Kid-Friendly Asheville and the Surrounding Areas

Try these attractions if you are traveling with children in Asheville:

 

 

  •  Adventure Center of Asheville, Asheville is known for leading the way in outdoor adventure activities. The options available at this adventure destination are unique, exciting, and convenient. Located less than 2 miles from downtown off of Patton Ave, they have a Zipline canopy tour through 150 year old majestic white oak trees, and a new treetops adventure park which includes about 50 swinging obstacles hanging between 20-30 trees. The ziplines have 13 crossings including 10 ziplines and 3 bridges. The longest ziplines are about 1200 feet long. Several are side by side. The treetops adventure park has 4 trails with 10-15 challenges on each elevated  trail. There is 1 beginner trail about 15 feet off the ground, 2 intermediate trails about 25-30 feet off the ground and one advanced trail about 45 feet off the ground. The trails are also tougher challenges the higher level they are. They have some cool short themed ziplines such as a flying kayak, hang glider, flying snowboard, and flying horse. They also have cargo nets, rope swings, hoola hoops, rope bridges, treetop climbing walls, and log bridges. All are up in the trees. It is lots of fun. Teenagers love it. It's like a live video game and you are Mario or Donkey Kong, but you are clipped in all the time and can't fall. They are also opened mountain biking trails in the summer of 2013. You can find them behind Regent Park off Exit 3-A from Interstate 240. It is open year round but they have a "winter schedule." In the summer they also offer whitewater rafting around Asheville.
  • Biltmore, Asheville - George Washington Vanderbilt II, member of the illustrious Vanderbilt family, built this large estate in the late 19th century. It is the largest private home in America at 175,00 square feet. Today, it is operated as a museum. Visitors can tour the house itself, which boasts 250 rooms with an indoor pool and bowling alley, and the family's art and antique collections. The grounds are host to acres of parkland, forests and gardens, as well as a farm village (children especially love this) where guests can learn about how estate workers lived in the 1880s. There is a winery on-site, with available tours and wine tastings.
  •  Asheville Botanical Gardens, Asheville- Located in the Southern Appalachian Mountains, the Botanical Gardens focuses on the preservation of native plant species. There are over 700 varieties of trees, mosses, wildflowers, mosses and aquatic plants. A half-mile loop of trails leads visitors through the ten acres that comprise the gardens, with ample spots to picnic among the meadows and streams. The best time to go is from April through mid-May, when the wildflowers are in full bloom, although each season offers its own unique display. Tours are available for groups of five or more people, and must be reserved in advance.
  • The Fun Depot, Asheville - Unlike many mountain tourist destinations, Asheville is not crowded with amusement type attractions. The most popular place in town for amusements and birthday parties is The Fun Depot. This large warehouse type building has plenty to keep the youngsters busy. Attractions include a multilevel go-cart track, bumper cars, laser tag, indoor mini-golf, batting cages, a soft play area, a climbing wall, and a large arcade area. Boxcar Buddy is the floppy-eared mascot. Sweeten Creek Road (ALT 25) at I-40.
  • Tropical Gardens Mini-Golf, Asheville - For a more traditional outdoor mini-golf experience, Tropical Gardens Mini Golf lets you wind your way down a steep hill through the Giraffes, elephants, and waterfalls for only $4. The entrance is tucked away on Patton Avenue in West Asheville, between Krispy Kream and Long Johns Silvers. 

  • The Health Adventure: Description removed because it, unfortunately, closed in 2012/2013.
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  • Chimney Rock Park, Chimney Rock Village - One of the most popular attractions in the area, Chimney Rock Park is best known for the 75-mile panoramic views of Lake Lure and Hickory Nut Gorge from high atop "The Rock". But you’ll find that they have a list of things to do as infinite as the views.  There are all sorts of fun activities for children including a children's trail and programs with the Park Specialists (gasp... they may even learn a little sometihing too). 


And within a hour's drive of Asheville is an area known as the "Smokies", which includes the towns of Bryson City, Maggie Valley, and Cherokee. There are many great "kid-friendly" activities there too, including the following.  Plus you'll see some great landscape along the way.

  •  Great Smoky Mountains Railroad - With 53 miles of track, 2 tunnels and 25 bridges, the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad offers a variety of excursions that explore the amazing landscape of Western North Carolina.  When the weather is nicer you can combine the train ride with a rafting trip on the Nantahala River called Raft and Rail. After riding the train up along the river, you depart the train and join the Wildwater Rafting group to ride the rapids down. It's Great for almost all ages and is fun enough for kids but not very pushy for seniors wanting to try rafting again or for the first time. Through the year they also offer special event train excursions specifically targeted to children such as:

    - February - "Be My Valentine Charlie Brown" - Children celebrate Valentine’s Day with the Peanuts gang and create their own Valentine’s craft while listening to the narrated story.
    - April - "PEANUTS Easter Beagle" - Children join Snoopy (dressed as the Easter Beagle) to seek out brightly colored eggs.
    - July - "Dinosaur Train" - ll ages are sure to enjoy this adventure filled train ride that includes music and stories, plus all kids receive a Nature Trackers Club guidebook to use at the activities area to during your layover! Of course, an opportunity to meet the favorite T.rex, Buddy!
    - October - "PEANUTS The Great Pumpkin Patch Express" - Children greet the Peanuts characters and join them to select their own pumpkin. They'll experience hayrides, live musical entertainment, apple juice, storytelling, apple-bobbing, and trick-or-treating.
    - November - December: "The Polar Express"- A 1 hour and 15 minute round-trip journey to the "North Pole."  Children enjoy  the magical story of "The Polar Express" and meet Santa himself while drinking warm cocoa and receiving special treats.

  • Ghost Town in the Sky - Nestled at the foot of the Great Smoky Mountains in Maggie Valley, Ghost Town offers rides "fit for the youngest buckaroo to the bravest outlaw." Guests take a spectacular 10-minute ride on a ski lift to reach the top of the mountain where the rides are and also enjoy gunfights, live music and shows, crafts and food. Check ahead before planning a trip to Ghost Town. It was CLOSED for most of 2010.  It has been on a very rocky footing for the past ten years. A Florida amusement company bought Ghost Town and the Great Smoky Mountains Railway with plans to reopen in summer of 2011 for the 50th anniversary. This was once one of the most scenic and memorable parks in the mountains. Let hope the new owners have the money to make it work again.

  • Rose CreekMine - Operating for over 50 years, Rose Creek Mine is one of only 3 state licensed gem mines in the county. Kids dig their own dirt (fun!) in the gem mine to find genuine gems, like rubies, sapphires, garnets, and crystal.  All equipment is provided and they help the beginners.

  • Dillsboro River Company - Tubing is perfect for those little ones that just want to be on the water, but aren't yet prepared for the wildwater rafting that this region is renowned for. Tubing lasts from 30 -45 minutes.