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Channel Your Inner Ninja Warrior at Ninja Nation in Huntersville, NC

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Have you been looking for a place to sharpen up your ninja warrior skills? Ninja Nation: Huntersville has courses for all ages! Even your kindergartener can climb, jump, and burn off some energy while fitting in a little hidden exercise. Their open gym is a great way to dip your toes into the world of parkour, but they also have specialized classes, birthday party packages, and even summer camps!

Ninja Nation in Huntersville, North Carolina

Ninja Nation: An Epic Arena for All Ages

Get ready to watch your kids perform some amazing stunts that may even surprise you. If you are wondering “What exactly is a Ninja course?”, then you’re in for a treat, because it is pretty unique.

The gym is huge, with over 11,000 square feet of space filled with warped climbing walls, ropes challenges, high-quality soft mats, padded foam blocks, obstacle courses, stationary rings, and so many more interactive features. If you have seen the show Ninja Warrior, then you have some sort of idea of what a course can look like.

The full course at Ninja Nation in Huntersville, North Carolina
Arena and large foam blocks at Ninja Nation near Charlotte, North Carolina

Open Gym at Ninja Nation

Kids 5 and older are welcome at Ninja Nation, and the Open Gym courses are designed for beginners, intermediate, and advanced participants.  Open Gym is a time where you can explore the course without instruction.

Younger kids will have a blast stacking the foam blocks and creating their own obstacles. Older kids will get a fantastic upper body workout trying out all the equipment as well. Plus, they’ll have to opportunity to push themselves and boost their self-esteem when they master the warped wall!

There are coaches available to help spot and give advice, but it’s more informal during these times. You and your kids will need clean tennis shoes to wear while at the gym, so make sure to pack your most comfortable pair. 

Drop in Classes

If your kid needs a little more guidance, drop-in classes at Ninja Nation are recommended. With classes like Ninja Basics, Girl Power Ninja Class, and even a Mini-Heroes Class for preschoolers, you can find a drop-in class for every skill level.

Ninja & Parkour Program

Maybe your kid is super dedicated and wants to take it to the next level! The Ninja & Parkour Program is where you should look. These 8-week courses focus on helping your kid learn the skills they need, while also strengthening their body and learning how to control their body movement.

Homeschool Program

It can be difficult to find programs for kids that fit the requirement for physical education when it comes to Homeschooling. Ninja Nation’s Homeschool Classes are a great way to help keep your kids fit while also having a lot of fun. Kids 5 – 15 are welcome, and classes are once per week for an hour.

Hours and Cost at Ninja Nation: Huntersville

You can visit Ninja Nation every day of the week if you want. They are open Monday through Thursday from 4 pm to 7 pm, Friday from 4 pm to 8 pm, and Saturday through Sunday from 10 am to 7 pm. 

The Huntersville location has several pricing options to choose from. Drop-in rates for open gym are $20 per hour $30 per hour for two hours, and an all-day pass is $35. Children must be 5 and older to participate. Bring clean shoes, they are required!

If you plan to visit more than once, a punch pass would be a smart option. They have a 5 or 10 punch pass. The 5 punch pass (5 hours total) is $80 while a 10 punch pass (10 hours total) is $160.

Class passes are also available, and are helpful if you are in Ninja Nation’s Development, Homeschool Ninja Basics, Teen&Adult, or Mini Heroes classes. A 4 class pass is $100, 8 class pass is $200, and 12 class pass is $300.

You can also get a monthly membership! They have two options, an Open Gym Membership for $125 (plus a $39 initiation fee) or the Unlimited Access Pass that is $210 per month (plus a $79 initiation fee). The memberships are a great option if you have kids who are very serious about honing their ninja skills.

Birthday Parties at Ninja Nation

Looking for a birthday party that your kid will never forget? How about a ninja birthday party at Ninja Nation? Your party will have access to the open gym arena for 90 minutes along with a party room to enjoy birthday treats.

Prices start at $395 for a Standard Party, with other options available. They have an add-on pizza and drink package to help make it easier on you when planning out your kid’s party.

