North Carolina, home of the proud Tar Heel and the red cardinal, has adventures for the entire family. The southeast state has three distinct regions: mountains, piedmont and coastal plain. North Carolina is filled with natural beauty and enticing activities to suit the tastes of kids looking for excitement or more educational activities.
Discovery Place (discoveryplace.org) is an science museum in Charlotte, the largest city in North Carolina. The exhibits encourage learning and experimentation. In Cool Stuff, kids learn physics, lie on a bed of nails and launch objects. Project Build gets kids to create floor plans and build structures using PVC pipes. Discovery Place has the largest dome-shaped IMAX theater in the state. Take a journey to the Greensboro Children's Museum (gcmuseum.com) to experience the tastes of a real Edible Schoolyard, where kids grow and cultivate the menu. If your child has a vivid imagination, she can conduct her own train, sit in an airplane cockpit or shop for groceries in the museum market.
Tour the continents of Africa and North America at the North Carolina Zoo (nczoo.org) in Asheboro. Playful lemurs pounce on each other at Lemur Island, while the African lion basks lazily in the Bushland sun. Tropical birds flutter about in the steamy aviary. Visit Elvis and Marge, two grizzly bears, at the Cherokee Bear Zoo (cherokeebearzoo.com). The zoo has animals native to the state, such as deer and raccoons. A Siberian tiger calls the zoo home as well.
Lazy 5 Ranch (lazy5ranch.com) in Mooresville is home to 750 animals from six continents. Three species include the giraffe, watusi and the red kangaroo. Schedule a tour of Lazy 5 in Mooresville to ride on the back of a ranch wagon, or explore the safari from your own vehicle. Kids will get excited to see animals sauntering up to your car to get a mouthful of animal feed. Feel your way through the corn mazes at J Razz and Tazz Farm (ncagr.gov) in Gibsonville. The corn mazes open each September, but kids can enjoy daily hayride tours, the play area, and riding the choo-choo train.
Sail through the air in one of Carowinds' (carowinds.com) many kids' rides. Located in Charlotte, Carowinds has Planet Snoopy, with tamer adventures for children. Kids can enjoy Snoopy's Yacht Club and pretend to command a small vessel or fly through space in the Flying Ace Balloon Race. Take a ride to the top of Carowinds with the family in the Carolina Skytower to view the landscape for miles as the tower rotates. Kids will get a kick out of seeing how small objects on the ground become. Wet and Wild Emerald Pointe (emerald pointe.com) in Greensboro, provides hours of water fun. Happy Harbor has two pools and a play area with Ollie the Octopus and the Silly Submarine. On Splash Island, kids can slide down the volcano slide and splash in the small wave pool.