Raising a Transgender Child

Two local moms open up about parenting a transgender child — and what they’ve learned about loving your children for exactly who they are


Published:

Note: To protect the identities of these families, we are using only first names and have changed the children's names.

The first big sign came when Connie and her family were on a vacation house swap. The vacation home had plenty of tutu skirts, dolls and dress-up clothes for the kids to play with, but no typical boy toys. The couple’s middle child, 3-year-old Sarah, was thrilled. James, their 5-year-old son was, too.

“James said, ‘I want to wear this tutu around,’” Connie says. “I think in my mind I was just sort of like, hey, this is a phase.”

As time passed and James’s preference for feminine play increased, Connie admits it gave her some anxiety.

“I was concerned about people judging me and judging my child. James would get looks from people.” Eventually, James said, “I don’t want to wear these dress-up tutus. Will you buy me some real dresses? I don’t have to wear them outside of the house.”

That James recognized a preference for feminine clothes as unconventional was the turning point.

“That’s when we realized this was not just a phase; when we realized that James was happier when we were allowing her to express herself this way,” Connie says. “James has always been a really overly sensitive, sweet, gentle, but very happy kid. For her to think that it wasn’t OK for her to be herself, wherever, broke my heart. It made me take a good hard look in the mirror at myself,” she says.

It also launched Connie and her family on a journey to help their young child explore gender identity and navigate unchartered territory, while making sure their child can grow up happy, healthy and feeling loved.

 

Answering the Question: Is my Child Transgender?

For Ashley, another Charlotte mom of two, Connie’s experience is very familiar. Her youngest child, Taylor, was 4 years old when Ashley started to notice that he had a preference for very feminine pretend play.

“Then ‘Frozen’ came along,” she laughs. “Taylor was obsessed with Elsa! She wanted an Elsa dress, so we bought her the ‘Frozen’ dress. And then we bought her the ‘Frozen’ wig, too, with the braid. That thing did not come off her head for a month straight.”

Of course, there’s more to being transgender than dress-up preferences and playing with dolls. Individuals whose biological sex, gender expression, and gender identity neatly align, often are referred to as “cisgender.” Transgender can describe anyone whose identity or behavior falls outside of stereotypical gender norms.

More narrowly defined, transgender refers to an individual whose gender identity does not match his or her assigned birth gender. Being transgender does not imply any specific sexual orientation (attraction to people of a specific gender). Therefore, transgender people may additionally identify with a variety of other sexual identities as well.

“Gender identity is a deep sense of who you are. And that’s in your brain,” Ashley says. “My child, Taylor, gets up in the morning, and she sees herself in the mirror as much as a girl as the rest of us, even though she was born with a different part. It’s not that there’s something wrong with you. It’s not a mental disorder. It’s the way you’re born.”  

But getting an official diagnosis of gender dysphoria —the transgender spectrum — can be tricky. Pediatricians aren’t always equipped to offer advice. Many therapists who specialize in gender don’t treat children. This is all complicated by the fact that gender identity is on a spectrum.

“It could be your child identifies as male but may express himself as female. All the way to the other end: Your child could be transgender,” Ashley says. “Taylor was so young; you kind of live in this gray area. That period of time was difficult for us. We didn’t know where we were on that spectrum. You’re just going to kind of let your child lead.”

 

Navigating the Transition

Connie and Ashley both took the wait-and-see approach, letting their children’s comfort level and preferences guide them. It took about a year, but both Taylor and James inched closer and closer to transitioning fully from male to female.

Ashley and Connie shared similar experiences: explaining the situation to close friends and family, using female pronouns (which are also used throughout this story to respect the girls’ preferences). They watched their daughters emerge.

“We got to the point where [Taylor] was going to school presenting male, but as soon as she would get home, the school clothes would come off and the girl clothes would come on,” Ashley says. “I think she was really getting comfortable with herself and being able to express who she really was. One day we had to go run an errand and she was in her girl clothes, and she decided to just wear it.”

That’s not to say, however, that these transitions were easy — for the girls or for their parents.

“Sometimes it was a hard pill to swallow. The real, full-on journey began when it was just the two of us in the car one day,” Ashley says. “[Taylor] was looking out the window and I looked back, and she just looked so sad, almost like she was going to cry. I turned around and said, ‘Buddy, what’s wrong?’ And she said, ‘Mom, I just wish I was a girl. I want to be a girl.’

That’s when everything clicked. So I said, at that moment, ‘You know, if that is who you are, that’s fine. We love you no matter what.’”

Taylor made a full transition right after first grade.

“That whole first grade year was really tricky because we were a girl sometimes and we were a boy sometimes. It’s hard because you always want them to be their authentic self. As a parent, there’s a lot of fear that comes with raising a transgender child. You see all the stuff that’s in the news, and it’s so hurtful,” she says. “And it’s tough. I have two daughters. One is cisgender and one is transgender. My cisgender child … she is afforded all the rights and protections. Where my transgender child doesn’t get those same rights and protections.”

James has also made a full transition to female, but Connie says she is terrified of her child being bullied.

“Overall my experience with the community has been overwhelmingly positive. There was a long time before I was ready to put it out there or talk about it. I think when I realized how happy my child was, I was ready to be like, ‘This is us, and this is what’s going on.’ James’s happiness is our gauge in all of this,” Connie says. “And seeing James in school, engaging, really happy, tons of friends, we realize we must be doing something right.”

“The suicide statistics for kids that are not supported by their families are so high,” Connie says. “It’s incredibly depressing that these kids that don’t have support are 54 percent more likely to try to take their own life or start using drugs and alcohol,” she says.

 

“[Taylor] was looking out the window and I looked back, and she just looked so sad, almost like she was going to cry. I turned around and said, ‘Buddy, what’s wrong?’ And she said, ‘Mom, I just wish I was a girl. I want to be a girl.’"

 

Living the Day-to-Day Experience

Connie and Ashley live the busy family lives most parents recognize: the weekday school-and-work scramble, sports activities for the kids, weekends full of birthday parties and family adventures. For both women, that constant activity now has an added layer of complexity. Connie often feels compelled to make introductory phone calls before enrolling her kids in sports or other extracurricular activities, to gauge the ability for James to be a fully accepted participant.

