The Secret to Raising Self-Driven Kids

7 tips for helping children take control of their lives


Published:

Photo courtesy of Yuganov Konstantin/Shutterstock.com

The idea of an independent, confident teenager is quintessentially American. But somewhere between the self-esteem movement of the 1990s and society’s apparent obsession with perfection, there’s a school of thought out there that today’s kids have gotten off track.

The pressure to be perfect is inescapable. Kids absorb it from well-meaning parents, peers at school and social media. As a result, rising numbers of young people suffer from self-doubt and anxiety.

The antidote? According to neuropsychologist William Stixrud and self-proclaimed test-prep geek Ned Johnson, the key to overcoming anxiety and becoming a confident adult is control. Stixrud, who has spent 30 years helping teens with learning and anxiety disorders, teamed up with Johnson, who has spent 30 years calming overachieving teens, to write “Raising the Self-Driven Child: The Science and Sense of Giving Your Kids More Control Over Their Lives” (Penguin, 2018).

Whether you have a toddler or teenager, there are steps you can take to help your child take control of his or her life and move toward that confident, self-motivated American ideal.


Be a Consultant

What kind of parent are you? If you are a “Tiger Mom” who pushes your child to hit tennis balls six hours a day and practice piano for six hours a night, it’s unlikely your child has much opportunity to be in control of his or her life. On the other extreme, if you are a permissive parent, it’s unlikely your child has a chance to develop the sense of discipline he or she needs to be independent and self-motivated.

There is, Stixrud suggests, a parenting “sweet spot” — somewhere between authoritarian and laissez-faire, where a child is given just the right amount of independence and just the right amount of guidance.

“Be a consultant, not a director,” he recommends. A “consultant” parent provides basic rules and structure, and as much advice as needed, but does not insist on definite goals.

Consider also your definition of “success.” If you immediately picture your child as a wealthy banker in New York, that’s fine. But keep it to yourself. Your child is already facing a world in which success is narrowly defined, Stixrud says.

“Kids believe that if they don’t have straight A’s they won’t get into an elite college, and that if they don’t go to an elite college, they are going to have a C+ life,” Stixrud says. He laments that low-achieving kids often give up before they start, and high-achieving kids lose sleep over an A-. Make sure you’re helping your child see the broader possibilities rather than further limiting the field.


Avoid Comparisons

Every child is different and will require responsive adjustments in parenting style. Avoid comparing your child to his peers — or even siblings. An older sister might thrive playing club soccer and easily get straight A’s, while her younger brother might need quiet afternoons perched in his treehouse and earn mostly B’s. Stixrud points out that there is a low correlation between high school grades and later success.

Instead of casting about for ideals in the media, or imposing your own expectations, take a close look at your child. Encourage her interests. Pursuing a passion — whether for modern dance or rock collecting — allows a child to experience the satisfaction of working hard at something she enjoys.

Remember that your child will change as he matures. “We see kids who are a disaster of motivation, but as their prefrontal cortex develops, they come out of it,” Johnson says. “A child might be killing it at age 10, but might not be at the head of the pack at age 30. Prodigies don’t typically end up being musicians. And kids who are a mess now, are not necessarily a mess forever.”


Address Anxiety

A certain amount of stress can be good, Johnson says. He and Stixrud call this “optimal” stress, and explain that stress and competition actually increase motivation and productivity, up to a point. “Past that point,” Johnson says, “the fear of totally blowing it outweighs the motivation to excel.”

If anxiety is affecting you or your child’s daily life, address it. “Stress is contagious,” Johnson says. “It can affect the whole family.”

You can normalize stress by bringing it up at the dinner table.

“Talking about a situation you are dealing with is a great way to introduce coping mechanisms,” suggests Abby Pressel, a licensed psychologist with Chapel Hill Pediatric Psychology. “You can mention practical ways you manage anxiety, such as focusing on relaxing your muscles and regulating your breathing.”

When your child is worried about a specific problem, listen and acknowledge her concerns. At the same time, gently challenge her assumptions. “Often, anxiety can be irrational,” Pressel says. “Try to put data behind the fear.”

David Graham, a counselor at Davidson College, says students who successfully navigate the stresses of college are those who have outlets for stress, like a sports team, exercise class, favorite club or religious group. Help your child find some activity that allows him to relax.


Let Your Child Take Ownership

“Autonomy research is dramatic,” Johnson says. “There have been studies in retirement homes that show if you give people choices, they live longer.”

He points out that today’s kids have very little autonomy, spending most of their day at school where they have to raise their hand to speak or go to the bathroom. Afternoons and weekends tend to be overscheduled, leaving kids little opportunity for creative play, getting bored or having to figure out how to spend their day. Then, suddenly, in college they are free to do anything they want, Johnson points out. Before they go, help them feel internally motivated and confident enough to make decisions and advocate for themselves.

Lucy Dunning, a licensed professional counselor at Thriveworks in Charlotte, suggests letting your child practice choice-making. “Kids are conditioned to wait and be directed,” she says. “You can boost your child’s confidence — even very young children — by letting them make choices, whether that is deciding on dinner or on what clothes to wear.”

To keep things within the realm of reason, you can offer children a choice among a few safe options, she suggests.

Eric Lipp, a Duke Cancer Institute senior clinical research coordinator whose seventh-grade daughter recently kickstarted a recycling program at her school, swears by the value of chores. Committed to raising self-sufficient and confident children, he and his wife Sharon, a psychiatric nurse, required their two girls to take on responsibility for household tasks before they could read.

“We made them a chart with pictures,” Lipp says. “Brushing teeth, getting dressed, tying shoes, putting away toys. They would put a check beside each picture once they’d finished.”

Stixrud and Johnson point out that while the decision-making part of the brain does not fully mature until a person’s mid-20s, this does not mean young people are bad at making decisions.


Give Your Child Space to Fail

As a parent, watching your child fail can be excruciating. It’s tempting to “fix” things — to talk a teacher out of a low grade, beg a coach for a spot on the soccer team or step in to repair damaged friendships. But your child will struggle in the adult world if she never experiences failure growing up. Part of giving your child the freedom to choose is allowing her the freedom to make the wrong choice, i.e., the freedom to fail.

