20 Outings under $20

20 Outings under $20

If you’ve found yourself frustrated by the cost to take your family out for a day of fun, we can relate. This summer, enjoy the following 20 things for under $20 based on a family of four. Details are subject to change, so be sure to call before you go.

1. Jetton Park
19000 Jetton Park, Cornelius
(704) 896-9808
Free admission
Hours: 7 a.m.-sunset
Pack lunch for the family and have a picnic while admiring the view of Lake Norman and enjoy 106 acres of beauty at Jetton Park. After lunch, rent bikes for $4 an hour.

2. Paddle boats at University Place
University Place, U.S. 49 near I-85
(704) 598-0281
Price: Paddleboats $10 for 30 minutes; $5 rental of game pieces
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 6 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sat.-Sun. 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
At University Lake your family can enjoy a paddleboat ride or play chess with giant game pieces. There is also a playground and shopping nearby.

3. Energy Explorium
13339 Hagers Ferry Road, Huntersville
(704) 875-5600
Free admission
Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Bring the kids to the Energy Explorium for fun games and activities that will teach them ways to conserve energy. Your children will have fun with the interactive exhibits, while learning the importance of turning off lights and the television when not in use.

4. Mint Museum of Craft + Design
220 North Tryon St., Charlotte
(704) 337-2000
Price: Free on Tue. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and the third Thursday of the month from 5-8 p.m.
Hours: Tue.-Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Third Thu. 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sun. noon-5 p.m.
Get your creative mind flowing at the Mint Museum of Craft + Design by examining collections of artwork. Live jazz on Thursday, June 21.

5. Carolina Raptor Center
6000 Sample Road, Huntersville
(704) 875-6521
Price: Members: Free; Adults: $6; Seniors: $5, Students: $4; Children under 5: Free
Hours: Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun.: noon-5 p.m.
If your children love nature, the Carolina Raptor Center is the place to be. Experience birds of prey such as eagles, owls and falcons from just a few feet away while strolling the trail through 47 wooded acres.

6. Reed Gold Mine
9621 Reed Mine Road, Midland
(704) 721-GOLD (4653)
Price: Panning $2 per person; Free tours
Hours: Tue.-Sat. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.;
Travel back in time at the Reed Gold Mine. Pan for gold, visit the museum, watch a short film of the mine’s history and take a tour of the mine.

7. Lowe’s Motor Speedway Tour
5555 Concord Pkwy. South, Concord
(704) 455-3204
Price: $5 per person
Hours: Non-event days Mon. through Sat. 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and Sun. 1:30-3:30 p.m.
For any race fan, this tour is a must. Experience the areas that are off-limits on race days, and ride around the track in a van and feel the 24-degree banking. Snap a family picture in Victory Circle!

8. Movie night
Price: Popcorn; Rent movie
If you’ve had an exhausting day and want to relax with your family, plan a movie night. Pick up the latest release. Don’t forget the popcorn!

9. UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens
McMillan Greenhouse, 9201 University City Blvd., Charlotte
(704) 687-2364
Free admission
Hours: Outdoor gardens: open daylight hours, 7 days a week.
McMillan Greenhouse: Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
If you love taking pictures of your family, UNCC Botanical Gardens is the perfect spot. Whether it’s in front of the pond with waterfalls or the oriental gazebo, you’ll cherish the pictures forever and learn about the Carolinas’ native flowers along the way.

10. Bruster’s Ice cream
17029 Kenton Drive, Cornelius
(704) 896-2886
545 West John St., Matthews
(704) 708-6763
531 Indian Trail Road S., Indian Trail
(704) 821-9390
Price: Sundaes for $4.37; waffle cones for $2.61.
Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
What better way to beat the heat than to eat ice cream?

11. U.S. National Whitewater Center
820 Hawfield Road, Charlotte
(704) 391-3900
Free admission; see Web site for costs for activities.
The U.S. National Whitewater Center expands over 11 miles. Some hiking trails are appropriate for families. Afterward, enjoy a snack overlooking the white-water rafting rapids.

12. Historic Latta Plantation
5225 Sample Road, Huntersville
(704) 875-2312
Price: Adults $5; Seniors/Students $4; Children 5 and under Free
Hours: Tue.-Sat. 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Sun. 1-4:30 p.m.;
Visit Historic Latta Plantation to give your children a fun history lesson. This once successful cotton plantation will give your family the chance to learn about the life of planters, yeoman farmers and slaves from the early 19th century.

13. Spraygrounds
Veterans Park, 2136 Central Ave.
(704) 336-2884
Cordelia Park, 2100 N. Davidson St.
(704) 336-2096
Latta Park, 601 East Park Ave.
(704) 336-3375
Nevin Community Park
6000 Statesville Road
(704) 336-8866
West Charlotte Recreation Center
2400 Kendall Dr.
(704) 393-1560
Price: Free
Hours: 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
Cool off in spraygrounds at these parks. Sprint through or just jump in to escape the summer heat.

14. Belmont Drive-in Theater
314 McAdenville Road, Belmont
(704) 825-6044
Price: $8 per car
Show begins at dusk
This summer, catch the latest movies in a fun, old-fashioned way at the Belmont Drive-in theater with hits “Ocean’s 13,” “Nancy Drew,” “Shrek 3,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End,” and “Harry Potter: The Order of the Phoenix.”

15. King’s Mountain National Military Park
2625 Park Road, Blacksburg, SC
(864) 936-7921
Price: Free
Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Learn about the battle at King’s Mountain an important victory during the American Revolution. Watch a film on the battle’s history, visit the museum, and enjoy the stunning view on the Battlefield Trail.

16. Local Pool
Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center
800 East Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd (formerly East 2nd St.)
(704) 336-DIVE
Price: Adults-$5; Children-$3
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 5:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; Sat. noon-5 p.m.; Sun. 1-6 p.m.
Grab your swimsuit and head to your local pool for a game of Marco Polo or Water Tag with your kids.

17. Razzamataz
4094 Charlotte Hwy., Lake Wylie, SC
(803) 831-9598
Price: $7-child; $3-adult
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat. 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Razzamataz, designed for children ages 1-7, is fun for parents and children to learn and play together. Be creative in the art room, dress up as a princess, build in the workshop or put on a puppet show.

18. Frisbee Golf at Reedy Creek Park
2900 Rocky River Road, Charlotte
(704) 598-8857
Free admission
Grab a Frisbee and head out to the 18-hole disc golf course at Reedy Creek Park for beginners to intermediates. And celebrate Frisbee’s 50th Anniversary.

19. Paradise Valley Par 3
110 Barton Creek Drive, Charlotte
(704) 548-1808
Price: $4/person
Hours: 9 a.m.-sunset
Test your miniature golf skills at Paradise Valley Par 3. Bring out the competition in your family as you putt your way through 18 holes.

20. North Carolina Transportation Museum
411 S. Salisbury Ave., Spencer
(704) 636-2889
Price: Free for exhibits; $1 for ride on turntable
Hours: Mon.-Sat. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun. 1 p.m.-5 p.m.
The North Carolina Transportation Museum offers exhibits of antique locomotives, rail cars and automobiles. Don’t miss the 100-foot turntable ride! You’ll learn the history of the turntable while you spin.