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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Daily Calendar

December 2016

This private event is designed for children and young adults with special needs and their families to have the opportunity to visit with Santa and have photos taken. SouthPark has made...

Cost: Free; additional cost for photos

Where:
SouthPark Mall
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West Plaza Entrance
, NC
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This private event is designed for children and young adults with special needs and their families to have the opportunity to visit with Santa and have photos taken. Concord Mills has...

Cost: Free; additional cost for photos

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8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
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Cost: $3 per person in addition to museum admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
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Telephone: 704-866-6923
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James H. Planetarium and Science Theater presents: From the Earth to the Universe. The night sky, both beautiful and mysterious, has been the subject of campfire stories, ancient myths and awe...

Cost: $3 per person in addition to museum admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
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Telephone: 704-866-6923
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Take a photo with Santa and say hello to Rudolph. 

Cost: Free

Where:
The Charles Mack Citizen Center
215 N. Main St.
Mooresville , NC
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More than 60 local artists and craftsmen, holiday performances, food trucks, children's activities, and a a visit from Santa. 

Cost: Free

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Oak Street Mill
19725 Oak St.
Cornelius, NC
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Join costumed characters from Gaston Theatre Dance's cast of "The Nutcracker" for treats and autographs. Call to reserve your ticket by Dec. 1.

Where:
Gaston Day School
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Telephone: 704-865-5943
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Blue Blaze Brewing
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Telephone: 910-625-9997
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Cost: Free

Where:
McDowell Nature Center
15222 York Road
Charlotte, NC  28278
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Telephone: 704-588-5224
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At 2pm, shop for memorable gifts from some of Charlotte's top boutiques. At 3pm, sample tea in the living room with tea sandwiches, canapes, scones, and sweets. Stroll the public areas and...

Cost: $35 per adult; $15 per child ages 5 to 12

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The Duke Mansion
400 Hermitage Road
Charlotte, NC  28207
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Telephone: 704-714-4453
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Candy canes and gingerbread waltzes—and more than a hint of danger! A fairy tale comes to life in this beloved children’s opera by German composer Engelbert Humperdinck. After getting...

Cost: $10 Adults, Children Free

Where:
Epworth United Methodist Church
1030 Burrage Road NE
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The Charlotte Youth Ballet presents "The Nutcracker" with more than 100 performers, snow, laughter and surprises for the entire family. Fri., 7pm; Sat., 2pm and 7pm; and Sun.,...

Cost: $15+

Where:
Halton Theater
1206 Elizabeth Ave.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-330-6840
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Celebrate the holidays at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, complete with reindeer, elves, and a giant polar bear, and a 33-foot tree with twinkling lights. It will snow in the Plaza twice an hour on the...

Cost: $13-$20

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame
400 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
, NC
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Telephone: 888-902-6463
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Visit the open-air ice skating rink located across from Fountain Park. See website for operating hours.

Cost: $10 skate rental

Where:
Founders Holiday Ice Rink
205 Saluda St.
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View map »


Website »

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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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More information

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Cost: $12.95- $19.95

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NASCAR Hall of Fame
400 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
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Telephone: 704-654-4400
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The 18-piece display of animatronic bears performs classic holiday songs. 

Cost: Free

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Founders Hall
100 N. Tryon St.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-716-8649
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Visit with Santa and then stay for the annual Jingle Bell Parade through downtown Rock Hill. Parade begins at 3pm. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Rock Hill
135 E. Main St.
Rock Hill, SC
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James H. Lynn Planetarium and Science Theater presents: Winter Sky Shows on Sat. and Sun. at 4pm. Explore two fascinating topics in one science theater program. First, explore the constellations of...

Cost: $3 per person in addition to museum admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
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Telephone: 704-866-6923
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The Kannapolis Intimidators will host nightly laser shows that feature local vendors, concessions, and visits with Santa. Gates will open at 5pm. 

Cost: $4-$5

Where:
Intimidators Stadium
2888 Moose Road
Kannpolis , NC
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Telephone: 704-932-3267
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115,000 lights set to music in the streets of downtown each night. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Mooresville
413 N. Main St.
Mooresville , NC
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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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Cost: $4-$8

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

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Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture
551 S. Tryon St.
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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.
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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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Organized and toured by Studio Art Quilt Associates, this exhibition features 38 art quilts created by textile artists from around the world. These stunningly vivid and masterfully crafted quilts...

Cost: Adults-$8, Seniors-$7, Youth-$5, CHM members and children 3 and under FREE

Where:
The Museums of York County
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
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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
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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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Matthews Ballet and Dance present a special performance of this classic holiday show. Purchase tickets at Matthews Community Center. Space is limited. Sat., 7pm; Sun., 3pm.

Cost: $3-$5

Where:
Matthews Community Center
100 McDowell St.
Matthews, NC
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Telephone: 704-321-7275
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When the worst kids in the history of the world find out there are free snacks at Sunday School, they take it upon themselves to audition for the annual Christmas pageant. Will a group of kids who...

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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It's the Nutcracker re-imagined with all new sets and costumes, plus live music performed by the Charlotte Symphony. See website for showtimes. 

Cost: $40+

Where:
Belk Theater
130 N. Tryon St.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-372-0101
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Don't miss the dazzling lights of the garden, complete with sparkling fountains and botanical-themed displays. There will be opportunities for visits with Santa, holiday crafts, a model...

Cost: $9-$15

Where:
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
6500 S. New Hope Road
Belmont, NC
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Telephone: 704-825-4490
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More than 3,000,000 lights on the Speedway and lights to drive through along a 3.5-mile course. The event also includes a Christmas Village with a petting zoo, Bethlehem Village, carriage rides,...

Cost: $25-$30 per car when village is open; $20 per car when village is closed

Where:
Charlotte Motor Speedway
5555 Concord Mills Pkwy. South
Concord, NC
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Telephone: 800-455-3267
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Take a drive through the park and view more than 3 million lights set to music. Visit with Santa, take a pony ride, pet animals, and roast marshmallows over a fire. Mon.-Thur., 6-9pm; Fri.-Sun.,...

Cost: $6 per person

Where:
Zootastic Park
448 Pilch Road
Troutman , NC
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Telephone: 704-245-6446
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Skate on more than 7,000 square feet of ice in the heart of the city. 

Cost: $10 admission; $3 skate rental

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame
400 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
, NC
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This exhibit is the first major museum exhibition to focus on the groundbreaking women artists affiliated with the Abstract Expressionist movement during the years of 1945-1960. It will feature...

Cost: $6-$12

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-337-2000
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Join the cast and crew of JSTAGE as they preform live Disney's Beauty and the Beast.  In this live-action re-imagining of the fairy tale, a young woman takes her father's place as...

