North Carolina Scholarship and Grant Programs Providing More Education Options for Children with Special Needs

Financial opportunities grow for children with special needs to attend private schools that may better meet their individual education needs.


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Sending my first born off to kindergarten was filled with a level of angst and an amount of research that rivaled any college search. I remember watching other moms at transitional kindergarten (TK) graduation, swap contact info and discuss teachers because they knew their kiddos would be attending kindergarten at the same school that upcoming fall.

I wasn't in that circle of moms. I knew the schools my family was considering for our son with special needs, but had no idea which one we would finally land on and that not-knowing weighed heavily on my mom heart. I cannot overlook the privilege we had of having so many options in our city, but the struggle to select the best fit was real.

Making the Best Choice for Your Child

As a mom of three, and especially as a parent of a child with special needs, experience has taught me that all children have unique learning styles and environments in which they thrive. We applied to kindergarten at several charter schools, a language-immersion program, a public school and a private school (and don't think homeschool and co-ops weren't swimming in my head too). We simultaneously had the added steps many parents of children with special needs have: Walking through the process of kindergarten transition and evaluation to maintain our Individualized Education Plan (IEP), and explore what support services might be needed and provided in different school environments. It was a very intensive process and year.

We now have a rising third grader, and I have the opportunity to share with other families about the state scholarship and grant programs my family discovered on our journey, and some of the considerations to walk through as you look at the school options available to children with special needs.

School Choices, Scholarships and Grants

The fall prior to my son with special needs entering kindergarten, while we were touring schools and attending open houses, I came across an article in the newspaper regarding North Carolina state-funded grants and scholarships. Intrigued, I looked up the North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority and starting digging around.

At that time there were two programs available: The North Carolina Opportunity Scholarship and the Children with Disabilities Scholarship Grant. The North Carolina Opportunity Scholarship Grant provides annual scholarships of up to $4,200 per year for families that meet income eligibility requirements to have access to a private school that best meets their child's educational needs. The Children with Disabilities Scholarship Grant enables families with children with special needs and an IEP Dec 3 form to be reimbursed for approved educational expenses or apply tuition payments up to $8,000 per year directly to a participating private school.

As a family with a child with special needs, our financial situation had evolved so unexpectedly over the years in supporting our child's therapy, medical needs and development that private school was well out of our own financial reach, but suddenly there was a glimmer of hope that perhaps these programs might make a private school an option to consider as well.

As I read through the qualifications for each program and the application process, which began early in the year prior to the fall we were to begin kindergarten, I had tons of questions, but wasn't sure who to ask for answers. We had just finished a year of TK in a private setting, so our child's IEP had been inactive for a year and we were in sort of unique territory.

After some searching, I came across Parents for Education Freedom North Carolina, a nonprofit organization aimed at helping families navigate options, including state grants and scholarships, so they have access to the full range of choices available. A quick call with Kwan Graham, the director of community engagement, and I had my questions answered, guidance for the process and support. 

I completed the applications and we waited for the decisions and notifications for each program, which are separate and spread apart through the spring and early summer. Going through this process prolonged our school-decision process and caused some stress as many private schools require deposits and a commitment early in the spring. To add to the delayed timeline, the private school we had applied to was just starting the process to be an approved participating school in both of the state programs. Many Charlotte private schools that participate in the opportunity scholarship are not staffed and equipped to accommodate the needs of students with special needs, however, special-education support is required at schools that participate in the Disability Scholarship Grant. (Families can refer to the list of participating schools for each scholarship and grant option provided on the North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority or work with their private school of choice to request their consideration in applying to become a participating school).

It is important to recognize the length of this process up front and be mindful of the possible challenges it may present with making decisions for multiple children. What worked with us for our first child for kindergarten certainly has become more challenging with schedules and transportation as all three of our kids continued to matriculate to different schools. 

We were awarded the North Carolina Opportunity Scholarship and Disability Scholarship Grant for kindergarten. After attending three kindergarten open houses days before the start of school, we finally made our decision and selected the private school where we had applied. 

A Learning Curve

As the year progressed, there was a learning curve for us and our school in navigating how funds were disbursed, applied and reimbursed in some cases. Each scholarship and grant program has its own set of rules and considerations. For example, the North Carolina Opportunity Scholarship is disbursed directly to schools and may only be used towards tuition and required fees at a participating nonpublic school. The Disability Scholarship Grant is also disbursed to schools but only for tuition and required fees at the participating school. The Disability Scholarship Grant may also be used for qualified expenses related to educating a child with an active IEP in a regular nonpublic school or homeschool, but these expenses but are distributed as a reimbursement to parents at then end of each semester.

Many private schools bill education support services (the special education services that are required for students to have in order to qualify for the grant) separate from tuition, so we had to be able to pay these funds up front and then were reimbursed by the school. So, it's a lot to consider.

