Thinking about a visit to ZMAX Dragway in Charlotte, NC? When is the last time you stood up to watch something go 300 mph? Been a long time or maybe never? Then you should plan a trip to the ZMAX Dragway for an NHRA National Event.
We got a chance to visit for the NHRA Carolina Nationals and couldn’t believe all the things we got to experience. And the best part? Kids are FREE. So your 300 mph family adventure just got a lot more budget-friendly. Here’s everything you need to know.
Think a fun day would be an adventure with your family to a farm or petting zoo near you? It’s hard to resist a photo of your child petting or interacting with a cute animal at a farm or petting zoo.
I know what you are thinking, “are there any petting zoos near me?”
Yes! There are quite a few! We’ve pulled together a huge list of petting zoos and farms where you can interact with animals. These farms and petting zoos are located near Greenville, SC, in Western North Carolina, Northern Georgia, as well as in Charlotte, NC, and Columbia, SC. So wherever you are, find a petting zoo near you, or a farm that makes a great day trip.
Our list includes places open year-round places to pet animals, plus seasonal farms, and mobile and event-based petting zoos. We have tried to make sure these are places that treat their animals kindly and with respect as well. If we missed any, let us know in the comments.
Is There a Petting Zoo Near Me?
Yes, there probably is a petting zoo on this list near you! Use the links below to navigate this list by location.
Are you thinking about snow tubing at Black Bear Snow Tubing in Hendersonville, NC? Western North Carolina has great snow tubing and Black Bear Snow Tubing is a stellar option for families! They have a huge mountain to get your winter in high gear with a fun snow tubing trip for the whole family! We took a trip up to try out that snow-tubing mountain and it was so much fun! Now we have all the details to share so you can plan your trip!
Media tickets were provided for this review and the opinions are solely those of the author.
While there aren’t any places to snow tube in the Upstate, SC, there are definitely options nearby and one of them is Black Bear Snow Tubing in nearby Hendersonville, NC, just over an hour from Greenville, SC. The snow tubing family-owned operation has been in business for seven years and they really have a good thing going there, which I’m going to tell you all about in this story.
Snow Tubing at Black Bear
The slope at Black Bear Snow Tubing is 600 feet long with an 80-foot drop and it’s pretty fast. They make their own snow (unless they get a big snowstorm, which doesn’t happen too often) and the hill is well-maintained by their attentive staff.
How it works is that when you get to Black Bear, you go to a little shed to watch a short safety video, where you learn how to get out of your tube on the run and not to start snowball fights, sign a waiver, and head inside the cozy lodge to pay. Then you get your tubes and head to the hill.
They have a pulley system to get you to the top of the hill, which works by slipping the handle of your tube on a cable that takes you, while sitting inside your tube, right up the hill to the top. Once at the top, you’ll wait for a few minutes before being situated into your group by the staff and then sliding down the hill.
Why Black Bear is Different
I’ve snow tubed at many places in our area and I think Black Bear Snow Tubing is pretty fantastic. Here’s why:
You can (and should) make a reservation ahead of time, which is crucial for us in Greenville who need to travel out of state to go snow tubing. It’s quite a bummer to get to our snow tubing place and either find out that they are sold out or having to wait hours for an open slot.
The staff is attentive and efficient. They were always around watching the hill to make sure things were running smoothly and safely. When there was a slight backup at the top of the hill, they figured out how to manage to get us all down the hill and back up to keep snow tubing without interruption.
The lodge is super cozy and warm and has reasonable concessions. I got a $2 hot chocolate and it was amazing. Plus, they have food, including apple cider donuts, that is affordable and you can get warm by the wood-burning stove inside or watch on the deck if you don’t want to go tubing.
The setup takes into account smaller kids. There is playground next to the place where you wait in line to go up the hill so smaller kids can get out their energy and there is a big fire pit also near the waiting area where you can warm up.
If you forgot a hat or gloves, they have them for sale inside the lodge. I feel like us parents can relate when our kid gets out of the car to go snow tubing and forgot his or her winter hat.
