Family Medicine Choices: Concierge and Direct Primary Care

Health care gets personal — and goes 24/7


Published:

Photo courtesy Gpointstudio/Shutterstock.com

When Michelle Cardillo’s son, who is severely allergic to insect bites, was bitten by fire ants, she texted a photo of the bite marks to her pediatrician in Apex. Dr. Kimberly Ramsdell of Ramsdell Pediatrics called her back “immediately,” told her the child was not suffering from anaphylactic shock, and instructed her to give him Benadryl right away.

“Dr. Ramsdell texted me first thing next morning to ask how he was doing,” Cardillo says. “How many doctors do that?”

The answer is, not that many. But there are a few, and the number is growing. These are concierge or direct primary care doctors who provide the following services to a limited membership of patients for a monthly or yearly fee:

  • Same-day appointments
  • 24/7 availability by phone and text
  • Emergency after-hours appointments either in-home or at the office
  • No wait time in the office
  • Extensive and unhurried checkups and exams

Concierge and primary care doctors believe they are doing what all doctors want to do — provide patients with in-depth, attentive and, for the most part, proactive rather than reactive service. The reviews, unsurprisingly, are glowing.

A Closer Look at Concierge Care

For Vernon Menard of Charlotte, concierge medical care is a “non-negotiable no-brainer.” He and his wife are busy entrepreneurs who have a 5-year-old daughter and became members of Signature Healthcare, a concierge practice in Charlotte that opened this past June, for the convenience of same-day appointments and no-wait visits. The practice’s focused and unhurried appointments allowed the Menard’s doctor to really get to know them, spot a serious misdiagnosis and quickly address health scares, even when the Menards were conducting business in Peru.

Many people associate concierge care with extreme wealth. Certainly there are doctors like Dr. Howard Maron, who, in 1996, was one of the first to offer concierge care and currently charges patients a five-digit membership fee. A Jan. 14, 2009 Forbes magazine article reported that, at that time, Maron was charging individual patients an annual fee of $15,000 and a family of four $25,000 at his Bellevue, Washington, practice, MD2 (pronounced “MD squared”). But there are an increasing number of doctors who are offering similar services at much lower rates — typically around $1,500 per year.

Cardillo says the time she has saved not waiting in doctor’s offices, the trips to urgent care she has not had to make and the peace of mind she has about her family’s health “more than pays for a membership fee.”

A Variation: Direct Primary Care

Direct primary care, commonly referred to as DPC, is an increasingly popular variation of concierge care that has been called “concierge care for the masses.” The main difference is that concierge doctors accept insurance, while DPC doctors opt out of insurance coverage and require direct payment. By avoiding the overhead costs of billing, as well as the practice restrictions associated with insurance, DPC doctors are able to provide services at a reduced rate, with average memberships ranging from $25-$85 per month, according to a 2015 study by The DPC Journal.

Last year Dr. Amy Walsh opened “Doctor Direct,” a DPC practice in Raleigh. Her membership fees range from $50-$80 per month. Memberships for ages 5-19 are $15 per month. So a family with two parents and children could get full-service, concierge-style health care for $130-$190 per month.

“I have a plan with Dr. Amy,” says Lauren Lemke, whose youngest son has asthma. “When his breathing is going downhill, I text her and she says, ‘OK, I want to see him in an hour.’ And when my oldest son got a deep chest cold, Dr. Amy saw him on a Friday, and again on Sunday. On Monday she took an X-ray in her office — he had pneumonia.”

Walsh says this has been one of the most rewarding years of her 20-year career. “This is family practice at its finest, where the doctor and patient work as a team, and the doctor interacts with patients rather than a computer screen. Not a lot of people — doctors or patients — know about it yet, but it just makes so much sense.”

Walsh did some of her training with Dr. Brian Forrest, who runs Access Healthcare in Apex. He started using the direct care concept in 2001, and says only in the last few years has the model really caught on.

“It’s exploding,” he says. “There are thousands of practices across the country, with new ones showing up on Google Alert almost every day.” Since DPC was a new concept 15 years ago, this is a huge jump.

“I’ve got a patient who is homeless — it’s the only health coverage he can afford,” Forrest says. “And I’ve got a patient who is a multi-millionaire — it’s the only health coverage he has found that provides the level of attention he wants. I can provide them with the exact same level of care. Where else could I do that?”

Pediatric DPC for infants and toddlers is trickier because of the cost of immunizations. While DPC and concierge practices are able to dispense medicine at wholesale prices, the costs of immunizations are fixed and are typically covered by insurance. Thus, some DPC practices only offer services to children ages 5 and older. “It just doesn’t make financial sense for either the doctor or the parents to provide direct care to really young kids,” Walsh says.

Concierge practices, which work with insurance companies, don’t have the same limitations.

The Physician’s Perspective

Doctors are as enthusiastic about these alternative practices as patients.

Ramsdell started her concierge practice in 2016. She says she loves having unlimited time to work with families on whole-health issues.

“This practice has allowed me to keep updated by regular texts with a teenage patient being treated for depression,” she says. “And I’ve had time to research issues and have kept patients from having to see a specialist.”

This luxury of time markedly contrasts to other common pediatric practice experiences. Surveys featured in an August 2014 Wall Street Journal article suggest that increasing wait times — whether waiting days to set up appointments or hours waiting in offices — and decreasing appointment times (the national average hovers around 15 minutes for a checkup, according to the Wall Street Journal article) have led to patient and doctor dissatisfaction. A Kaiser Family Foundation/Commonwealth Fund 2015 national survey of primary care providers supports those findings.

“There’s a lot of physician burnout,” says Katherine Restrepo, Health Policy Analyst for the John Locke Foundation in Raleigh and a frequent contributor to Forbes magazine. “You get the sense from doctors that they are frustrated that they don’t have time to treat their patients holistically.”

Restrepo believes that by spending more time at the front-end, doctors can help patients manage their health care better by reducing risks and concentrating on lifestyle, enabling them to avoid unnecessary drugs and visits to specialists and emergency rooms.

