Category - Venues

Family Friendly Holidays in Charlotte

Having lived in Charlotte for 10 years, our family has been able to create memorable holiday traditions. We also love that new activities and creative events that are popping up each year. Here are some of our favorites that we wanted to share with you!

 

Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden

Holidays at the Garden

This destination is one of our favorite must-visit locations during the holidays {and other times of the year too}. If you are looking for a family tradition, Holidays at the Garden is an event where you’ll be able to make memories for years to come.

Children will look forward to filling out their passport when they complete fun holiday-themed games located around the garden and parents will love the beauty of the lights and spending time around a fire with their family.

With light features changing each year everyone in your family is bound to find a favorite, or two. While the stunning lights may be what brings you to Daniel Stowe this time of year, the live music, fairy village, and ambiance of roasting s’mores over the fire will keep you coming back year after year.

There are several food and snack options there are including food trucks, beverage bars, and of course it wouldn’t be the holidays without some amazingly sweet goodies. This year Sproutycakes Bakery greeted us again with a huge array of Christmas yumminess.

{Check them out: Sproutycakes Facebook and tell them we sent you, you can thank us later.}

While you will definitely want to bundle up, DSBG has done a great job of creating warm spaces for your family whether it’s the roaring fire pits, or the warmth and beauty of the Orchid Conservatory.

Additional activities include horse-drawn carriage rides, visit with Mrs. Claus, and Capture the Magic with Santa. *Some pre-registrations and payments required, please check the website for details.

To check out more details or purchase tickets online at a discounted rate for Holidays at the Garden at Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens head HERE.

 

Carowinds

WinterFest

WinterFest is an all-new immersive holiday entertainment tradition, opening select evenings through December 30th.

WinterFest transforms the park into a winter wonderland adorned with more that five million holiday lights, a beautiful 70-foot Christmas tree and festive décor displayed throughout the park.

These words and picture alone do not do the park justice, they really went all out and several park goers outside of our party were in awe.

We loved how the park was divided into different themed areas from Charlie Brown’s™ Christmas Town to Jingle Bell Boardwalk, the ever-so-sweet Candy Cane Lane, and who can forget Celebration Plaza where it all kicks off.

WinterFest activities include a nightly tree lighting, live holiday shows and strolling performers, up to 16 family rides, a special holiday menu, a live nativity and 38-animal petting zoo, falling snow, and so much more!

Additional activities include taking a picture with Santa at St. Nick’s Pics*, decorating cookies with Mrs. Claus*, creating take-home keepsakes at Sally Brown’s Christmas Crafts, , skating on Snowflake Lake* and horse-drawn carriage rides*. *The activities listed may require advance ticket purchase or ticket purchase on-site.

The PEANUTS™ gang, and wonderful winter characters are all decked out in Holiday Spirit {except for Scrooge} and the joy is pretty contagious. With the help of some cheerful elves, Miss C and other excited children, wrote a letter to Santa at the North Pole Post Office.

 

Our family loved the singing and dancing featured in Charlie Brown’s™ Christmas Spectacular, and it was a great way to warm up the entire group, not to mention a fun way to get into the holiday spirit. All through the park is festive, live entertainment both indoors and outdoors.

If you’re anything like our coaster-loving family, you’ll want to take advantage of some extra ride time this season. With up to 16 rides, including Afterburn there’s sure to be a ride for family members of every age and thrill level.

Carowinds’ hasn’t forgotten the holiday treats. There are 20 new menu items just for WinterFest, including Turducken burgers, gourmet mac and cheese, gingerbread-eggnog and chocolate-peppermint funnel cakes, and homemade hot chocolate. {Buy your souvenir mug and get free refills on your day of purchase and $1 refills for return visits.}

Who would have thought, shoppers can browse for gifts at WinterFest too. My favorite section are the booths by local vendors at Artisan Alley. If you’re looking for stocking stuffers, or ugly sweaters, the park has those too!

