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The Best Kid-Friendly Things to Do in Charlotte This Summer

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The summer months are CRAZY! With the kids being out of school, it’s hard to find kid-friendly things to do that can keep them busy and entertained.

What many people may not know is that there are TONS of different spots in and around Charlotte that are both educational and fun that kids will love.

We compiled a list of some of the best spots to take the kids to this summer.

Is it really considered summer in Charlotte if you don’t go to Carowinds at least once? Didn’t think so.

Carowinds has been around for over 45 years–that’s pretty incredible if you ask us. One interesting fact about Carowinds is although it has a North Carolina address, part of it is located in Fort Mill, South Carolina. There is even a line down the middle of the park to indicate the borders between the two states. The building of the park within the two states was intentionally done in order to “bring the two states closer together.” 

There’s never a shortage of fun things to do at Carowinds. With over 60 rides, shows and attractions the whole family will be occupied for hours! There’s even a dedicated kids area called Camp Snoopy for all those a little too young to ride the big rides. Speaking of big rides, Carowinds has 14 world-class rollercoasters for all you adrenaline junkies out there. 

If you’re looking to stay cool in the Carolina heat, we recommend checking out their waterpark, Carolina Harbor, which is an ode to the beautiful Carolina Coast. The best part? It’s included in the park admission, so need to pay double!

Besides the summer season, Carowinds also throws a variety of different special events and seasonal celebrations. So you could really keep the fun going all year long if you wanted to.

Carowinds has been and always will be a Charlotte staple. We 10/10 recommend if you’re looking for something outdoors and that the whole family will be able to enjoy!

📍300 Carowinds Boulevard, Charlotte, NC 28273

Did you know that we have a one-of-a-kind youth learning center located right here in Charlotte? Lucky us! ImaginON: The Joe & Joan Martin Center is a 102,000 square-foot facility that’s the result of the collaborative efforts between the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library and Children’s Theatre of Charlotte

ImaginOn is no joke–within the facility, there are two state-of-the-art theatres, a dedicated library space for kids 11 and under, four multi-use classrooms, a teen-only library, a multimedia production studio, and interactive exhibit space. That’s a whole lot of cool if you ask us!

What can you see and do at ImaginOn? Think everything from storytimes to science fair projects. 

Also, we just want to note that ImaginOn is not only for the young kids but for anyone 0–18 years old. They even have a dedicated space just for teens called The Loft where they can develop and grow their knowledge. For those who are major techies they even have a  3D printer along with a vinyl cutting machine. 

Don’t worry we did not forget about all those under 10! The Spangler Library for Children is located right on the first floor and has everything from books to homework resources. It’s the perfect place to help shape young minds. 

ImaginOn brings stories to life through new and exciting ways. It’s the perfect place to challenge your child’s mind.

📍300 E 7th St, Charlotte, NC 28202

We’re pretty lucky to have not one, but TWO different Discovery Place locations. Discovery Place Nature connects children to the natural world through learning, imagination, and educational experiences. 

Not only is it a museum but they offer exhibitions, live shows, field trips, birthday rentals, summer camps, and so much more. Discovery Place really has it all.

The exhibitions are all pretty neat. Ever wanted to get nose-to-nose with a possum? What about a snake? That’s all possible at Discovery Place Nature.

Their camps are the perfect way to get your kids out and learning during the summer! They have a bunch of different camps all focused on different themes like ‘Investigating Animals’ or’ Be a Museum Keeper.’ Plus, they offer camps for all different ages and grade levels.

If you’re just looking to take the kids for the day, we suggest checking out their daily schedule to plan your visit. You wouldn’t want to miss the alligator feeding now, would you?

One of the things we love about Discovery Place Nature is that they’re all reasonably priced. Tickets for adults and children over 2 are just $8. And that gains you access to the entire museum!

With all there is to do and see at Discovery Place Nature, we have a feeling once you go once you will be making a return visit.

📍1658 Sterling Rd, Charlotte, NC 28209

We gave you nature, now it’s time for science! Discovery Place Science aims to connect children to the world of science around us. Whether that be in the form of an IMAX movie or live science projects, there’s always a new and exciting way to discover the wonders of science. 

Similar to Discovery Place Nature, the Science Center also offers exhibits, classes, camps, and so much more. Some of the more unique programs that the Discovery Place Science offers are the Science on the Rocks, Girls in STEM, and National Geographic Live.

Science on the Rocks is only for those who are 21+ and want to explore the museum after all the kids are gone. Each floor of the museum is transformed with crazy activities, bars, music, and exhibits.

Girls in STEM is a program that helps to inspire young women who are curious about science, technology, engineering, and math. Over the past two and a half years, Discovery Place has hosted over 113 programs with 3,235 participants. 

