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

November 2019

Experience charming shops, festive music, crafts, food, holiday decor, local wines, Santa and more than 450 holiday merchants with gifts for all ages.

Cost: $4-$15, children ages 5 and younger free

Where:
The Park Expo and Conference Center
800 Briar Creek Road
, NC
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Register to gobble up turkey facts in a trivia game all about turkeys.

Cost: Free

Where:
McDowell Nature Preserve
15222 S. York Road
, NC
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Girls are invited to think like engineers, design robots, learn to code, develop apps and more. Register to participate in workshops with changing STEM topics. Ages 7-9, 1-2pm; Ages 11-14,...

Cost: $18, includes museum admission

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

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

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

Where:
Discovery Place Science
301 N. Tryon St.
, NC
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Donate blood or platelets at OneBlood’s North Carolina donation centers and mobile drives in November and December, and you will have the opportunity to send a message that will then be...

Cost: Free

Where:
OneBlood Mobiles and Donor Centers
4447 South Blvd.
, NC
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Sponsor: OneBlood
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See a variety of European sports cars on April 28 and the third Sunday of every month from May through November. Rain days will be scheduled if needed.

Cost: Free

Where:
SouthPark Mall
4400 Sharon Road
, NC
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Visit Reedy, McDowell or Latta Nature Preserves for a hike between November 17-30 to log your miles and pick up a prize.

Cost: Free

Where:
Latta Nature Center
6211 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
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Sponsor: Latta Nature Center
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Enjoy this enchanting Christmas village offering free 4x6 photos with Santa and family holiday activities. Guests can reserve their free visit and photo with Santa by visiting the Bass Pass...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cabela's
1000 Cabelas Drive
Fort Mill, SC
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The Carolina Renaissance Festival is filled with charming cottages, castles, kitchens and pubs, all with simulated architecture of a 16th century European village. Oct. 5-6: Opening Weekend...

Cost: $15-$26

Where:
Carolina Renaissance Festival
16445 Poplar Tent Road
Huntersville, NC
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Meet and learn how to draw PEANUTS characters, play games and dance to music. Enjoy the petting zoo and arts and crafts.

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

Where:
Carowinds
14523 Carowinds Blvd.
, NC
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Enjoy this enchanting Christmas village offering free 4x6 photos with Santa and family holiday activities. The Santa’s Wonderland Christmas village offers remote control trucks, toy...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops
8181 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
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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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Vultures and humans will engage in a fun activity of the trainer's choice.  It could be painting, playground fun or taking a walk with a vulture.

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

Where:
Carolina Raptor Center
6000 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC  28078
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Sponsor: Carolina Raptor Center
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Visit the UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens for picture books and literacy activities. Meet at the picnic tables in the Susie Harwood Garden, and bring a blanket.

Cost: Free

Where:
UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens
9090 Craver Road
, NC
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Sponsor: UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens and the University City Public Library
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Our engaging team of raptor keepers will show you some of their favorite bird species. Check in the Visitor’s Center whiteboard to see who you can meet each day.

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

Where:
Carolina Raptor Center
6000 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
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Sponsor: Carolina Raptor Center
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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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The Polar Express Train Ride, inspired by the run-away hit movie, features a train ride to the North Pole with dancing chefs, cookies, hot chocolate and a presentation of the first gift of...

Cost: $32-$325

Where:
North Carolina Transportation Museum
1 Samuel Spencer Drive
Spencer, NC
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Sponsor: North Carolina Transportation Musem
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Teach or play with your child in the heated pool.

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

Where:
Goldfish Swim School
13403 S. Ridge Drive
, NC
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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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See your favorite Christmas scenes, and hear your favorite songs during this holiday dinner theater experience. See website for showtimes.  No meal will be served at Sunday 2pm shows.

Cost: $9.50-$37

Where:
The NarroWay Theatre
3327 Hwy. 51 N.
Fort Mill, SC
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Telephone: 803-802-2300
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Uptown Charlotte’s outdoor ice rink returns to the NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza. Take a picture with the giant polar bear, under the tree or in the decorated Ceremonial Garden.

Cost: $12-$16

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame
400 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
, NC
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Sponsor: NASCAR Hall of Fame
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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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Visit the open-air ice skating rink located across from Fountain Park in Rock Hill. See website for operating hours.

