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23 Things to Do in Charlotte with Kids 🎢 – Fun Things to Do in Charlotte NC for Families

Last Updated on: 24th May 2024, 10:25 pm

Whether you’re moving to Charlotte or just visiting, the city offers a treasure trove of fun and adventure for the whole family. The Charlotte area is known for its beautiful scenery, outdoor recreation, amusement parks, museums, and other cultural attractions. Here’s a look at the top 23 things to do in Charlotte with kids of all ages!

#1. Carowinds & Carolina Harbor Waterpark

Carowinds amusement park is a haven for thrill-seekers and one of the top Charlotte attractions for families. The park offers thrill rides and roller coasters as well as family-friendly attractions for younger kids. A new park area, Aeronautica Landing, opened in 2023 in celebration of the park’s 50th anniversary. Out-of-town families can stay at Carowinds Camp Wilderness, a 55-acre campground with cabins and RV sites.

Carowinds is also home to the 27-acre Carolina Harbor Waterpark. The waterpark boasts 28 water slides, six kids areas, and six pools, including wave pools.

With special events throughout the year like WinterFest and a variety of Charlotte family activities to enjoy, you’ll definitely want to invest in season passes.

Carowinds, 14523 Carowinds Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28273 (704) 588-2600


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#2. Discovery Place Nature

Formerly the Charlotte Nature Museum, Discovery Place Nature is a fun destination to immerse your family in nature. It’s one of two locations of Discovery Place kids museums along with Discovery Place Science.

At Discovery Place Nature, children learn about the natural world through hands-on exhibits and exhibits that teach them about wildlife in North Carolina. It’s one of the best things to do in Charlotte with kids who love to explore outdoors!

Discovery Place Nature, 1658 Sterling Rd, Charlotte, NC 28209 (704) 327-2189

#3. Discovery Place Science

Discovery Place Science in Uptown Charlotte is one of the best family things to do in Charlotte NC for kids curious about science. Interactive exhibits and educational activities inspire critical thinking and curiosity in kids of all ages. Discovery Place Science is also home to the largest OMNIMAX or IMAX Dome Theater in the Carolinas.

Discovery Place Science, 168 W 6th St, Charlotte, NC 28202 (704) 327-2189

#4. Ray’s Splash Planet – Indoor Water Park

Looking for indoor kid-friendly activities in Charlotte? Ray’s Splash Planet is an indoor waterpark offering a year-round break from the sometimes-unpredictable Charlotte weather. Children can splash about without worrying about the temperature, and parents can relax, knowing safety and fun are top priorities at Ray’s Splash Planet.

Ray’s Splash Planet, 215 N Sycamore St, Charlotte, NC 28202 (980) 314-4729

#5. SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord

SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium at Concord Mills offers an exciting underwater experience without getting wet. With over 5,000 sea creatures from over 180 species, this aquarium fosters an appreciation for marine life through kid-friendly activities like the interactive touch pool and a walk-through ocean tunnel. Check the SEA LIFE website before visiting to see the schedule for live animal encounters and more.

SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord, 8111 Concord Mills Boulevard, Concord, NC 28027 (855) 450-0512

#6. North Carolina Transportation Museum

Located in Spencer, a quick drive from Charlotte, the North Carolina Transportation Museum is perfect for little locomotive lovers. Kids can explore preserved train cars and steam engines, see a vintage diesel locomotive up-close, take a ride on the train, or participate in special events, such as their popular “Trains, Trains, Trains” festival. It’s the perfect Charlotte museum for elementary school-aged kids!

North Carolina Transportation Museum, 1 Samuel Spencer Dr, Spencer, NC 28159 (704) 636-2889

#7. Sullenberger Aviation Museum – A City of Charlotte & Charlotte Douglas International Airport Partnership

Formerly known as the Carolinas Aviation Museum, the Sullenberger Aviation Museum is one of the only aviation museums at a major airport. This Smithsonian-affiliated kid-friendly museum invites you into the awe-inspiring world of aviation and aerospace with military and civilian aircraft on display. The museum’s interactive exhibits provide insights into the history and future of flight, making it an exciting stop for young aviators.

