Why We Shouldn’t Teach Kids to Be Color Blind

And what to do instead.


Published:

For many people, race is a topic that’s difficult to discuss, especially with kids. Avoidance, however, has complicated rather than improved our relationships with one another. In recent years, America has been rocked by the rising frequency of racially motivated hate crimes, deadly incidents of racial profiling, a resurgence of resegregated schools and daily reminders of inequity. 

While families of color often feel compelled to have “the talk” about racial bias with their children for safety’s sake, too often white families are silent. One reason may be they don’t know how to start the conversation. Here’s a look at how we all can begin having fact-based, healthy conversations about race to promote understanding and positive change in our community.

 

WHY SHOULD WE BE TALKING ABOUT RACE?

We all have different physical features, cultural traditions and languages, but the concept of race is not biologically real. It is a system of power that has been reinforced over hundreds of years through social, political and economic means.

“It’s basically been laws and practices that have separated [individuals] into people groups with whites at the top and blacks at the bottom,” says Dr. Lucretia Carter Berry, an antiracist consultant and educator. 

Perceptions of race affect the way we interact with one another and institutions, as well as our placement in society.

“It’s related to every aspect of our experience whether or not we know it,” says James Ford, co-chair of the Leading on Opportunity Task Force. “Not just for families of color but white families as well.” 

Understanding how race has been used for the advantage of some people and the disadvantage of others is essential to make sense of many issues our community and country are struggling with today.

“Even if you’re a good person, your experience within society will be radically different based on your culture and based on your appearance,” says Ford, who was also the 2014-2015 North Carolina Teacher of the Year.

The idea that equality comes from ignoring difference simply isn’t true. “We should be color rich and embrace and celebrate all the ways that we can show up in the world,” says Janeen Bryant, founder of Facilitate Movement, a consulting agency that helps museums and nonprofits engage new audiences and build community.  “... I think ‘color blind’ is a cop out for when people have difficulty talking about difference.”

Ignorance is also dangerous because it can warp our world view and prevent people from speaking honestly with one another. It can also affect our ability to build authentic relationships and feel safe around people who are different from us; it also devalues others with harmful consequences.

“If children don’t see race, then they don’t see racism,” Ford says. “If you teach them not to see ‘color,’ what you’re really telling them is not to be attentive to difference. And they’ll start to grow indifference to injustice based on race because we made it taboo to discuss those things.”

 

How to Start the Conversation

One of the most important things for parents to do first is educate themselves with factual and historically accurate information.

“There needs to be preparation,” Bryant says. “A little bit of research and some key points [parents] want to make.” 

Learning how government policies from decades ago are still relevant today is also important, says Amy Hawn Nelson, a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, who has written extensively on educational equity in Charlotte. For example, the practice of redlining, which began in the 1930s, dictated where people of color could live and prevented them from qualifying for home loans and buying homes. That, in turn affected their ability to accumulate wealth and pass it on to future generations. Neighborhood composition also affected business development and where schools were built. 

“You think that’s generations ago but deed restrictions 80 years ago still affect families,” Nelson, who grew up in Charlotte, says.

 

Appreciating Difference and Building Empathy

Conversations about race and justice should be relevant to your child’s life and experience. “Everything has to be age appropriate,” Berry says. “It’s not the 400 years of history placed on the shoulders of your preschooler.”

These should be ongoing conversations and it’s easier if you start them when kids are small. For instance, it’s normal for young children to notice difference as they encounter new experiences and people. Instead of shutting down this type of observation, help them explore it in a healthy and respectful way. 

“Parents should be talking about skin tones right away with little kids,” says Berry, who started Brownicity, an anti-racist resource for families and educators, with her husband. “The construct of race is complicated. But just as they’re learning colors… kids should learn [to talk] about skin tones.” 

Since her family is multi-ethnic, she and her husband consciously started the conversation early with their three daughters. They normalized it and gave their skin tones beautiful names. This approach has provided a framework for later conversations about ancestry and race.

If your children’s friends come from diverse backgrounds, use that as another conversation starter, suggests Ford, who previously taught World History at Garinger High School. Ask what they like about their friends and differences they may have noticed like language(s) spoken at home, foods they eat or other cultural traditions,

“[C]ultivating an appreciation for these differences is important,” says Ford, and they should be treated as assets rather than deficits. 

Over time, the conversation can be expanded to explain in personal ways that, unfortunately, some friends’ experiences may be different just because of what they look like: how one family may not get treated the same way as others if they are pulled over by the police because they are African American or a friend of Arab descent may be more likely to be stopped in a security line at the airport because of her ancestry.

Asking children questions relevant to their own lives makes lessons more memorable, Bryant says. When Bryant served as vice president of education at the Levine Museum of the New South, she would look at visiting school groups and pick something really inconsequential — like who was wearing earrings or a blue uniform that day — ask them to imagine they couldn’t change that aspect of themselves but were treated differently for it. 

“(Children) realize that that’s deeply unfair very quickly,” Bryant says.

 

Creating a Better Future for all

Berry compares building an antiracist consciousness to the green movement’s efforts to protect the earth. It takes intentionality to raise awareness, change habits and create a more just world. Buying books and toys that are inclusive for home or your child’s classroom, choosing doctors and other professionals with different backgrounds are some of the ways we can show our children the truth of a multi-hued world. 

“I think it’s really important not only to have books with brown and black faces and different languages, but people of color doing every day, normal things,” Hawn says. 

The way we talk about race also should be updated. Charlotte is a “plurality community,” which means no ethnic or racial group represents a majority, Nelson says. 

We also need to show children how to combat bigotry when encountered. That means speaking up even when it’s uncomfortable.

“We have to model what we want the children to become,” Berry says. “For children to be more actively antiracist, they can’t do that without us showing them how to do it.” 

For Bryant, that means her 12-year old daughter often accompanies her to community protests and advocacy events. She tries to provide a framework for what they are doing before they arrive and, afterwards, asks her what she thought of the experience.

“[Kids] are absorbing all the time: hate and love and self-righteousness … we have to make space for them to sort them all out,” Bryant says. 

We can also look to history for examples of people of various backgrounds who worked for social justice to serve as models for our children to emulate. Ultimately, the message to kids should be truthful, hopeful and empowering.

Berry tells school children: “You have the substance to change this. The fact that you’re learning about it right now, you’re going to be finding ways to change the world and make a difference.”

Learning and acknowledgement are the first steps; continuous engagement and informed action can help to move us forward. As Bryant says, “We co-design the future we want to build.”

 

Liz Rothaus Bertrand is a writer and mother to two boys, ages 6 and 9.


Resources for Healthy Conversations about Race

BOOKS:

“All the Colors We Are/Todos los colores de nuestra piel: The Story of How We Get Our Skin Color/La historia de por qué tenemos diferentes colores de piel” by Katie Kissinger.

“A Young People’s History of the United States,” by Howard Zinn.

“Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Kids in a Racially Unjust America,” by Jennifer Harvey.

 

COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS:

GenerationNation helps students learn about and engage in civic issues.

Latin American Coalition works toward inclusive engagement, social justice and equity for people of all backgrounds.

On The Table CLT happening Oct. 24. This second annual event of community conversations will focus on the legacy of segregation.

Southeast Asian Coalition is a great resource for elevating youth voices and talking across race. 

 

WEBSITES:

Brownicity. Resources to promote healthy conversations and dismantle racist beliefs.

Teaching Tolerance. Free resources for social justice and anti-bias education, created by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

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November 2019

Experience charming shops, festive music, crafts, food, holiday decor, local wines, Santa and more than 450 holiday merchants with gifts for all ages.

Cost: $4-$15, children ages 5 and younger free

Where:
The Park Expo and Conference Center
800 Briar Creek Road
, NC
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Cost: Free

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McDowell Nature Preserve
15222 S. York Road
, NC
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Cost: $18, includes museum admission

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Discovery Place Science
301 N. Tryon St.
, NC
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Cost: $18-$22, children younger than 2 free, includes museum admission

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Discovery Place Science
301 N. Tryon St.
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Cost: Free

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OneBlood Mobiles and Donor Centers
4447 South Blvd.
, NC
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See a variety of European sports cars on April 28 and the third Sunday of every month from May through November. Rain days will be scheduled if needed.