Cost: $10, includes skate rental

Where:
Founders Holiday Ice Rink
205 Saluda St.
Rock Hill, SC
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Richard Childress Racing and the NASCAR Hall of Fame will launch an exhibit to honor the 50th anniversary of Richard Childress Racing using artifacts, race cars, images and audio/video displays.

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

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame
400 East Martin Luther King Blvd
, NC
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Kids can get creative in Block Party, the new interactive building exhibit for children.

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

Where:
The Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
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No one notices Brian until Justin arrives. This high-spirited musical will help us all discover the possibilities that begin with a simple act of kindness. See website for show times.

Cost: $16+

Where:
Wells Fargo Playhouse
300 E. 7th St.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-973-2828
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Studio Drift, founded by Dutch artists Ralph Nauta and Lonneke Gordijn, creates breathtaking sculptures that explore the relationship between humanity, nature and technology

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

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
, NC
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Guided by the mighty island gods, Ti Moune, a fearless peasant girl, sets out on a remarkable journey to reunite with the man who has captured her heart. See website for showtimes.

Cost: $25

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

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
, NC
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Skate on the 5,000 square-foot ice rink. Guests can also enjoy holiday lights and decor; Santa’s Pub, a coffee shop, live music, surprise guests and festive activities.

Cost: $12-$17

Where:
Symphony Park at Southpark Mall
4400 Sharon Road
, NC
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Based on Ludwig Bemelman's classic, "Madeline's Christmas,"  this musical brings Miss Clavel and "12 little girls in two straight lines" to the Gaston School of the...

Cost: $10

Where:
Gaston School of the Arts
825 Union Road
Gastonia, NC
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Experience charming shops, festive music, crafts, food, holiday decor, local wines, Santa and more than 450 holiday merchants with gifts for all ages.

Cost: $4-$15, children ages 5 and younger free

Where:
The Park Expo and Conference Center
800 Briar Creek Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Ceramic teaching artists will walk you through a clay project from start to finish. Registration is required.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Register online for a hands on pottery making workshop with Clayworks.

Cost: Free

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

More information

This dazzling musical wonderland features singing and dancing to Disney Junior songs, plus holiday classics with their favorite Disney friends, including a visit from Santa Claus!

Cost: $25

Where:
Belk Theater
130 N. Tryon St.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

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Come discuss "The Parker Inheritance" by Varian Johnson. Snacks will be served.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: OneBlood
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $11 for one hour

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


Website »

More information

Visit Reedy, McDowell or Latta Nature Preserves for a hike between November 17-30 to log your miles and pick up a prize.

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Latta Nature Center
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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

More information

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

Cost: $7

Where:
Altitude Trampoline Park
3490 E. Franklin Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
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This class incorporates songs and movement and ends with a calming story. Please check schedule online for any updates or changes.

Cost: $15

Where:
Tiny Blooms Yoga
15905 Brookway Drive
Suite 4106
Huntersville, NC  28078
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Sponsor: Tiny Blooms Yoga
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Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

Cost: $6, $8 on school holidays

Where:
Superior Play Systems
11415 Granite St.
Suite C
, NC
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Schleich, the world’s largest toy figurine company, is bringing a fun and exciting pop-up shop to Concord Mills. Come play with toys and see a life-size dinosaur.

Cost: Free

Where:
Concord Mills
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
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Sponsor: Schleich USA
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Anne Springs Close Greenway every first and third Monday for community preschool programs. Preschoolers will complete nature themed literature activities, crafts and hikes while using their...

Cost: $2 per child, $5 parking fee

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $3-$5

Where:
Charlotte Allstar Gymnastics and Cheerleading
11011 Monroe Road
Matthews, NC
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Telephone: 704-246-8611
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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
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Telephone: 803-548-3441
Website »

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

Cost: Free story time

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

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Structured basketball play for teenage participants.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Come for monthly music classes for young children with Down Syndrome, sponsored by Down Syndrome Association of Greater Charlotte.

Cost: Free

Where:
Piedmont Music Therapy
220 Westinghouse Blvd.
, NC
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Sponsor: Down Syndrome Association of Greater Charlotte
Website »

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Come bring cats and dogs to take pictures with Santa!

Cost: Photos available for purchase

Where:
Carolina Place Mall
11025 Carolina Pl. Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Website »

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Increase your strength, endurance and agility for sports.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

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Enjoy stories, songs and movement activities in your pajamas!