The Sullenberger Aviation Museum is set to reopen on June 1, 2024, with a new, state-of-the-art facility. The highlight you won’t want to miss is the US Airways Flight 1549 exhibit. Best known as the Miracle on the Hudson, the museum features the plane that was successfully landed on the Hudson River. The museum has great programs for kids of all ages – and kids at heart – including Homeschool Days, Scout Programs, and a Makerspace to ignite curiosity.

Want to explore more history in the city? Check out our guide to other great Charlotte history museums!

#8. Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden

A peaceful retreat for families, the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden offers a walking trails and a variety of gardens and a children’s garden, including a conservatory with colorful flowers, tropical plants, and orchids. Their Holiday Lights display is one of the best things to do in Charlotte NC with kids during the winter.

Check out our in-depth guide to the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden to learn more before your visit!

Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, 6500 S New Hope Rd, Belmont, NC 28012 (704) 825-4490

#9. U.S. National Whitewater Center

The U.S. National Whitewater Center is an outdoor lover’s dream, and it’s one of the most exciting destinations for family outdoor adventures. The National Whitewater Center offers zip lines, rock climbing, flatwater paddling, and whitewater rafting for a thrilling day out. Seasonal events, such as live music festivals and the River Jam concert series, add a social dimension to outdoor enjoyment.

It’s definitely one of the top things to do with kids in Charlotte NC, and all of North Carolina, but note that the center is best for older kids.

U.S. National Whitewater Center, 5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy, Charlotte, NC 28214 (704) 391-3900

#10. Children’s Theatre of Charlotte

Immerse your children in the world of live theater at the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte. With a range of performances throughout the year, kids can enjoy classic stories or new favorites brought to life on stage by talented entertainers. The Children’s Theatre of Charlotte is nationally recognized for its professional productions for families. The curtain rises 600 times per season! It’s home to a professional touring company that puts on productions throughout the region.

For kids interested in theater, the Children’s Theatre offers classes and summer camps for ages 2 to 18 to foster creativity, confidence, and self-expression. More than 2,800 kids and teenagers enroll in their programs every year.

#11. Big Air Trampoline Park

Bounce your way into an afternoon of fun with wall-to-wall trampolines, dodgeball courts, dunk lanes, and the famous Big Slam adjacent to the foam pits. Big Air Trampoline Park is packed with kid-friendly activities to burn off energy and enjoy some active playtime.

Big Air Trampoline Park, 2408 Sardis Rd N, Charlotte, NC 28227 (704) 246-5233

#12. Sky Zone Trampoline Park

Another fantastic trampoline park, Sky Zone in North Lake, makes the list of things to do with kids in Charlotte thanks to its variety of jumping experiences, including SkySlam basketball, Foam Zone, and Freestyle Jump. There’s even a special time slot for little jumpers with the Toddler Time program.

Sky Zone Trampoline Park, 7325 Smith Corners Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28269 (704) 709-9050

#13. DEFY Charlotte

DEFY Charlotte is an adrenaline-filled indoor amusement park with ninja courses, a zip line, trampolines galore, and a parkour area, perfect for kids and families looking to challenge themselves and have a blast competing with one another. You’ll find dozens of fun activities to try, including extreme dodgeball, aerial silks, and climbing walls.

One of the top destinations for extreme kids activities in Charlotte NC, DEFY Charlotte is also a great choice for birthday parties sure to be remembered.

DEFY Charlotte, 8116 University City Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28213 (704) 817-4660


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#14. Carolina Raptor Center

This raptor rehabilitation center and educational facility in Huntersville offer a unique experience for nature enthusiasts. At the Carolina Raptor Center, kids can learn to identify different birds of prey, watch flight demonstrations, and gain an understanding of conservation efforts.

Carolina Raptor Center, 6000 Sample Rd, Huntersville, NC 28078 (704) 875-6521

#15. Zootastic Park

A more intimate alternative to a large zoo, Zootastic Park lets children get up close and personal with many different animals, including rare and exotic animals. It’s one of the top Charlotte things to do with kids of all ages, especially animal lovers. The park has feeding and petting areas, pony rides, and even an animal encounter for a memorable experience.

Zootastic Park, 448 Pilch Rd, Troutman, NC 28166 (704) 245-6446

#16. Tiger World

Tiger World is another destination for Charlotte NC children’s activities with live animals. Located in nearby Rockwell, Tiger World is a favorite for kids fascinated by exotic wildlife. With over 40 animals from nine different species, including tigers, lions, and bears, this non-profit wildlife preserve provides educational and interactive experiences for visitors of all ages.

