Whether you are new to the area or consider yourselves native Charlotteans, there are some things every family in the Queen City must do at least one time. Here’s a list of our top eight uniquely Charlotte experiences for families.
1. Run on the field after a Knights baseball game: Enjoy a summer night at BB&T BallPark with the Charlotte Knights. Come see the team play on a Sunday and kids can run the bases after the game.
2. Get soaked by White Water Falls at Carowinds: In addition to more than 50 rides including Fury 325 – the fastest, tallest, longest coaster in the Southeast – Carowinds features the Boomerang Bay water park. White Water Falls is in the dry part of the park, but it will get you drenched whether you’re riding or watching.
3. Ride the light rail into uptown: What kid doesn’t love a train? Ride Charlotte’s Lynx Blue Line from Interstate 485/South Boulevard to uptown’s Seventh Street Station, which is situated right next to ImaginOn.
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4. See a play at ImaginOn: The Joe and Joan Martin Center is a magnet of family fun – part children’s theater, part library – and it’s always free. Kids can put on a puppet show, play with trains and computer games, try on costumes and, of course, check out books. The facility has free story times each week. Throughout most of the year, it also frequently hosts critically acclaimed Children’s Theatre of Charlotte productions in the McColl Family Theater and Wells Fargo Playhouse.
5. Zip line at the U.S. National Whitewater Center: As the world’s largest artificial whitewater river and an official U.S. Olympic training site, the 307-acre facility includes whitewater rafting and kayaking (ages 8 and older can participate in some water activities), mountain biking, hiking trails and a climbing center, along with a restaurant overlooking the action. For kids, there is an obstacle course, a rock wall and two zip lines that provide sweeping bird’s-eye views.
6. Run the 40-yard dash at the NFL Play 60 Kidzone: Located in Freedom Park, this one-of-a-kind play space is part of the NFL’s Play 60 initiative and features an obstacle course, a 40-yard dash with an automated timing device, a climbing structure, a photo booth, a pep talk station (with messages from Panthers players) and other great elements designed to get kids active and moving.
7. Investigate art at the Mint Museum: At both its uptown and Randolph locations, the museum offers families unique activities. Gallery Activity Totes are designed for kids of all ages and can be found on pegs throughout the galleries at the Mint Museum Randolph, while ART Packs can be checked out at the Mint Museum Uptown. The uptown location also has the Lewis Family Gallery, where kids can play and explore while learning about the museum collection.
8. (Pretend to) race a stock car at the NASCAR Hall of Fame: The museum boasts 150,000 square feet of fun-filled artifacts, 18 historic car exhibits and 50 interactive attractions – including simulator rides that will get kids’ engines revving.
Michelle is a blogger for the Observer’s MomsCharlotte.com website.