Cost: Free

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


Website »

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

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-414-2774
Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6908
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $12-$16

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


Sponsor: NASCAR Hall of Fame
Website »

More information

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

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $12-$17

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


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Experience charming shops, festive music, crafts, food, holiday decor, local wines, Santa and more than 450 holiday merchants with gifts for all ages.

Cost: $4-$15, children ages 5 and younger free

Where:
The Park Expo and Conference Center
800 Briar Creek Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Flock to the library for this chance to create a paper plate turkey!

Cost: Free

Where:
Mount Pleasant Library
8556 Cook St.
Mount Pleasant, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Celebrate everything Pokemon, from the video games to trading cards to books and beyond! Enjoy Pokemon-themed snacks and crafts for attendees of all ages.

Cost: Free

Where:
Del Webb Library
7641 Charlotte Hwy.
Indian Land, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-416-5000
Website »

More information

This classic murder mystery is chock-full of mishaps and laughs. Things are quickly going from bad to utterly disastrous with an unconscious leading lady, a corpse that can’t play dead and...

Cost: $20+

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: OneBlood
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $11 for one hour

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


Website »

More information

Visit Reedy, McDowell or Latta Nature Preserves for a hike between November 17-30 to log your miles and pick up a prize.

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Latta Nature Center
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

This weekly story time includes classic tales and new favorites.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Toddlers will participate in a fun, kid friendly workout.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $3 per hour

Where:
Dish It Out
7828 Rea Road
#C
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $8

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $7

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


Website »

More information

Enjoy two stories and and two craft activities. After the program, romp and play in the SEED Wildlife Garden and Children's Garden, or stroll the historic Wing Haven Garden and Bird Sanctuary.

Cost: $10 per family, free for members

Where:
Wing Haven Gardens
260 Ridgewood Ave.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

Cost: $6, $8 on school holidays

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


Website »

More information

Children will play with interactive, age appropriate toys and games while listening to music. Parent participation required.

Cost: $3

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Schleich USA
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Toddlers identify words through interactive games and letter recognition.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $3-$5

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


Telephone: 704-246-8611
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $15

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


Sponsor: Tiny Blooms Yoga
Website »

More information

This program is intended for both Spanish language families and those who want to expose children to a second language. This occurs on the third Tuesday of the month.

Cost: Free

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

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: JazzArts Charlotte
Website »

More information

Come discuss an assigned book. New members welcome. Register online.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Play interactive games geared towards social development that involve physical activities.

Cost: Free

Where:
Arbor Glen Outreach Center
1520 Clanton Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Come for assistance with literacy in fun and interactive ways.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Gently-used designer women's clothing and accessories. Tues., 9am-7pm; Wed., 11am-7pm (restocked with many new items); Thurs., 9am-7pm;  Fri., 9am-4pm; Sat., 9am-6pm (most items...

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Merino's Home Furnishings Warehouse
500 S. Main St.
Mooresville , NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6908
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $12-$16

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


Sponsor: NASCAR Hall of Fame
Website »

More information

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

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

Cost: $15 for adult

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


Website »

More information

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $12-$17

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $20-$59

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


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Experience charming shops, festive music, crafts, food, holiday decor, local wines, Santa and more than 450 holiday merchants with gifts for all ages.

Cost: $4-$15, children ages 5 and younger free

Where:
The Park Expo and Conference Center
800 Briar Creek Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Parents and their little ones to get outside and explore in a slightly structured environment.

Cost: Free

Where:
Tom Sykes Recreation Center
1501 Euclid Ave.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Snap photos, draw pictures and take notes like a scientist to create a living record of the park as it changes throughout the year.

Cost: $4

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


Sponsor: Latta Nature Center
Website »

More information

Search for wildlife in fields, forests and streams to learn how each species makes its home in the nature preserve.

Cost: $4

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


Sponsor: Latta Nature Center
Website »

More information

Take a closer look at the plants that make the nature preserve a beautiful and important habitat. 

Cost: $4

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


Sponsor: Latta Nature Center
Website »

More information

Explore the preserve off trail. Register online, and bring an adventurous spirit.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Experiment and explore new technologies.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Geek out on everything comics and manga related.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Ceramic teaching artists will walk you through a clay project from start to finish. Registration is required.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Learn about our native nocturnal wildlife via wagon ride.

Cost: $5

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


Website »

More information

See the Jonas Brothers live! “Happiness Begins Tour Presented by American Airlines and Mastercard” is the biggest Jonas Brothers tour ever.