Cost: Free

Where:
SouthPark Mall
4400 Sharon Road
, NC
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Cost: Free

Where:
Latta Nature Center
6211 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
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Sponsor: Latta Nature Center
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1000 Cabelas Drive
Fort Mill, SC
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Cost: $15-$26

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Carolina Renaissance Festival
16445 Poplar Tent Road
Huntersville, NC
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Cost: $48+, children ages 5 and younger free with Pre-K Pass

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Carowinds
14523 Carowinds Blvd.
, NC
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Cost: Free

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Bass Pro Shops
8181 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
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Cost: Cost for games

Where:
Abari Game Bar
1721 N. Davidson St.
, NC
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Telephone: 980-430-4587
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Cost: $8-$12, children 3 and younger free, included with admission to Raptor Trail

Where:
Carolina Raptor Center
6000 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC  28078
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Sponsor: Carolina Raptor Center
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Visit the UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens for picture books and literacy activities. Meet at the picnic tables in the Susie Harwood Garden, and bring a blanket.

Cost: Free

Where:
UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens
9090 Craver Road
, NC
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Sponsor: UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens and the University City Public Library
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Cost: $8-$12, children 3 and younger free, included with admission to Raptor Trail

Where:
Carolina Raptor Center
6000 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
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Sponsor: Carolina Raptor Center
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Cost: Free

Where:
Matthews United Methodist Church
801 S. Trade St.
Matthews, NC
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Sponsor: MUMC
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Cost: $32-$325

Where:
North Carolina Transportation Museum
1 Samuel Spencer Drive
Spencer, NC
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Sponsor: North Carolina Transportation Musem
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Cost: $5 per swimmer, max $15 per family

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Goldfish Swim School
13403 S. Ridge Drive
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Cost: $11-$20, includes museum admission, children younger than 2 free

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SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
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Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

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Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
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Telephone: 704-866-6908
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Cost: $9.50-$37

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The NarroWay Theatre
3327 Hwy. 51 N.
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Telephone: 803-802-2300
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Cost: $12-$16

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame
400 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
, NC
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Sponsor: NASCAR Hall of Fame
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tapestries and rugs designed by artists usually associated with painting, sculpture, and architecture. Examples of the more familiar media will be installed alongside the textiles. The Bechtler...

Cost: $5-$9, Children younger than 10 free

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 South Tryon St.
, NC
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Cost: $10, includes skate rental

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Founders Holiday Ice Rink
205 Saluda St.
Rock Hill, SC
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Cost: $12-$25, children 2 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame
400 East Martin Luther King Blvd
, NC
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Cost: $6-$7, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

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The Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
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Cost: $16+

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Wells Fargo Playhouse
300 E. 7th St.
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Telephone: 704-973-2828
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Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free, included with admission

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Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
, NC
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Cost: $25

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Belk Theater
130 N. Tryon St.
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Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
, NC
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Skate on the 5,000 square-foot ice rink. Guests can also enjoy holiday lights and decor; Santa’s Pub, a coffee shop, live music, surprise guests and festive activities.

Cost: $12-$17

Where:
Symphony Park at Southpark Mall
4400 Sharon Road
, NC
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Cost: $10

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Gaston School of the Arts
825 Union Road
Gastonia, NC
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Experience charming shops, festive music, crafts, food, holiday decor, local wines, Santa and more than 450 holiday merchants with gifts for all ages.

Cost: $4-$15, children ages 5 and younger free

Where:
The Park Expo and Conference Center
800 Briar Creek Road
, NC
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Ceramic teaching artists will walk you through a clay project from start to finish. Registration is required.

Cost: Free

Where:
Independence Regional Library
6000 Conference Drive
, NC
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Register online for a hands on pottery making workshop with Clayworks.

Cost: Free

Where:
Independence Regional Library
6000 Conference Drive
, NC
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This dazzling musical wonderland features singing and dancing to Disney Junior songs, plus holiday classics with their favorite Disney friends, including a visit from Santa Claus!

Cost: $25

Where:
Belk Theater
130 N. Tryon St.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-372-1000
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Come discuss "The Parker Inheritance" by Varian Johnson. Snacks will be served.

Cost: Free

Where:
Cornelius Library
21105 Catawba Ave.
, NC
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Discover Cuban culture through music, games and interactive experiences that will paint a picture of Cuba. This bilingual experience will showcase Cuba's wildlife, biodiversity, history and...

Cost: $18-$22, children younger than 2 free, includes museum admission

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


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
OneBlood Mobiles and Donor Centers
4447 South Blvd.
, NC
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Sponsor: OneBlood
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Cost: $11 for one hour

Where:
DefyGravity Trampoline Park
8116 University City Blvd.
, NC
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Visit Reedy, McDowell or Latta Nature Preserves for a hike between November 17-30 to log your miles and pick up a prize.

Cost: Free

Where:
Latta Nature Center
6211 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Latta Nature Center
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More information

Enjoy this enchanting Christmas village offering free 4x6 photos with Santa and family holiday activities. Guests can reserve their free visit and photo with Santa by visiting the Bass Pass...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cabela's
1000 Cabelas Drive
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Website »

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Cost: Free

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
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Cost: $7

Where:
Altitude Trampoline Park
3490 E. Franklin Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
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Cost: $15

Where:
Tiny Blooms Yoga
15905 Brookway Drive
Suite 4106
Huntersville, NC  28078
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Sponsor: Tiny Blooms Yoga
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Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

Cost: $6, $8 on school holidays

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Superior Play Systems
11415 Granite St.
Suite C
, NC
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Cost: Free

Where:
Concord Mills
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
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Sponsor: Schleich USA
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Cost: $2 per child, $5 parking fee

Where:
Anne Springs Close Greenway
2573 Lake Haigler Drive
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Enjoy this enchanting Christmas village offering free 4x6 photos with Santa and family holiday activities. The Santa’s Wonderland Christmas village offers remote control trucks, toy...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops
8181 Concord Mills Blvd.
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Cost: $3-$5

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Charlotte Allstar Gymnastics and Cheerleading
11011 Monroe Road
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Telephone: 704-246-8611
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Cost: $5, cash only

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Carolina Stars
1080 Maxwell Mill Road
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Jumpin Jax of Lancaster
2650 Charlotte Hwy.
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Cost: Free

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Naomi Drenan Recreation Center
750 Beal St.
, NC
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Piedmont Music Therapy
220 Westinghouse Blvd.
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Sponsor: Down Syndrome Association of Greater Charlotte
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Carolina Place Mall
11025 Carolina Pl. Pkwy.
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Cost: Free

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Naomi Drenan Recreation Center
750 Beal St.
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Cost: Free

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9109 Kings Parade Blvd.
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230 Matthews Station St.
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Cost: Free

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Berewick Recreation Center
5910 Dixie River Road
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View map »


Telephone: 704-414-2774
Website »

More information

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Cost: $11-$20, includes museum admission, children younger than 2 free

Where:
SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Creepy Nature is designed to share the actual science of weird and unusual plants and animals. This exhibit features horror fiction concepts like vampires, zombies, mummies and alien invaders....

Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6908
Website »

More information

Uptown Charlotte’s outdoor ice rink returns to the NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza. Take a picture with the giant polar bear, under the tree or in the decorated Ceremonial Garden.

Cost: $12-$16

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


Sponsor: NASCAR Hall of Fame
Website »

More information

tapestries and rugs designed by artists usually associated with painting, sculpture, and architecture. Examples of the more familiar media will be installed alongside the textiles. The Bechtler...

Cost: $5-$9, Children younger than 10 free

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


Website »

More information

Richard Childress Racing and the NASCAR Hall of Fame will launch an exhibit to honor the 50th anniversary of Richard Childress Racing using artifacts, race cars, images and audio/video displays.

Cost: $12-$25, children 2 and younger free, included with admission

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


Website »

More information

Kids can get creative in Block Party, the new interactive building exhibit for children.

Cost: $6-$7, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

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


Website »

More information

Skate on the 5,000 square-foot ice rink. Guests can also enjoy holiday lights and decor; Santa’s Pub, a coffee shop, live music, surprise guests and festive activities.

Cost: $12-$17

Where:
Symphony Park at Southpark Mall
4400 Sharon Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Experience charming shops, festive music, crafts, food, holiday decor, local wines, Santa and more than 450 holiday merchants with gifts for all ages.