Graham says a large number of Davidson College students — about 45 percent — visit the school’s heath center for counseling, and that many of them have anxiety issues. “These are high-achieving students, most of whom have always excelled at academics,” he says. “For them, getting a B for the first time can be devastating. They have never had to build up the resiliency.”

Graham advises parents of middle- and high-schoolers to revisit their toddler-parenting strategies. “When your baby is learning to walk, and she falls, you encourage her to get back up. And she does. She gets back up and she walks,” he says.

Introduce your child to role models who have struggled to achieve. Thomas Edison, who failed thousands of times before making a successful lightbulb, is famously quoted as saying, “I’ve not failed, I successfully found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

In addition to external role models, be a model yourself. Teach self-encouragement by embracing your mistakes and sharing your strategies for overcoming them.

Praise effort, not result. “It is helpful to frame experiences in terms of learning and growth rather than on an outcome or a grade,” Pressel says. “Being comfortable with imperfection makes you more confident, and more likely to try new experiences.”


Provide Structure

Dunning believes kids need rules to thrive, but that parents should be authoritative rather than authoritarian.

Parents should be providing kids with a framework for behavior,” she says. “And then, as kids get older, parents should gradually back away.” She says children understand consequences, so parents can define behavior in terms of choice. “If your child chooses to miss curfew, then they have chosen to stay at home the following night,” she says.

Technology and social media are a wild west for rules and structure. Stixrud recommends family-wide policies.

“It’s easy enough to place limits on video games when a child is young, but much harder as they get older,” he says. “Make a family rule that everyone will charge phones in the kitchen at night. Parents included.” It is vital to follow the rules yourself.


Allow for 'Radical Downtime'

Graham says many of the freshmen he counsels at Davidson College are troubled by the 24/7 nature of college.

“It’s hard to find a safe place on campus with no onlookers,” he says. “There is nowhere to let down your guard.” As long as students feel they are “flying under the radar” they are OK, but if they get attention, “it’s like being under a microscope,” he says.

For a high-schooler, home should be that safe place college students are missing. Many of the parents Stixrud has talked to say that evenings with their teens can be like World War III, consisting of constant battles over homework. He suggests that instead of pestering your child about getting his homework done, simply let him know you are there to help. “Tell them you love them too much to fight about homework,” he says. “The fighting makes them less motivated to do the work, and is stressful to you as well.”

To escape what Johnson calls the “mind-numbing effects” of social media, he and Stixrud recommend excluding technology during downtime at home, and have introduced the concept of “radical downtime,” which includes doing nothing at all and allows a child to daydream, meditate, sleep and relax.

“Have Sunday mornings just be for pancakes,” Johnson says.


Caitlin Wheeler is a freelance writer in Durham.

 

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August 2018

Enjoy 1,500 square feet of rocks and minerals from around the world. See specimens both common and rare while discovering how the science of earth is ever-changing.  This showcase of the...

Cost: $7, included with museum admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
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Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

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Cost: $7, included with museum admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
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Telephone: 704-854-6676
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Cost: Free

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Latta Nature Center
6211 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC  28078
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Cost: Free

Where:
Old Town Amphitheater
157 Johnston St.
Rock Hill, SC
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Cost: $3

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McDowell Nature Preserve
15222 York Road
, NC
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Cost: $5 for parking (cash only)

Where:
Cabarrus Arena and Events Center
4751 NC Hwy. 49 N.
Concord, NC
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Telephone: 704-920-3976
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Cost: $6-$7, children under age 3 admitted free. Includes museum admission.

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The Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6923
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Cost: Included with admission

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Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
6500 S. New Hope Road
Belmont, NC
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Cost: $45 adults; $30 children; children younger than 2 free

Where:
Tweetsie Railroad
300 Tweetsie Railroad Ln.
Blowing Rock, NC  28605
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Sponsor: Tweetsie Railroad
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Cost: Free

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Sun Valley High School
5211 Old Charlotte Hwy.
Monroe, NC
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Sponsor: Church of the Redeemer
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Cost: Free

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Matthews United Methodist Church
801 S. Trade St.
Matthews, NC
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Cost: Free

Where:
Calvary Church
5801 Pineville–Matthews Road
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Telephone: 704-341-5413
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Now through September 9, 2018 the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art presents Alfred Manessier, an exhibition of paintings and prints by an artist who sought to create contemplative images where the...

Cost: Included with admission

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Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 South Tryon St.
, NC
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Cost: Adults $12, Seniors $10, Students $8

Where:
Carolina Raptor Center
6000 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC  28078
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Sponsor: Carolina Raptor Center
Telephone: 704-875-6521
Contact Name: Michele Houck
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Abari Game Bar
1721 N. Davidson St
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Telephone: 980-430-4587
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Cost: $6 in advance; free for children younger than 10

Where:
Belk Theater
130 N. Tryon St.
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Sponsor: India Association of Charlotte
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Cost: Adults $12, Seniors $10, Students $8

Where:
Carolina Raptor Center
6000 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC  28078
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Sponsor: Carolina Raptor Center
Telephone: 704-875-6521
Contact Name: Michele Houck
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Cost: Free

Where:
Independence Park
300 Hawthorne Ln.
, NC
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Cost: Free

Where:
Fourth Ward Park
301 N. Poplar St
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Cost: Free

Where:
Davidson Village Green
Intersection of Main Street and Concord Road
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Cost: Tickets start at $49

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Spectrum Center
333 E Trade St.
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Cost: $13-$17

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Discovery Place Science
301 N. Tryon St.
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Cost: $4-$12, includes museum admission

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N.C. Transportation Museum
1 Samuel Spencer Dr.
Spencer, NC
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Telephone: 704-636-2889
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Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
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Cost: Admission for Garden members is free, $12.95 for adults

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6500 S. New Hope Rd.
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Cost: $16-$20, free for children under 2, includes museum admission.

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Cost: $15 per person. Cash or check only.

