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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Where:
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1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
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Sponsor: The Schiele Museum of Natural History
Telephone: 704-866-6923
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Cost: Free with paid museum admission

Where:
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1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
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View map »


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

More information

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Cost: $13-$17

Where:
Discovery Place Science
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Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

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Cost: $9-$10

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

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Cost: $13-$17

Where:
Discovery Place Science
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Telephone: 704--372-6261
Website »

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Cost: $3 per person in addition to museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

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Cost: $12-$13

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
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4330 Westmont Drive
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Telephone: 704-401-3200
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More information

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Cost: $4-$9

Where:
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Telephone: 704-889-1211
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Cost: $4-$9

Where:
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10215 University City Blvd Suite C
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Telephone: 704-549-1588
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View map »


Sponsor: The Schiele Museum of Natural History
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Website »

More information

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Cost: Free with paid museum admission

Where:
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1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
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View map »


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

More information

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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: $9-$10

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

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Cost: $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: $8

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

James H. Planetarium and Science Theater presents: From the Earth to the Universe. The night sky, both beautiful and mysterious, has been the subject of campfire stories, ancient myths and awe...

Cost: $3 per person in addition to museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

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Cost: $8

Where:
Discovery Place Nature
1658 Sterling Road
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View map »


Telephone: 704-373-6261
Website »

More information

  January and February Only   Join Noreen Neuron, host of the "Personal Universe" game show, as she leads us through a competition to decide which body system is the...

Cost: $12-$13

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Learn about the groundbreaking ministry of the studio, World Wide Pictures, and find out how the My Hope outreach uses film to share the Gospel today. Read stories from behind the scenes of BGEA...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-401-3200
Website »

More information

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Cost: $6

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


Telephone: 704-873-7347
Website »

More information

Some NASCAR drivers race to live, but Tony Stewart lives to race. The 2016 season marked the end of Stewart’s memorable career as a NASCAR driver. During his NASCAR premier series career, he...

Cost: $12.95- $19.95

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame
400 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-654-4400
Website »

More information

In celebration of First Responders Appreciation Month, Gastonia Monkey Joe’s wants to share its appreciation for the local fire and police department employees with a special discount. First...

Cost: $4-$9

Where:
Monkey Joe's
3924 E. Franklin Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28098
View map »


Telephone: 704-824-5775
Website »

More information

In celebration of First Responders Appreciation Month, Pineville Monkey Joe’s wants to share its appreciation for the local fire and police department employees with a special discount. First...

Cost: $4-$9

Where:
Monkey Joe's
601 N. Polk St.
Pineville, NC  28134
View map »


Telephone: 704-889-1211
Website »

More information

In celebration of First Responders Appreciation Month, University Monkey Joe’s wants to share its appreciation for the local fire and police department employees with a special discount....

Cost: $4-$9

Where:
Monkey Joe's
10215 University City Blvd Suite C
University, NC  28213
View map »


Telephone: 704-549-1588
Website »

More information

"Wee" ones three years and younger and their caregivers will enjoy stories, movement with music, and a seasonal craft during our Wee Wednesday program. On the 3rd Wednesday of each...

Cost: $6

Where:
Main Street Children's Museum
133 E Main St.
Rock Hill, SC  29730
View map »


Telephone: 803-909-7244
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

Organized and toured by Studio Art Quilt Associates, this exhibition features 38 art quilts created by textile artists from around the world. These stunningly vivid and masterfully crafted quilts...

Cost: Adults-$8, Seniors-$7, Youth-$5, CHM members and children 3 and under FREE

Where:
The Museums of York County
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
Rock Hill, SC  29732
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $6-$7

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


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

More information

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

Cost: Free with paid 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

Experience life in 13th-century Mongolia in this exhibition that showcases the life of ruler Genghis Khan. The collection features more than 200 artifacts and relics such as gold jewelry,...

Cost: $13-$17

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

Trilobites lived, thrived and became extinct millions of years before the age of dinosaurs.  See more than 200 specimens of these creatures from long ago covering five geological periods that...

Cost: $9-$10

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Celebrate the rich heritage of various Chinese ethnic festivals and folk arts in this exhibit. Presented by Tower Bridge International Education, this walkthrough presentation features multimedia...

Cost: $13-$17

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


Telephone: 704--372-6261
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

Show More...
Show Less...

James H. Planetarium and Science Theater presents: From the Earth to the Universe. The night sky, both beautiful and mysterious, has been the subject of campfire stories, ancient myths and awe...

Cost: $3 per person in addition to museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

  January and February Only   Join Noreen Neuron, host of the "Personal Universe" game show, as she leads us through a competition to decide which body system is the...

