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Valentine's Day: Dads and Daughters

Celebrate the special daddy-daughter bond on Valentine's Day.


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Daddy’s little girl. Those three words convey feelings of protection, and a very special bond that often exists between fathers and daughters. A dad is the first and most important man in his daughter’s life, and with her father’s attention, guidance and instruction, a girl can grow into a confident woman with a strong sense of self-worth.

Valentine’s Day most often is celebrated between women and men, moms and dads, but it’s also the perfect time for fathers to reflect on the role they are playing – physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually – in their daughter’s life.

"Your daughter needs the best of who you are: your strength, your courage, your intelligence and your fearfulness," says Dr. Meg Meeker, a pediatrician, nationally known speaker and the author of "Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters."

Three local dads weigh in with some things fathers should and shouldn’t do in order to protect their daughters, while also guiding them into becoming self-confident women.
 

Make an Investment of Time, Attention

The best thing a father can be for his daughter is there – offering her his presence, his time and his love. Greg Spain of Huntersville says he tries to support his three daughters in the things they naturally enjoy doing.

"Shannon, Stephanie and Summer have their different areas of interest," says Spain. "I don’t want them to do what I think is best for them — I let them figure what they like to do, or want to be for themselves, and then I try to support them any way I can."

Whether girls enjoy playing with dolls or building forts, shopping or sliding into home base, good dads spend time with their daughters and don’t question if the activity is too girlie or too boyish. Research has shown well-adjusted girls have both feminine characteristics (an ability to express emotion and sensitivity to others’ feelings) and masculine attributes (assertiveness, ambition and independence).

Spain says fathers should offer lots of physical affection, too. "Show them you love them; pick them up and hug them," he says. "And tell them you love them. To this day, I still enjoy going into each of my girls’ rooms and kissing them and telling them goodnight."

He also provides his daughters with guidelines, but tries not to smother them. "I think if you mercilessly rule over your kids, it only drives them to turn toward things you don’t want them to be involved with," says Spain.

Charlotte resident Marlon Smith, father to Deja and Jade is thinking ahead when it comes to his youngest. Smith says he is committed to getting to know Jade’s friends and their parents. "There will come a day when her friends will have a major influence on what she thinks, says and does. To help ensure Jade maintains a positive self-esteem and Godly values, I will get to know her friends and their parents," says Smith. "My goal as Jade’s father is to instill principles that will have her make the ‘right’ choices when her friends are peer pressuring her to do something else."
 

Be the Man You Want Her to Marry

Whether by intention or accident, fathers send a message, and daughters see it, hear it and accept it, says Colin Pinkney, a Charlotte father of six (four of whom are girls).

Therefore, dads need to model for young girls the kind of man they want they daughters to date and eventually marry. "They get from their dads the image of who they will marry," says Pinkney.

In her book, Meeker cautions fathers, "The man you see at the other end of the aisle will undoubtedly be a reflection of you — be that good or bad. It’s the way it is: Women are drawn to what they know."

Oftentimes, girls grow up to marry men who put their wives second, according to Meeker. Dads who are always in constant pursuit of "more" (working 60-hour weeks for career advancement, striving for a bigger bank account or letting their gaze fall on prettier women) send the message that career and money are more important than relationships.

Smith says he’s trying to "walk the talk," by intentionally modeling the type of behavior he wants Deja and Jade to hold as the standard for their future husbands. "My daughters must see how I spend quality time with their mother and with them. … Time is our most precious commodity. If money is lost, it can be earned again, but once a minute has passed, it can never be regained," says Smith.

As each Valentine’s Day comes and goes, a father watches his little princess grow up a little more. And then suddenly, she’s gone — into the arms of another Prince Charming. Meeker says that if Dad has done his job well, his daughter will have chosen another good man to love her.

But she offers this bit of hope, telling Dad the new man in his daughter’s life "will never replace you in her heart, because you were there first. … and that’s the ultimate reward for being a good dad."

Lee McCracken is an associate editor for Charlotte Parent magazine.

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View map »


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, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

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Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture
551 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

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Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture
551 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

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Cost: $3 in addition to paid museum admission

Where:
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1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Sponsor: The Schiele Museum of Natural History
Telephone: 704-866-6923
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Website »

More information

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Cost: $3 in addition to paid museum admission

Where:
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1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Sponsor: The Schiele Museum of Natural History
Telephone: 704-866-6923
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More information

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Cost: $3 in addition to paid museum admission

Where:
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Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Sponsor: The Schiele Museum of Natural History
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Contact Name: Philip McGinnis
Website »

More information

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Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

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

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

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; closing dates are...