“This summer, I wanted my children to continue to be able to enjoy extracurricular activities. So for all the activities that I was interested in enrolling James, I called the directors myself,” she says. “I need to make sure that my child is going to be OK; that my child’s not going to be in a situation where she can be bullied. They were all so supportive, so accepting.”

Connie and Ashley recall the feeling of isolation that accompanied their early experiences trying to gather information on how to help their children navigate such a huge — and important time.


Connie and Ashley offer the following advice for parents whose wonder if their child may be on the transgender spectrum.

Seek out professionals you can trust. If you suspect your child is transgender, gender-expansive or gender-creative, whichever term you prefer, it’s important to seek out medical and mental health resources, such as a pediatrician and therapist, whose approach to caring for a transgender child aligns with your own preferences.

“One of the first things I did was find a pediatrician that is affirming and understanding of the needs of transgender children,” Ashley says.


Find your village. Groups like PFLAG of Charlotte can connect you with support groups and local families whose experiences are similar to yours.

“I think the most important thing is having a supportive group of friends around,” Connie says. “For our kids, to be like, ‘You’re accepted, you’re loved by all of these people. You can be yourself and all these people love you just the way you are.’ It’s really important for your kid not to feel isolated.”

Ashley agrees. She started the group Transparents through PFLAG of Charlotte to help connect with other local parents of young transgender kids.

“When you’re first starting this journey, you kind of feel like you’re in a boat in the ocean all alone,” she says. “I needed to be with other parents and be with people who were experiencing the same things I was.”


Think and plan ahead. Although James and Taylor are happy and healthy now, Ashley and Connie are aware of the future challenges that face their daughters.

“We’re in a really good space right now. Our daughter is thriving,” Ashley says. “Is that going to be forever? No. Puberty is going to come along, and there will obviously be even more issues then. Have I prepared for it? Yes.”


Gain some perspective and balance. Connie emphasizes the importance of seeking out some normalcy in your life, for yourself as a parent, and for your kids.

“I feel like every parent is going through something with their kid. Yes, this is challenging. This is crazy,” Connie says. “But my child is not in the hospital battling cancer. If this is my cross to bear, if this is my challenge to find a way to get through, I’m lucky.”

Ashley and Connie ultimately want what every parent wants for their child: a healthy life filled with friends and happiness.

“I think a lot of people are scared or want to ask me questions about Taylor —what does this mean, and what is transgender,” Ashley says. “If there’s something I could tell the parents out there: Please ask us. Every parent of a transgender child wants nothing more than to educate you and to help you understand.”


Aleigh Acerni is a mother to an almost-3-year-old daughter who, like Taylor, also has—surprise!—a slight obsession with “Frozen.”

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May 2017

Meet the author and illustrator Kimberly Mohns Roberts and have your book signed. Door prizes and fun activities for the children. Enjoy light fare while supplies last. Buy extra raffle...

Cost: Free

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Charlotte School of Ballet
627 S. Sharon Amity Road
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Cost: $6-$11; children under 2 free

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Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
6500 S. New Hope Road
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Gateway Village Promenade
800 W. Trade St.
Johnson and Wales University
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Cost: Free

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Latta Plantation Nature Center
6211 Sample Road
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Telephone: 704-875-1391
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Cost: Event is free; non-members must pay $5 to enter greenway

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Anne Springs Close Greenway
104 Adventure Road
Ft. Mill, SC
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Telephone: 803-547-4575
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Ballantyne Arts Center
11318 N Community House Road
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Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 S. Tryon St.
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The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
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Telephone: 704-866-6923
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Levine Museum of the New South
200 E. Seventh St.
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Telephone: 704-333-1887
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GovPorch
600 E. 4th St.
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Telephone: 704-336-8316
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Freedom Park
Princeton Ave. Entrance
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Cost: $6-$7

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The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
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Sponsor: The Schiele Museum of Natural History
Telephone: 704-866-6923
Contact Name: Philip McGinnis
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Cost: $7-$9

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Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 South Tryon St.
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Telephone: 704-547-3700
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Cost: $5-$8

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Levine Museum of the New South
200 E. 7th St.
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Telephone: 704-333-1887
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Cost: $4-$8

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Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
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Telephone: 704-353-9200
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Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 S. Tryon St.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-547-3700
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Young mates set sail on a self-guided pirate voyage aboard our miniature pirate ship, the Adventure, at anchor in the Explorer's Outpost.  Children can dress-up, learn and play at their...

Cost: $6-$7

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

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Cost: $3 with paid museum admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
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Telephone: 704-866-6923
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Cost: $3 with paid museum admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
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Telephone: 704-866-6923
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Cost: $3 with paid museum admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
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Telephone: 704-866-6923
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Cost: $13-$20

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NASCAR Hall of Fame
400 E. MLK Jr. Blvd.
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Historic Brattonsville
1444 Brattonsville Road
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This weekend of performances is presented by OnStage, a program that helps bridge the world of professional theatre for CTC students. See website for showtimes. 

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Children's Theatre of Charlotte
300 E. 7th St.
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Telephone: 704-973-2828
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Local professional organizing company, Simplicity Organizers is hosting their annual book drive, READ a Book, GIVE a Book in the month of May. They are encouraging the Charlotte community...

Cost: Free

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Windsor Park Elementary
3910 Sudbury Road
Charlotte, NC
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Telephone: 704-464-3713
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ImaginOn: The Joe & Joan Martin Center
300 E. 7th St.
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Cost: Free

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Myers Park Library
1361 Queens Road
, NC
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Telephone: 704-416-5800
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Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

Enjoy 1,500 square feet of bugs, butterflies, beetles, moths, flies, and other six-legged creatures from around the world. This scientific collection features real preserved specimens...

Cost: $6-$7

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Explore a collection of the Reverend Billy Graham;s personal timepieces—from the hourglass he kept on his desk to distinctive gifts from heads of state—all symbolizing the...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
Charlotte, NC  28217
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Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
Telephone: 704-401-3256
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More information

K(NO)W Justice K(NO)W Peace is a community-created exhibit about police-involved shootings throughout the nation and here in Charlotte. Co-created with activists and law enforcement, the media,...

Cost: $5-$8

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


Telephone: 704-333-1887
Website »

More information

Read nature-based stories with the help of puppets, and then take a short hike into the woods to explore more of nature. Register online.

