Physical Education and Recess Improve Behavior, Test Scores


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Everyone knows about “the three R’s” of education — reading, ’riting and ’rithmetic. But there is a fourth “R” — recess — that educators and doctors say is crucial to improving students’ academic achievement.

“Many schools, from elementary all the way through college, are getting rid of P.E. [physical education], thinking that they will be able to cram more information into students’ brains by dropping P.E. out of the curriculum,” says Becca Battaglini, director of the Lifetime Fitness/Physical Activities Program in the department of exercise and sport science at UNC-Chapel Hill.

In fact, Battaglini says she is aware of research showing that being active helps students learn better and improve their test scores.

Improved Test Scores

Kim Cooke, a health and physical education specialist with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, has conducted research confirming the link between physical activity and improved test scores.

In her research, students were administered the CMS Fitness Test Assessment that measures cardiovascular endurance, abdominal strength, flexibility and upper body strength.

Only 16 percent of third-grade students met the assessment’s fitness standards. Thirty percent of all sixth-grade students met the standards.

Cooke looked at the academic records of students in grades three through six who met all fitness standards to determine their average increase on reading standards.

“In third grade, the national standard was 8, while for students meeting [all of] the CMS fitness standards, reading growth was 9.46,” she says. “Measures in fourth- and fifth-graders were also above the national average.”

Math performance also improved. For third-graders who met all of the, CMS fitness standards, Cooke says the students’ average growth was 13.04, compared to the national average of 11. Among fourth-graders, the difference was even more significant: a 12.38 average compared to the national average of 8.

The Impact on Students With ADHD

Dr. Kurt Klinepeter, M.D., a professor of pediatrics at Brenner Children’s Hospital in Winston-Salem, also sees a link between recess and performance, and the behavior of students with attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder.

“There are physical and aerobic links to exercise for ADHD children,” he says. “How much play and how often is what is not known yet. There’s still a lot of work to be done in figuring out that relationship. The nuts and bolts are not yet understood.”

Battaglini also notes the value of exercise for ADHD kids. “These kids need to get out and burn off that energy so they will be calmer in the classroom,” Battaglini says.

The Walking Classroom

For the first time in history, the next generation will not live longer than their parents, according to research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The research states that obesity in children today may contribute to a two- to five-year decline in their life expectancy — shorter than that of their parents. Cooke and Battaglini note that exercise is crucial to reducing obesity, and they therefore advocate for several programs in schools that promote movement and exercise.

Cooke supports “Achieve 225,” a daily recess program promoting 45 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity for all students.

Another concept she champions is the Kinesthetic Classroom, a learning approach through which students participate in physical activities to learn, rather than listen to a lecture or watch a demonstration.

“We need to use best practices to get kids involved in activity learning — getting them out of their seats and on to their feet,” she says. “Sitting can be deadly.”

Battaglini touts The Walking Classroom as a “wonderful elementary” resource. This Chapel Hill-based, nationally recognized, in-school fitness initiative and obesity intervention program was created to improve health literacy and build core content knowledge while addressing different learning styles. Students take brisk, 20-minute walks (preferably outside) while listening to written and recorded content aligned to the Common Core State Standards. Detailed lesson plans contain defined objectives, discussion questions and comprehension quizzes for each educational podcast. When students return from their walk, teachers review the content with them.

Battaglini, who has three children ages 13, 10 and 7, has first-hand knowledge of the tie between physical activity and improved educational performance.

“My eldest daughter did a memory test for a school project,” Battaglini says. “[The teacher] uncovered a box that she had placed 50 objects in and tested how many items the kids remembered. Then the children had five minutes of exercise. When they got back, she uncovered a [second] box that had 50 different items. The children were able to remember considerably more items” the second time around, she says.

“Just having a class get up and do a couple of jumping jacks can help,” Battaglini contends. “If schools can justify it, they should have more recess.”

Anne Wooten Green is a freelance writer from Winston-Salem.