Cost: Free with paid 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

Inspire your patriotic pride as you learn about the victory that marked the turning point of the American Revolution. Original artifacts will draw you into the triumphs and tragedies of the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kings Mountain Historical Museum
100 E. Mountain St.
P.O. Box 552
Kings Mountain, NC  28086
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Join Fit Family Challenge partner Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden as they present "Wee Houses: Places We Play," an interactive exhibition by local creatives to celebrate the places we play....

Cost: $12.95 adults, $6.95 kids 2-12

Where:
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
6500 South New Hope Road
Belmont, NC  28012
View map »


Website »

More information

Come explore how the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has reached out to those in crisis around the world—from providing food, medical supplies and shelter in the aftermath of major...

Cost: Free

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


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

More information

Hike over 2-3 miles as you learn how to use a GPS to uncover hidden treasures around the preserve.

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-583-1284
Website »

More information

Discover the McDowell Nature Preserve with others in search of hidden treasure. This geocache program, for newbies and pros alike, will teach participants how to use a GPS and discover caches...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: McDowell Nature Center
Telephone: 704-588-5224
Website »

More information

This ice skating extravaganza presents characters from "Inside Out," "Frozen," "Finding Dory," and more. See website for showtimes.

Cost: $20+

Where:
Time Warner Cable Arena
333 E. Trade St
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 800-745-3000
Website »

More information

Journey across the Solar System to explore the Sun and its family of planets, moons, comets and asteroids that define our place in space.  This exhibit features dynamic interpretive kiosks,...

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

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

A massive amount of energy lurks like a speeding dragon beneath the surface of the planet Earth. Experience rare and extremely devastating volcanic phenonema, portrayed with dramatic imagery...

Cost: Standard admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
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

This showcase includes an array of selected jewelry alongside examples of more conventional artwork, celebrating the craftsmanship and creativity of artists who explore texture and color through...

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 of twenty works in wood by artists John Mascoll and Avelino Samuel features the use of the lathe tool to create a unique art form.  Closed Mondays; open...

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture
551 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

Charlotte native and folk artist Nellie Ashford presents a collection of crafted-mixed media works that reflect real-life experiences of families, children, dancers, and musicians and the stories...

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture
551 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

This exhibition uses the work of one of the most renowned artistic quilt makers, Faith Ringgold, as an entry point to look backward at traditional African American quilts and forward to decorative...

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture
551 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

A fury is building on the surface of the Sun--high velocity jets, a fiery tsunami wave that reaches 100,000 kilometers high, rising loops of electrified gas.  What's driving these strange...

Cost: $3 in addition to paid 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

Volcanoes tower 80,000 feet above the barren surface. Monstrous hurricanes rage for 400  years. And multicolored rings sit suspended in air. Travel through our solar system faster than...

Cost: $3 in addition to paid 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

Enjoy two great mini programs in the Science Theater. First, explore the constellations of summer in a seasonal stargazing tour of the night sky. Then, learn about modern unmanned lunar...

Cost: $3 in addition to paid 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

The early settlers in the Carolina Backcountry fashioned a life from the fields and forests of the area, bringing them traditional skills and styles from their native lands. Explore the incredible...

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
Website »

More information

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

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

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; closing dates are...

Cost: Free with paid 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

Inspire your patriotic pride as you learn about the victory that marked the turning point of the American Revolution. Original artifacts will draw you into the triumphs and tragedies of the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kings Mountain Historical Museum
100 E. Mountain St.
P.O. Box 552
Kings Mountain, NC  28086
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Join Fit Family Challenge partner Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden as they present "Wee Houses: Places We Play," an interactive exhibition by local creatives to celebrate the places we play....

Cost: $12.95 adults, $6.95 kids 2-12

Where:
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
6500 South New Hope Road
Belmont, NC  28012
View map »


Website »

More information

Come explore how the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has reached out to those in crisis around the world—from providing food, medical supplies and shelter in the aftermath of major...

Cost: Free

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


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

More information

Teens can learn important life skills and enjoy the chance to make new foods. 

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-416-7200
Website »

More information

This ice skating extravaganza presents characters from "Inside Out," "Frozen," "Finding Dory," and more. See website for showtimes.

