20 Family-Focused Programs that Offer Creative Alternatives During the Pandemic

From museums to dessert spots
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The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged all of us this year, but it’s also inspired creativity around the world. Schools rolled out e-learning strategies. Celebrities lent their voices to virtual story times. Parents found new ways to entertain and connect with their children.

Businesses and programs have gotten creative as well, offering unique learning opportunities and experiences for families while they’re confined to their homes. Here are 20 ways Charlotte-area venues continue to put creative spins on their regular programming.


  1. Children’s Theatre of Charlotte hosts mini camps for grades K through 5. The week-long, themed mini camps leave time for structured virtual learning. org.
  2. The Levine Museum of the New South’s website directs visitors to Facebook programs, virtual exhibit tours, and online learning. The museum also offers activities and lesson plans students can complete remotely. org.
  3. Enjoy C. Arboretum Winter Lights without leaving your car. The Winter Lights holiday light show changes to a drive-through event from Nov. 20 to Jan. 10. ncwinterlights.com.
  4. Charlotte Museum of History offers a digital learning lineup that includes Family Fridays, Boredom Busters, and more. Video content this fall will include 18th century skills and themes, as well as an Indigenous Peoples Week in November. org/digital.
  5. Wise Acres certified organic strawberry and pumpkin farm opens for fall on Sept. 18. Reserve your spot on the website to come pick out a pumpkin. com.
  6. Museum of York County presents “Exploring Our Solar System.” The monthly Zoom class is geared toward homeschool students and focuses on astronomy, space exploration, and hands-on activities. org.
  7. Charlotte Symphony Orchestra presents #CSOatHome, which includes streaming audio of past performances, listening guides, educational materials, and a link to Charlotte Symphony in Performance on 89.9 WDAV. org/csoathome.
  8. The Carolina Raptor Center airs Avian Home Adventures 2.0 live on Facebook every Monday at 2 p.m. Purchase tickets for its International Vulture Awareness Day on Sept. 5. com/carolinaraptorcenter.
  9. Kidcreate Studio closed the Rock Hill studio this summer, but the company continues to host young artists with its mobile studio. com/charlotte.
  10. Charlotte Cirque and Dance have taken their classes virtual. Try Deep Stretch, Handbalancing, and Conditioning for Dancers and Circus Artists from home, or register for other in-person programs online. org/virtual-session.
  11. Explore Charlotte with your family without leaving home. Google Art and Culture shows you local favorites with “Charlotte: Kick into High Gear in the Queen City.” google.com/project/charlotte.
  12. SAS Cupcakes has two fun fall programs in the works. Follow their Instagram page for updates on SASney World (Sept. 22-26) and Trick-or-Sweet (Oct. 24-31). Both will have photo booths and sweet treats. com/sascupcakesnc/.
  13. Find virtual story times on ImaginOn: The Joe and Joan Martin Center’s online calendar, and register to receive participation instructions. org.
  14. Nailed It DIY Studio locations, including South Charlotte, Mooresville, Fort Mill, and Rock Hill, offer take-and-make projects. com.
  15. The Mint Museum’s at-home Creativity Kits were such a hit this summer that they decided to offer them again this fall. Check the website for the latest releases. org.
  16. Discovery Place updates Stay-at-Home Science with at least one new blog post or activity, as well as one new video chat per week. Check the website for periodic live events too! discoveryplace.org/stay-at-home-science.
  17. The Bechtler Museum for Modern Art offers Museum from Home so visitors can enjoy music, art education, and collections online. org/Visit/Museum-from-home.
  18. Flour Power Studios of Quail Corners, Rea Farms, and Lake Norman have introduced Flour Power Academy: Online Cooking Classes for Kids. See website for online and in-person options. com.
  19. Noah’s Art of South Park presents live virtual classes. Find class schedules at noahs-art.com/class-schedule.html.
  20. Bring music to your home with Bold Music’s private in-person or virtual lessons. Children ages 4 to 6 are invited to the free online class, Bold Junior Jammers, each Thursday. com.