I’m not the best planner. The weekend rolls around, it’s 10:30 am and we need to go do something out of the house in the 2 hours we have until the kids need lunch -and I always draw a blank. I get 3 different emails from Charlotte Parents, hula frog and somebody else with activities for the weekend – and I usually take a peek and sometimes get an idea from there. But sometimes it’s something you need tickets for, and sometimes I just don’t want to take my 4 and 1 year old to the current exhibit at the Levine Museum of the New South. Although I must say it is surprisingly semi-kid friendly, and very informative. So while I’m trying to search on multiple websites for something to do that is quick and cheap, my daughter is trying to sit on me and bang the keyboard, while my 4 year old is insisting I look at his latest batman duplos creation…and it’s a real joy. As a result, I started compiling my own master list of things to do, so I have it on hand (I keep it on my phone) and just pull an idea from there. It’s also good for during the week when I need something to do with the kids. Although it’s nothing groundbreaking, and it tends to be a little heavy on things in the Matthews/Indian Trail area since we live near there. Some of these I’ve never done but found somewhere on a google search so want to go. And some I just forget about from time to time. Also I would love to add more to this list – especially for fun things to do with kids when we have family guests in town! I won’t be adding seasonal things like Easter Egg Hunts, etc. This is just the basics.
The usual suspects
Discovery Place KIDS Huntersville and Discovery Place(uptown)
Charlotte Nature Museum
Levine Museum of the New South (ok, it made the list)
Carolinas Aviation Museum
NC Transportation Museum
Carolina Raptor Center
Main Street Children’s Museum – Rock Hill, SC – this place is so nice – the drive is worth it!
Chuck E. Cheese – Pineville – very clean, and I’m very impressed with their menu now! This is one of my go to spots for rainy weekdays when I have both kids – we have the place to ourselves and prices aren’t bad.
Concord Mills Mall and Play Area – play area, carousel, and train ride through the mall. There is also the Sea LIFE Aquarium there, which is a bit pricey and my kids couldn’t care less about looking at all the fish after the first 5 minutes – Bass Pro Shops has a big fish tank for a cheaper under the sea experience.
Carolina Place Mall – kids play area, ride on mechanical animals (they have a booth near the play area. You’ll know them when you see them)
Skyzone Trampoline Park – the cleaner one of the two in Pineville. Toddler jump Tues and Thurs morning 10a-12pm half price ($6).
Sky High Sports – The other sky jump place in Pineville. This place is nice too, the foam pits just look a bit grungy to me. They have an overhead obstacle course for older kids and more trampoline areas.
Windjammer Beach Park – Tega Cay, SC – I’ve never been here and the parking situation on their website confuses me. Has anyone gone here?
Energy Explorium – Lake Norman
Charlotte Airport Overlook
Reedy Creek Park – nice hiking, their playground is adorable(the one by the nature center) and very cute nature center too. Dog Park there too!
McDowell Nature Preserve – hiking, play area, nature center
Rural Hill Nature Preserve – hiking
Crowder’s Mountain – hiking
South Park Mall Play area (by Dick’s Sporting Goods)
Kannapolis Village Park – gated splash pad (small charge to enter), rotary train, playground (so fun at Christmas – light show and Santa)
Dan Nicholas Park – Salisbury – too much stuff to do to list!
Lazy 5 Ranch – Mooresville
Zootastic Park of Lake Norman
Ride the Streetcar in Uptown (free)
Ride the light rail (lynx)
Matthews Farmers Market – Great local produce, organic meats, they have live chefs cooking and giving samples, free coffee and tea, bluegrass music jamming, delicious popsicles (watermelon and basil anyone?). It’s within walking distance of Stumptown Park as well which has a sandbox and small playground.
Atherton Farmer’s Market – can someone give me a good review on this place? Haven’t been in ages and I don’t know the area well.
Food truck Fridays in Matthews – personal fav – trucks start serving around 5pm, @ Stumptown Park in Matthews. We’ve never had trouble parking very close – police on hand to regulate traffic – really awesome! I’ve never been to the Food Truck Friday in Charlotte because we live in Matthews and I’m totally partial.
Superior Play – Open play indoors on Wednesdays and Fridays
Belle Johnston community center – Pineville – Wednesdays 9a-11am open play 5 and under through May
Michael’s Craft Stores– Saturday Morning Craft 10am $2/kid
Lakeshore Learning Stores-Saturday morning 11a-2pm crafts – this link is for the Matthews location
Home Depot – 1st Saturday of the month Craft 9a-12pm
Hall Family Farm – spring and fall PYO strawberries and pumpkins, hayride, corn maze
Hodges Farm – spring and fall PYO strawberries and pumpkins, hayride, petting zoo
Wise Acres – Another personal favorite – organic farm PYO strawberries and pumpkins, sand box, swings, zip line, lawn mower barrel train, seasonal corn pit. The owners are always on hand and so friendly.
Patterson Farm – tomato picking?
Carrigan Farms – apple picking – fall
Italian Festival – Raffaldini vineyard – 3rd weekend in September
Berewick Rec Center – personal favorite. Hardly ever crowded, clean, right by the outlets, $2 entry. Great for play date meetups as the kids can explore and moms can sit and chat. Hours vary daily.
Mallard Creek Rec Center Playroom-haven’t been here yet
Pike’s Soda Shop
Madison’s Coffee House – Indian Trail – I haven’t been here since new ownership but they used to have a kids corner with chalkboard, magnetic characters and clothes, books and games.
AMF Bowling – Matthews
Kate’s Skating Rink – Indian Trail – ok so this is for the older kids, but I love a good roller skating rink so had to add this to the list.
Extreme Ice Skating Rink – Indian Trail. Ice skate rentals start at size 10 for toddlers (3 years old give or take, same with ice skating lessons.
Treehouse Vineyards – Monroe – the tour and wine tasting kid friendliness is dependent on your kids – it’s quick and they can nibble on oyster crackers and other snacks while you do your wine tasting. Fun events in summer.
**this list is still under construction – more to be added and I would love to add your suggestions too!**