Cost: $20+

Where:
Time Warner Cable Arena
333 E. Trade St
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 800-745-3000
Website »

More information

Journey across the Solar System to explore the Sun and its family of planets, moons, comets and asteroids that define our place in space.  This exhibit features dynamic interpretive kiosks,...

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

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

A massive amount of energy lurks like a speeding dragon beneath the surface of the planet Earth. Experience rare and extremely devastating volcanic phenonema, portrayed with dramatic imagery...

Cost: Standard admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Join Charlotte Dads Group every other Thursday (during the school year) for Storytime on Thursday mornings at ImaginOn. 

Cost: Free

Where:
ImaginOn
300 East 7th St.
Charlotte, NC  28269
View map »


Sponsor: Charlotte Dads Gorup
Telephone: 704-472-7990
Contact Name: Darrell Humphrey
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

This showcase includes an array of selected jewelry alongside examples of more conventional artwork, celebrating the craftsmanship and creativity of artists who explore texture and color through...

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 of twenty works in wood by artists John Mascoll and Avelino Samuel features the use of the lathe tool to create a unique art form.  Closed Mondays; open...

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture
551 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

Charlotte native and folk artist Nellie Ashford presents a collection of crafted-mixed media works that reflect real-life experiences of families, children, dancers, and musicians and the stories...

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture
551 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

This exhibition uses the work of one of the most renowned artistic quilt makers, Faith Ringgold, as an entry point to look backward at traditional African American quilts and forward to decorative...

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture
551 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

A fury is building on the surface of the Sun--high velocity jets, a fiery tsunami wave that reaches 100,000 kilometers high, rising loops of electrified gas.  What's driving these strange...

Cost: $3 in addition to paid 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

Volcanoes tower 80,000 feet above the barren surface. Monstrous hurricanes rage for 400  years. And multicolored rings sit suspended in air. Travel through our solar system faster than...

Cost: $3 in addition to paid 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

Enjoy two great mini programs in the Science Theater. First, explore the constellations of summer in a seasonal stargazing tour of the night sky. Then, learn about modern unmanned lunar...

Cost: $3 in addition to paid 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

The early settlers in the Carolina Backcountry fashioned a life from the fields and forests of the area, bringing them traditional skills and styles from their native lands. Explore the incredible...

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
Website »

More information

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

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

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; closing dates are...

Cost: Free with paid 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

Inspire your patriotic pride as you learn about the victory that marked the turning point of the American Revolution. Original artifacts will draw you into the triumphs and tragedies of the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kings Mountain Historical Museum
100 E. Mountain St.
P.O. Box 552
Kings Mountain, NC  28086
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Join Fit Family Challenge partner Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden as they present "Wee Houses: Places We Play," an interactive exhibition by local creatives to celebrate the places we play....

Cost: $12.95 adults, $6.95 kids 2-12

Where:
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
6500 South New Hope Road
Belmont, NC  28012
View map »


Website »

More information

Come explore how the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has reached out to those in crisis around the world—from providing food, medical supplies and shelter in the aftermath of major...

Cost: Free

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


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

More information

Story time for children, teens and adults with autism and other learning differences and their families or caregivers. Participants will engage in music, stories, movement and literacy...

Cost: Free

Where:
North County Regional Library
16500 Holly Crest Lane
Huntersville, NC  28078
View map »


Sponsor: Charlotte Mecklenburg Library
Telephone: 704-416-6000
Contact Name: Viviette White
Website »

More information

This ice skating extravaganza presents characters from "Inside Out," "Frozen," "Finding Dory," and more. See website for showtimes.

Cost: $20+

Where:
Time Warner Cable Arena
333 E. Trade St
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 800-745-3000
Website »

More information

Journey across the Solar System to explore the Sun and its family of planets, moons, comets and asteroids that define our place in space.  This exhibit features dynamic interpretive kiosks,...

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

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

A massive amount of energy lurks like a speeding dragon beneath the surface of the planet Earth. Experience rare and extremely devastating volcanic phenonema, portrayed with dramatic imagery...

Cost: Standard admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Get out and grab dinner from a variety of local food trucks at this weekly rally. Visit the website for a list of participating trucks.

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Central Avenue (Behind The Light Factory)
, NC


Website »

More information

A community food truck rally hosted by the Town of Matthews Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Resource Department. Each Friday will have local food trucks and artists with live music while you relax...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-321-7275
Website »

More information

Set in 1926, this fast-paced musical dinner show takes you to East Tennessee where the fun never ends. Sing along with fabulous old Southern classics and watch the gospel truths unfold through the...