Cost: $4-$15, children ages 5 and younger free

Where:
The Park Expo and Conference Center
800 Briar Creek Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Flock to the library for this chance to create a paper plate turkey!

Cost: Free

Where:
Mount Pleasant Library
8556 Cook St.
Mount Pleasant, NC
View map »


Website »

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Cost: Free

Where:
Del Webb Library
7641 Charlotte Hwy.
Indian Land, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Come discuss the book of the month. New members welcome! Light refreshments will be served. Registration is required.

Cost: Free

Where:
Matthews Library
230 Matthews Station St.
Matthews, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-416-5000
Website »

More information

This classic murder mystery is chock-full of mishaps and laughs. Things are quickly going from bad to utterly disastrous with an unconscious leading lady, a corpse that can’t play dead and...

Cost: $20+

Where:
Knight Theater
430 South Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Discover Cuban culture through music, games and interactive experiences that will paint a picture of Cuba. This bilingual experience will showcase Cuba's wildlife, biodiversity, history and...

Cost: $18-$22, children younger than 2 free, includes museum admission

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


Website »

More information

Donate blood or platelets at OneBlood’s North Carolina donation centers and mobile drives in November and December, and you will have the opportunity to send a message that will then be...

Cost: Free

Where:
OneBlood Mobiles and Donor Centers
4447 South Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: OneBlood
Website »

More information

Toddlers can enjoy a special jump session every weekday morning. With each child age 6 and younger, an adult may jump for free, not including DefyGravity socks for $3.

Cost: $11 for one hour

Where:
DefyGravity Trampoline Park
8116 University City Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Visit Reedy, McDowell or Latta Nature Preserves for a hike between November 17-30 to log your miles and pick up a prize.

Cost: Free

Where:
Latta Nature Center
6211 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Latta Nature Center
Website »

More information

Enjoy this enchanting Christmas village offering free 4x6 photos with Santa and family holiday activities. Guests can reserve their free visit and photo with Santa by visiting the Bass Pass...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cabela's
1000 Cabelas Drive
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

This weekly story time includes classic tales and new favorites.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes and Noble: Arboretum
3327 Pineville-Matthews Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Toddlers will participate in a fun, kid friendly workout.

Cost: Free

Where:
Tuckaseegee Recreation Center
4820 Tuckaseegee Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

From the earliest days of Billy Graham’s ministry, he had a special place in his heart for teens and young adults. Come see the new special display, and discover how God used Graham to reach...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Come paint pottery with your toddler for just $3/hour.

Cost: $3 per hour

Where:
Dish It Out
7828 Rea Road
#C
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Little ones bounce under the supervision of their parents and without interference from bigger kids. Jumpers need Sky Socks, which are available for purchase, and a signed waiver.

Cost: $8

Where:
Sky Zone
10200 Centrum Pkwy.
Pineville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Young children can jump at a discounted rate, and for an additional $2, parents can jump too. All jumpers need to purchase Altitude Trampoline Socks for $2.

Cost: $7

Where:
Altitude Trampoline Park
3490 E. Franklin Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy two stories and and two craft activities. After the program, romp and play in the SEED Wildlife Garden and Children's Garden, or stroll the historic Wing Haven Garden and Bird Sanctuary.

Cost: $10 per family, free for members

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


Website »

More information

Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

Cost: $6, $8 on school holidays

Where:
Superior Play Systems
11415 Granite St.
Suite C
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Children will play with interactive, age appropriate toys and games while listening to music. Parent participation required.

Cost: $3

Where:
Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Site
500 Billmark Ave.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Schleich, the world’s largest toy figurine company, is bringing a fun and exciting pop-up shop to Concord Mills. Come play with toys and see a life-size dinosaur.

Cost: Free

Where:
Concord Mills
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Schleich USA
Website »

More information

Enjoy this enchanting Christmas village offering free 4x6 photos with Santa and family holiday activities. The Santa’s Wonderland Christmas village offers remote control trucks, toy...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops
8181 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Toddlers identify words through interactive games and letter recognition.

Cost: Free

Where:
Tuckaseegee Recreation Center
4820 Tuckaseegee Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

With parental guidance, toddlers can jump on the trampoline, play in the foam pit and craw through obstacles. Play time is for children just starting to walk through age 5 who are not yet in...

Cost: $3-$5

Where:
Charlotte Allstar Gymnastics and Cheerleading
11011 Monroe Road
Matthews, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-246-8611
Website »

More information

This class combines yoga and play for moms and babies through  poses, songs and calming time.

Cost: $15

Where:
Tiny Blooms Yoga
15905 Brookway Drive
Suite 4106
Huntersville, NC  28078
View map »


Sponsor: Tiny Blooms Yoga
Website »

More information

This program is intended for both Spanish language families and those who want to expose children to a second language. This occurs on the third Tuesday of the month.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Teach or play with your child in the heated pool.

Cost: $5 per swimmer, max $15 per family

Where:
Goldfish Swim School
13403 S. Ridge Drive
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This workshop is open to all ages. No previous dance experience is required.

Cost: Free

Where:
Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School Recreation Site
500 Bilmark Ave.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

JazzArts Charlotte will present WeBop, an award-winning early-childhood jazz education program. Registration is required.

Cost: Free

Where:
Albemarle Road Presbyterian Church
6740 Albemarle Road
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: JazzArts Charlotte
Website »

More information

Come discuss an assigned book. New members welcome. Register online.

Cost: Free

Where:
Matthews Library
230 Matthews Station St.
Matthews, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Play interactive games geared towards social development that involve physical activities.

Cost: Free

Where:
Arbor Glen Outreach Center
1520 Clanton Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Come for assistance with literacy in fun and interactive ways.

Cost: Free

Where:
Naomi Drenan Recreation Center
750 Beal Street
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Latin Dance explores the Caribbean dance styles of Salsa, Bachata and Merengue in a fun and energetic dance environment. The class is open to all ages and no previous dance experience is required.

Cost: Free

Where:
Belle Johnston Community Center
1000 Johnston Drive
Pineville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Dive into these crustacean's habitats, learn crazy crabby facts, and face off with Crabzilla, the Japanese Spider Crab whose legs can span up to 15 feet.

Cost: $11-$20, includes museum admission, children younger than 2 free

Where:
SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Gently-used designer women's clothing and accessories. Tues., 9am-7pm; Wed., 11am-7pm (restocked with many new items); Thurs., 9am-7pm;  Fri., 9am-4pm; Sat., 9am-6pm (most items...

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Merino's Home Furnishings Warehouse
500 S. Main St.
Mooresville , NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Creepy Nature is designed to share the actual science of weird and unusual plants and animals. This exhibit features horror fiction concepts like vampires, zombies, mummies and alien invaders....

Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6908
Website »

More information

Uptown Charlotte’s outdoor ice rink returns to the NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza. Take a picture with the giant polar bear, under the tree or in the decorated Ceremonial Garden.

Cost: $12-$16

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


Sponsor: NASCAR Hall of Fame
Website »

More information

Kids can get creative in Block Party, the new interactive building exhibit for children.

Cost: $6-$7, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

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


Website »

More information

Get one free child ticket with the purchase of an adult ticket on Tuesdays. Each additional child ages 3-12 will cost $5.

Cost: $15 for adult

Where:
Sea Life Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The title, "Coined in the South," refers not only to The Mint Museum’s origins as the first branch of the United States Mint, but also to the acts of inventing and devising....

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


Website »

More information

Skate on the 5,000 square-foot ice rink. Guests can also enjoy holiday lights and decor; Santa’s Pub, a coffee shop, live music, surprise guests and festive activities.

Cost: $12-$17

Where:
Symphony Park at Southpark Mall
4400 Sharon Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Skate on an ice trail or free skate on 17,000 square feet of ice. Located in the Upper Pond of the Whitewater Center, the skating environment features three areas and an on-ice Airstream...

Cost: $20-$59

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


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Experience charming shops, festive music, crafts, food, holiday decor, local wines, Santa and more than 450 holiday merchants with gifts for all ages.

Cost: $4-$15, children ages 5 and younger free

Where:
The Park Expo and Conference Center
800 Briar Creek Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Parents and their little ones to get outside and explore in a slightly structured environment.

