As the old saying goes, family is the most important thing and nowhere is this truer than in Charlotte. With a host of attractions, interactive activities, and amusements geared specifically towards youngsters, the city is the perfect place for families to spend time, and grow, together.
One of Charlotte’s most popular family-friendly attractions is Discovery Place. Devoted to all things science and technology, Discover Place is located in the city’s Uptown section. First opened in 1981, this ultra-modern facility offers adults and children a wide variety of shows, and interactive exhibits and activities geared towards making science and technology both understandable and fun. Along with shows including World Alive and Fantastic Frogs, and exhibits on nanotechnology and how everything in the world is “connected”, Discovery Place also features a state-of-the-art 3D IMAX theater and a special area for children ages 1 – 7 called KidScience.
Families interested in a more nature-oriented learning experience will want to check out the Charlotte Nature Museum, located next to Freedom Park in the historic Dilworth section of the city. The museum offers visitors interactive nature and animal exhibits, a butterfly pavilion, puppet shows, and an open area featuring a variety of native North Carolina animals.
ImagineOn: The Joe and Joan Martin Center is a 102,000 square foot facility located in the heart of the cultural arts district and features two kids’ theaters, a library for kids 11 and younger, a kid-friendly multi-media production studio, and dozens of fun and educational interactive activities. Visited by over 300,000 people every year, ImagineOn was named the number one children’s library in the United States by Livability.com.
Charlotte and the surrounding area provide many fun and fascinating family-friendly options when it is time to play. The 398-acre Carowinds amusement park is located fifteen minutes from Uptown Charlotte. The park offers 64 rides – including 13 roller coasters and 7 water rides – as well as the world’s first intra-active 3D attraction Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare 3Z Arena, a special area for smaller kids populated by Peanuts characters, and many other attractions. The park is open from late March through October, and is visited by around 2 million people annually.
Located in nearby Mooresville, North Carolina, the Lazy 5 Ranch allows visitors to get up close and personal with more than 750 exotic animals from 6 continents including endangered species such as the Ring-tailed Lemur, Grevy Zebra, and Scimitar Horned Oryx. “Safari rides” at the Lazy 5 can be taken in the visitor’s own car, or by horse-drawn wagon. The Lazy 5 Ranch is open 7 days a week, and is only closed on Christmas Day.
Escape Hour Charlotte offers families with older children (recommended for ages 15 and over) the totally unique experience of having to work together to “escape” from an elaborately designed and decorated locked room by deciphering secret codes, uncovering hidden clues, and solving challenging puzzles – all within 60 minutes! Locked rooms include Granny’s House – the home of a Russian spy – The Dollhouse, and The Detective’s Office.
The Charlotte area is full of educational and entertaining venues geared to families with children of all ages. From exciting roller coasters and exotic animals to kid-friendly interactive science and technology, Charlotte is a great place for families to play and learn together.