“It is a wonderful experience to have that time with each patient,” says Dr. Laura Sinai, who opened Signature Healthcare in Charlotte. “For the first time, I’ve been able to incorporate all of the standards of care the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommends for a wellness visit. You cannot fit that into the 8-12 minutes you have with patients at a big practice.”

Sinai cited a recent study by the AAP that looked at how much time pediatricians spent talking with teen patients about sexual health and, she said, “all the millions of issues involved with that! And a great majority said ‘zero’ time. Those who squeezed it in? Forty seconds! And what about teens and driving safety? And nutrition? I could spend an hour on any of these topics. We all should.”

It can be difficult for patients to leave behind the comfort of a longtime physician and the regular habit of co-pays and specialist visits, but once they do, many doctors find that patients are pleased. Forrest says several of his new patients told him they learned about his practice at a Durham Bulls game.

“I was confused,” he says. “We don’t do any advertising with the Bulls.”

When he asked the patients, he was told there was a woman who stood up during the seventh-inning stretch. “She was passing out our business cards,” he says, “telling everyone that if they were done being treated like cattle at their doctors’ offices, it was time to save money, get healthy and try DPC.”

 

Concierge and Direct Primary Care Perks

Because doctor salaries are fully covered by membership fees, both concierge and DPC practices can afford to provide patients a few perks, such as:

  • In addition to 24/7 access and same-day appointments, many practices offer house calls to patients who need them at no extra charge.
  • Many practices dispense medication at wholesale prices from their offices. “We can provide prescriptions of Amoxicillin for $2 each,” says Dr. Brian Forrest, who runs a direct primary care practice, Access Healthcare, in Apex. “We wouldn’t need to charge our patients for an item that inexpensive — we would just consider it part of our overhead.”
  • Many practices are also able to provide a number of in-house procedures and tests, either for free or at reduced rates. These services may include X-rays, blood tests, urine tests and minor wound treatments such as stitches and lesion removals.
  • Doctors are able to spend time talking with patients about holistic health issues, such as social media use or sexual health with teen patients. Vernon Menard, a member of Signature Healthcare in Charlotte, says his daughter has not experienced any unusual health issues, but her wellness checkup was like nothing he had experienced before. “Dr. (Laura) Sinai went through questions I’d never thought of, like what kinds of food we eat. She knew we have a farm, so she asked about raw milk and suggested that we avoid raw milk and raw milk cheese with our daughter,” he says. “She asked about wildlife around the farm and suggested animals we might want to watch out for. She asked about firearms and gave us safety tips. That’s good stuff.”
  • Kids seem to like the personalized care as well. Since there isn’t a long wait, going to the doctor is less of a chore. They always see the same doctor and receptionist, and they appreciate the tech connection. If something isn’t right with their health, they can just take a photo and/or send a text to their doctor.

Potential Concierge and Direct Primary Care Drawbacks

  • Concierge and direct primary care are not substitutes for health insurance. The membership fee does not cover out-of-office visits to specialists, emergency room care, hospitalization, major surgery or high-tech diagnostic tests. A concierge doctor works with patients and insurance companies, so depending on a patient’s coverage, 50-80 percent of the overall costs may be recovered. A DPC provider does not work with insurance providers. All patients should have a high-deductible insurance plan to cover bigger health issues, in addition to their concierge care or DPC membership.
  • Does growth of concierge and direct primary care limit the pool of family practice doctors? Some critics say this type of care puts a further squeeze on the already limited number of family practice doctors available for patients, since membership-only doctors restrict the number of patients they take. However, doctors love it. Restrepo predicts that doctors who might have retired from exhaustion in their early 50s might choose to practice another 15 years as a concierge or DPC physician. Also, whereas physician interest in family practice work has decreased over the last 20 years, a recent 2016 Academy of Family Physicians medical residency match showed a sharp increase in primary care matching, attributed by many in the profession to an interest in DPC.
  • Barriers to entry. While concierge and DPC doctors say previous colleagues have expressed interest in joining these alternative practice models, it can be hard to leave a busy and familiar practice, no matter how unfulfilling it might be, for something new and uncertain. “Ninety percent of doctors I know are really interested, but they’re terrified to try it,” says Dr. Kimberly Ramsdell of Ramsdell Pediatrics in Apex. This means there are not that many out there yet, with only 22 DPC offices in North Carolina so far. (For an interactive map of DPC offices, go to dpcfrontier.com/mapper.)

Caitlin Wheeler is a freelance writer living in Durham.

 

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View map »


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More information

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See the Cabarrus Arts Council's newest exhibition, "On Paper." The exhibition will feature a wide array of artwork including cut and sculpted paper, collage and works on paper by...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Galleries
65 Union St. S.
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The traveling exhibition, constructed with breathtaking architectural detail and accuracy features towers built out of LEGO bricks. Admire the skyscrapers and learn about their cultural...

Cost: $18-$22

Where:
Discovery Place Science
301 N. Tryon St.
, 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

A wave of creativity is hitting SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord for a limited time with the LEGO Sea Explorers event. Even will feature interactive stations, LEGO freebies on weekends and an underwater...

Cost: $14-$22, children 2 and younger free, included in general admission

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


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Guests will be mesmerized this summer by dozens of vibrant sculptures by Seattle-based artist Jason Gamrath including towering 10-foot orchids, vivid pitcher plants, energetic Venus flytraps and...

Cost: $8-$15, children younger than 2 free, includes garden admission

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


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage, this exhibit will look at the lives of Kings Mountain women in the past and present to explore the differences the women have made...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Kings Mountain Historical Museum
Website »

More information

See a special performance of Hugo's All Star Reader show. Board the bus, and take home a free book. Sign up at Community Room door.

Cost: Free

Where:
Steele Creek Library
13620 Steele Creek Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Join the Gaston County Public Library as the Schiele Museum staff present the “Animals in the Stars” using live animals!