Cost: Free

Where:
Tom Sykes Recreation Center
1501 Euclid Ave.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Snap photos, draw pictures and take notes like a scientist to create a living record of the park as it changes throughout the year.

Cost: $4

Where:
Latta Nature Center
6211 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Latta Nature Center
Website »

More information

Search for wildlife in fields, forests and streams to learn how each species makes its home in the nature preserve.

Cost: $4

Where:
Latta Nature Center
6211 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Latta Nature Center
Website »

More information

Take a closer look at the plants that make the nature preserve a beautiful and important habitat. 

Cost: $4

Where:
Latta Nature Center
6211 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Latta Nature Center
Website »

More information

Explore the preserve off trail. Register online, and bring an adventurous spirit.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Experiment and explore new technologies.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Geek out on everything comics and manga related.

Cost: Free

Where:
Mountain Island Library
4420 Hoyt Galvin Way
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Ceramic teaching artists will walk you through a clay project from start to finish. Registration is required.

Cost: Free

Where:
Mint Hill Library
6840 Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Mint Hill, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Learn about our native nocturnal wildlife via wagon ride.

Cost: $5

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


Website »

More information

See the Jonas Brothers live! “Happiness Begins Tour Presented by American Airlines and Mastercard” is the biggest Jonas Brothers tour ever.

Cost: $40+

Where:
Spectrum Center
333 E. Trade St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 800-745-3000
Website »

More information

This classic murder mystery is chock-full of mishaps and laughs. Things are quickly going from bad to utterly disastrous with an unconscious leading lady, a corpse that can’t play dead and...

Cost: $20+

Where:
Knight Theater
430 South Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Discover Cuban culture through music, games and interactive experiences that will paint a picture of Cuba. This bilingual experience will showcase Cuba's wildlife, biodiversity, history and...

Cost: $18-$22, children younger than 2 free, includes museum admission

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


Website »

More information

Donate blood or platelets at OneBlood’s North Carolina donation centers and mobile drives in November and December, and you will have the opportunity to send a message that will then be...

Cost: Free

Where:
OneBlood Mobiles and Donor Centers
4447 South Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: OneBlood
Website »

More information

A technician will help you learn how to install your seat correctly in your vehicle. Bring your child, seat, and vehicle and plan to spend at least 20 minutes. No appointment required.  

Cost: Free

Where:
Freedom Division office of Charlotte Mecklenburg Police
4150 Wilkinson Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Toddlers can enjoy a special jump session every weekday morning. With each child age 6 and younger, an adult may jump for free, not including DefyGravity socks for $3.

Cost: $11 for one hour

Where:
DefyGravity Trampoline Park
8116 University City Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Visit Reedy, McDowell or Latta Nature Preserves for a hike between November 17-30 to log your miles and pick up a prize.

Cost: Free

Where:
Latta Nature Center
6211 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Latta Nature Center
Website »

More information

Enjoy this enchanting Christmas village offering free 4x6 photos with Santa and family holiday activities. Guests can reserve their free visit and photo with Santa by visiting the Bass Pass...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cabela's
1000 Cabelas Drive
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

During this interactive playtime for toddlers, wiggle to music and giggle with friends.

Cost: Free

Where:
David W. Phillips Activity Center
946 Burrage Road
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

From the earliest days of Billy Graham’s ministry, he had a special place in his heart for teens and young adults. Come see the new special display, and discover how God used Graham to reach...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Young children can jump at a discounted rate, and for an additional $2, parents can jump too. All jumpers need to purchase Altitude Trampoline Socks for $2.

Cost: $7

Where:
Altitude Trampoline Park
3490 E. Franklin Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Preschoolers can bounce with their parents in a safe, climate-controlled facility. 

Cost: $8

Where:
BounceU Charlotte
10624 Metromont Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

Cost: $6, $8 on school holidays

Where:
Superior Play Systems
11415 Granite St.
Suite C
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Schleich, the world’s largest toy figurine company, is bringing a fun and exciting pop-up shop to Concord Mills. Come play with toys and see a life-size dinosaur.

Cost: Free

Where:
Concord Mills
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Schleich USA
Website »

More information

Enjoy this enchanting Christmas village offering free 4x6 photos with Santa and family holiday activities. The Santa’s Wonderland Christmas village offers remote control trucks, toy...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops
8181 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

With parental guidance, toddlers can jump on the trampoline, play in the foam pit and craw through obstacles. Play time is for children just starting to walk through age 5 who are not yet in...

Cost: $3-$5

Where:
Charlotte Allstar Gymnastics and Cheerleading
11011 Monroe Road
Matthews, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-246-8611
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $5-$8, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

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


Website »

More information

Little ones are invited to jump, roll and play in the Carolina Flipz gym!

Cost: $5

Where:
Carolina Flipz
11812 Carolina Place Pkwy.
Suite B
Pineville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Homeschool students receive discounted admission at Jumpin Jax Fun Center of Lancaster.

Cost: $8

Where:
Jumpin Jax of Lancaster
2650 Charlotte Hwy.
Lancaster, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Sing and wiggle around, read fun books and participate in a craft or activity! On the third Wednesday of each month, a special guest from the York County Library visits for Toddler Story Time.

Cost: $5-$8, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

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


Website »

More information

Come join story time with other families. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes and Noble: Morrison Place
4020 Sharon Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Big Bird, Elmo and their friend Hu Hu Zhu, take viewers on a journey of discovery to learn about the Big Dipper, the North Star and the Sun in this family-friendly planetarium show.

Cost: $5-$8, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

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


Website »

More information

Come play all arcade games for half the price all day on Wednesday.

Cost: Price per game varies

Where:
Bowlero
210 E. Trade St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Bring your seat , child and vehicle, and plan to spend at least 20 minutes with a technician. No appointment is necessary.

Cost: Free

Where:
Cornelius Fire Station
19729 S. Main St.
Cornelius, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Students will learn the movement of the pieces and basic chess strategy.

Cost: Free

Where:
Naomi Drenan Recreation Center
750 Beal St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Explore the Mint Museum's exhibitions.

Cost: Free

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph, 2730 Randolph Road
Mint Museum Uptown, 500 S. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

Increase your strength, endurance and agility for sports.

Cost: Free

Where:
Naomi Drenan Recreation Center
750 Beal St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Dive into these crustacean's habitats, learn crazy crabby facts, and face off with Crabzilla, the Japanese Spider Crab whose legs can span up to 15 feet.

Cost: $11-$20, includes museum admission, children younger than 2 free

Where:
SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Gently-used designer women's clothing and accessories. Tues., 9am-7pm; Wed., 11am-7pm (restocked with many new items); Thurs., 9am-7pm;  Fri., 9am-4pm; Sat., 9am-6pm (most items...

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Merino's Home Furnishings Warehouse
500 S. Main St.
Mooresville , NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Creepy Nature is designed to share the actual science of weird and unusual plants and animals. This exhibit features horror fiction concepts like vampires, zombies, mummies and alien invaders....

Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6908
Website »

More information

Uptown Charlotte’s outdoor ice rink returns to the NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza. Take a picture with the giant polar bear, under the tree or in the decorated Ceremonial Garden.

Cost: $12-$16

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


Sponsor: NASCAR Hall of Fame
Website »

More information

tapestries and rugs designed by artists usually associated with painting, sculpture, and architecture. Examples of the more familiar media will be installed alongside the textiles. The Bechtler...

Cost: $5-$9, Children younger than 10 free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $10, includes skate rental

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


Website »

More information

Richard Childress Racing and the NASCAR Hall of Fame will launch an exhibit to honor the 50th anniversary of Richard Childress Racing using artifacts, race cars, images and audio/video displays.

Cost: $12-$25, children 2 and younger free, included with admission

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


Website »

More information

Kids can get creative in Block Party, the new interactive building exhibit for children.

Cost: $6-$7, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

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


Website »

More information

Studio Drift, founded by Dutch artists Ralph Nauta and Lonneke Gordijn, creates breathtaking sculptures that explore the relationship between humanity, nature and technology

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free, included with admission

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


Website »

More information

The title, "Coined in the South," refers not only to The Mint Museum’s origins as the first branch of the United States Mint, but also to the acts of inventing and devising....

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


Website »

More information

Skate on the 5,000 square-foot ice rink. Guests can also enjoy holiday lights and decor; Santa’s Pub, a coffee shop, live music, surprise guests and festive activities.

