Plan the Perfect Spring Family Picnic

Best spots, gear and tips for making your next outdoor picnic a success.


Published:

Shutterstock photo

Jewel tones and heavy layers make way for pastels, open-toe shoes and fragrant, longer days during spring. The grass needs cutting, gorgeous bushes bloom and allergies to nature’s own brand of confetti — in the form of pollen — kick into overdrive. Yes, spring in North Carolina is magical — so much so that it can inspire some extra-special adventures with your family in the great outdoors.

Nothing says “spring” or “quality time” quite as well as a meal shared in the form of a neatly packed picnic. Or, it could be a disheveled one. The point is to spend this time in nature with loved ones.

Picnic-Perfect Recipes

Yvonne Madden of Charlotte is stepmom to Ivy, an aspiring young chef. Madden and her stepdaughter use any opportunity they can to spend time together in the kitchen. Madden’s Vietnamese heritage drives her love of delicious, fresh foods, so her suggestions for picnic goodies do not disappoint.

If you’re picnicking in an area where a grill is available, Madden suggests considering burgers for your main course.

“Ivy loves making patties with me. You can have most school-age kiddos mix the ground beef and form them into patties,” she says. “In fact, any ground meat or meat substitute works wonderfully for this. You can also buy premade patties from any of our fresh, local grocers.”

Madden also raves about the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables in the Queen City and Triangle region. “We’re really lucky to live in a climate where we can access most anything any time of the year,” she says.

A true hallmark of North Carolina is that fresh produce is often locally sourced, making it more economical.

“Pre-slice everything and toss them into some Ziploc baggies for easy snacking,” Madden advises. “Bonus: Kids can help bag up the veggies and fruits.”

Though some fan-favorite recipes call for it, mayonnaise is not the most picnic-friendly of foods since it can spoil if not refrigerated. Madden’s suggestion: Replace it with pesto in salads. One of her favorite recipes involves slicing up a handful of cherry tomatoes and adding in some mozzarella pearls, fresh basil, pesto, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Madden says this dish offers the perfect accompaniment to crusty bread, can be eaten alone or be made into a sandwich.

Another tasty traveling recipe is bowtie pesto pasta salad. Just toss boiled bowties with pesto, then add some salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese.

For a sweet but healthy treat, scoop out the centers of large strawberries and fill them with melted chocolate chips using a small spoon or piping bag, then store them in the refrigerator for 10 minutes or so until the chocolate hardens. Use an egg carton to prevent the strawberries from tipping over.

Prepackaged Goodies

If you’d rather spend less time preparing for and more time enjoying your spring family picnic, consider purchasing seasonal, prepackaged foods.

“Not only do you get to enjoy the fruits (and veggies) of someone else’s labor, but you’re actually able to be present in the moment with your kiddos, saving time and potential frustration when things don’t go according to the plan,” says Durham-based nanny Krysta S.

Suggestions include nongreasy chips that don’t leave a residue, and prepackaged salads, fruits and veggies. Add some precooked grilled chicken strips and you’ve got this picnic “in the bag.”

Top Picnic Spots

North Carolina offers perfectly picturesque picnic locations come spring — whether you’re at William B. Umstead State Park for a piece of outdoor sanctuary in Raleigh or Jetton Park hitting up a little slice of a beach at Lake Norman.

Other honorable mentions for Triangle families include Sarah P. Duke Gardens in Durham, Pullen Park in Raleigh and Ayr Mount in Hillsborough.

The Charlotte area offers perfectly picturesque picnic locations come spring — whether you’re at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden or Freedom Park. Other honorable mentions include Latta Park in Dilworth, and Romare Bearden Park or First Ward Park uptown. Independence Park is great for its view of uptown and playground, and you can picnic by the playground at Colonel Francis Beatty Park which also has bike trails by the lake.


Hassle-Free Accessories

Pack the right accessories to achieve picnic perfection. Here are a few good ideas to consider.
 

Camco’s Handy Mat With Strap folds out to 60-inches by 78-inches and into a compact 10.5-inches by 15-inches for storage. (A 72-inch by 108-inch mat is also available). Built-in handles assist with easy transport, and the mat also features convenient pockets and mildew-resistant material that can be cleaned with soap and water. camco.net and amazon.com, $7.64-$19.43.

