Explore Charlotte

Things to Do With Kids in Charlotte

There are children's attractions at which the younger ones simply can burn off some energy and others that inspire their growing minds. Charlotte packs a combination of both. From Carowinds amusement park, which fields a 17-thrill-ride lineup that lures kids of all ages yet offers a tots-only Planet Snoopy with 13 kids rides, to Latta Plantation, where living historians show what life was like on a 19th-century cotton estate, parents can find plenty of things to do in the Charlotte area to keep the younger set busy.

Other energy-burners include the Great Wolf Lodge, where, with a stay at the resort, the kids can stay busy day and night at the lodge's water park, and the U.S. Whitewater Center, where, after a day of rafting, hiking, ziplining and stand-up paddleboarding, a youngster will only want to toss his head against a pillow and snore. 

Looking for more mind inspiration? It's plentiful at such spots as Discovery Place KIDS and the Charlotte Nature Museum, both of which focus on the world of science; Imaginon, which offers a story-time area, a teen center and Children's Theatre of Charlotte performances year-round; and, Sea Life Aquarium, which takes visitors through 10 underwater habitats and houses a seahorse nursery, a stingray bay and a walk-through tunnel where fish, sharks and other creatures pass overhead.

 

Carowinds

This 400-acre theme park includes thrill rides like Fury 325, the world's-tallest giga coaster, the stand-up Vortex and the NASCAR-themed Intimidator. Straddling the North Carolina/South Carolina state line, the park offers 60 rides, shows and attractions for the entire family.

Discovery Place Kids

The kid sister to Uptown’s Discovery Place Science, this venue is geared toward little ones ages 8 and under. It resembles a pint-sized town with interactive play areas,—after a visit, your kid will only have one question: “How soon can I go back?” $10. Open Tu, 9 am-7 pm; W-F, 9 am-4 pm; Sa, 9 am-5 pm; Su, 12 pm-5 pm. 

Discovery Place Nature

An urban science center geared toward kids ages 3-7. Exhibits focus on the plants of the Piedmont, complete with a butterfly pavilion; Fort Wild, an outdoor exhibit that focuses on imaginative play; Creature Cavern with live animals; the Paw Paw Nature Trail; and Insect Alley.

Great Wolf Lodge

This sprawling, Northwoods-themed resort is an attraction unto itself. There are themed suites such as KidKamp, which sports a fancy tent in the middle of the room.

Sea Life Aquarium

This family-friendly underwater adventure is located in Concord Mills mall and is full of nooks and crannies for kids to camp out to watch and dream. Visitors can travel through exhibits like the Catawba River section to learn about local underwater habitats or the interactive touch pool with sea stars and urchins.

Historic Latta Plantation

An early-19th-century cotton plantation and living-history farm located within Latta Plantation Nature Preserve north of Charlotte. Take a guided tour of the Latta home and roam the grounds for rare breeds of historic livestock. Also, check out the process of growing short-staple cotton and visit the honeybee exhibit.

NASCAR Hall of Fame

Get a hands-on experience of the sport of racing through driving simulators, a pit-crew challenge and all the racing memorabilia you can handle. Visit the Hall of Honors to see the racing greats who have been inducted this year. In November, the hall’s plaza transforms into an ice-skating rink. $12-25.