**Don’t forget, guests can visit WinterFest once for free when they purchase a 2018 gold or platinum season pass.

Otherwise, grab your advance-purchase tickets, and check out all the details at carowinds.com.

Billy Graham Library

Christmas at the Library

If you’re looking for a faith-based Christmas tradition Billy Graham Library is rich with history. Parking and admission are FREE. The library is known for it’s year-round Journey of Faith that creatively tells the journey of Billy Graham {this may be a feature you want to save if you have pre-school aged children}. During the holidays the library comes alive –literally– with a delightful live nativity.

Enjoy the sleigh bells jingling while you take a horse-drawn carriage ride through the library grounds {for an additional fee}, or make your reservations for Christmas Dinner and enjoy time with your loved ones.

We loved hearing the different carolers and musical groups that were featured while drinking a hot cup of cocoa. We haven’t been this year, but in previous years the only thing that was a little let down was the food selection and taste. You may want to consider dining out before or after your visit.

Find out more details about your upcoming visit to Christmas at the Library.

Founders Hall – Uptown Charlotte

Leonard Bearstein Orchestra


The Leonard Bearstein Orchestra is located in uptown Charlotte at Founders Hall in the Bank of America Building. This is a fun event to attend, especially if you have little ones. This full animatronic orchestra perform from on the hour from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week. With the exception of Christmas Day.

Founders Hall also has some restaurants, places to grab a quick bite or coffee, and shops if you are planning on making the visit a longer trip.

**Occasionally, a regularly scheduled performance may not take place due to a special event in the hall. As a parent it’s always good to have a back up plan just in case. I always recommend 7th Street Market, ImaginOn, and the Light Rail.

Head here to view the schedule: Bearstein Orchestra

Charlotte Motor Speedway

Speedway Christmas

Speedway Christmas is definitely one of the must-visits if you haven’t been or if you are new to the area. Surprising to me, I’ve found that people either love the experience or don’t. My family personally really enjoys this Charlotte Holiday event, but if you have anyone who doesn’t like being in the car for an extended period of time they may not enjoy this selection as much. {We haven’t used it but have heard that the fast pass to skip the line is worth the additional fee.} There are several days and times that the speedway is less busy and lines are shorter.

We like to go on a day we feel will be less busy, but also one that still has the Christmas Village experience. In the past the village has had an opportunity to visit Santa, purchase Holiday gifts from local vendors, and enjoy yummy food and treats.

In a previous year we’ve enjoyed the nativity/Bethlehem experience and our girls always love the petting zoo filled with a variety of adorable animals. Often times there will be additional activities for an extra charge like carnival and horse rides.

Get your tickets and more information here: Speedway Christmas

 

While this is a pretty long list of some of our family favorites, we have others and know that you do too. Please comment and let us know your favorite local areas to spend the holidays with your family. Also tell us if you agree or disagree, we want to hear from you!!

Thank you to Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens and Carowinds for hosting us this holiday season!!

Concord Mills Announces New Play Area

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Concord Mills Mall. I only work with brands that I myself would use or think worthy of promoting to others.

 

After several renovations both inside and out to Simon Mall’s North Carolina location, Concord Mills, upgrades are here and beautiful.

While there are new stores and restaurants in and surrounding the mall, some of the biggest changes come from within.

Among the changes, Concord Mills boasts updated bathrooms and new flooring that now make the mall much more attractive and pleasant to shop in, and for families one of the biggest attractions is the brand new mall play area.

Sponsored by Sea Life Aquariums located inside the mall, this new play area caters to a wider range of ages. The previous play area was mainly focused on crawlers through young children, but the new area has three distinct places for toddlers through young teens to play and learn.

 

  • Toddler Pod: Features sprout designs where little ones can climb and spin.

 

  • Elementary Pod: Features elements including climbing blocks and an electronic piano with touch sensitive pads featuring eight different musical notes.

 

  • Tween/Teen Pod: Features the light tower challenge and the interactive electronic game, which uses light and sound. Parents can get in on the fun here, too!

 

This new addition allows shoppers with different age children to play in the same general area at the same time.

