There’s no shortage of things to do with kids in Charlotte, thanks to the abundance of amusement parks spread throughout Uptown Charlotte and its surrounding areas. There’s plenty of outdoor fun to be had, which range from go-karting racetracks, mini-golf courses, and one of the world's largest manmade whitewater rivers right on Charlotte’s doorstep.

    Families can have a blast together from over a dozen rollercoasters within a single amusement park in Charlotte. No matter the weather, you can enjoy waterslides at an indoor water park or learn and play with various hands-on exhibits at a leading science and tech museum in the city. Read on to find out about all the fun places in Charlotte to take your family to in this exciting corner of North Carolina.


    The SpeedPark at Concord Mills

    Challenge your friends at this race-themed park

    • Families
    • Adventure

    The SpeedPark at Concord Mills offers more than just 4 go-kart tracks, with monster-truck rides, euro bungee trampolining, an ice-skating rink, and more. The fun-filled park’s main draw is indeed their go-karts. They even have 2-seater options that allow you to drive with your kid riding shotgun and share the thrills as you zoom through the finish line. Kids at least 3 years old can try the junior racer track and hone their racing skills.

    After races, you can calm your adrenaline rushes with a round of 18-hole race-themed miniature golf. It has caves and race obstacles ensuring it’s a game of mini-golf you’ve never experienced before. Remember to bring a change of clothes if you also plan to race down the 3-lane 110-ft fun slide.

    Location: 8461 Concord Mills Boulevard, Concord, NC 28027, USA

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 10 am to 9 pm, Sunday from noon to 7 pm

    Phone: +1 704-527-8464


    Discovery Place Science

    For hands-on fun and learning

    • Families

    Discovery Place Science offers hours of fun for kids in Charlotte through a range of hands-on exhibits. There’s KidScience, the museum’s early education exhibition for kids up to 7 years old, where budding scientists’ curiosities are stimulated through play and learning. They can build from soft foam blocks, experiment with light using an interactive light table, and even be introduced to aerodynamics with their wind tunnel or wind wall.

    With a hands-on approach, science and technology are explored with exhibits designed to educate and entertain all ages that even mum and dad will also be interested in exploring some of the exhibits. Separately, Discovery Place Nature on Sterling Road is where you can get up close with live furry animals, exotic birds, and reptiles.

    Location: 301 N Tryon St, Charlotte, NC 28202, USA

    Open: Monday–Friday from 9 am to 4 pm, Saturday from 9 am to 5 pm, Sunday from noon to 5 pm

    Phone: +1 704-372-6261


    U.S. National Whitewater Center

    Engage in thrilling outdoor adventures

    • Families
    • Adventure

    U.S. National Whitewater Center is where families can experience an outdoor adventure with kid-centred activities like zip lines and an adventure obstacle course with nets and plank bridges. This recreation park is about a 20-minute drive south of Charlotte Uptown.

    While the world's largest manmade whitewater river, which offers Class 3 and 4 rapids, is a big draw, this nature centre also offers mountain biking, hiking, and a kid-friendly zip-line that lets you fly over a gorge. You can also scale the climbing walls that loom over a pool, and kayak or stand-up-paddle over calmer waters if you think the rapids seem too gruelling.

    Location: 5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy, Charlotte, NC 28214, USA

    Open: 24/7

    Phone: +1 704-391-3900


    photo by Jeremy Thompson (CC BY 2.0) modified


    The Green

    A small park amid high-rise buildings

    • Families
    • History
    • Photo

    The Green is a small patch of nature in Uptown Charlotte, with a spurting fish fountain that charms kids in summer. A literary theme runs through this 3-tier, half-acre urban pocket park with sculptures and landscaped grounds. St. Peter Catholic Church, a Victorian-era brick church and one of the smallest cathedrals in the United States, is at a corner of the park.

    This oasis of a park is surrounded by high-rise buildings and is sandwiched between the Mint Museum and the Charlotte Convention Center. The Green is a regular host to various public events – the Charlotte Shakespeare Festival being one of them.

    Location: 425 S Tryon St, Charlotte, NC 28202, USA

    Phone: +1 704-342-9000


    photo by David Berkowitz (CC BY 2.0) modified


    SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord

    Get up close with marine life

    • Families
    • Photo

    SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord is an aquarium where you and your kids can get close to starfish, seahorses, and even sharks. The marine centre is inside the Concord Mills shopping mall, around a 20-minute drive from Uptown Charlotte. It has an underwater tunnel and touch pool, as well as regular feeding shows.

    There are 10 interactive zones at SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord that you can explore, with more than 5,000 sea creatures inhabiting the family-friendly exhibits. These range from a shark tank to a touch pool where kids can pet rockpool creatures such as sea urchins, slipper lobsters, and others.

