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

May 2016

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

Cost: Free

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Between North Davidson Street and NoDa
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Charles Mack Citizen Center
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Cost: 0 - $3

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South Carolina State Museum
301 Gervais St.
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Sponsor: SC State Museum
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Levine Museum of the New South
200 E. 7th St.
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Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 S. Tryon St.
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Telephone: 704-547-3700
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Cost: Free with paid museum admission

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The Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd
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Telephone: 704-866-6923
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Through the month of May, various events around Charlotte will be held in conjunction with Keep America Beautiful, including "The Big Spring Clean" on Saturday, May 14. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Various locations
, NC


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free with admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

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

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6500 South New Hope Road
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Cost: Free with paid museum admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd
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Telephone: 704-866-6923
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Cost: Free

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McDowell Nature Center
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Charlotte, NC  28278
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Telephone: 704-588-5224
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Cost: Free

Where:
McDowell Nature Center
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Telephone: 704-588-5224
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The Charlotte Symphony Junior Youth Orchestra presents its spring concert. 

Cost: $6-$8

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Halton Theater
1206 Elizabeth Ave.
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Telephone: 704-330-6534
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See an item from each of the U.S. Presidents, including early 19th-century linen funeral banners of George and Martha Washington, along with an early 19th-century portrait...

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Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
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Cost: $10 for one parent and child; $6 for additional guests

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6500 S. New Hope Road
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Telephone: 704-825-4490,
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Cost: $10 per one parent/child; $6 for additional guests

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Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
6500 S. New Hope Road
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Telephone: 704-825-4490
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Cost: Standard admission

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The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
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Telephone: 704-866-6900
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Cost: $5-$8

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


Telephone: 704-333-1887
Website »

More information

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

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


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free with paid museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

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

Cost: Free

Where:
Various locations
, NC


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free with admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free with paid museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-416-4630
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Winterfield Elementary School
3100 Winterfield Place
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-714-5114
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free.

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


Telephone: 980-387-6075

More information

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

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

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

More information

Currently the only Egyptian mummy in North Carolina. Families can explore the culture and history of the 22nd Dynasty, uncover the mystery of mummification in the hands-on CSI Lab, and meet...

Cost: $6

Where:
Iredell Museums
134 Court St.
Statesville, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-873-7347
Website »

More information

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Cost: Standard admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $5-$8

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


Telephone: 704-333-1887
Website »

More information

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

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

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


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free with paid museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

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

Cost: Free

Where:
Various locations
, NC


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free with admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free with paid museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

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University City Regional Library
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View map »


Telephone: 704-416-7200
Website »

More information

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Cost: $15 per person

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


Telephone: 704-588-5224
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free.

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


Telephone: 980-387-6075

More information

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

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

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

More information

Currently the only Egyptian mummy in North Carolina. Families can explore the culture and history of the 22nd Dynasty, uncover the mystery of mummification in the hands-on CSI Lab, and meet...

Cost: $6

Where:
Iredell Museums
134 Court St.
Statesville, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-873-7347
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Standard admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

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Cost: $5

Where:
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View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph | 2730 Randolph Road
Mint Museum Uptown | 500 South Tryon Street
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-337-2018
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $5-$8

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


Telephone: 704-333-1887
Website »

More information

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

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

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


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free with paid museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

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

Cost: Free

Where:
Various locations
, NC


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free with admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free with paid museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Charlotte Symphony Orchestra presents an ensemble concert presented by Summer Pops Series conductor George Schram. Bring blankets and chairs for lawn seating.

Cost: $5-$15; $5 per car for parking

Where:
Comporium Ampitheater
Anne Springs Close Greenway
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 803-547-4575
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free.

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


Telephone: 980-387-6075

More information

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

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

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

More information

Currently the only Egyptian mummy in North Carolina. Families can explore the culture and history of the 22nd Dynasty, uncover the mystery of mummification in the hands-on CSI Lab, and meet...

Cost: $6

Where:
Iredell Museums
134 Court St.
Statesville, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-873-7347
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Standard admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $5 parking fee

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


Telephone: 704-391-3900
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $5-$8

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


Telephone: 704-333-1887
Website »

More information

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

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

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


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free with paid museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

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

Cost: Free

Where:
Various locations
, NC


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free with admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free with paid museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Learn the survival skill of shelter building with your family.  Registration is required.

