The Virtual Playground


Published:

Webkinz. Whyville. Club Penguin. Poptropica. These virtual worlds, and many others like them, create simulated environments for kids to interact with other online kid users or to create imaginative worlds of their own online. Many are based around toys or connected to educational concepts, each suited to different age groups. It's a modern version of playing house or school in front of computer rather than in the backyard or on the playground. These sites encourage elementary-school aged children to engage in their own forms of social networking. Inherent to these sites are pros and cons, but how much is too much?

Savvy Students

Virtual worlds and interactive websites are colorful, hip and engaging places that spark kids' curiosity. More often than not, kids venture into the online worlds created by toy manufacturers and become curious about other sites they can easily navigate. Children are savvy when it comes to learning how to navigate computers, and some parents fear that playing on some of the safer sites for young children, such as Club Penguin or Fantage, will lead to an unhealthy curiosity with more grown-up social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook. It is the role of parents to lead children to safe sites that offer quality content and educational value.

Mandeep Dhillon, a father of three, founded Togetherville, a social networking site for kids ages 6 to 10. Although kids under the age of 13 aren't allowed on Facebook, many set up accounts on the site anyway by either lying about their age or getting their parents to sign them up. With Togetherville, children's accounts must be created by parents using their own Facebook logins. Because of this, parents can approve or reject their children's online friends. Kids have separate logins to Togetherville, their version of the site contains safe games, and prescreened YouTube videos.

Potential for Predators?

Regardless of how much a parent thinks his or her child knows (or doesn't know) about the inner workings of the Internet, it is ultimately the responsibility of the parent to educate his or her children about the dangers of spending too much time online. While some of these toy-based virtual worlds may seem harmless at first glance, others may include opportunities for players to chat online with each other, which can open doors for predators to invade a child's life.

"The kids know more about the computers than the parents do," says Dallas Stout, a clinical psychologist and professor of child and adolescent studies at California State University Fullerton. "They can often figure out passwords and be doing things online that they are not supposed to be doing. Some often do it right while their parent is in the same room."

Cody Mills, a Mooresville mom of three, allows her kids to play on websites like Starfall.com and Barbie.com where they aren't exposed to other players in a virtual reality, but doesn't feel they should engage in social networking until age 12 or older.

"When the time comes and they are on (adult) social networking sites it will be monitored by my husband and myself, with surprise inspections often," says Mills.

Nix Naiveté

Leslie Petruk, a family therapist and director of Stepping Stones Counseling and Consulting in Charlotte, advises parents to use common sense when it comes to a young child's online habits, just as you would with other aspects of his or her life.

"Have open conversations with your child," she says. "Talk to them about how people can be deceitful. Let them know that if someone knows you, there's no reason to give out personal information on the computer," she says. She advises parents to keep the conversation lighthearted, so it's not scary to children. Petruk is also a fan of role-playing with children. She suggests asking what they would do during a gaming session where someone they were chatting with asked for a home address or phone number.

Technology, and plugging into the fantasy and fun of virtual worlds, is a reality in kids' lives today. Experts agree, however, that playing with animals and creating avatars should not outweigh indoor and outdoor games with real-world friends.

Renee Roberson is a freelance writer specializing in parenting and pop culture. She lives in Huntersville with her husband and two children.

 

Top Virtual Worlds for Kids

Following are some of the top online playgrounds as reviewed by Common Sense Media.

• Littlest Pet Shop VIPs (www.hasbro.com/littlestpetshop) — A virtual world created to support Hasbro's Littlest Pet stuffed animals, kids are required to use the code from a purchased "VIP" at $15 in order to enter the site. Access is then granted for one year.

Chat feature: None.

A word of caution: Promotes consumerism; must purchase a product to participate in site.

• BuildaBearville.com — Created by the retail store, Build-A-Bear Workshop, this virtual world requires the purchase of some stuffed animals in order to access certain parts of the site. Many of the games on the site test children's abilities in math, problem solving and social studies.

Chat feature: Safe, but open filtered chat.

A word of caution: Promotes consumerism; must purchase a product to participate in site. Also has open chat feature.

