There are children's attractions at which the younger ones simply can burn off some energy and others that inspire their growing minds. Charlotte packs a combination of both. From Carowinds amusement park, which fields a 17-thrill-ride lineup that lures kids of all ages yet offers a tots-only Planet Snoopy with 13 kids rides, to Latta Plantation, where living historians show what life was like on a 19th-century cotton estate, parents can find plenty of things to do in the Charlotte area to keep the younger set busy.
Other energy-burners include the Great Wolf Lodge, where, with a stay at the resort, the kids can stay busy day and night at the lodge's water park, and the U.S. Whitewater Center, where, after a day of rafting, hiking, ziplining and stand-up paddleboarding, a youngster will only want to toss his head against a pillow and snore. Should it be too chilly for such daytime activities, take Johnny and Susie to Sky Zone Charlotte, where they can slam-dunk like Michael Jordan, compete in Ultimate Dodgeball and jump around on trampolines and foam.
Looking for more mind inspiration? It's plentiful at such spots as Discovery Place KIDS and the Charlotte Nature Museum, both of which focus on the world of science; Imaginon, which offers a story-time area, a teen center and Children's Theatre of Charlotte performances year-round; and, Sea Life Aquarium, which takes visitors through 10 underwater habitats and houses a seahorse nursery, a stingray bay and a walk-through tunnel where fish, sharks and other creatures pass overhead.
Parents, be forewarned, though: When you head off to any of these attractions, expect to hear Johnny and Susie ask, "How long is it going to be till we get there?"