Cost: Free

Where:
Reedy Creek Nature Preserve
2900 Rocky River Road
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Telephone: 980-314-1119
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Cost: $10 per parent/child; $6 for each additional participant

Where:
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
6500 S. New Hope Road
Belmont, NC
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Telephone: 704-829-1252
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Rock out with Mr. Nigel and Friends as you focus on a different instrument each week. Call store to make sure schedule has not changed. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Sam Ash Music Store
5533 Westpark Drive
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Telephone: 704-522-9253
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Monkey Joe’s University is celebrating Monday’s in May with $5 admission every Monday starting Monday May 1st! In addition, half priced admission is offered every Wednesday.

Cost: $5

Where:
Monkey Joe's-University City, Pineville, Matthews and Gastonia
, NC


Sponsor: Monkey Joe's
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More information

Even the youngest children in the family can enjoy sensory exploration and fun with activities and songs in the garden.

Cost: $10 per parent/child; $6 for each additional participant

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


Telephone: 704-829-1252
Website »

More information

GovPorch will reimagine the Charlotte Mecklenburg Government Center Plaza as fun, where kids and their families​​, as well as people of all ages and abilities, want to spend time...

Cost: Free

Where:
GovPorch
600 E. 4th St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-336-8316
Website »

More information

Young mates set sail on a self-guided pirate voyage aboard our miniature pirate ship, the Adventure, at anchor in the Explorer's Outpost.  Children can dress-up, learn and play at their...

Cost: $6-$7

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Sponsor: The Schiele Museum of Natural History
Telephone: 704-866-6923
Contact Name: Philip McGinnis
Website »

More information

Explore the moon, stars and beyond in the new planetarium. Housed in the museum's original Charlotte A. Kelly Planetarium, the dome has been retrofitted with a new Digitarium Zeta...

Cost: $8

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

This exhibit explores themes of motherhood, the role of women, the intensity of their hearts, and their embodiment as nature by highlighting the works of renowned artist Alison Saar....

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 South Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

This project looks at Appalachia fifty years after the declaration of the War on Poverty, which was originally brought to light by President Lyndon Johnson. Directed by Roger May, the...

Cost: $5-$8

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


Telephone: 704-333-1887
Website »

More information

This collection features 45 reproductions of drawings by Alberto Giacometti, made over the course of his career, from the beginning of his art training up to the portfolio's publication. To...

Cost: $4-$8

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


Telephone: 704-353-9200
Website »

More information

This collection, full of documentary photography and personal visual storytelling, provides insight into often-overlooked aspects of Black fatherhood. Tues.-Sat., 10am-5pm; Sun., 1-5pm.

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

Young mates set sail on a self-guided pirate voyage aboard our miniature pirate ship, the Adventure, at anchor in the Explorer's Outpost.  Children can dress-up, learn and play at their...

Cost: $6-$7

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Oasis in Space takes visitors on a voyage through the Solar System, Milky Way Galaxy, and the Universe beyond in search of liquid water--a key element for life here on Earth. Tues.-Fri., 4pm; Sat.,...

Cost: $3 with paid museum admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Enjoy an immersive race to return to the Moon 40 years after the historic Apollo landings.  Learn about the Moon's resources and what humanity's future there might be.  Discover...

Cost: $3 with paid museum admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Explore two fascinating topics in one science theater program in the Spring Sky Show. First, explore the constellations of spring in a seasonal stargazing tour of the night sky.  Then,...

Cost: $3 with paid museum admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

This exhibit features artifacts that have never been seen by the public and explores how the Petty family's accomplishments on and off the track across four generations have impacted the...

Cost: $13-$20

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


Telephone: 888-902-6463
Website »

More information

Local professional organizing company, Simplicity Organizers is hosting their annual book drive, READ a Book, GIVE a Book in the month of May. They are encouraging the Charlotte community...

Cost: Free

Where:
Windsor Park Elementary
3910 Sudbury Road
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View map »


Telephone: 704-464-3713
Website »

More information

Created in collaboration with Playskool and GE, kids can design, build and work together to make amazing Tinkertoy structures using GE Technology as their guide. Experiment with renewable energy...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-416-4600
Website »

More information

Celebrate the 40th anniversary of the movie "Star Wars" with a self-guided literacy hunt. After you complete the worksheet, turn it in at the service desk for a prize! Mon.-Thurs.,...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-416-5800
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Bring the family for an outdoor storytime with movement activities and songs. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Midwood Park
2100 Wilhelmina Ave.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-416-6200
Website »

More information

See some of NASCAR’s biggest drivers battling each other for bragging rights in GoPro Motorplex’s rental fleet of go-karts. Come out for a free event featuring a full...

Cost: Free

Where:
GoPro Motorplex
130 Motorplex Drive
Mooresville, NC  28115
View map »


Website »

More information

This exhibition of paintings by Harlem-based artist, Jordan Casteel, explore the intimacy and immortalization of her subjects, including family, patrons, and neighbors. Tues.-Sat., 10am-5pm;...

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

Enjoy 1,500 square feet of bugs, butterflies, beetles, moths, flies, and other six-legged creatures from around the world. This scientific collection features real preserved specimens...

Cost: $6-$7

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Preschoolers engage with books and activities that encourage language and pre-reading skills. Dress comfortably for creative movement.

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-416-6000
Website »

More information

Explore a collection of the Reverend Billy Graham;s personal timepieces—from the hourglass he kept on his desk to distinctive gifts from heads of state—all symbolizing the...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
Telephone: 704-401-3256
Website »

More information

Currently the only Egyptian mummy in North Carolina. Families can explore the culture and history of the 22nd Dynasty, uncover the mystery of mummification in the hands-on CSI Lab, and meet...

Cost: $6

Where:
Iredell Museums
134 Court St.
Statesville, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-873-7347
Website »

More information

K(NO)W Justice K(NO)W Peace is a community-created exhibit about police-involved shootings throughout the nation and here in Charlotte. Co-created with activists and law enforcement, the media,...

Cost: $5-$8

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


Telephone: 704-333-1887
Website »

More information

Tinkergarten’s skill-based curriculum is designed to help kids become well-balanced people who can problem-solve, lead, and create. It’s engaging, memorable, play-based learning, all...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Freedom Park
Princeton Ave. Entrance
Charlotte, NC  28209
View map »


Website »

More information

Toddler can enjoy storytime each week in the children's area. 

