Families love visiting Charlotte, NC with kids, and this city plus surrounding area has plenty of interesting, family-friendly attractions and activities. You can find so many things to do in this family-centered city.
Working farms, museums, adventure parks, nature centers, and more are all located near this town. It’s no wonder that this is constantly listed as one of the best cities in the United States for families with kids.
There is so much to do!
So, whether you’re a local looking for something new to do this weekend or a visitor needing to plan their itinerary, here are some of the best things to do in Charlotte, NC with kids.
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Related: The 13 Best Family Resorts in North Carolina in 2022
20 Things to Do in Charlotte, NC with Kids
1. Check Out the Discovery Place Museum
Discovery Place in Charlotte, NC is one of the country’s top science museum; it’s a kid-friendly space with plenty of interactive exhibits with plenty of activities. Your kids experience hands-on activities in science topics like earth science, physics, and biology.
It’s a day full of learning when you visit this museum! This museum is ideal for families to enjoy a day out. Kids love the World Alive exhibit with live reptiles, the Bug Lab with Orchid Mantis, and the Being Me exhibit, which is all about the human body.
Leave time to watch some of the live chemistry shows and take in a show at the IMAX theater!
2. The Take a Nature Walk Among Butterflies
When you’re visiting Discovery Place, go to Discovery Place nature, a fun light-filled atrium full of butterflies. This location hosts Monarchs to Swallowtails and beyond. Your kids will see butterflies at all different stages of development, and you’re able to see them up close in their active habitat.
3. Explore the Sea Life Aquarium
One of the top things to do in Charlotte, NC with kids is the Sea Life Aquarium, especially if your family has little kids. It’s a must-visit place in the city.
Sea Life Aquarium features behind-the-scene tours to learn about animals. They have an interactive touch pool where families can see animals like hermit crabs, sea stars, and urchins up close.
4. Take a Trip to Tiger World in Rockwell
Tiger World opened in 2007 as a place for these experts to share their passion for tigers and other endangered species with their guests. Children see animals up close, giving them memories they’ll never forget.
This is a place for all ages to enjoy, and everyone can appreciate their goals for conservation and education. Their tours bring visitors throughout the preservation to learn about all the animals, and they have hands-on activities for families.
5. Enjoy ImaginOn
ImaginOn is located in Charlotte’s culture and art district, and it gives kids a unique place to learn about art ad culture. This amazing center to an enormous children’s library, two theaters, class rooms, exhibition space, and a production studio.
The Spangler Library for Children is ideal for kids between birth and 5th grade with a space made specifically for babies and toddlers with hands-on activities for all ages. The Loft and Studio I are ideal for spaces for teenagers, and The Block is meant for kids between seven and 12 years olds.
6. Stay at Great Wolf Lodge
If you’re looking for a nice getaway in Charlotte, NC with kids, you’ll enjoy Great Wolf Lodge. You can enjoy all sorts of experiences at this indoor waterpark, like arcades, waterslides, interactive games, and adult-friendly activities. We head to Great Wolf Lodge on a regular basis for a quick weekend getaway!
Related: How to Save Money at Great Wolf Lodge: 14 Tips
7. Jump at Sky Zone in Charlotte
Trampoline parks are all the hit with families and kids, but it all began with Sky Zone in Charlotte, NC. This is the world’s very first indoor trampoline park with all sorts of places to jump.
You can enjoy hours of fun with your kids at this location with massive trampolines, especially a 10,000 cube-foam pit to jump into!
8. Check Out Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
You can always check out the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, a 380-acre garden full of gardens, plants, and fountains. This Botanical Garden is near the banks of Lake Wylie, and you can experience all the beauty of nature with your family. It also is a great place for a romantic stroll if you have some alone time with your partner.
Even your visitors enjoy learning about nature when visiting this botanical garden. They have children’s programs for kids between two and five year olds. If you visit the gardens during November and December, you’ll see the garden full of thousands of lights.
9. Experience Carowinds
Is your family amusement park lovers? Carowinds is one of the top amusement parks in North Carolina with plenty of family-friendly and thrilling rides for kids of all ages.
If you’re a thrill-seeker, the Giga Coaster Fury 325 is for you, the world’s largest and fastest roller coaster. It’s something for the adults and older kids in your family.
Carowinds is an enormous area with over 400 acres! So, you can bet you’ll find plenty to do here. While some rides are suited for only older kids and adults, many are family rides, and they have a special area for small kids to enjoy. If you visit in the summer months, you also will enjoy Carolina Harbor Waterpark with all sorts of waterslides and splash pads.
