Understanding 0bsessive Compulsive Disorder in Children


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Most of us are familiar with obsessive compulsive disorder in adults, yet OCD is one of the most common disorders in children and adolescents, with estimates ranging from 1-2 percent of children in the U.S., according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.

Obsessive compulsive disorder is characterized by intrusive thoughts known as obsessions and repetitive behaviors known as compulsions, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. They define obsessions as “recurrent and persistent thoughts, impulses or images that are unwanted and cause marked anxiety or distress.”

Because of the time, attention and energy children expend on the disorder, their daily life is negatively affected, says Rebecca R. Jackson, executive director of Brain Balance Achievement Centers in Cary and Chapel Hill. They’re late for school and often experience struggles there, and may miss important play opportunities with friends. Lengthy rituals and intrusive thoughts keep them from sleeping well. Their obsessive thoughts dominate everything, to the point they aren’t able to think or talk about anything else.

“If they don’t act, they’re sure the results may be catastrophic,” Jackson says. Children and their parents end up stressed out, frustrated and upset.

An OCD diagnosis is made when the obsessions and compulsions cause significant stress and anxiety, as well as interfere with a child’s daily life, social activities, academics or relationships, says Kevin L. Gyoerkoe, psychologist and director of the Anxiety and OCD Treatment Center in Charlotte.

Child-Onset OCD

One-third of adults with OCD developed their symptoms when they were children, according to the International OCD Foundation. OCD symptoms manifest in much the same way for both children and adults.

In children, however, the specific thoughts and actions are typically age-appropriate. A child might have intrusive, anxiety-provoking thoughts about harm befalling his parents or siblings, Gyoerkoe says. She might feel intense anxiety if all of his or her toys aren’t lined up in one direction. Children often report needing to do things a certain way because everything must be “just right” or they feel anxious and stressed.

“One of the most significant differences between OCD in adults versus children is the level of self-awareness,” Jackson says. ”A child will have a hard time recognizing that the worry or action is beyond what’s acceptable. They simply have something on their mind that won’t go away.”

“The age of the child doesn’t affect the prognosis or hinder treatment,” Gyoerkoe says. However, the type of OCD — the specific thoughts and compulsions — will likely change as the child grows and matures. Research suggests child-onset OCD is also sensitive to environmental factors, with symptoms increasing during stressful events, according to a 2011 review published in the Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience Journal.

Common Obsessions and Compulsions

The incessant thoughts children struggle with may include excessive concern over germs, diseases and illness. One child has irrational fears that he may accidentally or purposefully hurt others, such as causing a car crash. Another is convinced he didn’t do a chore correctly or finish his homework, even though he did.

To cope with this anxiety, a child develops rituals — activities or behaviors she must repeat over and over. She has to wash her hands until they’re chapped and reddened. She brushes her teeth until her gums bleed. She may check that the doors are locked numerous times or need to have her socks at the exact same height. She needs to redo a task or chore repeatedly until it “feels right.”

According to the International OCD Foundation, other common compulsions include erasing and rewriting, asking the same question over and over, confessing or apologizing, checking and rechecking, tapping, counting, ordering, arranging and hoarding.

Cause and Effect

The causes of OCD aren’t known; however, a 2014 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that OCD has a genetic component. Another 2014 study, published in the Psychiatric Clinics of North America Journal, found that if a close family member has OCD, the genetic risk that a child will inherit the disorder is 20-25 percent.

However, genetics only explain part of the story, Gyoerkoe says. OCD can be triggered by environmental factors, such as a strep infection or stressful life event.

Jackson concurs that environmental considerations are now being factored into the equation. “OCD, like many things, can be a combination of our genetics as well as how the environment and our development impacts those genetics,” she explains. “Researchers have only recently shifted their focus to epigenetics, which looks at how our environment impacts the expression of our genes.”

Treatment

Child-onset OCD can be managed successfully with treatment. “Medication, behavior strategies and addressing the underlying area of concern in the brain are all treatment options,” Jackson says.

“The gold standard of treatment for OCD in children is cognitive-behavioral therapy, focusing on exposure and response prevention,” Gyoerkoe says. CBT is supported by numerous scientific studies and recommended by the Mayo Clinic, the National Institutes of Health, Harvard University Medical School and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

CBT therapy works to “retrain” the brain. The child learns behavior strategies to address and minimize their thoughts and compulsions. An experienced therapist works with the child and his or her family to develop a diagnosis and recommend a treatment plan. In addition, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry recommends medications such as serotonin reuptake inhibitors to help manage symptoms if therapy alone isn’t enough.