Withholding Recess to Punish

Withholding recess is a common means of punishment for children who act up in the classroom. In a recent Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools study, nearly 70 percent of teachers withheld recess as a form of punishment.

Cooke says, according to the North Carolina State Board of Education’s Healthy Active Children Policy, that should not be happening.

A portion of the policy states:

“Recess shall consist of unstructured free play or structured games and activities. Recess and physical activity shall not be taken away from students as a form of punishment; furthermore, exercise shall not be assigned for use as a form of punishment for students.”

“Recess is a right, not a privilege,” Cooke says.

 

 

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More information

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View map »


Telephone: 704-9654-614
Website »

More information

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Cost: $5 plus museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

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Cost: See website for prices

Where:
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4418 Rea Road
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View map »


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Website »

More information

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Cost: $6-$7

Where:
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View map »


Sponsor: The Schiele Museum of Natural History
Telephone: 704-866-6923
Contact Name: Philip McGinnis
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More information

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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

Show More...
Show Less...

Travel back in time on a journey through the Mesozoic Era-the Age of Dinosaurs.  See full-bodied models of incredible creatures that time forgot. Observe predators stalking an armored...

Cost: $6-$7

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

When Billy Graham answered God’s call toevangelism, he had no idea what lay ahead—but he committed to honoring Christ every step of the way. In honor of the 70th...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Stop by to watch the film "Beauty and the Beast," starring Emma Watson and Kevin Kline. Rated PG.

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-868-2164
Website »

More information

The work of artists on display includes that of Romare Bearden, Rockwell Kent, and Salvador Dali among others. "Art in the Book" provides a glimpse into the wide variety of illustrative...

Cost: $6-$12; children under 4 free

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


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

This exhibition, featuring 12 important paintings, drawings and prints, as well as a rare example of the artist's sculpture, will give them the opportunity to do so. Through the use of a rich...

Cost: $6-$12; children under 4 free

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


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

Certified technicians will check and help families install carseats. 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

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

K(NO)W Justice K(NO)W Peace is a community-created exhibit about police-involved shootings throughout the nation and here in Charlotte. Co-created with activists and law enforcement, the media,...

Cost: $5-$8

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


Telephone: 704-333-1887
Website »

More information

In the 1920s, Cleveland County experienced an economic boom and bust, the heyday of the textile mills, the birth of the political engine known as the Shelby Dynasty, and improved education,...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-739-1019
Website »

More information

Selections from one of the nation's most important and comprehensive collections of African-American art. This collection features a number of images from the fifty-eight-piece collection of...

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

The debut of one of the most expansive collections of abstract and contemporary African-American art.

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-374-1565
Website »

More information

Explores how artists immortalize people, places and memories through the visual arts.

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
The Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Website »

More information

Both mesmerizing and mysterious, Siobhan’s works represent the interactions, and sometimes conflicts, of her conscious and subconscious minds. These thoughts are characterized by stunning...

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

The impulse to explore the unknown is as old as humanity itself, and today, a new frontier of solar systems, stars and galaxies beckons us.  What rocket designs might one day carry...

Cost: $5 plus museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Family-friendly Halloween attractions for young children, including a costume parade, foam zone, mazes, plus rides. 

Cost: Ticket prices start at $44; ages 3-5 admitted free with pre-k pass (available on

Where:
Carowinds
14523 Carowinds Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Step into a special sandbox and "dig" for dinosaur bones and see if you can identify various dinosaur skeletons. Meet at the Town Hall stage to hear the story "Dinosaurs,...

Cost: $10

Where:
Discovery Place KIDS
105 Gilead Road
Huntersville , NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-373-6261
Website »

More information

SKILLS Group of Charlotte is a non-profit, 501(c3) after school enrichment program for teens and young adults with special needs., including cooking with a pastry chef, healthing cooking, Zumba,...