Ninja Camp

Have an energized kid who needs to do something epic on their days off from school? Ninja Nation has camps for most “no school” holidays throughout the year. They also have summer camp! Your kids will do ninja activities, have open gym time, work on their teamwork, and play games.

Camps are full-day, and you can purchase day camp passes or week-long passes depending on what you’re looking for.

14120 Statesville Road, Huntersville, NC

How excited are you to visit Ninja Nation?

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These 25+ Ideas For Things to Do While Stuck at Home will keep everyone happy!

Unwind Indoor Play Cafe: This Indoor Playground Has a Giant Sandbox!

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If you are looking for an epic indoor play place, then Unwind Indoor Play Cafe is an excellent idea for your next play day! The indoor playground in Pineville, NC has a play structure, ball pit, and several other sensory-enriching features that will keep your young kids busy while you enjoy something delicious from the cafe.

Unwind Indoor Play Cafe near Charlotte, North Carolina

Special thanks to Unwind Indoor Play Cafe for providing play passes for this review!

Check out these 20+ Things to Do Near Charlotte, NC to have some wonderful family fun!

Things to Do in Charlotte, NC

What to Expect at Unwind Indoor Play Cafe: Review

When you enter the play cafe, you’ll head straight to the counter to purchase your tickets and socks. If you have been before, you can bring along the socks from your first visit to save you a few bucks. The play area is open to kids 7 years old and younger, so keep that in mind before your visit.

At the counter, you can also purchase yummy snacks and treats while your kids get their wristbands and head through the gate to play. The entire play area is visible from the cafe area, or you can find a seat inside that’s comfortable.

The Playground Area

Let’s just say this playground is truly Instagram-worthy! The main playground features a climbing tunnel and twisty slide that my daughters loved going down over and over into the ball pit below. The ball pit is filled with hundreds of balls, so your kids can play along the ground and make ball snow angels if that’s their vibe. The area is lined with soft padded seating, making it easy for parents to sit along the edges and interact with their kids.

The Sensory Floor

This was my favorite! They have an entire section covered in sensory flooring. It’s like the floor is colorful lava that you can press and watch the colors morph. You will also see several Rody ride-on horses here, a color-changing wall, and several other things your kids (and you!) can enjoy playing with.

A Section Just for Babies!

Thankfully, Unwind wanted to make sure babies had a separate, safe section to play. There are developmentally appropriate climbing toys and soft blocks to enjoy. Parents can sit around the edges and watch their little ones explore without worrying that a big kid will come along and bump them.

The Sandbox

If you head toward the front corner of the play area, you’ll find a huge sandbox. The sand in the box is so soft, and my tactile toddler loved running her hands through the sand. You can get into the sandbox if you would like, but there is also space in front where parents can hang out and chat. Unwind has utility brushes right outside of the sandbox where you can brush down your kid’s clothes and feet so that they do not track sand to the other areas.

The Climbing Wall

In the back corner, there is a climbing wall I couldn’t keep my four-year-old out of. She loved it! The wall has rock climbing grips so your kids can climb and then jump into a pit of foam blocks. If you have younger kids, just be mindful of the bigger kids jumping off the walls onto them.

Large sandbox at Unwind Indoor Play Cafe
Climbing wall at Unwind Indoor Play Cafe in Pineville, North Carolina

Cost of Admission and Hours

Passes for Unwind Indoor Play Cafe are $12.99 per hour of play. Two adults are free per child. You will need to purchase socks if you do not already have Unwind-branded socks. Parents are required to fill out a waiver online or in person before their child can play. 

The play cafe is open Monday through Friday from 9 am – 6 pm, Saturday from 9 am – 7 pm, and Sunday from 1 pm to 5 pm.

The Cafe at Unwind

It wouldn’t be a play & cafe without delicious snacks! The cafe has several options for prepackaged snacks, coffee, a selection of lattes, hot chocolate, tea, and a variety of drinks. They occasionally have some yummy items like empanadas, tequenos, and sweet treats like cheesecake and milhojas. If you forget your kid’s snacks, they have items like veggie straws and juice. There are several tables throughout the venue to eat your snacks.