The check-in is fast. This is important because you want to get on the hill and start having fun as soon as possible!
Black Bear has excellent communication. They post daily on their Facebook page about current snow conditions, which is super helpful when you’re unsure about the weather.
The snow is real. They don’t have any synthetic chemicals in the snow – it’s the real deal.
My kids, ages 11 and 8, and I had such a blast snow tubing at Black Bear Snow Tubing. We went down the hill about 10 times (maybe more, I lost count honestly) and had so much fun together. I really love places where adults can carelessly be kids again. My kids are already asking to go back. The hill was super fast and seeing my kids faces light up with joy was special. I love those moments.
Tips on How to Enjoy Snow Tubing at Black Bear
Winter being winter, it’s usually cold when you go snow tubing. I’ve found that bringing hand and foot warmers is a really good trick to keeping everyone warm and comfortable. You can get them at Wal-Mart, Amazon, or most drug stores and they stay warm for hours.
It’s also really important to make a reservation when you know you want to go snow tubing. This is especially true during school breaks and holidays. Snow tubing is an awesome family activity on a day off but a lot of people also have the same thought. Don’t forget to make a reservation.
You don’t need to wear snow bibs or snow pants. I had on fleece leggings, hiking boots, and a couple layers of tops with a heavy coat (it was really cold when we went!) and I was fine. I saw people wearing all kinds of clothes that worked for them like pants, leggings, jeans, and sweatpants. The snow wasn’t wet at all when we went but if you go on a warmer day, you may want to bring a change of pants in case they get wet.
There are port-a-potties outside the lodge to use and no bathrooms indoors.
Double-check Black Bear’s Facebook page before heading out. Snow tubing is very dependent on weather, which changes often in the mountains. They will post current conditions and if they are open or closed most days.
Ticket Prices and Policies at Black Bear Snow Tubing
Tickets are $30/hour or $40/two hours for snow tubing. Kids must be 4 years old in order to go snow tubing. You can either sign a waiver when you get to Black Bear Snow Tubing or print one out online ahead of time. Either is fine.
While Black Bear Snow Tubing does take walk-ups, it is much better to make a reservation ahead of time instead of getting there and finding out they are full. Online reservations are fantastic for this very reason so definitely make use of them.
And be sure to check Black Bear Snow Tubing’s Facebook page before heading out to double check they are open and running. Winter tubing runs mid-December through February usually depending on the weather, of course.
And if you want to tube during other times of the year, you totally can! They have warm-weather tubing in the fall.
Got a kid who loves cars and looking for activities to do around North and South Carolina? Because we’re located in an area where there are many car lovers, there are plenty of things to do and see. From museums to events to drag ways and speedways, your little car enthusiast will have so much oohing and aahing over classic cars, concept cars, race cars, and so much more. We’ve rounded up a list of some of the best things to do across the Carolinas for the kid who loves cars.
The BMW Zentrum Museum in Greer is a one-of-a-kind experience for any car enthusiast. Visitors get to experience BMW from its beginnings in aviation and motorsports to where it is now on a global scale. You’ll see BMW’s milestones, rare vehicles from the past such as the famous Isetta “Bubblecar”, and restored classics. You’ll also be able to explore current BMW vehicles through modern-day exhibits and displays. For safety purposes, vehicle doors remain locked in the museum. The museum itself is self-guided, but you can book guided tours of the plant and factory if you prefer that.
Cars and Coffee is an Upstate SC gathering for car enthusiasts that takes place on the 4th Saturday of each month. Visitors have the opportunity to see sports cars, exotic cars, classic cars, and more. The gathering takes place in a Michelin parking lot, so the Michelin cafeteria is open for visitors to grab a coffee and various pastries.
Local car groups and organizations frequently organize car shows at local venues. They are often free and sometimes include other fun things to do like trunk or treats at Halloween or benefit charities, like toy drives around Christmas.
To find car shows near you, check online and on Facebook. In Upstate, SC, you’ll find a list of some of the upcoming car shows at Upstate Car Shows.