Cost: $7-$35

Where:
NarroWay Productions
3327 Hwy 51
Fort Mill, SC  29715
View map »


Telephone: 803-802-2300
Website »

More information

Enjoy music and movies on the Green at Promenade on Providence, Fridays and Saturdays, 7-10 PM. Free fun for the whole family. Promenade on Providence is located at corner of Providence Road and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Promenade on Providence
Charlotte, NC


Sponsor: Promenade on Providence
Website »

More information

Carowinds is transformed from a “theme park” to a “scream park” at SCarowinds – the Carolinas' largest Halloween event. Experience the thrills on your favorite...

Cost: See website for prices

Where:
Carowinds
14523 Carowinds Blvd
Charlotte, NC  28273
View map »


Telephone: 704-588-2600
Website »

More information

The international festival of hip hop showcases performances from artists all over the globe.

Cost: $20+

Where:
Levine Center for the Arts
550 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

This showcase includes an array of selected jewelry alongside examples of more conventional artwork, celebrating the craftsmanship and creativity of artists who explore texture and color through...

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 of twenty works in wood by artists John Mascoll and Avelino Samuel features the use of the lathe tool to create a unique art form.  Closed Mondays; open...

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture
551 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

Charlotte native and folk artist Nellie Ashford presents a collection of crafted-mixed media works that reflect real-life experiences of families, children, dancers, and musicians and the stories...

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture
551 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

This exhibition uses the work of one of the most renowned artistic quilt makers, Faith Ringgold, as an entry point to look backward at traditional African American quilts and forward to decorative...

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture
551 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

Join Friendly Frog and Cranky Toad as they  journey through the four seasons, celebrating the differences that make us friends with one another. See website for showtimes.

Cost: $12+

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


Telephone: 704-973-2828
Website »

More information

A fury is building on the surface of the Sun--high velocity jets, a fiery tsunami wave that reaches 100,000 kilometers high, rising loops of electrified gas.  What's driving these strange...

Cost: $3 in addition to paid 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

Volcanoes tower 80,000 feet above the barren surface. Monstrous hurricanes rage for 400  years. And multicolored rings sit suspended in air. Travel through our solar system faster than...

Cost: $3 in addition to paid 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

Enjoy two great mini programs in the Science Theater. First, explore the constellations of summer in a seasonal stargazing tour of the night sky. Then, learn about modern unmanned lunar...

Cost: $3 in addition to paid 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

The early settlers in the Carolina Backcountry fashioned a life from the fields and forests of the area, bringing them traditional skills and styles from their native lands. Explore the incredible...

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
Website »

More information

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

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

Share in the very special friendship between a spider, a pig, and many other farm animals in this beloved tale based on the novel by E.B. White.

Cost: $10-$15

Where:
Lincoln Theatre Guild
403 E. Main St.
Lincolnton, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-452-7830
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; closing dates are...

Cost: Free with paid 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

The N.C. Transportation Museum is transformed into a wonderland Thomas the Tank Engine fans will love. Take ride on Thomas or Percy (or both!), meet Sir Topham Hatt, and more. Purchasing tickets in...

Cost: $20+

Where:
North Carolina Transportation Museum
411 S. Salisbury Ave.
Spencer, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-636-2889
Website »

More information

This haunted trail located in Mooresville is open Thursday-Sunday throughout the month of October and is appropriate for ages 12 and older. 

Cost: $15 - $25 varies

Where:
Carrigan Farms, LLC
1213 Oak Ridge Farm Hwy
Enter at West Entrance
Mooresville, NC  28115
View map »


Telephone: 704-664-1450
Website »

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Inspire your patriotic pride as you learn about the victory that marked the turning point of the American Revolution. Original artifacts will draw you into the triumphs and tragedies of the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kings Mountain Historical Museum
100 E. Mountain St.
P.O. Box 552
Kings Mountain, NC  28086
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At this free, fun, family-focused event, First Alert, Lowe’s, and fire officials will host fire and CO safety activities. Firefighter hats for kids and activity worksheets will be provided,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Lowe's of Mooresville
509 River Highway
Mooresville, NC
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Sponsor: First Alert and Lowe's
Telephone: (704) 660-7177
Contact Name: Christie Hester
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Come explore how the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has reached out to those in crisis around the world—from providing food, medical supplies and shelter in the aftermath of major...