What Parents Can Do

If you’re worried your child might have OCD, schedule a consultation with a psychologist who specializes in the treatment of OCD, preferably one who is experienced with children. Gyoerkoe recommends that parents search for specialists in their area through the International OCD Foundation at iocdf.org or the Anxiety and Depression Association of America at adaa.org.

“While you may be able to control your thoughts and actions, your OCD child cannot,” Jackson says. “Know that this is outside of their control, and love them through it all.”

OCD and Strep Throat

A 2012 study published in the Pediatrics & Therapeutics journal suggests that a certain type of OCD may be related to strep infections, known as PANDAS (pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorder associated with streptococcus) or more recently, PANS (pediatric acute-onset neuropsychiatric syndrome.

“Children with PANS OCD experience a sudden onset of severe OCD symptoms like separation anxiety, extreme irritability, and neurological symptoms such as difficulty writing or memory loss,” says Kevin L. Gyoerkoe, psychologist and director of the Anxiety and OCD Treatment Center in Charlotte.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, antibody formation may trigger an inflammatory reaction. Strep-triggered antibodies mistakenly attack specific brain circuitry, resulting in obsessional thoughts and compulsive behaviors.

“Increased inflammation has the potential to interfere with healthy function,” says Rebecca R. Jackson, executive director of Brain Balance Achievement Centers in Cary and Chapel Hill.

Kyla Steinkraus is the author of 25 children’s books. She loves reading, photography, and board games. Learn more about her at KylaSteinkraus.com.

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Telephone: 704-866-6900
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Cost: $7-$9

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Telephone: 704-547-3700
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View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
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More information

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Cost: $9-$10

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Cost: $6-$7

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View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

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Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

Enjoy 1,500 square feet of bugs, butterflies, beetles, moths, flies, and other six-legged creatures from around the world. This scientific collection features real preserved specimens...

Cost: $6-$7

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Enjoy a fascinating look at all the wonders of eclipses, when one celestial object blocks the view of another. Discover what eclipses are, how and when they occur, a perfect lead-in to our...

Cost: $9-$10

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

The Science of Ripley's Believe It or Not! presents an extraordinary collection of intriguing objects and astonishing artifacts from Ripley's Believe It or Not! Go places you've never...

Cost: $10-$25

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


Telephone: 704-373-6261
Website »

More information

Preschoolers engage with books and activities that encourage language and pre-reading skills. Dress comfortably for creative movement.

Cost: Free

Where:
North County Regional Library
16500 Holly Crest Lane
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-416-6000
Website »

More information

Currently the only Egyptian mummy in North Carolina. Families can explore the culture and history of the 22nd Dynasty, uncover the mystery of mummification in the hands-on CSI Lab, and meet...

Cost: $6

Where:
Iredell Museums
134 Court St.
Statesville, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-873-7347
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $5-$8

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


Telephone: 704-333-1887
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-739-1019
Website »

More information

Swim in the cool, deep water at Carrigan Farms Quarry. The quarry is only open to the public on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, June 13-Aug. 24 from 10am-3pm. Ages 11 and under must wear a...

Cost: $12

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


Website »

More information

Little learners can explore textures, sounds, and senses with repurposed materials in this weekly event. 

Cost: $9; includes museum admission

Where:
Main Street Children's Museum
133 E. Main St.
Rock Hill , SC
View map »


Telephone: 803-327-6400
Website »

More information

Discover a settler's life from 250 years ago. Examine buildings and fence construction, explore the kitchen garden and meet heritage livestock. Visit with a live interpreter as they go about...

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Monkey Joe’s North Carolina locations are celebrating summer with special offers for each weekday: Monday: 20% off meal packages Tuesday: Toddler Tuesday, children 4 and younger will...

Cost: See website for prices

Where:
Monkey Joe's University, Pineville, Gastonia and Matthews locations
, NC


Website »

More information

Monkey Joe’s, a children’s entertainment center filled with indoor jumps, slides and obstacle courses, announces its third year of partnership with Alex’s Lemonade Stand...

Cost: $6.99-$10.99

Where:
Monkey Joe's Pineville, Matthews, Gastonia and University locations
, NC


Website »

More information

Toddler can enjoy storytime each week in the children's area. 

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-364-0626
Website »

More information

Enjoy two great mini programs in the science theater. First explore the constellations of summer in a seasonal stargazing tour of the night sky. Then, encounter the beautiful Northern Lights in a...

Cost: $9-$10

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $6-$7

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


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

More information

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

Cost: $8

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

This exhibit explores themes of motherhood, the role of women, the intensity of their hearts, and their embodiment as nature by highlighting the works of renowned artist Alison Saar....

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

This collection, full of documentary photography and personal visual storytelling, provides insight into often-overlooked aspects of Black fatherhood. Tues.-Sat., 10am-5pm; Sun., 1-5pm.