• WebKinz.com — This site allows kids to "adopt" their plush animals and care for it online for a year. This site can be especially addictive because daily and hourly events can cause kids to feel they might miss out on something if they aren't online constantly.

Chat feature: Yes; pre-scripted chat that prevents kids from sharing personal information.

A word of caution: Promotes consumerism; must purchase a product to participate in site.

• ClubPenguin.com — This site, owned by Disney, is a virtual world where children ages 6 to 14 can play games and interact with friends disguised as colorful penguin avatars. Parents are also able to set up a special Club Penguin Timer that can limit the total amount of time a child plays on the site. Membership is free, but you can upgrade your child's account and enable additional perks for varying monthly fees.

Chat feature: Yes; monitored by Club Penguin employees.

A word of caution: Children are motivated to upgrade to a paid membership in order to have access to more clothes and accessories for their avatars. Also has open chat feature.

• Fantage.com — Another site geared to younger computer users, Fantage.com gives players a chance to earn "virtual bucks" through game play, or upgrade to a paid membership starting at $5.99 a month. Avatars wearing distinctive clothing and hairstyles explore the island on hoverboards in a 3D world.

Chat feature: Yes; monitored by Fantage employees. Parents can choose "no chat" setting.

A word of caution: Children are motivated to upgrade to a paid membership in order to access extra features. Chat, e-mail and instant messaging are available.

• Poptropica.com — Poptropica is a virtual world where kids can travel, play games, collect objects and compete with other players in head-to-head competition. They use their avatar to explore Poptropica, a safe environment where visitors are never asked to provide or share any personal information. Kids can play for free but upgrade to a paid membership for additional access to games and Poptropica store items.

Chat feature: Yes; pre-scripted chat.

A word of caution: Children are motivated to upgrade to a paid membership in order to access extra features.

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January 2020

SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord is ringing in the New Year with its third annual Healthcare Professionals Appreciation Month! Healthcare Professionals will receive free admission and 50 percent off for...

Cost: Free

Where:
SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
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Celebrate MLK by serving the community. Help clean the Iswa Nature Preserve near Lake Wylie.

Cost: Free

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Iswa Nature Preserve
9909 Wilkinson Blvd.
, NC
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Families save 40 percent when purchasing at least four tickets online for Family Day.

Cost: $18.50+

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BoPlex
2700 E. Independence Blvd.
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Meet some of the nature center’s resident reptiles during a live animal show.

Cost: Free

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Latta Nature Center
6211 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
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Sponsor: Latta Nature Center
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Cost: $18, includes museum admission

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Discovery Place Science
301 N. Tryon St.
, NC
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Cost: $10-$20, children younger than 12 free

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St. Alban's Episcopal Church
301 Caldwell Ln.
Davidson, NC
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Meet the nature center’s resident reptiles during an animal show.

Cost: Free

Where:
Latta Nature Center
6211 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
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Sponsor: Latta Nature Center
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Cost: $13.50

Where:
American Girl Southpark Mall
4400 Sharon Road
, NC
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Sponsor: American Girl
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The Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
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Cost: Free

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Sun Valley High School
5211 Old Charlotte Hwy.
Monroe, NC
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Sponsor: Church of the Redeemer
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Experience age-level appropriate Sunday school classes at 9:30 and 11 a.m. that connect families with larger church programs and ministries while creating a welcoming environment for all families.

Cost: Free

Where:
Matthews United Methodist Church
801 S. Trade St.
Matthews, NC
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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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Visit the UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens on the third Sunday of the month 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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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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Raptor keepers will show some of their favorite bird species.

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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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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Website »

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

Cost: Free, $6 for parking

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


Sponsor: USNWC
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.
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View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6908
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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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This exhibit explores the rise and demise of Charlotte’s Brooklyn neighborhood, once the most vibrant black community in the Carolinas.

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

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Levine Museum of the New South
200 E. 7th St.
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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

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NASCAR Hall of Fame
400 East Martin Luther King Blvd
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Cost: $56-$194

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The Belk Theater
130 N. Tryon St.
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Sponsor: Opera Carolina
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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

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Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
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This exhibition spotlights 50 original works by Maurice Sendak, who is most widely recognized for "Where the Wild Things Are." The exhibition will be on display at the Main Branch of the...

