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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 centers are clustered in Uptown. ImaginOn: The Joe and Joan Martin Center 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 theater, 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 Center also has kid-centered 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 Center and Preserve, a 30-minute drive away, is an undeveloped nature area offering canoeing and hiking.

 

U.S. National Whitewater Center

 

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

 

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

 

U.S. National Whitewater Center 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 center 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