The Asheville area is brimming with exciting activities to keep kids happily engaged. From kid-centric museums to factory tours to adventure courses, there’s an array of experiences aimed at the young – and the young at heart. Following are a few to check out:
Asheville Museum of Science – This museum, in the heart of downtown Asheville, features the Colburn Hall of Minerals, STEM lab, dinosaur skeleton and fossil displays, Southern Appalachian Forest tree climb, and other exhibits supporting experiential science learning, discovery and exploration.
Asheville Art Museum – Every Friday, this downtown Asheville museum’s Art PLAYce space features kid-focused events in a sensory-rich environment, inviting exploration of art via fun activities as well as unique interactives created by regional artists.
Hands On! Children’s Museum – This colorful children’s museum in downtown Hendersonville is famed for creative hands-on exhibits, as well as events, programs and classes.
Adventure Center of Asheville– This in-town center has it all for the outdoor adventurer in your kid. KidZip is a unique zipline course designed for kids 4-10 featuring nine ziplines and four climbing elements. Its Treetops Adventure Park is an aerial challenge course with 77 unique climbing, rolling, walking, jumping, swinging, and rappelling challenges specific to different ages (4 and up) and experience levels. Kolo Bike Park offers 4 miles of purpose-built mountain bike trails, two pump tracks for beginner and experienced riders, and even a Littleville bike playground for the youngest shredders.
Pinball and arcades – Rainy days don’t have to drown out the fun: Downtown’s Asheville Pinball Museum offers 75 pinball and classic video games to play for a flat admission price. West Asheville’s Retrocade features video games, pinball, billiards, Skeeball and Foosball for flat-fee indoor fun (and both boast bars for the adults!).
ClimbMax – This climbing gym has two in-town locations featuring varied indoor terrain, along with expert instruction and equipment. The downtown location, with numerous top rope and auto-belay features, is well-suited to younger climbers.
The N.C. Arboretum – These gardens offer plenty of opportunities to learn about nature in a fun, immersive environment. Among the activities are TRACK Trail, which explores the Natural Garden Trail through the eyes of Shelly, the Arboretum’s resident eastern box turtle; and Rocky Cove Railroad, which highlights the entry of trains into Western N.C. in the early 1900s via an intricately detailed garden-scale model railroad and trains.
Biltmore House and Grounds – Kid-centric activities abound at this famed destination. Offerings include: a kids’ audio guided tour of the house; a model train exhibit meandering through the gardens; guided bird walks and falconry experiences; horse-drawn carriage rides; kids’ lagoon fishing with instructor and equipment provided; and Antler Hill Village, featuring Pisgah Playground, the Farm with hens, goats, lambs and calves, and the Barn with blacksmith, broom-maker and woodworker demos.
Sweet factory tours – Visitors to the River Arts District’s French Broad Chocolate Factory can take a tour of the facility to learn about the journey of the cacao bean, from farm to factory; the Hop Ice Creamery in West Asheville offers three different tours highlighting the history of ice cream and the Hop.
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