Cost: Free

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Gaston County Public Library
1555 East Garrison Blvd.
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Sponsor: Gaston County Public Library
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Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
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Cost: $12-$17

Where:
Symphony Park at Southpark Mall
4400 Sharon Road
, NC
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Take a rare and exciting look at the life of dinosaurs by exploring their eggs, nests, and young. This colorful and interactive exhibit features an amazing collection of real dinosaur eggs and...

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Where:
U.S. National Whitewater Center
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.
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Website »

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Is it possible that an asteroid collided with the Earth and wiped-out the dinosaurs? Shows are daily at 1 and 3pm.

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

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


Website »

More information

TEN features a selection of works from sixteen past fourth-floor exhibitions to showcase the excellence of the Bechtler collection in celebration of the museum's ten-year anniversary.

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

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
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Show More...
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SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord is ringing in the New Year with its third annual Healthcare Professionals Appreciation Month! Healthcare Professionals will receive free admission and 50 percent off for...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

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Need a reason to get outside this winter?  Take part in Latta Quest!  This weekly activity is designed to engage families in all that Latta Nature Preserve has to offer.  There will be a...

Cost: Free

Where:
Latta Nature Center
6211 Sample Rd
Huntersville, NC  28078
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Sponsor: Latta Nature Center
Telephone: 980-314-1129
Contact Name: Kerri Hable
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Celebrate Dr. King’s legacy with a day of programs for the whole family! Create art, enjoy our exhibits, live music, spoken word and discussions around current social issues.

Cost: Free

Where:
The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Culture
551 S. Tryon St.
, NC
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The celebration includes music, children’s story time, a theater performance, and arts and crafts.

Cost: Free

Where:
Levine Museum of the New South
200 E. Seventh St.
, NC
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Teach or play with your child in the heated pool.

Cost: $5 per nonmember

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


Website »

More information

Enjoy a musically-inspired story time featuring musical and movement based activities with exposure to live instruments.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes and Noble: Birkdale Village
8725 Townley Road
Huntersville, NC
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Visit the Town Hall Stage at 11:15 a.m. for a special story and activities to celebrate this hero.

Cost: $11, included in admission, free for children younger than 1

Where:
Discovery Place Kids-Huntersville
105 Gilead Road
Huntersville, NC
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Sponsor: Discovery Place Kids-Huntersville
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Learn new tricks to style her doll’s tresses, and take home doll highlights. Enjoy muffins, fruit and lemonade after the event.

Cost: $25

Where:
American Girl Southpark Mall
4400 Sharon Road
, NC
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Sponsor: American Girl
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Watch the Charlotte Hornets take on the Orlando Magic.

Cost: $10+

Where:
Spectrum Center
333 E. Trade St.
, NC
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More information

Explore rare and extremely devastating volcanic eruptions, and discover the impact of gigantic volcanic episodes around the Solar System. Dive into the super volcano now gathering force beneath...

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

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


Website »

More information

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
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Play a variety of games and sports, create art and adventure to the playground. Bring a bagged lunch.

Cost: $25

Where:
Berewick Recreation Center
5910 Dixie River Road
, NC
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Let your little one jump for less during toddler time!

Cost: $12 per adult and child pair

Where:
Adventure Air Sports
2375 Cherry Road
Suite 101
Rock Hill, SC
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Website »

More information

Children gain exposure to life skills by utilizing theatre and art activities. Classes occur on Mondays, but there will be no classes on January 20 or February 17.

Cost: Free

Where:
Tuckaseegee Recreation Center
4820 Tuskaseegee Road
, NC
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Sponsor: Children’s Theatre of Charlotte
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George Beverly Shea and Cliff Barrows presented faith of Jesus Christ in song. Come discover the ways the Lord used their efforts and their music to open hearts around the world. Read inspiring...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
, NC
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Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
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Young children can jump at a discounted rate Monday through Friday, 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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Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

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

Where:
Superior Play Systems
11415 Granite St.
Suite C
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Cost: $3-$5

Where:
Charlotte Allstar Gymnastics and Cheerleading
11011 Monroe Road
Matthews, NC
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Telephone: 704-246-8611
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Visit a Lancaster County librarian at Jumpin Jax Fun Center of Lancaster for 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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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
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Cost: Free

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

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Cost: $10

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

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Increase your strength, endurance and agility for sports.