Cost: $12-$13

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Preschoolers can engage with books through movement and pre-reading skills. 

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-416-6000
Website »

More information

Learn about the groundbreaking ministry of the studio, World Wide Pictures, and find out how the My Hope outreach uses film to share the Gospel today. Read stories from behind the scenes of BGEA...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-401-3200
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

Join the Historical Cooking Guild of the Catawba Valley as they return to the Kitchen House. The ladies will hold a lively and interactive historic back-country cooking demonstration.

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-889-7145
Contact Name: Angela Thorpe
Website »

More information

Some NASCAR drivers race to live, but Tony Stewart lives to race. The 2016 season marked the end of Stewart’s memorable career as a NASCAR driver. During his NASCAR premier series career, he...

Cost: $12.95- $19.95

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame
400 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-654-4400
Website »

More information

In celebration of First Responders Appreciation Month, Gastonia Monkey Joe’s wants to share its appreciation for the local fire and police department employees with a special discount. First...

Cost: $4-$9

Where:
Monkey Joe's
3924 E. Franklin Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28098
View map »


Telephone: 704-824-5775
Website »

More information

In celebration of First Responders Appreciation Month, Pineville Monkey Joe’s wants to share its appreciation for the local fire and police department employees with a special discount. First...

Cost: $4-$9

Where:
Monkey Joe's
601 N. Polk St.
Pineville, NC  28134
View map »


Telephone: 704-889-1211
Website »

More information

In celebration of First Responders Appreciation Month, University Monkey Joe’s wants to share its appreciation for the local fire and police department employees with a special discount....

Cost: $4-$9

Where:
Monkey Joe's
10215 University City Blvd Suite C
University, NC  28213
View map »


Telephone: 704-549-1588
Website »

More information

Organized and toured by Studio Art Quilt Associates, this exhibition features 38 art quilts created by textile artists from around the world. These stunningly vivid and masterfully crafted quilts...

Cost: Adults-$8, Seniors-$7, Youth-$5, CHM members and children 3 and under FREE

Where:
The Museums of York County
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
Rock Hill, SC  29732
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $6-$7

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


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

More information

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

Cost: Free with paid 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

Experience life in 13th-century Mongolia in this exhibition that showcases the life of ruler Genghis Khan. The collection features more than 200 artifacts and relics such as gold jewelry,...

Cost: $13-$17

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

Trilobites lived, thrived and became extinct millions of years before the age of dinosaurs.  See more than 200 specimens of these creatures from long ago covering five geological periods that...

Cost: $9-$10

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Celebrate the rich heritage of various Chinese ethnic festivals and folk arts in this exhibit. Presented by Tower Bridge International Education, this walkthrough presentation features multimedia...

Cost: $13-$17

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


Telephone: 704--372-6261
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

Show More...
Show Less...

James H. Planetarium and Science Theater presents: From the Earth to the Universe. The night sky, both beautiful and mysterious, has been the subject of campfire stories, ancient myths and awe...

Cost: $3 per person in addition to museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Visit the Mooresville Public Library to hear Frederick Folkerts speak about growing up in Wuppertal Germany during WWII.

Cost: Free

Where:
Mooresville Public Library
304 S. Main St.
Mooresville, NC  28115
View map »


Telephone: 704-663-1062

More information

Toddlers and preschoolers can join Holly Johnson in a music and movement program that features listening to songs and playing a variety of instruments. 

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-416-4600
Website »

More information

This production will be supported by a professional director, stage manager and production team including professional costume, set, and lighting designers allowing the performers to truly...

Cost: Free

Where:
Ballantyne Arts Center
11318 N. Community House Road
Charlotte, NC  28277
View map »


Telephone: 704-716-4670
Website »

More information

Calling all builders, tinkerers, and techies! Discover the Maker Movement. Spend the nights in the museum as you explore robotics, technology, and engineering.  Enjoy a show in the new science...

Cost: $35 for children and adult leaders

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

This free 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...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-348-5770
Website »

More information

  January and February Only   Join Noreen Neuron, host of the "Personal Universe" game show, as she leads us through a competition to decide which body system is the...

Cost: $12-$13

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Learn about the groundbreaking ministry of the studio, World Wide Pictures, and find out how the My Hope outreach uses film to share the Gospel today. Read stories from behind the scenes of BGEA...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-401-3200
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

Some NASCAR drivers race to live, but Tony Stewart lives to race. The 2016 season marked the end of Stewart’s memorable career as a NASCAR driver. During his NASCAR premier series career, he...

Cost: $12.95- $19.95

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame
400 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-654-4400
Website »

More information

In celebration of First Responders Appreciation Month, Gastonia Monkey Joe’s wants to share its appreciation for the local fire and police department employees with a special discount. First...

