Mean Moms: When to Ignore, Confront and How to Avoid Becoming One


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This sentence in a comment on Facebook brought my mindless scrolling to a full stop: “I could not let some woman in daycare raise my child.” I had posted a link to a story about a working mom who was frustrated with the homework her 6-year-old had brought home from school. The homework included a worksheet that had blanks for her daughter to fill in with the “correct” words after reading a story that implied that the whole family was unhappy and neglected because Mom had gone back to work. And yet one of my connections on Facebook, who knows I am a full-time working mother with a young child in daycare, felt it appropriate to unleash some not-so-subtle shade in the comments. I counted to 10 — the same tactic I encourage my 3-year-old to use when she’s angry — and started typing out a response. When I hit “post” six minutes later, I felt pretty good about what I’d come up with:
 
Totally respect your choice to stay home with your child. Personally, I don’t consider the teachers at my daughter’s school to be raising her instead of me — just like I won’t think that about her kindergarten teacher when she starts elementary school. It takes a village to raise a child, and her teachers are part of mine. Plus, she gets awesome socialization, friendships and help from a group of women who adore her (and are much better teachers than I am, to boot). For me, this story is sad most of all because it implies there is only one correct choice. And that is just not the case. Most of us parents are out there doing the best we can every single day, and I try really hard not to judge. (Some days I succeed. Other days … not so much.)
 
The commenter’s reaction to my response, however, surprised me. I had expected more snark, but what I got was one sentence: “You sound like a terrific mom, and that’s what’s important.” I had attempted to take the high road (well, mostly) — and it worked.

 

Owning Your Reaction

Every parent has a story about being the target of a judgmental comment from another parent. Frank or subtle, in person or online, we’ve all taken heat from other parents — sometimes even complete strangers — about our parenting choices. But why is spouting off our default setting? When did we stop thinking about the consequences of our words? And why don’t we hold back when we know those words might be hurtful? Kate Paquin, a therapist and coach with Apex-based A Family Coach, thinks it doesn’t really matter anyway.

“Just because a ball is thrown doesn’t mean you have to swing at the pitch,” Paquin says. “I’m not saying it’s not offensive, but [the commenter’s] motive doesn’t matter.”

These “mean moms,” she says, thrive because we care. Our feelings get hurt. We feel compelled to defend ourselves. But the most important thing, Paquin says, is to realize there’s only one thing you can control in any of these scenarios: How you react. “You own your feelings,” she says.

I asked Paquin to take me through some real “mean mom” scenarios I gathered from fellow parents. Here’s her advice on when to ignore, when to respond and why you might want to consider your own motivation if you realize you’ve been an offender.


Scenario: A mom posts a photo on Facebook of her child sitting in her new car seat — in the middle of her kitchen. A commenter pipes up to note that the child should be rear-facing. “In fairness,” the mom who posted the photo says, “I was not aware of car seat-in-the-kitchen regulations.”

What to do: If you posted the photo, respond in an unemotional way or ignore the comment. “I think part of [the motivation for this comment] might be, ‘See what I know?’” Paquin says. “OK is the best answer you can give. Or ‘I’m sorry you feel that way.’” Sometimes these types of comments reveal a commenter who feels isolated, she says. “A lot of moms feel disconnected, so when they can chime in or make a difference — even if it wasn’t asked for — they dive in.”


Scenario: A mom likes to dress her child in gender-neutral clothing. When the mom gently corrects strangers who comment on her child’s appearance, she frequently gets negative comments about how she should dress her child. Another mom reports similar comments about her twin daughters’ unpierced ears.

What to do: Respond without emotion and move on. “I wouldn’t correct [strangers who assume a girl is a boy] because it just doesn’t matter,” Paquin says. “My daughter didn’t have hair for a really long time, and I had a woman ask me, ‘Oh, is she sick?’” Paquin laughs. “I said, ‘No, but thank you so much for caring.’ It was inappropriate, but her intent wasn’t to be a jerk. She was really trying to provide empathy.”

Be confident and unflappable about your choices — and when someone comments on clothing, hairstyles, pierced ears or any other notes on appearance, be frank. “My approach is to always steer into the skid,” Paquin says. “Say, ‘No I haven’t [pierced their ears] because I’m their mother and that’s my choice.’ Answer without emotion.”


Scenario: A mom who recently quit her job to stay home with her child goes to visit her husband at a tradeshow near their home. Since she doesn’t have cash, he gives her $5 to get lunch. His coworker, a woman, remarks: “Is that your allowance?”