Birthday Parties

Looking for a place to host your kid’s next birthday? Unwind has several birthday party packages to choose from. Prices range from $350 for a party rental room, to $1500 if you would like to rent out the entire venue. Party packages do not include play passes, so keep that in mind when budgeting your party. Contact Unwind directly if you have any questions or concerns before your next party!

Things to Know Before You Go

  • There are bathrooms at the venue, so no need to worry if you need to rush your potty-training toddler to the restroom.
  • The weekends are popular, and it gets very busy. This means that older kids may be running around, so keep that in mind if you want to put your baby in the ball pit.
  • If you live in the area, monthly memberships to Unwind Indoor Play Cafe are available and could save you money if you plan to attend regularly.
  • Outside food is prohibited.
  • Parents must stay with their children as the play area is not equipped for drop-off childcare.
  • You can find all the rules and policies on the Unwind regulations page.
Unwind Indoor Play Cafe playground

Unwind Indoor Play Cafe
601 North Polk Street Suite A
Pineville, NC 28134

These Apple Store Classes and Camps for Kids are Totally FREE

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Did you know the Apple Store provides free classes and camps for kids? Classes include the free use of Apple technology plus instruction allowing kids to be creative with music, photography, art, video, and even coding.

Over summer break, the Apple Store even provides FREE Apple Camp for kids, which are class events that culminate in a final project. All this happens through a program called Today at Apple.

My own kids have participated in several of these camps and classes and have always enjoyed the programs, wearing their free Apple t-shirts, and sharing their creations with our family. Thanks to that experience, in this article we’re sharing everything you need to know about signing up and participating in these classes and camps at the Apple Store, plus a few tips.

Apple camp

This article includes:
In-Store Apple Classes for Kids
How to Sign-up for Apple Store Kids’ Classes
Apple Camp: Free Summer Camp for Kids
Sign-up for 2023 Apple Camp
Things to Know About Apple Events for Kids


Take on a New Challenge at The Escape Game: Concord, NC

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Love a good puzzle challenge with the family? The Escape Game at Concord Mills recently opened with 5 escape room challenges for your friends and family to conquer. All five rooms differ with regard to difficulty and the number of players able to play together, so groups big and small, and beginner or more seasoned escape room players, will all find a game that’s right for their group.

The Escape Game: Concord invited us out to try a game so we could share the experience with our readers.

The Escape Game in Concord Mills

Three of my kids, aged 10-13, and I got to play the Playground Escape Game and we had a blast! It was a very cooperative game and really required us to divide and conquer and help each other to solve all the puzzles in time.

The game was full of surprises and we won’t share all the details, so you can enjoy the game yourself. But here’s how our experience went.

The Escape Game at Concord Mills

The Escape Game is located between the movie theater and Dave & Busters at Concord Mills. If you head towards the movie theater parking lot and then keep going around towards Dave and Busters, you’ll see The Escape Game, painted black and white, on the exterior of the mall. You won’t need to walk through the mall to get to The Escape Game, but there’s an entrance in the mall, too!

When you arrive you’ll check in with your name, if you’ve made reservations in advance. This is recommended, by the way. Then, if you haven’t filled out a waiver, there’s a quick form to fill out on a tablet kiosk. Then, you’re ready to go.

Your guide will walk you to your game and welcome you to the space. A movie intro will play on the screen above the door and you’re off.

Waiver kiosk and merchandise in the Escape Game lobby

The Playground

Our game, Playground, set us up as 4th-grade students on the very last day of 4th grade. But our teacher wouldn’t let us out until we had completed all the tasks on the report card. Each lit up as we completed them during the game, helping us keep track of where we were and how many more puzzles were yet to be solved.

Up to 12 players can play this game, so I was a little nervous about how the 4 of us would do. We’re not exactly expert escape room players. But our game guide helped us out from time to time with clues on the video screen and little tips to let us know if we were headed in the right direction or not. Which, was super helpful and helped keep the game enjoyable and not frustrating.