Cost: $4-$9

Where:
Monkey Joe's
3924 E. Franklin Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28098
View map »


Telephone: 704-824-5775
Website »

More information

In celebration of First Responders Appreciation Month, Pineville Monkey Joe’s wants to share its appreciation for the local fire and police department employees with a special discount. First...

Cost: $4-$9

Where:
Monkey Joe's
601 N. Polk St.
Pineville, NC  28134
View map »


Telephone: 704-889-1211
Website »

More information

In celebration of First Responders Appreciation Month, University Monkey Joe’s wants to share its appreciation for the local fire and police department employees with a special discount....

Cost: $4-$9

Where:
Monkey Joe's
10215 University City Blvd Suite C
University, NC  28213
View map »


Telephone: 704-549-1588
Website »

More information

Explore nature through arts and crafts. Each session will have a different theme and participants can take home a craft. Dress for mess.

Cost: $3

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


Telephone: 704-875-1391
Website »

More information

Programs include storytime and hands-on activities designed for sensory skills and developmental growth. The program schedule includes: Jan. 6 - Snowman Mosaic Jan. 14 - Snow Globe Art...

Cost: $6 per child/adult; $3 for each additional child

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


Telephone: 704-873-7347
Website »

More information

Come to McDowell Nature Preserve on Friday afternoons for a variety of fun and nature based educational activities, from hikes, games, crafts, exploring, etc. Registration is required. ...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: McDowell Nature Center
Telephone: 704-588-5224
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

Organized and toured by Studio Art Quilt Associates, this exhibition features 38 art quilts created by textile artists from around the world. These stunningly vivid and masterfully crafted quilts...

Cost: Adults-$8, Seniors-$7, Youth-$5, CHM members and children 3 and under FREE

Where:
The Museums of York County
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
Rock Hill, SC  29732
View map »


Website »

More information

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

Cost: $6-$7

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


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

More information

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

Cost: Free with paid 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

Experience life in 13th-century Mongolia in this exhibition that showcases the life of ruler Genghis Khan. The collection features more than 200 artifacts and relics such as gold jewelry,...

Cost: $13-$17

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


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

Trilobites lived, thrived and became extinct millions of years before the age of dinosaurs.  See more than 200 specimens of these creatures from long ago covering five geological periods that...

Cost: $9-$10

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Join Dorothy, the Tin Man, the Lion, the Scarecrow, and Toto as they travel to the magical land of Oz to meet the Wizard who will grant them their hearts' desires. See website for...

Cost: $10-$12

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


Telephone: 704-892-7953
Website »

More information

Celebrate the rich heritage of various Chinese ethnic festivals and folk arts in this exhibit. Presented by Tower Bridge International Education, this walkthrough presentation features multimedia...

Cost: $13-$17

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


Telephone: 704--372-6261
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

Show More...
Show Less...

James H. Planetarium and Science Theater presents: From the Earth to the Universe. The night sky, both beautiful and mysterious, has been the subject of campfire stories, ancient myths and awe...

Cost: $3 per person in addition to museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Charlotte-Mecklenburg residents and visitors are invited to attend museums and enjoy a range of art, science, history and heritage experiences at places such as Bechtler Museum of Modern Art,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Various Locations in Charlotte
, NC


Website »

More information

This healthy living super show will feature a get moving stage with rotating fitness classes throughout the day, a cardio dance zone, healthy eating stage, a kids' zone designed to get children...

Cost: $5; kids 12 and under free

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


Website »

More information

This production will be supported by a professional director, stage manager and production team including professional costume, set, and lighting designers allowing the performers to truly shine on...

Cost: Free

Where:
Ballantyne Arts Center
11318 N. Community House Road
Charlotte, NC  28277
View map »


Telephone: 704-716-4670
Website »

More information

Kids can learn the basics of the high-tech treasure hunt called geocaching with tips, tools, and by using a GPS unit and smartphone app. 

Cost: $8 per family

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


Telephone: 704-875-1391
Website »

More information

Compare styles and types of rock art, and then create your own by carving and sculpting a soapstone pendant. Best for children ages 6 and up with adult supervision. Reservations recommended. Time...

Cost: $9-$10

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Find out what it takes to be a great pet owner with a hands-on activity in the Naturalist Lab. 

Cost: $8

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


Telephone: 704-373-6261
Website »

More information

The Charlotte Museum of History will be one of the locations for the Arts & Science Council’s Third Annual Connect with Culture Day. This free event will feature an afternoon of...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-568-1774
Website »

More information

Stop by between 2pm and 4pm to create a nature-inspired winter craft to take home. Dress for mess. Registration is required.