Cost: $40+

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


Telephone: 800-745-3000
Website »

More information

This classic murder mystery is chock-full of mishaps and laughs. Things are quickly going from bad to utterly disastrous with an unconscious leading lady, a corpse that can’t play dead and...

Cost: $20+

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: OneBlood
Website »

More information

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

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

Visit Reedy, McDowell or Latta Nature Preserves for a hike between November 17-30 to log your miles and pick up a prize.

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Latta Nature Center
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

During this interactive playtime for toddlers, wiggle to music and giggle with friends.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $7

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $8

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


Website »

More information

Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

Cost: $6, $8 on school holidays

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Schleich USA
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $3-$5

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


Telephone: 704-246-8611
Website »

More information

Enjoy stories, movement with music and a seasonal craft..

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

Little ones are invited to jump, roll and play in the Carolina Flipz gym!

Cost: $5

Where:
Carolina Flipz
11812 Carolina Place Pkwy.
Suite B
Pineville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $8

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


Website »

More information

Sing and wiggle around, read fun books and participate in a craft or activity! On the third Wednesday of each month, a special guest from the York County Library visits for Toddler Story Time.

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

Come join story time with other families. 

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Big Bird, Elmo and their friend Hu Hu Zhu, take viewers on a journey of discovery to learn about the Big Dipper, the North Star and the Sun in this family-friendly planetarium show.

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

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

Cost: Price per game varies

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


Website »

More information

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

Students will learn the movement of the pieces and basic chess strategy.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Increase your strength, endurance and agility for sports.

Cost: Free

Where:
Naomi Drenan Recreation Center
750 Beal 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

Gently-used designer women's clothing and accessories. Tues., 9am-7pm; Wed., 11am-7pm (restocked with many new items); Thurs., 9am-7pm;  Fri., 9am-4pm; Sat., 9am-6pm (most items...

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Merino's Home Furnishings Warehouse
500 S. Main St.
Mooresville , NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6908
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $12-$16

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


Sponsor: NASCAR Hall of Fame
Website »

More information

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

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

Cost: $10, includes skate rental

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $12-$17

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $20-$59

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


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Experience charming shops, festive music, crafts, food, holiday decor, local wines, Santa and more than 450 holiday merchants with gifts for all ages.

Cost: $4-$15, children ages 5 and younger free

Where:
The Park Expo and Conference Center
800 Briar Creek Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Selected Vernon Grant images have been reproduced as holiday ornaments to honor the famed illustrator’s work and the ongoing exhibition and conservation of the Vernon Grant collection. This...

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

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


Website »

More information

See a puppet show with songs and activities that support early literacy and foster a love of books.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

This program utilizes books, movement, music and other resources to provide an adaptive experience.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

Where:
Morrison Regional Library
7015 Morrison Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Join this hands-on workshop to learn how to texturize and manipulate clay. Register online.

Cost: Free

Where:
Scaleybark Library
101 Scaleybark Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Ceramic teaching artists will walk you through a clay project from start to finish. Registration is required.

Cost: Free

Where:
Scaleybark Library
101 Scaleybark Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

For generations of Americans, World’s Fairs captured visions of hope for the future as part of their collective memory. Mina Chow journeys to discover why America abandoned World's Fairs.

Cost: $5-$10

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


Website »

More information

Explore songs and stories through interactive activities. Register online.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

As one of the progenitors of the astonishing full-band sound of “contemporary” a cappella, Rockapella has shown every audience the raw power of pure vocal talent and originality.

Cost: $25+

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


Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

This classic murder mystery is chock-full of mishaps and laughs. Things are quickly going from bad to utterly disastrous with an unconscious leading lady, a corpse that can’t play dead and...

Cost: $20+

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: OneBlood
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $11 for one hour

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


Website »

More information

Visit Reedy, McDowell or Latta Nature Preserves for a hike between November 17-30 to log your miles and pick up a prize.

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Latta Nature Center
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $8

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $7

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $8

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


Website »

More information

Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

Cost: $6, $8 on school holidays

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Schleich USA
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $3-$5

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


Telephone: 704-246-8611
Website »

More information

Little ones are invited to jump, roll and play in the Carolina Flipz gym!

Cost: $5

Where:
Carolina Flipz
11812 Carolina Place Pkwy.
Suite B
Pineville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Sponsor: Carolina Raptor Center
Website »

More information

Youth that have begun training in ballet, and have at least 3 years experience, are invited to begin preparation for the iconic pointe shoe work of the Classical Ballerina.