What to do: Take the sting out of these comments — for or against working outside the home — by assuming the motivation is “I could never do that.”

“To feel superior, a lot of us are taught to make others feel inferior,” Paquin says. “Again, steer into it. Say: ‘I know, it was a great sacrifice. I’m really glad I did it.’ If you go into the situation thinking you’re going to change someone’s mind, you’ve lost already,” she says. If you’re the offender, offer a supportive comeback: “Yeah, I understand. It’s really hard.”


Scenario: A sports parent implies that a mom isn’t doing everything she can to make her kids happy and successful because she hasn’t hired a pitching coach for her son or paid for her daughter to play on a travel softball team.

What to do: Don’t let the commenter get away with this one. “We have to make a decision as parents,” Paquin says. “Are we going to let others’ words convict us? There’s turning the other cheek, and then there are times you should stand up for yourself.”

Paquin classifies this comment — which calls the parent’s character and parenting skills into question — as the latter. “Say, ‘I appreciate your input, but you have no idea how my family dynamic works, and I wouldn’t make that judgment about your family,’” Paquin says. “Make it clear that they’re judging you and you need them to step back.”

Instead of addressing the issue, which can lead to a debate, this approach allows you to steer the conversation into a warning that the other person has crossed a line.

Are You the Mean Mom?

If you’ve recognized yourself in some of these scenarios, you’re not alone. But if you’ve been guilty of shaming instead of supporting, and you’d like to flip the script, therapist and family coach Kate Paquin with A Family Coach offers a few tips.

1. Realize there are many ways to parent. “The best way to support other moms is to stop thinking there is one right way,” Paquin says. “Support by seeing, sharing and moving on. Don’t see, overshare and try to convince.” If you feel compelled to react, walk away.

2. Recognize that the “mean mom” reaction comes not from your personal nature but from feeling out of balance. “No one tries to push down a person who’s behind them in a race, but we sometimes want to push down those we perceive to be ahead,” Paquin says.

3. Consider what you’re putting out into the world, and make a conscious effort to be more positive. “If you give off judgment, you will receive judgment,” Paquin says. “The law of attraction works everywhere. What are you attracting?”

4. Find your “buttons.” Realizing the issues and situations that light you up can help you better respond when they pop up, advises Paquin, who recognizes that her extroverted personality can cause her to perceive slights that don’t exist.

“Someone I didn’t know was giving me the cold shoulder and I decided to be as mean to her as she was to me,” Paquin says. “Fast forward four years: I found out six months before that encounter she had lost her younger daughter to a cardiac condition. I didn’t know, and she had no reason to tell me. I was the mean mom.”

5. Be careful how you comment on social media. With the popularity of the internet and social media, it’s easier than ever to quickly react without consideration for how your words could be received.

“Facebook’s whole purpose is to get likes and comments and shares — and then we wonder why everyone feels they can comment on everything,” Paquin says.

But, she adds, it’s also important to not look for reasons to be offended. “People aren’t necessarily being mean to you. Just because you perceive it doesn’t mean it’s happening.”


Aleigh Acerni is a writer and editor whose daughter loves daycare. Find her online at aleighacerni.com.

 

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February 2018

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Cost: Kids, free; adults, $6

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Mint Museum Uptown
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The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture
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Cost: $13-$17

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Cost: $13-$17, includes museum admission

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Cost: $230 for 6 weeks

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Cost: $230 per 6 weeks

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Cost: Free

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Cost: Free

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Cost: $10 per family

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Wing Haven Children's Garden
260 Ridgewood Ave
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Telephone: 704-331-0664
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Cost: $7-$10

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The Charlotte Museum of History
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Cost: Free

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4020 Sharon Road
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Telephone: 704-364-0626
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Cost: $5 cash, $6 with credit card (monthly special available as well)

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Telephone: 980-299-8445
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Cost: Free

Where:
Independence Regional Library
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Telephone: 704-416-4800
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Cost: Free

Where:
Mooresville Public Library
304 South Main St.
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Telephone: 704-664-2927
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Cost: Included in admission to museum ($5-$8)

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The Planetarium at the Museum of York County
4621 Mt Gallant Road
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Cost: Free

Where:
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304 S. Main S
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Telephone: 704-664-2927
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Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-922-7681
Website »

More information

The Year of the Engineer is an initiative celebrating the creativity and imagination of engineers. It includes the opening of an all-new Thinker Space lab and exhibition Think it Up, along with the...

Cost: $13-$17

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

Featuring multiyear coverage from National Geographic photographers Michael “Nick” Nichols, Steve Winter and Paul Nicklen, this exhibition attests to the wildness and beauty...