Cost: Free

Where:
Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
Charlotte, NC  28217
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Sponsor: Billy Graham Library
Telephone: 704-401-3256
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Throughout the year museum curators work behind the scenes to further our understanding of the natural and cultural history of our region. Visit with the curators and learn about current...

Cost: $6-$7

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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Discover the McDowell Nature Preserve with others in search of hidden treasure. This geocache program, for newbies and pros alike, will teach participants how to use a GPS and discover caches...

Cost: Free

Where:
McDowell Nature Center
15222 York Road
Charlotte, NC  28278
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Sponsor: McDowell Nature Center
Telephone: 704-588-5224
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Habitat and Wildlife Keepers, Great Outdoors University and the Town of Matthews will host Kids In Nature Day, a free family event. Bring the family and enjoy nature activities such as...

Cost: Free

Where:
Squirrel Lake Park-Matthews
1631 Pleasant Plains Road
Matthews, NC  28105
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Sponsor: HAWK
Telephone: 704-8411-640
Contact Name: Leslie Wieser
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Street Jam features free family-friendly activities, live DJs, workshops, and other international acts that represent hip hop culture. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Spirit Square
345 N. College St.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-348-5770
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This festival will feature children and adult author readings, family crafting activities, live drumming, live music, theatrical performances, an artists’ marketplace, books for sale,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Little Rock Cultural Center
401 N. Myers St.
Charlotte, NC
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Telephone: 704-906-0668
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Discover an assortment of Colonial skills and crafts from tinware to textiles, carving to cookery, music and more. Meet the artists & craftsmen as they demonstrate their unique trades.

Cost: $6-$7

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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The Animals Are Soul Too is a workshop for family, youth and friends of all ages. The workshop will explore God's creatures and the lessons they teach us. Also, discover how Souls of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Eckankar Center of Charlotte
818 Tyvola Road #105
Charlotte, NC  28217
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Sponsor: Eckankar of North Carolina
Telephone: 704-892-8753

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This free uptown street festival spotlights Latin American culture in Charlotte with food, music, folkloric dances, and more.

Cost: Free

Where:
Levine Museum of the New South
200 E. 7th St.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-333-1887
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This ice skating extravaganza presents characters from "Inside Out," "Frozen," "Finding Dory," and more. See website for showtimes.

Cost: $20+

Where:
Time Warner Cable Arena
333 E. Trade St
, NC
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Telephone: 800-745-3000
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Journey across the Solar System to explore the Sun and its family of planets, moons, comets and asteroids that define our place in space.  This exhibit features dynamic interpretive kiosks,...

Cost: $6-$7

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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  Pick a pumpkin, take a hayride, visit the petting zoo, and sample some fresh apple cider.

Cost: $10 per person

Where:
Carrigan Farms, LLC
1261 Oak Ridge Farm Hwy.
Mooresville, NC  28115
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Sponsor: Carrigan Farms, LLC
Telephone: 704-664-1450
Contact Name: Kelly Carrigan
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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
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Telephone: 704-873-7347
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This annual festival is full of attractions, entertainment, games and rides, live performances, jousting, authentic food such as turkey legs and fish and chips, shopping, and costumed cast...

Cost: $13+

Where:
16445 Poplar Tent Road
Huntersville , NC
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Telephone: 704-896-5555
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The Great Pumpkin Fest has family-friendly Halloween attractions for the little ghosts and goblins, including a costume parade, foam zone, mazes and more. 

Cost: See website for admission

Where:
Carowinds
14523 Carowinds Blvd
Charlotte, NC  28273
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Sponsor: Carowinds
Telephone: 704-588-2600
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Set in 1926, this fast-paced musical dinner show takes you to East Tennessee where the fun never ends. Sing along with fabulous old Southern classics and watch the gospel truths unfold through the...

Cost: $7-$35

Where:
NarroWay Productions
3327 Hwy 51
Fort Mill, SC  29715
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Sponsor: NarroWay Productions
Telephone: 803-802-2300
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Enjoy music and movies on the Green at Promenade on Providence, Fridays and Saturdays, 7-10 PM. Free fun for the whole family. Promenade on Providence is located at corner of Providence Road and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Promenade on Providence
Charlotte, NC


Sponsor: Promenade on Providence
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Carowinds is transformed from a “theme park” to a “scream park” at SCarowinds – the Carolinas' largest Halloween event. Experience the thrills on your favorite...