Cost: $12/advance $15/at door

Where:
Levine Jewish Community Center
5007 Providence Road
, NC  28226
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This annual festival has local arts and crafts vendors, food and beverage tastings, a holiday ice rink, Santa appearances, a live nativity, performances, gingerbread house contest, and much...

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Historic Downtown Rock Hill
Rock Hill, SC


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This uptown holiday event is designed is presented as a German-inspired Christmas Market and includes traditional German foods and treats, homemade crafts and gifts, and other featured...

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Romare Bearden Park
300 S. Church St.
, NC
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Visit with Santa at the fire department, hear a story by Mrs. Claus, watch holiday performances by local musical, dance, and singing groups, skate on an ice rink. There will also be food trucks and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Huntersville
105 Gilead Road
Huntersville, NC
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The Herdmans are a sneaky family who love to cause trouble wherever they go. So no none is prepared when they decide to take over the annual Christmas pageant. Will they ruin it or will it...

Cost: $11-$13

Where:
Fullwood Theater
100 McDowell Street East
Matthews, NC
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Telephone: 704-846-8343
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The Flats and Sharps are on their way to a Christmas Eve concert when a snowstorm causes them to stop in a diner to wait out the storm. At the diner, the singers, Ellie, the crusty waitress,...

Cost: $12-$20

Where:
Armour Street Theatre
307 Armour St.
Davidson, NC
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Telephone: 704-892-7953
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This classic holiday tale shares the story of hard-hearted Ebenezer Scrooge who his visited by the ghost of his late partner, Jacob Marley, and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future....

Cost: $27

Where:
The Eloise Macdonald Playhouse
501 Queens Road
, NC
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Telephone: 704-376-3777
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A full-scale production of the classic holiday story. Fri., 7:30pm; Sat., 1pm and 7:30pm; Sun., 3pm. 

Cost: $7-$16

Where:
Gaston Day School
2001 Gaston Day School Road
Gastonia , NC
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Experience life in 13th-century Mongolia in this exhibition that showcases the life of ruler Genghis Khan. The collection features more than 200 artifacts and relics such as gold jewelry,...

Cost: $13-$17

Where:
Discovery Place Science
301 N. Tryon St.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-372-6261
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The City Youth Ballet presents professional choreography along with elaborate costumes and sets in this Tchaikovsky classic. Witness the battle between marching toy soldiers and...

Cost: $10 for Adults; $8 for children

Where:
Stanly County Agri-Civic Center
26032 Newt Road
Albemarle, NC  28001
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Telephone: 704-550-1574
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Ride the Rotary Express through more than 250,000 twinkling lights. Enjoy singing bears, model trains, s'mores, and hot cocoa. Closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. 

Cost: $2

Where:
Village Park
700 West C. St.
Kannapolis, NC
View map »


Website »

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Trilobites lived, thrived and became extinct millions of years before the age of dinosaurs.  See more than 200 specimens of these creatures from long ago covering five geological periods that...

Cost: $9-$10

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
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Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

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Stop by to visit with Santa and take a photo.

Where:
Cotswold Village
282 S. Sharon Amity Road
, NC
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Celebrate National Bathtub Day with a family storytime at 10:30am and plenty of literacy activities and make and takes throughout the day. 

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-416-4600
Website »

More information

Now showing in the James H. Lynn Planetarium and Science Theater-Season of Light for December only. Enjoy the new SciDome XD version of our traditional holiday program during "the coldest...

Cost: $3 per person in addition to museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

James H. Planetarium and Science Theater presents: From the Earth to the Universe. The night sky, both beautiful and mysterious, has been the subject of campfire stories, ancient myths and awe...

Cost: $3 per person in addition to museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Tuck your little one in a stroller and join one of the educators for an easy walk along our paved nature trail. Relax, chat, and experience what nature has to offer this month in a casual,...

Cost: Free

Where:
McDowell Nature Center
15222 York Road
Charlotte, NC  27278
View map »


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

More information

Celebrate the holidays at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, complete with reindeer, elves, and a giant polar bear, and a 33-foot tree with twinkling lights. It will snow in the Plaza twice an hour on the...

Cost: $13-$20

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


Telephone: 888-902-6463
Website »

More information

Visit the open-air ice skating rink located across from Fountain Park. See website for operating hours.

Cost: $10 skate rental

Where:
Founders Holiday Ice Rink
205 Saluda St.
Rock Hill, SC
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,...

Cost: $6-$7

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

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

More information

Some NASCAR drivers race to live, but Tony Stewart lives to race. The 2016 season marked the end of Stewart’s memorable career as a NASCAR driver. During his NASCAR premier series career, he...

Cost: $12.95- $19.95

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame
400 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-654-4400
Website »

More information

The 18-piece display of animatronic bears performs classic holiday songs. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Founders Hall
100 N. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-716-8649
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

This weekly drop-in program with different themes each week is designed for children in grades K-5.

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-868-2164
Website »

More information

Celebrate the Christmas season with fun family activities at the Billy Graham Library. Enjoy the light displays and Christ-centered festivities with families from across the Southeast who have made...

Cost: Free; additional cost for some activities

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


Telephone: 704-401-3200
Website »

More information

115,000 lights set to music in the streets of downtown each night. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Mooresville
413 N. Main St.
Mooresville , NC
View map »


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

Organized and toured by Studio Art Quilt Associates, this exhibition features 38 art quilts created by textile artists from around the world. These stunningly vivid and masterfully crafted quilts...

Cost: Adults-$8, Seniors-$7, Youth-$5, CHM members and children 3 and under FREE

Where:
The Museums of York County
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
Rock Hill, SC  29732
View map »


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

It's the Nutcracker re-imagined with all new sets and costumes, plus live music performed by the Charlotte Symphony. See website for showtimes. 

Cost: $40+

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


Telephone: 704-372-0101
Website »

More information

Don't miss the dazzling lights of the garden, complete with sparkling fountains and botanical-themed displays. There will be opportunities for visits with Santa, holiday crafts, a model...

Cost: $9-$15

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


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

Take a drive through the park and view more than 3 million lights set to music. Visit with Santa, take a pony ride, pet animals, and roast marshmallows over a fire. Mon.-Thur., 6-9pm; Fri.-Sun.,...

Cost: $6 per person

Where:
Zootastic Park
448 Pilch Road
Troutman , NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-245-6446
Website »

More information

Skate on more than 7,000 square feet of ice in the heart of the city. 

Cost: $10 admission; $3 skate rental

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


Website »

More information

Experience life in 13th-century Mongolia in this exhibition that showcases the life of ruler Genghis Khan. The collection features more than 200 artifacts and relics such as gold jewelry,...

Cost: $13-$17

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

Ride the Rotary Express through more than 250,000 twinkling lights. Enjoy singing bears, model trains, s'mores, and hot cocoa. Closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. 

Cost: $2

Where:
Village Park
700 West C. St.
Kannapolis, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Trilobites lived, thrived and became extinct millions of years before the age of dinosaurs.  See more than 200 specimens of these creatures from long ago covering five geological periods that...