The Puzzles at The Escape Game

The puzzles we had to solve were all themed by school subject, fitting with the 4th-grade classroom experience. The way information was displayed and hidden for each problem varied greatly. Some clues had us bouncing between rooms as they were opened and some of it was hidden in plain sight and required some deduction and logic, and maybe a little math to find the solutions. Each problem worked together to get us the information we needed to escape that fourth-grade class.

There were lots of fun little surprises along the way, that I, at least, have never seen in an escape room before. My kids really enjoyed those surprises.

Celebrating our escape at The Escape Game, Concord

Mom Review: The Escape Game: Concord, NC

We had a great time playing Playground. Escape rooms are a great family activity for families, especially with hard-to-please tweens and teens and I would definitely would recommend playing a game at The Escape Game. Our game was really well done and we enjoyed working together to solve it and escape.

In my opinion, I don’t think kids much younger than 8 or 9 would be able to contribute much towards solving the puzzles and they might get bored. Although one nice thing about Playground is that there are a significant number of tasks that require collecting objects and younger kids could certainly help with that. But, suffice it to say, these are really geared toward older kids and adults.

We escaped! The Escape Game, Concord Mills

More Rooms to explore at The Escape Game

We got to peek inside a couple of the other new rooms at The Escape Game!

  • Prison Break: 60 minutes to escape prison. Difficulty 9/10, for up to 8 players
  • The Depths: A secret underwater lab? Difficulty 7/10, for up to 8 players
  • Special Ops: A mysterious market…. Difficulty 8/10, for up to 8 players
  • Gold Rush: Time to find some gold. Difficulty 7/10, for up to 8 players
  • Playground: Escape the 4th grade, can’t be that hard, right? Difficulty 6/10 for up to 12 players
The Depths, Escape Game
Sneak peek: The Depths at The Escape Game, Concord

Tickets for The Escape Game

Tickets are $34.99. Smaller groups may end up together, so if you’d like to book privately, for only your group, you can purchase the entire room beginning at $280. Of course, the other option is just to make sure you bring enough friends to fill the room.

More to Do: Concord Mills

Being located in Concord Mills, a large mall, you could easily turn your visit into a full day. Concord Mills has an aquarium, an arcade, movie theater, lots of shopping, and places to eat.

Our family went to the Lego Store and then decided to drive over to SunFlour Baking Company for lunch, which is a family favorite just about 15 minutes from the mall.

Go Sock Skating at the Schiele Museum in Gastonia, NC

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Indoor “sock skating” at the Schiele Museum is just the thing for kids to get out their energy during colder months. Located in Gastonia, NC, the Schiele Museum is only about an hour from Greenville, SC, or 35 minutes from Charlotte, NC.

Sometimes you just come across something so fun and unexpected that you have to share it – which is exactly what happened when we visited the Schiele Museum of Natural History in Gastonia, NC during a rainy day and to our great surprise, learned that our kids could go ice skating but with socks!

If you didn’t know sock skating was a thing, don’t feel too bad. We didn’t either until we happened upon it at the Schiele Museum. It’s exactly as it sounds: skating with socks on instead of use skates on ice. We’ll tell you more in this story, plus give you the dates when you can get free tickets to the museum. 

Sock skating for the 2023-24 season opens November 24, 2023.

About the Schiele Museum of  Natural History 

We have a whole Schiele Museum story about this amazing museum, which is worth a read. This museum has extensive exhibits on animals, plants, gems and minerals, and dinosaurs. They also have an outdoor farm and Catawba Village. 

Schiele Museum Dinosaur exhibit

If you love learning about the stars, don’t forget to see a show in the planetarium. You can reserve your seat when you buy your tickets at the entrance. 

Sock Skating 

During the wintertime, the Schiele Museum has a room dedicated to a winter wonderland of Sock Skating. The room is lit to look like it’s snowing, complete with a little snowbank and a wooden house with a Christmas tree in the window. We have a short reel if you want to see how it all works!

There are benches for parents to relax and watch their kids enjoy skating on a slippery floor. All kids need are socks and they need to be sure to bring their own as the museum does not have socks to lend out. 