10. Roam Freedom Park’s Dunk Pond
Freedom Park is a great 98-acre park with places for families to have picnics, grab food from concession stands, walk trails, play on multiple playgrounds, and hit some balls in the batting cages.
Kids love to take bread to the famous duck pond and feed the ducks. It’s such a fun place to visit on a gorgeous day in Charlotte, NC with kids!
11. Have Fun at Small Hands Big Art
Small Hands Big Art is an independently-operated children’s art studio that is one of the best studio for young artists. The chain opened in 2009, focused on presenting an innovative art curriculum for young children between 18 months to 15 years old.
Kids get to study a range of media at Small Hands Big Art. They draw, paint, sculpt, and printmake. They have pottery camps and a range of workshops, along with family art sessions to enjoy together.
12. Visit the Nascar Hall of Fame
Do you have racing fans in your home? The Nascar Museum is a great place for fans to explore with plenty of interactive exhibits like racing simulators, artifacts, ad a one-of-a-kind theater with in-car feeds from top drivers.
This museum is 150,000 square feet of interesting displays that kids of all ages love, but older kids and teenagers fully enjoy this display. There are tributes to icons and legends throughout Nascar.
Kids love the Hi Octane Theater, an enormous 64-foot wide screen with surround sound. You can watch a movie and feel immersed in the show. Then, when your kids inevitably need a snack, go over to the Pit Stop Cafe for some food.
13. Take on a Show at Children’s Theatre of Charlotte
Try enrolling your child in a creative class at the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte. They have classes and workshops for all ages, starting at two years old. You also can check out performances throughout the week. They have shows at the McColl Family Theater and Wells Fargo Playhouse.
14. Go to the U.S. National Whitewater Center
If you’re looking for an experience when visiting Charlotte, NC with kids, go to the U.S. National Whitewater Center. This white water rafting experience gives you a fun-filled experience, and you can pick the level of rapids you want to experience.
Thrill-seeking families experience all sorts of fun here. Not only can you have whitewater rafting tours, but your kids can enjoy zip lining, stand-up paddle boarding, and free-failing from trees. It’s a 1,300 acres of outdoor play space, plus a concert located at the River Jam.
15. Get Up Close at Carolina Raptor Center
Raptors are fascinating for young children, and they will be in awe of the close encounters they get at Carolina Raptor Center. Children see close encounters as they follow the Raptor Trail, meeting various falcons, eagles, vultures, and hawks.
The center offers different experiences for families to enjoy, such as eagle and owl encounters. They have flight shows as well; kids don’t even realize how much they are learning while visiting!
16. Take a Sip at Pike’s Old Fashioned Soda Shop
Take your kids to Pike’s Old Fashioned Soda Shop for some nostalgic trip. This shop is friendly and fun for kids, like a classic America diner. Kids enjoy ice cream and soda with their families, or this is a cute place to have a casual date.
17. Grab a Snack at Reigning Doughnuts
We all love donuts, and Reigning Doughnuts is an adorable shop in Charlotte’s NoDa neighborhood. This is a window-service shop that serves coffees throughout the morning and afternoon hours, along with a wide variety of donut flavors, served hot and delicious.
Kids love stopping here!
You can pick donut toppings, such as vanilla, honey, or chocolate icing, cinnamon, or powdered sugar. They have gourmet flavors for donuts, such as s’mores, lemon poppyseed, bacon maple, and more. Make sure to stop here to get a taste of some deliciousness!
18. Tour Latta Plantation
If you want to bring a bit of history into your visit to Charlotte with your kids, check out the Latta Plantation, a cotton plantation. Families see what life was like for slaves and planters, giving you a tour of 11 farm outbuildings like a restored slave house. You’re able to take a self-guided tour.
19. Go to the Carolinas Aviation Museum
Children of all ages love airplanes and flying, especially older children. The Carolinas Aviation Museum offers an enormous museum, full of civil, commercial, and military aircrafts along with aviation paraphernalia.
In the summer, the museum holds summer camps for kids in third grade and above where they learn about everything in the world of aviation through hands-on experiences.
20. Shop Until You Drop at the American Girl Store
If you have a little girl, you have to stop at the American Girl Doll Store. The store has everything from dolls to an abundance of accessories like clothing and furniture. The store hosts regular events for kids to enjoy.
If you head to Charlotte, NC with kids, you’ll find so many great things to do together. From eating yummy donuts to enjoying museums, Charlotte is a great place to visit with your family or to live if you want a city with ample family-friendly activities!