Cost: $12-$17

Where:
Symphony Park at Southpark Mall
4400 Sharon Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Skate on an ice trail or free skate on 17,000 square feet of ice. Located in the Upper Pond of the Whitewater Center, the skating environment features three areas and an on-ice Airstream...

Cost: $20-$59

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


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Experience charming shops, festive music, crafts, food, holiday decor, local wines, Santa and more than 450 holiday merchants with gifts for all ages.

Cost: $4-$15, children ages 5 and younger free

Where:
The Park Expo and Conference Center
800 Briar Creek Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Selected Vernon Grant images have been reproduced as holiday ornaments to honor the famed illustrator’s work and the ongoing exhibition and conservation of the Vernon Grant collection. This...

Cost: $5-$8, free for children younger than 3, included with admission

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


Website »

More information

See a puppet show with songs and activities that support early literacy and foster a love of books.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

This program utilizes books, movement, music and other resources to provide an adaptive experience.

Cost: Free

Where:
Independence Regional Library
6000 Conference Drive
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Discover the world of science through books, hands-on educational activities and experiments. Register online.

Cost: Free

Where:
Morrison Regional Library
7015 Morrison Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Join this hands-on workshop to learn how to texturize and manipulate clay. Register online.

Cost: Free

Where:
Scaleybark Library
101 Scaleybark Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Ceramic teaching artists will walk you through a clay project from start to finish. Registration is required.

Cost: Free

Where:
Scaleybark Library
101 Scaleybark Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

For generations of Americans, World’s Fairs captured visions of hope for the future as part of their collective memory. Mina Chow journeys to discover why America abandoned World's Fairs.

Cost: $5-$10

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


Website »

More information

Explore songs and stories through interactive activities. Register online.

Cost: Free

Where:
Myers Park Library
1361 Queens Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

As one of the progenitors of the astonishing full-band sound of “contemporary” a cappella, Rockapella has shown every audience the raw power of pure vocal talent and originality.

Cost: $25+

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


Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

This classic murder mystery is chock-full of mishaps and laughs. Things are quickly going from bad to utterly disastrous with an unconscious leading lady, a corpse that can’t play dead and...

Cost: $20+

Where:
Knight Theater
430 South Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Discover Cuban culture through music, games and interactive experiences that will paint a picture of Cuba. This bilingual experience will showcase Cuba's wildlife, biodiversity, history and...

Cost: $18-$22, children younger than 2 free, includes museum admission

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


Website »

More information

Donate blood or platelets at OneBlood’s North Carolina donation centers and mobile drives in November and December, and you will have the opportunity to send a message that will then be...

Cost: Free

Where:
OneBlood Mobiles and Donor Centers
4447 South Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: OneBlood
Website »

More information

Toddlers can enjoy a special jump session every weekday morning. With each child age 6 and younger, an adult may jump for free, not including DefyGravity socks for $3.

Cost: $11 for one hour

Where:
DefyGravity Trampoline Park
8116 University City Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Visit Reedy, McDowell or Latta Nature Preserves for a hike between November 17-30 to log your miles and pick up a prize.

Cost: Free

Where:
Latta Nature Center
6211 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Latta Nature Center
Website »

More information

Enjoy this enchanting Christmas village offering free 4x6 photos with Santa and family holiday activities. Guests can reserve their free visit and photo with Santa by visiting the Bass Pass...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cabela's
1000 Cabelas Drive
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

From the earliest days of Billy Graham’s ministry, he had a special place in his heart for teens and young adults. Come see the new special display, and discover how God used Graham to reach...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Little ones bounce under the supervision of their parents and without interference from bigger kids. Jumpers need Sky Socks, which are available for purchase, and a signed waiver.

Cost: $8

Where:
Sky Zone
10200 Centrum Pkwy.
Pineville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Young children can jump at a discounted rate, and for an additional $2, parents can jump too. All jumpers need to purchase Altitude Trampoline Socks for $2.

Cost: $7

Where:
Altitude Trampoline Park
3490 E. Franklin Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Preschoolers can bounce with their parents in a safe, climate-controlled facility. 

Cost: $8

Where:
BounceU Charlotte
10624 Metromont Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

Cost: $6, $8 on school holidays

Where:
Superior Play Systems
11415 Granite St.
Suite C
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Schleich, the world’s largest toy figurine company, is bringing a fun and exciting pop-up shop to Concord Mills. Come play with toys and see a life-size dinosaur.

Cost: Free

Where:
Concord Mills
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Schleich USA
Website »

More information

Enjoy this enchanting Christmas village offering free 4x6 photos with Santa and family holiday activities. The Santa’s Wonderland Christmas village offers remote control trucks, toy...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops
8181 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

With parental guidance, toddlers can jump on the trampoline, play in the foam pit and craw through obstacles. Play time is for children just starting to walk through age 5 who are not yet in...

Cost: $3-$5

Where:
Charlotte Allstar Gymnastics and Cheerleading
11011 Monroe Road
Matthews, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-246-8611
Website »

More information

Little ones are invited to jump, roll and play in the Carolina Flipz gym!

Cost: $5

Where:
Carolina Flipz
11812 Carolina Place Pkwy.
Suite B
Pineville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Watch a King Vulture play on a playground in the Vulture Culture exhibit.

Cost: $8-$12, children 3 and younger free, included with admission to Raptor Trail

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


Sponsor: Carolina Raptor Center
Website »

More information

Youth that have begun training in ballet, and have at least 3 years experience, are invited to begin preparation for the iconic pointe shoe work of the Classical Ballerina.

Cost: $10

Where:
Elon Recreation Center
11401 Ardrey Kell Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Learn the history of various songs and how they were created. Get an introduction to the basics of being a DJ.

Cost: Free

Where:
Naomi Drenan Recreation Center
750 Beal St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Swing, stomp and sing with your little ones in this interactive introduction to jazz for preschoolers and caregivers. Registration is required.

Cost: Free

Where:
Central Steele Creek Presbyterian Church
9401 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: JazzArts Charlotte
Website »

More information

Wind down after a busy day with bedtime stories and soothing songs. Come in your jammies, and bring your favorite stuffed animal.

Cost: Free

Where:
Kannapolis Library
850 Mountain St.
Kannapolis, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Dive into these crustacean's habitats, learn crazy crabby facts, and face off with Crabzilla, the Japanese Spider Crab whose legs can span up to 15 feet.

Cost: $11-$20, includes museum admission, children younger than 2 free

Where:
SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Gently-used designer women's clothing and accessories. Tues., 9am-7pm; Wed., 11am-7pm (restocked with many new items); Thurs., 9am-7pm;  Fri., 9am-4pm; Sat., 9am-6pm (most items...

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Merino's Home Furnishings Warehouse
500 S. Main St.
Mooresville , NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Creepy Nature is designed to share the actual science of weird and unusual plants and animals. This exhibit features horror fiction concepts like vampires, zombies, mummies and alien invaders....

Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6908
Website »

More information

Uptown Charlotte’s outdoor ice rink returns to the NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza. Take a picture with the giant polar bear, under the tree or in the decorated Ceremonial Garden.

Cost: $12-$16

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


Sponsor: NASCAR Hall of Fame
Website »

More information

tapestries and rugs designed by artists usually associated with painting, sculpture, and architecture. Examples of the more familiar media will be installed alongside the textiles. The Bechtler...

Cost: $5-$9, Children younger than 10 free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $10, includes skate rental

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


Website »

More information

Richard Childress Racing and the NASCAR Hall of Fame will launch an exhibit to honor the 50th anniversary of Richard Childress Racing using artifacts, race cars, images and audio/video displays.

Cost: $12-$25, children 2 and younger free, included with admission

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


Website »

More information

Kids can get creative in Block Party, the new interactive building exhibit for children.

Cost: $6-$7, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

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


Website »

More information

Showtime Theatre Company is proud to present our Middle-High School Youth Performance of "Disney’s Frozen Jr.," which brings Elsa, Anna, and the magical land of Arendelle to life,...

Cost: $10-$15

Where:
McCelvey Center's Lowrey Family Theatre
212 E. Jefferson St.
York, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Studio Drift, founded by Dutch artists Ralph Nauta and Lonneke Gordijn, creates breathtaking sculptures that explore the relationship between humanity, nature and technology

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free, included with admission

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


Website »

More information

A Viking king of Britain who has decided to retire passes on the responsibilities of leadership to her daughters, but she cannot see that she has been deceived by them until it’s too late....

