If you’re looking for a great outing with the kids during spring break, but can’t pack your bags and head out of town, try one of these great local adventures!
Hike at Crowders Mountain State Park. About 25 miles west of Charlotte, this park will challenge the experienced as well as the novice climber. It offers 12 miles of scenic, and somewhat strenuous, hiking trails with a view at the top that’s worth the climb. 522 Park Office Lane in Kings Mountain. 704-853-5375.www.ncparks.gov.
The Energy Explorium at Lake Norman. Located at McGuire Nuclear Station, the Explorium features hands-on exhibits and interactive games designed to introduce kids to the wonders of electricity and nuclear power. They can even use the power of a treadmill to operate a TV. The explorium also offers a mile-long nature trail, a picnic area, and a large deck that overlooks Lake Norman, the Cowans Ford dam and two nuclear silos. No admission fee. 13339 Hagers Ferry Road in Huntersville. 704-875-5600.www.duke-energy.com
Dan Nicholas Park. At this amazing park in Rowan County, about 45 minutes from uptown, your kids can ride an old-fashioned carrousel and train, play mini-golf, climb on cool playgrounds, splash in the water play area, ride the paddleboats, pet farm animals and more. The best part? Most of the activities cost less than $2 per person. (Note: one thing does cost more: panning for gemstones. That's $7 for a beginner's bucket, which two kids can share.) www.dannicholas.net
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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. But the best part is panning for gold, which costs $3 per person. (Kids 8 and older can pan by themselves; younger children must pan with an adult.)www.reedmine.com
Great Wolf Lodge: 84 degree indoor waterpark with rides and slides for all ages. Must stay the night at the lodge to play in the waterpark. They also offer ice cream-themed manicures in Scooops Kid Spa, nightly fireside Story Times, and battle dragons at MagiQuest. http://www.greatwolf.com/concord/waterpark