Cost: $9-$10

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Now showing in the James H. Lynn Planetarium and Science Theater-Season of Light for December only. Enjoy the new SciDome XD version of our traditional holiday program during "the coldest...

Cost: $3 per person in addition to museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

James H. Planetarium and Science Theater presents: From the Earth to the Universe. The night sky, both beautiful and mysterious, has been the subject of campfire stories, ancient myths and awe...

Cost: $3 per person in addition to museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Learn through play at Tinkergarten, which shares educational frameworks like Montessori, Waldorf and Reggio Emilia. The expert-designed curriculum adapts to region and season, is age...

Cost: Free

Where:
Freedom Park - Demonstration Garden
2435 Cumberland Ave.
Charlotte, NC  28209
View map »


Website »

More information

Dive into a variety of STEM-related activities with math puzzles, science experiments, and engineering projects. Compete with other teens in a LEGO build-off. 

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-416-7400
Website »

More information

Learn about the seven principles of Kwanzaa, along with the history of the holiday. 

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-416-3021
Website »

More information

Celebrate the holidays at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, complete with reindeer, elves, and a giant polar bear, and a 33-foot tree with twinkling lights. It will snow in the Plaza twice an hour on the...

Cost: $13-$20

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


Telephone: 888-902-6463
Website »

More information

Visit the open-air ice skating rink located across from Fountain Park. See website for operating hours.

Cost: $10 skate rental

Where:
Founders Holiday Ice Rink
205 Saluda St.
Rock Hill, SC
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,...

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

This annually recurring exhibit fills the museum with model train displays assembled by the Piedmont “S” Gaugers, as well as railroad memorabilia, and antique toys and games. Visitors...

Cost: Free

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

More information

Some NASCAR drivers race to live, but Tony Stewart lives to race. The 2016 season marked the end of Stewart’s memorable career as a NASCAR driver. During his NASCAR premier series career, he...

Cost: $12.95- $19.95

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame
400 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-654-4400
Website »

More information

The 18-piece display of animatronic bears performs classic holiday songs. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Founders Hall
100 N. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-716-8649
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

Celebrate the Christmas season with fun family activities at the Billy Graham Library. Enjoy the light displays and Christ-centered festivities with families from across the Southeast who have made...

Cost: Free; additional cost for some activities

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


Telephone: 704-401-3200
Website »

More information

115,000 lights set to music in the streets of downtown each night. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Mooresville
413 N. Main St.
Mooresville , NC
View map »


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

Organized and toured by Studio Art Quilt Associates, this exhibition features 38 art quilts created by textile artists from around the world. These stunningly vivid and masterfully crafted quilts...

Cost: Adults-$8, Seniors-$7, Youth-$5, CHM members and children 3 and under FREE

Where:
The Museums of York County
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
Rock Hill, SC  29732
View map »


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

It's the Nutcracker re-imagined with all new sets and costumes, plus live music performed by the Charlotte Symphony. See website for showtimes. 

Cost: $40+

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


Telephone: 704-372-0101
Website »

More information

Don't miss the dazzling lights of the garden, complete with sparkling fountains and botanical-themed displays. There will be opportunities for visits with Santa, holiday crafts, a model...

Cost: $9-$15

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


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

Take a drive through the park and view more than 3 million lights set to music. Visit with Santa, take a pony ride, pet animals, and roast marshmallows over a fire. Mon.-Thur., 6-9pm; Fri.-Sun.,...

Cost: $6 per person

Where:
Zootastic Park
448 Pilch Road
Troutman , NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-245-6446
Website »

More information

Skate on more than 7,000 square feet of ice in the heart of the city. 

Cost: $10 admission; $3 skate rental

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


Website »

More information

This uptown holiday event is designed is presented as a German-inspired Christmas Market and includes traditional German foods and treats, homemade crafts and gifts, and other featured...

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Romare Bearden Park
300 S. Church St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This classic holiday tale shares the story of hard-hearted Ebenezer Scrooge who his visited by the ghost of his late partner, Jacob Marley, and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future....

Cost: $27

Where:
The Eloise Macdonald Playhouse
501 Queens Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-376-3777
Website »

More information

Experience life in 13th-century Mongolia in this exhibition that showcases the life of ruler Genghis Khan. The collection features more than 200 artifacts and relics such as gold jewelry,...

Cost: $13-$17

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

Ride the Rotary Express through more than 250,000 twinkling lights. Enjoy singing bears, model trains, s'mores, and hot cocoa. Closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. 

Cost: $2

Where:
Village Park
700 West C. St.
Kannapolis, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Trilobites lived, thrived and became extinct millions of years before the age of dinosaurs.  See more than 200 specimens of these creatures from long ago covering five geological periods that...

Cost: $9-$10

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Now showing in the James H. Lynn Planetarium and Science Theater-Season of Light for December only. Enjoy the new SciDome XD version of our traditional holiday program during "the coldest...

Cost: $3 per person in addition to museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

James H. Planetarium and Science Theater presents: From the Earth to the Universe. The night sky, both beautiful and mysterious, has been the subject of campfire stories, ancient myths and awe...

Cost: $3 per person in addition to museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Learn about native North Carolina evergreen trees while you and your preschooler handcraft one of your own using a pinecone. Registration and parent participation required.

Cost: $3

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


Telephone: 704-588-5224
Website »

More information

Santa will stop by the library to read a story and take photos with the little ones, so don't forget your camera. You can also make a holiday ornament to take home.

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-664-2927
Website »

More information

Kids can create their own Christmas ornament on the enclosed patio. No pre-registration is required. This craft is recommended for children ages 4 and up.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Experience Abstract Expressionist works of art in this special exhibition through sketching. Learn and refine methods and strategies to sketch in the galleries and interpret works of art. All skill...

Cost: $12; Mint members save 25 percent.

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-337-2100
Website »

More information

Celebrate the holidays at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, complete with reindeer, elves, and a giant polar bear, and a 33-foot tree with twinkling lights. It will snow in the Plaza twice an hour on the...

Cost: $13-$20

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


Telephone: 888-902-6463
Website »

More information

Visit the open-air ice skating rink located across from Fountain Park. See website for operating hours.

Cost: $10 skate rental

Where:
Founders Holiday Ice Rink
205 Saluda St.
Rock Hill, SC
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,...

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

This liquidation sale will feature over 7,000 items! Prices will be 50 percent off the Charlotte Warehouse Sale prices, which are already 65-90 percent off their original retail prices!...

Cost: Free admission

Where:
The Shoppes at Davis Lake
8505 Davis Lake Pkwy.
, NC  28269
View map »


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

This annually recurring exhibit fills the museum with model train displays assembled by the Piedmont “S” Gaugers, as well as railroad memorabilia, and antique toys and games. Visitors...