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

Created in collaboration with Playskool and GE, kids can design, build and work together to make amazing Tinkertoy structures using GE Technology as their guide. Experiment with renewable energy...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-416-4600
Website »

More information

Meet a variety of live animals from the museum's collection and learn their names, where they live, what they eat and how they survive. There will be hands-on opportunities with live animals....

Cost: $6-$7

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Accompany a safari guide on a prehistoric adventure through our featured exhibit. Surprises, special activities and "secret" information about the dinosaurs that await the...

Cost: $9-$10

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Search for and keep mineral treasures like garnets, topaz, rubies, emeralds and rose quartz in the running water sluice.

Cost: $10-$11

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Did An Asteroid Really Kill the Dinosaurs? Sixty five (65) million years ago the last of the non-avian dinosaurs vanished from the fossil record.  Scientists have discovered evidence that...

Cost: $9-$10

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Created by Betty Brin Children's Museum in collaboration with the US Forest Service, this interactive nature-themed exhibit is packed with fun activities that highlight ways that kids and...

Cost: $5-$8

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


Telephone: 803-329-2121
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

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

Cost: $6-$7

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Enjoy a special performance in the park by the Bright Star Theatre.

Cost: Free

Where:
Veterans Park
118 S. Main St.
Kannapolis, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Meet live amphibians from Mecklenburg County’s McDowell Nature Center. Discover how amphibians indicate if a wetland is healthy or not. Visit the Naturalist Center to be challenged by...

Cost: $5-$8

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


Telephone: 803-329-2121
Website »

More information

This exhibition of paintings by Harlem-based artist, Jordan Casteel, explore the intimacy and immortalization of her subjects, including family, patrons, and neighbors. Tues.-Sat., 10am-5pm;...

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

Enjoy 1,500 square feet of bugs, butterflies, beetles, moths, flies, and other six-legged creatures from around the world. This scientific collection features real preserved specimens...

Cost: $6-$7

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Enjoy a fascinating look at all the wonders of eclipses, when one celestial object blocks the view of another. Discover what eclipses are, how and when they occur, a perfect lead-in to our...

Cost: $9-$10

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

The Science of Ripley's Believe It or Not! presents an extraordinary collection of intriguing objects and astonishing artifacts from Ripley's Believe It or Not! Go places you've never...

Cost: $10-$25

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


Telephone: 704-373-6261
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Currently the only Egyptian mummy in North Carolina. Families can explore the culture and history of the 22nd Dynasty, uncover the mystery of mummification in the hands-on CSI Lab, and meet...

Cost: $6

Where:
Iredell Museums
134 Court St.
Statesville, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-873-7347
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $5-$8

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


Telephone: 704-333-1887
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-739-1019
Website »

More information

Swim in the cool, deep water at Carrigan Farms Quarry. The quarry is only open to the public on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, June 13-Aug. 24 from 10am-3pm. Ages 11 and under must wear a...

Cost: $12

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


Website »

More information

Discover a settler's life from 250 years ago. Examine buildings and fence construction, explore the kitchen garden and meet heritage livestock. Visit with a live interpreter as they go about...

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Monkey Joe’s North Carolina locations are celebrating summer with special offers for each weekday: Monday: 20% off meal packages Tuesday: Toddler Tuesday, children 4 and younger will...

Cost: See website for prices

Where:
Monkey Joe's University, Pineville, Gastonia and Matthews locations
, NC


Website »

More information

Monkey Joe’s, a children’s entertainment center filled with indoor jumps, slides and obstacle courses, announces its third year of partnership with Alex’s Lemonade Stand...

Cost: $6.99-$10.99

Where:
Monkey Joe's Pineville, Matthews, Gastonia and University locations
, NC


Website »

More information

Bring picnic lunch to eat on the nature center lawn and then meet some of the animals that live in the center at the Exhibit Hall. 

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-875-1391
Website »

More information

Unleash the power of technology by learning how to build and program robots to follow your every command. Think critically, problem solve, and test your skills as you program your robot to perform...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-416-7200
Website »

More information

Observe the fascinating ways snakes eat their prey. Learn about what and how the museum staff feeds the snakes, why they need snakes and ask questions about snakes you may have been pondering...

Cost: $6-$7

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Enjoy two great mini programs in the science theater. First explore the constellations of summer in a seasonal stargazing tour of the night sky. Then, encounter the beautiful Northern Lights in a...

Cost: $9-$10

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Explore the mint museum's exhibitions.

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-337-2018
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

Where:
Romare Bearden Park
301 S. Mint St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $6-$7

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


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

More information

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

Cost: $8

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

This exhibit explores themes of motherhood, the role of women, the intensity of their hearts, and their embodiment as nature by highlighting the works of renowned artist Alison Saar....

