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The 17 Best Things For Kids To Do In Charlotte, NC

The 17 Best Things For Kids To Do In Charlotte, NC

You may know Charlotte, North Carolina as a hub of arts, culture, and American and NASCAR Racing history. What are the best things for kids to do in Charlotte? They are offering you and your family indoor or outdoor fun. Charlotte has attractions ranging from historical to scientific. With museums, parks, and even an aquarium, the city is rich in arts opportunities and cultural experiences.

Key Points

  • Charlotte has a lot of outdoor parks for you to choose from!
  • If you're looking for something fun but educational, check out the aquarium or gold mine.
  • If your kid is a car nut, take them to the NASCAR Hall of Fame!

What Kind Of Things Are Charlotte, NC Known For?

There are so many things to do within the city that can make your trip to Charlotte a memorable one. The city itself has been around for a long time. It was settled in 1750 and named after Princess Charlotte Sophia. She was eventually the Queen of Britain. Two United States Presidents received their schooling in Charlotte. It is also home to the Charlotte Hornets Basketball team and the Carolina Panthers Football team (via brittanica.com). Keep on reading to find out the best things for kids to do in Charlotte, NC.

Outdoor Opportunities

Parks and Gardens

  • Whitewater Center features some 1,300 acres to explore. In terms of activities, there is zip-lining, ice-skating, and rock climbing. There is also a river to walk beside or paddle on and generally lots of space to explore. Keep in mind that several activities at Whitewater Center have age restrictions. For example, children under eight cannot participate in whitewater rafting. (via whitewater.org).
  • Charlotte Douglas International Airport Overlook is great for anyone who enjoys watching planes! Park yourselves at a lookout spot from just outside of the green where the airplanes take off. You can spend some time watching the marvels of modern air flight from the comfort of the ground on a sunny day in Charlotte, NC (via charlottesgotalot.com). For more history of the airfield, check out The Sullenberger Aviation Museum. The museum is currently going through major changes in preparation for its grand reopening this year! They have a collection of civil, commercial, and military airplanes. Also showing helicopters in their historical collection. This attraction offers something for everyone at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport.
  • The UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens are located at the University of North Carolina Charlotte campus. This beautifully cultivated garden offers stories in the woods events as well as Kids' Arts and Crafts hour! Stroll through the lush gardens full of plants supported by the North Carolina climate. Try your hand at sun printing or plant pressing or take part in one of the guided tours (via gardens.charlotte.edu).
This photo, taken at the UNC Botanical Gardens showcases the vivid beauty of flowers growing there.

©Titan Studio/Shutterstock.com

  • There are many public parks throughout Charlotte, NC. Ramsey Creek Park, Freedom Park, and Lake Norman State Park all offer beautiful natural scenery. In terms of playgrounds, Riverwalk Park, Crooked Creek Park, and Matthews-Sardis Park are good options. Each of these parks provides beautiful views. Also offering lots of space for children to have supervised fun outdoors (via yelp.com). 
Freedom Park features one of the many greenways in Charlotte that are kid-friendly and walkable!


Trails and Pool Adventures

  • Charlotte has numerous trails and greenways. These open spaces are great for hiking, walking, and biking. Check out the breathtaking surroundings. Get a good sense of where you’re going with their handy map of the Charlotte trails. If you plan on hiking, make sure you wear the proper footwear. Remember: North Carolina has venomous snakes, so you'll want to teach your kids about what to do if they encounter one.
  • Charlotte is known for some beautiful Mural Art Walks. One of the best things to do with your kids while in Charlotte, NC is to check out a map of some of the pieces. Take your family and make your way around the city to see the murals in person. The NoDA art walk takes you around the block through painted murals, “yarn bombings,” and trash receptacle art pieces. This art experience is free. It is a wonderful experience for you and your family to share on your trip (via artwalksclt.com).
  • It can get hot in Charlotte, NC! One of the best things for kids to do while in Charlotte is to visit one of the public pools and cool off. There is also Ray’s Splash Planet. It is an indoor water attraction that is open all year round. If you visit Ray's Splash Park, a child under three must wear a swim diaper and be accompanied by an adult in the water. The park's fitness center is reserved for guests 18 years and older. (via mecknc.gov).
  • For a truly diverse outdoor experience, check out the Latta Nature Preserve. It offers close to some 1500 acres of open land. You can easily walk along the peninsula or check out Mountain Island lake. The Quest Center on the preserve features a raptor center and an interactive exhibit hall! Your kids are sure to have a wonderful and immersive time while visiting the preserve (via visitnc.com).

Educational Activities


The Charlotte-Concord Aquarium features North Carolina’s only ocean tunnel! The aquarium offers close-up opportunities to see the creatures beneath the water. Be sure to pay attention to the many ways they are cared for. This aquarium also has an Augmented Reality experience. There are many options for engagement. Your kids are sure to enjoy their afternoon with the sea animals in Charlotte, NC (via visitsealife.com).

The Charlotte-Concord Aquarium has an underwater ocean tunnel your kids are sure to enjoy!


Gold Mine

The Reed Gold Mine is the first documented site where gold was found in the United States during the gold rush. Now, it is a historical site with many activities to offer. Take part in a guided tour of the gold mine. You can pan for gold. Take a walk through the nearby trails. The trails feature old mining sites and archeological dig sites available to view (via historicsitesnc.nc.gov).


The Charlotte Mecklenberg Library is not just a beautiful building to explore. They also host family readings of children's books. Be sure to check out their website to see if one is happening while your family will be visiting Charlotte, NC. Your children can also read any books they want while in the library, but of course if they wish to leave with a book they must formally check it out first.

Theatre and Science

  • ImaginOn: The Joe & Joan Martin Center is a youth center collaboration between the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library and the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte. It features a live theater. Also offering lots of library space for both younger children and teens. There are also learning classrooms, a multimedia production studio, and interactive exhibits (via imaginon.org).
  • Discovery Place Science and Discovery Place Nature offers immersive educational experiences in both a museum and an outdoor setting. These non-profits are wonderful options for guided learning. Their centers feature hands-on experimentation. They even have an indoor rainforest! You will have educational fun at your fingertips. Your child will come away from Charlotte with an afternoon of learning from the books! ( via nature.discoveryplace.org).

Entertaining Attractions

Charlotte features numerous museums including the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, The Charlotte Museum of History, and The Mint Museum. Take your children to any of these cultural stops! The whole family is sure to experience the beauty of art, the magic of historical stories, and a new perspective on your visit to Charlotte, NC.

Amusement Park

The Carowinds Roller Coaster Park features numerous rides for various ages. This amusement park is home to over 60 options for ride entertainment. It is also located right next to the Carolina Harbor waterpark. This park has water slides, pools, and plenty of space for your children to play (via carowinds.com).


Charlotte just so happens to be home to the Carolina Panthers Football team, the Charlotte Hornets basketball team, and FC Charlotte, the local soccer team! If your children enjoy the rush of a good sports game, find some tickets and get some gear. Wherever you are staying in Charlotte, it's an easy trip over to the Bank of America Stadium or the Spectrum center to participate in some Charlotte, NC sports culture (via uptowncharlotte.com).

Home to many great sports teams, be sure to check out some of the exciting games while you're in the beautiful city of Charlotte!



If cars are more your child’s speed, check out the Nascar Hall of Fame. This museum honors the rich history of racing in Charlotte, NC. Did you know that races have been happening since the 1960s? To go beyond history, take a trip over to the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Here you can be in on the NASCAR action. Your kids will have front-row seats to the excitement of car racing (via nascarhall.com).

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