Cost: $10

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


Website »

More information

Learn the history of various songs and how they were created. Get an introduction to the basics of being a DJ.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: JazzArts Charlotte
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

Where:
Kannapolis Library
850 Mountain St.
Kannapolis, NC
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

Gently-used designer women's clothing and accessories. Tues., 9am-7pm; Wed., 11am-7pm (restocked with many new items); Thurs., 9am-7pm;  Fri., 9am-4pm; Sat., 9am-6pm (most items...

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Merino's Home Furnishings Warehouse
500 S. Main St.
Mooresville , NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6908
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $12-$16

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


Sponsor: NASCAR Hall of Fame
Website »

More information

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

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

Cost: $10, includes skate rental

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

Showtime Theatre Company is proud to present our Middle-High School Youth Performance of "Disney’s Frozen Jr.," which brings Elsa, Anna, and the magical land of Arendelle to life,...

Cost: $10-$15

Where:
McCelvey Center's Lowrey Family Theatre
212 E. Jefferson St.
York, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

A Viking king of Britain who has decided to retire passes on the responsibilities of leadership to her daughters, but she cannot see that she has been deceived by them until it’s too late....

Cost: $15

Where:
Duke Energy Theater at Spirit Square
345 North College St.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Free Reign Theatre Company

More information

Families are welcome every day at the Auto Show, but Saturday and Sunday will have special entertainment for kids, including Santa from noon-4pm. Thurs.-Fri., Noon-9pm; Sat., 10am-10pm; Sun.,...

Cost: $10, children ages 12 and younger free

Where:
Charlotte Convention Center
501 S. College St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $12-$17

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


Website »

More information

Based on Ludwig Bemelman's classic, "Madeline's Christmas,"  this musical brings Miss Clavel and "12 little girls in two straight lines" to the Gaston School of the...

Cost: $10

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $20-$59

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


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Experience charming shops, festive music, crafts, food, holiday decor, local wines, Santa and more than 450 holiday merchants with gifts for all ages.

Cost: $4-$15, children ages 5 and younger free

Where:
The Park Expo and Conference Center
800 Briar Creek Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Discover new places in this environmental education series. Topics and locations will change monthly. Meet at the nature center with water and a snack.

Cost: $10

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


Sponsor: Latta Nature Center
Website »

More information

Register to gobble up turkey facts in a trivia game all about turkeys.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Learn how to keep slithery friends healthy.

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Latta Nature Center
Website »

More information

Play basketball in a structured environment.

Cost: Free

Where:
Arbor Glen Outreach Center
1520 Clanton Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Ceramic teaching artists will walk you through a clay project from start to finish. Registration is required.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Simon Tam is an Asian American author, musician, activist, and self-proclaimed troublemaker. The evening will include a talk and Q&A session with Simon Tam, followed by a book signing. He is...

Cost: Free

Where:
Great Aunt Stella Center
926 Elizabeth Ave.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This classic murder mystery is chock-full of mishaps and laughs. Things are quickly going from bad to utterly disastrous with an unconscious leading lady, a corpse that can’t play dead and...

Cost: $20+

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


Website »

More information

Central Piedmont Music presents "Orphée et Euridice," a tragic opera in three acts. Fri. and Sat., 7:30pm; Sun. 2:30pm.

Cost: $10-$22

Where:
Dale F. Halton Theater
1206 Elizabeth Ave.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Central Piedmont Community College
Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: OneBlood
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $11 for one hour

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


Website »

More information

Visit Reedy, McDowell or Latta Nature Preserves for a hike between November 17-30 to log your miles and pick up a prize.

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Latta Nature Center
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $7

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $8

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


Website »

More information

Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

Cost: $6, $8 on school holidays

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $10 per hour

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Schleich USA
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $3-$5

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


Telephone: 704-246-8611
Website »

More information

Visit a Lancaster County librarian at Jumpin Jax Fun Center of Lancaster for movement and yoga through stories. Regular admission is applied for children who want to stay to play following the...

Cost: Free story time

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

The Polar Express Train Ride, inspired by the run-away hit movie, features a train ride to the North Pole with dancing chefs, cookies, hot chocolate and a presentation of the first gift of...

Cost: $32-$325

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


Sponsor: North Carolina Transportation Musem
Website »

More information

Enjoy the wonder of the park dazzlingly lit for the holidays. Ride a nighttime train. Advanced tickets are required.

