What Labor and Delivery Nurses Wish You Knew

The real lowdown from the pros.


Published:

Every first-time mom-to-be has similar questions: What do I bring to the hospital? Should I use a doula or midwife? What can I do to prepare for labor? How long will it take?

Advice from mothers, sisters, friends and complete strangers often is plentiful, but the real lowdown from the pros is the most helpful. We asked a labor-and-delivery nurse, a mother-baby nurse and a certified nurse midwife for advice. Here's what you should know before your bundle of joy arrives.
 

Take Classes

Childbirth-preparation classes are best taken at 30-32 weeks, because the weekly meetings give parents the opportunity to ask questions of labor-and-delivery nurses, as well as take questions back to their doctor if necessary.

"They give lots of information to prepare parents and help them make sound decisions," says HoYu Pan, a labor-and-delivery nurse at Duke Birthing Center in Durham. Depending on the location, the classes also may include a tour of the hospital facilities so new parents can see where they'll be admitted and where they'll stay. Some hospitals offer virtual tours so parents can learn about the admission process, making it will be easier for them when they arrive.

"A lot of women don't have a clue as to how (parenthood) might change them, and younger people aren't aware of how a baby is going to totally change their lives," says Deb O'Connell, a certified nurse midwife and owner of Carrboro Midwifery. "A parenting class is worth the money."
 

Make a Packing List

What do you bring with you? Your own pillow(s) might be at the top of your list. According to Dana Morris, a labor-and-delivery nurse at Forsyth Medical Center in Winston-Salem, people love their own pillows. Either the hospital pillows aren't fluffy enough, or there aren't enough of them.

Excited parents-to-be consistently remember the camera and/or video camera, but they rarely remember both. If you want the first-day handprints and footprints put in the baby book, remember to pack the book in your suitcase. Most hospitals have a first-day photograph service, so make sure you bring that first-photo outfit, too.

Finally, many moms think they need to bring diapers and formula with them, but hospitals have these supplies readily available.
 

Expect to See Many Faces

Be prepared to meet a number of medical personnel while you're at the hospital — during birth and after — including doctors, nurses and anesthesiologists. "There are people coming in and out of the room," says Erin Birkmeyer, a mother/baby nurse at Presbyterian Hospital in Charlotte. "Parents don't realize how many people are involved in the care of both mom and baby." After the delivery, and depending on the hospital, there may be one nurse for the mother and one for the baby, to make sure both are recovering and healthy. They'll check on you regularly for the first few hours.

Not sure you want to give birth in a hospital? Consider a midwife, either for a home birth or a delivery at a birthing center. "Midwives are the experts in low-risk deliveries," says O'Connell, advising women to educate themselves about their options. "We've been delivering babies for centuries. Most American first-time parents aren't aware of what is out there — hospitals, birth centers, home births — determine which is the most comfortable for you."
 

Ask Questions

Even if you're not planning a natural birth, O'Connell advises parents to interview their health care provider. "Don't be afraid to ask questions. 'How long have you been practicing? What is your rate of C-sections? Do you support natural childbirth? What's your epidural rate, and how experienced are your anesthesiologists at giving them?'"

If you're going to use a midwife, O'Connell suggests you find out if he or she is board certified. Know, too, there is a difference between a certified nurse midwife and a certified professional midwife. Also find out if doulas are allowed at the hospital.
 

Share Your Birth Plan

"If you come in with specific ideas of what you do or don't want during labor — whether it's specific music, a very quiet environment, or if you don't want to be asked if you want pain medicine — we'll read your plan and try to follow it as best as we can," says Morris.

But having a plan doesn't mean you have to stick to it. Every birth is different, and pain levels — and tolerances — vary. It's OK to decide in the middle of labor that you need to make a change to that labor plan. "Just because a mom's decided something initially doesn't mean she can't change her mind," says Morris. "If you can sit still long enough for anesthesia to do their work, you can get an epidural."