Cost: See website for prices

Where:
Hope Community Church
4418 Rea Road
Charlotte , NC  28226
View map »


Telephone: 704-9654-614
Website »

More information

A massive amount of energy lurks like a sleeping dragon beneath the surface of planet Earth.  Explore rare and extremely devastating volcanic eruptions and discover the impact of gigantic...

Cost: $5 plus museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

SKILLS Group of Charlotte is a non-profit, 501(c3) after school enrichment program for teens and young adults with special needs, including cooking with a pastry chef, healthing cooking, academic...

Cost: See website for prices

Where:
Hope Community Church
4418 Rea Road
Charlotte , NC  28226
View map »


Telephone: 704-965-4614
Website »

More information

Explore the Mint Museum's exhibitions.

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-337-2018
Website »

More information

Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden invites visitors to explore Asian culture during the Chinese Lantern Festival to be held Sept. 7 through Oct. 29, Wednesday through Sunday from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. each...

Cost: Online in Advance: $21.95/Adult, $19.95/Senior 60+, $14.95/Child 2-12, Free/Chil

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


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

Young mates set sail on a self-guided pirate voyage aboard our miniature pirate ship, the Adventure, at anchor in the Explorer's Outpost.  Children can dress-up, learn and play at their...

Cost: $6-$7

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


Sponsor: The Schiele Museum of Natural History
Telephone: 704-866-6923
Contact Name: Philip McGinnis
Website »

More information

Explore the moon, stars and beyond in the new planetarium. Housed in the museum's original Charlotte A. Kelly Planetarium, the dome has been retrofitted with a new Digitarium Zeta...

Cost: $8

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
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

Show More...
Show Less...

Travel back in time on a journey through the Mesozoic Era-the Age of Dinosaurs.  See full-bodied models of incredible creatures that time forgot. Observe predators stalking an armored...

Cost: $6-$7

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

In this free trial, Tinkergarten Leader, Kristin Rastogi, will facilitate an expert-designed play scenario, allowing children of various ages and needs to explore, problem solve, communicate,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Squirrel Lake Park
1631 Pleasant Plains Road
Matthews, NC  28105
View map »


Website »

More information

When Billy Graham answered God’s call toevangelism, he had no idea what lay ahead—but he committed to honoring Christ every step of the way. In honor of the 70th...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

The work of artists on display includes that of Romare Bearden, Rockwell Kent, and Salvador Dali among others. "Art in the Book" provides a glimpse into the wide variety of illustrative...

Cost: $6-$12; children under 4 free

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


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

This exhibition, featuring 12 important paintings, drawings and prints, as well as a rare example of the artist's sculpture, will give them the opportunity to do so. Through the use of a rich...

Cost: $6-$12; children under 4 free

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


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

Car lovers won't want to miss thousands of hot rods, muscle cars, exotic sports cars and classic automobiles. You’ll also experience a collector car auction, over 10,000 automotive vendor...

Cost: $11; kids 13 and under get in free with a paying adult

Where:
Charlotte Motor Speedway
5555 Concord Mills Pkwy. South
Concord, NC  28027
View map »


Telephone: 800-455-3267
Website »

More information

K(NO)W Justice K(NO)W Peace is a community-created exhibit about police-involved shootings throughout the nation and here in Charlotte. Co-created with activists and law enforcement, the media,...

Cost: $5-$8

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


Telephone: 704-333-1887
Website »

More information

In the 1920s, Cleveland County experienced an economic boom and bust, the heyday of the textile mills, the birth of the political engine known as the Shelby Dynasty, and improved education,...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-739-1019
Website »

More information

Selections from one of the nation's most important and comprehensive collections of African-American art. This collection features a number of images from the fifty-eight-piece collection of...

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

The debut of one of the most expansive collections of abstract and contemporary African-American art.

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-374-1565
Website »

More information

Explores how artists immortalize people, places and memories through the visual arts.

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
The Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Website »

More information

Both mesmerizing and mysterious, Siobhan’s works represent the interactions, and sometimes conflicts, of her conscious and subconscious minds. These thoughts are characterized by stunning...