Cost: $15

Where:
Duke Energy Theater at Spirit Square
345 North College St.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Free Reign Theatre Company

More information

Families are welcome every day at the Auto Show, but Saturday and Sunday will have special entertainment for kids, including Santa from noon-4pm. Thurs.-Fri., Noon-9pm; Sat., 10am-10pm; Sun.,...

Cost: $10, children ages 12 and younger free

Where:
Charlotte Convention Center
501 S. College St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The title, "Coined in the South," refers not only to The Mint Museum’s origins as the first branch of the United States Mint, but also to the acts of inventing and devising....

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


Website »

More information

Skate on the 5,000 square-foot ice rink. Guests can also enjoy holiday lights and decor; Santa’s Pub, a coffee shop, live music, surprise guests and festive activities.

Cost: $12-$17

Where:
Symphony Park at Southpark Mall
4400 Sharon Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Based on Ludwig Bemelman's classic, "Madeline's Christmas,"  this musical brings Miss Clavel and "12 little girls in two straight lines" to the Gaston School of the...

Cost: $10

Where:
Gaston School of the Arts
825 Union Road
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Skate on an ice trail or free skate on 17,000 square feet of ice. Located in the Upper Pond of the Whitewater Center, the skating environment features three areas and an on-ice Airstream...

Cost: $20-$59

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


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Experience charming shops, festive music, crafts, food, holiday decor, local wines, Santa and more than 450 holiday merchants with gifts for all ages.

Cost: $4-$15, children ages 5 and younger free

Where:
The Park Expo and Conference Center
800 Briar Creek Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Discover new places in this environmental education series. Topics and locations will change monthly. Meet at the nature center with water and a snack.

Cost: $10

Where:
Latta Nature Center
6211 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Latta Nature Center
Website »

More information

Register to gobble up turkey facts in a trivia game all about turkeys.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Learn how to keep slithery friends healthy.

Cost: Free

Where:
Latta Nature Center
6211 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Latta Nature Center
Website »

More information

Play basketball in a structured environment.

Cost: Free

Where:
Arbor Glen Outreach Center
1520 Clanton Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Ceramic teaching artists will walk you through a clay project from start to finish. Registration is required.

Cost: Free

Where:
Grier Heights Community Center
3100 Leroy St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Simon Tam is an Asian American author, musician, activist, and self-proclaimed troublemaker. The evening will include a talk and Q&A session with Simon Tam, followed by a book signing. He is...

Cost: Free

Where:
Great Aunt Stella Center
926 Elizabeth Ave.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This classic murder mystery is chock-full of mishaps and laughs. Things are quickly going from bad to utterly disastrous with an unconscious leading lady, a corpse that can’t play dead and...

Cost: $20+

Where:
Knight Theater
430 South Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Central Piedmont Music presents "Orphée et Euridice," a tragic opera in three acts. Fri. and Sat., 7:30pm; Sun. 2:30pm.

Cost: $10-$22

Where:
Dale F. Halton Theater
1206 Elizabeth Ave.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Central Piedmont Community College
Website »

More information

Discover Cuban culture through music, games and interactive experiences that will paint a picture of Cuba. This bilingual experience will showcase Cuba's wildlife, biodiversity, history and...

Cost: $18-$22, children younger than 2 free, includes museum admission

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


Website »

More information

Donate blood or platelets at OneBlood’s North Carolina donation centers and mobile drives in November and December, and you will have the opportunity to send a message that will then be...

Cost: Free

Where:
OneBlood Mobiles and Donor Centers
4447 South Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: OneBlood
Website »

More information

Toddlers can enjoy a special jump session every weekday morning. With each child age 6 and younger, an adult may jump for free, not including DefyGravity socks for $3.

Cost: $11 for one hour

Where:
DefyGravity Trampoline Park
8116 University City Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Visit Reedy, McDowell or Latta Nature Preserves for a hike between November 17-30 to log your miles and pick up a prize.

Cost: Free

Where:
Latta Nature Center
6211 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Latta Nature Center
Website »

More information

Enjoy this enchanting Christmas village offering free 4x6 photos with Santa and family holiday activities. Guests can reserve their free visit and photo with Santa by visiting the Bass Pass...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cabela's
1000 Cabelas Drive
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

From the earliest days of Billy Graham’s ministry, he had a special place in his heart for teens and young adults. Come see the new special display, and discover how God used Graham to reach...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Young children can jump at a discounted rate, and for an additional $2, parents can jump too. All jumpers need to purchase Altitude Trampoline Socks for $2.

Cost: $7

Where:
Altitude Trampoline Park
3490 E. Franklin Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Preschoolers can bounce with their parents in a safe, climate-controlled facility. 

Cost: $8

Where:
BounceU Charlotte
10624 Metromont Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

Cost: $6, $8 on school holidays

Where:
Superior Play Systems
11415 Granite St.
Suite C
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Young children can jump with other little ones. Parents and caregivers jump free! W8less socks required.

Cost: $10 per hour

Where:
W8Less LKN
10442-A Bailey Road
Cornelius, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Schleich, the world’s largest toy figurine company, is bringing a fun and exciting pop-up shop to Concord Mills. Come play with toys and see a life-size dinosaur.

Cost: Free

Where:
Concord Mills
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Schleich USA
Website »

More information

Enjoy this enchanting Christmas village offering free 4x6 photos with Santa and family holiday activities. The Santa’s Wonderland Christmas village offers remote control trucks, toy...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops
8181 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

With parental guidance, toddlers can jump on the trampoline, play in the foam pit and craw through obstacles. Play time is for children just starting to walk through age 5 who are not yet in...

Cost: $3-$5

Where:
Charlotte Allstar Gymnastics and Cheerleading
11011 Monroe Road
Matthews, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-246-8611
Website »

More information

Visit a Lancaster County librarian at Jumpin Jax Fun Center of Lancaster for movement and yoga through stories. Regular admission is applied for children who want to stay to play following the...

Cost: Free story time

Where:
Jumpin Jax of Lancaster
2650 Charlotte Hwy.
Lancaster, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Teach or play with your child in the heated pool.

Cost: $5 per swimmer, max $15 per family

Where:
Goldfish Swim School
13403 S. Ridge Drive
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The Polar Express Train Ride, inspired by the run-away hit movie, features a train ride to the North Pole with dancing chefs, cookies, hot chocolate and a presentation of the first gift of...

Cost: $32-$325

Where:
North Carolina Transportation Museum
1 Samuel Spencer Drive
Spencer, NC
View map »


Sponsor: North Carolina Transportation Musem
Website »

More information

Enjoy the wonder of the park dazzlingly lit for the holidays. Ride a nighttime train. Advanced tickets are required.

Cost: $38-$44 for adults, ages 2 and younger free

Where:
Tweetsie Railroad
300 Tweetsie Railroad Lane
Blowing Rock, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Tweetsie Railroad
Website »

More information

Treat the kids and yourself to a fun night out! Drop kids off to run, play and dance. Pizza dinner is included.

Cost: $25

Where:
Romp n' Roll NW Charlotte
3611 Mt. Holly-Huntersville Road
207
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Drive 3.75 miles with 3.5 million lights. Every Thursday through Sunday, the indoor Christmas Village will include photos with Santa, children’s activities, a display of decorated Christmas...

Cost: $20-$30

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


Website »

More information

No one notices Brian until Justin arrives. This high-spirited musical will help us all discover the possibilities that begin with a simple act of kindness. See website for show times.

Cost: $16+

Where:
Wells Fargo Playhouse
300 E. 7th St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-973-2828
Website »

More information

The "New World" Symphony, fuses the music of  Bohemian roots with a fascinating new world full of new sounds.

Cost: $23

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


Telephone: 704-972-2000
Website »

More information

Dive into these crustacean's habitats, learn crazy crabby facts, and face off with Crabzilla, the Japanese Spider Crab whose legs can span up to 15 feet.

Cost: $11-$20, includes museum admission, children younger than 2 free

Where:
SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Gently-used designer women's clothing and accessories. Tues., 9am-7pm; Wed., 11am-7pm (restocked with many new items); Thurs., 9am-7pm;  Fri., 9am-4pm; Sat., 9am-6pm (most items...

