Tag - carowinds

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!!

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.