and chances to win prizes. Meet a baby bamboo shark, and see real Megalodon shark teeth.

Cost: $13+

Where:
SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Suite 8461
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

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

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

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


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Kings Mountain Historical Museum
Website »

More information

The performance is part science, part math, part magic and part entertainment. Register online.

Cost: Free

Where:
Hickory Grove Library
5935 Hickory Grove Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy a hands-on program all about turtles presented by McDowell Nature Center staff. Register online.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Celebrate the 50th anniversary of man landing on the moon with history and activities.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Kayak the still waters of Lake Haigler. Children younger than 11 must be accompanied by an adult in a tandem kayak.

Cost: $15-$25

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


Website »

More information

Big laughs, unforgettable characters and life lessons highlight this Porkchop Productions favorite. Performances at 10:30am, 1:30pm and 4pm.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

A technician will help you learn how to install your seat correctly in your vehicle. Bring your child, seat, and vehicle and plan to spend at least 20 minutes. No appointment required.  

Cost: Free

Where:
Freedom Division office of Charlotte Mecklenburg Police
4150 Wilkinson Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $8

Where:
BounceU (Matthews and Charlotte locations)
9129 Monroe Road
Ste. 145-150
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $15, cash or check only

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


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

More information

Reserve your spot at Open Bounce, a play session for children of all ages.

Cost: $11

Where:
BounceU
9129 Monroe Road
Ste. 145-150
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Meet at The Museum of York County on Wednesday mornings to explore and investigate natural history topics with new exhibits, guest speakers and staff led activities. The museum will host two...

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

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


Website »

More information

Bring your seat , child and vehicle, and plan to spend at least 20 minutes with a technician. No appointment is necessary.

Cost: Free

Where:
Cornelius Fire Station
19729 S. Main St.
Cornelius, 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

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6908
Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

Circus arts and the world of ice skating take the audience on a journey into a whimsical frozen playground.

Cost: $52+

Where:
Spectrum Center
333 E. Trade St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $18-$22

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Guests can enjoy unique shark activities, including hidden shark facts throughout the aquarium and chances to win prizes. Meet a baby bamboo shark, and see real Megalodon shark teeth.

Cost: $13+

Where:
SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Suite 8461
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

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

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

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


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Kings Mountain Historical Museum
Website »

More information

Come decorate cupcakes, and hear a story!

Cost: $6 per child

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


Website »

More information

Parks and Rec staff will lead explorations about cold-blooded animals.

Cost: Free

Where:
Cornelius Library
21105 Catawba Ave.
Cornelius, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Come for traditional storytelling. Register online.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Teens will compete in Star Wars inspired STEAM challenges. Register online.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Register online for a puppet show and activity.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Gaston School of the Arts Playhouse presents "Aladdin Jr." These performances end two weeks of a musical theatre camp.

Cost: $10

Where:
Gaston School of the Arts
825 Union Road
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Sponsor: Gaston School of the Arts
Website »

More information

During a 30-minute time slot you and your child will explore art materials and processes with our early childhood educators in the enclosed picnic area. Wear clothes that can get messy or stained....

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $8

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $8

Where:
BounceU (Matthews and Charlotte locations)
9129 Monroe Road
Ste. 145-150
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $15, cash or check only

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


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

More information

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

Cost: $15

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


Sponsor: Tiny Blooms Yoga
Website »

More information

Reserve your spot at Open Bounce, a play session for children of all ages.

Cost: $11

Where:
BounceU
9129 Monroe Road
Ste. 145-150
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Explore the world through stories, crafts and activities.

Cost: Free

Where:
Charlotte Preparatory School
212 Boyce Road
, NC
View map »

More information

Enjoy entertainment for parents and children during summer break. July 11: Circus Daze July 18: Steve Brogan (ventriloquist) Aug. 1: Soap Bubble Circus

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

Where:
6621 Monroe Road
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: MoRA - Monroe Road Advocates
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free, $6 for parkig

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6908
Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

Circus arts and the world of ice skating take the audience on a journey into a whimsical frozen playground.