The Greer Dragway, established in 1957, features a 1/8th mile concrete and asphalt strip and has Grudge Racing every Thursday and Bracket Racing every Saturday. There’s a weather radar, a concession stand, and clean restrooms on the premises.
Located in Easley, the Greenville-Pickens Speedway features a half-mile of asphalt to give your entire family an experience they won’t forget. The track hosts weekly NASCAR-sanctioned races, which is bound to give any car enthusiast starry-eyes. In addition to racing, the Speedway offers events throughout the year, including the Upstate Holiday Lights Show.
The Charlotte Motor Speedway, located in Concord, NC, is a motorsport complex featuring a 1.5 mile quad oval track that hosts NASCAR racing. Events include the Coca-Cola 600 on Memorial Day weekend, The Bank of America Roval 400 in October, and more. Ticket prices range from event to event, so it’s best to see the Charlotte Motor Speedway website for ticket details.
Affectionately known as “The Bellagio of Race Tracks,” the zMAX Dragway in Concord, NC is a venue at Charlotte Motor Speedway featuring the world’s first 4-lane drag strip for NHRA races and other events. Ticket prices range from event to event, so it’s best to see the Charlotte Motor Speedway website for ticket details.
AutoBarn Classic Cars is a 60,000-square-foot indoor showroom located at the Gibson Mill community gathering spot in Concord. It’s just a 10-minute drive away from Charlotte Motor Speedway and is a great place to browse classic and concept cars. And for an added bonus, race cars and classic memorabilia are up for sale.
Morrison Motor Car Musem is full of sports and muscle cars. There are more than 50 cars featured in this exhibit, all from the past century. There’s also a gift shop and opportunities to buy a collector car such as a Mustang or Camaro on the property’s lot.
Morrison Motor Car Museum Details:
Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 9:30 am – 4 pm // Saturday 9:30 am – 3:00 pm
Ticket Cost: General Admission $8 // Seniors and Children under age 5 $6
This showroom carries an impressive collection of street classics. Guests can view street rods, muscle cars, vintage cars, and more. The 70,000-square-foot showroom has over 300 classic cars that are up for sale.
Streetside Classics Visit Details:
Hours: Tuesday-Friday 9 am – 6 pm // Saturday 9 am – 5 pm
The perfect place for Mustang lovers! Mustangs grace the museum’s displays, with various modified vehicles displayed throughout the year. The museum also hosts car shows and cruise events like the “Best of the Best Car Show’ and the “Mustang Chili & Cornbread Cook-Off.”
Mustang Owner’s Museum Visit Details:
Hours: Monday – Saturday 10 am – 5 pm // Sunday 12 pm – 5 pm *Closed major holidays
Ticket Cost: Adults $10 // Children 12 & under Free
Dale Earnhardt’s No. 2 car can be seen at Curb Motorsports Museum! The Curb Museum features a collection of NASCAR and Indy cars. The museum also holds cars that wrote pages in the motorsport history book including the car that Dale Earnhardt drove when he won his first Winston Cup Championship.
The NC Transportation Museum, located in the former Southern Railway’s Spencer Shops, is a transportation lover’s dream. The museum features history about all types of transportation: railroads, automotives, aviation, and more. Visitors will see the Barber Junction Depot (a train station built in 1898), the Bob Julian Roundhouse (the largest remaining roundhouse in North America featuring locomotives, passenger railcars, and a replica of the Wright Flyer), and so much more. The museum offers several seasonal and holiday events, including The Polar Express Train Ride.
NC Transportation Museum Details:
Tuesday – Saturday 9 am – 5 pm
Sunday 12 pm – 5 pm
Beginning November 11, museum hours change to accommodate The Polar Express Train Rides. Please refer to the museum’s website for details.
Regular museum train rides do not operate November 7 – December 26 for The Polar Express Train Rides..
