Charlotte has plenty to do when it comes to nightlife and daytime hangouts – but there’s another area where the Queen City has plenty to offer. From getting outdoors and meeting wildlife to seeing Shrek come to life, check out our list that your kids will love.

1. Children’s Theater

Photo credit: John Merrick

If the theater bug has bitten your child or anyone else in the family, consider heading to Children’s Theater for a fun night out. Children’s Theater offers plenty of family-friendly plays like “Shrek,” “Narnia,” “The Night Diary,” and more. 

Children’s Theater also offers sensory-friendly shows for autistic or neurodivergent children — meaning shows with dimmed lights, softened theater lighting and sound, extra room for children to move around and more.

In addition, Children’s Theater also offers drama classes, dance classes and theater training. 

Where: 300 E 7th St, Charlotte, NC 28202

Cost: $18.00-28.00

2. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library

The neighborhood library is a great place to wind down on the perfect laid-back family day.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg library branches offer family-friendly activities like arts & crafts, family storytimes, and movie nights. 

The events are free, and no library card is required to participate. 

Here are some upcoming events to check out:

  • Craft, Chat & Read (Oct. 18)
  • Learn, Connect, Play: Video Gaming (Oct. 21-Jan. 6)
  • Milk & Cookies Pajama Storytime (Oct. 12, Nov. 9, Dec. 14)

This article is sponsored by Trinity Episcopal School

3. Mecklenburg County Parks & Recreation

Community members gather at L.C. Coleman park. Photo: Kylie Marsh.

Concerts, festivals and more are in store with Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation.

With 230  parks and over 21,000 acres of land, there’s plenty to do throughout the year. 

Many of these events are low-cost– some are even free — and fun for the whole family. 

4. Discovery Place

For families with little ones interested in science, Discovery Place combines education with fun activities. 

With rotating exhibits that range from Marvel to the deep sea, there’s something for everyone in the game to enjoy, whether it’s nature or physics. 

They can also catch blockbusters and educational films at their movie theater. 

Where: 301 N Tryon St

Price range: $38.00-$43.00

5. Sports Connection

If your family is trying to go out but needs help deciding between bowling, laser tag or an arcade, head to Sports Connection -– it has all three. 

With so many different attractions, visiting Sports Connection can make for a different experience each time. 

It also helps bring out friendly competition among the family while playing games. 

Where: Various locations

Cost: $18.00-$85.00


You don’t have to go far to get a glimpse of the ocean. Just take a trip to SEA LIFE at Concord Mills. See sharks up close or visit some of Charlotte’s rescued Sea Turtles. 

SEA LIFE is also home to Charlotte’s only 180-degree ocean tunnel. When walking through, your family will feel like you’re all under the sea. You’ll also be able to witness the aquarium’s many different sea animals.

Plus, you can walk around the mall or stop by the speed park afterward. 

Where:  8111 Concord Mills Boulevard, Concord, NC 28027

Cost: $15.99 per child/18.99 per adult

7. Raptor Center

Charlotte’s Raptor Center offers an up-close experience with dozens of different bird species. 

You can tour the enclosures, walk on the Raptor rail trail or attend the ongoing Meet-a-Raptor event series.

It’s a fun and educational experience that helps the family get some fresh air while learning.

Where: 6000 Sample Rd, Huntersville, NC 28078

Cost: $12.00 per child/$16.00 per adult

8. Harvey B. Gantt Center

In addition to exhibitions featuring Black artists, the Gantt Center also has plenty of events, many of which are free and family-friendly.

These events allow families to get creative and artistic while doing crafts like collages.

Plus, the Gantt Center is part of Charlotte’s Wednesday Night Live series, a weekly opportunity to visit Charlotte’s art museums for free.

Keep an eye on the calendar for the next time the Gantt Center has free admission. 

Where: 551 S Tryon St, Charlotte, NC 28202

Cost: $7-$9

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Amanda was born and raised in Charlotte and graduated from UNC Charlotte with a Bachelor’s in Communications and English. She covers Mecklenburg County. Reach her at

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