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

Where:
Tweetsie Railroad
300 Tweetsie Railroad Lane
Blowing Rock, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Tweetsie Railroad
Website »

More information

Drive 3.75 miles with 3.5 million lights. Every Thursday through Sunday, the indoor Christmas Village will include photos with Santa, children’s activities, a display of decorated Christmas...

Cost: $20-$30

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


Website »

More information

No one notices Brian until Justin arrives. This high-spirited musical will help us all discover the possibilities that begin with a simple act of kindness. See website for show times.

Cost: $16+

Where:
Wells Fargo Playhouse
300 E. 7th St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-973-2828
Website »

More information

The "New World" Symphony, fuses the music of  Bohemian roots with a fascinating new world full of new sounds.

Cost: $23

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


Telephone: 704-972-2000
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

Gently-used designer women's clothing and accessories. Tues., 9am-7pm; Wed., 11am-7pm (restocked with many new items); Thurs., 9am-7pm;  Fri., 9am-4pm; Sat., 9am-6pm (most items...

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Merino's Home Furnishings Warehouse
500 S. Main St.
Mooresville , 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

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

Cost: $9.50-$37

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


Telephone: 803-802-2300
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $12-$16

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


Sponsor: NASCAR Hall of Fame
Website »

More information

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

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

Cost: $10, includes skate rental

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

Showtime Theatre Company is proud to present our Middle-High School Youth Performance of "Disney’s Frozen Jr.," which brings Elsa, Anna, and the magical land of Arendelle to life,...

Cost: $10-$15

Where:
McCelvey Center's Lowrey Family Theatre
212 E. Jefferson St.
York, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

A Viking king of Britain who has decided to retire passes on the responsibilities of leadership to her daughters, but she cannot see that she has been deceived by them until it’s too late....

Cost: $15

Where:
Duke Energy Theater at Spirit Square
345 North College St.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Free Reign Theatre Company

More information

Families are welcome every day at the Auto Show, but Saturday and Sunday will have special entertainment for kids, including Santa from noon-4pm. Thurs.-Fri., Noon-9pm; Sat., 10am-10pm; Sun.,...

Cost: $10, children ages 12 and younger free

Where:
Charlotte Convention Center
501 S. College St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $12-$17

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


Website »

More information

Based on Ludwig Bemelman's classic, "Madeline's Christmas,"  this musical brings Miss Clavel and "12 little girls in two straight lines" to the Gaston School of the...

Cost: $10

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $20-$59

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


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Eat a holly, jolly breakfast and visit with Santa. Enjoy music, games and crafts. This is a Mall Stars Kids Club event, and the first 200 kids and their families enjoy breakfast free! Register...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Come celebrate the state tree of North Carolina, the longleaf pine. Learn how to become involved with longleaf pine restoration efforts.

Cost: $8, included with admission

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


Sponsor: Discovery Place Nature
Website »

More information

Experience charming shops, festive music, crafts, food, holiday decor, local wines, Santa and more than 450 holiday merchants with gifts for all ages.

Cost: $4-$15, children ages 5 and younger free

Where:
The Park Expo and Conference Center
800 Briar Creek Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Ceramic teaching artists will walk you through a clay project from start to finish. Registration is required.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Come for a free Thanksgiving dinner, youth basketball games and live entertainment.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Meet farm animals, and watch staff feed, clean and care for them.

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

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


Sponsor: Gaston County Farm Bureau
Website »

More information

This nature program may feature a tour, demonstration or activity designed to inspire exploration nature.

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

Where:
The Museum of York County
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
Rock Hill, SC
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Connect with people and nature while removing invasive plant species. Register online.

Cost: Free

Where:
McDowell Nature Preserve
15222 S. York Road
, NC
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Enjoy a free movie at the library.

Cost: Free

Where:
Mountain Island Library
4420 Hoyt Galvin Way
, NC
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Come out for a free photo with Santa and Mrs. Claus! Meet Christmas Mickey and Minnie, and visit with characters from Frozen. Shop for gifts from Rea Farms Shops at Stocking Stuffer Lane, and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Rea Farms
9855 Sandy Rock Pl.
, NC
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Explore family-friendly activities including a trackless train, holiday characters, crafts, dance performances and more until 7 p.m. Ramona from 107.9 The Link will be on-site with Christmas...

