by Sandy McLeod
Asheville, North Carolina is a favorite destination for family vacations. Whether it is indoor or outdoor fun you and your family are seeking, you will find it in Asheville. Kids who visit Asheville experience adventures they might not have anywhere else and they learn about the natural world in ways that complement their studies at school.
For many parents with children born into the digital age, it is important that children take part in physical activity during free time. Many of the fun things for children to do require activity and some are tied in with the outdoor lifestyle. We are fortunate to have activities that will delight kids of all ages throughout every season!
Western North Carolina Nature Center offers 42 acres to roam and observe the native wildlife of the Appalachians. Get up close through award winning exhibits to bears, coyotes, red and gray wolves and bobcats. Visit Red Wolf Run to see endangered red wolves ~ this year featuring four new pups. Black Bear Ridge is a place where children can see bears, hawks, owls and white tailed deer. The Otter Falls exhibit houses otters and aquatic turtles and Appalachian Station houses reptiles including snakes and amphibians. Small Mammals features raccoons and red and grey foxes. The Western Carolina Farm exhibit, World Underground, and Trillium Nature Trail all should not be missed. A visit to the Nature Center brings children and parents together while they learn more about the wildlife of Western North Carolina. Check the calendar of events http://www.wildwnc.org/news-and-events to catch special events or just pack a picnic and go! The WNC Nature Center is fun for all ages.
Asheville Treetops Adventure Park is one of the newest adventures for kids 7 and older. There are 50 unique climbing, zipping, walking, jumping, swinging, and rappelling challenges in this forested park. Four levels of trails from easy to advanced will keep everyone challenged. http://www.wildwaterrafting.com/atap.php
Asheville’s Fun Depot is where good times await children of all ages. Located in South Asheville, kids love the outdoor or indoor go-karts and bumper cars. Others enjoy a game of laser tag or playing in the inflatable bounce house with a basketball hoop, mini slide and 7-element obstacle course. Some children will want to spend lots of time in the arcade, where there are 110 interactive games. Kids can win prizes that can be redeemed right on site, making play time rewarding. Special all day passes are available Friday and Sunday only, for $24.99. Or parents can purchase play cards for the attractions and activities.
Food Lion Skateboard Park is for kids who live to skateboard, and parents that want to supervise, This park helps strike a perfect balance — and provide loads of fun. This cement skateboard park is located at the corner of Flint and Cherry Streets in downtown Asheville. Kids can try the beginner bowl, intermediate street course or the advanced vertical bowl. The Skateboard Park is managed by the City of Asheville, so admission prices are affordable. Weekday fees are $2 for residents and $4 for non-residents and weekend and holiday fees are $3 for residents and $5 for non-residents. Helmets and pads must be worn at all times and only skateboards and inline skates are allowed.
The Health Adventure is located in the Biltmore Square Mall in Asheville, The Health Adventure is a popular place for family fun. Super Science Saturday is a great program and a wonderful way to spend time with family. The Healthier Ever After traveling exhibit is a nice introduction to basic stretching, exercising and coordination. Many of the permanent exhibits, such as SPIN! And Raceways offer interactive activities that delight and thrill children and adults. Wear comfortable clothing and sneakers and be prepared for exercise, learning, and fun at the Health Adventure.
ClimbMax Climbing Center: Rock climbing center located in downtown Asheville. All ages and all abilities are welcomed at WNC’s premiere climbing indoor and outdoor facility.
Asheville Outdoor Center offers families a chance to bike, hike, raft, canoe, kayak. Gem mining is also available on this property that boasts they are “Simply the Best in Human Powered Recreation”.
Horse Back Riding at Sandy Bottoms Trail Rides will delight the whole family. They offer a selection of rides from 1 to 3 or more hours including one that includes a trip to their gem mine! Wagon rides are offered as well on this third generation secluded ranch.
Buncombe County Library Story times The Buncombe County Library system is quite extensive and has branches in all sections of Asheville and in many towns outside the city. To encourage children to read books, Story times and Toddler Times readings occur on a regular basis in most branches. Programs are designed for different age groups. Check the online schedule to find a Story time that is right for your child’s age group.
Hands On! An affordable, fun, and educational experience for kids from 1 to 10. Art projects, creative projects and crafts provide the kids with interactive fun and learning. Hands On! Is south of us on Main Street in Hendersonville and while you visit you may also want to see the Hendersonville Antique Toy Museum and perhaps Historic Johnson Farm in that area. It offers historic buildings, animals, tours, nature trails on 15 acres of forest, fields, and streams with seasonal events and exhibits.
This article has focused on only a few of activities that are popular with kids who live in and visit Asheville. There are plenty more options for kid friendly activities inside and outside of Asheville, N.C., too. Family time is precious. Not all activities are child friendly, so many parents like to plan an itinerary ahead of time to make certain their family vacation includes visits to sites where everyone can participate and have fun.
Book a cabin in Asheville, with lots of kid friendly activities right on site.