Cost: $52+

Where:
Spectrum Center
333 E. Trade St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $18-$22

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


Website »

More information

The Theatre Charlotte Student Theatre Guild's electrifying adaptation of Mel Brooks' monstrously funny film will leave you in stitches. Enjoy memorable tunes, such as "The Transylvania...

Cost: $10-$15

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


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

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Guests can enjoy unique shark activities, including hidden shark facts throughout the aquarium and chances to win prizes. Meet a baby bamboo shark, and see real Megalodon shark teeth.

Cost: $13+

Where:
SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Suite 8461
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

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

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

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


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

Drop kids off to use air-dry clay, Model Magic and paint to create a Squishy sculpture.

Cost: $18-$35

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Kings Mountain Historical Museum
Website »

More information

Climb on board the Tumblebus to participate in several activity stations modeled after the real-life physical requirements of humans traveling in space. Outside of the bus, an instructor will lead...

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

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


Website »

More information

Use clay, sparkly paint, and Model Magic to create everyone’s favorite Pokémon, Pikachu!

Cost: $35

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


Website »

More information

Potterheads, don’t miss this interactive movie. Teens will receive a gift bag packed with props and a script. Registration is required.

Cost: Free

Where:
York Public Library
21 East Liberty St.
York, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Visit Diagon Alley to pot succulents, create a wand and more.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Earn new and exciting prizes each month, including free Pokémon cards. Feel free to bring your own cards; loaner decks can be provided.

Cost: Free

Where:
Concord Public Library
27 Union St.
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Gaston School of the Arts Playhouse presents "Aladdin Jr." These performances end two weeks of a musical theatre camp.

Cost: $10

Where:
Gaston School of the Arts
825 Union Road
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Sponsor: Gaston School of the Arts
Website »

More information

Come watch "Marmaduke" in Veteran's Park. Movie begins at dusk.

Cost: Free

Where:
Veteran's Park
106 N. White St.
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $8

Where:
BounceU (Matthews and Charlotte locations)
9129 Monroe Road
Ste. 145-150
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Reserve your spot at Open Bounce, a play session for children of all ages.

Cost: $11

Where:
BounceU
9129 Monroe Road
Ste. 145-150
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $5, free for children 4 and younger

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


Website »

More information

Explore Black Contemporary Art in these family-friendly daytime workshops. Morning workshop for ages 6 to 18 will begin at 11 a.m. Afternoon Workshop for all ages will begin at 2 p.m. June...

Cost: $5

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

Where:
Cornelius Library
21105 Catawba Ave.
Cornelius, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

When a mysterious talking groundhog steals young Ellie’s homework, she takes off down a hole after it and finds herself in a place where nothing is as it seems, the Land of Rejected Fairy...

Cost: $15

Where:
The Hut
413 Johnston Dr.
Pineville, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Pineville Players
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free admission

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


Website »

More information

Register online for a night of gaming!

Cost: $35

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


Sponsor: Commandpost Gaming
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free, $6 for parkig

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


Website »

More information

Bring your blankets or chairs, and enjoy a classic family-friendly film. May 17: "Black Panther" June 21: Kid's Choice (TBA - Voting on Instagram) July 19: "Little...

Cost: Free

Where:
Johnston YMCA
3025 N. Davidson St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Follow the adventures of Shrek, his sidekick Donkey, Princess Fiona, Lord Farquaad and everybody's favorite fairy-tale creatures. Fri., 7pm; Sat., 2 and 7pm.

Cost: $15-$25

Where:
Booth Playhouse
130 North Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

From the pen of playwright and novelist Robert Inman, this historical drama shares the story of the resourceful people who settled the Carolinas and their crucial role in a battle that played a...

Cost: $20

Where:
Joy Performance Center
202 S. Railroad Avenue
Kings Mountain, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy a variety of programming and activities, including a host of speakers and interactive workshops, creative arts, open gym, sports and fitness, swimming, and a meal.

Cost: Free

Where:
Stratford Richardson YMCA
1946 West Blvd.
(Also Keith Family YMCA, McCrorey Family YMCA, Simmons YMCA)
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6908
Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

Circus arts and the world of ice skating take the audience on a journey into a whimsical frozen playground.