Did you know Emerald Village Mine has a cave where you can see minerals glow in the dark? If you’re looking for a bucket list adventure in Western North Carolina, the Black Light Tour at the Emerald Village mine near Little Switzerland, NC is it. Kidding Around’s Kristina took her kids for this unique experience and tells us about it.
I thought Geology was a pretty boring subject until we studied it for a homeschool science unit. I was completely taken with the cool rocks, how the cycle of minerals, magma, and sedimentary rocks form. I loved learning about the chemical makeup of minerals. And when I took my kids to the Geology Museum at Clemson, the fluorescent black light room was a favorite. So when I heard that the Emerald Village Mine near Little Switzerland, North Carolina, was offering a very limited Black Light Mine Tour, I was in. I didn’t hesitate to get tickets when they went on sale back in the early spring and good thing, because they immediately sold out.
So start planning your 2023 adventure right now! As of January 29, 2023, tickets are now on sale for the 2023 season.
If you’re looking for something fun to do with your family this fall in the Greenville-Spartanburg area, Strawberry Hill Cooley Farms needs to be on your list. In fact, it should probably be on your bucket list every year. Strawberry Hill and Cooley Farms have been family owned and operated since 1947, and they truly understand and value families. With a cafe, ice cream shop, and produce stand of fresh pumpkins, jellies, jams, corn, and more, you’ll find plenty to satisfy your cravings. Plus, the hay ride and corn maze provide more than enough entertainment and memory-making for a couple of hours.
We visited one late morning in September and quickly discovered we weren’t the only ones who found this local gem. We wandered around the Shed, took plenty of photos, and went on the hay ride. If you’re thinking of visiting Strawberry Hill Cooley Farms, I’ve compiled lots of info and details for you below, including some extra tips before you go.
The Cafe and Ice Cream Parlor at Strawberry Hill
While we personally didn’t visit the cafe or ice cream parlor during our trip, it was PACKED and had a long line out front. Clearly, it is popular with families around the Upstate. The ice cream parlor has 32 flavors of freshly churned ice cream made with fruit straight from the farm. The cafe serves breakfast and lunch and has a variety of items to choose from. Breakfast is served until 11 am.
The Shed at Strawberry Hill
We parked at the Shed, and our toddler was immediately excited about all the pumpkins she could see from the car. Strawberry Hill has a large variety of pumpkins in all shapes, colors, and sizes to choose from. Not to mention their large supply of jellies, jams, boiled peanuts, and other snacks. They even had 3 flavors of slushies while we were there: Apple, Blackberry, and Peach. We grabbed a Peach Slushie to enjoy on our hay ride. It was delicious!
If you wander outside of the Shed covering, you’ll discover more pumpkins and some other fun things to bide your time. You’ll find a couple of tractors, a swing, and stacks of hay bales and pumpkins that are styled for the perfect fall photo op.
The Hay Ride at Strawberry Hill
If you want to go on one of the hay rides, purchase your tickets in the Shed. Each ticket includes one pumpkin from the pumpkin patch that you’ll visit on the hay ride. We weren’t really sure what to expect, but we’re glad we went on it!
Once you purchase your ticket, you’ll wait until your group is called, and then you’ll board the wagon. Don’t worry about getting itchy by sitting on bales of hay—Strawberry Hill has cleverly covered the hay bales in plastic for your comfort.
The tractor and wagon will take you through Strawberry Hill’s property, giving you fun facts along the way. (Fun fact we learned: they plant their strawberries by hand every single year! This was mind-blowing to me because their strawberry field is massive).
While on the hay ride, you’ll see cows and get the chance to feed them a little treat! Then, the tractor will drop you off at an exclusive area that’s only accessible for those who hop on the hay ride. You’ll find more farm animals to pet (Queen Victoria, the farm’s pig, was a big hit!), a sandbox, seesaws, a variety of games, several large slides, the pumpkin patch, and (new this year!) a giant Jumping Pillow!
Once you and your kids are done playing, you can hop back on a wagon to head back to the Shed.