Cost: Free

Where:
Naomi Drenan Recreation Center
750 Beal St.
, NC
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Cost: $15

Where:
Charlotte Family Yoga
8230 Poplar Tent
Concord, NC
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Sponsor: Charlotte Family Yoga
Website »

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Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free, $6 for parking

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


Sponsor: USNWC
Website »

More information

Enjoy stories, songs and movement activities in your pajamas!

Cost: Free

Where:
Plaza Midwood Library
1623 Central Ave.
, 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

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

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

This exhibition spotlights 50 original works by Maurice Sendak, who is most widely recognized for "Where the Wild Things Are." The exhibition will be on display at the Main Branch of the...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Gaston County Public Library
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

Take a rare and exciting look at the life of dinosaurs by exploring their eggs, nests, and young. This colorful and interactive exhibit features an amazing collection of real dinosaur eggs and...

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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


Website »

More information

Is it possible that an asteroid collided with the Earth and wiped-out the dinosaurs? Shows are daily at 1 and 3pm.

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

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


Website »

More information

TEN features a selection of works from sixteen past fourth-floor exhibitions to showcase the excellence of the Bechtler collection in celebration of the museum's ten-year anniversary.

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

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


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord is ringing in the New Year with its third annual Healthcare Professionals Appreciation Month! Healthcare Professionals will receive free admission and 50 percent off for...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Learn how to build a fire and keep it going using different fire-starting techniques. Make a tasty treat! Register online.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Teens will learn to take the mundane to a new dimension at the Monroe Library STEAM Lab. No registration is necessary.

Cost: Free

Where:
Union County Public Library
316 E. Windsor St.
Monroe, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

See the story brought to life on screen! This movie is rated PG.

Cost: Free

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


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"My Fair Lady" tells the story of Eliza Doolittle, a young Cockney flower seller, and Henry Higgins, a linguistics professor who is determined to transform her into his idea of a...

Cost: TBA

Where:
Ovens Auditorium
2900 E. Independence Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Explore rare and extremely devastating volcanic eruptions, and discover the impact of gigantic volcanic episodes around the Solar System. Dive into the super volcano now gathering force beneath...

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Let your little one jump for less during toddler time!

Cost: $12 per adult and child pair

Where:
Adventure Air Sports
2375 Cherry Road
Suite 101
Rock Hill, 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

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

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
Website »

More information

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 Monday through Friday, 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 non-member family

Where:
SEED Wildlife Garden at Wing Haven
260 Ridgewood Ave.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

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

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


Website »

More information

Need a reason to get outside this winter?  Take part in Latta Quest!  This weekly activity is designed to engage families in all that Latta Nature Preserve has to offer.  There will be a...

Cost: Free

Where:
Latta Nature Center
6211 Sample Rd
Huntersville, NC  28078
View map »


Sponsor: Latta Nature Center
Telephone: 980-314-1129
Contact Name: Kerri Hable
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

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Teach or play with your child in the heated pool.

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

Cost: $10

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


Website »

More information

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

Gain an experience in a variety of different activities that assist in developmental growth through socialization.

Cost: Free

Where:
Hickory Grove Recreation Center
6709 Pence Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Teens will come out and play competitive video games.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Play interactive games geared towards social development that involve physical activities every Tuesday in January.

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

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

Cost: Free, $6 for parking

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


Sponsor: USNWC
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

Where:
Albemarle Road Recreation Center
5027 North Idlewild Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $15 for adult

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


Website »

More information

This exhibition spotlights 50 original works by Maurice Sendak, who is most widely recognized for "Where the Wild Things Are." The exhibition will be on display at the Main Branch of the...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Gaston County Public Library
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

Take a rare and exciting look at the life of dinosaurs by exploring their eggs, nests, and young. This colorful and interactive exhibit features an amazing collection of real dinosaur eggs and...

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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


Website »

More information

Is it possible that an asteroid collided with the Earth and wiped-out the dinosaurs? Shows are daily at 1 and 3pm.