National Geographic Live is put on by Discovery Place Science in conjunction with Blumenthal Performing Arts. It allows for people in Charlotte to investigate the natural world and connect with those with similar curiosities. 

Before you plan your day at Discovery Place Science we highly recommend checking out their daily schedule to pick out what events you want to attend!

📍301 N Tryon St, Charlotte, NC 28202

Not sure about y’all, but we have a need for speed here at UNATION. Luckily, we have a pretty awesome racetrack here in Charlotte. And no, were are not talking about the Charlotte Motor Speedwayit’s still pretty awesome though. We’re talking about the EPIC Speedpark at Concord Mills. Speedpark has everything that a kid (and adult) could want including 4 different tracks, bungee jumps, and mini golf.

The best part? They’re open all summer long. Plus, they’re the perfect location for your kids next birthday party and offer some pretty sweet deals. Packages start at $99 and include everything but the cake! Not only is the Speedway great for kids parties it is great for company outings, reunions and any other event you may be planning!

During the summer months, the Speedway offers an Unlimited FUN wristband that gets you unlimited go-karting, mini golf, bungee jumps, fun slide, and the spider climb for only $29. Oh, and let’s not forget to mention the bottle of water and popcorn that is also included. 

For that price and the number of activities that your children can partake in, we couldn’t recommend a more perfect spot! It’s honestly the biggest bang for your buck this summer!

📍8461 Concord Mills Boulevard, Concord, NC 28027

One of our favorite outdoor, family-fun spots is located just a little south of Charlotte in Tega Cay. Mr. Putty’s is the ideal spot if you want to enjoy an afternoon with the entire family.

Their mini golf course is top-notch and if we do say so ourselves, pretty challenging. Our ball may or may not have fallen in the water a time or two…

They even have the LONGEST mini golf hole in all of the Carolinas, which is saying something because everyone knows that Myrtle Beach does not mess around when it comes to mini golf.

Along with mini golf, they have a bunch of other activities like a ropes course, challenge zone, bungee jumper, and so much more! They also have a couple of attractions that are geared to the older crowd including their “19th Hole,” which is their bar that serves beer and wine. One of the newer attractions at Mr. Putty’s is Mr. Stumpy’s. If the name wasn’t a dead giveaway, it’s their new Axe Throwing pavilion that has two lanes and can accommodate up to 12 guests.

If you’re looking for a super fun outdoor activity that the entire family can enjoy no matter their age, then we highly suggest checking out Mr. Putty’s this summer!

📍2333 Dam Rd, Tega Cay, SC 29708

The only aquarium in the area is located just a little bit north in Concord. At first, it may seem a little odd that an aquarium is located in a mall–don’t let that deceive you because this place is TOP NOTCH. 

They have a wide variety of animals both large and small. They also host some really neat events like yoga with SweatNET and birthday parties. The entire month of July was Jawsome July, in honor of Shark Week. Visitors had the opportunity to see everything that goes on behind the scenes when it comes to the aquarium’s sharks, from preparing the food to getting to know each of the sharks in the tank! If you miss the chance for Jawsome July, no worries, just keep checking the calendar for any other themed events that may pop up.

One of the main reasons why we love SEA-Life so much is their commitment to conservation. They’re committed to their three ethe; Breed, Rescue, and Protect. They have also set up a registered Charity, the SEA LIFE Trust, that supports projects and campaigns that make a measurable difference in the protection of marine wildlife and habitats.

Just to give y’all a little insight about how awesome this place is, they have over 16 different animal exhibits, 10 interactive zones, and over 5,000 creatures that call SEA-Life home. If you don’t believe us, guess you just gotta check it out for yourself!

📍8111 Concord Mills Boulevard, Concord, NC 28027

The Children’s Theatre of Charlotte has become one of the top theatres in the nation. Throughout their season they raise the curtain over 600 times, which is more than any other theatre in the state.

It has become a well known touring company that travels across not only North Carolina but South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, and West Virginia. They have performed for more than 1.2 million people since they began. 

They also provide a large range of education programs that teach more than 2,300 children each year. The programs they provide help to teach self-esteem and confidence and encourage creativity and self-expression. 

Some of the future shows include Peter Pan, A Sick Day for Amos McGee, The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs, and Dragons Love Tacos. If you have yet to see a show at the Children’s Theatre we highly recommend catching one this upcoming season. 

📍300 E 7th St, Charlotte, NC 28202

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Chessie Abplanalp

Chessie Abplanalp

Chessie is the City Manager for UNATION and author of the   Stuff to Do in Charlotte blog. For more insight on the best events and things to do in the Charlotte area, download the UNATION app and follow @StufftoDoinCharlotte on Instagram and Facebook.

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