In 2018, North Carolina passed another grant program called the Education Savings Account (ESA). We were fortunate to also be awarded this grant as we entered second grade in the 2018-2019 academic year.

This ESA program has the most flexibility and, in my opinion, was truly written to accommodate families with children with special needs. The program provides $9,000, disbursed in quarterly payments, for parents to direct funds for tuition, education support services or even private therapy (a list of participating providers is available) through a system akin to PayPal.

The best part: Unused ESA funds are rolled over to the next year provided the child continues to participate in the program and meet the requirements. Homeschool students that require special education as documented in their IEP also potentially benefit from the Disabilities Grant and ESA. All three programs do have a seamless renewal process each year, so once they are awarded, families can rest a little easier knowing they don't have to reapply and hold their breath each spring. 

Other Considerations

Even with the scholarships and grants in our corner and the option to attend a private school, we still labored over our kindergarten decision for our child with special needs. Though private schools that participate in the disability grant program must be able to provide special-needs services to a student, the legal accountability and rights afforded through the IEP system in a public school is not applicable in private school.

Special-needs services at a private school are often a fee above and beyond tuition. And though our school is able to provide special-needs services in school, those services do not include therapies like speech therapy, which would have been provided in the public school setting. Thus, the cost of private therapy is an added consideration. 

While we were fortunate to receive more than one grant and scholarship that covered a considerable portion of our tuition, fees and services, we still had considerable out-of-pocket costs. There was also the reality that tuition and fees continue to increase each year, but grant and scholarship money does not. Thankfully, the addition of the ESA we were awarded this year, has helped tremendously to off-set some of these costs in addition to helping with private therapies.

Finally, we found there were few private schools in the Charlotte area that were able to accommodate special needs students with our diagnosis in the K-2 grade levels. What if kindergarten hadn't gone as smoothly or we needed to switch schools? We were faced with the reality that we might be on the hook for some portion of tuition, which we certainly would not have been able to afford, if we had to leave mid-year. And, if we had to switch schools and couldn't find another private school to go to, we could lose the grants and scholarships for the next academic year if we still wanted to pursue a nonpublic school option. 

Amidst all of this, I really just wanted to focus on school uniforms and picking out a lunch box. Please, just give me a list of school supplies to go get that is straight forward and specific. No more big decisions. But it was also in that moment of looking at a sea of lunchboxes on the wall at a local store, it hit me. We don't have to make this decision for life. Nothing is in stone. For a mom that attended several different schools growing up, and then graduated with a small class of students, most of whom had been together for 13 years, I desperately want my kiddo to experience longevity in relationships and community. I want to see some of the same faces at high school graduation that were in my child's kindergarten graduation photo. I am really looking for a place of care and community where we know the drill and have a few less surprises in our already rather upstream life.

But what if I let that go? What if we just took things year by year? What if we just went into this adventure without the added expectations that it had to be the right fit forever? And that is when the peace rushed in and I could finally make a decision based on what my child needed now and not five years into the unpredictable future.

The state-provided scholarships and grants gave us the extra option that worked best for us over the last few years. I still hold out a little hope that this will all continue on the same path until our kiddo graduates, but as the state programs continue to expand and gain more participating schools, I also find peace knowing there are more options every year for students with special needs in our community. Getting all of the parts and pieces in line to apply and participate in the state programs that first year, and even as we've continued, has been an undertaking for sure but I'm so grateful we have the option.

I've shared our experience countless times with other families because so few know about the opportunity and where to get information. Private school is not the best fit or option for every student. Public and charter schools are not the best fit or option for every student. Choices are what the state of North Carolina has provided through supporting these programs and I'm committed to making sure other families have the opportunity of finding their peace of mind when it comes to their child's education. 

See side-by-side comparison of the Opportunity Grant, Disability Grant and Educational Savings Account.


Christa Robaina is a wife and mom of three. She is the Charlotte chapter chair and a parent mentor for The Autism Community in Action who hosts monthly coffee talks for autism parents and caregivers. She coaches families with children with special needs that are exploring options for improving diet and home environments to better serve their overall wellness. If you have questions about her experience with the NC grant and scholarship programs, email her at upstreamessentials@gmail.com.

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

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Daily Calendar

July 2020

Have a fun night with the family at the ballpark.

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

Where:
Sims Park
1001 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The restaurant will open early to cater to families of children with special needs. Families can expect smaller crowds, reduced lighting and noise, food and games, and specially-trained staff....

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Chuck E. Cheese
7701 Pineville-Matthews Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

Where:
Sun Valley High School
5211 Old Charlotte Hwy.
Monroe, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Church of the Redeemer
Website »

More information

Experience age-level appropriate Sunday school classes at 9:30 and 11 a.m. that connect families with larger church programs and ministries while creating a welcoming environment for all families.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

On Saturdays and Sundays from noon-5pm, the arcade bar opens to all ages with a parent or guardian present.