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Gaston County Public Library
Website »

More information

Journey into the past and explore the time of the dinosaurs with hands-on activities and fossil investigations. Registration is required.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Learn all about raptors at ImaginOn. Tickets are free but required.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Learn how to minimize the tough days and maximize the good days for your child at home and school. Learn to thrive, not survive, with ADHD.

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Better Brain and Body
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

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

Registered kids receive two free games of bowling each day of the Kids Bowl Free summer program. Bowl at 10 Park Lanes in Charlotte. George Pappas' Liberty Lanes of Gastonia, Spare Time in...

Cost: Free

Where:
10 Park Lanes
1700 Montford Drive
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $8

Where:
BounceU (Matthews and Charlotte locations)
9129 Monroe Road
Ste. 145-150
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Swim in the cool, deep water at Carrigan Farms Quarry. Ages 11 and under must wear a life jacket at all times in the water. Anyone 12 and older are eligible to take the swim test. Bring your rod...

Cost: $15, cash or check only

Where:
The Quarry at Carrigan Farms
1213 Oak Ridge Farm Hwy.
Mooresville, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Carrigan Farms
Telephone: 704-664-1450
Website »

More information

Reserve your spot at Open Bounce, a play session for children of all ages.

Cost: $11

Where:
BounceU
9129 Monroe Road
Ste. 145-150
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Come for singing, dancing and Imagination Playground creativity!

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

This class combines yoga and play 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

Discover the world of science through books and hands on activities. Register online.

Cost: Free

Where:
Sugar Creek Library
4045 N. Tryon St.
Suite A
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The Bojangles’ Summer Shootout provides up-and-coming drivers with valuable experience in Legend Cars and Bandoleros on Charlotte’s frontstretch quarter-mile oval. Gates open at 5...

Cost: $8; free for children 13 and younger

Where:
Charlotte Motor Speedway
5555 Concord Pkwy. S.
Concord, 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

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

"Welcome to Brookhill" is a collection of images that, like poetry, stir emotion. The photographs reveal what this neighborhood, like every other neighborhood, has come to be to its...

Cost: $7-$9, Children 5 and younger free

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


Website »

More information

Have a silly play date at the latest exhibit at ImaginOn. Designed to develop school readiness and academic skills for young children, Mr. Potato Head leads visitors on adventures ranging from...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Exhibit explores the 1929 Loray Mill Strike, including why strikers chose to organize with the National Textile Workers Union (NTWU) and how the strike influenced mills across the country. The...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gaston County Museum of Art and History
131 West Main St.
Dallas, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

See the Cabarrus Arts Council's newest exhibition, "On Paper." The exhibition will feature a wide array of artwork including cut and sculpted paper, collage and works on paper by...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Galleries
65 Union St. S.
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The traveling exhibition, constructed with breathtaking architectural detail and accuracy features towers built out of LEGO bricks. Admire the skyscrapers and learn about their cultural...

Cost: $18-$22

Where:
Discovery Place Science
301 N. Tryon St.
, 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

Discover the intriguing lives of nocturnal animals. This hands-on, family-friendly exhibit delves into dark environments and brings to light the unique animals and plants that live there. Visitors...

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

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


Website »

More information

A wave of creativity is hitting SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord for a limited time with the LEGO Sea Explorers event. Even will feature interactive stations, LEGO freebies on weekends and an underwater...

Cost: $14-$22, children 2 and younger free, included in general admission

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


Website »

More information

This exhibition presents an array of genres and features work by six represented artists, Eduardo Cardozo, Juan Dolhare, Carlos Estévez, José Luis Landet, Santiago Quesnel and...

Cost: Free

Where:
LaCa Projects
1429 Bryant St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Guests will be mesmerized this summer by dozens of vibrant sculptures by Seattle-based artist Jason Gamrath including towering 10-foot orchids, vivid pitcher plants, energetic Venus flytraps and...

Cost: $8-$15, children younger than 2 free, includes garden admission

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


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage, this exhibit will look at the lives of Kings Mountain women in the past and present to explore the differences the women have made...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Kings Mountain Historical Museum
Website »

More information

The ballpark is turned into a water park for the day. Festivities start at 10am with water slide, water balloons, water guns, water games, inflatables and more. Game begins at noon.

Cost: $8-$10, children 3 and younger free

Where:
Sims Park
1001 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The Museum’s historic houses will be open to tour, and crafts and historic games will be outside.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

The puppet show will include literacy, hilarity and hijinks.

Cost: Free

Where:
Hickory Grove Library
5935 Hickory Grove Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Learn about insects and explore creepy crawlies with this program by Parks and Rec. Registration is required.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

The peformance is part science, part magic, part math and part entertainment.

Cost: Free

Where:
South County Regional Library
5801 Rea Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Explore photography with photographer, Todd Youngblood. Registration is required.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

The whole family can play beach ball volleyball,  capture the flag, relay races and more.

Cost: Free

Where:
HC Nesbit Park
1304 H C Nesbit Park Road
Waxhaw, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Try out a new project every Wednesday night in June. This Wednesday learn how to paint a gem.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Certified technicians will check and help families install car seats. No appointment necessary. Bring your vehicle, seat and if possible the child for the most assistance. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Matthews Police Department
1201 Crews Road
Matthews, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Registered kids receive two free games of bowling each day of the Kids Bowl Free summer program. Bowl at 10 Park Lanes in Charlotte. George Pappas' Liberty Lanes of Gastonia, Spare Time in...

Cost: Free

Where:
10 Park Lanes
1700 Montford Drive
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Spend time with your child learning about God and having fun.

Cost: Free

Where:
The Grounds Bookstore and Cafe
8335 Browne Road
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: The Grounds Bookstore and Cafe
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $8

Where:
BounceU (Matthews and Charlotte locations)
9129 Monroe Road
Ste. 145-150
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Swim in the cool, deep water at Carrigan Farms Quarry. Ages 11 and under must wear a life jacket at all times in the water. Anyone 12 and older are eligible to take the swim test. Bring your rod...