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Carrigan Farms Quarry
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1213 Oak Ridge Farm Hwy.
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Cost: $4-$12; Included with general admission

Where:
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1 Samuel Spencer Drive
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Enjoy 1,500 square feet of rocks and minerals from around the world. See specimens both common and rare while discovering how the science of earth is ever-changing.  This showcase of the...

Cost: $7, included with museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Beatties Ford Library
2412 Beatties Ford Rd.
, NC
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Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-920-2787
Website »

More information

Dino Safari:  A Prehistoric Adventure Travel back in time on a journey through the Mesozoic Era – the age of dinosaurs. See full-bodied models of incredible creatures that time...

Cost: $6-$7, children under age 3 admitted free. Includes museum admission.

Where:
The Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
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Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

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Cost: Free

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300 E. 7th St.
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Telephone: 704-416-4600
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Cost: Free

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Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
Charlotte, NC  28217
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Telephone: 704-401-3200
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Cost: $10 per parent/child; $6 for each additional participant

Where:
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
6500 S. New Hope Road
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Telephone: 704-829-1252
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Registered kids receive two free games of bowling each day of the Kids Bowl Free (KBF) summer program! Select bowling centers and schools around the country are participating in the KBF program....

Cost: Free

Where:
10 Park Lanes
1700 Montford Drive
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View map »


Website »

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Now through September 9, 2018 the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art presents Alfred Manessier, an exhibition of paintings and prints by an artist who sought to create contemplative images where the...

Cost: Included with admission

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 South Tryon St.
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Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
StrikeCity
210 East Trade St.
#D-164
, NC
View map »


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Cost: $10 per parent/child; $6 for each additional participant

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


Telephone: 704-829-1252
Website »

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Cost: Free

Where:
Wallace Pruitt Recreation Center
440 Wesley Heights Way
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View map »


Telephone: 980-314-1114
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Cost: Free

Where:
Plaza Midwood Library
1623 Central Ave
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View map »


Telephone: 704-416-6200
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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

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Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6908
Website »

More information

It’s a pollinators’ paradise this summer as Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden opens two major seasonal exhibitions that celebrate the importance, beauty and majesty of pollinators. After...

Cost: Admission for Garden members is free, $12.95 for adults

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


Telephone: 704-829-1286
Contact Name: Stephanie Wisnet
Website »

More information

Discovery Place Science presents Tyrannosaurs – Meet the Family, an innovative, multimedia experience showcasing never-before-seen dinosaurs in the Tyrannosaurs family tree. The...

Cost: $16-$20, free for children under 2, includes museum admission.

Where:
Discovery Place Science
301 N. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $15 per person. Cash or check only.

Where:
Carrigan Farms Quarry
West Entrance
1213 Oak Ridge Farm Hwy.
Mooresville, NC  28115
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Enjoy 1,500 square feet of rocks and minerals from around the world. See specimens both common and rare while discovering how the science of earth is ever-changing.  This showcase of the...

Cost: $7, included with museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

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Cost: Member: $3 for TRex, $7 for TRex + IMAX; Public: $11 for TRex, $15 TRex + IMAX

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Mountain Island Library
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Cost: $15 general admission; $10 for members; Free for Harper-Roddey Society

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Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 S. Tryon St.
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Sponsor: Harvey B. Gantt Center
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Cost: $25

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Anne Springs Close Greenway
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Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-920-2787
Website »

More information

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Cost: $6-$7, children under age 3 admitted free. Includes museum admission.

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

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View map »


Telephone: 704-416-4600
Website »

More information

Big Air Trampoline Park opens its doors for little ones to jump at their own speed and comfort level. Without the older kids around, the toddlers feel right at home on all the attractions. Big...

Cost: $8

Where:
Big Air Trampoline Park
2408 Sardis Road N.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-401-3200
Website »

More information

Amazing Butterflies Maze, produced and traveled by Minotaur Mazes, is an interactive learning experience within a maze setting. Divided into themed sections, the maze encompasses the life journey...

Cost: $8 Adults, $5 Youth, Free to members & ages 3 & younger

Where:
Culture & Heritage Museums of York County
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Telephone: 803-329-2121
Website »

More information

This parade of fashion explores the relationship between changes in the world and changes in clothing. The exhibit highlights some of the peaks of Kings Mountain fashion and showcases some hidden...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-739-1019
Website »

More information

Regal Entertainment Cinemas, which includes Regal Phillips Place Stadium 10, Regal Starlight Stadium 14 - Charlotte, Regal Stonecrest At Piper Glen Stadium 22, Regal...

Cost: $1

Where:
Regal Entertainment Cinemas
, NC


Website »

More information

The Summer Movie Magic program is a collection of family and kid films (typically rated PG). Shows run every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday throughout the summer.

Cost: $1

Where:
Redstone 14
9650 RedStone Drive
Indian Land, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Toddler Time is a great shared experience for child and parent. Let your little ones to discover the joy of being active while bouncing under the supervision of their parents and without...

Cost: $8

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


Website »

More information

Registered kids receive two free games of bowling each day of the Kids Bowl Free (KBF) summer program! Select bowling centers and schools around the country are participating in the KBF program....

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Spend quality time with your kids at Strike City during Kids Bowl Free! There's no pre-registration required. Offer is valid for children ages 10 and younger. Children must be accompanied by...

Cost: Free

Where:
StrikeCity
210 East Trade St.
#D-164
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Come enjoy some music with your meal at Romare Bearden Park's Music Box Lunch, which occurs every Tuesday and Friday afternoon.

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-348-5770
Website »

More information

Victory Bounce sessions at BounceU of Matthews occur every second Tuesday of the month. Every Victory Bounce session has free admission, which also includes siblings.

Cost: Free

Where:
BounceU of Matthews
9129 Monroe Rd Ste 145-150
Matthews, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-921-8771
Website »

More information

The Rosa Parks Farmers Market kicks off its third season on Tuesday, June 5. Shoppers can enjoy more food options, a bigger location, and better hours! Visit the market every Tuesday from June...

Cost: Free

Where:
Rosa Parks Farmers Market
1600 West Trade St.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Mecklenburg County Public Health
Telephone: 704-617-9319
Contact Name: Elliott Royal
Website »

More information

Get free entry to The Schiele Museum every second Tuesday of the month from 4-8 p.m.