Cost: Cost for games

Where:
Abari Game Bar
1721 N. Davidson St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 980-430-4587
Website »

More information

Teach or play with your child in the heated pool.

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

Carowinds will pay tribute to military service men and women by honoring their bravery during Military Days. Active, inactive and retired service members are granted free admission to Carowinds by...

Cost: Free to military service men and women

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


Website »

More information

This cultural celebration will include The Spectacle of Color Parade, a street party and festive foods.

Cost: $45+, children ages 3-5 free entry with a Pre-K Pass

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $15

Where:
, NC


Sponsor: Pinkyswear Foundation
Contact Name: Valorie Liggett
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Try these summer fun activities at home to keep kids busy during summer. Fee includes one live small group lesson per week with a certfied teacher, daily activities, virtual field trips and more!

Cost: $10 per week per child or $50 for all 6 weeks

Where:
712 Circle Trace Road
Monroe, NC  28110
View map »


Sponsor: Authentic Teaching
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $21-$31

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $11 for one hour

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
Website »

More information

Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $15

Where:
, NC


Sponsor: Pinkyswear Foundation
Contact Name: Valorie Liggett
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

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

Cost: $11 for one hour

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
Website »

More information

Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

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

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


Website »

More information

Teach or play with your child in the heated pool.

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

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


Website »

More information

Families of children with special needs can enjoy a special jump session the first Tuesday of each month. Defy Gravity grip socks, $3, are required.

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

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


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

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $15

Where:
, NC


Sponsor: Pinkyswear Foundation
Contact Name: Valorie Liggett
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

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

Cost: $11 for one hour

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
Website »

More information

Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

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

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


Website »

More information

Explore the Mint Museum's exhibitions without charge.

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $15

Where:
, NC


Sponsor: Pinkyswear Foundation
Contact Name: Valorie Liggett
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

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

Cost: $21-$31

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $11 for one hour

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
Website »

More information

Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $6 for parking

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


Sponsor: USNWC
Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $15

Where:
, NC


Sponsor: Pinkyswear Foundation
Contact Name: Valorie Liggett
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

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

Cost: $21-$31

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $11 for one hour

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
Website »

More information

Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $20

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


Website »

More information

Teach or play with your child in the heated pool.

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free admission

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


Website »

More information

This family-friendly event features craft brews, wine, cider, live music and the best food trucks in Charlotte. Bring the whole family, including your dogs. Along...

Cost: Free

Where:
Sycamore Brewing
2161 Hawkins St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Matthews presents food trucks, kids' activities, craft beer and wine, and weekly bands. Food Truck Fridays occur on the second and fourth Fridays from April through September. There...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Come out for live music, food trucks, craft brews, local artists, kids' activities and more.

Cost: Free

Where:
Oak Street Mill
19725 Oak St.
Cornelius, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Treat the kids and yourself to a fun night out! Drop kids off to run, play and dance. Pizza dinner is included.

Cost: $25

Where:
Romp n' Roll NW Charlotte
3611 Mt. Holly-Huntersville Road
207
, NC
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Live the story of Stephen and the Apostles. Experience the rousing power of ANNO DOMINI: the year of our Lord while enjoying a Greek dinner.

Cost: $10-$40

Where:
NarroWay Theater
3327 Highway 51
Fort Mill, SC  29715
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River Jam brings live music outdoors, right in the middle of the world’s largest man-made whitewater river. Hear music on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, as well as during each of...

Cost: $6 for parking

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.
, NC
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Sponsor: USNWC
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This exhibition is the first to focus exclusively on the black basalt sculpture made by Josiah Wedgwood and other Staffordshire potters in late eighteenth-century England. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cost: $10-$40

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


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

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $15

Where:
, NC


Sponsor: Pinkyswear Foundation
Contact Name: Valorie Liggett
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Learn about women in history who championed the cause of women's suffrage in this country and overseas in the late 19th and early 20th century in this performance by Jessica Michna with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kings Mountain Historical Museum
100 East Mountain St.
Kings Mountain, NC
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George Beverly Shea and Cliff Barrows presented faith of Jesus Christ in song. Come discover the ways the Lord used their efforts and their music to open hearts around the world. Read inspiring...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
, NC
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Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
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On Saturdays and Sundays from noon-5pm, the arcade bar opens to all ages with a parent or guardian present.

Cost: Cost for games

Where:
Abari Game Bar
1721 N. Davidson St.
, NC
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Telephone: 980-430-4587
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $10-$40

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Northlake Mall
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $6 for parking

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


Sponsor: USNWC
Website »

More information

Bring chairs and blankets to watch movies in the park. Concessions will be available for purchase. The second Saturday of the month, May through September with a Halloween special on Oct. 17. 

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $10-$40

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


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

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $15

Where:
, NC


Sponsor: Pinkyswear Foundation
Contact Name: Valorie Liggett
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
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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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