Cost: $15, cash or check only

Where:
The Quarry at Carrigan Farms
1213 Oak Ridge Farm Hwy.
Mooresville, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Carrigan Farms
Telephone: 704-664-1450
Website »

More information

Reserve your spot at Open Bounce, a play session for children of all ages.

Cost: $11

Where:
BounceU
9129 Monroe Road
Ste. 145-150
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Meet at The Museum of York County on Wednesday mornings to explore and investigate natural history topics with new exhibits, guest speakers and staff led activities. The museum will host two...

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 & Noble: Morrison Place
4020 Sharon Road
, 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

Drop off the kids for an evening with The Jolly Lollies. There will be creative play, sing-alongs, dance parties, pizza and a movie.

Cost: $45, $20 for additional sibling

Where:
Suffolk Punch
2911 Griffith St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Party in Romare Bearden Park! May 15: Steve Owens and Summertime May 29: Gary Lowder and Smokin' Hot June 12: Hip Pocket June 26: The Entertainers July 10: Randy Clay Band...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Charlotte Ballet's Cultural Dance Program presents African Dance classes. Classes are drop-in format, open to all ages and free of charge for participants. There is also child supervision...

Cost: Free

Where:
Sugar Creek Recreation Center
943 West Sugar Creek Road
, 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

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

Featuring more than 50 international artists and more than 100 works of art, Under Construction explores the growth of the collage technique and aesthetic in the work of Romare Bearden and his...

Cost: $15-$6; Free for children 4 and younger; Included in admission

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


Website »

More information

"Welcome to Brookhill" is a collection of images that, like poetry, stir emotion. The photographs reveal what this neighborhood, like every other neighborhood, has come to be to its...

Cost: $7-$9, Children 5 and younger free

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


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

Never Abandon Imagination showcases nearly 100 original works, featuring illustrations from "Dungeons and Dragons, Magic: The Gathering," and Tony DiTerlizzi’s many fantasy and...

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

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


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

Have a silly play date at the latest exhibit at ImaginOn. Designed to develop school readiness and academic skills for young children, Mr. Potato Head leads visitors on adventures ranging from...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Exhibit explores the 1929 Loray Mill Strike, including why strikers chose to organize with the National Textile Workers Union (NTWU) and how the strike influenced mills across the country. The...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gaston County Museum of Art and History
131 West Main St.
Dallas, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This modest exhibition presents twenty works created over four decades by seventeen artists from six different nations. Yet all of them, regardless of their style, form, material or subject proved...

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

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. 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

See the Cabarrus Arts Council's newest exhibition, "On Paper." The exhibition will feature a wide array of artwork including cut and sculpted paper, collage and works on paper by...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Galleries
65 Union St. S.
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The traveling exhibition, constructed with breathtaking architectural detail and accuracy features towers built out of LEGO bricks. Admire the skyscrapers and learn about their cultural...

Cost: $18-$22

Where:
Discovery Place Science
301 N. Tryon St.
, 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

Discover the intriguing lives of nocturnal animals. This hands-on, family-friendly exhibit delves into dark environments and brings to light the unique animals and plants that live there. Visitors...

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

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


Website »

More information

Children will engage their brains by learning about various important aspects of the garden landscape. Parent or guardian attendance and preregistration are required. June 12: Herbs June...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pike Nurseries
Ballantyne, Lake Norman and Matthews Locations
12630 N. Community House Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

A wave of creativity is hitting SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord for a limited time with the LEGO Sea Explorers event. Even will feature interactive stations, LEGO freebies on weekends and an underwater...

Cost: $14-$22, children 2 and younger free, included in general admission

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


Website »

More information

This exhibition presents an array of genres and features work by six represented artists, Eduardo Cardozo, Juan Dolhare, Carlos Estévez, José Luis Landet, Santiago Quesnel and...

Cost: Free

Where:
LaCa Projects
1429 Bryant St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Guests will be mesmerized this summer by dozens of vibrant sculptures by Seattle-based artist Jason Gamrath including towering 10-foot orchids, vivid pitcher plants, energetic Venus flytraps and...

Cost: $8-$15, children younger than 2 free, includes garden admission

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


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

Celebrate summer with a bilingual storytime, face painting, programs for teens and adults, refreshments, and more.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage, this exhibit will look at the lives of Kings Mountain women in the past and present to explore the differences the women have made...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Kings Mountain Historical Museum
Website »

More information

Listen to a dinosaur story and frost a cupcake.

Cost: $6 per child

Where:
SAS Cupcakes
9941 Rea Road
Suite C
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Special guest, Donna Pruett will perform with music, magic and balloons.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

This 45-minute puppet show is based on stories from children's picture books.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

The performance is part science, part math, part magic and part entertainment.

Cost: Free

Where:
Cornelius Library
21105 Catawba Ave.
Cornelius, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Join the library for a special showing of a popular movie.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

The Jolly Lollies will present a fun, interactive musical performance.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Learn how to protect yourself from aliens through games of skill and strength. Registration required.

Cost: Free

Where:
Fort Mill Public Library
1818 2nd Baxter Crossing
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Join Al Bigley as he showcases his art for firms like Marvel Comics and Disney. Explore cartooning and graphic design. Registration is required.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Register to create fun hands-on science experiments.

Cost: Free

Where:
Main Library Rock Hill
138 E. Black St.
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Come for a kids’ zone, food trucks and live music from Coming up Brass and DJ, Brian Wilson.

Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Mount Holly
400 E. Central Ave.
Mount Holly, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Dance the night away with Best Buddies North Carolina, The Down Syndrome Association of Greater Charlotte and The Exceptional Foundation of Charlotte. Enjoy an evening of music, refreshments and...

Where:
The Exceptional Foundation of Charlotte
501 N. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Witness Latta's nightlife take flight while searching for fire flies. Fire-fly safe headlamps will be provided for the hike. Meet at the Horse Trailer Parking Lot.

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Latta Nature Center
Website »

More information

During a 30-minute time slot you and your child will explore art materials and processes with our early childhood educators in the enclosed picnic area. Wear clothes that can get messy or stained....