 



REI’s Sea to Summit Alpha Utensil Set

This fork-spoon-knife combination is made from aircraft-grade aluminum alloy for increased durability and weighs only 1.3 ounces. The product includes a small accessory carabiner so you can clip all three utensils together. rei.com, $19.95.

 

 

Scuddles Cooler Picnic Basket

This modern take on the nostalgic wicker basket features strong leather straps and keeps food hot or cold for 12 hours. The cooler includes a set of four stainless steel spoons, forks and knives; four plastic wine glasses; four washable napkins; salt-and-pepper shakers and a bottle opener. scuddlesusa.com, $35.99. (Scuddles also offers a picnic backback for $49.99.)

 


Extra tip: If you’re planning to be out for a while before eating, partially freeze water bottles to surround your food in the cooler. Not only do frozen water bottles do a fantastic job of keeping your goodies cold, they also come in handy once the ice melts. Use your own reusable water bottles to score extra eco-friendly points.


Lauren Ramirez of Lexington is a new mom, former teacher and higher education professional.

 

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Daily Calendar

May 2020

Join us for the 6th Annual Pinky Swear Kids Triathlon and Fun Run. This non-timed and non-competitive race for kids of all abilities is followed by a family festival full of fun, music and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Ingersoll Rand
800 Beaty St.
Davidson, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Every 1st Saturday of the month, join Drums4life drum circle to experience the spontaneous creation of music.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

The Sandra and Leon Levine Jewish Community Center (LJCC) will host its annual kids triathlon to benefit rehabilitation programs at Levine Children’s Hospital and...

Cost: $40 registration fee

Where:
Levine Jewish Community Center
5007 Providence Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

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Experience age-level appropriate Sunday school classes at 9:30 and 11 a.m. that connect families with larger church programs and ministries while creating a welcoming environment for all families.

Cost: Free

Where:
Matthews United Methodist Church
801 S. Trade St.
Matthews, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $15-$20 per person, cash or check only

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


Sponsor: Carrigan Farms
Website »

More information

A single balloon lifts the spirits of a solitary man in this sweet story for preschoolers. A mischievous balloon finds its way into the home of a solitary old man, and suddenly his curmudgeonly...

Cost: 10-12

Where:
Children's Theatre of Charlotte
300 E 7th St
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Sponsor: Children's Theatre of Charlotte
Telephone: 704-973-2826
Contact Name: Sarah Kasper
Website »

More information

Classes for adaptive learning and sensory needs meet at 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

Cost: Free

Where:
Sun Valley High School
5211 Old Charlotte Hwy.
Monroe, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Church of the Redeemer
Website »

More information

On Saturdays and Sundays from noon-5pm, the arcade bar opens to all ages with a parent or guardian present.

Cost: Cost for games

Where:
Abari Game Bar
1721 N. Davidson St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 980-430-4587
Website »

More information

Teach or play with your child in the heated pool.

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6908
Website »

More information

Through this new exhibit, the NASCAR Hall of Fame pays tribute to the trucks and racers who made the Truck Series such a success. Haulin': 25 Years of NASCAR Trucks features eight race trucks,...

Cost: $18-$25, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

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


Website »

More information

This smash hit Broadway musical is loosely based on the rivalries within Diana Ross and The Supremes. Rated PG-13. See website for showtimes.

Cost: TBA

Where:
The Eloise MacDonald Playhouse
501 Queens Road
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Theatre Charlotte
Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

This exhibition is the first to focus exclusively on the black basalt sculpture made by Josiah Wedgwood and other Staffordshire potters in late eighteenth-century England. 

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

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


Website »

More information

Meet a real pirate and find hidden treasure in this swashbuckling adventure throughout the aquarium!

Cost: $12-$22, children younger than 2 free

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


Sponsor: SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
Website »

More information

Multiplied: Edition MAT and the Transformable Work of Art examines the rise of three-dimensional objects issued in editions, which emerged as an international phenomenon in the 1960s and 1970s.

