10 Mountain Activities For Teens And Kids
With zoos, ziplines, gem mines, museums, orchards and much more, it's easy to fine something fun for every member of the family to do in the NC Mountains.
Children 2 – 12
The Children’s Playhouse – Boone, NC
If a rainy day is causing cabin fever, the Playhouse is a great place to escape. Specializing in imaginative play, there is a pretend grocery store and kitchen, a puppet theater, a dollhouse neighborhood and train tables. An arts and crafts studio, science experiments and sand and water tables encourage kids to get hands-on.
Cherokee Bear Zoo – Cherokee, NC
Although it’s rare to see a black bear in the wild, the Great Smoky Mountains are its natural habitat. This Cherokee zoo houses native black bears and gives kids a chance to watch and sometimes even feed them. Along with bears, the zoo also has other native animals such as raccoons, ground hogs and deer as well as exotic animals like tigers and lemurs. The petting zoo lets kids get hands on with the animals. A visit to the ice cream shop and a round of mini golf finishes up the afternoon.
Cherokee Ruby & Sapphire Mine – Franklin, NC
With the abundance of gem mines in Franklin, it’s no wonder they are known as the Gem Capital of the World. The Cherokee Ruby and Sapphire Mine is unique because it is one of the last mines that has native gems only (as opposed to bringing in gems to “enrich” the soil). Rubies, sapphires, garnets and moonstones are among the gems that can be found here. Pack a picnic lunch, drive your car right up to the flume and cross your fingers; you just might go home with a ruby!
Hickory Dickory Dock – Hickory, NC
From the mini bumper cars to the over 100 arcade games, everything at this entertainment center is made especially for elementary-aged kids. A laser tag area filled with glow-in the dark mazes, a mini golf course, and Imaginary Factory, which has slides, ball pits, tunnels and bounce areas, will keep kids entertained for hours.
The Orchard at Altapass – Spruce Pine, NC
Listen to mountain music and watch (and then eat!) as homemade ice cream and fudge is made in this century-old orchard. Enjoy spectacular scenery during a 45-minute storytelling hayride while locals share the exciting history of this area of the Blue Ridge mountains.
Teens 13 – 18
Ghost Hunters of Asheville – Asheville, NC
If you’re up for a spooky adventure, join other paranormal enthusiasts during Asheville’s only interactive ghost tour. Ghost hunters are given meters and dowsing rods to use during the nightly downtown tour. Other tours include haunted homes and inns and a graveyard tour.
Navitat Canopy Adventures – Barnardsville, NC
Soaring through the trees is just the beginning of this exhilarating and educational excursion. Thrill-seekers age 10 and up can travel to tree-nestled platforms by zip lines, sky bridges, and rappels during this three hour tour. Adventurers will also find out more about native plants and animals, environmental protection and sustainability.
Rock Dimensions – Boone, NC
Gear up and tackle a 40-foot climbing tower. Make it to the top and you’ll not only earn bragging rights but also beautiful views of downtown Boone. Once you’ve mastered the tower, try one of the three to four-hour group rock climbing excursions.
Chimney Rock Park – Chimney Rock, NC
Five trails of varying difficulty wind around this 500 million-year-old rock. Teens can hike through underground tunnels, caves, waterfalls and catwalks on their way up to the 1,200-foot high mountaintop. If you’re not up for the hike, you can take the elevator up to the top and enjoy views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and, depending on the season, gorgeous fall color.
Outdoor Family Fun Center – Hendersonville, NC
This is not your average miniature golf course. Waterfalls, ponds and spillways make the game more challenging and enhance the fun. Teens who are serious about their game can schedule junior golf lessons and the covered and heated driving range lets you get a bucket in no matter what the weather is like. If you want a break from your game, head to the batting cages and try hitting every speed from slow-pitch softball to major league baseball.
added: June 28, 2010
updated: June 29, 2010
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