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

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


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord is ringing in the New Year with its third annual Healthcare Professionals Appreciation Month! Healthcare Professionals will receive free admission and 50 percent off for...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

"My Fair Lady" tells the story of Eliza Doolittle, a young Cockney flower seller, and Henry Higgins, a linguistics professor who is determined to transform her into his idea of a...

Cost: TBA

Where:
Ovens Auditorium
2900 E. Independence Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Explore rare and extremely devastating volcanic eruptions, and discover the impact of gigantic volcanic episodes around the Solar System. Dive into the super volcano now gathering force beneath...

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

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


Website »

More information

Need a reason to get outside this winter?  Take part in Latta Quest!  This weekly activity is designed to engage families in all that Latta Nature Preserve has to offer.  There will be a...

Cost: Free

Where:
Latta Nature Center
6211 Sample Rd
Huntersville, NC  28078
View map »


Sponsor: Latta Nature Center
Telephone: 980-314-1129
Contact Name: Kerri Hable
Website »

More information

What is a microcosm? Delve deep into conservation by studying tiny worlds within our ecosystem. We’ll conduct field research, document our findings, and create a capstone project that combines...

Cost: $60

Where:
Latta Nature Center
6211 Sample Rd
Huntersville, NC  28078
View map »


Sponsor: Latta Nature Center
Telephone: 980-314-1129
Contact Name: Corine Rizzo
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

Let your little one jump for less during toddler time!

Cost: $12 per adult and child pair

Where:
Adventure Air Sports
2375 Cherry Road
Suite 101
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
Website »

More information

Young children can jump at a discounted rate Monday through Friday, 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: $8, $10 on weekends and school holidays

Where:
Superior Play Systems
11415 Granite St.
Suite C
, 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

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

Cost: $8

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


Website »

More information

Come join story time with other families. 

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Price per game varies

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


Website »

More information

Program will bring girls together through games and activities, guest speakers, and field trips.

Cost: Free

Where:
Arbor Glen Outreach Center
1520 Clanton Road
, 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

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

Cost: Free, $6 for parking

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


Sponsor: USNWC
Website »

More information

Learn a fusion of Zimbabwe dance styles using traditional Zimbabwe vocabulary mixed with contemporary movement.

Cost: Free

Where:
Bette Rae Thomas Recreation Center
2921 Tuckaseegee Road
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: ASC Culture Blocks
Telephone: 704-414-2774
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

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

This exhibition spotlights 50 original works by Maurice Sendak, who is most widely recognized for "Where the Wild Things Are." The exhibition will be on display at the Main Branch of the...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Gaston County Public Library
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

Take a rare and exciting look at the life of dinosaurs by exploring their eggs, nests, and young. This colorful and interactive exhibit features an amazing collection of real dinosaur eggs and...

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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


Website »

More information

Is it possible that an asteroid collided with the Earth and wiped-out the dinosaurs? Shows are daily at 1 and 3pm.

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

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


Website »

More information

TEN features a selection of works from sixteen past fourth-floor exhibitions to showcase the excellence of the Bechtler collection in celebration of the museum's ten-year anniversary.

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

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


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Need a reason to get outside this winter?  Take part in Latta Quest!  This weekly activity is designed to engage families in all that Latta Nature Preserve has to offer.  There will be a...

Cost: Free

Where:
Latta Nature Center
6211 Sample Rd
Huntersville, NC  28078
View map »


Sponsor: Latta Nature Center
Telephone: 980-314-1129
Contact Name: Kerri Hable
Website »

More information

SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord is ringing in the New Year with its third annual Healthcare Professionals Appreciation Month! Healthcare Professionals will receive free admission and 50 percent off for...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Bring your family out to enjoy stories coupled with fun and easy yoga moves.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Older children can come for Pokemon crafts, games and snacks. Register online.

Cost: Free

Where:
Fort Mill Public Library
1818 2nd Baxter Crossing
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Participate in a variety of engineering projects. Innovate, experiment and explore the arts. Register online.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Help your pet stay cozy this winter in a DIY bed. Choose from our three size options, then sand, build and stain the bed frame. Choose a flannel pattern, and sew a comfy pillow. Top it all off with...

