10 Family-Friendly Activities in Asheville
Having little ones of our own, we understand how tricky it can be to find things to do that are fun for the whole family. We hope this list of activities put together by WNC Parent writer Emily Eileen Carter makes family trip planning to Asheville a little bit easier for you and your loved ones!
Although Asheville is best as a romantic destination, a.k.a. the Paris of the South, it’s also an incredible vacation spot for families. In addition to the surrounding natural playground, numerous Asheville attractions are specifically designed with families and children in mind. Check out these area attractions and tours that will make your vacation one to remember!
1. The Flying Bike Tours & Rentals
Ages 1 year and up
The Flying Bike offers an unforgettable electric bike experience for the whole family. Everyone will enjoy riding through the heart of downtown Asheville and historic neighborhoods, including climbing the hills for a panoramic view of the city. The electric boost of the bikes allows all family members to stay together, makes it possible to tow the little ones up Asheville’s hills, and is a safe yet thrilling adventure for kids and adults alike. Children as young as 1-year-old can ride as a passenger in a secure bike seat with a harness, with a variety of riding options for older children. In addition to tours, electric bike rentals are available daily and all kid’s equipment and helmets are provided. Oh and did we mention- kids under 16 years ride free!
2. Asheville Museum of Science (AMOS)
All ages, best for young toddlers to tweens
For families seeking something educational and fun, the Asheville Museum of Science (AMOS) offers an interactive experience that inspires. Your family will enjoy exploring the numerous hands-on exhibits from digging for fossils to climbing through an indoor tree canopy in the Southern Appalachian Forestry exhibit. Kids will love the gem scavenger hunts and there are often independent STEM activities in the lab. They also have a must-see gift shop with a collection of eclectic items such as robot kits, science books, and hand-crafted jewelry. Located in the heart of downtown Asheville, this museum is the perfect attraction for families looking for a family-friendly break while exploring the city. AMOS is an educational adventure not to miss!
3. Western North Carolina Nature Center
Newly renovated with a grand entrance and gift shop, the Western North Carolina Nature Center is an ideal activity for the whole family. The Nature Center is a 42-acre park that hosts over sixty species of wild and domestic animals and hundreds of species of plants, all representatives of one of the most biodiverse regions on earth, the Southern Appalachian Mountains. Your clan will enjoy numerous exhibits that foster learning and discovery. Explore Appalachian Station, an indoor reptile exhibit with snakes and amphibians, watch the resident otters twist, turn and dive at Otter Falls or visit Red Wolf Run, one of only forty AZA accredited facilities that houses the world’s most endangered canine species. Don’t miss the Nature Center’s newest member the red panda! All of this, combined with farm animals, a spiderweb course, play areas, and paved trails ensures lots of family fun. Note that there is only snack food available for purchase, so pack a picnic if you are there during lunchtime!
4. Asheville’s Fun Depot
All ages, best for preschoolers and up
Fun Depot is a one-stop-shop for unlimited fun. This adventure palace was designed for families of all ages to romp, roam, and delight in its numerous attractions. Featuring over 65,000 feet square feet Fun Depot offers 18 hole indoor mini-golf, laser tag, bumper cars, climbing wall, playgrounds, indoor/outdoor go-karts, arcade games and much more. The options are endless, and the best part is your family can plan to play here rain or shine. In addition to their numerous diversions, Fun Depot also houses the delicious “Asheville Burger” restaurant that features locally farm raised beef burgers and their famous “Mug Shakes.”
5. North Carolina Arboretum
The North Carolina Arboretum is a magnificent place for families to experience the natural wonders of the Southern Appalachia. Your family can enjoy strolling through beautifully manicured gardens, hike among dense forests on over ten miles of trails, and explore the seasonal educational exhibits. The Asheville Arboretum has features specifically designed to promote learning and discovery. Ask about the “Discovery Backpack” at the information desk at the Baker Exhibit Center. These unique backpacks are themed and include fun tools for kids to learn about trees, insects, reptiles, and birds. Kids can observe and record just like a real scientist! In addition, your family can take part in geocaching together by finding hidden treasures throughout the arboretum. Geocaching packets are also available for loan. If you plan a full-day adventure, pack a lunch or enjoy a meal at the Bent Creek Bistro on-site (hours are seasonal).