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

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


Website »

More information

The Things Come Apart exhibit reveals the inner workings of common, everyday items. Images explore how things are designed and how technology has evolved over time.

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

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


Website »

More information

The Salisbury Kennel Club will present this all-breed dog show.

Cost: Free, $5 for parking

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


Website »

More information

This exhibit explores the various aspects of walls, which includes the artistic, social, political and historical aspects, as well as the physical barriers like fences or sand berms. The space is...

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

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


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Every 1st Saturday of the month, join Drums4life drum circle to experience the spontaneous creation of music.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Drop off your little ones to explore, play and learn during Music Mondays, Theater Thursdays and Food Fridays. A small snack is provided. Register online.

Cost: $21-$31

Where:
New Hope Baptist Church
2024 Redbud Drive
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $11 for one hour

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


Website »

More information

George Beverly Shea and Cliff Barrows presented faith of Jesus Christ in song. Come discover the ways the Lord used their efforts and their music to open hearts around the world. Read inspiring...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
Website »

More information

Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

Cost: $8, $10 on weekends and school holidays

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


Website »

More information

On the first Sunday of the month from April through December, explore food trucks, mobile shops and live music at Sycamore Brewing. 

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

A single balloon lifts the spirits of a solitary man in this sweet story for preschoolers. A mischievous balloon finds its way into the home of a solitary old man, and suddenly his curmudgeonly...

Cost: 10-12

Where:
Children's Theatre of Charlotte
300 E 7th St
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Sponsor: Children's Theatre of Charlotte
Telephone: 704-973-2826
Contact Name: Sarah Kasper
Website »

More information

Participants of all ages will learn proper Jazz dance technique. No previous dance experience required.

Cost: Free

Where:
Berewick Recreation Center
5910 Dixie River Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-414-2774
Website »

More information

Through this new exhibit, the NASCAR Hall of Fame pays tribute to the trucks and racers who made the Truck Series such a success. Haulin': 25 Years of NASCAR Trucks features eight race trucks,...

Cost: $18-$25, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

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


Website »

More information

Multiplied: Edition MAT and the Transformable Work of Art examines the rise of three-dimensional objects issued in editions, which emerged as an international phenomenon in the 1960s and 1970s.

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

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


Website »

More information

The Things Come Apart exhibit reveals the inner workings of common, everyday items. Images explore how things are designed and how technology has evolved over time.

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

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


Website »

More information

Join us for our Pinkyswear Virtual Kids Triathlon event. This virtual event which kicks off formally on June 1st for all ages and abilities, and the triathlon can be completed anywhere! The...

Cost: $15

Where:
, NC


Sponsor: Pinkyswear Foundation
Contact Name: Valorie Liggett
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

A single balloon lifts the spirits of a solitary man in this sweet story for preschoolers. A mischievous balloon finds its way into the home of a solitary old man, and suddenly his curmudgeonly...

Cost: 10-12

Where:
Children's Theatre of Charlotte
300 E 7th St
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Sponsor: Children's Theatre of Charlotte
Telephone: 704-973-2826
Contact Name: Sarah Kasper
Website »

More information

Every 1st Saturday of the month, join Drums4life drum circle to experience the spontaneous creation of music.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Meet with a nationally certified Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST) who will teach you the correct way to install your child's seat, provide safety recommendations and answer questions....

Cost: Free

Where:
Flint Hill Fire Dept. Station 1
1950 Hwy. 21 Bypass
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Sponsor: Britax Child Safety
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $11 for one hour

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


Website »

More information

George Beverly Shea and Cliff Barrows presented faith of Jesus Christ in song. Come discover the ways the Lord used their efforts and their music to open hearts around the world. Read inspiring...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
Website »

More information

Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

Cost: $8, $10 on weekends and school holidays

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


Website »

More information

Teach or play with your child in the heated pool.

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

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Families of children with special needs can enjoy a special jump session the first Tuesday of each month. Defy Gravity grip socks, $3, are required.

Cost: $7 per hour for each jumper with special needs and immediate family members

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Latin Dance explores the Caribbean dance styles of Salsa, Bachata and Merengue in a fun and energetic dance environment.

