Spring break educational outings – Part 2

Visit the N.C. Zoo, home to more than 1,800 animals.

In my last column, I offered a few suggestions for educational (and fun!) day trips that would be great for spring break or summertime outings with the kids. Here are four additional ideas to consider as you make your spring break plans.

 President James K. Polk State Historic Site

12031 Lancaster Highway, Pineville

Visit the birthplace of the 11th U.S. President. The site features reconstructions of a log house, separate kitchen and barn. Guided tours are provided throughout the day. The visitor’s center offers exhibits and a short film on President Polk. The grounds also feature picnic areas and walking trails.

The site is open Tuesday-Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. For more info, visit historicsites.nc.gov.

North Carolina Zoo



4401 Zoo Parkway, Asheboro

Tour the N.C. Zoo, the world’s largest natural habitat zoo. The zoo features two sections, Africa and North America, both included with admission. The zoo is home to more than 1,800 animals and takes a full day to explore. In addition to visiting the animals, kids will also enjoy nature play areas in the KidZone, as well as playtime in the zoo’s garden themed playground.

For a challenge, try out the zoo’s Air Hike Ropes Course. The elevated course features 23 obstacles. The course is open daily April through October for a $12 additional fee per person.

Zoo admission is $15 for adults and $11 for children (ages 2-12). Zoo hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. For more info, visit nczoo.org.

Sea Life Aquarium

8111 Concord Mills Blvd, Concord

Get an up-close look at amazing sea creatures as you tour the aquarium. Reach in and touch sea stars, urchins and more at the Interactive Touchpool Exhibit. Visit the rays at Stingray Bay and try to spot the Giant Pacific Octopus in the Shipwreck Exhibit. Walk beneath an ocean tunnel and watch as sharks, rays and fish swim overhead.

The aquarium opens at 10 a.m. Monday-Saturday and noon on Sunday. General admission tickets are $19.95 for adults and $14.95 for children (ages 3-12). Save $4 per ticket by purchasing online. Discounted tickets are also available on select days such as Homeschool Mondays and Toddler Tuesdays. For more info, visit www.visitsealife.com.

Discovery Place Science

301 N. Tryon Street, Charlotte

Explore an indoor rainforest, try hands-on science experiments, encounter live animals, watch live shows and demonstrations, build a fort, tour an aquarium, learn about human health and anatomy, and much more at Discovery Place Science. Now through May 5, visit the Bug Lab exhibit to get an up-close look at the world of bugs. The exhibit features giant bug models and hands-on activities.

The museum is open Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday 12-5 p.m. Tickets are $19 for adults and $15 for children. Bug Lab tickets are an additional $3 in addition to museum admission.  For more info, visit science.discoveryplace.org.