However, Pan cautions about getting an epidural too early because it can lead to a longer labor. "People don't realize an early epidural will affect fetus rotation and can extend labor and pushing time. The ideal time would be in the middle of the active stage of labor, around five or six centimeters (dilated). Walking around will help the baby rotate to the proper position and will shorten the second stage of labor."

Once you have an epidural, adds Pan, you're not able to leave the bed, so you can't help the baby rotate, which can lead to complications that could lead to a caesarean section.

Even in the hospital, you can have a midwife or doula with you if you want a natural birth but feel the need for the security of a hospital setting in case something goes wrong.
 

Be Patient — Birth Takes Time

"There are so many TV shows and reality shows about giving birth right now, and it's generally not as fast as it is on TV," says Morris. "(Moms aren't) prepared for the pushing process to take as long as it does. It can take two hours (of pushing) for a first baby."

Pan agrees and goes one step further. "Parents probably don't know that even an induction can be a two-day process. If the cervix isn't ready, mature, it's going to take two days."
 

Get Your Rest

Realize you're going to be tired. "The thing parents don't know at all is that after delivery they'll be up every two hours, even in the hospital, because of breastfeeding," says Pan. "The maximum you'll be able to sleep is three hours at a time."

Birkmeyer encourages Mom and Dad to rest while they can in the hospital. "New parents will have tons of visitors, but when you have so many, you never have time to rest, and (then) you're exhausted and going home. You're going to need a lot of help when you get home. If you have friends and family who can help out or cook a meal, take it."
 

Take Care of Yourself

Guard your health before and after the baby comes. "It usually takes two weeks for a mom to get back to normal, but it takes six weeks for a complete recovery," says Birkmeyer. So after about two weeks, you'll start feeling pretty good again, but your body is still recovering from labor for another month after that.

"A lot of (moms) are not aware of how important the first trimester, even pre-pregnancy, is," said O'Connell. Entering a pregnancy at a healthy weight can make a difference when it comes to hypertension and gestational diabetes. Prenatal vitamins are a must to help keep mom and baby healthy.
 

Welcome Breastfeeding Help

If you're breastfeeding, a lactation specialist will be available to help you while you're in the hospital. Usually you won't meet the lactation specialist until after delivery, but check with your labor-and-delivery nurse, as well. At Forsyth Medical Center, labor-and-delivery nurses are trained to help new moms with the initial feeding.

"The lactation consultant is available for your entire stay, and visits once a day," says Birkmeyer. "Sometimes at first it's kind of difficult. By the time you go home, we'll make sure you're comfortable with it and confident that you're doing it right."

Remember, you've never done this, and neither has your baby. Relax and enjoy this time, and don't be afraid to ask questions.

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May 2016

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The Shoppes at Davis Lake
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Cost: $7-$9

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Telephone: 704-547-3700
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Cost: Free with paid museum admission

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Telephone: 704-866-6923
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Levine Museum of the New South
200 E. 7th St.
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Telephone: 704-333-1887
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Through the month of May, various events around Charlotte will be held in conjunction with Keep America Beautiful, including "The Big Spring Clean" on Saturday, May 14. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Various locations
, NC


Website »

More information

Sweet Retreat, Novant Health’s first online nutritional program, will give participants a 10-day plan to cut all added sugar from their diets. The first round of the program began on May...

Cost: Free

Where:
Online
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Sponsor: Novant Health
Website »

More information

Enjoy an exhibition of digital images by artist J.J. L'Heureux featuring penguin populations and their homes on Antarctica and the sub Antarctic Islands of the Southern Ocean. The exhibit...

Cost: Free with admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

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

Where:
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6500 South New Hope Road
Belmont, NC  28012
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Website »

More information

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Cost: Free with paid museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

This interactive exhibit featuring Mr. Potato Head is designed for children ages 3-8 and teaches children school readiness and academic skills, such as mathematics, literacy, problem solving,...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-416-4600
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free.