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-364-0626
Website »

More information

GovPorch will reimagine the Charlotte Mecklenburg Government Center Plaza as fun, where kids and their families​​, as well as people of all ages and abilities, want to spend time...

Cost: Free

Where:
GovPorch
600 E. 4th St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-336-8316
Website »

More information

Young mates set sail on a self-guided pirate voyage aboard our miniature pirate ship, the Adventure, at anchor in the Explorer's Outpost.  Children can dress-up, learn and play at their...

Cost: $6-$7

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Sponsor: The Schiele Museum of Natural History
Telephone: 704-866-6923
Contact Name: Philip McGinnis
Website »

More information

Explore the moon, stars and beyond in the new planetarium. Housed in the museum's original Charlotte A. Kelly Planetarium, the dome has been retrofitted with a new Digitarium Zeta...

Cost: $8

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

This exhibit explores themes of motherhood, the role of women, the intensity of their hearts, and their embodiment as nature by highlighting the works of renowned artist Alison Saar....

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 South Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

This project looks at Appalachia fifty years after the declaration of the War on Poverty, which was originally brought to light by President Lyndon Johnson. Directed by Roger May, the...

Cost: $5-$8

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


Telephone: 704-333-1887
Website »

More information

This collection features 45 reproductions of drawings by Alberto Giacometti, made over the course of his career, from the beginning of his art training up to the portfolio's publication. To...

Cost: $4-$8

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


Telephone: 704-353-9200
Website »

More information

This collection, full of documentary photography and personal visual storytelling, provides insight into often-overlooked aspects of Black fatherhood. Tues.-Sat., 10am-5pm; Sun., 1-5pm.

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

Young mates set sail on a self-guided pirate voyage aboard our miniature pirate ship, the Adventure, at anchor in the Explorer's Outpost.  Children can dress-up, learn and play at their...

Cost: $6-$7

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Oasis in Space takes visitors on a voyage through the Solar System, Milky Way Galaxy, and the Universe beyond in search of liquid water--a key element for life here on Earth. Tues.-Fri., 4pm; Sat.,...

Cost: $3 with paid museum admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Enjoy an immersive race to return to the Moon 40 years after the historic Apollo landings.  Learn about the Moon's resources and what humanity's future there might be.  Discover...

Cost: $3 with paid museum admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Explore two fascinating topics in one science theater program in the Spring Sky Show. First, explore the constellations of spring in a seasonal stargazing tour of the night sky.  Then,...

Cost: $3 with paid museum admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

This exhibit features artifacts that have never been seen by the public and explores how the Petty family's accomplishments on and off the track across four generations have impacted the...

Cost: $13-$20

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


Telephone: 888-902-6463
Website »

More information

Local professional organizing company, Simplicity Organizers is hosting their annual book drive, READ a Book, GIVE a Book in the month of May. They are encouraging the Charlotte community...

Cost: Free

Where:
Windsor Park Elementary
3910 Sudbury Road
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-464-3713
Website »

More information

Created in collaboration with Playskool and GE, kids can design, build and work together to make amazing Tinkertoy structures using GE Technology as their guide. Experiment with renewable energy...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-416-4600
Website »

More information

Celebrate the 40th anniversary of the movie "Star Wars" with a self-guided literacy hunt. After you complete the worksheet, turn it in at the service desk for a prize! Mon.-Thurs.,...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-416-5800
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Visit the planetarium for a special program on how to navigate the night sky using a star map. 

Cost: $8

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


Telephone: 704-373-6261
Website »

More information

Get moving and learn cultural history through dance. Learn of the cultural legacy that enabled the African ancestors to endure the Middle Passage. Participate, and experience history through...

Cost: Free

Where:
Sugar Creek Recreational Center
943 W Sugar Creek Road
Charlotte, NC  28213
View map »


Telephone: 704-737-8097
Website »

More information

This exhibition of paintings by Harlem-based artist, Jordan Casteel, explore the intimacy and immortalization of her subjects, including family, patrons, and neighbors. Tues.-Sat., 10am-5pm;...

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

Enjoy 1,500 square feet of bugs, butterflies, beetles, moths, flies, and other six-legged creatures from around the world. This scientific collection features real preserved specimens...

Cost: $6-$7

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Explore a collection of the Reverend Billy Graham;s personal timepieces—from the hourglass he kept on his desk to distinctive gifts from heads of state—all symbolizing the...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
Telephone: 704-401-3256
Website »

More information

Currently the only Egyptian mummy in North Carolina. Families can explore the culture and history of the 22nd Dynasty, uncover the mystery of mummification in the hands-on CSI Lab, and meet...

Cost: $6

Where:
Iredell Museums
134 Court St.
Statesville, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-873-7347
Website »

More information

K(NO)W Justice K(NO)W Peace is a community-created exhibit about police-involved shootings throughout the nation and here in Charlotte. Co-created with activists and law enforcement, the media,...

Cost: $5-$8

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


Telephone: 704-333-1887
Website »

More information

"Wee" ones 3 years and younger and their caregivers can enjoy stories, movement with music, and a seasonal craft.

Cost: $6

Where:
Main Street Children's Museum
133 E Main St.
Rock Hill, SC  29730
View map »


Telephone: 803-909-7244
Website »

More information

Find out what it takes to become an astronaut with a reading of a book on the topic and special activities to help you get ready for a journey into space. Also at 2:15pm.

Cost: $10

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


Telephone: 704-373-6261
Website »

More information

GovPorch will reimagine the Charlotte Mecklenburg Government Center Plaza as fun, where kids and their families​​, as well as people of all ages and abilities, want to spend time...

Cost: Free

Where:
GovPorch
600 E. 4th St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-336-8316
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

Where:
Huntersville Fire Station 1
110 S. Old Statesville Road
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Unleash the power of technology by learning how to build and program robots to follow your every command. Think critically, problem solve, and test your skills as you program your robot to perform...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-416-7200
Website »

More information

Explore the mint museum's exhibitions.

Cost: Free

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph | 2730 Randolph Road
Mint Museum Uptown | 500 South Tryon Street
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-337-2018
Website »

More information

Young mates set sail on a self-guided pirate voyage aboard our miniature pirate ship, the Adventure, at anchor in the Explorer's Outpost.  Children can dress-up, learn and play at their...