Cost: $4-$7, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Though he is mostly known for his art, Leonardo da Vinci was a creator in more than one way. He designed machines such as the assault tank, submarine, parachute, scuba-diving tank and even a robot....

Cost: $13-$17, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

See the artwork by the Catawba River Art Guild members that highlight Carolina Piedmont landscapes and native flora and fauna. Selected artworks, representing dozens of artists working in...

Cost: Included in admission to museum ($5-$8)

Where:
The Museum of York County
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Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Telephone: 803-329-2121
Website »

More information

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Cost: $15 for adult

Where:
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8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
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View map »


Telephone: 866-229-1573
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Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

This exhibit celebrates iconic African-American artists and reflects the lives of the owners of the collections.

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

An array of found objects with bursts of bright and dark colors form works of art that are both mesmerizing and reflective.

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

Through the lens of a camera, Frankhavemercy captures the emotions of growth, struggle and joy in his first exhibition. 

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

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Carolina Raptor Center
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Cost: $75

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Latta Plantation Nature Preserve
6211 Sample Road
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Telephone: 980-314-1129
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Club Gymboree- Ballantyne
3419 Toringdon Way
Ste 112
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Cost: Free

Where:
Matthews Police Department
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View map »


Website »

More information

Let your kids discover the details of the museums galleries in a fun and challenging way. With two levels of difficulty this gallery activity invites participants of all ages to examine art work...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cabarrus Arts Council
65 Union St. S.
Concord, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-920-2787
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
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4150 Wilkinson Blvd
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Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-401-3200
Website »

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Enjoy stories, movement with music, and a seasonal craft during this Wee Wednesday program, the third Wednesday of each month. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Main Street Children’s Museum
133 E. Main St.
Rock Hill , NC
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Telephone: 803-327-6400
Website »

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Charlotte’s Road to Revolution Exhibition is composed of 17 original oil paintings by Charlotte artist Dan Nance, 20 interpretive panels and eighteenth-century antiques that tell the story of...

Cost: $7-$10

Where:
The Charlotte Museum of History
3500 Shamrock Drive
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-568-1774
Website »

More information

Come join storytime with other families. 

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-364-0626
Website »

More information

Bring your little one to Perfect Balance Training Center for "Tot Time" - an hour of free play in the gym. There is no instructor so parents are in charge of their children. No need to...

Cost: $5 cash, $6 with credit card (monthly special available as well)

Where:
Perfect Balance
8850 Monroe Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 980-299-8445
Website »

More information

Children accompanied by an adult can dive into the American Art Glass gallery to find fishy friends, and use cardboard, yarn, and more to make a sea creature sculpture. Register online. 

Cost: $16 per child

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

More information

This exhibition explores Mars and mankind's fascination with this world through mythology, history, literature, movies, TV and science. We also look ahead to see what Mars may hold for...

Cost: Included in admission to museum ($5-$8)

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


Website »

More information

Explore the Mint Museum's exhibitions.

Cost: Free

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph, 2730 Randolph Road
Mint Museum Uptown, 500 S. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC
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Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

This dance class is drop-in, open to all ages and free of charge for participants. It also includes live accompaniment and a “Children’s Corner,” providing supervision and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Sugaw Creek Recreation Center
943 W. Sugar Creek Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-336-7655
Website »

More information

Explore the term "cabinet of curiosities" with this exhibit that describes a room rather than a piece of furniture. "Cabinets" originated in the 16th century and held large...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-922-7681
Website »

More information

The Year of the Engineer is an initiative celebrating the creativity and imagination of engineers. It includes the opening of an all-new Thinker Space lab and exhibition Think it Up, along with the...

Cost: $13-$17

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

Featuring multiyear coverage from National Geographic photographers Michael “Nick” Nichols, Steve Winter and Paul Nicklen, this exhibition attests to the wildness and beauty...

Cost: $4-$7, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

This exhibit features more than 40 of Mexico's leading photographers. The photographs in the museum, ranging from just a few inches to floor-to-ceiling murals, explore an assortment...

Cost: $10-$15

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


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

Though he is mostly known for his art, Leonardo da Vinci was a creator in more than one way. He designed machines such as the assault tank, submarine, parachute, scuba-diving tank and even a robot....

Cost: $13-$17, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

See the artwork by the Catawba River Art Guild members that highlight Carolina Piedmont landscapes and native flora and fauna. Selected artworks, representing dozens of artists working in...