Cost: Free

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

More information

Some NASCAR drivers race to live, but Tony Stewart lives to race. The 2016 season marked the end of Stewart’s memorable career as a NASCAR driver. During his NASCAR premier series career, he...

Cost: $12.95- $19.95

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame
400 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-654-4400
Website »

More information

The 18-piece display of animatronic bears performs classic holiday songs. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Founders Hall
100 N. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-716-8649
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

Celebrate the Christmas season with fun family activities at the Billy Graham Library. Enjoy the light displays and Christ-centered festivities with families from across the Southeast who have made...

Cost: Free; additional cost for some activities

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


Telephone: 704-401-3200
Website »

More information

115,000 lights set to music in the streets of downtown each night. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Mooresville
413 N. Main St.
Mooresville , NC
View map »


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

Organized and toured by Studio Art Quilt Associates, this exhibition features 38 art quilts created by textile artists from around the world. These stunningly vivid and masterfully crafted quilts...

Cost: Adults-$8, Seniors-$7, Youth-$5, CHM members and children 3 and under FREE

Where:
The Museums of York County
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
Rock Hill, SC  29732
View map »


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

It's the Nutcracker re-imagined with all new sets and costumes, plus live music performed by the Charlotte Symphony. See website for showtimes. 

Cost: $40+

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


Telephone: 704-372-0101
Website »

More information

Don't miss the dazzling lights of the garden, complete with sparkling fountains and botanical-themed displays. There will be opportunities for visits with Santa, holiday crafts, a model...

Cost: $9-$15

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


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

Take a drive through the park and view more than 3 million lights set to music. Visit with Santa, take a pony ride, pet animals, and roast marshmallows over a fire. Mon.-Thur., 6-9pm; Fri.-Sun.,...

Cost: $6 per person

Where:
Zootastic Park
448 Pilch Road
Troutman , NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-245-6446
Website »

More information

Skate on more than 7,000 square feet of ice in the heart of the city. 

Cost: $10 admission; $3 skate rental

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


Website »

More information

This exhibit is the first major museum exhibition to focus on the groundbreaking women artists affiliated with the Abstract Expressionist movement during the years of 1945-1960. It will feature...

Cost: $6-$12

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

This uptown holiday event is designed is presented as a German-inspired Christmas Market and includes traditional German foods and treats, homemade crafts and gifts, and other featured...

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Romare Bearden Park
300 S. Church St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This classic holiday tale shares the story of hard-hearted Ebenezer Scrooge who his visited by the ghost of his late partner, Jacob Marley, and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future....

Cost: $27

Where:
The Eloise Macdonald Playhouse
501 Queens Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-376-3777
Website »

More information

Experience life in 13th-century Mongolia in this exhibition that showcases the life of ruler Genghis Khan. The collection features more than 200 artifacts and relics such as gold jewelry,...

Cost: $13-$17

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

Ride the Rotary Express through more than 250,000 twinkling lights. Enjoy singing bears, model trains, s'mores, and hot cocoa. Closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. 

Cost: $2

Where:
Village Park
700 West C. St.
Kannapolis, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Trilobites lived, thrived and became extinct millions of years before the age of dinosaurs.  See more than 200 specimens of these creatures from long ago covering five geological periods that...

Cost: $9-$10

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Ice skate with your favorite characters and visit with Santa at events at the shopping center. Kids can skate with Rudolph Dec. 9 and 10 from 6-8pm; skate with a princess Dec. 10 from...

Cost: $5 skate rental

Where:
Afton Ridge
6230 Bayfield Parkway
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Each Wednesday, two people can skate for the price of one at the rink. See website for operating hours. 

Cost: $10

Where:
Founders Holiday Ice Rink
205 Saluda St.
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Now showing in the James H. Lynn Planetarium and Science Theater-Season of Light for December only. Enjoy the new SciDome XD version of our traditional holiday program during "the coldest...

Cost: $3 per person in addition to museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

James H. Planetarium and Science Theater presents: From the Earth to the Universe. The night sky, both beautiful and mysterious, has been the subject of campfire stories, ancient myths and awe...

Cost: $3 per person in addition to museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Stories, songs and creative movement activities in this special storytime in the park. 

Cost: Free

Where:
First Ward Park
301 E. 7th St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-416-4630
Website »

More information

Celebrate the holidays at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, complete with reindeer, elves, and a giant polar bear, and a 33-foot tree with twinkling lights. It will snow in the Plaza twice an hour on the...

Cost: $13-$20

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


Telephone: 888-902-6463
Website »

More information

Visit the open-air ice skating rink located across from Fountain Park. See website for operating hours.

Cost: $10 skate rental

Where:
Founders Holiday Ice Rink
205 Saluda St.
Rock Hill, SC
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,...

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

View gingerbread creations by both amateurs and professionals. Vote on your favorites for $1 each; all donations benefit Levine Children's Hospital. Santa Claus will make periodic visits. 

Cost: Free

Where:
The Ballantyne Hotel
10000 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-248-4055
Website »

More information

This liquidation sale will feature over 7,000 items! Prices will be 50 percent off the Charlotte Warehouse Sale prices, which are already 65-90 percent off their original retail prices!...

Cost: Free admission

Where:
The Shoppes at Davis Lake
8505 Davis Lake Pkwy.
, NC  28269
View map »


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

This annually recurring exhibit fills the museum with model train displays assembled by the Piedmont “S” Gaugers, as well as railroad memorabilia, and antique toys and games. Visitors...

Cost: Free

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

More information

Some NASCAR drivers race to live, but Tony Stewart lives to race. The 2016 season marked the end of Stewart’s memorable career as a NASCAR driver. During his NASCAR premier series career, he...

Cost: $12.95- $19.95

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame
400 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-654-4400
Website »

More information

The 18-piece display of animatronic bears performs classic holiday songs. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Founders Hall
100 N. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-716-8649
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

Play in the new Nature Playground and read a nature-based book with one of the staff. With the help of feathers and other props to help tell the story, young children will have a great...

Cost: $8; free for children 3 and under

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


Telephone: 704-875-6521
Website »

More information

Celebrate the Christmas season with fun family activities at the Billy Graham Library. Enjoy the light displays and Christ-centered festivities with families from across the Southeast who have made...

Cost: Free; additional cost for some activities

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


Telephone: 704-401-3200
Website »

More information

115,000 lights set to music in the streets of downtown each night. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Mooresville
413 N. Main St.
Mooresville , NC
View map »


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

Organized and toured by Studio Art Quilt Associates, this exhibition features 38 art quilts created by textile artists from around the world. These stunningly vivid and masterfully crafted quilts...

Cost: Adults-$8, Seniors-$7, Youth-$5, CHM members and children 3 and under FREE

Where:
The Museums of York County
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
Rock Hill, SC  29732
View map »


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

It's the Nutcracker re-imagined with all new sets and costumes, plus live music performed by the Charlotte Symphony. See website for showtimes. 