Cost: $52+

Where:
Spectrum Center
333 E. Trade St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $18-$22

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


Website »

More information

The Theatre Charlotte Student Theatre Guild's electrifying adaptation of Mel Brooks' monstrously funny film will leave you in stitches. Enjoy memorable tunes, such as "The Transylvania...

Cost: $10-$15

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


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

More information

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

Cost: $10-$37

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


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

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Guests can enjoy unique shark activities, including hidden shark facts throughout the aquarium and chances to win prizes. Meet a baby bamboo shark, and see real Megalodon shark teeth.

Cost: $13+

Where:
SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Suite 8461
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Kick off the International Champions Cup Weekend in Charlotte at House of Soccer, a free festival of sport, music, street art, food and drink. Fri., 5-8:30 p.m.; Sat., noon-5 p.m.

Cost: Free

Where:
Romare Bearden Park
300 S. Church St.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: International Champions Cup
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

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

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

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


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo landing and man’s first steps on the Moon! Explore space science with fun programs all morning. See website for event schedule.

Cost: $8, included with museum admission

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


Website »

More information

This library festival celebrates the culture surround comic books, graphic novels, manga, anime, fandoms, and gaming. The event aims to provide a safe space for those interested in exploring...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Kings Mountain Historical Museum
Website »

More information

Learn more about the busy lives of bees and talk with local beekeepers. Investigate "bee art" in the DSBG Art Factory.

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

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


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

On this date 50 years ago, Americans Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin become the first men to walk on the moon. Visitors can create a pocket solar system, interact with members of the Charlotte...

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

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


Website »

More information

Learn about the history of astronomical names. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Gaston County Public Library
1555 East Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Gaston County Public Library
Website »

More information

This is the day when humans first walked on the moon. See a special egg drop from 11 a.m. to noon to see how astronauts were able to safely return to Earth.

Cost: $11, children younger than 1 free, included with museum admission

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


Website »

More information

Watch artists receive recognition for their creative works and talents through visual performance and media.

Cost: $22

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


Website »

More information

Join Legion Brewing Plaza Midwood to kick off their Friends of Summer summer event series. This event's theme will be Legion Brewing’s Legiondary Field Day. Event is family-friendly and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Legion Brewing
1906 Commonwealth Ave.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Arsenal of the English Premier League and AS Roma of Italy's Serie A will face off at Bank of America Stadium!

Cost: $35+

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


Website »

More information

Bring a lawn chair to the front lawn of the Nature Center to learn about the science of campfires.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

The Kannapolis Intimidators take on the Lakewood BlueClaws, followed by a post-game fireworks show.

Cost: $7+

Where:
Intimidators Stadium
2888 Moose Road
Kannpolis, NC
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Telephone: 704-932-3267
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Gaston School of the Arts Playhouse presents "Aladdin Jr." These performances end two weeks of a musical theatre camp.

Cost: $10

Where:
Gaston School of the Arts
825 Union Road
Gastonia, NC  28054
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Sponsor: Gaston School of the Arts
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Learn the fundamentals of SUP in a fun, safe environment. Coaches discuss waterway safety, laws and etiquette, and basic paddling technique. Participants need to be able to swim.

Cost: $45

Where:
Tega Cay Beach and Swim Club
4088 Beach Club Lane
Tega Cay, SC
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Sponsor: The Goat Boater, Lake Wylie Paddleboarding
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Car owners and enthusiasts gather to celebrate their passion for cars and showcase their prized classics, customs and hot rods.

Cost: Free

Where:
Charlotte Motor Speedway
5555 Concord Pkwy. S.
Concord, NC
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Come play with your kids at My Gym! Parent participation is required. Parents wear socks; children go barefoot.

Cost: $10 per child

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

Cost: $8

Where:
Sky Zone (Pineville and Charlotte locations)
10200 Centrum Pkwy.
Pineville, NC
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Register for 90 minutes of hands-on Lego Robotics with a certified K-8 public educator. Each week, scholars will build a robot with new features. No prior experience is required.

Cost: $35

Where:
Aloft Charlotte Ballantyne
13139 Ballantyne Corporate Pl.
(Also Davidson, SouthPark and Hygge West)
, NC
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Sponsor: Digi-Bridge
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Don't miss these incredible dogs live at Tweetsie Railroad! Shows begin at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday evening show begins at 7 p.m.