Cost: Included in admission to museum ($5-$8)

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


Telephone: 803-329-2121
Website »

More information

Past, present and future collide on a snowy Christmas Eve for a troubled family of five. Humorous and heart-wrenching, this play by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel weaves together a...

Cost: $8-$18

Where:
Black Box Theater
9027 Mary Alexander Road
, NC
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Telephone: 704-687-8622
Website »

More information

In this drop-off program, girls will develop new skills, explore the natural world and create lasting friendships while conquering recreational environmental challenges. Spend the day exploring...

Cost: $15

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


Telephone: 980-314-1129
Website »

More information

This exhibit highlights selected works from the Locke collection which were either created by female artists or feature women as the subject. 

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

This exhibit celebrates iconic African-American artists and reflects the lives of the owners of the collections.

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

An array of found objects with bursts of bright and dark colors form works of art that are both mesmerizing and reflective.

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

Through the lens of a camera, Frankhavemercy captures the emotions of growth, struggle and joy in his first exhibition. 

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

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This homeschool day is covering the idea of how people during the Latta's era would reduce, reuse, and recycle everyday materials to fill a need. Topics may be covered including: Reusing spent...

Cost: $6 per person; children under 4 are free

Where:
Historic Latta Plantation
5225 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
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Telephone: 704-875-2312
Website »

More information

Drop by the Young Adult Department and test your skills with Olympics-inspired 60 second challenges.

Cost: Free

Where:
York County Library
138 E. Black St.
Rock Hill , NC
View map »


Telephone: 803-981-5858
Website »

More information

Let your kids discover the details of the museums galleries in a fun and challenging way. With two levels of difficulty this gallery activity invites participants of all ages to examine art work...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cabarrus Arts Council
65 Union St. S.
Concord, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-920-2787
Website »

More information

Come enjoy fascinating photos, memorabilia, and stories during 12 months of rotating special displays at the Billy Graham Library as part of the celebration...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-401-3200
Website »

More information

Charlotte’s Road to Revolution Exhibition is composed of 17 original oil paintings by Charlotte artist Dan Nance, 20 interpretive panels and eighteenth-century antiques that tell the story of...

Cost: $7-$10

Where:
The Charlotte Museum of History
3500 Shamrock Drive
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-568-1774
Website »

More information

Bring your little one to Perfect Balance Training Center for "Tot Time" - an hour of free play in the gym. There is no instructor so parents are in charge of their children. No need to...

Cost: $5 cash, $6 with credit card (monthly special available as well)

Where:
Perfect Balance
8850 Monroe Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 980-299-8445
Website »

More information

This exhibition explores Mars and mankind's fascination with this world through mythology, history, literature, movies, TV and science. We also look ahead to see what Mars may hold for...

Cost: Included in admission to museum ($5-$8)

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


Website »

More information

Spend the evening learning about fire safety, making s' mores and new friends. Registration required.

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 980-314-2267
Website »

More information

Explore the term "cabinet of curiosities" with this exhibit that describes a room rather than a piece of furniture. "Cabinets" originated in the 16th century and held large...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-922-7681
Website »

More information

The Year of the Engineer is an initiative celebrating the creativity and imagination of engineers. It includes the opening of an all-new Thinker Space lab and exhibition Think it Up, along with the...

Cost: $13-$17

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

Featuring multiyear coverage from National Geographic photographers Michael “Nick” Nichols, Steve Winter and Paul Nicklen, this exhibition attests to the wildness and beauty...

Cost: $4-$7, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

This exhibit features more than 40 of Mexico's leading photographers. The photographs in the museum, ranging from just a few inches to floor-to-ceiling murals, explore an assortment...

Cost: $10-$15

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


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

Though he is mostly known for his art, Leonardo da Vinci was a creator in more than one way. He designed machines such as the assault tank, submarine, parachute, scuba-diving tank and even a robot....

Cost: $13-$17, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

See the artwork by the Catawba River Art Guild members that highlight Carolina Piedmont landscapes and native flora and fauna. Selected artworks, representing dozens of artists working in...

Cost: Included in admission to museum ($5-$8)

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


Telephone: 803-329-2121
Website »

More information

Davidson Community Players presents this show about young Anne Frank in the summer of 1942. Shows are Thursdays through Sundays. Showtimes are Thurs.-Sat. at 8pm and Sun....

Cost: $12-$20

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


Telephone: 704-892-7953
Website »

More information

Past, present and future collide on a snowy Christmas Eve for a troubled family of five. Humorous and heart-wrenching, this play by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel weaves together a...

