• Rob Glover

It's Hot Outside: 11 Kid-Friendly Indoor Activities in Gaston County

Gaston County is packed full of outdoor activities. But sometimes, mother nature makes it difficult to play outside. Well, Gaston has you covered, literally, on those days, too.

Whether you’re hiding from the heat or running from the rain, here are 11 indoor family activities to put on your list this summer.

1. Experience Natural History

Image credit: The Schiele Museum

The Schiele Museum

1500 East Garrison Blvd., Gastonia

The Schiele Museum opens daily at 9am (1 pm on Sunday) and offers an incredible list of educational and entertaining exhibits and events. Stroll through the desert, the forest, and take a peek deep beneath the ocean's surface. Come face to face with the truth behind mummies, zombies, and vampires. And learn how the Catawba Indians and first European settlers lived in our area hundreds of years ago!

Don’t forget to time your visit for a program in the planetarium.

2. Get crafty

Image credit: AR Workshop - Belmont

AR Workshop

65 Glenway St., Belmont

AR Workshop Belmont makes it easy for you and your kids to create crafts and home decorations. They supply all the tools and materials, you show up and start creating. Their list of projects includes several designed specifically for kids, tweens, and teens like canvas pillows, wood signs, and even plank board games.

3. Paint or glaze your own ceramic art

A little Bit of Art in Belmont

900 South Fork Village Dr., Belmont

At A Little Bit of Art in Belmont, kids can pick their own ceramic piece from a large selection and paint or glaze it however their little minds decide. The studio is open Monday through Friday, 1 to 8 pm and Saturday, 9am to 5pm.

4. Keep on truckin’

Image credit: C Grier Beam Truck Museum

C Grier Truck Museum

111 N. Mountain St., Cherryville

The C Grier Truck Museum looks like the coolest Matchbox truck collection ever. Only in this case, the trucks are real. For the better part of the 20th Century, Cherryville and Carolina Freight Carriers ruled the ground shipping industry. Their museum is home to seven decades of beautifully restored rigs of all shapes.

5. Strike it big with free bowling

George Pappas Liberty Lanes

2501 S York Rd., Gastonia

George Pappas Liberty Lanes participates in the Kids Free Bowling program. After registering on the website, you can print a coupon for up to two free games per day for any child 15 years old or younger. Shoe rental is extra.

6. Get rolling

Kate’s Skating Rinks

4114 E Franklin Blvd.


1151 Skating Rink Dr.

Kate’s Skating Rinks keep the summertime fun rolling with several specials every day. Family packs include things like pizza, soda, skate and play area passes. Plus, Kate’s offers unlimited summer skate specials and participates in the Kids Skate Free program.

7. Perfect your putt

Image credit: Lunar Golf

Lunar Mini Golf

246 N New Hope Rd (Eastridge Mall), Gastonia

What’s more fun than mini golf? Glow-in-the-dark mini golf! Lunar Mini Golf has 18 holes to play plus a fun zone with other games. While they operate weekend hours only in winter, they open at noon every weekday when Gaston County schools are out.

8. Bounce off the walls, and the floors, and the ceiling

Image credit: Monkey Joe's

Monkey Joe’s

3924 E. Franklin Blvd., Gastonia

At Monkey Joe’s, it’s not only OK to bounce off the walls, it’s expected. For $10.99, kids under 12 can play all day at this bouncy-castle-on-steroids. Wednesdays are half price day at Monkey Joe’s so you get a happy, healthy, worn-out child for $5.

9. Get Comic-al

Image credit: Doc's Basement

Doc’s Basement

427 E. Catawba St., Suite B, Belmont

The first thing you should know about Doc’s Basement is that it’s in a second story space above Catawba Avenue. Read Doc’s story and all that will become clear.

The second thing you should know is that Doc’s basement isn’t just a place to browse for your favorite comic book. They also have a huge screen TV connected to the best gaming systems available (plus a virtual reality system).

10. Go beyond the books

Image Credit: Gaston County Public Library

Gaston County Public Libraries

Various locations

There are ten public libraries spread across Gaston County. Each offers a summer calendar chock full of events for kids from toddlers to teens. Some highlights include children’s musicians, touring theater groups, and Lego club!

11. Take a peek into Gaston’s past

Gaston County Museum

131 W. Main St., Dallas

A visit to the Gaston County Museum of Art and History isn’t just a history lesson, although there’s plenty to learn. It’s an interactive place for kids to experience what Gaston County was like through the decades. They offer several kids programs for exploring the museum and even host off-site “hike through history” events at historical trails and waterways around the area.

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