Things to Do With Kids in Charlotte This Weekend
This weekend's family fun in Charlotte. (Dec. 15-17)
Charlotte Ballet performs the classic "Nutcracker" at Belk Theater uptown.
Celebrate the season this weekend. Go judge one of the gingerbread competitions or sign up to have breakfast with Santa at one of the nearby events. Or, if you're feeling active, participate in one of the races going on this weekend — you can even go dressed as Santa! You can also check out many performances ranging from holiday favorites like "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever: The Musical" and Charlotte Ballet's "Nutcracker."
Note: Time, dates and details of events are subject to change. Call venues to confirm.
The Hamiltones, a musical group from Charlotte known for its series of viral videos and as background singers for Anthony Hamilton, tells the story of "the reason for the season" with soulful music and a modern twist on Christmas classics, such as "Twas The Night Before Christmas" and "Little Drummer Boy." Tickets are $20. The performance begins at 8 p.m. Friday, with two more performances Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m. McGlohon Theater at Spirit Square, 345 N. College St.
Stroll through Village Park to enjoy the more than 250,000 lights strung up for the holiday season. Take a ride on the Winterland Express or on the Double Decker Carousel, and visit with Santa. Roast marshmallows, watch performances by the Kannapolis Singing Bears, and visit the model train displays. Free admission, $2 to ride the train and carousel. The event is ongoing through Dec. 30 (with the exception of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day). Sun.-Thurs., 6-9 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 6-10 p.m. Village Park, 700 West C. St., Kannapolis.
Eat donuts, visit Santa and give back. RiverGate Shopping Center is hosting a morning of crafts, a balloon artist, a visit from Rudolph, plus The Merry Christmas Tree. Bring your cameras to snap a picture with Santa and purchase a donut for just $1. Proceeds benefit the Second Harvest Food Bank. 10 a.m.-noon. RiverGate Shopping Center, 12807 S. Tryon St.
Learn about the holiday of Kwanzaa with stories and songs to help children engage and have fun. Register online. Best for ages 3-11. Free. 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Hickory Grove Library, 5935 Hickory Grove Road.
Bring your lizard-lovers to this reptile event at the Cabarrus Arena. Vendors are on with animals, supplies, feeders and cages. Children can attend an animal seminar to learn more about reptiles and reptile care. Check the schedule to see which presentations would interest your family. Children's tickets are $5; adult tickets are $10. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Continues Sunday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Cabarrus Arena and Events Center,4751 Highway 49 N., Concord.
Get some holiday shopping done while having some merry fun. Children can get their faces painted, play with trackless trains and get pictures with Santa. There are also horse-drawn carriage rides. 6-8 p.m. Free. Arboretum Shopping Center near Bed Bath and Beyond, 8008 Providence Road.
Take a spin on the ice at Symphony Park's 5,000-square-foot ice rink. After hitting the ice, purchase coffee or cocoa and enjoy a $3 ride on the carousel. Skating is $12, with skate rentals available for an additional $5. Sunday hours are 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Winter Wonderland is open through Jan. 7. Symphony Park, 4400 Sharon Road.
Drive the track at Charlotte Motor Speedway to see more than 3 million lights synced to music, then visit the Christmas Village where you can see a live nativity, roast marshmallows, get pictures with Santa and pull-in for the drive-in movie experience. See "Elf" on the big screen beginning at 6:30 p.m. 6-10 p.m. $25-$30 per car. Charlotte Motor Speedway, 5555 Concord Pkwy., Concord.
Skip cooking tonight and head to this dinner show in Fort Mill. Watch your favorite Christmas scenes — complete with holiday music — unfold on stage while you enjoy a meal of turkey with cranberry sauce. For an additional $5, you can ride a camel before the show. 2 and 6:30 p.m. performances. Tickets range from $12-$35. Performances ongoing through Dec. 21. NarroWay Theatre, 3327 Hwy. 51 N., Fort Mill.
SEE ALSO: 12 Very Merry Holiday Experiences
Addie Gottwald is a Davidson graduate who now lives in South End.