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

This collection, full of documentary photography and personal visual storytelling, provides insight into often-overlooked aspects of Black fatherhood. Tues.-Sat., 10am-5pm; Sun., 1-5pm.

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

Created in collaboration with Playskool and GE, kids can design, build and work together to make amazing Tinkertoy structures using GE Technology as their guide. Experiment with renewable energy...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-416-4600
Website »

More information

Meet a variety of live animals from the museum's collection and learn their names, where they live, what they eat and how they survive. There will be hands-on opportunities with live animals....

Cost: $6-$7

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Accompany a safari guide on a prehistoric adventure through our featured exhibit. Surprises, special activities and "secret" information about the dinosaurs that await the...

Cost: $9-$10

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Search for and keep mineral treasures like garnets, topaz, rubies, emeralds and rose quartz in the running water sluice.

Cost: $10-$11

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Did An Asteroid Really Kill the Dinosaurs? Sixty five (65) million years ago the last of the non-avian dinosaurs vanished from the fossil record.  Scientists have discovered evidence that...

Cost: $9-$10

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Created by Betty Brin Children's Museum in collaboration with the US Forest Service, this interactive nature-themed exhibit is packed with fun activities that highlight ways that kids and...

Cost: $5-$8

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


Telephone: 803-329-2121
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

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

Cost: $6-$7

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

The Soap Bubble Circus will present a fun and memorable experience for children. Part of the 2016/2017 LIVE! @ Your Library series. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Belmont Library
125 N. Central Ave.
Belmont, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-825-5426
Website »

More information

A puppet performance inspired by the classic tale of The Little Red Hen, this version tells the truth about what really happened the day the hen decided to bake a loaf of bread. No...

Cost: Free

Where:
York County Library
21 E. Liberty St.
York, SC
View map »


Telephone: 803-684-3751
Website »

More information

This exhibition of paintings by Harlem-based artist, Jordan Casteel, explore the intimacy and immortalization of her subjects, including family, patrons, and neighbors. Tues.-Sat., 10am-5pm;...

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

Enjoy 1,500 square feet of bugs, butterflies, beetles, moths, flies, and other six-legged creatures from around the world. This scientific collection features real preserved specimens...

Cost: $6-$7

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Enjoy a fascinating look at all the wonders of eclipses, when one celestial object blocks the view of another. Discover what eclipses are, how and when they occur, a perfect lead-in to our...

Cost: $9-$10

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

The Science of Ripley's Believe It or Not! presents an extraordinary collection of intriguing objects and astonishing artifacts from Ripley's Believe It or Not! Go places you've never...

Cost: $10-$25

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


Telephone: 704-373-6261
Website »

More information

Preschoolers engage with books and activities that encourage language and pre-reading skills. Dress comfortably for creative movement.

Cost: Free

Where:
North County Regional Library
16500 Holly Crest Lane
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-416-6000
Website »

More information

Currently the only Egyptian mummy in North Carolina. Families can explore the culture and history of the 22nd Dynasty, uncover the mystery of mummification in the hands-on CSI Lab, and meet...

Cost: $6

Where:
Iredell Museums
134 Court St.
Statesville, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-873-7347
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $5-$8

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


Telephone: 704-333-1887
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-739-1019
Website »

More information

Parents and caregivers can listen to stories and that enhance early literary skills. Also at 11am. 

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-664-2927
Website »

More information

Swim in the cool, deep water at Carrigan Farms Quarry. The quarry is only open to the public on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, June 13-Aug. 24 from 10am-3pm. Ages 11 and under must wear a...

Cost: $12

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


Website »

More information

Discover a settler's life from 250 years ago. Examine buildings and fence construction, explore the kitchen garden and meet heritage livestock. Visit with a live interpreter as they go about...

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Monkey Joe’s North Carolina locations are celebrating summer with special offers for each weekday: Monday: 20% off meal packages Tuesday: Toddler Tuesday, children 4 and younger will...

Cost: See website for prices

Where:
Monkey Joe's University, Pineville, Gastonia and Matthews locations
, NC


Website »

More information

Monkey Joe’s, a children’s entertainment center filled with indoor jumps, slides and obstacle courses, announces its third year of partnership with Alex’s Lemonade Stand...

Cost: $6.99-$10.99

Where:
Monkey Joe's Pineville, Matthews, Gastonia and University locations
, NC


Website »

More information

Enjoy two great mini programs in the science theater. First explore the constellations of summer in a seasonal stargazing tour of the night sky. Then, encounter the beautiful Northern Lights in a...

Cost: $9-$10

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Bring blankets and lawn chair to this weekly outdoor concert series. Visit website for a list of scheduled performers.