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 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

Registered kids receive two free games of bowling each day of the Kids Bowl Free summer program. Bowl at 10 Park Lanes in Charlotte. George Pappas' Liberty Lanes of Gastonia, Spare Time in...

Cost: Free

Where:
10 Park Lanes
1700 Montford Drive
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $8

Where:
BounceU (Matthews and Charlotte locations)
9129 Monroe Road
Ste. 145-150
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Swim in the cool, deep water at Carrigan Farms Quarry. Ages 11 and under must wear a life jacket at all times in the water. Anyone 12 and older are eligible to take the swim test. Bring your rod...

Cost: $15, cash or check only

Where:
The Quarry at Carrigan Farms
1213 Oak Ridge Farm Hwy.
Mooresville, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Carrigan Farms
Telephone: 704-664-1450
Website »

More information

This class incorporates songs and movement and ends with a calming story.

Cost: $15

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


Sponsor: Tiny Blooms Yoga
Website »

More information

Reserve your spot at Open Bounce, a play session for children of all ages.

Cost: $11

Where:
BounceU
9129 Monroe Road
Ste. 145-150
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Explore the world through stories, crafts and activities.

Cost: Free

Where:
Charlotte Preparatory School
212 Boyce Road
, NC
View map »

More information

This summer series offers music, children's activities, local craft vendors and a farmers market. Market opens at 5 p.m., live music starts at 6p.m.

Cost: Free

Where:
The Historic White Home
258 E. White St.
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Hear music at the greenway every Thursday in June, July and August. Bring chairs, blankets, and money for food trucks, beer, wine and sodas. See website for the food truck and band lineup, as well...

Cost: $5 per person (free for members); $5 per car for parking

Where:
Anne Springs Close Greenway
291 Dairy Barn Ln.
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Bring a lawn chair or blanket and cozy up for some outside entertainment. Drinks, popcorn, candy available for purchase. Movies start 5-15 minutes after sunset. April 18: “Spiderman: Into...

Cost: Free

Where:
Veterans Park
Main Street and Maxwell Street
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

On Thursday evenings, starting June 6 through August 29, listen to live music at Blakeney Shopping Center.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

River Jam brings live musical performances to the world’s largest man-made whitewater river. See website for information about River Jam Run, open water swim, big water sessions, yoga and...

Cost: Free, $6 for parkig

Where:
U.S. National Whitewater Center
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.
, 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

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

Featuring more than 50 international artists and more than 100 works of art, Under Construction explores the growth of the collage technique and aesthetic in the work of Romare Bearden and his...

Cost: $15-$6; Free for children 4 and younger; Included in admission

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


Website »

More information

"Welcome to Brookhill" is a collection of images that, like poetry, stir emotion. The photographs reveal what this neighborhood, like every other neighborhood, has come to be to its...

Cost: $7-$9, Children 5 and younger free

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


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

Never Abandon Imagination showcases nearly 100 original works, featuring illustrations from "Dungeons and Dragons, Magic: The Gathering," and Tony DiTerlizzi’s many fantasy and...

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

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


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

ABBA's hits tell the hilarious story of a young woman's search for her birth father. On the eve of her wedding, a daughter's quest to discover her father brings in three men from her...

Cost: $12-$29

Where:
Duke Family Performance Hall
207 Faculty Drive
Davidson, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Have a silly play date at the latest exhibit at ImaginOn. Designed to develop school readiness and academic skills for young children, Mr. Potato Head leads visitors on adventures ranging from...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Exhibit explores the 1929 Loray Mill Strike, including why strikers chose to organize with the National Textile Workers Union (NTWU) and how the strike influenced mills across the country. The...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gaston County Museum of Art and History
131 West Main St.
Dallas, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This modest exhibition presents twenty works created over four decades by seventeen artists from six different nations. Yet all of them, regardless of their style, form, material or subject proved...

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

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. 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

See the Cabarrus Arts Council's newest exhibition, "On Paper." The exhibition will feature a wide array of artwork including cut and sculpted paper, collage and works on paper by...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Galleries
65 Union St. S.
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Bring the kids to watch the family musical!

Cost: $10-$15, lap children free

Where:
The Charles Mack Citizen Center
215 North Main
Mooresville, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Mooresville Community Children's Theatre
Telephone: 704-662-3334
Website »

More information

The traveling exhibition, constructed with breathtaking architectural detail and accuracy features towers built out of LEGO bricks. Admire the skyscrapers and learn about their cultural...

Cost: $18-$22

Where:
Discovery Place Science
301 N. Tryon St.
, 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

Discover the intriguing lives of nocturnal animals. This hands-on, family-friendly exhibit delves into dark environments and brings to light the unique animals and plants that live there. Visitors...

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

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


Website »

More information

A wave of creativity is hitting SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord for a limited time with the LEGO Sea Explorers event. Even will feature interactive stations, LEGO freebies on weekends and an underwater...

Cost: $14-$22, children 2 and younger free, included in general admission

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


Website »

More information

This exhibition presents an array of genres and features work by six represented artists, Eduardo Cardozo, Juan Dolhare, Carlos Estévez, José Luis Landet, Santiago Quesnel and...

Cost: Free

Where:
LaCa Projects
1429 Bryant St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Guests will be mesmerized this summer by dozens of vibrant sculptures by Seattle-based artist Jason Gamrath including towering 10-foot orchids, vivid pitcher plants, energetic Venus flytraps and...

Cost: $8-$15, children younger than 2 free, includes garden admission

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


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

Drop kids off to create red, white and blue hats and star-spangled wavers.

Cost: $18-$35

Where:
Kidcreate Studio
636 Crown Pointe Lane
Suite 101
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Discover the nature of Charlotte's greenways and their importance to the environment. Please bring water and closed toed shoes, and be prepared to walk up to three miles.