Cost: Free

Where:
Blakeney Shopping Centers
9839 Rea Road
, NC
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Celebrate the start of the holiday season with live entertainment, kids activities, Santa, fireworks, and the Winterland Express and Carousel.

Cost: Free

Where:
Village Park
700 West C. St.
Kannapolis, NC
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This classic murder mystery is chock-full of mishaps and laughs. Things are quickly going from bad to utterly disastrous with an unconscious leading lady, a corpse that can’t play dead and...

Cost: $20+

Where:
Knight Theater
430 South Tryon St.
, NC
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Central Piedmont Music presents "Orphée et Euridice," a tragic opera in three acts. Fri. and Sat., 7:30pm; Sun. 2:30pm.

Cost: $10-$22

Where:
Dale F. Halton Theater
1206 Elizabeth Ave.
, NC
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Sponsor: Central Piedmont Community College
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Discover Cuban culture through music, games and interactive experiences that will paint a picture of Cuba. This bilingual experience will showcase Cuba's wildlife, biodiversity, history and...

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

Where:
Discovery Place Science
301 N. Tryon St.
, NC
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Donate blood or platelets at OneBlood’s North Carolina donation centers and mobile drives in November and December, and you will have the opportunity to send a message that will then be...

Cost: Free

Where:
OneBlood Mobiles and Donor Centers
4447 South Blvd.
, NC
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Sponsor: OneBlood
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Little ones bounce under the supervision of their parents and without interference from bigger kids. Jumpers need Sky Socks, which are available for purchase, and a signed waiver.

Cost: $8

Where:
Sky Zone (Pineville and Charlotte locations)
10200 Centrum Pkwy., Pineville
7325 Smith Corners Blvd., Charlotte
, NC
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Young children can jump at a discounted rate, and for an additional $2, parents can jump too. All jumpers need to purchase Altitude Trampoline Socks for $2.

Cost: $7

Where:
Altitude Trampoline Park
3490 E. Franklin Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
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Visit Reedy, McDowell or Latta Nature Preserves for a hike between November 17-30 to log your miles and pick up a prize.

Cost: Free

Where:
Latta Nature Center
6211 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
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Sponsor: Latta Nature Center
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Enjoy this enchanting Christmas village offering free 4x6 photos with Santa and family holiday activities. Guests can reserve their free visit and photo with Santa by visiting the Bass Pass...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cabela's
1000 Cabelas Drive
Fort Mill, SC
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From the earliest days of Billy Graham’s ministry, he had a special place in his heart for teens and young adults. Come see the new special display, and discover how God used Graham to reach...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
, NC
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The Carolina Renaissance Festival is filled with charming cottages, castles, kitchens and pubs, all with simulated architecture of a 16th century European village. Oct. 5-6: Opening Weekend...

Cost: $15-$26

Where:
Carolina Renaissance Festival
16445 Poplar Tent Road
Huntersville, NC
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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
(Sun Valley 14 in Indian Trail, RedStone 14 in Indian Land)
Indian Land, SC
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Learn about drama from professional thespians and teachers.

Cost: Free

Where:
Hickory Grove Recreation Center
6709 Pence Road
, NC
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Enjoy this enchanting Christmas village offering free 4x6 photos with Santa and family holiday activities. The Santa’s Wonderland Christmas village offers remote control trucks, toy...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops
8181 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
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Big Bird, Elmo and their friend Hu Hu Zhu, take viewers on a journey of discovery to learn about the Big Dipper, the North Star and the Sun in this family-friendly planetarium show.

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

Where:
The Museum of York County
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
Rock Hill, SC
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Participants learn critical reading and writing skills, advocacy, volunteerism, art, videography, public speaking and more.

Cost: Free

Where:
President James K Polk State Historic Site
12031 Lancaster Hwy.
Pineville, NC
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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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Vultures and humans will engage in a fun activity of the trainer's choice.  It could be painting, playground fun or taking a walk with a vulture.

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

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

Cost: $10

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

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

Where:
Carolina Raptor Center
6000 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
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Sponsor: Carolina Raptor Center
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The Polar Express Train Ride, inspired by the run-away hit movie, features a train ride to the North Pole with dancing chefs, cookies, hot chocolate and a presentation of the first gift of...