Cost: $5 per person; $5 per car for parking

Where:
Anne Springs Close Greenway
Comporium Ampitheater
291 Dairy Barn Lane
Ft. Mill, SC
View map »


Telephone: 803-547-4575
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $5 parking fee

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


Telephone: 704-391-3900
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $6-$7

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


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

More information

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

Cost: $8

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

This exhibit explores themes of motherhood, the role of women, the intensity of their hearts, and their embodiment as nature by highlighting the works of renowned artist Alison Saar....

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

This collection, full of documentary photography and personal visual storytelling, provides insight into often-overlooked aspects of Black fatherhood. Tues.-Sat., 10am-5pm; Sun., 1-5pm.

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

Little orphan Annie is determined to find the parents who abandoned her years ago on the doorstep of cruel Miss Hannigan. With the help of the other girls in the orphange, Annie finds happiness and...

Cost: $15-$29

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


Telephone: 704-892-7953
Website »

More information

Created in collaboration with Playskool and GE, kids can design, build and work together to make amazing Tinkertoy structures using GE Technology as their guide. Experiment with renewable energy...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-416-4600
Website »

More information

Meet a variety of live animals from the museum's collection and learn their names, where they live, what they eat and how they survive. There will be hands-on opportunities with live animals....

Cost: $6-$7

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Accompany a safari guide on a prehistoric adventure through our featured exhibit. Surprises, special activities and "secret" information about the dinosaurs that await the...

Cost: $9-$10

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Search for and keep mineral treasures like garnets, topaz, rubies, emeralds and rose quartz in the running water sluice.

Cost: $10-$11

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Did An Asteroid Really Kill the Dinosaurs? Sixty five (65) million years ago the last of the non-avian dinosaurs vanished from the fossil record.  Scientists have discovered evidence that...

Cost: $9-$10

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Created by Betty Brin Children's Museum in collaboration with the US Forest Service, this interactive nature-themed exhibit is packed with fun activities that highlight ways that kids and...

Cost: $5-$8

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


Telephone: 803-329-2121
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

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

Cost: $6-$7

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Children can use scripts adapted from children's literature to aid in public speaking and presentation skills. Act out and express yourself with fun drama games.

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-416-4600
Website »

More information

The Charlotte Symphony will perform a free outdoor concert as Part of Pineville's Rockin' and Reelin' summer entertainment series. 

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

This event is open to performers and spectators of all ages. Instrumentalists, singers, dancers, storytellers, poets, jugglers, magicians and others are all welcome. Audience seating is on a...

Cost: Free

Where:
McGlohon Theater at Spirit Square
345 N. College St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »

More information

This exhibition of paintings by Harlem-based artist, Jordan Casteel, explore the intimacy and immortalization of her subjects, including family, patrons, and neighbors. Tues.-Sat., 10am-5pm;...

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

Enjoy 1,500 square feet of bugs, butterflies, beetles, moths, flies, and other six-legged creatures from around the world. This scientific collection features real preserved specimens...

Cost: $6-$7

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Enjoy a fascinating look at all the wonders of eclipses, when one celestial object blocks the view of another. Discover what eclipses are, how and when they occur, a perfect lead-in to our...

Cost: $9-$10

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

The Science of Ripley's Believe It or Not! presents an extraordinary collection of intriguing objects and astonishing artifacts from Ripley's Believe It or Not! Go places you've never...

Cost: $10-$25

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


Telephone: 704-373-6261
Website »

More information

Currently the only Egyptian mummy in North Carolina. Families can explore the culture and history of the 22nd Dynasty, uncover the mystery of mummification in the hands-on CSI Lab, and meet...

Cost: $6

Where:
Iredell Museums
134 Court St.
Statesville, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-873-7347
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $5-$8

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


Telephone: 704-333-1887
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-739-1019
Website »

More information

Discover a settler's life from 250 years ago. Examine buildings and fence construction, explore the kitchen garden and meet heritage livestock. Visit with a live interpreter as they go about...

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Monkey Joe’s North Carolina locations are celebrating summer with special offers for each weekday: Monday: 20% off meal packages Tuesday: Toddler Tuesday, children 4 and younger will...

Cost: See website for prices

Where:
Monkey Joe's University, Pineville, Gastonia and Matthews locations
, NC


Website »

More information

Monkey Joe’s, a children’s entertainment center filled with indoor jumps, slides and obstacle courses, announces its third year of partnership with Alex’s Lemonade Stand...

Cost: $6.99-$10.99

Where:
Monkey Joe's Pineville, Matthews, Gastonia and University locations
, NC


Website »

More information

Back by popular demand, the high-flying acrobats from Cirque Imagine return to Carowinds Theatre. Moms, dads and kids can watch spectacular stunts and acrobatics right before their very eyes....