Cost: Free

Where:
Albemarle Road Recreation Center
5027 North Idlewild Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This exhibition is the first to focus exclusively on the black basalt sculpture made by Josiah Wedgwood and other Staffordshire potters in late eighteenth-century England. 

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

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


Website »

More information

The Things Come Apart exhibit reveals the inner workings of common, everyday items. Images explore how things are designed and how technology has evolved over time.

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

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


Website »

More information

Join us for our Pinkyswear Virtual Kids Triathlon event. This virtual event which kicks off formally on June 1st for all ages and abilities, and the triathlon can be completed anywhere! The...

Cost: $15

Where:
, NC


Sponsor: Pinkyswear Foundation
Contact Name: Valorie Liggett
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

A single balloon lifts the spirits of a solitary man in this sweet story for preschoolers. A mischievous balloon finds its way into the home of a solitary old man, and suddenly his curmudgeonly...

Cost: 10-12

Where:
Children's Theatre of Charlotte
300 E 7th St
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Sponsor: Children's Theatre of Charlotte
Telephone: 704-973-2826
Contact Name: Sarah Kasper
Website »

More information

Every 1st Saturday of the month, join Drums4life drum circle to experience the spontaneous creation of music.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $11 for one hour

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


Website »

More information

George Beverly Shea and Cliff Barrows presented faith of Jesus Christ in song. Come discover the ways the Lord used their efforts and their music to open hearts around the world. Read inspiring...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
Website »

More information

Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

Cost: $8, $10 on weekends and school holidays

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


Website »

More information

Explore the Mint Museum's exhibitions without charge.

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

Ceramic teaching artists will walk participants through a clay project. Call 704-416-4400 to register.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Through this new exhibit, the NASCAR Hall of Fame pays tribute to the trucks and racers who made the Truck Series such a success. Haulin': 25 Years of NASCAR Trucks features eight race trucks,...

Cost: $18-$25, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

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


Website »

More information

This smash hit Broadway musical is loosely based on the rivalries within Diana Ross and The Supremes. Rated PG-13. See website for showtimes.

Cost: TBA

Where:
The Eloise MacDonald Playhouse
501 Queens Road
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Theatre Charlotte
Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

This exhibition is the first to focus exclusively on the black basalt sculpture made by Josiah Wedgwood and other Staffordshire potters in late eighteenth-century England. 

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

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


Website »

More information

Multiplied: Edition MAT and the Transformable Work of Art examines the rise of three-dimensional objects issued in editions, which emerged as an international phenomenon in the 1960s and 1970s.

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

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


Website »

More information

The Things Come Apart exhibit reveals the inner workings of common, everyday items. Images explore how things are designed and how technology has evolved over time.

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

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


Website »

More information

This exhibit explores the various aspects of walls, which includes the artistic, social, political and historical aspects, as well as the physical barriers like fences or sand berms. The space is...

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

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


Website »

More information

Join us for our Pinkyswear Virtual Kids Triathlon event. This virtual event which kicks off formally on June 1st for all ages and abilities, and the triathlon can be completed anywhere! The...

Cost: $15

Where:
, NC


Sponsor: Pinkyswear Foundation
Contact Name: Valorie Liggett
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

A single balloon lifts the spirits of a solitary man in this sweet story for preschoolers. A mischievous balloon finds its way into the home of a solitary old man, and suddenly his curmudgeonly...

Cost: 10-12

Where:
Children's Theatre of Charlotte
300 E 7th St
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Sponsor: Children's Theatre of Charlotte
Telephone: 704-973-2826
Contact Name: Sarah Kasper
Website »

More information

Every 1st Saturday of the month, join Drums4life drum circle to experience the spontaneous creation of music.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Drop off your little ones to explore, play and learn during Music Mondays, Theater Thursdays and Food Fridays. A small snack is provided. Register online.