Cost: $6-$7

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Sponsor: The Schiele Museum of Natural History
Telephone: 704-866-6923
Contact Name: Philip McGinnis
Website »

More information

Discover 400 years of Catawba Indian history as you explore replicated structures that reflect the life and culture of the Carolina Woodlands. Weather permitting;...

Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission.

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Sponsor: The Schiele Museum of Natural History
Telephone: 704-866-6923
Contact Name: Philip McGinnis
Website »

More information

Explore the moon, stars and beyond in the new planetarium. Housed in the museum's original Charlotte A. Kelly Planetarium, the dome has been retrofitted with a new Digitarium Zeta...

Cost: $8

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

This exhibit explores themes of motherhood, the role of women, the intensity of their hearts, and their embodiment as nature by highlighting the works of renowned artist Alison Saar....

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 South Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

This project looks at Appalachia fifty years after the declaration of the War on Poverty, which was originally brought to light by President Lyndon Johnson. Directed by Roger May, the...

Cost: $5-$8

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


Telephone: 704-333-1887
Website »

More information

This collection features 45 reproductions of drawings by Alberto Giacometti, made over the course of his career, from the beginning of his art training up to the portfolio's publication. To...

Cost: $4-$8

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


Telephone: 704-353-9200
Website »

More information

This collection, full of documentary photography and personal visual storytelling, provides insight into often-overlooked aspects of Black fatherhood. Tues.-Sat., 10am-5pm; Sun., 1-5pm.

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

Young mates set sail on a self-guided pirate voyage aboard our miniature pirate ship, the Adventure, at anchor in the Explorer's Outpost.  Children can dress-up, learn and play at their...

Cost: $6-$7

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Oasis in Space takes visitors on a voyage through the Solar System, Milky Way Galaxy, and the Universe beyond in search of liquid water--a key element for life here on Earth. Tues.-Fri., 4pm; Sat.,...

Cost: $3 with paid museum admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Enjoy an immersive race to return to the Moon 40 years after the historic Apollo landings.  Learn about the Moon's resources and what humanity's future there might be.  Discover...

Cost: $3 with paid museum admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Explore two fascinating topics in one science theater program in the Spring Sky Show. First, explore the constellations of spring in a seasonal stargazing tour of the night sky.  Then,...

Cost: $3 with paid museum admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

This exhibit features artifacts that have never been seen by the public and explores how the Petty family's accomplishments on and off the track across four generations have impacted the...

Cost: $13-$20

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


Telephone: 888-902-6463
Website »

More information

Local professional organizing company, Simplicity Organizers is hosting their annual book drive, READ a Book, GIVE a Book in the month of May. They are encouraging the Charlotte community...

Cost: Free

Where:
Windsor Park Elementary
3910 Sudbury Road
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-464-3713
Website »

More information

Created in collaboration with Playskool and GE, kids can design, build and work together to make amazing Tinkertoy structures using GE Technology as their guide. Experiment with renewable energy...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-416-4600
Website »

More information

Celebrate the 40th anniversary of the movie "Star Wars" with a self-guided literacy hunt. After you complete the worksheet, turn it in at the service desk for a prize! Mon.-Thurs.,...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-416-5800
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Run through Speed Street at the PNC Speed Street 5K.

Cost: $25-$35

Where:
Uptown Charlotte
Location TBA
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Website »

More information

Circle K Speed Street presented by Coca-Cola will present live entertainment, access to racing’s brightest stars, giveaways and interactive displays. Each day starting at noon, festival...

Cost: Free - $15

Where:
Uptown Charlotte
Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Website »

More information

Drivers will compete in a qualifying three round "knockout" to determine which drivers will move on to the Coca Cola 600.

Cost: Kids 13 under free; see website for other ticket prices

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


Telephone: 800-455-FANS
Website »

More information

This exhibition of paintings by Harlem-based artist, Jordan Casteel, explore the intimacy and immortalization of her subjects, including family, patrons, and neighbors. Tues.-Sat., 10am-5pm;...

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

Enjoy 1,500 square feet of bugs, butterflies, beetles, moths, flies, and other six-legged creatures from around the world. This scientific collection features real preserved specimens...

Cost: $6-$7

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Preschoolers engage with books and activities that encourage language and pre-reading skills. Dress comfortably for creative movement.

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-416-6000
Website »

More information

Explore a collection of the Reverend Billy Graham;s personal timepieces—from the hourglass he kept on his desk to distinctive gifts from heads of state—all symbolizing the...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
Telephone: 704-401-3256
Website »

More information

Currently the only Egyptian mummy in North Carolina. Families can explore the culture and history of the 22nd Dynasty, uncover the mystery of mummification in the hands-on CSI Lab, and meet...

Cost: $6

Where:
Iredell Museums
134 Court St.
Statesville, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-873-7347
Website »

More information

K(NO)W Justice K(NO)W Peace is a community-created exhibit about police-involved shootings throughout the nation and here in Charlotte. Co-created with activists and law enforcement, the media,...

Cost: $5-$8

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


Telephone: 704-333-1887
Website »

More information

Monkey Joe’s University is celebrating May with Pay Your Age Thursdays all month long starting May 4th. Every Thursday of the month children will pay their age for admission. For...

Cost: Pay Your Age

Where:
Monkey Joe's University, Pineville, Gastonia and Matthews locations
, NC


Website »

More information

Stop by the store for live musical entertainment as Tommy performs with a multitude of instruments. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Toys and Company
242 S. Sharon Amity Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy a special storytime filled with stories, songs, and creative movement outside in the park. Meet near the bird feeders. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Squirrel Lake Park
1631 Pleasant Plains Road
Matthews, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-416-5000
Website »

More information

GovPorch will reimagine the Charlotte Mecklenburg Government Center Plaza as fun, where kids and their families​​, as well as people of all ages and abilities, want to spend time...

Cost: Free

Where:
GovPorch
600 E. 4th St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-336-8316
Website »

More information

Hear a story and learn about the unique qualities of the planets, then head to Town Center to make a space-related craft. Also at 2:15pm.

Cost: $10

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


Telephone: 704-373-6261
Website »

More information

Enjoy food, beverages, and live music at this weekly summer concert series. 