Cost: Cost of Carowinds admission

Where:
Carowinds
14523 Carowinds Blvd.
Charlotte, NC  28273
View map »


Telephone: 704-588-2600
Website »

More information

Read the Eric Carle story "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" and explore the life cycle of a butterfly with crafts and activities. Also at 2:15pm.

Cost: $10

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

Enjoy two great mini programs in the science theater. First explore the constellations of summer in a seasonal stargazing tour of the night sky. Then, encounter the beautiful Northern Lights in a...

Cost: $9-$10

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Sycamore Brewing
Contact Name: Katelyn Carpenter
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free admission

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


Website »

More information

Sample food and beverages from a variety of food trucks and enjoy live entertainment at this weekly event. 

Cost: Free

Where:
329 McGill Ave. NW
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free admission

Where:
1324 E. Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Spirit Square will host weekly free outdoor concerts or movies, with concessions available for purchase. Movie line-up will be announced later this summer. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Spirit Square
345 N. College St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Unwind with Bluegrass and Americana music, food trucks, beverages, and more. 

Cost: Free admission

Where:
First Ward Park
301 E. 7th St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The Biblical saga of Joseph and his coat of many colors comes to vibrant life in this delightful musical parable. Joseph, his father's favorite son, is a boy blessed with prophetic dreams. When...

Cost: $13-$19

Where:
Fullwood Theater
100 McDowell Street East
Matthews, NC  28105
View map »


Sponsor: Matthews Playhouse
Telephone: 704-846-8343
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $6-$7

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


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

More information

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

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

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


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

More information

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

Cost: $8

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

This exhibit explores themes of motherhood, the role of women, the intensity of their hearts, and their embodiment as nature by highlighting the works of renowned artist Alison Saar....

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

This collection, full of documentary photography and personal visual storytelling, provides insight into often-overlooked aspects of Black fatherhood. Tues.-Sat., 10am-5pm; Sun., 1-5pm.

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

Teen Studio summer participants will perform William Shakespeare's classic, which follows Lucentio and his struggle to choose between two daughters, one of whom cannot be married before...

Cost: See website for prices and times

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


Telephone: 704-973-2828
Website »

More information

Little orphan Annie is determined to find the parents who abandoned her years ago on the doorstep of cruel Miss Hannigan. With the help of the other girls in the orphange, Annie finds happiness and...

Cost: $15-$29

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


Telephone: 704-892-7953
Website »

More information

Created in collaboration with Playskool and GE, kids can design, build and work together to make amazing Tinkertoy structures using GE Technology as their guide. Experiment with renewable energy...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-416-4600
Website »

More information

Join Elmer, Grover, Abby Cadbby, and more of their Sesame Street friends as they explore universal friendship and cultural similarities through singing and dancing. Fri., 10:30am and 6pm;...

Cost: $17+

Where:
Bojangles Coliseum
2700 E. Independence Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 800-745-3000
Website »

More information

Meet a variety of live animals from the museum's collection and learn their names, where they live, what they eat and how they survive. There will be hands-on opportunities with live animals....

Cost: $6-$7

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Accompany a safari guide on a prehistoric adventure through our featured exhibit. Surprises, special activities and "secret" information about the dinosaurs that await the...

Cost: $9-$10

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Search for and keep mineral treasures like garnets, topaz, rubies, emeralds and rose quartz in the running water sluice.

Cost: $10-$11

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Did An Asteroid Really Kill the Dinosaurs? Sixty five (65) million years ago the last of the non-avian dinosaurs vanished from the fossil record.  Scientists have discovered evidence that...

Cost: $9-$10

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

This unique dinosaur exhibit features more than 50 life-size animatronic dinosaurs, interactive dinosaur "digs," inflatable mazes, themed activities, and more. Fri., 4-8pm; Sat.,...

Cost: $25+; kids under 2 free

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


Telephone: 704-333-7709
Website »

More information

Created by Betty Brin Children's Museum in collaboration with the US Forest Service, this interactive nature-themed exhibit is packed with fun activities that highlight ways that kids and...

Cost: $5-$8

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


Telephone: 803-329-2121
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Stop by the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market today to pick up some free recipes on how our vendors enjoy blueberries.  

Cost: Free

Where:
Charlotte Regional Farmers Market
1801 Yorkmont Road
Charlotte, NC  28217
View map »


Telephone: 704-357-1269
Website »

More information

Attend the largest gathering of fire trucks in the state of North Carolina, with a kids' obstacle course, jaws of life demonstrations, a fire truck parade, and a fire-fighting helicopter...