Cost: See website for prices

Where:
Carowinds
14523 Carowinds Blvd
Charlotte, NC  28273
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Telephone: 704-588-2600
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The international festival of hip hop showcases performances from artists all over the globe.

Cost: $20+

Where:
Levine Center for the Arts
550 S. Tryon St.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-372-1000
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Bank of America and Merrill Lynch cardholders can gain free access to participating museums in the Charlotte area, including The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, The Harvey B. Gantt Center, Levine...

Cost: Free for cardholders

Where:
Locations vary
, NC


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This showcase includes an array of selected jewelry alongside examples of more conventional artwork, celebrating the craftsmanship and creativity of artists who explore texture and color through...

Cost: $4-$8

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-353-9200
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This collection of twenty works in wood by artists John Mascoll and Avelino Samuel features the use of the lathe tool to create a unique art form.  Closed Mondays; open...

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture
551 S. Tryon St.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-547-3700
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Charlotte native and folk artist Nellie Ashford presents a collection of crafted-mixed media works that reflect real-life experiences of families, children, dancers, and musicians and the stories...

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture
551 S. Tryon St.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-547-3700
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This exhibition uses the work of one of the most renowned artistic quilt makers, Faith Ringgold, as an entry point to look backward at traditional African American quilts and forward to decorative...

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture
551 S. Tryon St.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-547-3700
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Join Friendly Frog and Cranky Toad as they  journey through the four seasons, celebrating the differences that make us friends with one another. See website for showtimes.

Cost: $12+

Where:
Children's Theatre of Charlotte
300 E. 7th St.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-973-2828
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A fury is building on the surface of the Sun--high velocity jets, a fiery tsunami wave that reaches 100,000 kilometers high, rising loops of electrified gas.  What's driving these strange...

Cost: $3 in addition to paid museum admission

Where:
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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Volcanoes tower 80,000 feet above the barren surface. Monstrous hurricanes rage for 400  years. And multicolored rings sit suspended in air. Travel through our solar system faster than...

Cost: $3 in addition to paid museum admission

Where:
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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Enjoy two great mini programs in the Science Theater. First, explore the constellations of summer in a seasonal stargazing tour of the night sky. Then, learn about modern unmanned lunar...

Cost: $3 in addition to paid museum admission

Where:
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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The early settlers in the Carolina Backcountry fashioned a life from the fields and forests of the area, bringing them traditional skills and styles from their native lands. Explore the incredible...

Cost: $6-$7

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

Cost: $6-$7

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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Share in the very special friendship between a spider, a pig, and many other farm animals in this beloved tale based on the novel by E.B. White.

Cost: $10-$15

Where:
Lincoln Theatre Guild
403 E. Main St.
Lincolnton, NC
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Telephone: 704-452-7830
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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
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Sponsor: The Schiele Museum of Natural History
Telephone: 704-866-6923
Contact Name: Philip McGinnis
Website »

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

Cost: Free with paid museum admission

Where:
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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The N.C. Transportation Museum is transformed into a wonderland Thomas the Tank Engine fans will love. Take ride on Thomas or Percy (or both!), meet Sir Topham Hatt, and more. Purchasing tickets in...

Cost: $20+

Where:
North Carolina Transportation Museum
411 S. Salisbury Ave.
Spencer, NC
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Telephone: 704-636-2889
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This haunted trail located in Mooresville is open Thursday-Sunday throughout the month of October and is appropriate for ages 12 and older. 

Cost: $15 - $25 varies

Where:
Carrigan Farms, LLC
1213 Oak Ridge Farm Hwy
Enter at West Entrance
Mooresville, NC  28115
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Telephone: 704-664-1450
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This unique dinosaur exhibit features more than 50 life-size animatronic dinosaurs, interactive dinosaur "digs," inflatable mazes, themed activities, and more. Sat., 9am-8pm; Sun.,...

Cost: $20+; kids under 2 free

Where:
The Park Expo and Conference Center
800 Briar Creek Road
, NC
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Telephone: 704-333-7709
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This comprehensive guide covers preschool, private, charter and public schools in Cabarrus, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Union and York counties.

GPS [Go. Play. See.]

Your guide to raising kids in the Queen City, plus our 2016 Readers' Favorites for places to play, explore and learn with the kids.