• Camille Renner

School's Out: 13 Kid-Friendly Stops in Gaston County for Weekends and Summer Break

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After endless hours spent entertaining your kids from the safety of your own home this year due to virtual learning and COVID-19 restrictions, you all deserve to go out and have a bit of family fun.


Whether you want to get your kid's heart rate going with a yoga class or watch their eyes fill up with wonder at a museum, these spots in Gaston County will keep your family entertained all spring and summer long.


A Little Bit of Art

Grant Baldwin, Gaston Outside

900 S. Fork Village Dr., Belmont

Wednesday-Friday, 1 p.m.-8 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.


At A Little Bit of Art in Belmont, kids (and adults!) can choose between a wide variety of ceramics, canvas designs and wood crafts to paint. A Little Bit of Art share's their space with The Wandering Cup, a new addition to Gaston County's coffee scene. The team behind the studio and coffee shop blend together their passion for art and coffee (delicious pastries included), giving A Little Bit of Art an eclectic and fun atmosphere perfect for helping your little ones to explore their artistic abilities.


There are four camps being held throughout the summer for ages 6 and up. The camps fill up fast so register early.


AR Workshop

Anna Naphtali, Gaston Outside

65 Glenway St., Belmont

Monday-Tuesday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; Wednesday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., 6:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m.; Friday 10 a.m.-2 p.m., 7 p.m.-10 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m.-2 p.m.


AR Workshop in Downtown 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. As businesses had to adapt due to the COVID-19 pandemic, AR Workshop also started to sell DIY To-Go Kits so you can craft at home with your kids.


Belmont Yoga

Anna Naphtali, Gaston Outside

37 Glenway St., Belmont

Class Schedule Varies


Belmont Yoga is known to be welcoming to all types of yogis-including your kids. On Saturday mornings at 10:30, they hold a Yoga for Kids class open to ages 5-10. Using kid-friendly poses, simple breath and relaxation practices, the Belmont Yoga team will show your kids just how fun yoga can be. Yoga has also been proven to enhance children's self-esteem and concentration, which we all could have used more of as kids. Check out their schedule for more information and upcoming events.


C. Grier Beam Truck Museum

Randy Rivera, Gaston Outside

111 N. Mountain St., Cherryville

Thursday-Saturday, 10 a.m-3 p.m.


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-right from the building the museum lives in now. Their museum is home to seven decades of beautifully restored rigs of all shapes.


Create in Us

Anna Naphtali, Gaston Outside

106 S. Main St., Mount Holly

Class Schedule Varies

A colorful and funky studio run by a friendly staff, Mount Holly's Create in Us is a place your kids will love. Create in Us holds art classes for everyone in the family, including projects designed specifically for toddlers, events for big kids and even mommy and me classes.


Create in Us will be holding various 3-day summer camps, including calligraphy, bible school and mixed media camps. All their camps and events, including links to register, can be found on their Facebook.


Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden

Photo Courtesy of Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden

6500 S. New Hope Rd., Belmont

Thursday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.


Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden is the perfect place to unlock your child's imagination while enjoying the sunshine on a beautiful day. Kid's can run through beautiful gardens or play in the interactive Lost Hollow Children's Garden. The Garden also hosts a variety of classes and camps for children and have even created take home activities so your kids can explore nature in their own backyard.


Gaston County Museum

Grant Baldwin, Gaston Outside

131 W. Main St., Dallas

Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.


A visit to the Gaston County Museum of Art and History in Downtown Dallas 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.


Green Meadows Driving Range

Camille Renner, Gaston Outside

957 Kelly Rd., Mount Holly

Call for Tee Time (704)827-9264


If you're a golf lover, the joy of sharing the game with your kids is unparalleled. But let's face it, a child wouldn't be able to spend hours playing golf and maybe you are ready to advance them from just mini-golf. Green Meadow's understands this and wants you to bring your kids to the driving range with you. In fact, they let kids hit free on their range, just call and let the friendly staff know you're coming with your little one.


Kate’s Skating Rinks

Camille Renner, Gaston Outside

4114 E. Franklin Blvd., Gastonia

Monday-Tuesday, 1 p.m.-8 p.m.; Thursday 5 p.m.-8 p.m.; Friday 1 p.m.-9 p.m.; Saturday 11 a.m.-9 p.m.


1151 Skating Rink Dr., Gastonia

Sunday-Monday, 1 p.m.-5 p.m.; Wednesday 1 p.m.-8 p.m.; Thursday 5 p.m.-8 p.m.; Friday 1 p.m.-9 p.m.; Saturday 11 a.m.-9 p.m.


Kate’s Skating Rinks keep the 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.


Libraries

Photo Courtesy of Gaston County Public Library

Belmont: 125 N. Central Ave


Bessemer City: 207 N. 12th St.


Cherryville: 605 E. Main St.


Dallas: 105 S. Holland St.


Gastonia: 1555 E. Garrison Blvd. (Main Branch), 913 N. Pryor St. (Ferguson Branch) and 5800 Union Rd. (Union Road Branch)


Lowell: 203 McAdenville Rd.


Mount Holly: 245 W. Catawba Ave.


Stanley: 205 N. Peterson St.


Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.


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.


Parks

Catawba Riverfront Greenway - Evey McFadden, Gaston Outside

Andy Hovis Skatepark: 200 E. 1st St., Cherryville


Bill Edwards Park: 103 E. Old Post Rd., Cherryville


Catawba Riverfront Greenway and Park: 231 Broome St., Mount Holly


Goat Island Greenway and Park: 141 8th Ave., Cramerton


George Poston Park and Pump Track: 1101 Lowell Spencer Mountain Rd., Gastonia


Kevin Loftin Riverfront Park: E. 1400 Catawba St., Belmont


Mountain Island Park: 304 Mountain Island Rd., Mount Holly


Rankin Lake Park: 1750 Rankin Lake Rd., Gastonia


Stowe Park: 24 S. Main St., Belmont


Tuckaseegee Skate Park: 165 Broome St., Mount Holly


Gaston County has a myriad of parks with interesting playgrounds, skateparks, walking trails and waterfront views. Pack the family in the car, grab skateboards or rollerblades, bring a nice picnic lunch and head over to any of our county's fantastic public parks for a great (and free!) family day.


The Schiele Museum

Garland Burks, Gaston Outside

1500 East Garrison Blvd., Gastonia

Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday 1 p.m.-5 p.m.


The Schiele Museum offers an incredible list of educational and entertaining exhibits, nature trails and events. At this interactive museum, kids can stroll through the desert and forest, 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! The museum is also home to a mind-boggling planetarium, where kids can see the stars, learn how the earths climate works and watch entertaining stories from the Magic Tree House.


The Schiele Museum offers educational and entertaining week long summer camps for rising 1st-6th graders. For more information or to register, check out their website.


U.S. National Whitewater Center

Photo Courtesy of U.S. National Whitewater Center

5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy., Charlotte

Daily 7 a.m.-10 p.m.


The ultimate destination for family friendly outdoor adventures, at the U.S. National Whitewater Center, you can kayak, rock climb, try out a ropes course, hike, raft and zipline-all activities that are perfect for an adventure hungry kid. The center also holds festivals with music and fun activities throughout the summer.


For any of your adventurous kids aged 8-18, the Whitewater center holds a variety of camps all summer long. From nature exploring camps to whitewater rafting camps, kids of all different interests and temperaments can find a camp they will be excited about.