Cost: $4-$6

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


Telephone: 704-636-2889
Website »

More information

An extended day robot invasion will take over the museum. See teams from the Battlebots and other robot builders from across the US compete for supremacy. Competitors might include Witch Doctor,...

Cost: $9-$10

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $6-$7

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Feed a Venus flytrap, make crafts, see the inside of a a pitcher plant, play games, and more in this two-hour event designed for families. Space is limited to 100; purchase tickets...

Cost: $8 per child; free for accompanying adults

Where:
UNC Charlotte
McMillan Greenhouse
9090 Craver Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This College Jump Start workshop is designed to help parents and rising high school seniors get ahead of the college application process. Participants will gain insight into the college application...

Cost: $20

Where:
Hygee Coworking
2128 Remount Road
Charlotte, NC  28208
View map »


Telephone: 704-582-1334
Website »

More information

Have fun in the summer sun with a water party, rock climbing wall, giveaways and more!  Additionally, Northlake Mall will be collecting food donations for Second Harvest Food...

Cost: Free

Where:
Northlake Mall
6801 Northlake Mall Drive
Entry one on the courtyard between H&M and Firebirds Wood Fired Grill
Charlotte , NC  28216
View map »


Website »

More information

Grand opening festivities include frosty treats from Kona Ice for both humans and canines, dog agility demos, face painting, themed activities, prize packs from Disney/Pixar "Cars 3," an...

Cost: Free

Where:
PetSuites Archdale
219 Archdale Drive
Charlotte, NC  28217
View map »


Telephone: 513-521-7500

More information

NOMAD Aquatics will present a water safety clinic to help children with treading water, blowing bubbles, floating, jumping in, and more. The clinic for ages 2-5 years will run from 12:30-1:15pm,...

Cost: Free for enrolled students; $20 for non-enrolled students

Where:
NOMAD Aquatics
11202 Harris Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-949-1545
Website »

More information

Do you consider yourself an outdoor enthusiast? Put your skills to the test and go head to head with the best Trailheads in Charlotte! The Hiker’s Challenge is a 4 stage, single-elimination...

Cost: $15 to compete, free to spectate

Where:
Blue Blaze Brewing
528 S. Turner Avenue
Charlotte, NC  28208
View map »


Telephone: 910-625-9997
Website »

More information

Kick off a summer of mad lab science Saturdays at the Cafe at Nona's Bakery. Young scientists to-be can eat the cool science they make while watching the gooey...

Cost: $25

Where:
The Shoppes at Worthington
1520 Overland Park Lane
Suite #1-107
Charlotte, NC  28262
View map »


Telephone: 704-502-2836
Website »

More information

The Charlotte Symphony Orchestra will perform a special patriotic pops performance, followed by fireworks (weather permitting.)

Cost: $5-$12, free for children under age 12.

Where:
Bailey Road Park
11536 Bailey Road
Cornelius, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy a special outdoor storytime with the help of Doug Berkey. 

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-920-1180
Website »

More information

This exhibition of paintings by Harlem-based artist, Jordan Casteel, explore the intimacy and immortalization of her subjects, including family, patrons, and neighbors. Tues.-Sat., 10am-5pm;...

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

Enjoy 1,500 square feet of bugs, butterflies, beetles, moths, flies, and other six-legged creatures from around the world. This scientific collection features real preserved specimens...

Cost: $6-$7

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Enjoy a fascinating look at all the wonders of eclipses, when one celestial object blocks the view of another. Discover what eclipses are, how and when they occur, a perfect lead-in to our...

Cost: $9-$10

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

The Science of Ripley's Believe It or Not! presents an extraordinary collection of intriguing objects and astonishing artifacts from Ripley's Believe It or Not! Go places you've never...

Cost: $10-$25

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


Telephone: 704-373-6261
Website »

More information

Currently the only Egyptian mummy in North Carolina. Families can explore the culture and history of the 22nd Dynasty, uncover the mystery of mummification in the hands-on CSI Lab, and meet...

Cost: $6

Where:
Iredell Museums
134 Court St.
Statesville, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-873-7347
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $5-$8

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


Telephone: 704-333-1887
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-739-1019
Website »

More information

Bring your mats for an hour of kids' yoga with Grounded Kids Yoga or pizza-making class from Pure Pizza for little chefs. Ten spots available each week per class. 

Cost: $10 per class

Where:
Pure Pizza
1911 Central Ave.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 980-430-1701
Website »

More information

Discover a settler's life from 250 years ago. Examine buildings and fence construction, explore the kitchen garden and meet heritage livestock. Visit with a live interpreter as they go about...

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Monkey Joe’s North Carolina locations are celebrating summer with special offers for each weekday: Monday: 20% off meal packages Tuesday: Toddler Tuesday, children 4 and younger will...

