Pack up the kids
By Michelle Lloyd, MomsCharlotte.com
Riverbanks Zoo From elephants to kangaroos to penguins and koalas, this animal packed zoo is smaller than the N.C. Zoological Park, making it more manageable for little ones. The zoo is located about an hour and a half from Charlotte in Columbia, SC. Adults $11.75, children 3-12 yrs old $9.25. More information.
N.C. Zoo Located about 90 miles from Charlotte in Asheboro, this zoo offers 500 acres of exhibits, so be prepared to walk. The zoo is home to over 1,100 animals and over 40,000 plants. Adults $12, children 2-12 yrs old $8. More information.
Lazy 5 Ranch Want to go on a safari and not leave the Charlotte area? Check out Lazy 5 Ranch located in Mooresville. You can pet and feed exotic animals including giraffes, buffalo, zebra, and antelope at this privately owned drive-through ranch. Adults $8.50 and children $5.50, add $5 for wagon tours which I highly recommend. Feed buckets are $3 and they only accept cash. More information.
Schiele Museum of Natural History American Indian culture, early Piedmont history, interactive permanent galleries, special hands-on exhibits and programs interpreting more than 400 years of Piedmont history. $7 adults, $ 6 children over the age of 4. More information.
EdVenture Located in Columbia, SC EdVenture is the souths largest childrens museum. Featuring hands-on exhibits, your child will enjoy playing with various science experiments, using their imaginations with fun filled sets, and exploring through nature in live animal exhibits. Admission is $11.50, children under 1 are free. More information.
Hiddenite Take your children creeking, sluicing, or even digging for gems in the Emerald Hollow Gem Mine in Hiddenite, NC. Even if you dont find anything, its fun to play in the creek digging for treasure. Sluicing is $5 with bucket options up to $500, creeking is $10 plus $5 rental fee (you get $3 back with return) of screen and shovels, and digging is $20 and $10 rental fee (you get $5 back with return) for tools. More information.
Reed Gold Mine The site of the first documented gold find in the United States is just north of Mecklenburg County in Midland, N.C. Watch an orientation movie about the discovery, check out the museum and take an underground tour for free. Adults and children 8 and older can pan for gold at $2 per pan, younger children must accompany an adult. More information.
South Mountain State Park Located in Connelly Springs, NC you can hike the trails to High Shoals Falls to see the gorgeous 80 foot waterfall. The state park has over 40 miles of trails, camp sites, horse riding trails, trout fishing, mountain biking trails, and nice picnic areas. More information.
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