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

The impulse to explore the unknown is as old as humanity itself, and today, a new frontier of solar systems, stars and galaxies beckons us.  What rocket designs might one day carry...

Cost: $5 plus museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Family-friendly Halloween attractions for young children, including a costume parade, foam zone, mazes, plus rides. 

Cost: Ticket prices start at $44; ages 3-5 admitted free with pre-k pass (available on

Where:
Carowinds
14523 Carowinds Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Stop by the store for live musical entertainment as Tommy performs with a multitude of instruments. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Toys and Company
242 S. Sharon Amity Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Learn why volcanoes are so powerful and whether or not their gases and level contributed to the extinction of dinosaurs. 

Cost: $10

Where:
Discovery Place KIDS
105 Gilead Road
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

A massive amount of energy lurks like a sleeping dragon beneath the surface of planet Earth.  Explore rare and extremely devastating volcanic eruptions and discover the impact of gigantic...

Cost: $5 plus museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden invites visitors to explore Asian culture during the Chinese Lantern Festival to be held Sept. 7 through Oct. 29, Wednesday through Sunday from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. each...

Cost: Online in Advance: $21.95/Adult, $19.95/Senior 60+, $14.95/Child 2-12, Free/Chil

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


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

Features local speakers sharing their knowledge on our region's environment from butterflies to bears and everything in between.

Cost: Free

Where:
McClintock Middle School
1925 Rama Road
Charlotte`, NC  28212
View map »


Telephone: 704-517-2535
Contact Name: Ernie McLaney
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $5 parking fee

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


Telephone: 704-391-3900
Website »

More information

This rendition will be set in the 1960s (think Austin Powers!). The Comedy of Errors, William Shakespeare's shortest and most farcical comedy involves two sets of identical brothers, separated...

Cost: $5-$10

Where:
CPCC-Cato Campus
Outdoor Ampitheatre
3645 E. W.T. Harris Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Young mates set sail on a self-guided pirate voyage aboard our miniature pirate ship, the Adventure, at anchor in the Explorer's Outpost.  Children can dress-up, learn and play at their...

Cost: $6-$7

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


Sponsor: The Schiele Museum of Natural History
Telephone: 704-866-6923
Contact Name: Philip McGinnis
Website »

More information

Discover 400 years of Catawba Indian history as you explore replicated structures that reflect the life and culture of the Carolina Woodlands. Weather permitting;...

Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission.

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


Sponsor: The Schiele Museum of Natural History
Telephone: 704-866-6923
Contact Name: Philip McGinnis
Website »

More information

Explore the moon, stars and beyond in the new planetarium. Housed in the museum's original Charlotte A. Kelly Planetarium, the dome has been retrofitted with a new Digitarium Zeta...

Cost: $8

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
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

Food, carnival rides and games, live entertainment. Special Needs Fun Day held Fri., Sept. 22 from 1-3pm. Other hours are: Fri., 5-11pm; Sat., 11am-11pm.

Cost: Free; additional cost for rides and food

Where:
Rescue Squad Park
7889 Galway Lane
Denver, NC
View map »


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

Show More...
Show Less...

Travel back in time on a journey through the Mesozoic Era-the Age of Dinosaurs.  See full-bodied models of incredible creatures that time forgot. Observe predators stalking an armored...

Cost: $6-$7

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

In this free trial, Tinkergarten Leader, Kristin Rastogi, will facilitate an expert-designed play scenario, allowing children of various ages and needs to explore, problem solve, communicate,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Colonel Francis Beatty Park
4330 Weddington Road
Matthews, NC  28105
View map »


Sponsor: Tinkergarten
Contact Name: Kristin Rastogi
Website »

More information

Learn about the Lumbee Tribe of North America.  Enjoy listening to a Lumbee legend, learning the symbolism behind the Eagle Feather, and creating a Native American headdress using...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-664-2927
Website »

More information

When Billy Graham answered God’s call toevangelism, he had no idea what lay ahead—but he committed to honoring Christ every step of the way. In honor of the 70th...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Big changes are brewing in Gotham, and if he wants to save the city from the Joker's hostile takeover, Batman may have to drop the lone vigilante thing, try to work with others, and maybe, just...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-416-7400
Website »

More information

BHHS Carolinas Realty is sponsoring a free family movie night featuring "Sing." Movie begins at 7:30pm. 