Cost: $40+

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


Telephone: 704-372-0101
Website »

More information

Don't miss the dazzling lights of the garden, complete with sparkling fountains and botanical-themed displays. There will be opportunities for visits with Santa, holiday crafts, a model...

Cost: $9-$15

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


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

More than 3,000,000 lights on the Speedway and lights to drive through along a 3.5-mile course. The event also includes a Christmas Village with a petting zoo, Bethlehem Village, carriage rides,...

Cost: $25-$30 per car when village is open; $20 per car when village is closed

Where:
Charlotte Motor Speedway
5555 Concord Mills Pkwy. South
Concord, NC
View map »


Telephone: 800-455-3267
Website »

More information

Take a drive through the park and view more than 3 million lights set to music. Visit with Santa, take a pony ride, pet animals, and roast marshmallows over a fire. Mon.-Thur., 6-9pm; Fri.-Sun.,...

Cost: $6 per person

Where:
Zootastic Park
448 Pilch Road
Troutman , NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-245-6446
Website »

More information

Skate on more than 7,000 square feet of ice in the heart of the city. 

Cost: $10 admission; $3 skate rental

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


Website »

More information

This exhibit is the first major museum exhibition to focus on the groundbreaking women artists affiliated with the Abstract Expressionist movement during the years of 1945-1960. It will feature...

Cost: $6-$12

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

This uptown holiday event is designed is presented as a German-inspired Christmas Market and includes traditional German foods and treats, homemade crafts and gifts, and other featured...

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Romare Bearden Park
300 S. Church St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This performance designed for children ages 0 to 3 years and their caregivers illustrates how some of life's greatest gifts can come in the smallest packages. See website for showtimes. 

Cost: $10

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


Telephone: 704-973-2828
Website »

More information

The Flats and Sharps are on their way to a Christmas Eve concert when a snowstorm causes them to stop in a diner to wait out the storm. At the diner, the singers, Ellie, the crusty waitress,...

Cost: $12-$20

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


Telephone: 704-892-7953
Website »

More information

This classic holiday tale shares the story of hard-hearted Ebenezer Scrooge who his visited by the ghost of his late partner, Jacob Marley, and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future....

Cost: $27

Where:
The Eloise Macdonald Playhouse
501 Queens Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-376-3777
Website »

More information

Experience life in 13th-century Mongolia in this exhibition that showcases the life of ruler Genghis Khan. The collection features more than 200 artifacts and relics such as gold jewelry,...

Cost: $13-$17

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

Ride the Rotary Express through more than 250,000 twinkling lights. Enjoy singing bears, model trains, s'mores, and hot cocoa. Closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. 

Cost: $2

Where:
Village Park
700 West C. St.
Kannapolis, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Trilobites lived, thrived and became extinct millions of years before the age of dinosaurs.  See more than 200 specimens of these creatures from long ago covering five geological periods that...

Cost: $9-$10

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Ice skate with your favorite characters and visit with Santa at events at the shopping center. Kids can skate with Rudolph Dec. 9 and 10 from 6-8pm; skate with a princess Dec. 10 from...

Cost: $5 skate rental

Where:
Afton Ridge
6230 Bayfield Parkway
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Phillips Place will transform into a 3D light show on select nights in December. Goodie bags for the first 300 children to each show, complimentary hot chocolate, snow, and special visits from...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Hampton Inn and Suites SouthPark at Phillips Place
6800 Phillips Place Court
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Now showing in the James H. Lynn Planetarium and Science Theater-Season of Light for December only. Enjoy the new SciDome XD version of our traditional holiday program during "the coldest...

Cost: $3 per person in addition to museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

James H. Planetarium and Science Theater presents: From the Earth to the Universe. The night sky, both beautiful and mysterious, has been the subject of campfire stories, ancient myths and awe...

Cost: $3 per person in addition to museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Drop by and pick up the 2017 team schedule, meet the coaches for autographs and pictures, shop for merchandise, enjoy food and beverages, and visit with Santa.  

Cost: Free

Where:
Sims Legion Park
1001 N. Marietta St.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Participants will receive the "Nature's Relationships" guide to aid in exploring the woods in search of local flora and fauna. This hike will cover our new Track Trails program, which...

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

Support local businesses and pick up some gifts at the Belmont Christmas Village.

Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Belmont
115 N Main St.
Belmont, NC  28012
View map »


Website »

More information

Dress up as your favorite Harry Potter character for dancing, music, giveaways, and activities. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes and Noble
Various locations around Charlotte
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This holiday performance features a tapestry of music presented in a contemporary style. 

Cost: $18+

Where:
McGlohon Theater Spirit Square
345 N. College St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

Celebrate the holidays at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, complete with reindeer, elves, and a giant polar bear, and a 33-foot tree with twinkling lights. It will snow in the Plaza twice an hour on the...

Cost: $13-$20

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


Telephone: 888-902-6463
Website »

More information

Visit the open-air ice skating rink located across from Fountain Park. See website for operating hours.

Cost: $10 skate rental

Where:
Founders Holiday Ice Rink
205 Saluda St.
Rock Hill, SC
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,...

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

View gingerbread creations by both amateurs and professionals. Vote on your favorites for $1 each; all donations benefit Levine Children's Hospital. Santa Claus will make periodic visits. 

Cost: Free

Where:
The Ballantyne Hotel
10000 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-248-4055
Website »

More information

This liquidation sale will feature over 7,000 items! Prices will be 50 percent off the Charlotte Warehouse Sale prices, which are already 65-90 percent off their original retail prices!...

Cost: Free admission

Where:
The Shoppes at Davis Lake
8505 Davis Lake Pkwy.
, NC  28269
View map »


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

This annually recurring exhibit fills the museum with model train displays assembled by the Piedmont “S” Gaugers, as well as railroad memorabilia, and antique toys and games. Visitors...

Cost: Free

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

More information

Some NASCAR drivers race to live, but Tony Stewart lives to race. The 2016 season marked the end of Stewart’s memorable career as a NASCAR driver. During his NASCAR premier series career, he...

Cost: $12.95- $19.95

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame
400 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-654-4400
Website »

More information

The 18-piece display of animatronic bears performs classic holiday songs. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Founders Hall
100 N. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-716-8649
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

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

Cost: Free

Where:
Sycamore Brewing
2161 Hawkins St.
Charlotte, NC  28203
View map »


Sponsor: Sycamore Brewing
Contact Name: Katelyn Carpenter
Website »

More information

Celebrate the Christmas season with fun family activities at the Billy Graham Library. Enjoy the light displays and Christ-centered festivities with families from across the Southeast who have made...