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Duke Energy
Telephone: 704-866-6900
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

This exhibit tells the story of the coming of railroads after the Civil War and the impact they had on the life, economy, culture, folklore, music and landscape of the mountains. Using videos,...

Cost: $4-$12, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-636-2889
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...

Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6908
Website »

More information

It’s a pollinators’ paradise this summer as Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden opens two major seasonal exhibitions that celebrate the importance, beauty and majesty of pollinators. After...

Cost: Admission for Garden members is free, $12.95 for adults

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


Telephone: 704-829-1286
Contact Name: Stephanie Wisnet
Website »

More information

Discovery Place Science presents Tyrannosaurs – Meet the Family, an innovative, multimedia experience showcasing never-before-seen dinosaurs in the Tyrannosaurs family tree. The...

Cost: $16-$20, free for children under 2, includes museum admission.

Where:
Discovery Place Science
301 N. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $15 per person. Cash or check only.

Where:
Carrigan Farms Quarry
West Entrance
1213 Oak Ridge Farm Hwy.
Mooresville, NC  28115
View map »


Website »

More information

Cinemark Tinseltown USA in Salisbury offers $1 movies as part of the Summer Movie Clubhouse. To save even more money, buy the bundle of all 10 weeks worth of movies for just $5. Check the...

Cost: $1

Where:
Cinemark Tinseltown USA
305 Faith Road
Salisbury, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The Gem Theatre's summer movie program allows children to see a $1 movie on Tuesdays at 10 a.m. or 12:30 p.m. These showtimes feature some of last year's blockbusters, but...

Cost: $1

Where:
Gem Theater
111 West 1st St.
Kannapolis, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

"Mentors and Heroes" includes over thirty framed black and white portraits of David Holt's many musical mentors and heroes from the 1970s to the early 2000s.  The exhibit...

Cost: $4-$12; Included with general admission

Where:
North Carolina Transportation Museum
1 Samuel Spencer Drive
Spencer, NC  28159
View map »


Website »

More information

Victory Bounce sessions at BounceU of Charlotte occur every second Tuesday of the month. Every Victory Bounce session has free admission, which also includes siblings. Times change every month,...

Cost: Free

Where:
BounceU of Charlotte
10624 Metromont Pkwy.
Suite 300
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-921-8771
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Enjoy 1,500 square feet of rocks and minerals from around the world. See specimens both common and rare while discovering how the science of earth is ever-changing.  This showcase of the...

Cost: $7, included with museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
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

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

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-920-2787
Website »

More information

Dino Safari:  A Prehistoric Adventure Travel back in time on a journey through the Mesozoic Era – the age of dinosaurs. See full-bodied models of incredible creatures that time...

Cost: $6-$7, children under age 3 admitted free. Includes museum admission.

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Beloved children’s books will come alive with Storyland: A Trip Through Childhood Favorites, an imaginative, book-based experience for children ages birth to 8 years old. Storyland...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-416-4600
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-401-3200
Website »

More information

Amazing Butterflies Maze, produced and traveled by Minotaur Mazes, is an interactive learning experience within a maze setting. Divided into themed sections, the maze encompasses the life journey...

Cost: $8 Adults, $5 Youth, Free to members & ages 3 & younger

Where:
Culture & Heritage Museums of York County
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Telephone: 803-329-2121
Website »

More information

This parade of fashion explores the relationship between changes in the world and changes in clothing. The exhibit highlights some of the peaks of Kings Mountain fashion and showcases some hidden...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-739-1019
Website »

More information

Regal Entertainment Cinemas, which includes Regal Phillips Place Stadium 10, Regal Starlight Stadium 14 - Charlotte, Regal Stonecrest At Piper Glen Stadium 22, Regal...

Cost: $1

Where:
Regal Entertainment Cinemas
, NC


Website »

More information

The Summer Movie Magic program is a collection of family and kid films (typically rated PG). Shows run every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday throughout the summer.

Cost: $1

Where:
Redstone 14
9650 RedStone Drive
Indian Land, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Registered kids receive two free games of bowling each day of the Kids Bowl Free (KBF) summer program! Select bowling centers and schools around the country are participating in the KBF program....

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Now through September 9, 2018 the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art presents Alfred Manessier, an exhibition of paintings and prints by an artist who sought to create contemplative images where the...

Cost: Included with admission

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


Website »

More information

Spend quality time with your kids at Strike City during Kids Bowl Free! There's no pre-registration required. Offer is valid for children ages 10 and younger. Children must be accompanied by...

Cost: Free

Where:
StrikeCity
210 East Trade St.
#D-164
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Bring your lawn chairs, drinks and snacks, and be prepared to dance at this weekly event that features the music of local bands. Occurs Wednesdays with the exception of July Fourth. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Romare Bearden Park
300 S. Church St.
, 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

This exhibit tells the story of the coming of railroads after the Civil War and the impact they had on the life, economy, culture, folklore, music and landscape of the mountains. Using videos,...

Cost: $4-$12, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-636-2889
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...

Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6908
Website »

More information

It’s a pollinators’ paradise this summer as Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden opens two major seasonal exhibitions that celebrate the importance, beauty and majesty of pollinators. After...

Cost: Admission for Garden members is free, $12.95 for adults

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


Telephone: 704-829-1286
Contact Name: Stephanie Wisnet
Website »

More information

Discovery Place Science presents Tyrannosaurs – Meet the Family, an innovative, multimedia experience showcasing never-before-seen dinosaurs in the Tyrannosaurs family tree. The...

Cost: $16-$20, free for children under 2, includes museum admission.

Where:
Discovery Place Science
301 N. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $15 per person. Cash or check only.

Where:
Carrigan Farms Quarry
West Entrance
1213 Oak Ridge Farm Hwy.
Mooresville, NC  28115
View map »


Website »

More information

Cinemark Movies 10 in Matthews offers $1 movies on Wednesdays at 10 a.m. as part of the Summer Movie Clubhouse. To save even more money, buy the bundle of all 10 weeks worth of...

