Top 15 things every family should do at least once in Charlotte!

Michelle Lloyd Eastridge

The Queen City offers a lot of fun for families.
The Queen City offers a lot of fun for families. Getty Images/iStockphoto

1 - Get soaked from Whitewater Falls at Carowinds: With over 50 rides, Carowinds is home to the fastest tallest longest coaster in the Southeast. In addition to the coasters, shows, and attractions, Carowinds has a 20-acre waterpark Boomerang Bay. Tickets run from $29.99-$59.99.

2 - Run on the field after a Knights Baseball game: Enjoy a summer night out with the Charlotte Knights. Watch a game and on Sundays kids can run the bases after the game.

3 - Zipline at U.S. Whitewater Center: The center is the worlds largest artificial whitewater river and an official U.S. Olympic training site, the 307-acre facility includes whitewater rafting and kayaking, mountain biking, hiking trails and a climbing center, along with a restaurant overlooking the action. For kids there is a fun obstacle course, rock wall, zipline, and ages 8+ can participate in some water activities. Admission: $5 per car and activity passes range from $20-$89.

4 - Meet a bald eagle at Carolina Raptor Center: The center rehabilitates injured and orphaned raptors. The center also has programs on strange bird behavior and a behind-the-scenes tour that includes the bird hospital.

5 - Visit the James Polk House: Includes a reconstructed log house and kitchen with 18th-century furnishings and a museum with film, exhibits and displays representing the life and times of James K. Polk, 11th president. Free. 12031 Lancaster Hwy., Pineville. 704-889-7145.

6 - Ride the Light Rail Uptown: What kid doesnt love a train? Ride Charlottes LYNX Blue Line from 1-485 in southern Meck to the end of uptown. Stop by 7th Street Station for a treat and head to ImaginOn.

7 - Learn about energy at 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.

8 - Go Geocaching in local parks. Take the family on a treasure hunt throughout Charlotte looking for geocaches hidden at special locations.

9 - Watch planes take off at Airport Overlook Park. Pack a lunch and watch the planes take off and land at Charlotte/Douglas International Airport. Off Old Dowd Road near the intersection with Besser Drive.

10 - See the real Hudson Hornet at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. 150,000 square feet of fun filled artifacts, 50 interactive attractions, 18 historic cars exhibit, viewing parties and more! $19.95 adults, $12.95 children ages 5-12. 400 East Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard

11 - Take a bike ride around Freedom Park. Walk or bike around the 7 acre lake, stop by the Charlotte Nature Museum to see local wildlife, play on the NFL Play60 KidZone, hop on board an old train at 1 of the 2 playgrounds and finish the day cooking out at one of the 5 outdoor shelters with grills.

12 - See a play at ImaginOn. This Uptown magnet of family fun is part childrens theatre, part library, and its always free. While Children's Theatre productions require tickets, in other areas kids can put on a puppet show, play with trains, try on costumes, play computer games and, of course, check out books. The facility has lots of free storytimes each week, as well as rotating exhibits in its lobby. 300 E 7th St. 704-973-2780.

13 - Investigate art using Gallery Activity Totes at the Mint Museum Randolph or check out ART Packs at the Mint Museum Uptown. The Uptown location has the Lewis Family Gallery where kids can play and explore while learning about the museum collection.

14 - See an IMAX movie at Discovery Place. Equipped with a unique dome shape, state-of-the-art technology and the largest screen in the Carolinas, the IMAX Dome delivers the world's most immersive movie experience. After watching the movie, enjoy interactive science exhibits in the museum.

15 - Listen to live music or watch a free movie at a local shopping center on Friday and Saturday nights at Stonecrest, Blakeney, or the Promenade. Other locations with free music are Davidsons Concerts on the Green, Kannapolis Summer Entertainment Series, Matthews Summer Concert and Movie Series, Union Street Live, Pineville Rockin and Reelin Summer Concert and Movie Series, Belmonts Friday Night Live, June Tunes in Mint Hill, and Downtown Gastonia Concert Series.