Cost: $8-$18

Where:
Black Box Theater
9027 Mary Alexander Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-687-8622
Website »

More information

This exhibit highlights selected works from the Locke collection which were either created by female artists or feature women as the subject. 

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

This exhibit celebrates iconic African-American artists and reflects the lives of the owners of the collections.

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

An array of found objects with bursts of bright and dark colors form works of art that are both mesmerizing and reflective.

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

Through the lens of a camera, Frankhavemercy captures the emotions of growth, struggle and joy in his first exhibition. 

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

Shop for deals this weekend. Thurs., 6-9pm ($20 entry to pre-sale); Fri., 10am-7pm; Sat., 8am- noon. 

Where:
South Charlotte Banquet Center
9009 Bryant Farms Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-299-3097
Website »

More information

"The House at Pooh Corner" includes all the lovable inhabitants of the Hundred Acre Wood. In this delightful tale, Christopher Robin has decided to run away with his friends Pooh, Piglet,...

Cost: $10-$15

Where:
Mooresville Community Children's Theatre
The Charles Mack Citizen Center
215 N. Main St.
Mooresville, NC
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More information

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The event includes three days and two nights spent on the museum grounds.  Troops will set up camp on our 60-acre property Friday night. Saturday entails a scavenger hunt, while scouts...

Cost: $21.40-$26.75

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


Telephone: 704-636-2889
Website »

More information

Let your kids discover the details of the museums galleries in a fun and challenging way. With two levels of difficulty this gallery activity invites participants of all ages to examine art work...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cabarrus Arts Council
65 Union St. S.
Concord, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-920-2787
Website »

More information

Come enjoy fascinating photos, memorabilia, and stories during 12 months of rotating special displays at the Billy Graham Library as part of the celebration...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-401-3200
Website »

More information

Get inspirational ideas and the latest trends and products to beautify your home and garden. Mingle with TV celebrities, sample wine and gourmet foods and receive expert advice on home decorating,...

Cost: $10

Where:
Park Expo and Conference Center
800 Briar Creek Road
Charlotte, NC  28205
View map »


Website »

More information

Charlotte’s Road to Revolution Exhibition is composed of 17 original oil paintings by Charlotte artist Dan Nance, 20 interpretive panels and eighteenth-century antiques that tell the story of...

Cost: $7-$10

Where:
The Charlotte Museum of History
3500 Shamrock Drive
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-568-1774
Website »

More information

Bring your little one to Perfect Balance Training Center for "Tot Time" - an hour of free play in the gym. There is no instructor so parents are in charge of their children. No need to...

Cost: $5 cash, $6 with credit card (monthly special available as well)

Where:
Perfect Balance
8850 Monroe Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 980-299-8445
Website »

More information

Get free entry to the Schiele Museum every second Tuesday of the month from 4-8pm and every fourth Friday of the month from 1-5pm. 

Cost: Free

Where:
The Schiele Museum
1500 East Garrison Boulevard
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

This exhibition explores Mars and mankind's fascination with this world through mythology, history, literature, movies, TV and science. We also look ahead to see what Mars may hold for...

Cost: Included in admission to museum ($5-$8)

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Drop off your children for a night of fun while you hit the town. Activities include laser tag, jump-n-play, rock climbing, mini bowling, ropes courses, bumper cars, and arcade games. Children...

Cost: $25 online, $30 at the door

Where:
Sports Connection - Ballantyne or Northlake Locations
, NC


Website »

More information

Explore the term "cabinet of curiosities" with this exhibit that describes a room rather than a piece of furniture. "Cabinets" originated in the 16th century and held large...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-922-7681
Website »

More information

The Year of the Engineer is an initiative celebrating the creativity and imagination of engineers. It includes the opening of an all-new Thinker Space lab and exhibition Think it Up, along with the...

Cost: $13-$17

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

Featuring multiyear coverage from National Geographic photographers Michael “Nick” Nichols, Steve Winter and Paul Nicklen, this exhibition attests to the wildness and beauty...

Cost: $4-$7, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

This exhibit features more than 40 of Mexico's leading photographers. The photographs in the museum, ranging from just a few inches to floor-to-ceiling murals, explore an assortment...

Cost: $10-$15

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


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

Though he is mostly known for his art, Leonardo da Vinci was a creator in more than one way. He designed machines such as the assault tank, submarine, parachute, scuba-diving tank and even a robot....

Cost: $13-$17, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

See the artwork by the Catawba River Art Guild members that highlight Carolina Piedmont landscapes and native flora and fauna. Selected artworks, representing dozens of artists working in...

