Endless Summer Fun in Charlotte: 17 Places to Take the Kids This Summer

Summer is in full swing. If you're starting to feel the lag of a long days and hearing cries of boredom, use this map as your guide to 17 places that don't always make the big lists throughout Mecklenburg and surrounding counties for a mix of summer fun — some are simply fun and some sneak in a little educational value. Get in the car and go explore at a new place each week for endless summer fun with the family.


Cabarrus County

1. Kannapolis Splash Pad, Carousel and Train
Ride the "choo-choo" train with the little ones, take a spin on the carousel and then spend a hot afternoon cooling off at two age-appropriate spray play areas. Village Park, 700 West C Street, Kannapolis.

2. Concord Mills Speedway Park
Get a little friendly competition going and race the kids around the track. Afterwards cool off inside of the SEA-LIFE aquarium. Concord Mills, 8461 Concord Mills Blvd., Concord.

Fort Mill/Rock Hill

3. Anne Springs Close Greenway Scavenger Hunt
Kids can be investigators learning a thing or two along the way as they try out geocaching to find hidden containers of cool items. 288 Dairy Barn Lane, Fort Mill, SC.

4. Canaan Zipline Canopy Tour
Climb a 70-foot tower and zip through oak, poplar and river birches across the Catawba River. 3111 Sand Island Road, Rock Hill, SC. 803-327-6932.

Gaston County

5. James H. Lynn Planetarium at The Schiele
See the stars, planets, galaxies and more on the dome ceiling at the James H. Lynn Planetarium at The Schiele Museum of Natural History. 1500 E. Garrison Blvd., Gastonia.

6. Lineberger Park
With a splash pad, multiple playgrounds, pool with slides and lazy river, plus a miniature train, this park makes for a full day of fun. Check website for pool and train hours. 632 E. Garrison Blvd., Gastonia.

Iredell County

7. Iredell Museums
Discover exhibits and hands-on activities alongside the permanent display of "The Mummy Treasure of Al Faiyum" that features Margaret the Mummy, and the STEAM Studio, as well as living history programs at Gregory Creek Homestead. 1613 E. Broad St., Statesville.

8. The Quarry at Carrigan Farms
Cool off with a day of open swimming in the 25-foot deep Carrigan Farms Quarry. It is open seven days a week most weeks throughout the summer, but check the website for varying hours and dates. Cost if $15 per person, cash or check only. Children 11 and under are required to wear a life jacket. 1213 Oak Ridge Farm Highway, Mooresville.

Mecklenburg County

9. Lake Wylie Bowl 'n Bounce
Play a couple rounds of bowling and then let them go wild with a few hours of bouncing around. 4034 Charlotte Hwy., Suite 105, Lake Wylie, SC.

10. Airport Overlook
Have a lunchtime picnic or stay up late watching airplanes take off into the sky. 7300 Old Dowd Road.

11. Romare Bearden Park Childhood Muse Plaza
Hot day? Get drenched at the waterfall or hop in and out of the "childhood muse plaza" that squirts out mist through a set of pipes. 300 S. Church St.

12. Harrisburg Fire Station
Pretend to be a fireman trying on clothing and gear and checking out a fire truck. Harrisburg Fire Stations 1-3, Harrisburg.

13. UNCC Botanical Gardens
Stroll through the enchanted forest for an educational experience and sit in on a story time in the heart of the gardens. 9201 University City Blvd. 704-687-0720. gardens.uncc.edu.

14. Energy Explorium
Take a virtual tour of McGuire Nuclear Station or play interactive games while learning about a wide selection of subjects. 13339 Hagers Ferry Road, Huntersville.

15. Jetton Park
Bring the little ones' sand buckets and shovels and spend a day at the lake at this Mecklenburg County Park. The 104-acre park has a lakeside beach (no swimming allowed), a bike trail, 1.5-mile paved trail, picnic decks, tennis courts and a playground. 19000 Jetton Road, Cornelius.

Union County

16. Kate's Skating Center
Put on a pair of roller skates for a fun all-day adventure. Make it a summer party or even a family skate night. 14500 Independence Blvd., Indian Trail.

17. Cane Creek Park
Fishing. Golf. Camping. Relaxation. These are a few of the fun possibilities that are surrounded by the 350-acre lake; this park is a one-stop fun summer attraction. 5213 Harkey Road, Waxhaw.