Cost: Free; one canned good donation per person requested

Where:
BB&T Ballpark
324 S. Mint St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The work of artists on display includes that of Romare Bearden, Rockwell Kent, and Salvador Dali among others. "Art in the Book" provides a glimpse into the wide variety of illustrative...

Cost: $6-$12; children under 4 free

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


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

This exhibition, featuring 12 important paintings, drawings and prints, as well as a rare example of the artist's sculpture, will give them the opportunity to do so. Through the use of a rich...

Cost: $6-$12; children under 4 free

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


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

Car lovers won't want to miss thousands of hot rods, muscle cars, exotic sports cars and classic automobiles. You’ll also experience a collector car auction, over 10,000 automotive vendor...

Cost: $11; kids 13 and under get in free with a paying adult

Where:
Charlotte Motor Speedway
5555 Concord Mills Pkwy. South
Concord, NC  28027
View map »


Telephone: 800-455-3267
Website »

More information

K(NO)W Justice K(NO)W Peace is a community-created exhibit about police-involved shootings throughout the nation and here in Charlotte. Co-created with activists and law enforcement, the media,...

Cost: $5-$8

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


Telephone: 704-333-1887
Website »

More information

In the 1920s, Cleveland County experienced an economic boom and bust, the heyday of the textile mills, the birth of the political engine known as the Shelby Dynasty, and improved education,...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-739-1019
Website »

More information

Selections from one of the nation's most important and comprehensive collections of African-American art. This collection features a number of images from the fifty-eight-piece collection of...

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

The debut of one of the most expansive collections of abstract and contemporary African-American art.

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-374-1565
Website »

More information

Explores how artists immortalize people, places and memories through the visual arts.

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
The Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Website »

More information

Both mesmerizing and mysterious, Siobhan’s works represent the interactions, and sometimes conflicts, of her conscious and subconscious minds. These thoughts are characterized by stunning...

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

Get lost in the giant seven acre corn maze featuring over two miles of interconnecting paths. Take a hayride, play cornhole, and hike the trails. See website for times. 

Cost: $8=$11

Where:
Historic Rural Hill
4431 Neck Road
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-875-3113
Website »

More information

The impulse to explore the unknown is as old as humanity itself, and today, a new frontier of solar systems, stars and galaxies beckons us.  What rocket designs might one day carry...

Cost: $5 plus museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Family-friendly Halloween attractions for young children, including a costume parade, foam zone, mazes, plus rides. 

Cost: Ticket prices start at $44; ages 3-5 admitted free with pre-k pass (available on

Where:
Carowinds
14523 Carowinds Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Step into a special sandbox and "dig" for dinosaur bones and see if you can identify various dinosaur skeletons. Meet at the Town Hall stage to hear the story "Dinosaurs,...

Cost: $10

Where:
Discovery Place KIDS
105 Gilead Road
Huntersville , NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-373-6261
Website »

More information

SKILLS Group of Charlotte is a non-profit, 501(c3) after school enrichment program for teens and young adults with special needs., including cooking with a pastry chef, healthing cooking, Zumba,...

Cost: See website for prices

Where:
Hope Community Church
4418 Rea Road
Charlotte , NC  28226
View map »


Telephone: 704-9654-614
Website »

More information

A massive amount of energy lurks like a sleeping dragon beneath the surface of planet Earth.  Explore rare and extremely devastating volcanic eruptions and discover the impact of gigantic...

Cost: $5 plus museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

SKILLS Group of Charlotte is a non-profit, 501(c3) after school enrichment program for teens and young adults with special needs, including cooking with a pastry chef, healthing cooking, academic...