Tiger World, 4400 Cook Rd, Rockwell, NC 28138 (704) 279-6363

#17. Schiele Museum of Natural History

The Schiele Museum of Natural History offers a diverse range of hands-on exhibits that focus on North Carolina’s cultural and natural history. From the planetarium to the nature trail and the American mastodon, there is no shortage of educational and entertaining activities for young learners here.

The Schiele Museum is one of many fun things to do in Gaston County. Check out our guide to more things to do in Gastonia!

The Schiele Museum of Natural History, 1500 E Garrison Blvd, Gastonia, NC 28054 (704) 866-6900

#18. The Mint Museum

Take your family on an artistic adventure at The Mint Museum with a permanent collection ranging from the art of the ancients to the fashion-forward works of today. The museum has two locations: the Mint Museum Uptown and the Mint Museum Randolph. It’s the first art museum in Charlotte!

The Mint Museum, 2730 Randolph Rd, Charlotte, NC 28207 (704) 337-2000

#19. ImaginON: The Joe & Joan Martin Center

ImaginON: The Joe & Joan Martin Center is a cultural gathering place for kids with a library, theatre, and educational experiences, ImaginON always has something happening. Its family-friendly programs, hands-on activities, creative spaces, and a growing selection of children’s books make it a must-visit for kids with a love for the arts and storytelling. It’s one of the top things to do in Charlotte NC in the Uptown area!

ImaginON: The Joe & Joan Martin Center, 300 E 7th St, Charlotte, NC 28202 (704) 416-4600

#20. YMCA of Greater Charlotte

The YMCA of Greater Charlotte isn’t just for working out; many of its locations offer family-centered programs, pools, play areas, and summer camps. In fact, the Y has more water parks and pools than anywhere else in Greater Charlotte! The organization has programs for all ages and abilities; the Lake Norman YMCA even offers adaptive waterskiing!

Daily and weekly passes make it a flexible and affordable option for enjoying the great facilities and activities designed for kids. For regular family fun in Charlotte NC, invest in YMCA membership for the whole family.

YMCA of Greater Charlotte, 400 E Morehead St, Charlotte, NC 28202 (704) 716-6200

#21. The Speedpark at Concord Mills

The Speedpark at Concord Mills is a family entertainment center filled with kid-friendly things to do in Charlotte. The Speedpark features four go-kart tracks, mini-golf, a track for little racers, a bungee jump, and arcade games. It’s an ideal way for kids to get their thrills in a safe, controlled environment.

The Speedpark at Concord Mills, 8461 Concord Mills Boulevard, Concord, NC 28027 (704) 527-8464

#22. NASCAR Hall of Fame

For young fans of car racing, the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Uptown Charlotte is a must after a trip to the Speedpark. The NASCAR Hall of Fame explores the history of the sport and its racers through exhibits and interactive experiences. It also hosts events like summer camps and race viewing parties.

NASCAR Hall of Fame, 400 E M.L.K. Jr Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28202 (704) 654-4400

#23. Freedom Park

A local favorite for families, Freedom Park provides ample space for picnicking with playgrounds and even a miniature train ride. It’s one of the top Charlotte attractions for families with 98 acres of natural space to explore. The park’s serene lake and walking paths offer a peaceful escape for children and adults alike in the heart of the city.

Freedom Park, 1908 East Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28203

You’ll never run out of fun things to do in Charlotte NC with kids, whether your family loves outdoor recreation or hands-on learning. With all these exciting options for family fun, Charlotte is a city where kids’ imaginations can run wild. Young visitors will leave with a trove of fun memories and a longing to return. Whether indoors or out, educational or purely for fun, there’s something for every family to enjoy in this bustling southern city.

Remember, before planning your visit, always check the operating hours, parking options, and admission guidelines. Now that you have this list of great Charlotte NC family activities, you’re ready to gather your little ones, pack your supplies, and get ready to make the most of your time in Charlotte!

Exploring family activities and attractions ahead of a move? Make a Move is here to help. Our award-winning team of full-service Charlotte movers make moving day a breeze with competitive rates and the best customer support. Give us a call today at (704) 378-8588 to get started with a free quote.


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