Cost: $21-$31

Where:
New Hope Baptist Church
2024 Redbud Drive
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $11 for one hour

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


Website »

More information

George Beverly Shea and Cliff Barrows presented faith of Jesus Christ in song. Come discover the ways the Lord used their efforts and their music to open hearts around the world. Read inspiring...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
Website »

More information

Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

Cost: $8, $10 on weekends and school holidays

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


Website »

More information

Afrobics is a full body, fun experience—a dance fitness class combining Afrofusion movement to an African beat.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Hear live music every Thursday, June 4 through August 13. Bring chairs, blankets, and money for food trucks, beer, wine and sodas. See website for lineup.

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

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


Website »

More information

River Jam brings live music outdoors, right in the middle of the world’s largest man-made whitewater river. Hear music on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, as well as during each of...

Cost: $6 for parking

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Website »

More information

Through this new exhibit, the NASCAR Hall of Fame pays tribute to the trucks and racers who made the Truck Series such a success. Haulin': 25 Years of NASCAR Trucks features eight race trucks,...

Cost: $18-$25, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

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


Website »

More information

This smash hit Broadway musical is loosely based on the rivalries within Diana Ross and The Supremes. Rated PG-13. See website for showtimes.

Cost: TBA

Where:
The Eloise MacDonald Playhouse
501 Queens Road
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Theatre Charlotte
Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

This exhibition is the first to focus exclusively on the black basalt sculpture made by Josiah Wedgwood and other Staffordshire potters in late eighteenth-century England. 

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

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


Website »

More information

Multiplied: Edition MAT and the Transformable Work of Art examines the rise of three-dimensional objects issued in editions, which emerged as an international phenomenon in the 1960s and 1970s.

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

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


Website »

More information

The Things Come Apart exhibit reveals the inner workings of common, everyday items. Images explore how things are designed and how technology has evolved over time.

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

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


Website »

More information

This exhibit explores the various aspects of walls, which includes the artistic, social, political and historical aspects, as well as the physical barriers like fences or sand berms. The space is...

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

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


Website »

More information

Join us for our Pinkyswear Virtual Kids Triathlon event. This virtual event which kicks off formally on June 1st for all ages and abilities, and the triathlon can be completed anywhere! The...

Cost: $15

Where:
, NC


Sponsor: Pinkyswear Foundation
Contact Name: Valorie Liggett
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Every 1st Saturday of the month, join Drums4life drum circle to experience the spontaneous creation of music.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

A dynamic stage performer has been cast as Blippi to entertain and thrill audiences in a live musical.

Cost: $24.75-$65

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


Website »

More information

The businesses at the Warehouses on White are pleased to host families and friends on the first Friday of the month for a night of fun and food.

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Warehouses on White
130 W. White St.
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Fans will enjoy Friday Night Fireworks and Scout Sleepover. 

Cost: $13+

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


Website »

More information

Join Bold Music Lessons for its latest at-home collaboration on Facebook Live!

Cost: Free

Where:
Online
Charlotte, NC  28210


Sponsor: Bold Music Lessons
Website »

More information

Drop off your little ones to explore, play and learn during Music Mondays, Theater Thursdays and Food Fridays. A small snack is provided. Register online.

Cost: $21-$31

Where:
New Hope Baptist Church
2024 Redbud Drive
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $11 for one hour

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


Website »

More information

George Beverly Shea and Cliff Barrows presented faith of Jesus Christ in song. Come discover the ways the Lord used their efforts and their music to open hearts around the world. Read inspiring...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
Website »

More information

Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

Cost: $8, $10 on weekends and school holidays

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


Website »

More information

Caregivers and their littles learn new yoga poses with songs and games. Multiple class rates available.

Cost: $20

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


Website »

More information

A single balloon lifts the spirits of a solitary man in this sweet story for preschoolers. A mischievous balloon finds its way into the home of a solitary old man, and suddenly his curmudgeonly...

Cost: 10-12

Where:
Children's Theatre of Charlotte
300 E 7th St
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Sponsor: Children's Theatre of Charlotte
Telephone: 704-973-2826
Contact Name: Sarah Kasper
Website »

More information

Enjoy the SingPlayMove experience in the comfort of your own home. This 30-minute class is presented through Zoom.  Each week's class will have a unique Zoom Meeting ID and...