Cost: See website for prices

Where:
Hope Community Church
4418 Rea Road
Charlotte , NC  28226
View map »


Telephone: 704-965-4614
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Sycamore Brewing
Contact Name: Katelyn Carpenter
Website »

More information

This food truck rally is family and dog-friendly and features 10-15 area food trucks, live music, and a gated kids' playground. 

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Trinity Presbyterian Church
3115 Providence Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden invites visitors to explore Asian culture during the Chinese Lantern Festival to be held Sept. 7 through Oct. 29, Wednesday through Sunday from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. each...

Cost: Online in Advance: $21.95/Adult, $19.95/Senior 60+, $14.95/Child 2-12, Free/Chil

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


Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

Join Dilworth neighbors in this family and pet-friendly food truck fest each week. 

Cost: Free admission

Where:
1324 E. Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This rendition will be set in the 1960s (think Austin Powers!). The Comedy of Errors, William Shakespeare's shortest and most farcical comedy involves two sets of identical brothers, separated...

Cost: $5-$10

Where:
CPCC-Cato Campus
Outdoor Ampitheatre
3645 E. W.T. Harris Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

On Friday and Saturday nights, Sept. 22–Oct. 28, Tweetsie Railroad will host a Halloween celebration the whole family can enjoy. Ghost Train includes trick-or-treating, the...

Cost: $38

Where:
Tweetsie Railroad
300 Tweetsie Railroad Lane
Blowing Rock, NC  28605
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Young mates set sail on a self-guided pirate voyage aboard our miniature pirate ship, the Adventure, at anchor in the Explorer's Outpost.  Children can dress-up, learn and play at their...

Cost: $6-$7

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

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Explore the moon, stars and beyond in the new planetarium. Housed in the museum's original Charlotte A. Kelly Planetarium, the dome has been retrofitted with a new Digitarium Zeta...

Cost: $8

Where:
Discovery Place Nature
1658 Sterling Road
, NC
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Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

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Find great deals on spring and summer clothing (sizes: newborn to juniors) maternity clothing, kids' furniture and gear. Cash only. No strollers. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Christ United Methodist Church
3415 Union Road
Gastonia, NC  28056
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Telephone: 704-616-9253
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
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Telephone: 704-922-7681
Website »

More information

Food, carnival rides and games, live entertainment. Special Needs Fun Day held Fri., Sept. 22 from 1-3pm. Other hours are: Fri., 5-11pm; Sat., 11am-11pm.

Cost: Free; additional cost for rides and food

Where:
Rescue Squad Park
7889 Galway Lane
Denver, NC
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Featuring nearly 200 arts and crafts exhibits, five stages with more than 1,000 performers, children’s rides and attractions. Fri., 4-9:30pm; Sat., 10am-9:30pm; Sun., 11am-6pm.

Cost: Free

Where:
Freedom Park
1409 East Blvd.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-338-1060
Website »

More information

Experience Beethoven's masterful final symphony, widely celebrated as one of the most significant works of all time. This work, revolutionary for audiences of its time, continues to inspire...

Cost: $19+

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


Telephone: 704-972-2000
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

Shop for quality, gently used children’s clothing, toys, infant items, shoes, books, games, furniture and much more.  No bags, strollers or carts allowed. For more information and...

Cost: Free admission

Where:
First Baptist Church Indian Trail
732 Indian Trail-Fairview Road
Indian Trail, NC  28079
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Telephone: 704-893- 2669
Website »

More information

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Travel back in time on a journey through the Mesozoic Era-the Age of Dinosaurs.  See full-bodied models of incredible creatures that time forgot. Observe predators stalking an armored...

Cost: $6-$7

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
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Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

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Meet traditional and contemporary potters as well as Catawba potters, too. There will be presentations by noted pottery experts, pottery making demonstrations, and the chance to win free...

Cost: $5-$8; children 3 and under free

Where:
Historic Brattonsville
1036 Brattonsville Road
McConnells, SC  29726
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See and touch live snakes, alligators, frogs and other reptiles and amphibians. Cheer on our museum turtles in our annual turtle race, find wildlife in our pond and have fun learning about these...