Cost: $1

Where:
Cinemark Movies 10
9508 Northeast Ct.
Matthews, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Cinemark Tinseltown USA in Salisbury offers $1 movies as part of the Summer Movie Clubhouse. To save even more money, buy the bundle of all 10 weeks worth of movies for just $5. Check the...

Cost: $1

Where:
Cinemark Tinseltown USA
305 Faith Road
Salisbury, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

"Mentors and Heroes" includes over thirty framed black and white portraits of David Holt's many musical mentors and heroes from the 1970s to the early 2000s.  The exhibit...

Cost: $4-$12; Included with general admission

Where:
North Carolina Transportation Museum
1 Samuel Spencer Drive
Spencer, NC  28159
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Enjoy 1,500 square feet of rocks and minerals from around the world. See specimens both common and rare while discovering how the science of earth is ever-changing.  This showcase of the...

Cost: $7, included with museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Enjoy a free family-friendly evening of arts, culture and tasty food samples from diverse local restaurants. Experience pop-up theatre, dance, visual art, interactive experiences, science and music...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Green
119 South Main St.
Davidson, NC  28036
View map »


Sponsor: Arts and Science Council
Telephone: 704-335-3035
Contact Name: Krista Terrell
Website »

More information

Pre-sale Thurs., 7-9pm, $10 admission; Fri., 9am-1pm and 3-8pm; Sat., 8am-noon. (half-price sale) No bags, strollers, or carts allowed.

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-920-2787
Website »

More information

Dino Safari:  A Prehistoric Adventure Travel back in time on a journey through the Mesozoic Era – the age of dinosaurs. See full-bodied models of incredible creatures that time...

Cost: $6-$7, children under age 3 admitted free. Includes museum admission.

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Beloved children’s books will come alive with Storyland: A Trip Through Childhood Favorites, an imaginative, book-based experience for children ages birth to 8 years old. Storyland...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-416-4600
Website »

More information

Big Air Trampoline Park opens its doors for little ones to jump at their own speed and comfort level. Without the older kids around, the toddlers feel right at home on all the attractions. Big...

Cost: $8

Where:
Big Air Trampoline Park
2408 Sardis Road N.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-401-3200
Website »

More information

Amazing Butterflies Maze, produced and traveled by Minotaur Mazes, is an interactive learning experience within a maze setting. Divided into themed sections, the maze encompasses the life journey...

Cost: $8 Adults, $5 Youth, Free to members & ages 3 & younger

Where:
Culture & Heritage Museums of York County
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Telephone: 803-329-2121
Website »

More information

This parade of fashion explores the relationship between changes in the world and changes in clothing. The exhibit highlights some of the peaks of Kings Mountain fashion and showcases some hidden...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-739-1019
Website »

More information

The Summer Movie Magic program is a collection of family and kid films (typically rated PG). Shows run every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday throughout the summer.

Cost: $1

Where:
Redstone 14
9650 RedStone Drive
Indian Land, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Toddler Time is a great shared experience for child and parent. Let your little ones to discover the joy of being active while bouncing under the supervision of their parents and without...

Cost: $8

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


Website »

More information

Registered kids receive two free games of bowling each day of the Kids Bowl Free (KBF) summer program! Select bowling centers and schools around the country are participating in the KBF program....

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Now through September 9, 2018 the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art presents Alfred Manessier, an exhibition of paintings and prints by an artist who sought to create contemplative images where the...

Cost: Included with admission

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


Website »

More information

Enjoy transportation themed stories, plus a hands-on activity complimenting the book.

Cost: Included with admission

Where:
North Carolina Transportation Museum
411 S. Salisbury Ave.
Spencer, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Stop by the store for live musical entertainment as Brik performs for the children. 

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Spend quality time with your kids at Strike City during Kids Bowl Free! There's no pre-registration required. Offer is valid for children ages 10 and younger. Children must be accompanied by...

Cost: Free

Where:
StrikeCity
210 East Trade St.
#D-164
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The Evening Farmers Market supports local farmers by providing a location to bring customers and farmers together. Everything sold at the market is locally grown, baked, or crafted by the vendor....

Cost: Free

Where:
Pecan Park
136 North Center St.
Statesville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy live music on Thursdays in June, July and August. Concerts will take place in the Comporium Amphitheater, a popular Greenway venue that features lawn-style seating beneath a shady tree...

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 »


Telephone: 803-547-4575
Website »

More information

All ages are welcome for these hands on clay pottery workshops. Join a Clayworks' teaching artist and learn how to roll, pinch, poke, slip and score clay to make a project that will last a...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-416-6400
Website »

More information

Enjoy summer nights with outdoor music. Food and alcohol available to purchase. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Crossing Paths Park
120 Blythe Dr.
Indian Trail, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Jam out on the third Thursday of every month to a different band. Enjoy the warm weather while rocking out in Crossing Paths Park. Guests can also enjoy lawn games, a kids playground, wine and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Crossing Paths Park
120 Blythe Dr.
Indian Trail, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy food, beverages, and live music at this weekly summer concert series.  There are additional activities like yoga or organized runs on certain nights before the show starts.

Cost: Free; $6 parking fee

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


Telephone: 704-391-3900
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

This exhibit tells the story of the coming of railroads after the Civil War and the impact they had on the life, economy, culture, folklore, music and landscape of the mountains. Using videos,...

Cost: $4-$12, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-636-2889
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...

Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6908
Website »

More information

It’s a pollinators’ paradise this summer as Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden opens two major seasonal exhibitions that celebrate the importance, beauty and majesty of pollinators. After...

Cost: Admission for Garden members is free, $12.95 for adults

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


Telephone: 704-829-1286
Contact Name: Stephanie Wisnet
Website »

More information

Discovery Place Science presents Tyrannosaurs – Meet the Family, an innovative, multimedia experience showcasing never-before-seen dinosaurs in the Tyrannosaurs family tree. The...

Cost: $16-$20, free for children under 2, includes museum admission.

Where:
Discovery Place Science
301 N. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $15 per person. Cash or check only.

Where:
Carrigan Farms Quarry
West Entrance
1213 Oak Ridge Farm Hwy.
Mooresville, NC  28115
View map »


Website »

More information

"Mentors and Heroes" includes over thirty framed black and white portraits of David Holt's many musical mentors and heroes from the 1970s to the early 2000s.  The exhibit...