As a busy blogging mom, one of my favorite features is the new soft seating area complete with charging stations that allows parents the opportunity to recharge as their children play. I also love the bold color choices for the play area and how open and inviting it is.

 

 

If you haven’t had a chance to check out the play area your kiddos will thank me. Whether you’re shopping for back-to-school supplies, or updating your closet for Fall, this fun area will keep your kids busy and give mom and dad a little break.

Check out Concord Mills website simon.com/mall/concord-mills for your favorite stores and don’t forget to stop by the new play area.

 

Comment: What would be your family’s favorite feature of the new play area??

 

 

Carowinds KidsFest Celebration

A couple of weekends ago we had the privilege of attending Carowinds’ KidsFest with our family. Although it was only for that weekend, I can assure you the many times we have been to Carowinds and hosted events this is certainly a theme park that has a lot of activities and rides for children of all ages.

While we were at Carowinds, we were able to watch and participate in singing and dancing at Harmony Hall midway with our favorite PEANUTS™ characters. We took a break from the head to color under some shade that was provided by The Community Blood Center of the Carolinas (CBCC). We also got hands on with with Atomz Lab, learning about earth worms and physics. The nice people at Cabela’s taught us some safe ways to shoot arrows and C even got to try her hand at shooting foam-tipped arrows at floating targets.

One of my favorite parts of our day was the opportunity to meet local heroes. We were able to meet and thank the Flint Hill Fire Department, and people really enjoyed checking out the police car and appreciating Officers from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD).

Unfortunately due to rain, we missed Disney Junior’s musical act Choo Choo Soul, but they did still perform at PEANUTS™ Showplace, and everyone who attended had an amazing time.

The only thing I felt could have been more kid-friendly was the DJ music as it seemed to cater more to the adults, but overall the entire event was a blast. We saw kids hula hooping, enjoying Planet Snoopy rides, and also loved the pop-up vendors and games.

We hope that Carowinds continues to host more kid-friendly events and look forward to those already scheduled.

 

What are your thoughts on Carowinds when it comes to younger children? Would love to hear your feedback.

This is not a sponsored post. We received media passes in order to experience and give our honest thoughts. All opinions are that of MommyBKnowsBest.com, each individual experience may vary.

Sea Life Charlotte-Concord Field Trip

We received admission for the children in attendance to be able to experience and write our thought about Sea Life. The experiences and opinions in this post are that of MommyBKnowsBest.com and attendees.

 

 

Miss C’s first grade class has been studying the ocean, focusing on different ocean zones, and sea animals. Their most recent project asked them to choose something that lives in the ocean and become an expert on that animal. Children chose sand dollars, blue whales, giant squid, sea otters, and more. They were also challenged to find ways that these animals were being harmed and figure out a way to help them.

Sea Life Aquariums not only help to educate people about sea animals but they too are helping the ocean to thrive. Their motto: Breed, Rescue, Protect is exactly what they do. We felt with the current unit, going to Sea Life for a first grade field trip was the perfect fit.

 

Sea Life has a lot of great offerings for field trips for schools, pre-schools, homeschoolers and many other groups. We were able to learn that Sea Life is part of the largest seahorse breeding network in the world. At the Charlotte-Concord, North Carolina location, Catherine, our guide was incredibly helpful in tips on finding the octopus, and shared with us all about the new turtle shelter.

 

 

Throughout our visit we were able to enjoy talks where we learned in-depth about sea animals living at Sea Life. We even got to see the manta ray and other fish and sharks being fed by a trained Aquarist while Kathy talked to us about methods of feeding and what breeds were in the tank.

 

 

Sea Life offers great group rates, educational workshops, and behind-the-scenes tours whether you’re learning about the ocean and sea life or just looking for a great field trip where kids will learn AND have fun at the same time. Check out their website to find more information on group tickets, field trips, and more: www.SeaLife.com

 

 

Bouncing Around with Sky High Sports Charlotte

Before school started the B girls and I were invited to bounce our hearts out at Sky High Sports in Charlotte. I must admit this was our first time ever at a trampoline park and… we LOVED it. The girls had so much fun with the many activities within the building I secretly wish they had a location close to our house.