Cost: $5 parking fee

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


Telephone: 704-391-3900
Website »

More information

Young mates set sail on a self-guided pirate voyage aboard our miniature pirate ship, the Adventure, at anchor in the Explorer's Outpost.  Children can dress-up, learn and play at their...

Cost: $6-$7

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Sponsor: The Schiele Museum of Natural History
Telephone: 704-866-6923
Contact Name: Philip McGinnis
Website »

More information

Explore the moon, stars and beyond in the new planetarium. Housed in the museum's original Charlotte A. Kelly Planetarium, the dome has been retrofitted with a new Digitarium Zeta...

Cost: $8

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

This exhibit explores themes of motherhood, the role of women, the intensity of their hearts, and their embodiment as nature by highlighting the works of renowned artist Alison Saar....

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 South Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

This project looks at Appalachia fifty years after the declaration of the War on Poverty, which was originally brought to light by President Lyndon Johnson. Directed by Roger May, the...

Cost: $5-$8

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


Telephone: 704-333-1887
Website »

More information

This collection features 45 reproductions of drawings by Alberto Giacometti, made over the course of his career, from the beginning of his art training up to the portfolio's publication. To...

Cost: $4-$8

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


Telephone: 704-353-9200
Website »

More information

This collection, full of documentary photography and personal visual storytelling, provides insight into often-overlooked aspects of Black fatherhood. Tues.-Sat., 10am-5pm; Sun., 1-5pm.

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

Young mates set sail on a self-guided pirate voyage aboard our miniature pirate ship, the Adventure, at anchor in the Explorer's Outpost.  Children can dress-up, learn and play at their...

Cost: $6-$7

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Oasis in Space takes visitors on a voyage through the Solar System, Milky Way Galaxy, and the Universe beyond in search of liquid water--a key element for life here on Earth. Tues.-Fri., 4pm; Sat.,...

Cost: $3 with paid museum admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Enjoy an immersive race to return to the Moon 40 years after the historic Apollo landings.  Learn about the Moon's resources and what humanity's future there might be.  Discover...

Cost: $3 with paid museum admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Explore two fascinating topics in one science theater program in the Spring Sky Show. First, explore the constellations of spring in a seasonal stargazing tour of the night sky.  Then,...

Cost: $3 with paid museum admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

This exhibit features artifacts that have never been seen by the public and explores how the Petty family's accomplishments on and off the track across four generations have impacted the...

Cost: $13-$20

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


Telephone: 888-902-6463
Website »

More information

Local professional organizing company, Simplicity Organizers is hosting their annual book drive, READ a Book, GIVE a Book in the month of May. They are encouraging the Charlotte community...

Cost: Free

Where:
Windsor Park Elementary
3910 Sudbury Road
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-464-3713
Website »

More information

PlayPlay! explores the many surprises we find in our pockets. Children and their caregivers can enjoy the story together with pre- and post-show activities. See website for showtimes. 

Cost: $10

Where:
Children's Theatre of Charlotte
300 E. 7th St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-973-2828
Website »

More information

Created in collaboration with Playskool and GE, kids can design, build and work together to make amazing Tinkertoy structures using GE Technology as their guide. Experiment with renewable energy...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-416-4600
Website »

More information

Celebrate the 40th anniversary of the movie "Star Wars" with a self-guided literacy hunt. After you complete the worksheet, turn it in at the service desk for a prize! Mon.-Thurs.,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Myers Park Library
1361 Queens Road
, NC
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Telephone: 704-416-5800
Website »

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Circle K Speed Street presented by Coca-Cola will present live entertainment, access to racing’s brightest stars, giveaways and interactive displays. Each day starting at noon, festival...

Cost: Free - $15

Where:
Uptown Charlotte
Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
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Website »

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Drivers will compete for prize money and bragging rights in winged, 850-horsepower open-wheel spring cars on the track.

Cost: $27+

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


Telephone: 800-455-FANS
Website »

More information

Bring your blankets and chairs and enjoy pre-movie activities. Movie begins at approximately 8:45pm.

Cost: Free

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

More information

This exhibition of paintings by Harlem-based artist, Jordan Casteel, explore the intimacy and immortalization of her subjects, including family, patrons, and neighbors. Tues.-Sat., 10am-5pm;...

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

Enjoy 1,500 square feet of bugs, butterflies, beetles, moths, flies, and other six-legged creatures from around the world. This scientific collection features real preserved specimens...

Cost: $6-$7

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Explore a collection of the Reverend Billy Graham;s personal timepieces—from the hourglass he kept on his desk to distinctive gifts from heads of state—all symbolizing the...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
Telephone: 704-401-3256
Website »

More information

Currently the only Egyptian mummy in North Carolina. Families can explore the culture and history of the 22nd Dynasty, uncover the mystery of mummification in the hands-on CSI Lab, and meet...

Cost: $6

Where:
Iredell Museums
134 Court St.
Statesville, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-873-7347
Website »

More information

K(NO)W Justice K(NO)W Peace is a community-created exhibit about police-involved shootings throughout the nation and here in Charlotte. Co-created with activists and law enforcement, the media,...

Cost: $5-$8

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


Telephone: 704-333-1887
Website »

More information

Find out what it takes to become an astronaut with a reading of a book on the topic and special activities to help you get ready for a journey into space. Also at 2:15pm.

Cost: $10

Where:
Discovery Place KIDS
105 Gilead Road
Huntersville, NC
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Telephone: 704-373-6261
Website »

More information

GovPorch will reimagine the Charlotte Mecklenburg Government Center Plaza as fun, where kids and their families​​, as well as people of all ages and abilities, want to spend time...

Cost: Free

Where:
GovPorch
600 E. 4th St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
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Telephone: 704-336-8316
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

Where:
Sycamore Brewing
2161 Hawkins St.
Charlotte, NC  28203
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Sponsor: Sycamore Brewing
Contact Name: Katelyn Carpenter
Website »

More information

This food truck rally is family and dog-friendly and features 10-15 area food trucks, live music, and a gated kids' playground. 

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Trinity Presbyterian Church
3115 Providence Road
, NC
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Website »

More information

Sample food and beverages from a variety of food trucks and enjoy live entertainment at this weekly event. 

Cost: Free

Where:
329 McGill Ave. NW
Concord, NC
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Website »

More information

Spirit Square will host weekly free outdoor concerts or movies, with concessions available for purchase. Movie line-up will be announced later this summer. 