Where:
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Telephone: 980-387-6075

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Cost: $8 for the public, $6 for museum members

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Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
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Telephone: 704-825-4490
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Cost: Standard admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
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Cost: $5-$8

Where:
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200 E. 7th St.
Charlotte, NC
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Telephone: 704-333-1887
Website »

More information

This exhibition of dazzling costumes, set pieces, and video excerpts celebrates an iconic company and its corps who defied prejudice, and gravity itself, in pursuit of their talent. In the process,...

Cost: $7-$9; children under 5 admitted free.

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


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

In this musical comedy, Wednesday Addams has grown up and fallen in love with a sweet man from a respectable family. When she shares the news with her father, she begs him to keep the secret from...

Cost: $12-$27

Where:
Theatre Charlotte
501 Queens Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

Created by photographer and activist-artist Sheila Pree Bright, 1960Now is a collection of images inspired by the Civil Rights Movement and the grassroots youth activists of the 1960s.

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

Enjoy an exhibition of digital images by artist J.J. L'Heureux featuring the Penguin populations and their homes on Antarctica and the sub Antarctic Islands of the Southern Ocean.  

Cost: Free with paid museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

In 2013, UNC Press published scholar and folklorist William Ferris' book "The Storied South: Voices of Writers and Artists," which features a compilation of more than a...

Cost: $5-$8; children under 5 are free

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


Telephone: 704-333-1887
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Through the month of May, various events around Charlotte will be held in conjunction with Keep America Beautiful, including "The Big Spring Clean" on Saturday, May 14. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Various locations
, NC


Website »

More information

Sweet Retreat, Novant Health’s first online nutritional program, will give participants a 10-day plan to cut all added sugar from their diets. The first round of the program began on May...

Cost: Free

Where:
Online
, NC


Sponsor: Novant Health
Website »

More information

Enjoy an exhibition of digital images by artist J.J. L'Heureux featuring penguin populations and their homes on Antarctica and the sub Antarctic Islands of the Southern Ocean. The exhibit...

Cost: Free with 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 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

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, hands-on...

Cost: Free with paid museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
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130 Motorplex Drive
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Sponsor: 600 Festival Association
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-416-4600
Website »

More information

See an item from each of the U.S. Presidents, including early 19th-century linen funeral banners of George and Martha Washington, along with an early 19th-century portrait...

Cost: Free.

Where:
Bank of America Heritage Center in Founder's Hall
100 N. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 980-387-6075

More information

"The House That Modernism Built" will present the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art's rich mid-20th-century art collection alongside furniture, textile and ceramic holdings on loan from...

Cost: $8 for the public, $6 for museum members

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »

More information

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Cost: $6

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Iredell Museums
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View map »


Telephone: 704-873-7347
Website »

More information

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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

Local and regional talent perform each week on Tuesdays and Fridays. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Romare Bearden Park
301 S. Mint St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Explore the surprising ways that Latinos are shaping the South and how the South is shaping Latinos. Museum hours: Mon.-Sat., 10am-5pm; Sun., Noon-5pm.

Cost: $5-$8

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


Telephone: 704-333-1887
Website »

More information

This exhibition of dazzling costumes, set pieces, and video excerpts celebrates an iconic company and its corps who defied prejudice, and gravity itself, in pursuit of their talent. In the process,...

Cost: $7-$9; children under 5 admitted free.

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


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

In this musical comedy, Wednesday Addams has grown up and fallen in love with a sweet man from a respectable family. When she shares the news with her father, she begs him to keep the secret from...

Cost: $12-$27

Where:
Theatre Charlotte
501 Queens Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

Created by photographer and activist-artist Sheila Pree Bright, 1960Now is a collection of images inspired by the Civil Rights Movement and the grassroots youth activists of the 1960s.

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

Enjoy an exhibition of digital images by artist J.J. L'Heureux featuring the Penguin populations and their homes on Antarctica and the sub Antarctic Islands of the Southern Ocean.  