Cost: Included in admission to museum ($5-$8)

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


Telephone: 803-329-2121
Website »

More information

Davidson Community Players presents this show about young Anne Frank in the summer of 1942. Shows are Thursdays through Sundays. Showtimes are Thurs.-Sat. at 8pm and Sun....

Cost: $12-$20

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


Telephone: 704-892-7953
Website »

More information

Past, present and future collide on a snowy Christmas Eve for a troubled family of five. Humorous and heart-wrenching, this play by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel weaves together a...

Cost: $8-$18

Where:
Black Box Theater
9027 Mary Alexander Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-687-8622
Website »

More information

Freedom Train is the story of Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad which smuggled slaves to freedom prior to the American Civil War. Using traditional songs of the period "Freedom...

Cost: $11-$13

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


Telephone: 704-846-8343
Website »

More information

Laugh and cry with America's greatest generation and remember the days of World War II. From an exciting collection of 40's favorites to a stirring patriotic medley, this dinner show is...

Cost: $7-$35

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


Sponsor: NarroWay Productions
Telephone: 803-802-2300
Website »

More information

This exhibit highlights selected works from the Locke collection which were either created by female artists or feature women as the subject. 

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

This exhibit celebrates iconic African-American artists and reflects the lives of the owners of the collections.

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

An array of found objects with bursts of bright and dark colors form works of art that are both mesmerizing and reflective.

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

Through the lens of a camera, Frankhavemercy captures the emotions of growth, struggle and joy in his first exhibition. 

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

Shop for deals this weekend. Thurs., 6-9pm ($20 entry to pre-sale); Fri., 10am-7pm; Sat., 8am- noon. 

Where:
South Charlotte Banquet Center
9009 Bryant Farms Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-299-3097
Website »

More information

"The House at Pooh Corner" includes all the lovable inhabitants of the Hundred Acre Wood. In this delightful tale, Christopher Robin has decided to run away with his friends Pooh, Piglet,...

Cost: $10-$15

Where:
Mooresville Community Children's Theatre
The Charles Mack Citizen Center
215 N. Main St.
Mooresville, NC
View map »

More information

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​Enjoy a Short Stack for a tall cause! All proceeds support pancreatic cancer research.

Cost: $10

Where:
Blackfinn, Ballantyne Village
14825 Ballantyne Village Way
Charlotte, NC  28277
View map »


Telephone: 704-408-1500
Website »

More information

See natural treasures from the earth, including fossils, rocks, minerals, and the ancient stories these items tell. Mine for gemstones, meet animated prehistoric characters, see a full-sized T-rex,...

Cost: $3-$12

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

2010 Silver Medalist Carolyn McRorie will coach youths in a "Learn to Curl" session. Participants will learn the basics of curling including rock delivery, sweeping,...

Cost: $10

Where:
Charlotte Curling Center
6525 Old Statesville Road
Charlotte, NC  28269
View map »


Website »

More information

In this Safe Sitter class, middle schoolers will learn how to supervise children, recognize safety hazards, handle first-aid situations, play age appropriate games, change diapers, carry out...

Cost: $65 for YMCA members, $95 for others

Where:
Morrison Family YMCA
9405 Bryant Farms Road
Charlotte, NC  28277
View map »


Telephone: 704-716-4650
Website »

More information

Buy new children’s clothing, accessories, gear, toys, books, games, bedding, furniture, and décor, as well as women’s shoes, handbags, and home décor....

Cost: Free

Where:
Union County Agricultural Center
3230 Presson Road
Monroe, NC  28112
View map »


Website »

More information

Interested in volunteering at the President James K. Polk State Historic Site? Join us to learn more about what volunteer opportunities we have, take a tour of the site, and meet current...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-889-7145
Website »

More information

Kids can frost cupcakes, listen to a story and meet a princes. 

Cost: $9

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


Telephone: 704-295-1777
Website »

More information

Drop in and visit with the nature center naturalists as they chat about some of their favorite animals at Latta Plantation Nature Preserve. Stay as long as you like and get to know the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Latta Plantation Nature Center
6211 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC  28078
View map »


Telephone: 980-314-1129
Website »

More information

In celebration of the beloved author's birthday on March 2nd, join a special storytime featuring coloring, activities, and more.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes and Noble, The Arboretum or Morrison Place locations
, NC


Website »

More information

Join the Charlotte Museum of History as we celebrate the history and culture of Charlotte’s vibrant African-American community from the colonial period to the present.  Guests are...