Cost: Free

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

More information

Young mates set sail on a self-guided pirate voyage aboard our miniature pirate ship, the Adventure, at anchor in the Explorer's Outpost.  Children can dress-up, learn and play at their...

Cost: $6-$7

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Sponsor: The Schiele Museum of Natural History
Telephone: 704-866-6923
Contact Name: Philip McGinnis
Website »

More information

This year's Mint Hill Madness festival pairs new offerings with a lot of fan favorites. Joining the traditional carnival rides, games, boardwalk-style food and arts and crafts vendors,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Mint Hill Veterans Memorial Park
8850 Fairview Road
Mint Hill, NC  28227
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Telephone: 704-545-2335
Website »

More information

Explore the moon, stars and beyond in the new planetarium. Housed in the museum's original Charlotte A. Kelly Planetarium, the dome has been retrofitted with a new Digitarium Zeta...

Cost: $8

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

This exhibit explores themes of motherhood, the role of women, the intensity of their hearts, and their embodiment as nature by highlighting the works of renowned artist Alison Saar....

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 South Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

This project looks at Appalachia fifty years after the declaration of the War on Poverty, which was originally brought to light by President Lyndon Johnson. Directed by Roger May, the...

Cost: $5-$8

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


Telephone: 704-333-1887
Website »

More information

This collection features 45 reproductions of drawings by Alberto Giacometti, made over the course of his career, from the beginning of his art training up to the portfolio's publication. To...

Cost: $4-$8

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


Telephone: 704-353-9200
Website »

More information

This collection, full of documentary photography and personal visual storytelling, provides insight into often-overlooked aspects of Black fatherhood. Tues.-Sat., 10am-5pm; Sun., 1-5pm.

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

Young mates set sail on a self-guided pirate voyage aboard our miniature pirate ship, the Adventure, at anchor in the Explorer's Outpost.  Children can dress-up, learn and play at their...

Cost: $6-$7

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Oasis in Space takes visitors on a voyage through the Solar System, Milky Way Galaxy, and the Universe beyond in search of liquid water--a key element for life here on Earth. Tues.-Fri., 4pm; Sat.,...

Cost: $3 with paid museum admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Enjoy an immersive race to return to the Moon 40 years after the historic Apollo landings.  Learn about the Moon's resources and what humanity's future there might be.  Discover...

Cost: $3 with paid museum admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Explore two fascinating topics in one science theater program in the Spring Sky Show. First, explore the constellations of spring in a seasonal stargazing tour of the night sky.  Then,...

Cost: $3 with paid museum admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

This exhibit features artifacts that have never been seen by the public and explores how the Petty family's accomplishments on and off the track across four generations have impacted the...

Cost: $13-$20

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


Telephone: 888-902-6463
Website »

More information

Local professional organizing company, Simplicity Organizers is hosting their annual book drive, READ a Book, GIVE a Book in the month of May. They are encouraging the Charlotte community...

Cost: Free

Where:
Windsor Park Elementary
3910 Sudbury Road
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-464-3713
Website »

More information

PlayPlay! explores the many surprises we find in our pockets. Children and their caregivers can enjoy the story together with pre- and post-show activities. See website for showtimes. 

Cost: $10

Where:
Children's Theatre of Charlotte
300 E. 7th St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-973-2828
Website »

More information

Created in collaboration with Playskool and GE, kids can design, build and work together to make amazing Tinkertoy structures using GE Technology as their guide. Experiment with renewable energy...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-416-4600
Website »

More information

Celebrate the 40th anniversary of the movie "Star Wars" with a self-guided literacy hunt. After you complete the worksheet, turn it in at the service desk for a prize! Mon.-Thurs.,...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-416-5800
Website »

More information

Carnival rides, fair food, a wolf and tiger show, dog show, meet and greet with actress Peyton List from the Disney TV show "Jessie," and more. Mon.-Thurs., 4-10pm; Fri., 4-11pm; Sat.,...

Cost: $4-$8; additional cost for rides

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


Website »

More information

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Stop by and talk with the market's vendors about how to properly prepare different meats for your Memorial Day cookout and receive some free recipes for grilling beef, fish, pork and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Charlotte Regional Farmers Market
1801 Yorkmont Road
Charlotte, NC  28217
View map »


Telephone: 704-357-1269
Website »

More information

The Belmont Classic 5K is a road race open to all ages and is digitally timed on a USATF certified course.This event is the major annual fundraising event...

Cost: $10-$20

Where:
Belmont Police Department
201 Chronicle St.
Belmont , NC  28012
View map »


Telephone: 704-829-1082
Website »

More information

Explore rhythms and rhymes, and make your own music at the Musical Petting Zoo, presented by the Symphony Guild of Charlotte.

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-416-4630
Website »

More information

Circle K Speed Street presented by Coca-Cola will present live entertainment, access to racing’s brightest stars, giveaways and interactive displays. Each day starting at noon, festival...

Cost: Free - $15

Where:
Uptown Charlotte
Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Website »

More information

This exhibition of paintings by Harlem-based artist, Jordan Casteel, explore the intimacy and immortalization of her subjects, including family, patrons, and neighbors. Tues.-Sat., 10am-5pm;...

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

Enjoy 1,500 square feet of bugs, butterflies, beetles, moths, flies, and other six-legged creatures from around the world. This scientific collection features real preserved specimens...

Cost: $6-$7

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

The Science of Ripley's Believe It or Not! presents an extraordinary collection of intriguing objects and astonishing artifacts from Ripley's Believe It or Not! Go places you've never...

Cost: $10-$25

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


Telephone: 704-373-6261
Website »

More information

Paddle the edges of McDowell Nature Preserve as you enjoy time with your family, while learning about the natural history that makes Lake Wylie a great destination for wildlife viewing. All...

Cost: $15

Where:
McDowell Nature Center
15222 York Road
Charlotte, NC  28278
View map »


Telephone: 704-588-5224
Website »

More information

Explore a collection of the Reverend Billy Graham;s personal timepieces—from the hourglass he kept on his desk to distinctive gifts from heads of state—all symbolizing the...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
Telephone: 704-401-3256
Website »

More information

Currently the only Egyptian mummy in North Carolina. Families can explore the culture and history of the 22nd Dynasty, uncover the mystery of mummification in the hands-on CSI Lab, and meet...