Cost: Free with paid museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

In 2013, UNC Press published scholar and folklorist William Ferris' book "The Storied South: Voices of Writers and Artists," which features a compilation of more than a...

Cost: $5-$8; children under 5 are free

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


Telephone: 704-333-1887
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Through the month of May, various events around Charlotte will be held in conjunction with Keep America Beautiful, including "The Big Spring Clean" on Saturday, May 14. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Various locations
, NC


Website »

More information

Sweet Retreat, Novant Health’s first online nutritional program, will give participants a 10-day plan to cut all added sugar from their diets. The first round of the program began on May...

Cost: Free

Where:
Online
, NC


Sponsor: Novant Health
Website »

More information

Enjoy an exhibition of digital images by artist J.J. L'Heureux featuring penguin populations and their homes on Antarctica and the sub Antarctic Islands of the Southern Ocean. The exhibit...

Cost: Free with 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 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

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, hands-on...

Cost: Free with paid museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

This interactive exhibit featuring Mr. Potato Head is designed for children ages 3-8 and teaches children school readiness and academic skills, such as mathematics, literacy, problem solving,...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-416-4600
Website »

More information

See an item from each of the U.S. Presidents, including early 19th-century linen funeral banners of George and Martha Washington, along with an early 19th-century portrait...

Cost: Free.

Where:
Bank of America Heritage Center in Founder's Hall
100 N. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 980-387-6075

More information

"The House That Modernism Built" will present the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art's rich mid-20th-century art collection alongside furniture, textile and ceramic holdings on loan from...

Cost: $8 for the public, $6 for museum members

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »

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

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

Cost: $5

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


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

Explore the surprising ways that Latinos are shaping the South and how the South is shaping Latinos. Museum hours: Mon.-Sat., 10am-5pm; Sun., Noon-5pm.

Cost: $5-$8

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


Telephone: 704-333-1887
Website »

More information

This exhibition of dazzling costumes, set pieces, and video excerpts celebrates an iconic company and its corps who defied prejudice, and gravity itself, in pursuit of their talent. In the process,...

Cost: $7-$9; children under 5 admitted free.

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


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

Explore the natural world through arts and crafts! Each session will feature a different theme and will have a take home craft for each participant. Registration is required. 10:30am.

Cost: $1

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


Telephone: 704-588-5224
Website »

More information

In this musical comedy, Wednesday Addams has grown up and fallen in love with a sweet man from a respectable family. When she shares the news with her father, she begs him to keep the secret from...

Cost: $12-$27

Where:
Theatre Charlotte
501 Queens Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

Created by photographer and activist-artist Sheila Pree Bright, 1960Now is a collection of images inspired by the Civil Rights Movement and the grassroots youth activists of the 1960s.

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

Enjoy an exhibition of digital images by artist J.J. L'Heureux featuring the Penguin populations and their homes on Antarctica and the sub Antarctic Islands of the Southern Ocean.  

Cost: Free with paid museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

In 2013, UNC Press published scholar and folklorist William Ferris' book "The Storied South: Voices of Writers and Artists," which features a compilation of more than a...

Cost: $5-$8; children under 5 are free

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


Telephone: 704-333-1887
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Through the month of May, various events around Charlotte will be held in conjunction with Keep America Beautiful, including "The Big Spring Clean" on Saturday, May 14. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Various locations
, NC


Website »

More information

Enjoy an exhibition of digital images by artist J.J. L'Heureux featuring penguin populations and their homes on Antarctica and the sub Antarctic Islands of the Southern Ocean. The exhibit...

Cost: Free with 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 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

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, hands-on...

Cost: Free with paid museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Live musical entertainment, appearances by top NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers and celebrities, dynamic exhibits for all ages and an assembly of NASCAR show cars and simulators.

Cost: Free

Where:
Uptown Charlotte
, NC


Website »

More information

This interactive exhibit featuring Mr. Potato Head is designed for children ages 3-8 and teaches children school readiness and academic skills, such as mathematics, literacy, problem solving,...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-416-4600
Website »

More information

See an item from each of the U.S. Presidents, including early 19th-century linen funeral banners of George and Martha Washington, along with an early 19th-century portrait...