Cost: Free

Where:
Reedy Creek Nature Preserve
2900 Rocky River Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage, this exhibit will look at the lives of Kings Mountain women in the past and present to explore the differences the women have made...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Kings Mountain Historical Museum
Website »

More information

Homeschooling families are invited to bring history to life through hands-on activities.

Cost: $6 per student, adults free

Where:
Fort Dobbs
438 Fort Dobbs Road
Statesville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Participate in educational and therapeutic activities for children with special needs with Little Achievers, a sub group of the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Charlotte.

Cost: Free

Where:
South County Regional Library
5801 Rea Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Bring your lunch and a blanket to watch a movie at the library.

Cost: Free

Where:
Davidson Library
119 S. Main St.
Davidson, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Bring your lunch and a blanket to watch a movie at the library.

Cost: Free

Where:
Cornelius Library
21105 Catawba Ave.
Cornelius, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Let the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra entertain you with two concerts in Uptown. June 8: “The Music of Queen” June 28: “Video Games Live”

Cost: $19-$99

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


Website »

More information

Music from the greatest video games of all time will be performed live.

Cost: $19+

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


Sponsor: Charlotte Symphony
Website »

More information

Registered kids receive two free games of bowling each day of the Kids Bowl Free summer program. Bowl at 10 Park Lanes in Charlotte. George Pappas' Liberty Lanes of Gastonia, Spare Time in...

Cost: Free

Where:
10 Park Lanes
1700 Montford Drive
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $8

Where:
BounceU (Matthews and Charlotte locations)
9129 Monroe Road
Ste. 145-150
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Reserve your spot at Open Bounce, a play session for children of all ages.

Cost: $11

Where:
BounceU
9129 Monroe Road
Ste. 145-150
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy a round of mini golf for $5 per person until 5pm.

Cost: $5, free for children 4 and younger

Where:
Mr. Putty's Fun Park
2333 Dam Road
Tega Cay, 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

Kids will learn some basic yoga positions that go along with the story.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes and Noble - Birkdale Village
8725 Townley Road
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Explore Black Contemporary Art in these family-friendly daytime workshops. Morning workshop for ages 6 to 18 will begin at 11 a.m. Afternoon Workshop for all ages will begin at 2 p.m. June...

Cost: $5

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


Website »

More information

Make a unique project out of clay that will last a lifetime. Projects will be taken back to Clayworks to be fired and glazed before being returned to Grier Heights Community Center for pickup.

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 980-498-1487
Website »

More information

Starting in May and running through October, come out to Camp North End in the Boileryard on Friday nights for food and music. Children and leashed pets welcome!

Cost: Free

Where:
Boileryard at Camp North End
1824 Statesville Ave.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Matthews presents food trucks, kids' activities, craft beer and wine, and weekly bands.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

View the website for band schedule. DJ spins at 6 p.m. Bands play at 7 p.m. May 17 and 31, June 14 and 28, July 12 and 26, and August 10.

Cost: Free

Where:
Rotary Pavilion
107 N. South St.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Come listen to music every Friday and Saturday throughout the summer, except June 21, which is Movie on the Green.

Cost: Free

Where:
The Green at Promenade on Providence
corner of Providence Road and Interstate 485
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Celebrate 20 years of music at Stonecrest with weekly family fun.

Cost: Free

Where:
Stonecrest Shopping Center
7900 Rea Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Join Birkdale Village for live music every Friday and Saturday night from June 1 to August 31. Bring a chair or a blanket.

Cost: Free

Where:
Birkdale Village
8712 Lindholm Drive
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

River Jam brings live musical performances to the world’s largest man-made whitewater river. See website for information about River Jam Run, open water swim, big water sessions, yoga and...

Cost: Free, $6 for parkig

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


Website »

More information

Grab a blanket or chair for the water ski show! Parking at Windjammer Park is free for the show.

Cost: Free

Where:
Windjammer Park
89999 Windjammer Drive
Tega Cay, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Bring a chair or a blanket, and enjoy food trucks or a picnic. "Rec in a Box," which brings  activities such as sports equipment, art and education supplies, bicycles and more to the...

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Fountain Park, Old Town Rock Hill
300 E. Main St.
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy a variety of programming and activities, including a host of speakers and interactive workshops, creative arts, open gym, sports and fitness, swimming, and a meal.

Cost: Free

Where:
Stratford Richardson YMCA
1946 West Blvd.
(Also Keith Family YMCA, McCrorey Family YMCA, Simmons YMCA)
, 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

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

Featuring more than 50 international artists and more than 100 works of art, Under Construction explores the growth of the collage technique and aesthetic in the work of Romare Bearden and his...

Cost: $15-$6; Free for children 4 and younger; Included in admission

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


Website »

More information

"Welcome to Brookhill" is a collection of images that, like poetry, stir emotion. The photographs reveal what this neighborhood, like every other neighborhood, has come to be to its...

Cost: $7-$9, Children 5 and younger free

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


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

Never Abandon Imagination showcases nearly 100 original works, featuring illustrations from "Dungeons and Dragons, Magic: The Gathering," and Tony DiTerlizzi’s many fantasy and...

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

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


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

ABBA's hits tell the hilarious story of a young woman's search for her birth father. On the eve of her wedding, a daughter's quest to discover her father brings in three men from her...

Cost: $12-$29

Where:
Duke Family Performance Hall
207 Faculty Drive
Davidson, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Have a silly play date at the latest exhibit at ImaginOn. Designed to develop school readiness and academic skills for young children, Mr. Potato Head leads visitors on adventures ranging from...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Exhibit explores the 1929 Loray Mill Strike, including why strikers chose to organize with the National Textile Workers Union (NTWU) and how the strike influenced mills across the country. The...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gaston County Museum of Art and History
131 West Main St.
Dallas, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This modest exhibition presents twenty works created over four decades by seventeen artists from six different nations. Yet all of them, regardless of their style, form, material or subject proved...

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

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. 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

See the Cabarrus Arts Council's newest exhibition, "On Paper." The exhibition will feature a wide array of artwork including cut and sculpted paper, collage and works on paper by...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Galleries
65 Union St. S.
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Bring the kids to watch the family musical!