Cost: See website for prices

Where:
Monkey Joe's University, Pineville, Gastonia and Matthews locations
, NC


Website »

More information

Back by popular demand, the high-flying acrobats from Cirque Imagine return to Carowinds Theatre. Moms, dads and kids can watch spectacular stunts and acrobatics right before their very eyes....

Cost: Cost of Carowinds admission

Where:
Carowinds
14523 Carowinds Blvd.
Charlotte, NC  28273
View map »


Telephone: 704-588-2600
Website »

More information

Take a walk on the Paw Paw Nature Trail with a naturalist and learn more about the diversity of the forest habitat. 

Cost: $8

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

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


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

More information

Join the Rail Trail Symphony this summer for Symphony Saturdays featuring children's musical sessions led by The Jolly Lollies. The Rail Trail Symphony site is along the Rail Trail next to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Rail Trail Symphony
129 New Bern St.
Charlotte , NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Carolina Raptor Center's high flying, gravity defying summer flight show features CRC’s trainers putting our native and exotic birds through their paces in free flight. Experience the...

Cost: $8-$12; free for ages 3 and under

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


Website »

More information

Enjoy two great mini programs in the science theater. First explore the constellations of summer in a seasonal stargazing tour of the night sky. Then, encounter the beautiful Northern Lights in a...

Cost: $9-$10

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $5 parking fee

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


Telephone: 704-391-3900
Website »

More information

The Biblical saga of Joseph and his coat of many colors comes to vibrant life in this delightful musical parable. Joseph, his father's favorite son, is a boy blessed with prophetic dreams. When...

Cost: $13-$19

Where:
Fullwood Theater
100 McDowell Street East
Matthews, NC  28105
View map »


Sponsor: Matthews Playhouse
Telephone: 704-846-8343
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $6-$7

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


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

More information

This exhibit explores themes of motherhood, the role of women, the intensity of their hearts, and their embodiment as nature by highlighting the works of renowned artist Alison Saar....

Cost: $7-$9

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


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

This collection, full of documentary photography and personal visual storytelling, provides insight into often-overlooked aspects of Black fatherhood. Tues.-Sat., 10am-5pm; Sun., 1-5pm.

Cost: $7-$9

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

Teen Studio summer participants will perform William Shakespeare's classic, which follows Lucentio and his struggle to choose between two daughters, one of whom cannot be married before...

Cost: See website for prices and times

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


Telephone: 704-973-2828
Website »

More information

Little orphan Annie is determined to find the parents who abandoned her years ago on the doorstep of cruel Miss Hannigan. With the help of the other girls in the orphange, Annie finds happiness and...

Cost: $15-$29

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


Telephone: 704-892-7953
Website »

More information

Created in collaboration with Playskool and GE, kids can design, build and work together to make amazing Tinkertoy structures using GE Technology as their guide. Experiment with renewable energy...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-416-4600
Website »

More information

Join Elmer, Grover, Abby Cadbby, and more of their Sesame Street friends as they explore universal friendship and cultural similarities through singing and dancing. Fri., 10:30am and 6pm;...

Cost: $17+

Where:
Bojangles Coliseum
2700 E. Independence Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 800-745-3000
Website »

More information

Meet a variety of live animals from the museum's collection and learn their names, where they live, what they eat and how they survive. There will be hands-on opportunities with live animals....

Cost: $6-$7

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Accompany a safari guide on a prehistoric adventure through our featured exhibit. Surprises, special activities and "secret" information about the dinosaurs that await the...

Cost: $9-$10

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


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

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Search for and keep mineral treasures like garnets, topaz, rubies, emeralds and rose quartz in the running water sluice.

Cost: $10-$11

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
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Telephone: 704-866-6900
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Did An Asteroid Really Kill the Dinosaurs? Sixty five (65) million years ago the last of the non-avian dinosaurs vanished from the fossil record.  Scientists have discovered evidence that...

Cost: $9-$10

Where:
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
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Telephone: 704-866-6900
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This unique dinosaur exhibit features more than 50 life-size animatronic dinosaurs, interactive dinosaur "digs," inflatable mazes, themed activities, and more. Fri., 4-8pm; Sat.,...

Cost: $25+; kids under 2 free

Where:
The Park Expo and Conference Center
800 Briar Creek Road
, NC
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Telephone: 704-333-7709
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Created by Betty Brin Children's Museum in collaboration with the US Forest Service, this interactive nature-themed exhibit is packed with fun activities that highlight ways that kids and...

Cost: $5-$8

Where:
Museum of York County
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
Rock Hill, SC
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Telephone: 803-329-2121
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Annual Guides

GPS [Go. Play. See.]

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

Education Guide

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