6. La Zoom Comedy Tours
Ages 5-12 years
For loads of laughs, Asheville’s notable LaZoom offers a kid-friendly comedy tour known as “Juvenile Gigglicious.” This sixty-minute tour on the big purple bus boasts some of the same extraordinary guides from the adult tours. A mixture of history and kid-centric comedy your family can take in the sites of Asheville and laugh along the way. Tour content is best for kids ages 5-12, but kids three and under ride free on an adult’s lap!
7. Asheville Pinball Museum
All ages, best for elementary schoolers and up
Fun for both parents and kids, the Asheville Pinball Museum offers a unique arcade experience in the middle of downtown. The museum sets itself apart from more traditional museums with a walk back in time in the art of gaming. Admission to the museum includes the chance to play over eighty pinball and classic video games, no tokens or quarters necessary! This is a family-friendly museum your children will want to return to again and again.
8. The Adventure Center of Asheville
Ages 4 and up
If you’re looking for an accessible way for your family to experience the outdoors in Asheville, The Adventure Center of Asheville has you covered. Just minutes from downtown, three unique outdoor activities are offered. The Treetops Adventure Park is a ropes adventure course. Families clip into their harness safety system and are then free to climb, swing, jump and rappel at their own individual pace. There are a variety of trails to choose from, so you can choose which one fits your family’s skill and comfort level. Feeling more adventurous? The park also has Zipline Canopy Tours, including America’s first zip line designed specifically for kids! Kid Zip is for ages 4-10 and is a self-guided course that includes challenges from ground level to 25 feet high. For children 10 and up, they can experience the full canopy tour with up to 9 treetop platforms and 3 sky bridges. If heights are not your thing, there is also Kolo Bike Park, with 4 miles of rolling mountain bike paths. The bike park was designed with all ages and levels in mind. Some fun features include pump tracks, a wooded single track, and jumps. It’s the perfect place for kids to try out mountain biking and build their skills in a safe, well-maintained space.
9. Climbmax Indoor Climbing Gym
Ages 4 and up
With outdoor rock climbing being popular in the surrounding mountains, it’s only natural Asheville would have a great indoor climbing gym. Climbmax has two locations downtown and in West Asheville and both do a great job catering to little ones. Depending on age and weight, children have the option of bouldering (without ropes) on lower climbs or rope climbing with a harness. A cool auto-belay system and thick padded floors give children the ability to safely explore, while giving the adults the opportunity to do some climbing of their own! Climbing instruction is also available for all ages.
10. Sky Zone Trampoline Park
All ages, best for toddlers and up
Take your vacation to new heights (literally) or live your basketball fantasy with the family at Sky Zone trampoline park. The perfect family-friendly activity on a rainy day, Sky Zone Asheville offers a wealth of experiences to keep your family moving with freestyle jumping and bouncing on their wall-to-wall trampoline courts. Families will love the “Foam Zone” where they can practice big leaps and high-flying stunts to land in a huge pool of foam squares. For sports fans, there are trampoline-enhanced Skyhoops and Ultimate Dodgeball. For families with little tikes, they offer special “Toddler Time” hours, where the park is open only to kiddos and their parents. For older kids and teens, they also feature a special “Glow” jump session at night with black-lights and music. Sky Zone is sure to keep everyone entertained for hours!
Emily Eileen Carter is a mom, teacher, and writer. When she’s not putting pen to paper she can be found in her kitchen baking up sweet treats or exploring the natural wonders of her mountain home. She can be contacted at [email protected]