Cost: $10-$15, lap children free

Where:
The Charles Mack Citizen Center
215 North Main
Mooresville, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Mooresville Community Children's Theatre
Telephone: 704-662-3334
Website »

More information

The traveling exhibition, constructed with breathtaking architectural detail and accuracy features towers built out of LEGO bricks. Admire the skyscrapers and learn about their cultural...

Cost: $18-$22

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


Website »

More information

The story of this great Apache leader comes to life and is a triumphant story of hope and healing that transcends time.

Cost: $10-$37

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


Sponsor: NarroWay Productions
Telephone: 803-802-2300
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

Discover the intriguing lives of nocturnal animals. This hands-on, family-friendly exhibit delves into dark environments and brings to light the unique animals and plants that live there. Visitors...

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

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


Website »

More information

A wave of creativity is hitting SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord for a limited time with the LEGO Sea Explorers event. Even will feature interactive stations, LEGO freebies on weekends and an underwater...

Cost: $14-$22, children 2 and younger free, included in general admission

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


Website »

More information

This exhibition presents an array of genres and features work by six represented artists, Eduardo Cardozo, Juan Dolhare, Carlos Estévez, José Luis Landet, Santiago Quesnel and...

Cost: Free

Where:
LaCa Projects
1429 Bryant St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Guests will be mesmerized this summer by dozens of vibrant sculptures by Seattle-based artist Jason Gamrath including towering 10-foot orchids, vivid pitcher plants, energetic Venus flytraps and...

Cost: $8-$15, children younger than 2 free, includes garden admission

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


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

Come for reenactment groups, military vehicles and weapons of war. Once night falls, enjoy music, food vendors, trackless train rides and a fireworks show! Fireworks show is free and open to the...

Cost: $4-$12, children 2 and younger free

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


Website »

More information

Develop and improve physical and mental health through bike riding and socializing with peers.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Dress to get messy while creating nature-inspired art. Programs from 9:30am-noon and 1-3:30pm.

Cost: $6

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


Website »

More information

Come for carnival games, dog show, pony rides, fishing contest and 20 charities with booths and activities.

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Why Not An American Ark
3224 Medlin Road
Monroe, NC
View map »

More information

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage, this exhibit will look at the lives of Kings Mountain women in the past and present to explore the differences the women have made...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Kings Mountain Historical Museum
Website »

More information

Historic interpreters representing the Rowan County militia will display military camp life and musket firing demonstrations.

Cost: Free, $2 suggested donation

Where:
Fort Dobbs
438 Fort Dobbs Road
Statesville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Come for family activities, games, giveaways and live music on hte patio. Ten percent of sales will benefit Greater Matthews Habitat for Humanity.

Cost: Free

Where:
City Barbeque Matthews
1514 Galleria Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Expo presents vendors of things weird, creepy and unusual.

Cost: $10, children 12 and younger free

Where:
Cabarrus Arena & Events Center
4751 Highway 49 N.
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Debunk common myths about native and exotic animals. Learn all about strange and creepy creatures and meet some of them in person.

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

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


Website »

More information

Fans of all ages can see a demo of new interactive Toy Story toys, enjoy giveaways and more while supplies last.

Cost: Free

Where:
Target Stores (all Charlotte area locations)
900 Metropolitan Ave.
Suite 2
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Get your feet wet learning about animals who call the creek home.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Take a guided kayak tour to learn about the early civilizations on the river, moonlit moonshine runs and the train at the bottom of the water. Tours are free if you bring your own kayak.

Cost: $25

Where:
Gaston County Museum
131 W. Main St.
Dallas, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Some of pop music’s most enduring legends are the great vocal bands, great singers with irresistible harmonies. Hear this a cappella collaboration perform. Shows at 3 and 8 p.m.

Cost: $20

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


Website »

More information

Main Street will be alive with shopping, music, food and beverages and Fort Mill fun! Food trucks include Cibi Cibi, Mysausagebuddy, The Improper Pig's Oinker and Kona Ice Fort Mill.

Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Fort Mill
Main Street
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Parmalee will perform prior to the largest fireworks display in the event’s history. Music starts at 5 p.m.

Cost: Free

Where:
East Lincoln High School
6471 NC-73
Denver, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

At 5pm, the Freedom Float Group Paddle begins, and at 6pm, enjoy live music, food trucks, vendors, lawn games and a kids’ craft area. Fireworks light the sky at approximately 9:15pm.

Cost: Free

Where:
Cramerton Centennial Center
Cramerton, NC


Website »

More information

Guests can enjoy live music, trivia, face painting, balloon art and more at North Carolina’s premier outlet shopping center! “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” will begin at dusk.

Cost: Free

Where:
Charlotte Premium Outlets
5404 New Fashion Way
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Come play with your kids at My Gym! Parent participation is required. Parents wear socks; children go barefoot.

Cost: $10 per child

Where:
My Gym Southpark
5110 Park Road
2D
, 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 (Pineville and Charlotte locations)
10200 Centrum Pkwy.
Pineville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Paddle the edges of McDowell Nature Preserve with certified instructors while enjoying nature. Children ages five to nine are required to be in a tandem with an adult. Registration is required.

Cost: $20 single, $25 tandem

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


Website »

More information

Join this family-friendly open art session where your little Picasso can shine! Each week will be different activities including easel painting, sensory stations and themed art projects.

Cost: $10

Where:
Noah's Art of Southpark
5110 Park Road
2C
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Noah's Art of Southpark
Website »

More information

Beginners and seasoned yogis are invited to practice. Please bring a mat and water bottle.

Cost: $5, additional $5 for parking

Where:
Anne Springs Close Greenway
291 Dairy Barn Lane
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Meet some of Charlotte’s very own canine heroes while celebrating opening day of Discovery Place's new IMAX movie, "Superpower Dogs." See Southeastern Guide Dogs, the...

