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Discovery Place is a paradise of kid-friendly interactive science exhibits and presentations. Visit the Cool Stuff exhibit which, true to its name, is full of interesting interactive activities like lying on a bed of nails that help making learning physics fun. Next, experience a rainforest by crossing a rope bridge and looking down at exotic plant life and animals. See aquatic life at the large aquarium and take a unique guided feeding tour of the aquarium. Children 7 and under need to stop by KidScience with hands-on fun geared towards the younger kids. Make sure you save time to see a short movie at the Discovery 3D Theatre or get immersed in the action at the IMAX Dome Theatre. The museum also offers a number of live programs, plus there are seasonal attractions so there's always something new to see!
The Light Factory is one of only four establishments in the country to be solely dedicated to photography and film-making. Founded in 1972, this institution has since been a platform for contemporary artists with creative leanings to light-based media. Visit thought-provoking photography exhibitions, attend documentary screenings and indie film events, and take a class in digital video art to experience the magic of capturing images and the power of visuals.
The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art is a fresh perspective of art and culture into the city's nerves. Located in the heart of downtown Charlotte, the Bechtler is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. The free audio guide and gallery brochures at the visitor desk and information center keep visitors informed on the modern art lining the walls and hallways. The museum is a fun experience for visitors of all ages, especially since the Bechtler provides children with materials to make their visit to the museum interactive and enjoyable.
The Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County and the Children's Theatre of Charlotte have come together to create this awesome complex that houses the McColl Family Theatre, the Spangler Library, the Wachovia Playhouse, a Scene and Paint Shop, several studios, rehearsal rooms and a costume shop. A veritable entertainment center, this is the hub of family amusement activities in the area. A comprehensive collection of books and videos fills the library, while a number of educational programs for kids takes place at regular intervals.
Spectrum Center, formerly known as the Time Warner Cable Arena, has something for everyone. Charlotte's premier entertainment and sports venue has a seating capacity of over 20,000 and hosts the city's most popular games, concerts and performances. This indoor arena has played host to big names like Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones and U2 amongst others. The stadium serves as the home venue for Charlotte Hornets and the Charlotte Sting.
The NASCAR Hall of Fame is one of the important and well known venues of Charlotte. Spread across an area of 150,000-square-feet (13,935 square meter), this sprawling facility boasts ultra modern equipment and sophisticated amenities. As the name suggests, it is dedicated to NASCAR, and is a perfect starting point for all those who are unaware about auto racing. The Hall of Fame has a special exhibition hall that displays artifacts that give you detailed information on car racing. It also has specialized simulator rides and interactive displays that further add to the experience. Apart from that, the on-site venues like Belk High Octane Theater, Great Hall and Legends Room can be hired for private functions.
In addition to being the oldest park in Charlotte, this 24-acre parcel in the heart of Charlotte's Elizabeth neighborhood serves your every recreational need. For athletes, Independence Park has a batting cage, two basketball courts, two tennis courts, a volleyball court, and three hiking trails. Families make good use of the sheltered picnic area and the playground. If romance is in the air, stroll by the reflecting pool or through the rose garden. A number of shelters, including the rose garden's gazebo, are available for private events. See website for reservation information.
Much like SoHo, NoDa (North Davidson Street) is a bustling area in the city of Charlotte. There is lots to see and do in this famous arts district, for both visitors and locals. Restaurants, theatres, bars, shops and galleries abound here. Visit during the annual Gallery Crawl to check out the area's fascinating art scene. An amalgamation of culture and cuisine, this district is cloaked in an air of enjoyment, making it a must-visit. Check the website for what's happening at various venues in the area.
This museum is tailor made to teach kids about the natural world. They'll see live animals, such as baby chicks, owls, and snakes. Take a stroll through the Butterfly Pavilion or the Paw Paw Nature Trail to learn more about local wildlife. Kids can run and play at Fort Wild or Our Big Backyard, or listen and learn during one of several workshops and events organized here.
Wing Haven Gardens and Bird Sanctuary was designed and created by Elizabeth and Edwin Clarkson in 1927, encompassing almost three acres in the Myers Park neighborhood of Charlotte. The estate includes the original house built by the couple, as well as extensive gardens which are now home to an array of flowers, local trees and birds. There are many winding paths to explore, with informational plaques lining the brick walkways. The Clarkson house is also worth a visit, as it has been renovated to replicate its original style. Also, make sure to check out the website for more information about the estate, as well as fun tips like recipes for peanut butter birdseed cakes. Guided tours for groups are available on some weekday mornings and reservations can be made by phone.
These botanical gardens are run by the University of North Carolina Charlotte campus and are comprised of three separate sites- the Van Landingham Glen, the Susie Harwood Garden, and the McMillan Greenhouse. There is a wide variety of plants among the gardens, including rhododendrons, native Carolina flora, orchids, desert succulents, and carnivorous pitcher plant hybrids. There are also many walking paths and interesting landscape architecture displays to please the eye. The park is open daily and features an ever-changing collection that varies depending on the time of year, so be sure to check the website for updates.
Even after having done whitewater rafting, kayaking, flat-water paddling, hiking, climbing, or biking at Charlotte's National Whitewater Center, the place is sure to keep you wanting more. An initiative that contributes to the preservation of the Catawba River and its natural surroundings, the activities organized by the center require a certain level of fitness, but are memorable nevertheless.