The Corn Maze at Strawberry Hill
Strawberry Hill has 3 corn mazes: two larger ones and one kiddie maze. The two larger corn mazes take 20-30 minutes to complete, and the kiddie maze takes about 20 minutes. While they have offered the maze during the evening in the past, they are not offering night mazes in 2022.
Have you heard about Reed Gold Mine in Midland, NC? The very first gold ever discovered in the United States was at Little Meadow Creek and what would soon become the Reed Gold Mine. Visit Little Meadow Creek, tour the underground gold mine, and try your hand at panning for gold. Reed Gold Mine State Historic Site is an amazing place to visit. Admission is totally free. Here’s everything you need to know to plan your own visit to Reed Gold Mine.
Have you heard of French Broad Chocolate? The Asheville, NC-based chocolate company gives tours of their factory complete with a chocolate tasting. And while you won’t see any Oompa Loompa’s on this tour, or float down a river of chocolate on your way to rooms in the factory, you will learn where cacao beans come from and see how French Broad Chocolate turns the beans into their delicious bars, bonbons, and sipping chocolate. We attended the Bean-to-Bar tour and we have everything you’ll want to know about this educational and delicious family activity.
Thanks to French Broad Chocolate Factory and Cafe for providing complimentary tickets so we could bring this review to our readers.
Have you visited the Schiele Museum of Natural History? Located in Gastonia, North Carolina the museum makes a great day trip. Kidding Around’s Melanie had a lot of fun visiting the museum with her children. They enjoyed exhibits on dinosaurs, minerals, animals, critters, nature and so much more! If you haven’t been yet, you should definitely add it to your museum bucket list.
Thank you to the Schiele Museum for providing admission to the museum so we could bring this review to our readers! The words and opinions in this article are that of the writer.
Did you know Hendersonville, NC has a FREE airplane museum? The Western North Carolina Air Museum is hanger beside a small runway full of historic airplanes. Learn about the history of the planes, how their made and how they fly. There are evern air craft that kids can climb in, explore, and experiment with the controls. If you have an aviation enthusiast in your family, no matter they age, this is not a place you’ll want to skip. Let us introduce you to this amazing little gem in Hendersonville so you can plan your visit soon!
What is the Western North Carolina Air Museum?
The museum consists of a single hanger filled to the brim with intersting and historic air craft, informational exhbitis, and knowledgable staff there to answer your questions and explain everything about these planes. There is also an aviation library that takes up almost an entire wall of the hanger, full of information for anyone researching an aviation topic whether its historic, technical or anything inbetween.
Is the the WNC Air Museum a Place for Kids?
YES! Definitely bring kids to this museum. Signage at the museum asks parents to supervise their children at all times, which makes sense since there are so many valuable aircraft and exhibits densly packed into the space.
That said there are definitey things for kids to touch, explore, play with, and enjoy. There are photo ops for kids in the form of a wooden painted plane. And your kids may also notice some stuffies doing a little piloting. Both a plane and a gyrocopter are available for kids to climb into the pilot’s seat and move the controls. They’ll actually be able to move the rudder, ailerons, and elevator. This was definitely my kids’ favorite part of the museum.
The staff at the museum were very kind to my kids, answering all their questions and complimenting us on their inquisitiveness and behavior. And really, what parent doesn’t want to hear things like that about their kids?
On our way out, my kids were offered copies of some avaition magazines which they eagerly accepted. Members of the Air Museum donate copies they are done with to the museum so kids can bring them home to learn more.
When Can We Visit the Western North Carolina Air Museum?
The regular hours of the museum are as follows:
April – October: Wednesday & Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm and Sunday 12 pm to 5 pm
November – March: Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, 12 pm to 5 pm
The museum may also be open additional hours for special events, like the Hendersonville Apple Festival. VIsit the Western North Carolina Air Museum website for special events information.
Getting to the WNC Air Museum
When you plug the address into your GPS or maps app you should have no trouble getting to the museum. Its located just a few miles from downtown Hendersonville, but the area is residential and you may feel like you’re headed off in the wrong direction. The drive is gravel and you’ll see the hanger from the road.