Charlotte Family Attractions
Befitting a city of its size, Charlotte Family Attractions include two children museums, several zoos and nature centers, a thrill-ride theme park and waterpark, a car racing simulator, an NFL football stadium and a NBA basketball arena that is home to the greatest player to ever lace-up athletic shoes.
DESCRIPTION: Opened in 2005 and home to NBA Charlotte Hornets, the owner, Michael Jordan, is often in attendance and sits near the team. This 18,500-seat arena features the latest amenities for fan comfort and great sight lines for all games. It also hosts large concerts, the circus and other touring family events throughout the year.
ADMISSION: matrix of ticket prices during Hornet games
ADDRESS: 333 East Trade Street, Charlotte, NC MAP
DESCRIPTION: An ever growing museum that contains 150,000 square feet of hands-on science exhibits. This family-oriented venue is beloved for providing innovative and entertaining experiences;
ADMISSION: $8 museum; $15 museum + IMAX Discovery film; $20 museum + IMAX Feature-length Film
DAYS & HOURS: Mon-Fri 9a-4p, Sat 10a-6p, Sun Noon-5p
ADDRESS: 301 North Tryon Street, Charlotte, NC MAP
DESCRIPTION: An collaborative joint venture of the Public Library and the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte. It features cutting-edge services, architecture, library collections, award-winning professional theatre and education programs that bring stories to life to challenge and excite young minds.
ADMISSION: varies by event
DAYS & HOURS: Mon-Thu 9a-9p, Fri-Sat 9a-6p, Sun 1p-6p
ADDRESS: 300 East Seventh Street, Charlotte, NC MAP
Bank of America Stadium
DESCRIPTION: Home of the NFL Panthers football team; notice the rousing monument to the late Sam Mills, who played linebacker for the Panthers. The way Cam Newton is playing, he may earn a statue beside old Sam Mills. The outdoor stadium seats 73,000.
ADMISSION: matrix of ticket prices during Carolina Panthers NFL games
ADDRESS: 800 South Mint Street, Charlotte, NC MAP
PHONE: tickets 877-228-1352
Charlotte Nature Museum
DESCRIPTION: A small urban nature center that features live animal rooms, a nature trail and puppet theater.
ADMISSION: $6; ages 60+ and age 1 and under enter Free
DAYS & HOURS: Tue-Fri 9a-5p, Sat 10a-5p, Sun Noon-5p
ADDRESS: 1658 Sterling Road, Charlotte, NC MAP
Reedy Creek Park Environmental Center
DESCRIPTION: A small, remote nature center located on a 700-acre nature preserve; hands-on exhibits, one-mile nature trail, naturalist guided walks, naturalist lab, environmental programs and science workshops.
DAYS & HOURS: 9a-5p, Sunday 1p-5p
ADDRESS: 2900 Rocky River Road, Charlotte, NC MAP
Carowinds Theme Park
DESCRIPTION: An 83-acre theme park that is the largest in the Carolinas. It features Cirque Imagine, Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare: 3Z Arena, Fury 325 – the world’s fastest and tallest rollercoaster, Vortex stand-up rollercoaster, Borg, and Paladium outdoor amphitheater. The park is also fun for little kids by featuring Carolina Harbor Waterpark, Planet Snoopy, Dinosaurs Alive and various live shows. An ample number of eateries dot all corners of the park as well. A separate ticket is required for Carowinds’ Halloween Haunt, an PG-13 event too intense for young children. If you can’t leave your pooch at home, no worries. The Pet Kennel is located to the left of the Main North Gate, in front of parking section #9.
ADMISSION: see website for pricing and note that the waterpark has a separate fee
DAYS & HOURS: hours vary from Spring to Fall, so check website
ADDRESS: 14523 Carowinds Blvd, Charlotte, NC MAP
McDowell Nature Preserve
DESCRIPTION: This 956-acre park features interpretive displays and environmental programming. A playground, picnic areas with shelters and decks, hiking trails, boat ramps, canoe and paddleboat rentals and motor boat launching at Copperhead Island; newly installed insect displays and interactive games, plus eight miles of hiking trails among wooded hills.
DAYS & HOURS: daily March 1 – November 30; Dec-Feb weekends only
ADDRESS: 15222 York Road, Charlotte, NC MAP
DESCRIPTION: Formerly called Metrolina Wildlife Park, visitors see large primates, exotic birds, bears, llamas, cats and snakes featured at this mid-size zoo. This caring zoo also acts a refuge for injured animals.
ADMISSION: Adults $12, Ages 2-12 and 62+ $10, Active Military $8
DAYS & HOURS: Spring to November 1, 9a-5p Sun-Tue and Thu-Sat
ADDRESS: 4400 Cook Road, Rockwell, NC MAP
PARKING: on premises
Carolina Raptor Center
DESCRIPTION: This park features one of the largest raptor collections in the country, with over 20 species of eagles, hawks, owls, vultures and falcons. Meander along an inviting nature trail and note that this remarkable center features the only eagle aviary in the Carolinas.
ADMISSION: Adults $8, Seniors $7, Students $6, Children under 5 Free
DAYS & HOURS: recorded guided tours Tue-Sat 10a-5p, Sun Noon-5p
ADDRESS: 6000 Sample Road in Latta Plantation Park, Huntersville, NC MAP
DESCRIPTION: Stock car simulators run by 700 horsepower engines and reaching speeds of 200 mph for racing so real, you can feel it.
ADMISSION: $8 Adult, Seniors $7, Students $6, age 4 and under 5 enter Free
DAYS & HOURS: October 1 – March 1 Wed-Sat 10a-5p, Sun Noon-5p
ADMISSION: 8111 Concord Mills Road, Concord Mills, NC MAP