    Location: 8111 Concord Mills Boulevard, Concord, NC 28027, USA

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 11 am to 4 pm, Sunday from noon to 4 pm

    Phone: +1 855-450-0512


    Carowinds Theme Park

    Count their rollercoasters, and conquer them all

    • Families

    Carowinds is a go-to in Charlotte for families looking to enjoy a fun-filled day out on numerous rollercoasters and thrill rides. The 407-acre amusement park is 15-minute drive south-west from Charlotte Uptown and it also has a campground-style resort called Carowinds Camp Wilderness for a ‘stay and play’ family experience.

    Its 14 rollercoasters are all scream-inducing, especially the standouts like the 325-ft-tall Fury 325 that reaches speeds of up to 95 mph. Younger thrill-seekers can get a watered-down yet still-exciting experience on rides like the Woodstock Express and Flying Ace Aerial Chase. To cool off with some wet fun, head to the Carolina Harbor waterpark and enjoy its giant waterslides and wave pools.

    Location: 300 Carowinds Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28273

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 10 pm

    Phone: +1 704-588-2600


    photo by nannersaurus (CC0 1.0) modified


    Funtasticks Charlotte

    A place the little ones will love being active

    • Families

    Funtasticks Charlotte is a family-focused amusement park in Charlotte where the little ones can race around a go-kart track, play mini-golf, or join mum or dad duelling in bumper boats. The unique 2-seater go-karts are extremely fun, as the steering is done side-by-side. The track has extended straights with wide curves for manoeuvring thrills. Younger drivers at least 44 inches tall can have a go driving their own ‘rookie go-karts.

    The electric-powered bumper boats are for when you need to get wet and splashing, as you deliberately collide into your opponents while your kid riding shotgun shoots them with the onboard squirt gun. To cool down, settle any rivalries with some rounds at the 18-hole miniature golf surrounded by lush gardens or redeem your wins at the games arcade.

    Location: 10400 Cadillac St, Pineville, NC 28134, USA

    Open: Monday–Thursday from 10 am to 9 pm, Friday–Saturday from 10 am to 11 pm, Sunday from 11 am to 9 pm

    Phone: +1 704-552-7888


    Mr Putty’s Fun Park

    Mini-golfing and extra fun for everyone

    • Families
    • Adventure

    While Mr Putty’s Fun Park in Charlotte offers 18-hole miniature golfing as its main draw for families, this park is filled with extras that will keep the little ones happy. Around the mini-golf course, they also have a series of obstacles which the kids can climb on and swing from. Some corners of the course also have misting fans to help keep things cool in the summer.

    Various other rides and fun features include bungee trampolines, challenges that hark back to those funny variety TV shows like the Meltdown Wipeout, as well as zip-lining and axe throwing for grownups.

    Location: 2333 Dam Rd, Tega Cay, SC 29708, USA

    Open: Daily from noon to 7 pm

    Phone: +1 844-677-8889


    Children's Theatre of Charlotte

    Experience theatre magic for kids

    • Families

    At the modern Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, the little ones can immerse themselves in the wonders of theatre and enjoy scheduled stage productions. The theatre also presents workshops and summer camps for kids, covering creative drama classes as well as theatre training.

    Among the Children's Theatre of Charlotte’s stage performances are the Tony Award-winning musical Peter Pan, the high-spirited musical The Invisible BoyThe Best Christmas Pageant Ever: The MusicalThe True Story of The Three Little Pigs, and a hip-hop experience titled GRIMMZ Fairy Tales. The theatre also offers sensory-friendly performances for each production, with adjustable lighting and sound for kids with autism or other sensitivities.

    Location: 300 E 7th St, Charlotte, NC 28202, USA

    Open: Monday–Friday from noon to 5 pm (closed on weekends)

    Phone: +1 704-973-2828


    photo by CMLibrary Charlotte Mecklenburg Library (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified


    Carolina Renaissance Festival

    Where medieval scenes come alive

    • Families

    Carolina Renaissance Festival offers a unique amusement park experience and is one of America’s largest Renaissance fairs. The park is spread over 25 acres in Huntersville, which is around a 30-minute drive north from Uptown Charlotte. Colourful medieval houses that look as if they’re from children’s pop-up books stand in rows against a backdrop of beautiful autumn woodlands.

    This is the setting of the fictional fairy-tale village of Fairhaven. Here, history comes alive through live entertainments that last throughout the day. These involve arts and crafts, thrilling re-enactments like knights in shining silver armour on horses charging at each other for a real jousting bout, village feasts, as well as plenty of fun themed rides and games.

    Location: 16445 Poplar Tent Rd, Huntersville, NC 28078, USA

    Open: Monday–Friday from 9 am to 4 pm (closed on weekends)

    Phone: +1 704-896-5555

    Ari Gunadi | Compulsive Traveller

    Start planning your trip

    Keep exploring

    North Carolina

    United States of America

    Back to top