Cost: $32-$325

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

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

Where:
Tweetsie Railroad
300 Tweetsie Railroad Lane
Blowing Rock, NC
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Sponsor: Tweetsie Railroad
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Drive 3.75 miles with 3.5 million lights. Every Thursday through Sunday, the indoor Christmas Village will include photos with Santa, children’s activities, a display of decorated Christmas...

Cost: $20-$30

Where:
Charlotte Motor Speedway
5555 Concord Pkwy. S.
Concord, NC
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The "New World" Symphony, fuses the music of  Bohemian roots with a fascinating new world full of new sounds.

Cost: $23

Where:
Belk Theater
130 N. Tryon St.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-972-2000
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Dive into these crustacean's habitats, learn crazy crabby facts, and face off with Crabzilla, the Japanese Spider Crab whose legs can span up to 15 feet.

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

Where:
SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
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Gently-used designer women's clothing and accessories. Tues., 9am-7pm; Wed., 11am-7pm (restocked with many new items); Thurs., 9am-7pm;  Fri., 9am-4pm; Sat., 9am-6pm (most items...

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Merino's Home Furnishings Warehouse
500 S. Main St.
Mooresville , 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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See your favorite Christmas scenes, and hear your favorite songs during this holiday dinner theater experience. See website for showtimes.  No meal will be served at Sunday 2pm shows.

Cost: $9.50-$37

Where:
The NarroWay Theatre
3327 Hwy. 51 N.
Fort Mill, SC
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Telephone: 803-802-2300
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Uptown Charlotte’s outdoor ice rink returns to the NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza. Take a picture with the giant polar bear, under the tree or in the decorated Ceremonial Garden.

Cost: $12-$16

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame
400 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
, NC
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Sponsor: NASCAR Hall of Fame
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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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Visit the open-air ice skating rink located across from Fountain Park in Rock Hill. See website for operating hours.

Cost: $10, includes skate rental

Where:
Founders Holiday Ice Rink
205 Saluda St.
Rock Hill, SC
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Richard Childress Racing and the NASCAR Hall of Fame will launch an exhibit to honor the 50th anniversary of Richard Childress Racing using artifacts, race cars, images and audio/video displays.

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

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame
400 East Martin Luther King Blvd
, NC
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Kids can get creative in Block Party, the new interactive building exhibit for children.

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

Where:
The Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
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No one notices Brian until Justin arrives. This high-spirited musical will help us all discover the possibilities that begin with a simple act of kindness. See website for show times.

Cost: $16+

Where:
Wells Fargo Playhouse
300 E. 7th St.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-973-2828
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Showtime Theatre Company is proud to present our Middle-High School Youth Performance of "Disney’s Frozen Jr.," which brings Elsa, Anna, and the magical land of Arendelle to life,...

Cost: $10-$15

Where:
McCelvey Center's Lowrey Family Theatre
212 E. Jefferson St.
York, SC
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Studio Drift, founded by Dutch artists Ralph Nauta and Lonneke Gordijn, creates breathtaking sculptures that explore the relationship between humanity, nature and technology

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

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
, NC
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A Viking king of Britain who has decided to retire passes on the responsibilities of leadership to her daughters, but she cannot see that she has been deceived by them until it’s too late....

Cost: $15

Where:
Duke Energy Theater at Spirit Square
345 North College St.
, NC
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Sponsor: Free Reign Theatre Company

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Families are welcome every day at the Auto Show, but Saturday and Sunday will have special entertainment for kids, including Santa from noon-4pm. Thurs.-Fri., Noon-9pm; Sat., 10am-10pm; Sun.,...

Cost: $10, children ages 12 and younger free

Where:
Charlotte Convention Center
501 S. College St.
, NC
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The title, "Coined in the South," refers not only to The Mint Museum’s origins as the first branch of the United States Mint, but also to the acts of inventing and devising....

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
, NC
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Skate on the 5,000 square-foot ice rink. Guests can also enjoy holiday lights and decor; Santa’s Pub, a coffee shop, live music, surprise guests and festive activities.

Cost: $12-$17

Where:
Symphony Park at Southpark Mall
4400 Sharon Road
, NC
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Based on Ludwig Bemelman's classic, "Madeline's Christmas,"  this musical brings Miss Clavel and "12 little girls in two straight lines" to the Gaston School of the...

Cost: $10

Where:
Gaston School of the Arts
825 Union Road
Gastonia, NC
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See Santa Claus in his custom-built house on the Village Green. See website for schedule.

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

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

Cost: $20-$59

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