Have you visited Cabarrus County in North Carolina? Just a short two-hour drive from the Upstate, Cabarrus County offers tons of fun for kids from a historic gold mine you can tour, to a famous NASCAR speedway and NHRA dragway. In this article, we’ll share more than 10 places you can take your kids near Concord plus all the tips you need to make it a family memory you will never forget.
Thank you to Explore Cabarrus for providing lodging and some of these experiences.
This article includes:
Charlotte Motor Speedway
Reed Gold Mine
Great Wolf Lodge
SEA LIFE Aquarium
Lionel Retail Store
The Percantile & Creamery
Hendrick Motorsports Museum and Team Store
K1 Speed Indoor Karting
Kannapolis, NC: Village Park and More
Sunflour Baking Company
The Charlotte Motor Speedway should definitely be on the list of places to take your kids. This famous superspeedway and other tracks are massive and it’s an impressive place to not just visit but to also tour.
About the Charlotte Motor Speedway:
- Hosts 3 NASCAR events a year, plus many other events and races
- The superspeedway is 1.5 miles with 24-degree turns
- 84,000 people can sit in the superspeedway stands
- The Dirt Track at Charlotte hosts Monster Truck events and World of Outlaw events
- The record speed on the zMAX Dragway is over 300 mph
Speedway Tours and Experiences
During our visit, we took the Feel the Thrill Tour. Though this tour is no longer available, they do offer a similar experience called the Infield Experience Tour that takes you through the inside and outside of the NASCAR infield. They also offer the Fast Pass Tour where you can take your personal care around the Charlotte Motor Speedway, with your tour guide leading you through your radio! This tour is $50.00 per car.
The Charlotte Motor Speedway also offers an annual Christmas event and there are some interesting driving experience options for adults. The NASCAR Racing Experience, the Richard Petty Driving Experience, and the Mario Andretti Racing Experience are just some of the options available if you’re looking for a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Kidding Around age recommendation: 5 and older for tours
If you get an opportunity to visit ZMAX Dragway for an NHRA national event, make sure you take it! Every ticket is a pit pass so you can watch from your seats, get closer to the action hanging out with other fans along the fence, or hang back in the pits and watch crews work on their cars. We visited in September 2022 for the Carolina Nationals and had a blast! when you go, you’ll get a chance to see cars from a huge variety of classes each with its own unique body types, fuel, and speeds.
Kids 12 and under get in FREE!
Your next opportunity to see a national event at ZMAX is April 2023 for 4 Wide Nationals when all 4 lanes of the dragway will be used in the racing simultaneously.
5555 Concord Pkwy S, Concord 28027
Reed Gold Mine
Learn about the first gold ever discovered in the United States. It was right in Cabarrus County in 1799. Today you can visit the site, explore the mine that operated here and learn about gold mining history. You can also try panning for gold from the same creek where that first gold was discovered! We loved our visit to Reed Gold Mine.
Reed Gold Mine
9621 Reed Mine Road
This lodge includes a full indoor waterpark (and outdoor pool for the warmer seasons), daily programming, multiple dining options, and other attractions.
One of the benefits that I loved about our room was that the couch was a pull-out bed in a separate sitting area giving us extra room to spread out at night. You can also reserve special rooms that have bunk beds for the kids.
Day Passes at Great Wolf Lodge
Great Wolf Lodge offers day passes for families that want to visit for a day. However, lodging is typically a better deal, especially if you look for reduced rates via the Great Wolf Lodge emails or online deals sites such as Groupon.
Waterpark at Great Wolf Lodge
The waterpark is extensive and includes multiple waterslides, a small children’s wading area, a children’s water playground, a wave pool, and more. Waterpark admission is included in your stay.
Magiquest (or Compass Quest & Shadow Quest)
We also purchased a Magiquest game for our children. To play Magiquest, you must purchase a wand and game activation. Once your wand is activated, you can use it to complete quests and adventures around the lodge. The game is quite a bit of fun for kids and is really active.
Other Things to Do at Great Wolf Lodge
In addition to the waterpark and Magiquest, the lodge has daily programming including a bedtime story each night, dance party, laser tag, a ropes course, mini-golf, and much more. The attractions other than the daily programming and waterpark are all offered for additional fees. You can purchase special bundle passes to save money.
10175 Weddington Road, Concord, NC 28027
Visiting in the winter? Read our review of Snowland at Great Wolf Lodge.
Even if you are just passing through the area, Concord Mills is a fun place to visit in Concord. This massive mall has 200 stores, a dining pavilion with 14 restaurants, and attractions such as SEA LIFE (see below), a movie theatre, Dave & Busters, and The Speedpark (see below).
Stores that children might enjoy in particular at Concord Mill are The Disney Store, the Lionel Retail Store (see below), the LEGO store, and Bass Pro Shop.
SEA LIFE Aquarium is adjacent to Concord Mills and offers 10 interactive zones to explore.
While this aquarium is smaller than some of the other aquariums in the area, it still offers plenty to explore. Plan on 45 minutes to an hour for your visit. At the end, there is a play space (and fortunately plenty of parent seating) where smaller kids can get some energy out.