Cost: Free; additional cost for some activities

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


Telephone: 704-401-3200
Website »

More information

115,000 lights set to music in the streets of downtown each night. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Mooresville
413 N. Main St.
Mooresville , NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Visit Christmas Tree Lane and Santa, take a wagon, and view the lights. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Mooresville
Broad and Main Streets
Mooresville, NC
View map »


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

Organized and toured by Studio Art Quilt Associates, this exhibition features 38 art quilts created by textile artists from around the world. These stunningly vivid and masterfully crafted quilts...

Cost: Adults-$8, Seniors-$7, Youth-$5, CHM members and children 3 and under FREE

Where:
The Museums of York County
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
Rock Hill, SC  29732
View map »


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

Clara LeBlanc trips at a holiday party and is whisked off to the hospital to learn that her ankle is broken.  That night her friends and get-well gifts swirl in her dreams.  This show...

Cost: $20 – $45

Where:
Booth Playhouse
130 N. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Caroline Calouche & Co.
Telephone: 704-844-0449
Contact Name: Caroline Calouche
Website »

More information

When the worst kids in the history of the world find out there are free snacks at Sunday School, they take it upon themselves to audition for the annual Christmas pageant. Will a group of kids who...

Cost: $12+

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


Telephone: 704-973-2828
Website »

More information

It's the Nutcracker re-imagined with all new sets and costumes, plus live music performed by the Charlotte Symphony. See website for showtimes. 

Cost: $40+

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


Telephone: 704-372-0101
Website »

More information

Don't miss the dazzling lights of the garden, complete with sparkling fountains and botanical-themed displays. There will be opportunities for visits with Santa, holiday crafts, a model...

Cost: $9-$15

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


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

More than 3,000,000 lights on the Speedway and lights to drive through along a 3.5-mile course. The event also includes a Christmas Village with a petting zoo, Bethlehem Village, carriage rides,...

Cost: $25-$30 per car when village is open; $20 per car when village is closed

Where:
Charlotte Motor Speedway
5555 Concord Mills Pkwy. South
Concord, NC
View map »


Telephone: 800-455-3267
Website »

More information

Take a drive through the park and view more than 3 million lights set to music. Visit with Santa, take a pony ride, pet animals, and roast marshmallows over a fire. Mon.-Thur., 6-9pm; Fri.-Sun.,...

Cost: $6 per person

Where:
Zootastic Park
448 Pilch Road
Troutman , NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-245-6446
Website »

More information

Skate on more than 7,000 square feet of ice in the heart of the city. 

Cost: $10 admission; $3 skate rental

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


Website »

More information

This exhibit is the first major museum exhibition to focus on the groundbreaking women artists affiliated with the Abstract Expressionist movement during the years of 1945-1960. It will feature...

Cost: $6-$12

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

This uptown holiday event is designed is presented as a German-inspired Christmas Market and includes traditional German foods and treats, homemade crafts and gifts, and other featured...

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Romare Bearden Park
300 S. Church St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This performance designed for children ages 0 to 3 years and their caregivers illustrates how some of life's greatest gifts can come in the smallest packages. See website for showtimes. 

Cost: $10

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


Telephone: 704-973-2828
Website »

More information

The Herdmans are a sneaky family who love to cause trouble wherever they go. So no none is prepared when they decide to take over the annual Christmas pageant. Will they ruin it or will it...

Cost: $11-$13

Where:
Fullwood Theater
100 McDowell Street East
Matthews, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-846-8343
Website »

More information

This musical holiday program includes music by the Charlotte Symphony Chorus, the Charlotte Children's Choir, handbell ringers, a gospel vocalist, plus a visit from Santa Claus. Note: The...

Cost: $29.50+

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


Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

Hop aboard this 30-minute train ride where hot cocoa and cookies will be served along with a reading of the story "The Train to Christmas Town." Plus, enjoy a visit from Santa Claus. The...

Cost: $29-$39

Where:
Piedmont and Northern Railway
1548 Union Road
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Telephone: 877-421-0008
Website »

More information

The Flats and Sharps are on their way to a Christmas Eve concert when a snowstorm causes them to stop in a diner to wait out the storm. At the diner, the singers, Ellie, the crusty waitress,...

Cost: $12-$20

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


Telephone: 704-892-7953
Website »

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This classic holiday tale shares the story of hard-hearted Ebenezer Scrooge who his visited by the ghost of his late partner, Jacob Marley, and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future....

Cost: $27

Where:
The Eloise Macdonald Playhouse
501 Queens Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-376-3777
Website »

More information

Experience life in 13th-century Mongolia in this exhibition that showcases the life of ruler Genghis Khan. The collection features more than 200 artifacts and relics such as gold jewelry,...

Cost: $13-$17

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

Ride the Rotary Express through more than 250,000 twinkling lights. Enjoy singing bears, model trains, s'mores, and hot cocoa. Closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. 

Cost: $2

Where:
Village Park
700 West C. St.
Kannapolis, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Trilobites lived, thrived and became extinct millions of years before the age of dinosaurs.  See more than 200 specimens of these creatures from long ago covering five geological periods that...

Cost: $9-$10

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Ice skate with your favorite characters and visit with Santa at events at the shopping center. Kids can skate with Rudolph Dec. 9 and 10 from 6-8pm; skate with a princess Dec. 10 from...

Cost: $5 skate rental

Where:
Afton Ridge
6230 Bayfield Parkway
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

It’s time for waltzing snowflakes, a battle between toy soldiers and mice, and to be amazed by the Sugarplum Fairy as Piedmont Dance Theatre presents its 14th annual production of The...

Cost: $15-$20

Where:
Kannapolis Performing Arts Center
415 E 1st St.
Kannapolis, NC  29803
View map »


Telephone: 704-971-2011
Website »

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Now showing in the James H. Lynn Planetarium and Science Theater-Season of Light for December only. Enjoy the new SciDome XD version of our traditional holiday program during "the coldest...

Cost: $3 per person in addition to museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

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James H. Planetarium and Science Theater presents: From the Earth to the Universe. The night sky, both beautiful and mysterious, has been the subject of campfire stories, ancient myths and awe...

Cost: $3 per person in addition to museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

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Santa Claus will be at the Museum during the Toys, Games & TRAINS exhibit to visit with the little ones. Mrs. Claus will also do a special reading of the classic 1823...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kings Mountain Historical Museum
100 East Mountain St.
Kings Mountain, NC  28086
View map »


Sponsor: Kings Mountain Historical Museum
Telephone: 704-739-1019
Contact Name: Adria Focht
Website »

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Create edible ornaments for wildlife, make nature-based crafts, and enjoy refreshments. Space is limited; register in advance. 

Cost: $15

Where:
Wing Haven Gardens
260 Ridgewood Ave.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-331-0664
Website »

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This fall, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina and the North Carolina State Parks launched Hike NC!, a series of more than 60 guided hikes in North Carolina’s state parks and nature...