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-588-5224
Website »

More information

Join H2K Happy Healthy Kids Fitness at Aerial CLT for the 2nd of 3 pop-up classes. Come out and experience Family and me Cardio Dance. This class will be a combination of dancing,...

Cost: $5 per person (cash only)

Where:
Aerial CLT
801 N. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Telephone: 758-831-6027
Website »

More information

Calling all builders, tinkerers, and techies! Discover the Maker Movement. Spend the nights in the museum as you explore robotics, technology, and engineering.  Enjoy a show in the new science...

Cost: $35 for children and adult leaders

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

  January and February Only   Join Noreen Neuron, host of the "Personal Universe" game show, as she leads us through a competition to decide which body system is the...

Cost: $12-$13

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Learn about the groundbreaking ministry of the studio, World Wide Pictures, and find out how the My Hope outreach uses film to share the Gospel today. Read stories from behind the scenes of BGEA...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 704-401-3200
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

Some NASCAR drivers race to live, but Tony Stewart lives to race. The 2016 season marked the end of Stewart’s memorable career as a NASCAR driver. During his NASCAR premier series career, he...

Cost: $12.95- $19.95

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame
400 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-654-4400
Website »

More information

In celebration of First Responders Appreciation Month, Gastonia Monkey Joe’s wants to share its appreciation for the local fire and police department employees with a special discount. First...

Cost: $4-$9

Where:
Monkey Joe's
3924 E. Franklin Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28098
View map »


Telephone: 704-824-5775
Website »

More information

In celebration of First Responders Appreciation Month, Pineville Monkey Joe’s wants to share its appreciation for the local fire and police department employees with a special discount. First...

Cost: $4-$9

Where:
Monkey Joe's
601 N. Polk St.
Pineville, NC  28134
View map »


Telephone: 704-889-1211
Website »

More information

In celebration of First Responders Appreciation Month, University Monkey Joe’s wants to share its appreciation for the local fire and police department employees with a special discount....

Cost: $4-$9

Where:
Monkey Joe's
10215 University City Blvd Suite C
University, NC  28213
View map »


Telephone: 704-549-1588
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

James H. Lynn Planetarium and Science Theater presents: Winter Sky Shows on Sat. and Sun. at 4pm. Explore two fascinating topics in one science theater program. First, explore the constellations of...

Cost: $3 per person in addition to museum admission

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

Organized and toured by Studio Art Quilt Associates, this exhibition features 38 art quilts created by textile artists from around the world. These stunningly vivid and masterfully crafted quilts...

Cost: Adults-$8, Seniors-$7, Youth-$5, CHM members and children 3 and under FREE

Where:
The Museums of York County
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
Rock Hill, SC  29732
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
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Sponsor: The Schiele Museum of Natural History
Telephone: 704-866-6923
Contact Name: Philip McGinnis
Website »

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

Cost: Free with paid 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

Experience life in 13th-century Mongolia in this exhibition that showcases the life of ruler Genghis Khan. The collection features more than 200 artifacts and relics such as gold jewelry,...

Cost: $13-$17

Where:
Discovery Place Science
301 N. Tryon St.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

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Trilobites lived, thrived and became extinct millions of years before the age of dinosaurs.  See more than 200 specimens of these creatures from long ago covering five geological periods that...

Cost: $9-$10

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


Telephone: 704-866-6923
Website »

More information

In a twist on the classic tale, Goldilocks isn't quite the devilish little girl we've always heard about--she is alone in the world and deeply curious. Baby Bear is sheltered by loving and...

Cost: $12+

Where:
Children's Theatre of Charlotte
300 E. 7th St.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-973-2828
Website »

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A rambunctious group of traveling actors decide to perform a humorous version of the classic Snow White and Seven Dwarfs, with the help of exaggerated masks, that will have the audience in...

Cost: $12+

Where:
Children's Theatre of Charlotte
300 E. 7th St.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-973-2828
Website »

More information

Nick and his family leave their native country of Homeland to move to America. But upon arrival, they discover a culture and prejudices they never expected. In the play, Nick and his family members...

Cost: $12+

Where:
Children's Theatre of Charlotte
300 E. 7th St.
, NC
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Telephone: 704-973-2828
Website »

More information

Join Dorothy, the Tin Man, the Lion, the Scarecrow, and Toto as they travel to the magical land of Oz to meet the Wizard who will grant them their hearts' desires. See website for...

Cost: $10-$12

Where:
Armour Street Theatre
307 Armour St.
Davidson , NC
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Telephone: 704-892-7953
Website »

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Celebrate the rich heritage of various Chinese ethnic festivals and folk arts in this exhibit. Presented by Tower Bridge International Education, this walkthrough presentation features multimedia...

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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