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

Where:
Tweetsie Railroad
300 Tweetsie Railroad Lane
Blowing Rock, NC  28605
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Sponsor: Tweetsie Railroad
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Paddle the edges of McDowell Nature Preserve with certified instructors while enjoying nature. Children ages five to nine are required to be in a tandem with an adult. Registration is required.

Cost: $20 single, $25 tandem

Where:
McDowell Nature Preserve
15222 York Road
, NC
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Join this family-friendly open art session where your little Picasso can shine! Each week will be different activities including easel painting, sensory stations and themed art projects.

Cost: $10

Where:
Noah's Art of Southpark
5110 Park Road
2C
, NC
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Sponsor: Noah's Art of Southpark
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Watch "Toy Story," and meet some of the characters from the movie! The first 25 parents or guardians in line with their children to meet characters are eligible to receive a Starbucks...

Cost: Free

Where:
Rea Farms
Sandy Rock Place
, NC
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In 2013, Billy Graham was officially named “North Carolina’s Favorite Son” when Governor Pat McCrory signed a proclamation from the North Carolina House and Senate. This display...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
, NC  28217
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Beginners and seasoned yogis are invited to practice. Please bring a mat and water bottle.

Cost: $5, additional $5 for parking

Where:
Anne Springs Close Greenway
291 Dairy Barn Lane
Fort Mill, SC
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Sensory Friendly Screenings are designed for a sensitive audience in a safe and accepting environment. July 20 - "Lion King" ​August 17 - "Angry Birds 2" ​September...

Cost: $5

Where:
Stone Theaters, RedStone 14 Cinemas
9650 Red Stone Drive
(Park West 14 in Mooresville, Sun Valley 14 in Indian Trail, RedStone 14 in Indian Land)
Indian Land, SC
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Meet a resident bird and an expert keeper in these half-hour sessions along the Raptor Trail. Saturdays 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., and Sundays 1 and 3 p.m.

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

Where:
Carolina Raptor Center
6000 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
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Sponsor: Carolina Raptor Center
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Be amazed by the show put on by these native and exotic flight birds and their trainers at this annual sensation.

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

Where:
Carolina Raptor Center
6000 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
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Sponsor: Carolina Raptor Center
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On Saturdays and Sundays from noon-5pm, the arcade bar opens to all ages with a parent or guardian present.

Cost: Cost for games

Where:
Abari Game Bar
1721 N. Davidson St.
, NC
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Telephone: 980-430-4587
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Learn about vultures found at Carolina Raptor Center.

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

Where:
Carolina Raptor Center
6000 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
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Meet one of the animal ambassadors for a photo opportunity, and take a behind the scenes tour of the Raptor Hospital. Get an up close look at an Eagle. Children younger than 16 must be...

Cost: $28-$32

Where:
Carolina Raptor Center
6000 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
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Sponsor: Carolina Raptor Center
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Watch as the athletic dogs launch into the pool while chasing after their favorite toys, all earning points based on how far they soar.

Cost: Free

Where:
Tryon International Equestrian Center
4066 Pea Ridge Road
Mill Spring, NC  28756
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Sit, stand or lay atop of the water, and enjoy the sights of nature. All equipment is provided; registration is required.

Cost: $25

Where:
McDowell Nature Preserve
15222 York Road
, NC
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When a mysterious talking groundhog steals young Ellie’s homework, she takes off down a hole after it and finds herself in a place where nothing is as it seems, the Land of Rejected Fairy...

Cost: $15

Where:
The Hut
413 Johnston Dr.
Pineville, NC
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Sponsor: Pineville Players
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Come listen to music every Friday and Saturday throughout the summer, except June 21, which is Movie on the Green.

Cost: Free

Where:
The Green at Promenade on Providence
corner of Providence Road and Interstate 485
, NC
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Celebrate 20 years of music at Stonecrest with weekly family fun.

Cost: Free

Where:
Stonecrest Shopping Center
7900 Rea Road
, NC
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Join Birkdale Village for live music every Friday and Saturday night from June 1 to August 31. Bring a chair or a blanket.

