Virtual Family-Friendly Activities in Charlotte
From virtual roller coaster rides to science experiments and stories under the sea, these local attractions are bringing the fun to your own home.
by Jessica Swannie May 11, 2020
Whether you prefer a day spent inside virtually exploring an amusement park or a day outdoors engaging in science, Charlotte’s most popular destinations have you covered. Spend the extra time at home making memories with your family that will last a lifetime.
Known for its extensive collection of contemporary art, the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art blends education with stunning works. The popular local destination invites you to #MuseumFromHome, where you can enjoy highlights from the collection, artist spotlights, social media series and museum resources. The museum’s education team is offering lesson plans, like Max Ernst leaf rubbings, to help children engage in learning while at home. There’s also printable color-by-number pages on the website and art challenges with demonstrations via the museum's Instagram (@thebechtler).
Missing the great outdoors? The Carolina Raptor Center, an environmental center dedicated to the conservation of birds of prey, is bringing nature to you through its Avian Home Adventures video series. Tune in on Facebook to watch everything from a barred owl nesting rescue to painting with vultures. You can also watch ospreys Reuben and Cherise through a live nest cam on the North Carolina Wildlife Federation’s website.
As summer approaches, so does the desire to run freely around a nearby amusement park like Carowinds. While the park is closed, your family can still experience the thrill of the rides and visit the park via virtual tours. Head over to the Thrill Zone to ride the Fury 365 with a point-of-view that you control, take a virtual spin at Carousel Park or virtually ride the Ricochet at the Carolina Boardwalk.
Carowinds’ Air Time Blog also hosts activities that can be enjoyed from home like crossword puzzles, coloring pages, lessons with the Peanuts Gang, recipes for the whole family or prompts to help you create your own amusement park.
Charlotte Ballet Academy will begin offering virtual classes for children ages 3-9 on a pay-per-view basis. Classes start at just $6 and will be offered 2-3 times per week. There is no registration fee, monthly tuition or experience required. Sign up at cbaportal.org/portal/video-reg.
The longer you spend at home, the more tedious textbook learning becomes. Switch it up with Discovery Place Science, a kid-friendly museum offering Stay at Home Science. Gather the family to create a DIY catapult or engage in pH testing with kitchen chemistry for hands-on learning. For even more content, head to the museum’s Instagram (@discoveryplacescience) to watch videos of the indoor rainforest or Instagram Live videos like a beginner’s guide to 3D printing.
Dedicated to honoring the contributions of African Americans to American culture, the Harvey B. Gantt Center will offer experiences to enjoy from home, like a children’s jazz playlist on YouTube, a women in jazz Spotify playlist and ideas for parents on Instagram that go over how to use photography to educate children at home.
A collaborative effort between the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library and the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, this youth center is known for its award-winning professional theater and education programs. While kids can’t visit the center in person, they can take a virtual tour of the entire space via Google Maps. Then, they can tune into storytime on the ImaginOn Facebook page or catch online videos of past storytimes via the library’s website.
On May 23, tune into Children's Theatre of Charlotte's livestream for a "Journey to Oz" Watch Party followed by a talk-back with the show's creator and a few actors from the performance.
Watch Party Schedule
- 4 p.m. – Watch the show.
- 5:10 p.m. – Meet the show's creator, playwright Chris Parks, and some of the actors as they discuss the idea of experiential theater.
The Levine Museum of the New South uses history to build community, both when it’s open, and even when it’s not. To continue to support its mission, the museum is highlighting current and past exhibits and making activities available to do at home. Kids can enjoy self-guided history lessons, videos, crossword puzzles, drawing and fill-in-the-blank activities to keep their minds active while inside.
This Huntersville, NC staple is known for educating visitors on the lifestyles of planters and settlers in back-country North Carolina. While you can’t explore the grounds in person, you can still access educational resources through Latta Learning, where field trips come to you. Recent lessons include natural Easter egg dyeing, making a yarn doll and education for girls in the early 1800s. Lessons are accompanied by worksheets and activities you can do from the comfort of your own home.
The internationally-renowned Mint Museum is dedicated to collecting, conserving and exhibiting important works of art to educate visitors. To continue to engage with the community, it’s offering the Museum From Home program, where families can enjoy crafts and activities inspired by art in their own dwellings. You can watch tutorial videos and create art, like watercolor paintings, abstract shaving cream prints and make-your-own mandalas. Then, take the little ones on a virtual tour of the museum’s Uptown location.
Dedicated to honoring the history and heritage of NASCAR, the NASCAR Hall of Fame combines educational experiences with hands-on exhibits. To keep the learning alive at home, the Hall is offering online education through SPARK! Learning. These STE(A)M-driven activities give students from elementary school to high school the chance to apply lessons to real-world problem solving. Lessons are updated weekly: check out “The Force of Friction” now.
Located in the Concord Mills mall, SEA LIFE Aquarium is an interactive destination where you can view thousands of aquatic creatures. While the aquarium is closed, kids can still interact with the sea life through the aquarium’s “Making Magic with Merlin” initiative. Watch creatures from the touch pool get their lunch, meet some beluga whales or check out Under the Sea Storytime, all viewable from the aquarium’s national Facebook page.