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Fun With the Family in Charlotte - From Theme Parks to Kid Friendly Museums

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Theme parks, outdoor adventures, and hands-on museums designed to educate and entertain make Charlotte a great place for a family getaway. You can splash about in massive water parks, fly above nature on zip lines, and get close to sharks at an aquarium. Playgrounds and parks with interactive installations also provide a fun break for the entire clan.

Theme parks


No matter the weather, you can enjoy waterslides and go up a “lazy river” at Ray's Splash Planet, an indoor water park in Uptown. Carowinds, a 20-minute drive away, has a harrowing roller coaster to satisfy teens, a small children's area, and a campground for the whole family. Your gang can cruise in bumper boats and go-karts at Adventure Landing, or check out monster-truck rides at race-themed SpeedPark at Concord Mills.


The SpeedPark at Concord Mills


Four go-kart tracks are the main attractions at this race-themed amusement park that has monster-truck rides, bungee jumping, and an ice-skating rink.


8461 Concord Mills Blvd., Concord 2802Tel: +1 704 527-8464


The SpeedPark at Concord Mills website

Hands-on learning fun


Family friendly centres are clustered in Uptown. ImaginOn: The Joe and Joan Martin centre tempts teens with a studio for creating audio, video, and animation, while younger ones enjoy interactive exhibits and stage productions at Children's Theatre of Charlotte. Discovery Place has an IMAX theatre, wind wall, and lets kids build PVC-pipe structures. The NASCAR Hall of Fame entertains parents with stock car racing history, and kids with hands-on activities like an engine puzzle.


Discovery Place


With a hands-on approach, science and technology are explored with exhibits designed to educate and entertain all ages.


301 North Tryon Street, Charlotte 28202. Tel: +1 704 372 6261


Discovery Place website


Outdoor adventures


While adults may opt for extreme white-water fun, the U.S. National Whitewater centre also has kid-centreed stuff on land, like zip lines and an adventure obstacle course with nets and plank bridges. It's a 20-minute drive from Uptown. The McDowell Nature centre and Preserve, a 30-minute drive away, is an undeveloped nature area offering canoeing and hiking.


U.S. National Whitewater centre


While Class 3 and 4 white-water rapids are the big draw, this nature centre also has mountain biking, hiking, and a kid friendly zip-line that flies over a gorge.


5000 Whitewater centre Pkwy., Charlotte 28214. Tel: +1 704 391 3900


U.S. National Whitewater centre website


Parks and playgrounds


The Green, a small patch of nature in Uptown, has a spurting fish fountain that charms kids in summer, and an ice rink in winter. Nearby, children can get musical with oversized chimes at Romare Bearden Park, which also has a large waterfall feature. A 4-minute drive from Uptown, Frazier Park is home to a playground, basketball courts, and walking trails. Nearby, at Abbott Park, there's picnic space and a playground.


The Green


A literary theme runs through this 3-tier, half-acre urban park with sculptures and landscaped grounds.


400 South Tryon Street, Charlotte 28202. Tel: +1 704 342 9000


The Green website


Animal encounters


Getting close to starfish, seahorses, and even sharks is possible at SEA LIFE Aquarium. The marine centre is a 20-minute drive from Uptown, and features an underwater tunnel, touch pool, and feeding shows. Kids can enter the butterfly pavilion at Charlotte Nature Museum, which also houses exhibits of live animals, and a collection of native insects.


SEA LIFE Aquarium


More than 5,000 sea creatures inhabit family-friendly exhibits, from a shark tank to a touch pool where kids can pet a crab.


8111 Concord Mills Blvd., Concord 28027. Tel: +1 866 229 1573


SEA LIFE Aquarium website