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-588-5224
Website »

More information

In conjunction with Jiggy with the Piggy, the 600 Festival Association will show Disney’s "Cars 2" on an oversized outdoor screen.

Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Kannapolis
246 Oak Ave.
Kannapolis, NC  28081
View map »


Website »

More information

Bring your lawn chairs and blankets. There will be a bounce house for younger children. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Front of Town Hall
4430 Mint Hill Village Lane
Mint Hill , NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Senior Ensemble presents their Ensemble Theatre Workshop, as a collection of plays including Star Fever, The Spaceship Santa Maria, the Big Shoo, and The Little Man Who Wasn’t There. Shows at...

Cost: Free; donations welcome

Where:
Armour Street Theatre
304 Armour St.
Davidson, NC  28036
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free.

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


Telephone: 980-387-6075

More information

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

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

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

More information

Currently the only Egyptian mummy in North Carolina. Families can explore the culture and history of the 22nd Dynasty, uncover the mystery of mummification in the hands-on CSI Lab, and meet...

Cost: $6

Where:
Iredell Museums
134 Court St.
Statesville, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-873-7347
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Standard admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free admission

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

Where:
Stumptown Park
120 S. Trade St.
Matthews, NC  28105
View map »


Telephone: 704-321-7275
Website »

More information

Enjoy  dinner and a live theater show just outside of Charlotte. Relevant, humorous, tragic and fun, this original Broadway-style show is a must-see for all ages.

Cost: $7 - $35

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


Telephone: 803-802-2300
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $5-$8

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


Telephone: 704-333-1887
Website »

More information

This family-friendly festival features live music, cooking demonstrations, ethnic dancing, free caricature drawings, a haiku poetry contest, passport activities for kids and young adults, and craft...

Cost: Free

Where:
South Piedmont Community College
4209 Old Charlotte Hwy.
Monroe, NC  28110
View map »


Telephone: 704-290-5891
Website »

More information

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

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

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


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

Celebrate the strawberry at this award-winning festival. Walk through a butterfly exhibit, check out antique cars, sample strawberry pie, and let the kids try out the rides. Fri., 4:30-11pm;...

Cost: Free admission; additional cost for activities and $5 for parking

Where:
Walter Elisha Park
345 N. White St.
Ft. Mill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

A midway featuring amusement rides, an assortment of food and drink, and carnival rides and games. See website for times.

Cost: $5-$8; free for children under 4

Where:
Metrolina Tradeshow Expo
7100 Statesville Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free with paid museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

 This fun and inspiring event brings family, friends and community members together to run/walk for pediatric brain cancer awareness.

Cost: $30

Where:
Weddington United Methodist Church
13901 Providence Road
Weddington, NC  28104
View map »


Telephone: 513-772-4888
Website »

More information

Celebrate mothers of all ages with a delicious buffet breakfast, an uplifting message, and a guided Journey of Faith tour. Each mother in attendance will also receive a special gift.  

Cost: $20 per person; ages 3 and under FREE

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


Website »

More information

A charity run/walk to support those battling breast cancer in the  surrounding communities.         

Cost: $20+

Where:
Huntersville Business Park
9735 Kincey Ave.
Huntersville, NC  28078
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

Where:
Various locations
, NC


Website »

More information

Featuring a 5K trail run, a 19K bike ride, and a 3K run to the finish line. Kids' Sprint and other activities for kids. Part of BIKE! Charlotte.

Cost: See website for prices

Where:
University City Research Park
10101 David Taylor Drive
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-549-8804
Website »

More information

The 5K Fun Run and Kid's Dash will help support all the Youth involved in the growing Music Program at Sardis Presbyterian Church. Runners and walkers of all fitness levels...

Cost: $10-$30

Where:
Sardis Presbyterian Church
6100 Sardis Road
Charlotte, NC  28270
View map »


Telephone: 704-366-1854
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free with admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Visit the Carl J. McEwen Historical Village and find your passion. Is it Civic, Art or History? Stroll the village and discover what interests you. Free family fun and activities....

Cost: Free

Where:
Mint Hill Hisorical Society
7601 Matthews-Mint Hill
Mint Hill, NC  28227
View map »


Telephone: 704-573-0726
Website »

More information

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

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

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


Website »

More information

Pick up free new/used comics, watch a superhero movie marathon, and participate in giveaways and a photobooth.

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-416-3000
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free with paid museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Live music, carriage rides, family crafts, a food truck during lunch hour.