Cost: $4-$12; Included with general admission

Where:
North Carolina Transportation Museum
1 Samuel Spencer Drive
Spencer, NC  28159
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Enjoy 1,500 square feet of rocks and minerals from around the world. See specimens both common and rare while discovering how the science of earth is ever-changing.  This showcase of the...

Cost: $7, included with museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Drop into the Mt. Pleasant Library for The League of Extraordinary Legos. The library will provide the LEGOs; kids provide the imagination! The event now includes DUPLOs.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Come out and cool off at the afternoon Knights game against the Louisville Bats. Brings the kids for the double-lane slip and slide, a big kahuna wet slide, a misting station, kiddie pools,...

Cost: $8+

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


Website »

More information

Are you ready to squish, knead, and create new things? Visit the Children's Room at the Kannapolis Library for Play-Doh Lab. The library will provide the supplies; kids provide the imagination!

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Sponsored by Friends of Kannapolis Library
Website »

More information

Celebrate the start of the 2018 fall season with Windy Hill's delicious cider!

Cost: Free

Where:
Windy Hill Orchard and Cider Mill
1860 Black Hwy.
York, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Concerts start at 7pm; movies start at dusk. June 1: Coconut Groove June 22: "Wonder" June 28: Charlotte Symphony, begins at 8:15pm July 13: Red Dirt Revival July...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pineville Lake Park
1000 Johnston Drive
Pineville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Pre-sale Thurs., 7-9pm, $10 admission; Fri., 9am-1pm and 3-8pm; Sat., 8am-noon. (half-price sale) No bags, strollers, or carts allowed.

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-920-2787
Website »

More information

Dino Safari:  A Prehistoric Adventure Travel back in time on a journey through the Mesozoic Era – the age of dinosaurs. See full-bodied models of incredible creatures that time...

Cost: $6-$7, children under age 3 admitted free. Includes museum admission.

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Beloved children’s books will come alive with Storyland: A Trip Through Childhood Favorites, an imaginative, book-based experience for children ages birth to 8 years old. Storyland...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-416-4600
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-401-3200
Website »

More information

Amazing Butterflies Maze, produced and traveled by Minotaur Mazes, is an interactive learning experience within a maze setting. Divided into themed sections, the maze encompasses the life journey...

Cost: $8 Adults, $5 Youth, Free to members & ages 3 & younger

Where:
Culture & Heritage Museums of York County
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Telephone: 803-329-2121
Website »

More information

This parade of fashion explores the relationship between changes in the world and changes in clothing. The exhibit highlights some of the peaks of Kings Mountain fashion and showcases some hidden...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-739-1019
Website »

More information

Join the N.C. Transportation Museum for hands-on activities every Friday! Climb aboard a steam engine. Build a flying machine, and launch it in a wind tunnel. Construct a refrigerator car to...

Cost: Included with admission

Where:
North Carolina Transportation Museum
411 S. Salisbury Ave.
Spencer, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Registered kids receive two free games of bowling each day of the Kids Bowl Free (KBF) summer program! Select bowling centers and schools around the country are participating in the KBF program....

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Now through September 9, 2018 the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art presents Alfred Manessier, an exhibition of paintings and prints by an artist who sought to create contemplative images where the...

Cost: Included with admission

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


Website »

More information

Spend quality time with your kids at Strike City during Kids Bowl Free! There's no pre-registration required. Offer is valid for children ages 10 and younger. Children must be accompanied by...

Cost: Free

Where:
StrikeCity
210 East Trade St.
#D-164
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Come enjoy some music with your meal at Romare Bearden Park's Music Box Lunch, which occurs every Tuesday and Friday afternoon.

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-348-5770
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


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

Enjoy food trucks, Old Town restaurants, local beers, wine, children's activities, and live music.  

Cost: Free admission

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $25 online, $30 at the door

Where:
Sports Connection - Ballantyne or Northlake Locations
, NC


Website »

More information

Come out to Downtown Rock Hill's Fountain Park to enjoy Food Truck Friday, which begins May 18 and runs through October. The event occurs every third Friday of the month and includes both live...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Enjoy food, beverages, and live music at this weekly summer concert series.  There are additional activities like yoga or organized runs on certain nights before the show starts.

Cost: Free; $6 parking fee

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


Telephone: 704-391-3900
Website »

More information

Come listen to music every Friday and Saturday throughout the summer.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Listen to music every Friday and Saturday throughout the summer at Stonecrest Shopping Center.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Each Friday and Saturday, starting May 25 through September 1st, local favorites return to Blakeney Shopping Center and bring fun and music for the entire family. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Village Green at Blakeney
Ardrey Kell and Rea Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Do not miss these outdoor performances every Friday night this summer at Spirit Square. Events will be moved indoors if there is inclement weather.  Concessions and beverages will be...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Square at Spirit Square
345 North College St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Join Birkdale Village for live music every Friday and Saturday night from June 1 to Aug. 25. Bring a chair or a blanket.

Cost: Free

Where:
Birkdale Village
8712 Lindholm Drive
Ste. 206
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Mooresville Parks and Recreation presents Movies on Main! All movies will be shown on the Town Hall lawn in Downtown Mooresville. Movies start at dark, and concessions are available for purchase...

Cost: Free

Where:
Town Hall Lawn
413 North Main St.
Mooresville, NC
View map »

More information

Come out to enjoy live music! July 13 - The Tams, July 27 - Jim Quick, Aug. 17 - Too Much Sylvia, Aug. 31. - The Continental Divide, Sept. 28 - Steve Owens and Summertime Band

Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Mount Holly
South Main St.
Mount Holly, 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

This exhibit tells the story of the coming of railroads after the Civil War and the impact they had on the life, economy, culture, folklore, music and landscape of the mountains. Using videos,...

Cost: $4-$12, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-636-2889
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...

Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6908
Website »

More information

It’s a pollinators’ paradise this summer as Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden opens two major seasonal exhibitions that celebrate the importance, beauty and majesty of pollinators. After...

