Fun Things to Do in Charlotte, NC – Discovery Place
If you are looking for fun things to do in Charlotte, NC, be sure to check out the hands-on, family-friendly museum, Discovery Place. It’s a science museum with educational exhibits, interactive experiences, and science shows the whole family will learn from and enjoy. Discovery Place states that they “offer visitors the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in a fun, interactive and informal setting” and we would agree.
There is so much to see at Discovery Place and you will want to leave plenty of time for your kids to really enjoy the activities that are appealing to them. To help you plan your trip, here are some of the main exhibits.
Cool Stuff was our favorite area! In Cool Stuff you and your kids will learn about physics and science while having a blast. Most of the activities here are interactive and focus on three areas: Lift, Look/Move and Push. Both of my kids were amazed and thrilled to lie on a bed of nails and survive. My daughter was fascinated to learn she could control a vacuum-powered chair lift. And they were learning the whole time whether they realized it or not!
Project Build is an exhibit where you have the chance to draw your own sketches and design buildings with multimedia programs.
Think it Up
Think It Up is an area where kids use their creativity and imagination. There are a variety of activities here including Air Tubes and a Mechanical Launcher, and my daughter loved Designing Footwear where you used duct tape and scrap materials to create shoes.
3-D Movie Theatre
The museum includes a 3-D movie theatre, and my kids always love 3-D movies. As a bonus, admission to Discovery 3-D Theatre is included with the price of museum admission. There are usually short 15-20 minute films running on topics related to science or nature and, of course, 3-D glasses are required.
KidScience is a special area for kids eight and under and gives younger children a chance to explore, touch, and play with water tables, wind tunnels, and blocks and gears. It is age-appropriate and hands-on and so much more fun than a regular playground. There is even a designated Toddler Area for kids under three years old.
Another entertaining feature at Discovery Place is Science at the Stage, which is an assortment of group science experiments and lessons. Watching a show here was another highlight of our visit.
Each day a variety of experiments and demonstrations take place so check the schedule when you arrive so you don’t miss something that your children may find interesting. My daughter was chosen to join the scientist on stage, but all of the kids in the audience were given ways to participate from their seats. We found it was another fun way to learn about science in action.
Planning for Your Day
Discovery Place is located in downtown Charlotte. The most convenient place to park is a parking deck directly behind the museum which currently costs $8 a day.
To make the most of your experience you will want to stay for a few hours which means planning on a meal or snack. We took a lunch break at the on-site restaurant, the Community Cafe. It is one of the best museum restaurants we have found and focuses on food that is local, healthy and green. There is a good combination of familiar kids food, healthier options like sweet potato and eggplant fries, and even a Cupcake Corner.
If you are staying in Charlotte overnight, a great hotel near Discovery Place is Hilton Charlotte Center City.
Do your kids love science museums? Here are a few more places you may want to visit:
- Boston Museum of Science
- Chicago Museum of Science and Industry
- The Tech Museum of Innovation in Silicon Valley
Susan is an enthusiastic traveler and mom to a 10 year-old boy and seven year-old girl. Originally from North Carolina, Susan is a Southerner at heart, although…