Cost: $12 per child

Where:
Online
345 N. College St.
, NC  28202
View map »


Sponsor: Arts+
Website »

More information

Teach or play with your child in the heated pool.

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

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


Website »

More information

Songwriters Eve and Natalie, host SongShare - a free online songwriting  space for students middle school to high school to sing, play and share. SongShare was...

Cost: Free

Where:
Online only! Zoom classroom
Charlotte, NC


Sponsor: Find Your Voice: A Songwriting Experience
Website »

More information

rab dinner from a variety of local food trucks at this weekly rally. Visit the website for a list of participating trucks.

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Resident Culture Brewing Company
2101 Central Ave.
, NC
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.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $25

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


Website »

More information

The businesses at the Warehouses on White are pleased to host each first Friday for a night of fun and food!

Cost: Free

Where:
Warehouse on White
130 W. White St.
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

River Jam brings live music outdoors, right in the middle of the world’s largest man-made whitewater river. Hear music on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, as well as during each of...

Cost: $6 for parking

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Website »

More information

The DJ and beverage garden will kick off at 6pm, and featured bands will start at 7pm. Food will be available for purchase.

Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Belmont
Main Street
Belmont, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Through this new exhibit, the NASCAR Hall of Fame pays tribute to the trucks and racers who made the Truck Series such a success. Haulin': 25 Years of NASCAR Trucks features eight race trucks,...

Cost: $18-$25, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

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


Website »

More information

This smash hit Broadway musical is loosely based on the rivalries within Diana Ross and The Supremes. Rated PG-13. See website for showtimes.

Cost: TBA

Where:
The Eloise MacDonald Playhouse
501 Queens Road
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Theatre Charlotte
Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

This exhibition is the first to focus exclusively on the black basalt sculpture made by Josiah Wedgwood and other Staffordshire potters in late eighteenth-century England. 

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

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


Website »

More information

Taste of Charlotte is a three-day festival featuring samples from area restaurants along with live entertainment, children’s activities, cooking demonstrations, performances...

Cost: Free admission, cost for food

Where:
Uptown Charlotte
5th Street to Stonewall
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Multiplied: Edition MAT and the Transformable Work of Art examines the rise of three-dimensional objects issued in editions, which emerged as an international phenomenon in the 1960s and 1970s.

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

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


Website »

More information

The Things Come Apart exhibit reveals the inner workings of common, everyday items. Images explore how things are designed and how technology has evolved over time.

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

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


Website »

More information

See the original, Broadway-style dinner show, and experience the story of Stephen and the Apostles. See website for showtimes.

Cost: $10-$40

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


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

More information

This exhibit explores the various aspects of walls, which includes the artistic, social, political and historical aspects, as well as the physical barriers like fences or sand berms. The space is...

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

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


Website »

More information

Join us for our Pinkyswear Virtual Kids Triathlon event. This virtual event which kicks off formally on June 1st for all ages and abilities, and the triathlon can be completed anywhere! The...

Cost: $15

Where:
, NC


Sponsor: Pinkyswear Foundation
Contact Name: Valorie Liggett
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Arts+ will provide a visual art workshop series with live music.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

A single balloon lifts the spirits of a solitary man in this sweet story for preschoolers. A mischievous balloon finds its way into the home of a solitary old man, and suddenly his curmudgeonly...

Cost: 10-12

Where:
Children's Theatre of Charlotte
300 E 7th St
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Sponsor: Children's Theatre of Charlotte
Telephone: 704-973-2826
Contact Name: Sarah Kasper
Website »

More information

Every 1st Saturday of the month, join Drums4life drum circle to experience the spontaneous creation of music.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Arts+ will provide a visual art workshop series with live music.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Check out more than 100 vendors, 18 free rides, fireworks and live music. Shuttle locations to parking will be available.

Cost: Free

Where:
Crooked Creek Park
5900 Oakwood Lane
Indian Trail, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy this outdoor musical celebration. Tailgating spaces will be available. Salisbury Swing Band will perform at 5pm; the Salisbury Symphony will perform at 7:30pm.