Cost: Free

Where:
Birkdale Village
8712 Lindholm Drive
Huntersville, NC
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Website »

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

Cost: Free, $6 for parkig

Where:
U.S. National Whitewater Center
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.
, NC
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Listen to live music, and after some of the concerts, stick around for fireworks! Check website for fireworks schedule.     June 1: Sawyer Brown     June 15: Too...

Cost: Free

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

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Follow the adventures of Shrek, his sidekick Donkey, Princess Fiona, Lord Farquaad and everybody's favorite fairy-tale creatures. Fri., 7pm; Sat., 2 and 7pm.

Cost: $15-$25

Where:
Booth Playhouse
130 North Tryon St.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-372-1000
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From the pen of playwright and novelist Robert Inman, this historical drama shares the story of the resourceful people who settled the Carolinas and their crucial role in a battle that played a...

Cost: $20

Where:
Joy Performance Center
202 S. Railroad Avenue
Kings Mountain, NC
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Website »

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Enjoy a variety of programming and activities, including a host of speakers and interactive workshops, creative arts, open gym, sports and fitness, swimming, and a meal.

Cost: Free

Where:
Stratford Richardson YMCA
1946 West Blvd.
(Also Keith Family YMCA, McCrorey Family YMCA, Simmons YMCA)
, 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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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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Featuring more than 50 international artists and more than 100 works of art, Under Construction explores the growth of the collage technique and aesthetic in the work of Romare Bearden and his...

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

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 South Tryon St.
, NC
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"Welcome to Brookhill" is a collection of images that, like poetry, stir emotion. The photographs reveal what this neighborhood, like every other neighborhood, has come to be to its...

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

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

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

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

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 South Tryon St.
, NC
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Circus arts and the world of ice skating take the audience on a journey into a whimsical frozen playground.

Cost: $52+

Where:
Spectrum Center
333 E. Trade St.
, NC
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Never Abandon Imagination showcases nearly 100 original works, featuring illustrations from "Dungeons and Dragons, Magic: The Gathering," and Tony DiTerlizzi’s many fantasy and...

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

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
, NC
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Telephone: 704-337-2000
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Have a silly play date at the latest exhibit at ImaginOn. Designed to develop school readiness and academic skills for young children, Mr. Potato Head leads visitors on adventures ranging from...

Cost: Free

Where:
ImaginOn: The Joe & Joan Martin Center
300 E. 7th St.
, NC
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Exhibit explores the 1929 Loray Mill Strike, including why strikers chose to organize with the National Textile Workers Union (NTWU) and how the strike influenced mills across the country. The...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gaston County Museum of Art and History
131 West Main St.
Dallas, NC
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This modest exhibition presents twenty works created over four decades by seventeen artists from six different nations. Yet all of them, regardless of their style, form, material or subject proved...

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

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

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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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Website »

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

Cost: $18-$22

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

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The Theatre Charlotte Student Theatre Guild's electrifying adaptation of Mel Brooks' monstrously funny film will leave you in stitches. Enjoy memorable tunes, such as "The Transylvania...

Cost: $10-$15

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


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

More information

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

Cost: $10-$37

Where:
NarroWay Theatre
3327 Hwy 51
Fort Mill, SC  29715
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Sponsor: NarroWay Productions
Telephone: 803-802-2300
Website »

More information

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

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

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

More information

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

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

Where:
The Museum of York County
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
Rock Hill, SC
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This exhibition presents an array of genres and features work by six represented artists, Eduardo Cardozo, Juan Dolhare, Carlos Estévez, José Luis Landet, Santiago Quesnel and...

Cost: Free

Where:
LaCa Projects
1429 Bryant St.
, NC
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Website »

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Guests can enjoy unique shark activities, including hidden shark facts throughout the aquarium and chances to win prizes. Meet a baby bamboo shark, and see real Megalodon shark teeth.

Cost: $13+

Where:
SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Suite 8461
Concord, NC
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Website »

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Kick off the International Champions Cup Weekend in Charlotte at House of Soccer, a free festival of sport, music, street art, food and drink. Fri., 5-8:30 p.m.; Sat., noon-5 p.m.

Cost: Free

Where:
Romare Bearden Park
300 S. Church St.
, NC
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Sponsor: International Champions Cup
Website »

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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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