Cost: $6.95-$12.95; free for all moms

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


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

Live entertainment, food vendors, and family-friendly activities. All citizens are encouraged to walk or bike to the green in support of National Bike Month. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Davidson Town Green
216 S. Main St.
Davidson , NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Visit the museum and the "Mummy and Me" program that highlights "The Mummy Treasure of Al Faiyum." Saturday programs run from 11am-1pm and 2-4pm.

Cost: $6

Where:
Iredell Museums
134 Court St.
Statesville, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-873-7347
Website »

More information

Learn about the preserve and all the living things hidden within. Registration is required.

Cost: $3

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


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

More information

Take an hour-long walking tour of the NoDa neighborhood. A reception will follow. Please Preregistration required. There are two times for the tour: One at 10:30am, and one at 11am.

Cost: Free

Where:
Heist Brewery
2909 Davidson St., #200
Charlotte, NC  28205
View map »


Telephone: 704-568-1774
Website »

More information

Learn about art by participating in hands-on activities and special museum tours. May's theme focuses on modern art and textiles.

Cost: Free for children; $8 for adults

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


Telephone: 704-353-9200
Website »

More information

Explore the exhibits and hands-on workshops with area artists and story time.

Cost: $6-$8; children under 5 are free

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


Website »

More information

Features regional musical acts, art, family-friendly activities, magic shows, and fireworks.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Participants can explore the Here & Now: 80 Years of Photography at the Mint exhibition and create images working with local photographers. This workshop is designed for high school...

Cost: Free for teens with NexGen registration

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


Website »

More information

Families are encouraged to participate in this family-friendly bike ride as part of Bike! Charlotte. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Midwood Park
Wilhelmina Ave.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Featuring dances that represent 10 different Latin American countries, with vibrant music, historical facts, and dazzling costumes.

Cost: $8-$15

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


Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

Come see if the dragon really did eat the Princess as Junior Ensemble presents their Ensemble Theatre Workshop. Workshop productions focus on the development of the youth actor through the...

Cost: Free; donations welcome

Where:
Armour Street Theatre
304 Armour St.
Davidson, NC  28036
View map »


Telephone: 704-892-7953
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free.

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


Telephone: 980-387-6075

More information

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

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

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

More information

Currently the only Egyptian mummy in North Carolina. Families can explore the culture and history of the 22nd Dynasty, uncover the mystery of mummification in the hands-on CSI Lab, and meet...

Cost: $6

Where:
Iredell Museums
134 Court St.
Statesville, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-873-7347
Website »

More information

Enjoy dinner and a live theater show just outside of Charlotte. Relevant, humorous, tragic and fun, this original Broadway-style show is a must-see for all ages.

Cost: $7 - $35

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


Telephone: 803-802-2300
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $5 parking fee

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


Telephone: 704-391-3900
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $5-$8

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


Telephone: 704-333-1887
Website »

More information

This family-friendly festival features live music, cooking demonstrations, ethnic dancing, free caricature drawings, a haiku poetry contest, passport activities for kids and young adults, and craft...

Cost: Free

Where:
South Piedmont Community College
4209 Old Charlotte Hwy.
Monroe, NC  28110
View map »


Telephone: 704-290-5891
Website »

More information

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

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

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


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

Celebrate the strawberry at this award-winning festival. Walk through a butterfly exhibit, check out antique cars, sample strawberry pie, and let the kids try out the rides. Fri., 4:30-11pm;...

Cost: Free admission; additional cost for activities and $5 for parking

Where:
Walter Elisha Park
345 N. White St.
Ft. Mill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

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


Website »

More information

A midway featuring amusement rides, an assortment of food and drink, and carnival rides and games. See website for times.

Cost: $5-$8; free for children under 4

Where:
Metrolina Tradeshow Expo
7100 Statesville Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free with paid museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Utterly unpredictable, "Motherhood Out Loud" shatters traditional notions about parenthood, unveils its inherent comedy and celebrates the deeply personal truths that span and unite...

Cost: $22 in advance, $28 at the door, $18 for groups of 10 more

Where:
Charlotte Ballet's Center for Dance
701 N Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Website »

More information

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Annual Guides

Education Guide

This comprehensive guide covers preschool, private, charter and public schools in Cabarrus, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Union and York counties.

GPS [Go. Play. See]

Your guide to raising kids in the Queen City, plus our 2015 Readers' Favorites for places to play, explore and learn with the kids.