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

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


Sponsor: Discovery Place Science
Website »

More information

Take a hike in the preserve with guides and experience the preserve using only your night vision. Registration is required.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Dr. Bill McDonald, Dean of Students at the University of Georgia, will bring his expertise to present and answer questions to high school students and their families on transitioning to college.

Cost: Free

Where:
Mooresville Public Library
304 S. Main St.
Mooresville, NC  28115
View map »


Sponsor: Mooresville Public Library
Website »

More information

"My Fair Lady" tells the story of Eliza Doolittle, a young Cockney flower seller, and Henry Higgins, a linguistics professor who is determined to transform her into his idea of a...

Cost: TBA

Where:
Ovens Auditorium
2900 E. Independence Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Explore rare and extremely devastating volcanic eruptions, and discover the impact of gigantic volcanic episodes around the Solar System. Dive into the super volcano now gathering force beneath...

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Let your little one jump for less during toddler time!

Cost: $12 per adult and child pair

Where:
Adventure Air Sports
2375 Cherry Road
Suite 101
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
Website »

More information

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 Monday through Friday, 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: $8, $10 on weekends and school holidays

Where:
Superior Play Systems
11415 Granite St.
Suite C
, 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

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

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

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


Sponsor: Carolina Raptor Center
Website »

More information

Play basketball in a structured environment.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Teens will come out and play competitive video games.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free, $6 for parking

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


Sponsor: USNWC
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Afrobics is a full body, fun experience—a dance fitness class combining Afrofusion movement to an African beat.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Learn cheers, chants and stunts with an experienced cheer coach.

Cost: Free

Where:
Arbor Glen Outreach Center
1520 Clanton Road
, 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

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

"La Bohème" offers a sympathetic, sentimental portrait of youthful optimism, even in the face of true tragedy. In the realm of love stories, nothing holds a candle to "La...

Cost: $56-$194

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


Sponsor: Opera Carolina
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

This exhibition spotlights 50 original works by Maurice Sendak, who is most widely recognized for "Where the Wild Things Are." The exhibition will be on display at the Main Branch of the...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Gaston County Public Library
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

Take a rare and exciting look at the life of dinosaurs by exploring their eggs, nests, and young. This colorful and interactive exhibit features an amazing collection of real dinosaur eggs and...

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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


Website »

More information

Is it possible that an asteroid collided with the Earth and wiped-out the dinosaurs? Shows are daily at 1 and 3pm.

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

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


Website »

More information

TEN features a selection of works from sixteen past fourth-floor exhibitions to showcase the excellence of the Bechtler collection in celebration of the museum's ten-year anniversary.

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

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


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Spend this CMS Teacher Workday in the kitchen! Make marinara sauce, pasta, garlic knots and an Italian dessert.

Cost: $84

Where:
Flour Power Kids Cooking Studios Rea Farms
9826 Sandy Rock Pl.
Suite E
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This daily camp will be filled with games, activities and swimming.

Cost: $25

Where:
Ray's Splash Planet
215 N. Sycamore St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Kick off your ACT prep with a free practice exam.

Cost: Free

Where:
Main Library Rock Hill
310 N. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Hunt for hidden treasure in the woods with your family. Registration is required.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord is ringing in the New Year with its third annual Healthcare Professionals Appreciation Month! Healthcare Professionals will receive free admission and 50 percent off for...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

The first 1,500 fans receive a free Checkers beanie hat.

Cost: $18.50+

Where:
BoPlex
2700 E. Independence Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

"My Fair Lady" tells the story of Eliza Doolittle, a young Cockney flower seller, and Henry Higgins, a linguistics professor who is determined to transform her into his idea of a...

Cost: TBA

Where:
Ovens Auditorium
2900 E. Independence Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Explore rare and extremely devastating volcanic eruptions, and discover the impact of gigantic volcanic episodes around the Solar System. Dive into the super volcano now gathering force beneath...

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Need a reason to get outside this winter?  Take part in Latta Quest!  This weekly activity is designed to engage families in all that Latta Nature Preserve has to offer.  There will be a...

Cost: Free

Where:
Latta Nature Center
6211 Sample Rd
Huntersville, NC  28078
View map »


Sponsor: Latta Nature Center
Telephone: 980-314-1129
Contact Name: Kerri Hable
Website »

More information

Get your hands dirty learning about nature, and create nature inspired crafts.