Cost: Free.

Where:
Bank of America Heritage Center in Founder's Hall
100 N. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 980-387-6075

More information

This storytime is filled with stories, songs and activities specifically designed for children with autism spectrum disorders, sensory integration issues or other developmental disabilities.

Cost: Free

Where:
West Boulevard Library
2157 West Blvd.
Charlotte, NC  28208
View map »


Telephone: 704-416-7400
Website »

More information

Moms and moms-to-be to come socialize, share community resources, and explore parenting tools. Infants and toddlers are welcome to attend. Snacks provided.

Cost: Free

Where:
316 Lillington Ave.
Charlotte, NC  28204


Telephone: 704-858-4445
Website »

More information

"The House That Modernism Built" will present the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art's rich mid-20th-century art collection alongside furniture, textile and ceramic holdings on loan from...

Cost: $8 for the public, $6 for museum members

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »

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

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

Explore the surprising ways that Latinos are shaping the South and how the South is shaping Latinos. Museum hours: Mon.-Sat., 10am-5pm; Sun., Noon-5pm.

Cost: $5-$8

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


Telephone: 704-333-1887
Website »

More information

This exhibition of dazzling costumes, set pieces, and video excerpts celebrates an iconic company and its corps who defied prejudice, and gravity itself, in pursuit of their talent. In the process,...

Cost: $7-$9; children under 5 admitted free.

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


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

In this musical comedy, Wednesday Addams has grown up and fallen in love with a sweet man from a respectable family. When she shares the news with her father, she begs him to keep the secret from...

Cost: $12-$27

Where:
Theatre Charlotte
501 Queens Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

Created by photographer and activist-artist Sheila Pree Bright, 1960Now is a collection of images inspired by the Civil Rights Movement and the grassroots youth activists of the 1960s.

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

Enjoy an exhibition of digital images by artist J.J. L'Heureux featuring the Penguin populations and their homes on Antarctica and the sub Antarctic Islands of the Southern Ocean.  

Cost: Free with paid museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

In 2013, UNC Press published scholar and folklorist William Ferris' book "The Storied South: Voices of Writers and Artists," which features a compilation of more than a...

Cost: $5-$8; children under 5 are free

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


Telephone: 704-333-1887
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Through the month of May, various events around Charlotte will be held in conjunction with Keep America Beautiful, including "The Big Spring Clean" on Saturday, May 14. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Various locations
, NC


Website »

More information

Enjoy an exhibition of digital images by artist J.J. L'Heureux featuring penguin populations and their homes on Antarctica and the sub Antarctic Islands of the Southern Ocean. The exhibit...

Cost: Free with 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 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

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, hands-on...

Cost: Free with paid museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Live musical entertainment, appearances by top NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers and celebrities, dynamic exhibits for all ages and an assembly of NASCAR show cars and simulators.

Cost: Free

Where:
Uptown Charlotte
, NC


Website »

More information

Celebrate the anniversary of the founding of the Mint Hill with delicious food, great music;, arts and crafts, a family carnival, an all-American parade, and fireworks show!

Cost: Free.

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


Sponsor: Mint Hill Events, Inc.
Telephone: 704-545-2335
Contact Name: Sheryl Smith
Website »

More information

Enjoy lawn games, live music, and beverages from Olde Mecklenburg Brewery.

Cost: Free

Where:
First Ward Park
East 7th St. and Brevard Street
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This month The House that Rocks brings the music of Prince, an American singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, and actor. Parking and admission is free. Food vendors will...