Be sure to purchase your tickets ahead of time online starting at $17.99 to $21.99 depending on the day you plan to go. Purchasing online will secure your entry spot in case they are crowded.
The aquarium has a passport for the kids where they can get a stamp at each station. If they get all the stamps, they get a small prize from the gift shop. My kids really loved looking for the passport stations.
Kidding Around age recommendation: All ages. This aquarium might be a particularly good choice for smaller children as the length is manageable.
8111 Concord Mills Blvd, Concord, NC 28027
Concord Mills – Entry 7
The Speedpark is located directly outside the Concord Mills mall. You can purchase an unlimited wristband that will allow you unlimited activities for the entire day. Unlike many wristbands too, this one actually includes all the activities from the bungee jumping to the multiple go-kart tracks.
The Speedpark offers:
- 4 Go-Karting Tracks (including a 2-seater track and junior track)
- 18-Hole Mini-Golf
- 110 Ft. Fun Slide (you slide down on a burlap sack)
- Bungee Jump
- 8 Story Spider Climb (my kids loved this)
The Lionel Retail Store is the perfect addition to the Concord Mills Mall for train enthusiasts, and it’s more than just a store as it has several model train displays. In the store, collectors will find both model trains and NASCAR collectibles.
Test your family’s puzzle-solving skills at The Escape Game at Concord Mills. With 5 rooms to pick from, your family is sure to find an escape room challenge they’d like to take on.
Our family with one adult, and 3 kids ages 10-13, played “Playground” and had a blast.
You can book in advance at The Escape Game Concord Website.
This ice cream/coffee shop located near Concord Mills doesn’t only just sell fresh cups of coffee but also a premium ice cream brand. For families with children, the coffee shop also has a small play area with toys and books.
8635 Concord Mills Blvd.
At iFLY you can fly (like really fly) in a wind tunnel.
iFLY is an indoor skydiving simulator where you enter a wind tunnel that is strong enough to allow you to float on the air. In fact, experienced flyers can even perform tricks such as flips.
7840 Lyles Lane NW
This free museum includes race cars and other memorabilia that celebrate the history of Hendrick Motorsports. Our children in particular enjoyed watching a display that showed how the body of the car could be lifted on and off. It’s a small museum, but it’s free and allows you to see a number of race cars up close.
4400 Papa Joe Hendrick Blvd.
Charlotte, NC 28262
The K1 Speed Indoor Karting in Concord has a super track which is the longest track of any K1 Speed location. This location offers electric go-karting which means that the go-karts can be turned on and off quickly by the staff making it a safer place to kart.
We were impressed by how fast the go-karts could drive and the attention to safety by the staff. Everyone wears helmets and there was a full safety presentation by the staff before karting began. Driving rules were enforced on the track and feedback was offered to help drivers not run into each other or the track.
One fun unique feature was that rather than the drivers racing each other to the finish, they raced by time. Each driver was given a printout of their lap times and driving times after they drove so that they could see their scores.
Both adult and junior race karts are available, though junior racing is not open at all times.
800 Derita Rd #K
Village Green Park in Kannapolis, NC
Not far from the cute walkable downtown of Kannapolis, NC is Village Green Park. Not only does this park have multiple playgrounds and multiple picnic shelters plus paved walking paths, but you’ll also find a splash pad open seasonally, a real running miniature train to ride, and a beautiful double-decker carousel.
The carousel, made in Italy, is the only double-decker carousel in the state of North Carolina. It has 1800 lights, plays that classic old carousel music, and features hand-painted Venetian murals. Tickets are only $1.50 to ride the carousel, and also $1.50 to ride the train.
For the holidays, find a huge Celebration of Lights at the park. It’s totally FREE to walk through the lights, or you can reserve a ticket on the train and view the lights as you ride.
Also in Kannapolis, NC:
- See a movie at the historic Gem Theater
- Walk the revitalized downtown
- See the Kannapolis Cannon Ballers baseball team in Atrium Health Ball Park
- Visit Dale Earnhardt Plaza, for a memorial to the race car driver from Kannapolis, NC
Trails in Cabarrus County
Are you looking for hiking trails, biking trails, or maybe just a paved trail for walking or running? Cabarrus County has a huge variety of trail networks moving through parks, natural areas, and urban areas. Pick a trail on our list of Cabarrus County trails and get outdoors!
Bonus: Where to Eat in Cabarrus County
Breakfast and lunch are amazing at Sunflour Baking Company and so are the desserts, pastries, and breads. Breakfast was so good we went back for lunch the next day and then picked up some pastries for the car ride home. You’ll find a wide variety of breakfast sandwich choices, delicious coffee, and plentiful pastries at breakfast time, and equally delicious lunch sandwiches like BLTs, turkey with avocado, paninis, and lots more.
Harrisburg location: 5040 NC-49, Harrisburg, NC
Dilworth location: 220 East Boulevard, Charlotte, NC
Elizabeth location: 2001 East 7th Street, Charlotte, NC
Ballantyne location: 14021 Conlan Circle, #B-9, Charlotte, NC
Have you ever been to Cabarrus County? What did you enjoy doing?