Cost: $15-$19, children younger than 2 free, included in admission

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


Website »

More information

Meet a resident bird and an expert keeper in these half-hour sessions along the Raptor Trail. Saturdays 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., and Sundays 1 and 3 p.m.

Cost: $8-$12, children 3 and younger free

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


Sponsor: Carolina Raptor Center
Website »

More information

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
View map »


Telephone: 980-430-4587
Website »

More information

The professional 3-on-3 basketball league founded by producer, actor, and music legend Ice Cube and entertainment executive Jeff Kwatinetz is coming to Charlotte.

Cost: $34+

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


Website »

More information

Learn about vultures found at Carolina Raptor Center.

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 »


Website »

More information

Learn about birds of prey, and watch them showcase their natural behaviors. Witness the silent flight of owls, walk with a seriema, recycle with a raven or even stroll with a vulture! Price...

Cost: $28-$32

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


Sponsor: Carolina Raptor Center
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Sit, stand or lay atop of the water, and enjoy the sights of nature. All equipment is provided; registration is required.

Cost: $25

Where:
McDowell Nature Preserve
15222 York Road
, NC
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Each month will have different giveaways and themes. Furry pals are invited to relax on the patio area. Event will benefit Humane Society of Charlotte. Pet friendly stores in Rea Farms will have...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fuzzy’s Taco Shop
9805 Sandy Rock Pl.
Unit 8
, NC
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Come listen to music every Friday and Saturday throughout the summer, except June 21, which is Movie on the Green.

Cost: Free

Where:
The Green at Promenade on Providence
corner of Providence Road and Interstate 485
, NC
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Celebrate 20 years of music at Stonecrest with weekly family fun.

Cost: Free

Where:
Stonecrest Shopping Center
7900 Rea Road
, NC
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Join Birkdale Village for live music every Friday and Saturday night from June 1 to August 31. Bring a chair or a blanket.

Cost: Free

Where:
Birkdale Village
8712 Lindholm Drive
Huntersville, NC
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River Jam brings live musical performances to the world’s largest man-made whitewater river. See website for information about River Jam Run, open water swim, big water sessions, yoga and...

Cost: Free, $6 for parkig

Where:
U.S. National Whitewater Center
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.
, NC
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Listen to live music, and after some of the concerts, stick around for fireworks! Check website for fireworks schedule.     June 1: Sawyer Brown     June 15: Too...

Cost: Free

Where:
Village Park
700 West C St.
Kannapolis, NC
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Enjoy a variety of programming and activities, including a host of speakers and interactive workshops, creative arts, open gym, sports and fitness, swimming, and a meal.

Cost: Free

Where:
Stratford Richardson YMCA
1946 West Blvd.
(Also Keith Family YMCA, McCrorey Family YMCA, Simmons YMCA)
, NC
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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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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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Featuring more than 50 international artists and more than 100 works of art, Under Construction explores the growth of the collage technique and aesthetic in the work of Romare Bearden and his...

Cost: $15-$6; Free for children 4 and younger; Included in admission

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 South Tryon St.
, NC
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"Welcome to Brookhill" is a collection of images that, like poetry, stir emotion. The photographs reveal what this neighborhood, like every other neighborhood, has come to be to its...

Cost: $7-$9, Children 5 and younger free

Where:
The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Culture
551 S. Tryon St.
, NC
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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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Never Abandon Imagination showcases nearly 100 original works, featuring illustrations from "Dungeons and Dragons, Magic: The Gathering," and Tony DiTerlizzi’s many fantasy and...

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

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
, NC
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Telephone: 704-337-2000
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ABBA's hits tell the hilarious story of a young woman's search for her birth father. On the eve of her wedding, a daughter's quest to discover her father brings in three men from her...

Cost: $12-$29

Where:
Duke Family Performance Hall
207 Faculty Drive
Davidson, NC
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Have a silly play date at the latest exhibit at ImaginOn. Designed to develop school readiness and academic skills for young children, Mr. Potato Head leads visitors on adventures ranging from...

Cost: Free

Where:
ImaginOn: The Joe & Joan Martin Center
300 E. 7th St.
, NC
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Exhibit explores the 1929 Loray Mill Strike, including why strikers chose to organize with the National Textile Workers Union (NTWU) and how the strike influenced mills across the country. The...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gaston County Museum of Art and History
131 West Main St.
Dallas, NC
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This modest exhibition presents twenty works created over four decades by seventeen artists from six different nations. Yet all of them, regardless of their style, form, material or subject proved...

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

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
, NC
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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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Bring the kids to watch the family musical!

Cost: $10-$15, lap children free

Where:
The Charles Mack Citizen Center
215 North Main
Mooresville, NC
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Sponsor: Mooresville Community Children's Theatre
Telephone: 704-662-3334
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The traveling exhibition, constructed with breathtaking architectural detail and accuracy features towers built out of LEGO bricks. Admire the skyscrapers and learn about their cultural...

Cost: $18-$22

Where:
Discovery Place Science
301 N. Tryon St.
, NC
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The story of this great Apache leader comes to life and is a triumphant story of hope and healing that transcends time.

Cost: $10-$37

Where:
NarroWay Theatre
3327 Hwy 51
Fort Mill, SC  29715
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Sponsor: NarroWay Productions
Telephone: 803-802-2300
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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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Discover the intriguing lives of nocturnal animals. This hands-on, family-friendly exhibit delves into dark environments and brings to light the unique animals and plants that live there. Visitors...

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

Where:
The Museum of York County
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
Rock Hill, SC
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A wave of creativity is hitting SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord for a limited time with the LEGO Sea Explorers event. Even will feature interactive stations, LEGO freebies on weekends and an underwater...

Cost: $14-$22, children 2 and younger free, included in general admission

Where:
SEA LIFE Concord-Charlotte
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
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This exhibition presents an array of genres and features work by six represented artists, Eduardo Cardozo, Juan Dolhare, Carlos Estévez, José Luis Landet, Santiago Quesnel and...

Cost: Free

Where:
LaCa Projects
1429 Bryant St.
, 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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