Cost: Free

Where:
Crossing Paths Park
120 Blythe Drive
Indian Trail, NC  28079
View map »


Telephone: 704-821-9572
Website »

More information

This interactive exhibit featuring Mr. Potato Head is designed for children ages 3-8 and teaches children school readiness and academic skills, such as mathematics, literacy, problem solving,...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-416-4600
Website »

More information

See an item from each of the U.S. Presidents, including early 19th-century linen funeral banners of George and Martha Washington, along with an early 19th-century portrait...

Cost: Free.

Where:
Bank of America Heritage Center in Founder's Hall
100 N. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 980-387-6075

More information

"The House That Modernism Built" will present the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art's rich mid-20th-century art collection alongside furniture, textile and ceramic holdings on loan from...

Cost: $8 for the public, $6 for museum members

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »

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

Local and regional talent perform each week on Tuesdays and Fridays. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Romare Bearden Park
301 S. Mint St.
, NC
View map »


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

Explore the surprising ways that Latinos are shaping the South and how the South is shaping Latinos. Museum hours: Mon.-Sat., 10am-5pm; Sun., Noon-5pm.

Cost: $5-$8

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


Telephone: 704-333-1887
Website »

More information

This exhibition of dazzling costumes, set pieces, and video excerpts celebrates an iconic company and its corps who defied prejudice, and gravity itself, in pursuit of their talent. In the process,...

Cost: $7-$9; children under 5 admitted free.

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


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

In this musical comedy, Wednesday Addams has grown up and fallen in love with a sweet man from a respectable family. When she shares the news with her father, she begs him to keep the secret from...

Cost: $12-$27

Where:
Theatre Charlotte
501 Queens Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

Created by photographer and activist-artist Sheila Pree Bright, 1960Now is a collection of images inspired by the Civil Rights Movement and the grassroots youth activists of the 1960s.

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

Enjoy an exhibition of digital images by artist J.J. L'Heureux featuring the Penguin populations and their homes on Antarctica and the sub Antarctic Islands of the Southern Ocean.  

Cost: Free with paid museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

In 2013, UNC Press published scholar and folklorist William Ferris' book "The Storied South: Voices of Writers and Artists," which features a compilation of more than a...

Cost: $5-$8; children under 5 are free

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


Telephone: 704-333-1887
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Run through Speed Street at the PNC Speed Street 5K and don't forget about the young runners. PNC Speed Street 5K's youngest fans can enjoy a 600-yard fun run starting at 8:45 a.m.

Cost: 5K: $25-$35, Kids 600 Yard Fun Run: $10-$15

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


Website »

More information

Through the month of May, various events around Charlotte will be held in conjunction with Keep America Beautiful, including "The Big Spring Clean" on Saturday, May 14. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Various locations
, NC


Website »

More information

Vendors at the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market will be passing out free unique hamburger recipes to celebrate.  

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-357-1269
Website »

More information

Enjoy an exhibition of digital images by artist J.J. L'Heureux featuring penguin populations and their homes on Antarctica and the sub Antarctic Islands of the Southern Ocean. The exhibit...

Cost: Free with admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

This 1-mile walk is sponsored by Trusted Parents, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing resources for families with special needs children.

Cost: Free

Where:
Queens University of Charlotte
1900 Selwyn Ave.
Charlotte, NC  28274
View map »


Website »

More information

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

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, hands-on...

Cost: Free with paid museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

A special film presentation for children with special needs. The movie is shown with lights up and sound down, and families can bring gluten-free, casein-free snacks. See website for locations.

Cost: $7-$10

Where:
AMC Theatres
, NC


Website »

More information

Join a naturalist for a walk around the Paw Paw Nature Trail and check out the diversity of the local  habitat.

Cost: $8; includes museum admission

Where:
Charlotte Nature Museum
1658 Sterling Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

Celebrate the anniversary of the founding of the Mint Hill with delicious food, great music;, arts and crafts, a family carnival, an all-American parade, and fireworks show!

Cost: Free.

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


Sponsor: Mint Hill Events, Inc.
Telephone: 704-545-2335
Contact Name: Sheryl Smith
Website »

More information

Live musical entertainment, appearances by top NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers and celebrities, dynamic exhibits for all ages and an assembly of NASCAR show cars and simulators.