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Merino's Home Furnishings Warehouse
500 S. Main St.
Mooresville , NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Creepy Nature is designed to share the actual science of weird and unusual plants and animals. This exhibit features horror fiction concepts like vampires, zombies, mummies and alien invaders....

Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6908
Website »

More information

See your favorite Christmas scenes, and hear your favorite songs during this holiday dinner theater experience. See website for showtimes.  No meal will be served at Sunday 2pm shows.

Cost: $9.50-$37

Where:
The NarroWay Theatre
3327 Hwy. 51 N.
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Telephone: 803-802-2300
Website »

More information

Uptown Charlotte’s outdoor ice rink returns to the NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza. Take a picture with the giant polar bear, under the tree or in the decorated Ceremonial Garden.

Cost: $12-$16

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


Sponsor: NASCAR Hall of Fame
Website »

More information

tapestries and rugs designed by artists usually associated with painting, sculpture, and architecture. Examples of the more familiar media will be installed alongside the textiles. The Bechtler...

Cost: $5-$9, Children younger than 10 free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $10, includes skate rental

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


Website »

More information

Richard Childress Racing and the NASCAR Hall of Fame will launch an exhibit to honor the 50th anniversary of Richard Childress Racing using artifacts, race cars, images and audio/video displays.

Cost: $12-$25, children 2 and younger free, included with admission

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


Website »

More information

Kids can get creative in Block Party, the new interactive building exhibit for children.

Cost: $6-$7, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

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


Website »

More information

Showtime Theatre Company is proud to present our Middle-High School Youth Performance of "Disney’s Frozen Jr.," which brings Elsa, Anna, and the magical land of Arendelle to life,...

Cost: $10-$15

Where:
McCelvey Center's Lowrey Family Theatre
212 E. Jefferson St.
York, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Studio Drift, founded by Dutch artists Ralph Nauta and Lonneke Gordijn, creates breathtaking sculptures that explore the relationship between humanity, nature and technology

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free, included with admission

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


Website »

More information

A Viking king of Britain who has decided to retire passes on the responsibilities of leadership to her daughters, but she cannot see that she has been deceived by them until it’s too late....

Cost: $15

Where:
Duke Energy Theater at Spirit Square
345 North College St.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Free Reign Theatre Company

More information

Families are welcome every day at the Auto Show, but Saturday and Sunday will have special entertainment for kids, including Santa from noon-4pm. Thurs.-Fri., Noon-9pm; Sat., 10am-10pm; Sun.,...

Cost: $10, children ages 12 and younger free

Where:
Charlotte Convention Center
501 S. College St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The title, "Coined in the South," refers not only to The Mint Museum’s origins as the first branch of the United States Mint, but also to the acts of inventing and devising....

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


Website »

More information

Skate on the 5,000 square-foot ice rink. Guests can also enjoy holiday lights and decor; Santa’s Pub, a coffee shop, live music, surprise guests and festive activities.

Cost: $12-$17

Where:
Symphony Park at Southpark Mall
4400 Sharon Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Based on Ludwig Bemelman's classic, "Madeline's Christmas,"  this musical brings Miss Clavel and "12 little girls in two straight lines" to the Gaston School of the...

Cost: $10

Where:
Gaston School of the Arts
825 Union Road
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Skate on an ice trail or free skate on 17,000 square feet of ice. Located in the Upper Pond of the Whitewater Center, the skating environment features three areas and an on-ice Airstream...

Cost: $20-$59

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


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Eat a holly, jolly breakfast and visit with Santa. Enjoy music, games and crafts. This is a Mall Stars Kids Club event, and the first 200 kids and their families enjoy breakfast free! Register...

Cost: Free

Where:
Northlake Mall Food Court
6801 Northlake Mall Drive
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Come celebrate the state tree of North Carolina, the longleaf pine. Learn how to become involved with longleaf pine restoration efforts.

Cost: $8, included with admission

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


Sponsor: Discovery Place Nature
Website »

More information

Experience charming shops, festive music, crafts, food, holiday decor, local wines, Santa and more than 450 holiday merchants with gifts for all ages.

Cost: $4-$15, children ages 5 and younger free

Where:
The Park Expo and Conference Center
800 Briar Creek Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Ceramic teaching artists will walk you through a clay project from start to finish. Registration is required.

Cost: Free

Where:
Tuckaseegee Recreation Center
4820 Tuskaseegee Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Come for a free Thanksgiving dinner, youth basketball games and live entertainment.

Cost: Free

Where:
Naomi Drenan Recreation Center
750 Beal Street
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Meet farm animals, and watch staff feed, clean and care for them.

Cost: $6-$7, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

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


Sponsor: Gaston County Farm Bureau
Website »

More information

This nature program may feature a tour, demonstration or activity designed to inspire exploration nature.

Cost: $5-$8, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

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


Website »

More information

Connect with people and nature while removing invasive plant species. Register online.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Enjoy a free movie at the library.

Cost: Free

Where:
Mountain Island Library
4420 Hoyt Galvin Way
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Come out for a free photo with Santa and Mrs. Claus! Meet Christmas Mickey and Minnie, and visit with characters from Frozen. Shop for gifts from Rea Farms Shops at Stocking Stuffer Lane, and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Rea Farms
9855 Sandy Rock Pl.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Explore family-friendly activities including a trackless train, holiday characters, crafts, dance performances and more until 7 p.m. Ramona from 107.9 The Link will be on-site with Christmas...

Cost: Free

Where:
Blakeney Shopping Centers
9839 Rea Road
, NC
View map »

More information

Celebrate the start of the holiday season with live entertainment, kids activities, Santa, fireworks, and the Winterland Express and Carousel.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

This classic murder mystery is chock-full of mishaps and laughs. Things are quickly going from bad to utterly disastrous with an unconscious leading lady, a corpse that can’t play dead and...

Cost: $20+

Where:
Knight Theater
430 South Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Central Piedmont Music presents "Orphée et Euridice," a tragic opera in three acts. Fri. and Sat., 7:30pm; Sun. 2:30pm.

Cost: $10-$22

Where:
Dale F. Halton Theater
1206 Elizabeth Ave.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Central Piedmont Community College
Website »

More information

Discover Cuban culture through music, games and interactive experiences that will paint a picture of Cuba. This bilingual experience will showcase Cuba's wildlife, biodiversity, history and...

Cost: $18-$22, children younger than 2 free, includes museum admission

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


Website »

More information

Donate blood or platelets at OneBlood’s North Carolina donation centers and mobile drives in November and December, and you will have the opportunity to send a message that will then be...

Cost: Free

Where:
OneBlood Mobiles and Donor Centers
4447 South Blvd.
, NC
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Sponsor: OneBlood
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Little ones bounce under the supervision of their parents and without interference from bigger kids. Jumpers need Sky Socks, which are available for purchase, and a signed waiver.

Cost: $8

Where:
Sky Zone (Pineville and Charlotte locations)
10200 Centrum Pkwy., Pineville
7325 Smith Corners Blvd., Charlotte
, NC
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Young children can jump at a discounted rate, and for an additional $2, parents can jump too. All jumpers need to purchase Altitude Trampoline Socks for $2.

Cost: $7

Where:
Altitude Trampoline Park
3490 E. Franklin Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
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Visit Reedy, McDowell or Latta Nature Preserves for a hike between November 17-30 to log your miles and pick up a prize.

Cost: Free

Where:
Latta Nature Center
6211 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
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Sponsor: Latta Nature Center
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Enjoy this enchanting Christmas village offering free 4x6 photos with Santa and family holiday activities. Guests can reserve their free visit and photo with Santa by visiting the Bass Pass...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cabela's
1000 Cabelas Drive
Fort Mill, SC
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From the earliest days of Billy Graham’s ministry, he had a special place in his heart for teens and young adults. Come see the new special display, and discover how God used Graham to reach...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
, NC
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The Carolina Renaissance Festival is filled with charming cottages, castles, kitchens and pubs, all with simulated architecture of a 16th century European village. Oct. 5-6: Opening Weekend...

Cost: $15-$26

Where:
Carolina Renaissance Festival
16445 Poplar Tent Road
Huntersville, NC
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Sensory Friendly Screenings are designed for a sensitive audience in a safe and accepting environment. July 20 - "Lion King" ​August 17 - "Angry Birds 2" ​September...