Cost: Admission for Garden members is free, $12.95 for adults

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


Telephone: 704-829-1286
Contact Name: Stephanie Wisnet
Website »

More information

Discovery Place Science presents Tyrannosaurs – Meet the Family, an innovative, multimedia experience showcasing never-before-seen dinosaurs in the Tyrannosaurs family tree. The...

Cost: $16-$20, free for children under 2, includes museum admission.

Where:
Discovery Place Science
301 N. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Website »

More information

"Mentors and Heroes" includes over thirty framed black and white portraits of David Holt's many musical mentors and heroes from the 1970s to the early 2000s.  The exhibit...

Cost: $4-$12; Included with general admission

Where:
North Carolina Transportation Museum
1 Samuel Spencer Drive
Spencer, NC  28159
View map »


Website »

More information

Davidson Community Players’ The Connie Company tackles themes of loneliness, desire, sexuality, repression, and the longing for freedom in its Teen Summer Stock Series’ production of...

Cost: $10

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


Telephone: 704-892-7953
Website »

More information

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The 9th Annual OrthoCarolina 10K Classic presented by Performance Therapy- Food Truck and Beer Fest, is the areas premier 10K running event. The OrthoCarolina Classic will also feature a...

Cost: See website for 5k and 10k pricing

Where:
OrthoCarolina
1915 Randolph Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The art sale is a fundraising effort and an initiative to provide alternative venues for artists to sell their works. Come see their works at the Iredell Arts Council parking lot, weather...

Cost: Free

Where:
Iredell Arts Council
203 South Meeting St.
Statesville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Shop thousands of gently-used items, including children's and baby clothing, equipment, furniture, toys, games, and maternity wear. 8:30am-noon. $2 early-bird shopping at 7:30am. Half-price...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

In this Safe Sitter Certification Class, 11-15 year olds will learn how to supervise children, recognize safety hazards, handle first-aid situations, play age-appropriate games, change diapers,...

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

Where:
Morrison Family YMCA
9504 Bryant Farms Road
Charlotte, NC  28277
View map »


Telephone: 704-716-4609
Website »

More information

Enjoy 1,500 square feet of rocks and minerals from around the world. See specimens both common and rare while discovering how the science of earth is ever-changing.  This showcase of the...

Cost: $7, included with museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Reedy Creek Nature Center presents the 11th Annual Hummingbird Festival! Come out for family-friendly activities, which include but are not limited to, bir​d banding, story telling, birding...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Design beautiful keepsakes that will be cherished by all. The first one-hour workshop begins at 10am, and the second begins at noon. Members receive a 15 percent discount. Workshop is not...

Cost: $15 for one child with one parent, $3 per additional participant

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


Website »

More information

Come meet our staff and enjoy free, 30-minute trial classes of our 2018/2019 schedule!

Cost: Free

Where:
Charlotte Cirque and Dance Center
9315-E Monroe Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Disney Junior's animated family comedy "Fancy Nancy” debuts July 13. Come play to kick-off the new show and the back-to-school season. Activities will include a DJ, balloon twister,...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Visit Northlake Mall for an end of summer celebration, and check out the latest back to school styles from our retailers. See website for entertainment schedule.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Come help Goldfish Swim School Charlotte celebrate its Grand Opening! Enjoy family swim, games and refreshments. This event is free and open to all.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Pickers, come jam informally around the square! All playing levels are welcome Not a picker? Bring your family and friends, and enjoy the bluegrass music. Check out the kids crafts, snacks, and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Earl Scruggs Center
103 S. Lafayette St.
Shelby, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The 5K run/walk will start and finish at Midwood International and Cultural Center through the beautiful Plaza Midwood neighborhood. Join us for a celebration after the race, with music, prizes,...

Cost: See website for fee schedule

Where:
Midwood International and Cultural Center
1817 Central Ave.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Kick off the school year with an old school Pep Rally.  Independence High School athletes, cheerleaders, band, boosters, parents, faculty and staff will be ready to start the 2018 school year...

Cost: Free

Where:
Mint Hill Town Hall
4430 Mint Hill Village Lane
Mint Hill, NC  28227
View map »


Telephone: 704-545-2335
Website »

More information

Diverse Groove Band will take the Waverly Terrace Stage at 7 p.m. Sugar Creek Brewing will be serving in The Terrace Beer Garden during the show. The Terrace is located in front...

Cost: Free

Where:
Waverly
Providence Road and Ardrey Kell Road
Charlotte, NC  28277
View map »

More information

Kids of all ages and grown-ups, too, can learn to ride a bike using the tried-and-true “balance bike” method.

Cost: Free

Where:
Wallace Pruitt Recreation Center
440 Tuckaseegee Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Pre-sale Thurs., 7-9pm, $10 admission; Fri., 9am-1pm and 3-8pm; Sat., 8am-noon. (half-price sale) No bags, strollers, or carts allowed.

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


Website »

More information

Wrap up Charlotte Pride Week at the Charlotte Pride Parade and Festival! The parade is on Sunday, Aug.19. in Uptown. Sat., noon-10 p.m.; Sun., noon-6 p.m.

Where:
Uptown Charlotte
N. Tryon Street
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Come check out locally owned cars out for display every third Saturday of the month. Trump Bakery will provide coffee and doughnuts for the event.

Cost: Free

Where:
Trump National Golf Club
137 Vestal Drive
Mooresville, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Trump International Realty and Trump National Golf Club Charlotte
Website »

More information

The market runs from June through September. Multiple vendors offer fresh produce, as well as a selection of homemade goods like salsa, butter, honey, bread, eggs, cheese, soaps, cookies, and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Liberty Park
225 E. Iredell Ave.
Mooresville, NC  28115
View map »

More information

Dino Safari:  A Prehistoric Adventure Travel back in time on a journey through the Mesozoic Era – the age of dinosaurs. See full-bodied models of incredible creatures that time...

Cost: $6-$7, children under age 3 admitted free. Includes museum admission.