Cost: $4

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


Sponsor: Latta Nature Center
Website »

More information

Play a variety of games and sports, create art and adventure to the playground. Bring a bagged lunch.

Cost: $25

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


Website »

More information

Let your little one jump for less during toddler time!

Cost: $12 per adult and child pair

Where:
Adventure Air Sports
2375 Cherry Road
Suite 101
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
Website »

More information

Young children can jump at a discounted rate Monday through Friday, 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: $8, $10 on weekends and 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

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

Ceramic teaching artists will walk participants through a clay project. Call 980-498-1487 to register.

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 980-498-1487
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Enjoy local music every Friday while you eat, drink and shop.

Cost: Free

Where:
7th Street Public Market
224 E. 7th St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free, $6 for parking

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


Sponsor: USNWC
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $25

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


Website »

More information

The greatest hits from the raddest decade will be performed live.

Cost: $28+

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


Telephone: 704-972-2000
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

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $10-$37

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


Sponsor: NarroWay Productions
Telephone: 803-802-2300
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

This exhibition spotlights 50 original works by Maurice Sendak, who is most widely recognized for "Where the Wild Things Are." The exhibition will be on display at the Main Branch of the...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Gaston County Public Library
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

Take a rare and exciting look at the life of dinosaurs by exploring their eggs, nests, and young. This colorful and interactive exhibit features an amazing collection of real dinosaur eggs and...

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

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


Website »

More information

Three choreographers will embark on creations for the company inspired by The Mint Museum’s upcoming exhibition “Immersed in Light: Studio Drift at the Mint.” See website for...

Cost: $25-$85

Where:
Center for Dance
701 N. Tryon St.
, 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

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


Website »

More information

Is it possible that an asteroid collided with the Earth and wiped-out the dinosaurs? Shows are daily at 1 and 3pm.

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

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


Website »

More information

TEN features a selection of works from sixteen past fourth-floor exhibitions to showcase the excellence of the Bechtler collection in celebration of the museum's ten-year anniversary.

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

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


Website »

More information

Once upon a time in an enchanted kingdom, all gathered to celebrate the birth of the royal princess. Whimsy and fun make the show perfect for all ages. See website for showtimes.

Cost: $10

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


Sponsor: Davidson Community Players
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord is ringing in the New Year with its third annual Healthcare Professionals Appreciation Month! Healthcare Professionals will receive free admission and 50 percent off for...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Experience winter on an 18th century homestead. Originally located off of North Tryon Street in Charlotte, the restored Ezekiel Alexander cabin provides a glimpse of life in early Charlotte. See...

Cost: Included in admission of $8-$9, children 5 and younger free

Where:
Historic Latta Plantation
5225 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The program celebrates the women of one of the largest plantations in the upstate during the early nineteenth century. Learn about Harriet Bratton, her highly skilled cooks and...

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

Where:
Historic Brattonsville
1444 Brattonsville Road
McConnells, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Ceramic teaching artists will walk participants through a clay project from start to finish. Call 980-314-1115 to register.

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Clayworks
Telephone: 980-314-1115
Website »

More information

Attend this bilingual story-time followed by music inspired arts and crafts. Must RSVP by calling 704-416-4400.

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: ASC Culture Blocks
Telephone: 704-416-4400
Website »

More information

Discover how El Nino and La Nina systems influence weather. Events at 11am and 2pm.

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

Attend this bilingual story time followed by music inspired arts and crafts.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Participate in a variety of science experiments, engineering projects or math puzzles. Register online.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

It’s the first day of the Year of the Rat! Celebrate the Lunar New Year with some rodent-themed crafts and learn how these little creatures play a vital role in our nature preserve’s ecosystem.

Cost: Free

Where:
Latta Nature Center
6211 Sample Rd
Huntersville, NC  28078
View map »


Sponsor: Latta Nature Center
Telephone: 980-314-1129
Contact Name: Shelby Harrison
Website »

More information

Come for books and crafts based on dragons. There will be a special guest from Exotic Encounters. Register online.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Join medical professionals from Atrium Health to learn all about radiology technology.