Cost: Free

Where:
Carolina Thread Trail: Catawba Nation Greenway Trl
1536 Tom Steven Road
Rock Hill , SC
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Children can learn the history behind early popular musical instruments as they receive instruction on playing the Tin Penny Whistle and Bones, both popular instruments used by early Americans. No...

Cost: $20 per person

Where:
Historic Latta Plantation
5225 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
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Telephone: 704-875-2312
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Children can enjoy a private visit with Santa, complete with photos and a gift from the North Pole, inside a 200-year-old log cabin. After the visit, stroll the grounds, sip hot cocoa, and visit...

Cost: $10 per child

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


Telephone: 704-875-2312
Website »

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Children can meet Santa and Mrs. Claus, search the greenway for candy canes, and finish with s'mores over a campfire. Pre-registration required.

Cost: $12 per child

Where:
Anne Springs Close Greenway
288 Dairy Barn Lane
Ft. Mill , SC
View map »


Telephone: 803-547-4575
Website »

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Enjoy pancakes and other breakfast items with Santa, along with photo opportunities. 

Cost: $1+

Where:
StoneCrest at Piper Glen
7900 Rea Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

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Have a treat while you watch the holiday movie classic "The Polar Express," starring Tom Hanks.

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-416-6031
Website »

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Dr. Martha MacDonald will share holiday stories and tales to children and families. Dr. MacDonald’s stories will range from folk tales, historical stories, and a diverse array of holiday...

Cost: Free

Where:
President James K. Polk State Historic Site
12031 Lancaster Hwy.
Pineville, NC  28134
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Website »

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These interactive bilingual (Spanish/English) mornings incorporate music, plays, and stories geared specially for families with children ages 0-6. All families interested in raising bilingual and...

Cost: $5 for up to 6 family members; Free for Mint members

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
Charlotte, NC  28207
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Telephone: 704=337-2000
Website »

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Calling all teens that participated in the summer reading club at the Mooresville Public Library. Bring your summer reading coins to buy items in the Christmas Store Auction.

Cost: Free

Where:
Mooresville Public Library
304 South Main St.
Mooresville, NC  28147
View map »


Telephone: 704-664-2927
Website »

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Enjoy a musical recital given by the students of NC Music Center. This recital has an assortment of musicians from all ages and levels of music from beginners to advanced. Come out and listen to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Tate Hall-Central Piedmont Community College
1207 Elizabeth Ave.
Charlotte, NC  28204
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Website »

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Prizes will be given to the best Santa-themed costume during this pre-holiday trail run. 

Cost: $30+

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


Telephone: 704-391-3900
Website »

More information

Learning all about Colonial professions in this series of workshops, including masonry.  

Cost: $10 per child

Where:
The Charlotte Museum of History
3500 Shamrock Drive
Charlotte, NC  28215
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Telephone: 704-568-1774
Website »

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Sit down with Santa, decorate cookies, and take a spin around the ice skating rink.

Cost: $10 skate rental

Where:
Founders Holiday Ice Rink
205 Saluda St.
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Website »

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Kids and their adults join a teaching artist to explore a new topic each month. Workshops begin with a mini-tour in the galleries, followed by a trip to the studios to create a work of art...

Cost: $16 per participant ($12 Mint member)

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
Charlotte, NC  28207
View map »


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

Join in the "Procession of the Yule Log," decorating with greenery, singing early American carols, and English country dancing. As the day draws to a close, gather with a Backcountry...

Cost: $9-$10

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

A Carolina Backcountry Christmas comes to life during Historic Brattonsville’s annual Christmas Candlelight Tours. Through candlelit vignettes, costumed interpreters will recreate...

Cost: Admission fees are Adults $10; Seniors $8; Youth 4-17 $6; 3 and under and CHM me

Where:
Historic Brattonsville
1444 Brattonsville Road
McConnells, SC  29726
View map »


Sponsor: CHMuseums
Telephone: 803-909-7244
Contact Name: Marie Cheek
Website »

More information

The only functional covered bridge in the region will sparkle with thousands of luminaries placed one by one by members of the community. Lights, wreaths and...

Cost: Free

Where:
MillBridge
1401 MillBridge Pkwy.
Waxhaw, NC  28173
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 The evening will feature more than a dozen performers and plenty of singalongs. Enjoy your favorite holiday classics, traditional Christmas carols as well as songs of Hanukkah and...

Cost: $14-$24

Where:
McGlohon Theater Spirit Square
345 N. College St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

Celebrate the holidays at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, complete with reindeer, elves, and a giant polar bear, and a 33-foot tree with twinkling lights. It will snow in the Plaza twice an hour on the...

Cost: $13-$20

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


Telephone: 888-902-6463
Website »

More information

Visit the open-air ice skating rink located across from Fountain Park. See website for operating hours.

Cost: $10 skate rental

Where:
Founders Holiday Ice Rink
205 Saluda St.
Rock Hill, SC
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,...

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

View gingerbread creations by both amateurs and professionals. Vote on your favorites for $1 each; all donations benefit Levine Children's Hospital. Santa Claus will make periodic visits. 

Cost: Free

Where:
The Ballantyne Hotel
10000 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-248-4055
Website »

More information

This liquidation sale will feature over 7,000 items! Prices will be 50 percent off the Charlotte Warehouse Sale prices, which are already 65-90 percent off their original retail prices!...

Cost: Free admission

Where:
The Shoppes at Davis Lake
8505 Davis Lake Pkwy.
, NC  28269
View map »


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

Some NASCAR drivers race to live, but Tony Stewart lives to race. The 2016 season marked the end of Stewart’s memorable career as a NASCAR driver. During his NASCAR premier series career, he...

Cost: $12.95- $19.95

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame
400 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-654-4400
Website »

More information

The 18-piece display of animatronic bears performs classic holiday songs. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Founders Hall
100 N. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-716-8649
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


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

More information

Visit with Santa for photos and take a horse-drawn carriage ride. 

Cost: Free

Where:
RiverGate Shopping Center
12807 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Join museum naturalists for a guided GPS scavenger hunt and find local environmental treasures while learning about the biodiversity of the area. 

Cost: $8

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

Executive pastry chef Ben Kallenbach and his team offer will tips at this decorating event. Advance registration and payment required. 

Cost: $50 for four

Where:
The Ballantyne Hotel Charlotte
10000 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-248-4100
Website »

More information

Take photos with Santa and go on a horse-drawn carriage ride. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Promenade on Providence
10285-10319 Providence Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

James H. Lynn Planetarium and Science Theater presents: Winter Sky Shows on Sat. and Sun. at 4pm. Explore two fascinating topics in one science theater program. First, explore the constellations of...

Cost: $3 per person in addition to museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Celebrate the Christmas season with fun family activities at the Billy Graham Library. Enjoy the light displays and Christ-centered festivities with families from across the Southeast who have made...