Cost: Free

Where:
Charlotte Museum of History
3500 Shamrock Dr
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-568-1774
Website »

More information

Celebrate the history and culture of Charlotte’s vibrant African-American community from the colonial period to the present. Tour the historic Hezekiah Alexander Homesite, navigate the Great...

Cost: Free.

Where:
Charlotte Museum of History
3500 Shamrock Drive
Charlotte, NC  28215
View map »


Telephone: 704-568-1774
Contact Name: Molly Campbell
Website »

More information

Attend the annual Black History Month Celebration. Enjoy memorabilia from local historically black churches, children’s activities, performances, and refreshments.

Cost: Free

Where:
Community Hall
21445 Catawba Avenue
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-892-6031
Website »

More information

Take a guided nature hike. Participants will receive a guide to aid in exploring our woods in search of local flora and fauna. This hike will cover our new Track Trails program, which is an...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: McDowell Nature Center
Telephone: 980-314-1128
Website »

More information

From 10:30am-4:30pm bring your own telescope and staff will teach you to use it.  Then from 6-8pm join "Fifty Things to See with a Telescope," a workshop hosted by...

Cost: $5-8 for the clinic, includes museum admission. $20 per family for the evening.

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


Telephone: 803-329-2121
Website »

More information

The event includes three days and two nights spent on the museum grounds.  Troops will set up camp on our 60-acre property Friday night. Saturday entails a scavenger hunt, while scouts...

Cost: $21.40-$26.75

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


Telephone: 704-636-2889
Website »

More information

Come enjoy fascinating photos, memorabilia, and stories during 12 months of rotating special displays at the Billy Graham Library as part of the celebration...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-401-3200
Website »

More information

Every Saturday this month, Historic Brattonsville will feature special guided tours that interpret African American history and culture in the Carolina Piedmont. Tours are offered at 11am and 2pm...

Cost: $3-$8, includes museum admission

Where:
Historic Brattonsville
1444 Brattonsville Road
McConnells, SC
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Telephone: 803-684-2327
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Get inspirational ideas and the latest trends and products to beautify your home and garden. Mingle with TV celebrities, sample wine and gourmet foods and receive expert advice on home decorating,...

Cost: $10

Where:
Park Expo and Conference Center
800 Briar Creek Road
Charlotte, NC  28205
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Lakeshore Learning Stores provide fun, free crafts every Saturday. Visit the website to see this week's featured craft of the week. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Lakeshore Learning Store
10005 E. Independence Blvd.
Matthews, NC  28105
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Telephone: 704-849-2450
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Charlotte’s Road to Revolution Exhibition is composed of 17 original oil paintings by Charlotte artist Dan Nance, 20 interpretive panels and eighteenth-century antiques that tell the story of...

Cost: $7-$10

Where:
The Charlotte Museum of History
3500 Shamrock Drive
, NC
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Telephone: 704-568-1774
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Come participate in this presentation and discussion for Black History Month which focuses on the enslaved population of this area and North Carolina's gold mining history.

Cost: $2

Where:
Reed Gold Mine State Historic Site
9621 Reed Mine Road
Midland, NC
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Telephone: 704-721-4653
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Each workshop will have a different topic to reflect the history and cultural influences of clay and the ceramic arts. These dates are designated "family days."

Cost: Free

Where:
Hickory Grove Library
5935 Hickory Grove Road
, NC
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Telephone: 704-416-4400
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Enjoy tea sweets and savories with a child friendly menu. Adults enjoy a complimentary glass of champagne. Reservations required.

Cost: $45 for adults, $25 for ages 5-12, $10 for children under age 5.

Where:
The Ballantyne, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Charlotte
10000 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy.
Charlotte, NC
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Telephone: 704-248-4100

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Children accompanied by an adult can dive into the American Art Glass gallery to find fishy friends, and use cardboard, yarn, and more to make a sea creature sculpture. Register online. 

Cost: $16 per child

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
, NC
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Telephone: 704-337-2000
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This exhibition explores Mars and mankind's fascination with this world through mythology, history, literature, movies, TV and science. We also look ahead to see what Mars may hold for...

Cost: Included in admission to museum ($5-$8)

Where:
The Planetarium at the Museum of York County
4621 Mt Gallant Road
Rock Hill, SC
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BounceU knows that sometimes parents deserve a little time by themselves. Drop off your kids for a night of non-stop bouncing and games. It’s more fun and probably less expensive than hiring...