Cost: Free

Where:
N.C. Transportation Museum
1 Samuel Spencer Drive
Salisbury, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Experience storyteller, Carolyn Evans as she portrays moments from Harriet Tubman's life and work with the Underground Railroad. Light refreshments will be served. RSVP to reserve your seat.

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Latta Plantation
5225 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Performing storyteller, Carolyn Evans will portray moments from Harriet Tubman's life in this Histo-Drama about her life and work with the Underground Railroad. Light refreshments will be...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Latta Plantation
5225 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-875-2312
Website »

More information

Get ready for the ultimate rock and worship experience at Rock the Park in the Carowinds’ Paladium Amphitheatre.

Cost: TBA

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


Website »

More information

All Kids Workshop attendees must be accompanied by a parent or adult at all times. All kids get to keep their craft, receive a free certificate of achievement, a workshop apron, and a commemorative...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Home Depot
4750 South Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Explore art and music through the eyes of your child. Registration includes access to Family Portrait and Musical Saturdays programs.

Cost: $10 per child

Where:
The Bridge
4100 Raleigh St.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Arts+
Website »

More information

George Beverly Shea and Cliff Barrows presented faith of Jesus Christ in song. Come discover the ways the Lord used their efforts and their music to open hearts around the world. Read inspiring...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $15-$20 per person, cash or check only

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


Sponsor: Carrigan Farms
Website »

More information

The City of Charlotte's Animal Care and Control will bring a selection of dogs, puppies, cats and kittens to the center court inside the mall for adoption.

Cost: Adoption prices may vary per pet

Where:
SouthPark Mall
4400 Sharon Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

On Saturdays and Sundays from noon-5pm, the arcade bar opens to all ages with a parent or guardian present.

Cost: Cost for games

Where:
Abari Game Bar
1721 N. Davidson St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 980-430-4587
Website »

More information

Arts+ will provide a visual art workshop series with live music.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Let Arts+ teaching artists guide you towards your artistic goals. Any young artist interested in a career in the arts can benefit from this collaborative creative environment.

Cost: $10

Where:
The Bridge
4100 Raleigh St.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Arts+
Website »

More information

River Jam brings live music outdoors, right in the middle of the world’s largest man-made whitewater river. Hear music on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, as well as during each of...

Cost: $6 for parking

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Website »

More information

Through this new exhibit, the NASCAR Hall of Fame pays tribute to the trucks and racers who made the Truck Series such a success. Haulin': 25 Years of NASCAR Trucks features eight race trucks,...

Cost: $18-$25, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

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


Website »

More information

This smash hit Broadway musical is loosely based on the rivalries within Diana Ross and The Supremes. Rated PG-13. See website for showtimes.

Cost: TBA

Where:
The Eloise MacDonald Playhouse
501 Queens Road
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Theatre Charlotte
Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

This exhibition is the first to focus exclusively on the black basalt sculpture made by Josiah Wedgwood and other Staffordshire potters in late eighteenth-century England. 

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

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


Website »

More information

Taste of Charlotte is a three-day festival featuring samples from area restaurants along with live entertainment, children’s activities, cooking demonstrations, performances...

Cost: Free admission, cost for food

Where:
Uptown Charlotte
5th Street to Stonewall
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Multiplied: Edition MAT and the Transformable Work of Art examines the rise of three-dimensional objects issued in editions, which emerged as an international phenomenon in the 1960s and 1970s.

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

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


Website »

More information

The Things Come Apart exhibit reveals the inner workings of common, everyday items. Images explore how things are designed and how technology has evolved over time.

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

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


Website »

More information

See the original, Broadway-style dinner show, and experience the story of Stephen and the Apostles. See website for showtimes.

Cost: $10-$40

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


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

More information

This exhibit explores the various aspects of walls, which includes the artistic, social, political and historical aspects, as well as the physical barriers like fences or sand berms. The space is...

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

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


Website »

More information

Join us for our Pinkyswear Virtual Kids Triathlon event. This virtual event which kicks off formally on June 1st for all ages and abilities, and the triathlon can be completed anywhere! The...

Cost: $15

Where:
, NC


Sponsor: Pinkyswear Foundation
Contact Name: Valorie Liggett
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
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Annual Guides

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

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

Education Guide

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