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Beloved children’s books will come alive with Storyland: A Trip Through Childhood Favorites, an imaginative, book-based experience for children ages birth to 8 years old. Storyland...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-416-4600
Website »

More information

The wild is full of surprises around every corner! Learn about the unique, bizarre, and interesting adaptations plants develop in order to survive in different habitats.

Cost: Included with admission

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


Website »

More information

Toddler Time is a great shared experience for child and parent. Let your little ones to discover the joy of being active while bouncing under the supervision of their parents and without...

Cost: $8

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-401-3200
Website »

More information

Amazing Butterflies Maze, produced and traveled by Minotaur Mazes, is an interactive learning experience within a maze setting. Divided into themed sections, the maze encompasses the life journey...

Cost: $8 Adults, $5 Youth, Free to members & ages 3 & younger

Where:
Culture & Heritage Museums of York County
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Telephone: 803-329-2121
Website »

More information

This parade of fashion explores the relationship between changes in the world and changes in clothing. The exhibit highlights some of the peaks of Kings Mountain fashion and showcases some hidden...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-739-1019
Website »

More information

Now through September 9, 2018 the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art presents Alfred Manessier, an exhibition of paintings and prints by an artist who sought to create contemplative images where the...

Cost: Included with admission

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


Website »

More information

If you play an instrument, or just like to listen to live music, come out to the Visitors’ Center in downtown Statesville each Saturday morning. All levels of music ability and anyone who...

Cost: Free

Where:
Statesville Visitors Center
118 West Broad St.
Statesville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Guests include Marvel Comics legends, Vic Carrabotta and Rick Leonardi, with more than 50 additional artists, writers, and media guests. Shop for toys and collectibles that kids of all ages will...

Cost: $5 per day; Ages 12 and younger free

Where:
Embassy Suites Concord Convention Center
5400 John Q. Hammons Drive NW
Concord, NC  28027
View map »


Website »

More information

Join us for Open Sailing! Attendees can check out the Sunfish and practice their sailing skills. Children ages 11 and under will need to be accompanied by a competent sailor. A short test will...

Cost: $20 for members; $30 for non members

Where:
Lake Norman YMCA
21300 Davidson St.
Cornelius, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Geared towards children ages 3 and younger, this class will focus on movement and energy release. Parent participation required.  

Cost: $6 per class

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


Telephone: 704-829-1294
Website »

More information

Enjoy the exciting and educational Flights of the Forest show. Viewers can feel the wind from a raptor's wing it they flies overhead. Participants must be 7 or older; children 16 and...

Cost: Adults $12, Seniors $10, Students $8

Where:
Carolina Raptor Center
6000 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC  28078
View map »


Sponsor: Carolina Raptor Center
Telephone: 704-875-6521
Contact Name: Michele Houck
Website »

More information

This bar + arcade hybrid has over 20 pinball machines, 30 arcade games and other games rotating monthly. On Saturdays and Sundays from noon-5pm the bar opens up to all ages with a parent...

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


Telephone: 980-430-4587
Website »

More information

Music and Movement activities for ages one, two and three! All ages are welcome to attend, and infants receive free admission. Come jam to stories and songs!

Cost: $2 per child

Where:
UWI- Kidz Greenhouse Cafe
5237 Albemarle Road
Suites 211-213
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: United World Initiative's
Website »

More information

Enjoy a variety of "nose to beak" encounters with some of the most interesting raptor species. Purchase tickets online up until 24 hours before the encounter, and in the Visitor Center up...

Cost: Adults $12, Seniors $10, Students $8

Where:
Carolina Raptor Center
6000 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC  28078
View map »


Sponsor: Carolina Raptor Center
Telephone: 704-875-6521
Contact Name: Michele Houck
Website »

More information

Come eat, drink, and be merry at Tega Cay's Summer Food Truck Rally! Expect children's inflatables and live music, so bring your dancing shoes. Just be sure to leave your dogs and grills at...

Cost: Free

Where:
Runde Park
5116 Windward Drive
Tega Cay, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy food, beverages, and live music at this weekly summer concert series.  There are additional activities like yoga or organized runs on certain nights before the show starts.

Cost: Free; $6 parking fee

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


Telephone: 704-391-3900
Website »

More information

Come listen to music every Friday and Saturday throughout the summer.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Listen to music every Friday and Saturday throughout the summer at Stonecrest Shopping Center.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Each Friday and Saturday, starting May 25 through September 1st, local favorites return to Blakeney Shopping Center and bring fun and music for the entire family. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Village Green at Blakeney
Ardrey Kell and Rea Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Join Birkdale Village for live music every Friday and Saturday night from June 1 to Aug. 25. Bring a chair or a blanket.

Cost: Free

Where:
Birkdale Village
8712 Lindholm Drive
Ste. 206
Huntersville, 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

This exhibit tells the story of the coming of railroads after the Civil War and the impact they had on the life, economy, culture, folklore, music and landscape of the mountains. Using videos,...

Cost: $4-$12, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-636-2889
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...

Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6908
Website »

More information

It’s a pollinators’ paradise this summer as Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden opens two major seasonal exhibitions that celebrate the importance, beauty and majesty of pollinators. After...

Cost: Admission for Garden members is free, $12.95 for adults

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


Telephone: 704-829-1286
Contact Name: Stephanie Wisnet
Website »

More information

Discovery Place Science presents Tyrannosaurs – Meet the Family, an innovative, multimedia experience showcasing never-before-seen dinosaurs in the Tyrannosaurs family tree. The...

Cost: $16-$20, free for children under 2, includes museum admission.

Where:
Discovery Place Science
301 N. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Website »

More information

"Mentors and Heroes" includes over thirty framed black and white portraits of David Holt's many musical mentors and heroes from the 1970s to the early 2000s.  The exhibit...

Cost: $4-$12; Included with general admission

Where:
North Carolina Transportation Museum
1 Samuel Spencer Drive
Spencer, NC  28159
View map »


Website »

More information

Davidson Community Players’ The Connie Company tackles themes of loneliness, desire, sexuality, repression, and the longing for freedom in its Teen Summer Stock Series’ production of...

Cost: $10

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


Telephone: 704-892-7953
Website »

More information

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Annual Guides

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

Your guide to raising kids in the Queen City, plus our 2018 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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