BY RACHEL HOEING, CO-FOUNDER OF TriadMomsonMain.com
Charlotte is the perfect place for your family to spend the day or a weekend this summer. Below I have listed some of my family’s favorite venues and ideas. If you visit TriadMomsonMain.com, and put “Charlotte” in the search bar, a similar article to this will appear and will include direct links to each idea. Check them out to see what might be best for your family, and map out a day or two in the Queen City!
Freedom Park—Beautiful spot to spend an afternoon. Tons of baseball and soccer fields, tennis courts, playgrounds, and walking paths. There is a huge lake with a paved walk around it (great for roller skating, biking, etc.). Depending on the dates of your visit, check the website for the outdoor music series and movie nights! You can easily walk from here to the nature museum, which I will talk about below.
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden—Check their calendar for a list of numerous events going on weekly. This venue sits on the banks of Lake Wylie and includes gorgeous gardens, fountains, and nature trails. They host a conservatory dedicated to the display of tropical plants and orchids, as well as a visitors’ pavilion and a garden store.
US National Whitewater Center—This is a full day’s worth of fun. Picture whitewater rafting, kayaking, paddle-boarding, zip lines, ropes course and more. They also host plenty of outdoor concert events if you are staying overnight!
Little Sugar Creek Greenway—Beautiful greenway for strolling through the city. It has a stream that little ones will love to play in and cross on the rocks. It is 20 miles long, so you’ll want to focus just on a few sections.
Carowinds—My son’s favorite amusement park of all time! He is a thrill-seeker, so the abundance of roller coasters keeps him happy for hours. There is also a kids’ section for the younger ones, and a water park with many water slides and pools.
The Lazy 5 Ranch—This can be a day trip all its own. This animal park is located in Mooresville (north of Charlotte) and includes a day of fun on a wagon ride, or driving through with your car!
Romare Bearden Park—Get the best view of the Charlotte skyline from this park uptown. You will almost always find music and events at this venue, and if not, the fountains and scenery will be enough to entertain you for a quick visit and possible lunch outdoors! Kids love this spot.
ImaginOn—Not just any library. It is a 102,000 sq. ft. building, with professional theatre, educational programs, the “Studio i” makerspace, and many hands-on activities. A quote from their website: “ImaginOn brings stories to life through extraordinary experiences that challenge, inspire and excite young minds.” This is a great spot to visit if you want to ride the Light Rail.
Carolina Raptor Center—Environmental education center located in Huntersville. They offer day experiences as well as educational programs.
Discovery Place Nature—Used to be called “The Nature Museum” and is right next to Freedom Park. The exhibits change often, but currently there is a butterfly pavilion, naturalist lab, and Fort Wild—an imaginative outdoor play area.
Discovery Place Kids—A children’s museum located in Huntersville, which is an easy stop on your way to or from Charlotte. This one is great for the littlest of your kids and will provide hours of entertainment and hands-on learning experiences.
Discovery Place Science—The original “Discovery Place,” located in uptown Charlotte. It is a fabulous kids’ museum with many hands-on learning experiences and imaginative play.
Levine Museum of the New South—The museum has hands-on, interactive exhibits and good learning experiences about civil rights.
Light Rail—Kids love riding on the Light Rail. Officially called “LynxCharlotte,” this mode of transportation is fun to jump on board in the south Charlotte area and ride to an uptown destination. Tickets are cheap and can be purchased at any station.
Epicentre—This uptown venue hosts restaurants, bars, shopping, bowling, movies, and more.
Blumenthal Performing Arts Center—Another great uptown venue where you can find amazing productions all year long. Check out their website to find family-friendly day time performances, shows geared more toward adults, and outdoor movie nights!
TopGolf Charlotte—This qualifies as sports, entertainment, and indoor/outdoor fun all in one! You do need to purchase a membership to play, but the KidZone is free to sign up. Memberships start as low as $5 and give you access to play all the games, track whose golf ball scored and receive access to exclusive offers throughout the year. There can often be a long wait (especially on weekends), but there is pool, shuffle board, xbox and corn-hole to entertain while you wait.
Visit www.TriadMomsonMain.comto see more day trip ideas for this spring and summer!