Cost: $7-$10

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Contact Name: Morgan Huffman
Website »

More information

Take advantage of the beauty of the outdoors with a scavenger hunt, live butterfly release (noon and 1:30pm), and geogaching. Plus, meet members of of York County's Beekeeper Association and...

Cost: $6

Where:
Museum of York County
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
Rock Hill, SC
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Telephone: 803-327-6400
Website »

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When Billy Graham answered God’s call toevangelism, he had no idea what lay ahead—but he committed to honoring Christ every step of the way. In honor of the 70th...

Cost: Free

Where:
Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
Charlotte, NC  28217
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Stop by  to create a nature-inspired spring craft to take home. Registration is required.

Cost: Free

Where:
McDowell Nature Center
15222 York Road
Charlotte, NC  28278
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Telephone: 704-588-5224
Website »

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Featuring a showing of "Beauty and the Beast" on a 24-foot movie screen, live music, games, giveaways and snacks. The movie will begin at dusk. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Charlotte Premium Outlets
5404 New Fashion Way
, NC
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The work of artists on display includes that of Romare Bearden, Rockwell Kent, and Salvador Dali among others. "Art in the Book" provides a glimpse into the wide variety of illustrative...

Cost: $6-$12; children under 4 free

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
, NC
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Telephone: 704-337-2000
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This exhibition, featuring 12 important paintings, drawings and prints, as well as a rare example of the artist's sculpture, will give them the opportunity to do so. Through the use of a rich...

Cost: $6-$12; children under 4 free

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-337-2000
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Car lovers won't want to miss thousands of hot rods, muscle cars, exotic sports cars and classic automobiles. You’ll also experience a collector car auction, over 10,000 automotive vendor...

Cost: $11; kids 13 and under get in free with a paying adult

Where:
Charlotte Motor Speedway
5555 Concord Mills Pkwy. South
Concord, NC  28027
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Telephone: 800-455-3267
Website »

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K(NO)W Justice K(NO)W Peace is a community-created exhibit about police-involved shootings throughout the nation and here in Charlotte. Co-created with activists and law enforcement, the media,...

Cost: $5-$8

Where:
Levine Museum of the New South
200 E. Seventh St.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-333-1887
Website »

More information

In the 1920s, Cleveland County experienced an economic boom and bust, the heyday of the textile mills, the birth of the political engine known as the Shelby Dynasty, and improved education,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kings Mountain Historical Museum
100 East Mountain St.
Kings Mountain, NC  28086
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Telephone: 704-739-1019
Website »

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Selections from one of the nation's most important and comprehensive collections of African-American art. This collection features a number of images from the fifty-eight-piece collection of...

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
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Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

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The debut of one of the most expansive collections of abstract and contemporary African-American art.

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
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Telephone: 704-374-1565
Website »

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Explores how artists immortalize people, places and memories through the visual arts.

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
The Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
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Website »

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Both mesmerizing and mysterious, Siobhan’s works represent the interactions, and sometimes conflicts, of her conscious and subconscious minds. These thoughts are characterized by stunning...

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

Get lost in the giant seven acre corn maze featuring over two miles of interconnecting paths. Take a hayride, play cornhole, and hike the trails. See website for times. 

Cost: $8=$11

Where:
Historic Rural Hill
4431 Neck Road
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-875-3113
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


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

More information

The impulse to explore the unknown is as old as humanity itself, and today, a new frontier of solar systems, stars and galaxies beckons us.  What rocket designs might one day carry...

Cost: $5 plus museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Family-friendly Halloween attractions for young children, including a costume parade, foam zone, mazes, plus rides. 

Cost: Ticket prices start at $44; ages 3-5 admitted free with pre-k pass (available on

Where:
Carowinds
14523 Carowinds Blvd.
, NC
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Website »

More information

A massive amount of energy lurks like a sleeping dragon beneath the surface of planet Earth.  Explore rare and extremely devastating volcanic eruptions and discover the impact of gigantic...