Cost: $20 per child

Where:
Bounce U, Charlotte and Matthews locations
, NC


Telephone: 704-921-8771
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Explore the term "cabinet of curiosities" with this exhibit that describes a room rather than a piece of furniture. "Cabinets" originated in the 16th century and held large...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gaston County Museum
131 W. Main St.
Dallas, NC
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Telephone: 704-922-7681
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The Year of the Engineer is an initiative celebrating the creativity and imagination of engineers. It includes the opening of an all-new Thinker Space lab and exhibition Think it Up, along with the...

Cost: $13-$17

Where:
Discovery Place Science
301 N. Tryon St.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-372-6261
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Featuring multiyear coverage from National Geographic photographers Michael “Nick” Nichols, Steve Winter and Paul Nicklen, this exhibition attests to the wildness and beauty...

Cost: $4-$7, includes museum admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum
1500 East Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
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Telephone: 704-866-6900
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This exhibit features more than 40 of Mexico's leading photographers. The photographs in the museum, ranging from just a few inches to floor-to-ceiling murals, explore an assortment...

Cost: $10-$15

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St
, NC
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Telephone: 704-337-2000
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Though he is mostly known for his art, Leonardo da Vinci was a creator in more than one way. He designed machines such as the assault tank, submarine, parachute, scuba-diving tank and even a robot....

Cost: $13-$17, includes museum admission

Where:
Discovery Place Science
301 N. Tryon St.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-372-6261
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See the artwork by the Catawba River Art Guild members that highlight Carolina Piedmont landscapes and native flora and fauna. Selected artworks, representing dozens of artists working in...

Cost: Included in admission to museum ($5-$8)

Where:
The Museum of York County
4621 Mt Gallant Road
Rock Hill, SC
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Telephone: 803-329-2121
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Davidson Community Players presents this show about young Anne Frank in the summer of 1942. Shows are Thursdays through Sundays. Showtimes are Thurs.-Sat. at 8pm and Sun....

Cost: $12-$20

Where:
Armour Street Theatre
307 Armour St.
Davidson, NC
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Telephone: 704-892-7953
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Past, present and future collide on a snowy Christmas Eve for a troubled family of five. Humorous and heart-wrenching, this play by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel weaves together a...

Cost: $8-$18

Where:
Black Box Theater
9027 Mary Alexander Road
, NC
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Telephone: 704-687-8622
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Freedom Train is the story of Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad which smuggled slaves to freedom prior to the American Civil War. Using traditional songs of the period "Freedom...

Cost: $11-$13

Where:
Matthews Community Center
100 McDowell St. E.
Matthews, NC
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Telephone: 704-846-8343
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Laugh and cry with America's greatest generation and remember the days of World War II. From an exciting collection of 40's favorites to a stirring patriotic medley, this dinner show is...

Cost: $7-$35

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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This exhibit highlights selected works from the Locke collection which were either created by female artists or feature women as the subject. 

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture
551 S Tryon St
, NC
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Telephone: 704-547-3700
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This exhibit celebrates iconic African-American artists and reflects the lives of the owners of the collections.

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture
551 S. Tryon St
, NC
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Telephone: 704-547-3700
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An array of found objects with bursts of bright and dark colors form works of art that are both mesmerizing and reflective.

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture
551 S. Tryon St
, NC
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Telephone: 704-547-3700
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Through the lens of a camera, Frankhavemercy captures the emotions of growth, struggle and joy in his first exhibition. 

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture
551 S. Tryon St
, NC
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Telephone: 704-547-3700
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Shop for deals this weekend. Thurs., 6-9pm ($20 entry to pre-sale); Fri., 10am-7pm; Sat., 8am- noon. 

Where:
South Charlotte Banquet Center
9009 Bryant Farms Road
, NC
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Telephone: 704-299-3097
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On February 27, 1760, the 30-man garrison of Fort Dobbs engaged in a bloody, confusing, night-time skirmish with as many as 70 Cherokee warriors. This living history will give visitors a glimpse of...

Cost: $2

Where:
Fort Dobbs State Historic Site
438 Fort Dobbs Rd.
Statesville, NC
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Telephone: 704-873-5882
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"The House at Pooh Corner" includes all the lovable inhabitants of the Hundred Acre Wood. In this delightful tale, Christopher Robin has decided to run away with his friends Pooh, Piglet,...

Cost: $10-$15

Where:
Mooresville Community Children's Theatre
The Charles Mack Citizen Center
215 N. Main St.
Mooresville, NC
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Annual Guides

GPS [Go. Play. See.]

Your guide to raising kids in the Queen City, plus our 2017 Readers' Favorites for places to play, explore and learn with the kids.

Education Guide

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