We not only had a great time but we think you should check it out too. Sky High Sports features a freestyle jump court, a foam pit with rope swings, laser tag, ropes course and more. The girls loved the freestyle court and foam pit and Miss A even got a chance to play some laser tag.

 

skyhigh-collage-mommyb

 

As a mom I love the diversity of a place like Sky High Sports. It’s great for taking the kids for a day of play, perfect for bouncing away some energy on a rainy day, fun for a playdate with a group of friends, and they also offer birthday/event packages not to mention field trips and fundraising nights for your school or homeschool group.

Overall the staff at Sky High Sports was very well trained and attentive watching for safety among the kids who were bouncing and playing. I wasn’t worried about the girls playing in different areas of the facility in fact, Sky High offers an open lounge area with televisions to check in on your children if you’re chasing more than one around.

This local venue caters to families with children of all ages and even has Airobics classes for adults. We love that we can have friends of all ages come play with us and know that everyone will have a good time.

We can’t wait to go bounce at Sky High Sports again, maybe you can join us!!!

 

sky-high-clt-bounce-mommyb

 

Check out Sky High Sports’ Website –  clt.skyhighsports.com for hours and details.

 

This is a brand review, we received admission to check out Sky High Sports in order to give our opinion about their services. This post features honest thoughts and opinions about this venue.

Awesome Kids Eat Free Deal & Giveaway

Disclosure: I’m proud to partner with O’Charley’s Restaurant + Bar for this opportunity. I am being sponsored to help lead this campaign, but all opinions expressed are my own, and all claims and details shared can be verified by O’Charley’s Restaurant + Bar.

 

I definitely owe O’Charley’s Restaurant + Bar a huge thank you for giving this mom a much needed break. As we prepared to get ready for school AND are the middle of a move, my mind has been in a bit of a haze. Remembering my to-do list, and making sure the girls have everything they need for school leaves me more forgetful than I like to be.

I am so thankful that O’Charley’s is offering, (in my opinion), one of the best Kids Eat Free promotions I’ve seen. We experienced this first hand when we headed to our local O’Charley’s one busy day before school started.

 

Kids Eat Free O'Charley's

 

In the midst of packing up school supplies and getting ready for Back-to-School night {where the girls would meet their teachers}, I decided it would make life so much easier to grab dinner out. The four of us headed to O’Charley’s to take advantage of their Kids Eat Free promotion.

The girls loved the kids menu selections and ended up with the #1 kid staple: pizza. DaddyB and I added a side of carrots (not included in Kids Eat Free deal) for each girl, and their drinks were included, of course they chose the pink lemonade.

 

Kids Eat Free O'Charley's MommyB

O'Charley's Kids Eat Free MommyB

For the adult meals, we could have gone the money saving route and ordered regular entrees, but since the girls ate free we decided to choose menu items that were on the pricier side {although all the meals were pretty affordable}.

I got the NEW Filet Mignon with Garlic Butter which was amazing and DaddyB chose the Fresh Cedar-Planked Salmon. He loved his dish just as much as I loved mine and of course the girls were very happy with their meals too.

The food was great the service was fantastic and during Back-to-School season, it is one less thing to worry about. I think it’s fair to say that we are all very thankful for this awesome promotion.

O'Charley's Kids Eat Free Promo MommyB

 

Whether you’re looking to save time (think not having to cook, or clean dishes) or money (for every one adult entree you receive one complimentary child’s entree) O’Charley’s is making it easy for families to dine-in during the back-to-school season. Make sure you head to your local O’Charley’s between now and September 5th to take advantage of this awesome deal.

 

O'Charley's Gift Card

Also as promised… I’m giving away one $50 gift card to O’Charley’s so not only can you get your kids meals free, but you can also treat yourselves as well.

 

How to WinComment between now and September 1st, 2016 with the entree you would like the most and the entree your child would like the most. If you’re feeling generous you can share this with your friends. All you need to do is be 18 years old and a U.S. Citizen. 