Cost: $5 plus museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Enjoy two great mini programs in the science theater.  First, explore fall constellations in the seasonal stargazing tour of the night sky.  Then, learn about modern unmanned lunar...

Cost: $5 plus museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden invites visitors to explore Asian culture during the Chinese Lantern Festival to be held Sept. 7 through Oct. 29, Wednesday through Sunday from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. each...

Cost: Online in Advance: $21.95/Adult, $19.95/Senior 60+, $14.95/Child 2-12, Free/Chil

Where:
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
6500 South New Hope Road
Belmont, NC  28012
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Telephone: 704-825-4490
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $5 parking fee

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


Telephone: 704-391-3900
Website »

More information

This rendition will be set in the 1960s (think Austin Powers!). The Comedy of Errors, William Shakespeare's shortest and most farcical comedy involves two sets of identical brothers, separated...

Cost: $5-$10

Where:
CPCC-Cato Campus
Outdoor Ampitheatre
3645 E. W.T. Harris Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

On Friday and Saturday nights, Sept. 22–Oct. 28, Tweetsie Railroad will host a Halloween celebration the whole family can enjoy. Ghost Train includes trick-or-treating, the...

Cost: $38

Where:
Tweetsie Railroad
300 Tweetsie Railroad Lane
Blowing Rock, NC  28605
View map »


Website »

More information

Young mates set sail on a self-guided pirate voyage aboard our miniature pirate ship, the Adventure, at anchor in the Explorer's Outpost.  Children can dress-up, learn and play at their...

Cost: $6-$7

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


Sponsor: The Schiele Museum of Natural History
Telephone: 704-866-6923
Contact Name: Philip McGinnis
Website »

More information

Find great deals on spring and summer clothing (sizes: newborn to juniors) maternity clothing, kids' furniture and gear. Cash only. No strollers. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Christ United Methodist Church
3415 Union Road
Gastonia, NC  28056
View map »


Telephone: 704-616-9253
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

Food, carnival rides and games, live entertainment. Special Needs Fun Day held Fri., Sept. 22 from 1-3pm. Other hours are: Fri., 5-11pm; Sat., 11am-11pm.

Cost: Free; additional cost for rides and food

Where:
Rescue Squad Park
7889 Galway Lane
Denver, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Featuring nearly 200 arts and crafts exhibits, five stages with more than 1,000 performers, children’s rides and attractions. Fri., 4-9:30pm; Sat., 10am-9:30pm; Sun., 11am-6pm.

Cost: Free

Where:
Freedom Park
1409 East Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-338-1060
Website »

More information

Experience Beethoven's masterful final symphony, widely celebrated as one of the most significant works of all time. This work, revolutionary for audiences of its time, continues to inspire...

Cost: $19+

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


Telephone: 704-972-2000
Website »

More information

Repticon Charlotte is a reptile event featuring vendors offering reptile pets, supplies, feeders, cages, and merchandise as well as live animal seminars and frequent free raffles for coveted...

Cost: $5-$12; children 5 and under free

Where:
Cabarrus Arena and Events Center
4751 Highway 49 North
Concord, NC  28025
View map »


Telephone: 863-268-4273
Website »

More information

Educators can bring one guest and enjoy free admission to Discovery Place Science, Discovery Place Kids, Discovery Place Nature, or Discovery Place Kids-Rockingham Saturdays in September beginning...

Cost: Free for educators and one guest

Where:
Discovery Place Museums
Locations vary
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-373-6261
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

Shop for quality, gently used children’s clothing, toys, infant items, shoes, books, games, furniture and much more.  No bags, strollers or carts allowed. For more information and...

Cost: Free admission

Where:
First Baptist Church Indian Trail
732 Indian Trail-Fairview Road
Indian Trail, NC  28079
View map »


Telephone: 704-893- 2669
Website »

More information

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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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