Cost: Free; additional cost for some activities

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


Telephone: 704-401-3200
Website »

More information

115,000 lights set to music in the streets of downtown each night. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Mooresville
413 N. Main St.
Mooresville , NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Clara LeBlanc trips at a holiday party and is whisked off to the hospital to learn that her ankle is broken. Clara’s dreams swirl and take flight with silly nurses, her friends and get-well...

Cost: $25-$30

Where:
Booth Playhouse
130 North Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Sponsor: Caroline Calouche & Co.
Telephone: 704-844-0449
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

Organized and toured by Studio Art Quilt Associates, this exhibition features 38 art quilts created by textile artists from around the world. These stunningly vivid and masterfully crafted quilts...

Cost: Adults-$8, Seniors-$7, Youth-$5, CHM members and children 3 and under FREE

Where:
The Museums of York County
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
Rock Hill, SC  29732
View map »


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

Clara LeBlanc trips at a holiday party and is whisked off to the hospital to learn that her ankle is broken.  That night her friends and get-well gifts swirl in her dreams.  This show...

Cost: $20 – $45

Where:
Booth Playhouse
130 N. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Caroline Calouche & Co.
Telephone: 704-844-0449
Contact Name: Caroline Calouche
Website »

More information

When the worst kids in the history of the world find out there are free snacks at Sunday School, they take it upon themselves to audition for the annual Christmas pageant. Will a group of kids who...

Cost: $12+

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


Telephone: 704-973-2828
Website »

More information

It's the Nutcracker re-imagined with all new sets and costumes, plus live music performed by the Charlotte Symphony. See website for showtimes. 

Cost: $40+

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


Telephone: 704-372-0101
Website »

More information

Don't miss the dazzling lights of the garden, complete with sparkling fountains and botanical-themed displays. There will be opportunities for visits with Santa, holiday crafts, a model...

Cost: $9-$15

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


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

More than 3,000,000 lights on the Speedway and lights to drive through along a 3.5-mile course. The event also includes a Christmas Village with a petting zoo, Bethlehem Village, carriage rides,...

Cost: $25-$30 per car when village is open; $20 per car when village is closed

Where:
Charlotte Motor Speedway
5555 Concord Mills Pkwy. South
Concord, NC
View map »


Telephone: 800-455-3267
Website »

More information

Take a drive through the park and view more than 3 million lights set to music. Visit with Santa, take a pony ride, pet animals, and roast marshmallows over a fire. Mon.-Thur., 6-9pm; Fri.-Sun.,...

Cost: $6 per person

Where:
Zootastic Park
448 Pilch Road
Troutman , NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-245-6446
Website »

More information

Skate on more than 7,000 square feet of ice in the heart of the city. 

Cost: $10 admission; $3 skate rental

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


Website »

More information

This exhibit is the first major museum exhibition to focus on the groundbreaking women artists affiliated with the Abstract Expressionist movement during the years of 1945-1960. It will feature...

Cost: $6-$12

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

Join the cast and crew of JSTAGE as they preform live Disney's Beauty and the Beast.  In this live-action re-imagining of the fairy tale, a young woman takes her father's place as...

Cost: $12/advance $15/at door

Where:
Levine Jewish Community Center
5007 Providence Road
, NC  28226
View map »


Website »

More information

This uptown holiday event is designed is presented as a German-inspired Christmas Market and includes traditional German foods and treats, homemade crafts and gifts, and other featured...

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Romare Bearden Park
300 S. Church St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This performance designed for children ages 0 to 3 years and their caregivers illustrates how some of life's greatest gifts can come in the smallest packages. See website for showtimes. 

Cost: $10

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


Telephone: 704-973-2828
Website »

More information

The Herdmans are a sneaky family who love to cause trouble wherever they go. So no none is prepared when they decide to take over the annual Christmas pageant. Will they ruin it or will it...

Cost: $11-$13

Where:
Fullwood Theater
100 McDowell Street East
Matthews, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-846-8343
Website »

More information

This musical holiday program includes music by the Charlotte Symphony Chorus, the Charlotte Children's Choir, handbell ringers, a gospel vocalist, plus a visit from Santa Claus. Note: The...

Cost: $29.50+

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


Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

Just an hour in length, this performance features the Grey Seal Puppets, St. Nick, holiday carols by the Carolina Kids' Voices Choir and is designed for children ages 3-11 years. Sat.,...

Cost: $14-$20

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


Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

The Main Stage Choir and other musical guests perform holiday classics inside a specially designed 32-foot tree. Sat., 11am and 7:30pm; Sun., 4pm. 

Cost: $13+

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


Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

Hop aboard this 30-minute train ride where hot cocoa and cookies will be served along with a reading of the story "The Train to Christmas Town." Plus, enjoy a visit from Santa Claus. The...

Cost: $29-$39

Where:
Piedmont and Northern Railway
1548 Union Road
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Telephone: 877-421-0008
Website »

More information

The Flats and Sharps are on their way to a Christmas Eve concert when a snowstorm causes them to stop in a diner to wait out the storm. At the diner, the singers, Ellie, the crusty waitress,...

Cost: $12-$20

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


Telephone: 704-892-7953
Website »

More information

This classic holiday tale shares the story of hard-hearted Ebenezer Scrooge who his visited by the ghost of his late partner, Jacob Marley, and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future....

Cost: $27

Where:
The Eloise Macdonald Playhouse
501 Queens Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-376-3777
Website »

More information

Have breakfast with Santa, take photos, and make a craft. Reservations required; tickets go on sale on Nov. 5 at Matthews Community Center.  Seatings at 9am or 10:45am. 

Cost: $5 per person

Where:
Matthews Community Center
100 McDowell St.
Matthews, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Experience life in 13th-century Mongolia in this exhibition that showcases the life of ruler Genghis Khan. The collection features more than 200 artifacts and relics such as gold jewelry,...

Cost: $13-$17

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

Ride the Rotary Express through more than 250,000 twinkling lights. Enjoy singing bears, model trains, s'mores, and hot cocoa. Closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. 

Cost: $2

Where:
Village Park
700 West C. St.
Kannapolis, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Trilobites lived, thrived and became extinct millions of years before the age of dinosaurs.  See more than 200 specimens of these creatures from long ago covering five geological periods that...

Cost: $9-$10

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Ice skate with your favorite characters and visit with Santa at events at the shopping center. Kids can skate with Rudolph Dec. 9 and 10 from 6-8pm; skate with a princess Dec. 10 from...

Cost: $5 skate rental

Where:
Afton Ridge
6230 Bayfield Parkway
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

It’s time for waltzing snowflakes, a battle between toy soldiers and mice, and to be amazed by the Sugarplum Fairy as Piedmont Dance Theatre presents its 14th annual production of The...

Cost: $15-$20

Where:
Kannapolis Performing Arts Center
415 E 1st St.
Kannapolis, NC  29803
View map »


Telephone: 704-971-2011
Website »

More information

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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.