Grand Opening of the NEW American Girl Store Charlotte Sneak Peek

The NEW American Girl Store at the Southpark Mall in Charlotte, North Carolina opens this weekend, Saturday, October 11th – Sunday, October 12th.

The B girls and I were invited to the store today for a sneak peek before opening day. Here are some photos of our visit:

American Girl Charlotte Sneak Peek MommyB

NEW American Girl Store Southpark Charlotte Visit MommyB

The new 12,000-square-foot retail site, located in Charlotte, North Carolina, features a fun, casual environment where girls and their family members and friends can shop for their favorite American Girl products, browse a great selection of books in their bookstore, enjoy lunch and dinner, or an unforgettable dessert in the Bistro, treat their doll to a new ‘do in the Doll Hair Salon, and celebrate birthdays or other special events.

American Girl Store Charlotte Salon MommyB

 

American Girl Charlotte bitty baby & Bookstore MommyB

 

American Girl Charlotte Beforever Collection

 

American Girl Store Charlotte Bistro MommyB

 

Details for the Grand Opening can be found on their website: American Girl Charlotte. If you’re interested in attending this weekend I highly suggest being prepared ahead of time and plan on spending hours at the mall. If you make it a day-trip it will definitely make you and your kiddos a little happier, bring activities, and plan to visit other locations in the Southpark Mall to make the time pass quicker.

 

American Girl Charlotte Grand Opening on MommyBKnowsBest

 

American Girl Store is at Southpark Mall, 4400 Sharon Road, Charlotte, NC 28211. The best entrance to park next to is the Macy’s wing of Southpark Mall and you’ll find the store as you walk to the Mall entrance on the second level. {You won’t be able to miss it.}

In all we loved learning about the history of American Girl, enjoy the wholesome values and character that this brand brings to keep our daughters young as opposed to some products available on shelves today. While the cost of an American Girl doll can be higher than some customer’s budget there are options to purchase accessories, mini versions of their favorite dolls, or a great incentive {like my girls are doing} to save up their money by doing chores and birthday dollars.

Have you ever been to an American Girl store? Will you visit the NEW American Girl store in Charlotte, North Carolina? 

 

 

This is not a paid post, I attended a media event upon request from American Girl. All opinions and thoughts are my own honest words. Your experiences may vary.

Celebrating Fall Food in Charlotte North Carolina

With current temps around the low 60’s {and even cooler at night}, Charlotte, North Carolina sure feels like Fall. While we just kicked off the Autumnal Equinox there’s no hesitating ringing it in with some great food festivals to celebrate harvest time!

Two local venues I have to brag about are celebrating the next two weekends.

7th Street Public Market

First up, this Saturday, September 27th, one of my favorite uptown spots, 7th Street Market is hosting Harvest Fest. From 12:00 noon to 7:00pm you’ll be able to partake in a variety of events.

12:00pm – 3:00pm Daytime events include activities for the entire family: hayrides, pumpkin carving, corn shucking another fun Fall activities.

4:00pm – 7:00pm Get your tickets for Harvest Fest Taste of the Market where you’ll be able to sample Fall fare and drinks from local vendors and enjoy a private concert. Tickets sold HERE at $25 a piece.

Olde Mecklenburg Brewery

Olde Mecklenburg Brewery MommyB

Next weekend Charlotte’s authentic German beer haus; Olde Mecklenburg Brewery {OMB} is hosting their annual Mecktober Fest event. This year’s event will be a two-day event on October 3rd & 4th from 11:00am to midnight.

Come enjoy German beer, food, and music in OMB’s signature authentic style and new, larger location. I can tell you from first-hand experience their beer AND food are awesome, {Though I have yet to try Mecktoberfest}.

There is a $10 entry fee for those ages 21 and up, and $5 entry for designated drivers and those under 21 years old.