Cost: $6

Where:
Iredell Museums
134 Court St.
Statesville, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-873-7347
Website »

More information

K(NO)W Justice K(NO)W Peace is a community-created exhibit about police-involved shootings throughout the nation and here in Charlotte. Co-created with activists and law enforcement, the media,...

Cost: $5-$8

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


Telephone: 704-333-1887
Website »

More information

Bring your mats for an hour of kids' yoga with Grounded Kids Yoga or pizza-making class from Pure Pizza for little chefs. Ten spots available each week per class. 

Cost: $10 per class

Where:
Pure Pizza
1911 Central Ave.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 980-430-1701
Website »

More information

Take a walk on the Paw Paw Nature Trail with a naturalist and learn more about the diversity of the forest habitat. 

Cost: $8

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

Lakeshore Learning Stores provide fun, free crafts every Saturday from 11am to 3pm. Visit Bit.ly/freecraftsforkids for the featured craft of the week or call your local Lakeshore Learning store for...

Cost: Free

Where:
Lakeshore Learning Store
10005 E. Independence Blvd.
Matthews, NC  28105
View map »


Sponsor: Lakeshore Learning Store
Telephone: 704-849-2450
Website »

More information

GovPorch will reimagine the Charlotte Mecklenburg Government Center Plaza as fun, where kids and their families​​, as well as people of all ages and abilities, want to spend time...

Cost: Free

Where:
GovPorch
600 E. 4th St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-336-8316
Website »

More information

Carolina Raptor Center's high flying, gravity defying summer flight show features CRC’s trainers putting our native and exotic birds through their paces in free flight. Experience the...

Cost: $8-$12; free for ages 3 and under

Where:
Carolina Raptor Center
6000 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC  28078
View map »


Website »

More information

This two-hour skill session on the shoreline of Lake Wylie is for teens interested in learning how to kayak or improve their skills. Teens will be taught by McDowell's ACA certified kayak...

Cost: $15

Where:
McDowell Nature Center
15222 York Road
Charlotte, NC  28278
View map »


Telephone: 704-588-5224
Website »

More information

Enjoy food, beverages, and live music at this weekly summer concert series. 

Cost: $5 parking fee

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


Telephone: 704-391-3900
Website »

More information

Young mates set sail on a self-guided pirate voyage aboard our miniature pirate ship, the Adventure, at anchor in the Explorer's Outpost.  Children can dress-up, learn and play at their...

Cost: $6-$7

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Sponsor: The Schiele Museum of Natural History
Telephone: 704-866-6923
Contact Name: Philip McGinnis
Website »

More information

This year's Mint Hill Madness festival pairs new offerings with a lot of fan favorites. Joining the traditional carnival rides, games, boardwalk-style food and arts and crafts vendors,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Mint Hill Veterans Memorial Park
8850 Fairview Road
Mint Hill, NC  28227
View map »


Telephone: 704-545-2335
Website »

More information

This exhibit explores themes of motherhood, the role of women, the intensity of their hearts, and their embodiment as nature by highlighting the works of renowned artist Alison Saar....

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 South Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

This project looks at Appalachia fifty years after the declaration of the War on Poverty, which was originally brought to light by President Lyndon Johnson. Directed by Roger May, the...

Cost: $5-$8

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


Telephone: 704-333-1887
Website »

More information

This collection features 45 reproductions of drawings by Alberto Giacometti, made over the course of his career, from the beginning of his art training up to the portfolio's publication. To...

Cost: $4-$8

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


Telephone: 704-353-9200
Website »

More information

This collection, full of documentary photography and personal visual storytelling, provides insight into often-overlooked aspects of Black fatherhood. Tues.-Sat., 10am-5pm; Sun., 1-5pm.

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

Young mates set sail on a self-guided pirate voyage aboard our miniature pirate ship, the Adventure, at anchor in the Explorer's Outpost.  Children can dress-up, learn and play at their...

Cost: $6-$7

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Oasis in Space takes visitors on a voyage through the Solar System, Milky Way Galaxy, and the Universe beyond in search of liquid water--a key element for life here on Earth. Tues.-Fri., 4pm; Sat.,...

Cost: $3 with paid museum admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Enjoy an immersive race to return to the Moon 40 years after the historic Apollo landings.  Learn about the Moon's resources and what humanity's future there might be.  Discover...

Cost: $3 with paid museum admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Explore two fascinating topics in one science theater program in the Spring Sky Show. First, explore the constellations of spring in a seasonal stargazing tour of the night sky.  Then,...

Cost: $3 with paid museum admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

This exhibit features artifacts that have never been seen by the public and explores how the Petty family's accomplishments on and off the track across four generations have impacted the...

Cost: $13-$20

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


Telephone: 888-902-6463
Website »

More information

Local professional organizing company, Simplicity Organizers is hosting their annual book drive, READ a Book, GIVE a Book in the month of May. They are encouraging the Charlotte community...

Cost: Free

Where:
Windsor Park Elementary
3910 Sudbury Road
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-464-3713
Website »

More information

PlayPlay! explores the many surprises we find in our pockets. Children and their caregivers can enjoy the story together with pre- and post-show activities. See website for showtimes. 

Cost: $10

Where:
Children's Theatre of Charlotte
300 E. 7th St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-973-2828
Website »

More information

Created in collaboration with Playskool and GE, kids can design, build and work together to make amazing Tinkertoy structures using GE Technology as their guide. Experiment with renewable energy...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-416-4600
Website »

More information

Celebrate the 40th anniversary of the movie "Star Wars" with a self-guided literacy hunt. After you complete the worksheet, turn it in at the service desk for a prize! Mon.-Thurs.,...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-416-5800
Website »

More information

Carnival rides, fair food, a wolf and tiger show, dog show, meet and greet with actress Peyton List from the Disney TV show "Jessie," and more. Mon.-Thurs., 4-10pm; Fri., 4-11pm; Sat.,...

Cost: $4-$8; additional cost for rides

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


Website »

More information

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Annual Guides

GPS [Go. Play. See.]

Your guide to raising kids in the Queen City, plus our 2017 Readers' Favorites for places to play, explore and learn with the kids.

Education Guide

This comprehensive guide covers preschool, private, charter and public schools in Cabarrus, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Union and York counties.