Sock Skating is for kids ages 2-10 years old and you need to purchase a wristband for $3 for each kid to participate. When we went, it was a busier day and the front desk ladies gave us a timed entry ticket, which was fine. We were basically able to go when we saw there weren’t many kids inside and it worked out great. 

Sock Skating at Schiele Museum

My kids absolutely loved this and I thought it was such a creative and unique idea for indoor fun. We spent a lot of time at the other museum exhibits as well, which were awesome. This is easily a great day trip from the Upstate. 

Sock Skating at Winter Wonderland opened November 25th and runs usually through February.

Tickets to the Schiele Museum

Tickets to the museum are $7/adults, $6/kids 4-18 and kids ages 3 and under are free. Planetarium tickets are $5/each and farm tickets are $3/each. 

There are certain dates every month where admission to the museum is free, thanks to the support of Duke Energy. Free museum admission is available the second Tuesday and fourth Friday of every month from Noon – 4 pm. 

Do you have a Roper Mountain Science Center membership? The Museum is part of the same ASTC passport program as RMSC which means great news! If you have a RMSC membership, then you get in free to the Shiele Museum. The ASTC Passport program gets you free admission into partner museums all over the world. If you plan to travel, it can pay for itself in just one trip to a partner museum. 

Schiele Museum of Natural History & Planetarium
1500 East Garrison Boulevard, Gastonia NC

Free Admission for Teachers and Their Families at the Schiele Museum August 1-5

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We love the Schiele Museum of Natural History in Gastonia, NC and they are having a great Back to School promotion August 1-5, 2022!

The Schiele Museum of Natural History is such a cool place with a planetarium, dinosaurs, geology exhibits, an old mill, a replica Native American village, and farm. It’s a great spot to spend a few hours indoors exploring all the museum has to offer plus time outside to check out the farm and village. The museum is offering a great special for teachers and their families the first week of August.

Back to School at the Schiele Museum

From August 1-5, 2022, teachers and their families receive free admission to the Schiele Museum, which includes all the exhibits, the planetarium, and the farm.

All teachers need to do is show their ID badge and they receive free tickets. Their family must be with them at the time of entry.

Do homeschool teachers qualify? Yes! If you’re a homeschool teacher, please bring your certification with you for check-in.

About the Schiele Museum

The Schiele Museum is named for Rudolph “Bud” Schiele, a botanist and naturalist. Bud worked with the community to establish the Gaston County Museum of Natural History in 1961. He needed somewhere to house his vast collection of specimens. This museum was a dream of his since the age of 17.

Boy Scouts will find it interesting to know that Bud turned down the opportunity to be the sole wildlife official in the entire territory of Alaska to be an executive with the Boy Scouts of America organization. Although he passed away just 13 years after the museum was dedicated, his legacy lives on through the museum whose name was changed to honor his legacy.

Exhibits at the Schiele Museum

We have written an entire story on the exhibits at the Schiele Museum – from the outdoor Catawba Village to the Farm to the incredible indoor exhibits (including a sock skating one during the winter that was amazing). You can read our extensive review to learn more about the entire Schiele Museum of Natural History.

Visiting the Schiele Museum

There is no cost to visit the museum August 1-5, 2022 for teachers and their families (with proper ID) in accordance with their Back to School special.

Also, if you think you’ll be returning regularly, consider the membership. The Museum is part of the same ASTC passport program as Roper Mountain Science Center in Greenville, SC Good news – if you have a RMSC membership, then you get in free to the Shiele Museum. The ASTC Passport program gets you free admission into partner museums all over the world. If you plan to travel, it can pay for itself in just one trip to a partner museum. 

Tickets are $7/adult and $6/youth for the indoor exhibits, $5/person for the planetarium, and $3/person for the farm. Children 2 and under and Active Military members (with proper ID) receive free admission.

Hours are Monday – Friday from 10 am – 4 pm, Saturdays from 10 am – 5 pm, and Sundays 1-5 pm.

Schiele Museum of Natural History & Planetarium
1500 East Garrison Boulevard, Gastonia NC