 

Fury 325 – World’s Tallest Gigacoaster Coming to Carowinds

Fury325 Carowinds MommyB

Carowinds Amusement Park (Charlotte, NC) announced that they’ll be building a massive new roller coaster for 2015. Dubbed Fury 325, the ride will be the tallest gigacoaster (roller coasters between 300 and 399 feet tall) and the 5th tallest roller coaster overall. The ride’s theme has a local tie-in with a hornet logo and colors similar to the Charlotte Hornets NBA team colors. The exciting path is said to resemble the daring swoops and dives of a hornet.

Here’s a teaser video for the new ride:

How Big is Fury 325?

Fury 325’s insane height is right there in the name. It will be 325 feet tall. That’s more than 30 stories and nearly 100 feet taller than Carowinds’ Intimidator. Intimidator is already a notable landmark that’s visible from a few miles around. According to the Carowinds, Fury 325 will be so tall that it will be visible from Uptown Charlotte.

Fury 325 will surely draw some long lines, but it should be worth the wait thanks to a lengthy, 3 minute and 25 second ride. It’ll boast 6,602 feet (more than a mile) of teal and yellow track that’ll carry riders from South Carolina into North Carolina, passing above and then below the entrance, and then back to the Palmetto state.

What Can Riders Expect on Fury 325?

Fury 325 Coming to Carowinds - World's Tallest Gigacoaster - CharlotteRiders can expect highs, lows, and lots of speed. For the vast majority of guests, Fury 325 will be the tallest roller coaster they’ve ever encountered. There are only three rides in the U.S. that are taller. And, Fury 325 will have the distinction of the tallest traditional lift hill anywhere. So expect an impressively long climb to the ride’s lofty high peak.

The 81-degree first drop will be nearly straight down and will produce quite an intense free fall feeling. Then, Fury 325 will deliver blistering speed. At the bottom of that first drop, the trains will rocket to 95 mph. Throughout the ride’s course you’ll be treated to exciting climbs and dives. The highlight of the ride looks to be the underground dive beneath a plaza bridge near the park’s entrance.

Thanks the ride’s design the speed, twists, and turns, should be glass smooth. The designers of the new ride also designed the popular and easily ride-able Intimidator. If you enjoy that ride, then you should like Fury 325. Expect more speed and swooping turns instead of the straight-forward ups and downs found on Intimidator.

Carowinds’ New Park Gate & Entrance Plaza

Entering the park next year, will be an entirely new experience. A new parking gate is already under construction. Also in the works is a more open plaza at the front gates where guests will be greeted by Fury 325 passing above and then below the new entrance. The ride will pass over guests six times encouraging gasps from onlookers.
Fury 325 - New Carowinds Entrance - Underground Dive
The station for Fury 325 will be in the Thrill Zone section near Hurler. Guests will need to be 54 inches or taller in order to ride. The ride is scheduled to open in the Spring of 2015.

Learn more at Carowinds.com/Swarm. Or hop in the front seat and take a virtual ride here.

What do you think of Fury 325?

We’re excited that this huge new ride is going to be built in our backyard. What do you think? Are you planning on visiting Carowinds next year so that you can ride it? Let us know what you think. Leave a comment below.

 

As a member of media I received admission to this media event for information regarding Carowind’s newest park features. 

SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Video

I am a member of the SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Parent Council and receive admission to cover media events.

Enjoy our video of SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord:

 

 

For more information on SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord check out these links:
• Website: www.VisitSEALIFE.com/Charlotte-Concord
• Facebook: www.facebook/SEALIFECharlotteConcord
• Twitter: @SEALIFECC
• Instagram: instagram.com/SEALIFECC
• YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/SEALIFECC

 

Have you visited SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord? What’s your family’s favorite part??

 

It is SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord’s goal to provide a memorable experience at the best value possible. If you would like to share your feedback with their management team, please contact them at sealifecharlotteconcord@gmail.com

 

As a member of the SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Parent Council I receive admission in return for writing about events and reviewing the aquarium. As always, any opinions expressed in this post are the honest thoughts of myself and my family. Your opinions may vary.