Things to do in Charlotte with Kids

As a teacher, I have plenty of time on my hands to spend with my kids. This is probably the single most important reason I stay in education. We only have 936 Saturdays with our kids, so I cherish those long summer days. However, sometimes, we tend to get fed up with each other because kids inevitably get bored. So, I decided to research some things that we can do together here in Charlotte.

  • Ray’s Splash Planet: Located in uptown Charlotte, this indoor water park boasts several water slides and a lazy river. The prices are super affordable and you can stay a very long time. This is fun for all ages. They also allow birthday parties!
  • Dan Nicholas Park: Nearly an hour outside of Charlotte, Dan Nicholas Park is home to a campground, lake, carousel, train, gem mine, aquarium and nature center, and animal habitats. You can easily spend an entire day here. You can either pack a lunch or buy one on site.
  • Picnic in the park: There are several cool parks here in Charlotte. My favorites for picnics are Romare Bearden, Elizabeth, Freedom, Independence, and Hornet’s Nest. During the week, there are less people at the park. This makes it nice and peaceful. On Saturdays and Sundays, you can barely breathe due to the sheer volume of people everywhere.
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  • Splash pads: Does your little one love to run through water? There are several splash pads located all over Charlotte. If you go during the week, there are usually daycares or preschool kids there that they can play with. Splash pads are located at Romare Bearden park, First Ward Park, Latta Park, and Nevin Community Park.
  • City swimming pool: There are a few options for pools to visit in the city. There are cheap and pricey options. For a charge, you can visit Coin Bar or rent a cabana at JW Marriott. Cabanas can hold 5 or more people and have food and drink options. Double Oaks and Cordelia Pool are available through parks and recs; the fee is only $2 per person. 
  • Outdoor Movies: many shopping centers like River Gate in Steele Creek or StoneCrest in Ballantyne offer free movies over the summer. However, my favorite location is Camp North End because of its location and food options.
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  • Movie Theater: Over the summer, most movie theaters offer free or heavily discounted options for families. Ayrsley Grand and PNC Pineville have weekly options for kids. They typically show older movies (from last summer). Make sure to arrive early to get a good seat because summer camps and daycares usually bring their kids too. For current movies, you can go on the off days and pay the matinee price. The best thing is, there are less people there.
  • Parks and Rec: we have, hands down, the best city sponsored programming around. Through Charmeck Parks and Recs, you can do pretty much anything at a discounted price. They offer group hiking, biking, paddle boarding, kayaking, animal classes, fishing, or camping opportunities for kids and adults. Most things cost $20 or less.
  • Imaginon: One thing my kids must do each summer is take a train ride up to the library uptown. They have story time daily, and there are several activities they can participate in. Sometimes, they even have plays where teens perform. If you can’t make Imaginon, the other libraries around the city have things too. Make sure to check their websites for storytime, puppy visits, and to check out books. 
  • Nascar Museum: Is your little one a fan of fast cars? This museum is dope because it goes through the history of Nascar. There are literally pieces of the original track on display. You can touch it. They play a video of the original races. And a plus, there’s a restaurant right beside it, so you can have lunch after your visit.
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  • Beach: Don’t want to drive to Charleston or Myrtle, you can visit a lake beach right here. You have two options: Lake Lure is about an hour or so away. Or, you can visit Lake Norman. You simply pay a small parking fee and enjoy your day. Make sure to pack a picnic and beach toys. 
  • Whitewater Center: The Whitewater Center is great for families that like to go outside. There’s yoga, hiking, an obstacle course, biking, and rock climbing. There are also water activities. In the winter, there is ice skating (I know it’s summer, but you should know). 
  • Discovery Place: There are about four different discovery place museums in Charlotte. One in Huntersville, two Uptown Charlotte, and one in South Park. Each features different things. One focuses on nature and science. One focuses on technology. The one in Huntersville is more focused on preschool activities relating to community careers.

I would normally suggest the airport overlook, but it is under construction right now. So, it’s closed. What places do you like to visit with your kids over the summer?


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