Cost: Free

Where:
Uptown Charlotte
, NC


Website »

More information

Four different bands (Elonzo Wesley, The Coteries, Underhill Rose, and The Ben Miller Band) featuring a variety of eclectic music styles take the stage. Plus lawn games and beverages.

Cost: Free

Where:
First Ward Park
East 7th St. and Brevard Street
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Head out to the Grayson Skatepark in your favorite Turtle gear for the chance to take home TMNT promo items and advance screening passes while supplies last.

Cost: Free

Where:
Grayson Skatepark
750 Beal St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 980-314-1100
Website »

More information

Pre-movie activities begin at 7pm. Movies begin at 8:30pm or dusk. Food vendors will be on site.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

The Charlotte improvisational theatre troupe, the Chuckleheads, present the We Missed You Cornelius Comedy Improv Musical Variety Extravaganza. 6pm (for all ages) and 8pm (adult show).

Cost: $10/$15

Where:
Warehouse Performing Arts Center
9216-A Westmoreland Road
Cornelius, NC  28031
View map »


Telephone: 704-301-1564
Website »

More information

This interactive exhibit featuring Mr. Potato Head is designed for children ages 3-8 and teaches children school readiness and academic skills, such as mathematics, literacy, problem solving,...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-416-4600
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free with admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

See an item from each of the U.S. Presidents, including early 19th-century linen funeral banners of George and Martha Washington, along with an early 19th-century portrait...

Cost: Free.

Where:
Bank of America Heritage Center in Founder's Hall
100 N. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 980-387-6075

More information

"The House That Modernism Built" will present the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art's rich mid-20th-century art collection alongside furniture, textile and ceramic holdings on loan from...

Cost: $8 for the public, $6 for museum members

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »

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

Stop by the Trading Post today and talk "swap" with a Naturalist. Bring in a found natural object to earn points. Earn more points by learning all about your object! Exchange your points...

Cost: $8; includes museum admission

Where:
Charlotte Nature Museum
1658 Sterling Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $5 parking fee

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


Telephone: 704-391-3900
Website »

More information

Explore the surprising ways that Latinos are shaping the South and how the South is shaping Latinos. Museum hours: Mon.-Sat., 10am-5pm; Sun., Noon-5pm.

Cost: $5-$8

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


Telephone: 704-333-1887
Website »

More information

This exhibition of dazzling costumes, set pieces, and video excerpts celebrates an iconic company and its corps who defied prejudice, and gravity itself, in pursuit of their talent. In the process,...

Cost: $7-$9; children under 5 admitted free.

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


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

The weekend includes a film screening on Friday, a triathlon and live music on Saturday, and a trail race, other activities, and fireworks on Sunday evening. See website for times.

Cost: $5 for parking; cost for additional activities

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


Telephone: 704-391-3900
Website »

More information

In this musical comedy, Wednesday Addams has grown up and fallen in love with a sweet man from a respectable family. When she shares the news with her father, she begs him to keep the secret from...

Cost: $12-$27

Where:
Theatre Charlotte
501 Queens Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

This summer flight show features the native and exotic birds of the center in free flight. See website for times. 

Cost: $5

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


Telephone: 704-875-6521 ext. 107.

More information

Created by photographer and activist-artist Sheila Pree Bright, 1960Now is a collection of images inspired by the Civil Rights Movement and the grassroots youth activists of the 1960s.

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

Enjoy an exhibition of digital images by artist J.J. L'Heureux featuring the Penguin populations and their homes on Antarctica and the sub Antarctic Islands of the Southern Ocean.  

Cost: Free with paid museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

In 2013, UNC Press published scholar and folklorist William Ferris' book "The Storied South: Voices of Writers and Artists," which features a compilation of more than a...

Cost: $5-$8; children under 5 are free

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


Telephone: 704-333-1887
Website »

More information

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Education Guide

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.