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

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


Sponsor: Discovery Place Science
Website »

More information

Guo Nian Hao! Or Happy New Year! This year celebrate the year of the rat 11:15 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. while learning about the traditions associated with the Chinese New Year.

Cost: $11, included in admission, free for children younger than 1

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


Sponsor: Discovery Place Kids-Huntersville
Website »

More information

During this interactive and hands-on workshop, Chad Harris and his band, Blue Herons will offer useful tips about how to learn a new song, the importance of listening, solo vs group...

Cost: $20 suggested donation

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

More information

A new moon in winter provides a unique opportunity to enjoy twinkling starlight. Leave the Earth behind and fall into the sky this Lunar New Year! We’ll share star stories from around the world...

Cost: Free

Where:
Latta Nature Center
6211 Sample Rd
Huntersville, NC  28078
View map »


Sponsor: Latta Nature Center
Telephone: 980-314-1129
Contact Name: Shelby Harrison
Website »

More information

Don’t miss this amazing show of Mike performing some of the best classic rock songs of all time acoustically.

Cost: $30-$35

Where:
Stage Door Theater
155 N. College St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

"My Fair Lady" tells the story of Eliza Doolittle, a young Cockney flower seller, and Henry Higgins, a linguistics professor who is determined to transform her into his idea of a...

Cost: TBA

Where:
Ovens Auditorium
2900 E. Independence Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Explore rare and extremely devastating volcanic eruptions, and discover the impact of gigantic volcanic episodes around the Solar System. Dive into the super volcano now gathering force beneath...

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

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


Website »

More information

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
View map »


Website »

More information

Register for 90 minutes of hands-on Lego Robotics with a certified K-8 public educator. See website for full schedule of dates and locations, including Aloft Charlotte Ballantyne, HurtHub at...

Cost: $35

Where:
Aloft Charlotte Ballantyne
13139 Ballantyne Corporate Pl.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Digi-Bridge
Website »

More information

Young children can jump at a discounted rate on Saturday mornings, 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

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

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
Website »

More information

This program will teach photography and videography using point-and-shoot and DSLR cameras. Participants will also learn about effective social media interaction as a photographer/journalist. Call...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 980-314-1110
Website »

More information

Meet adoptable animals that are looking for forever homes every Saturday.

Cost: Free

Where:
PetSmart of Blakeney
9911 Rea Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Cost for games

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


Telephone: 980-430-4587
Website »

More information

Participants will learn about African drumming and get hands-on experience with African instruments.

Cost: Free

Where:
Albemarle Road Recreation Center
5027 Idlewild Road N.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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
View map »


Sponsor: Carolina Raptor Center
Website »

More information

Raptor keepers will show some of their favorite bird species.

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

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

Cost: Free, $6 for parking

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


Sponsor: USNWC
Website »

More information

The greatest hits from the raddest decade will be performed live.

Cost: $28+

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


Telephone: 704-972-2000
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

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $10-$37

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


Sponsor: NarroWay Productions
Telephone: 803-802-2300
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

This exhibition spotlights 50 original works by Maurice Sendak, who is most widely recognized for "Where the Wild Things Are." The exhibition will be on display at the Main Branch of the...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Gaston County Public Library
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

Take a rare and exciting look at the life of dinosaurs by exploring their eggs, nests, and young. This colorful and interactive exhibit features an amazing collection of real dinosaur eggs and...

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

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


Website »

More information

Three choreographers will embark on creations for the company inspired by The Mint Museum’s upcoming exhibition “Immersed in Light: Studio Drift at the Mint.” See website for...

Cost: $25-$85

Where:
Center for Dance
701 N. Tryon St.
, 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

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


Website »

More information

Is it possible that an asteroid collided with the Earth and wiped-out the dinosaurs? Shows are daily at 1 and 3pm.

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

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


Website »

More information

TEN features a selection of works from sixteen past fourth-floor exhibitions to showcase the excellence of the Bechtler collection in celebration of the museum's ten-year anniversary.

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

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


Website »

More information

Once upon a time in an enchanted kingdom, all gathered to celebrate the birth of the royal princess. Whimsy and fun make the show perfect for all ages. See website for showtimes.

Cost: $10

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


Sponsor: Davidson Community Players
Website »

More information

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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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