Is the thought of having your kids at home for the duration of winter break giving you heart palpitations? Me too. So, Im lining up a list of activities, including some fun day trips to get us all out of the house and doing things we dont ordinarily have the time for.
I asked some local moms of the South Charlotte Playgroup about their favorite local getaways for families and here are a few places they suggested, along with pointers to make sure you have a great time!
Lazy Five Ranch
Overview: The Lazy 5 Ranch is a one-of-a-kind animal park located in North Carolina. Enjoy getting up close to wild animals while enjoying a horse drawn wagon ride.
Address: 15100 Mooresville Road Mooresville, NC 28115, 704-663-5100
From Emily Gamble:
The first time I went was about four years ago, and weve been five or six times since. My advice is to ride the wagons. Every time weve gone weve ridden the wagons versus riding in our car and I feel like the experience was way more fun for the kids (and adults!). Feeding the animals is always my favorite part. I love how interactive the whole place is. I dont really recommend going in the middle of summer, because the heat can be pretty brutal. There isnt much shade when riding in the wagons. Ileigh was almost one the first time she went, but I think kids over two get a lot more enjoyment from the experience and getting to see all the different animals.
NASCAR Hall of Fame
Overview: The official site of The NASCAR Hall of Fame a state-of-the-art facility that will honor NASCAR icons and create an enduring tribute to the drivers, crew and sport of the race. Remember this time of year the hall features an ice skating rink through January 6. Ice skating is a separate admission price, but can be combined with a visit to the hall.
Address: 400 East Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard Charlotte, NC 28202, 704-654-4400
From Kevin Prenoveau
I am not a NASCAR fan, but I had free tickets to attend the NASCAR Hall of Fame. I thought, cars for my son Colin to touch and look at, interactive displays and manly tools what else could a two year old boy really want? We got to the Hall right when it opened at 10 a.m., which was great because we were the only people in the building not working. Colin went nuts. He ran towards cars and wanted to touch them all. He had the look of a kid in a candy store. When we finally got up to the second floor, there were a lot of toys for Colin to interact with (changing a tire, lifting a car, etc.). He had a blast. We stayed in this section ten to fifteen minutes before I had to move him on to something else. He had no real desire to see the displays, but there were a few toy cars throughout that he enjoyed looking at. There were some movies playing about the history of NASCAR that we watched. It allowed him to relax until we were back changing tires.
After two hours, Colin was starting to fade, but you could tell he would continue on if I would have let him keep lifting cars and changing tires. If you do decide to go, I recommend going at 10 a.m. The main movie was fun to watch (a little loud, but not bad) and the second floor is where you will spend most of your time. Overall, I would go back for a visit because he loved it so much. I didnt learn anything when I was there as I just let him roam freely, but I had a blast. It was a great way to spend Sunday with my Little Man, or what I like to call, my Father/Son-day.
Great Wolf Lodge
Overview: At Great Wolf Lodge in Concord/Charlotte, NC, offers family friendly attractions and an indoor water park.
Address: 10175 Weddington Road Concord, NC 28027, 704-549-8206
From Lareina Welch
We experienced Great Wolf Lodge with a seven week old, three, four and six year old girls and a pack of adults. The kids adored Great Wolf Lodge, because there was something new and exciting to do every minute we were there. Even though it was only 30 minutes away from home it felt like we had gone on vacation because there is a magical quality about the place as soon as you enter the doors.
There were many nice comfortable areas to nurse my son and hang out waiting to swap with my husband for my turn on the slides. We did one overnight in a Grizzly Bear Suite that had a king in one room and two queens in the other, plus a common area which was comfortable, roomy and clean. The price included passes for six people ages three and older for the water park from 11 a.m. on the day we arrived until the park closed on the day we checked out we purchased a great deal through Groupon.
The indoor water park had a a splash area with fountains, dropping buckets and small slides for kids under 48″ tall. There were two intermediate sized slides off of Fort Mackenzie for those kids that didnt meet the 48″ height requirement on the larger slides, but were daredevils nonetheless. Inside Great Wolf Lodge they had MagicQuest which wowed the girls as they used a magic want to go on an enchanted adventure, conjuring interactive animatronics along their way. My favorite part of our time there was the PJ party and story time where all the kids dress in their PJs and sat around the big tree for a story, dancing and bubbles falling from the ceiling. MagicQuest was an extra cost, as was the spa, wolf-themed build-a-bear area, arcade and eateries.
A pizza and salad came with our package, and that was the only sub-par experience we had. Luckily you are smack in the middle of the Concord area with many great restaurants only minutes away. My daughter and her friends couldnt stop talking about the experience months later, so it made a great impression on them and all the adults enjoyed themselves everyone agreeing that we will make a return trip in the near future.
Thanks to Emily, Lareina and Kevin (I love when dudes help out with the blog!) for sharing their experiences and photos! Have you made any great excursions with your kids? Let me know. Would love to share other family friendly activities in our area!