Cost: $5

Where:
Stone Theaters, RedStone 14 Cinemas
9650 Red Stone Drive
(Sun Valley 14 in Indian Trail, RedStone 14 in Indian Land)
Indian Land, SC
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Learn about drama from professional thespians and teachers.

Cost: Free

Where:
Hickory Grove Recreation Center
6709 Pence Road
, NC
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Enjoy this enchanting Christmas village offering free 4x6 photos with Santa and family holiday activities. The Santa’s Wonderland Christmas village offers remote control trucks, toy...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops
8181 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
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Big Bird, Elmo and their friend Hu Hu Zhu, take viewers on a journey of discovery to learn about the Big Dipper, the North Star and the Sun in this family-friendly planetarium show.

Cost: $5-$8, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
The Museum of York County
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
Rock Hill, SC
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Participants learn critical reading and writing skills, advocacy, volunteerism, art, videography, public speaking and more.

Cost: Free

Where:
President James K Polk State Historic Site
12031 Lancaster Hwy.
Pineville, NC
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On Saturdays and Sundays from noon-5pm, the arcade bar opens to all ages with a parent or guardian present.

Cost: Cost for games

Where:
Abari Game Bar
1721 N. Davidson St.
, NC
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Telephone: 980-430-4587
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Vultures and humans will engage in a fun activity of the trainer's choice.  It could be painting, playground fun or taking a walk with a vulture.

Cost: $8-$12, children 3 and younger free, included with admission to Raptor Trail

Where:
Carolina Raptor Center
6000 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC  28078
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Sponsor: Carolina Raptor Center
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Explore the expressive, active and creative benefits of dance.

Cost: $10

Where:
Elon Recreation Center
11401 Ardrey Kell Road
, NC
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Our engaging team of raptor keepers will show you some of their favorite bird species. Check in the Visitor’s Center whiteboard to see who you can meet each day.

Cost: $8-$12, children 3 and younger free, included with admission to Raptor Trail

Where:
Carolina Raptor Center
6000 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
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Sponsor: Carolina Raptor Center
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The Polar Express Train Ride, inspired by the run-away hit movie, features a train ride to the North Pole with dancing chefs, cookies, hot chocolate and a presentation of the first gift of...

Cost: $32-$325

Where:
North Carolina Transportation Museum
1 Samuel Spencer Drive
Spencer, NC
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Sponsor: North Carolina Transportation Musem
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Enjoy the wonder of the park dazzlingly lit for the holidays. Ride a nighttime train. Advanced tickets are required.

Cost: $38-$44 for adults, ages 2 and younger free

Where:
Tweetsie Railroad
300 Tweetsie Railroad Lane
Blowing Rock, NC
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Sponsor: Tweetsie Railroad
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Drive 3.75 miles with 3.5 million lights. Every Thursday through Sunday, the indoor Christmas Village will include photos with Santa, children’s activities, a display of decorated Christmas...

Cost: $20-$30

Where:
Charlotte Motor Speedway
5555 Concord Pkwy. S.
Concord, NC
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The "New World" Symphony, fuses the music of  Bohemian roots with a fascinating new world full of new sounds.

Cost: $23

Where:
Belk Theater
130 N. Tryon St.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-972-2000
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Dive into these crustacean's habitats, learn crazy crabby facts, and face off with Crabzilla, the Japanese Spider Crab whose legs can span up to 15 feet.

Cost: $11-$20, includes museum admission, children younger than 2 free

Where:
SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
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Gently-used designer women's clothing and accessories. Tues., 9am-7pm; Wed., 11am-7pm (restocked with many new items); Thurs., 9am-7pm;  Fri., 9am-4pm; Sat., 9am-6pm (most items...

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Merino's Home Furnishings Warehouse
500 S. Main St.
Mooresville , NC
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Creepy Nature is designed to share the actual science of weird and unusual plants and animals. This exhibit features horror fiction concepts like vampires, zombies, mummies and alien invaders....

Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

Where:
Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
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Telephone: 704-866-6908
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See your favorite Christmas scenes, and hear your favorite songs during this holiday dinner theater experience. See website for showtimes.  No meal will be served at Sunday 2pm shows.

Cost: $9.50-$37

Where:
The NarroWay Theatre
3327 Hwy. 51 N.
Fort Mill, SC
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Telephone: 803-802-2300
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Uptown Charlotte’s outdoor ice rink returns to the NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza. Take a picture with the giant polar bear, under the tree or in the decorated Ceremonial Garden.

Cost: $12-$16

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame
400 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
, NC
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Sponsor: NASCAR Hall of Fame
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tapestries and rugs designed by artists usually associated with painting, sculpture, and architecture. Examples of the more familiar media will be installed alongside the textiles. The Bechtler...

Cost: $5-$9, Children younger than 10 free

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 South Tryon St.
, NC
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Visit the open-air ice skating rink located across from Fountain Park in Rock Hill. See website for operating hours.

Cost: $10, includes skate rental

Where:
Founders Holiday Ice Rink
205 Saluda St.
Rock Hill, SC
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Richard Childress Racing and the NASCAR Hall of Fame will launch an exhibit to honor the 50th anniversary of Richard Childress Racing using artifacts, race cars, images and audio/video displays.

Cost: $12-$25, children 2 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame
400 East Martin Luther King Blvd
, NC
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Kids can get creative in Block Party, the new interactive building exhibit for children.

Cost: $6-$7, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
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No one notices Brian until Justin arrives. This high-spirited musical will help us all discover the possibilities that begin with a simple act of kindness. See website for show times.

Cost: $16+

Where:
Wells Fargo Playhouse
300 E. 7th St.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-973-2828
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Showtime Theatre Company is proud to present our Middle-High School Youth Performance of "Disney’s Frozen Jr.," which brings Elsa, Anna, and the magical land of Arendelle to life,...

Cost: $10-$15

Where:
McCelvey Center's Lowrey Family Theatre
212 E. Jefferson St.
York, SC
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Studio Drift, founded by Dutch artists Ralph Nauta and Lonneke Gordijn, creates breathtaking sculptures that explore the relationship between humanity, nature and technology

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
, NC
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A Viking king of Britain who has decided to retire passes on the responsibilities of leadership to her daughters, but she cannot see that she has been deceived by them until it’s too late....

Cost: $15

Where:
Duke Energy Theater at Spirit Square
345 North College St.
, NC
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Sponsor: Free Reign Theatre Company

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Families are welcome every day at the Auto Show, but Saturday and Sunday will have special entertainment for kids, including Santa from noon-4pm. Thurs.-Fri., Noon-9pm; Sat., 10am-10pm; Sun.,...

Cost: $10, children ages 12 and younger free

Where:
Charlotte Convention Center
501 S. College St.
, NC
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The title, "Coined in the South," refers not only to The Mint Museum’s origins as the first branch of the United States Mint, but also to the acts of inventing and devising....

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
, NC
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Skate on the 5,000 square-foot ice rink. Guests can also enjoy holiday lights and decor; Santa’s Pub, a coffee shop, live music, surprise guests and festive activities.

Cost: $12-$17

Where:
Symphony Park at Southpark Mall
4400 Sharon Road
, NC
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Based on Ludwig Bemelman's classic, "Madeline's Christmas,"  this musical brings Miss Clavel and "12 little girls in two straight lines" to the Gaston School of the...

Cost: $10

Where:
Gaston School of the Arts
825 Union Road
Gastonia, NC
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See Santa Claus in his custom-built house on the Village Green. See website for schedule.

Cost: $20 for a 5×7 photo and $30 for a USB Stick with all photos

Where:
Blakeney Shopping Centers
9839 Rea Road
, NC
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Skate on an ice trail or free skate on 17,000 square feet of ice. Located in the Upper Pond of the Whitewater Center, the skating environment features three areas and an on-ice Airstream...

Cost: $20-$59

Where:
U.S. National Whitewater Center
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.
, NC
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Annual Guides

G.P.S. [Go.Play.See]

Your guide to raising kids in the Queen City, plus our 2019 Readers' Favorites for places to play, explore and learn with the kids.

Education Guide

A comprehensive guide to independent, private, charter and public schools in Cabarrus, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Union and York counties.
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