Uncover the best things to do in Asheville with kids, including outdoor activities, museums, and farms. Meet a dinosaur, zipline, and sit in a plane.
Many times, our inbox is filled with readers looking for the best kids’ activities in Asheville, NC.
And, if you know Christine and Thomas, you probably see our furbabies plastered all over Instagram.
This is exactly why we consulted our favorite mom blogger, Tori from Explore With Tori, asking her for the top Asheville kids’ activities in and around WNC.
Tori loves to get outside with her family, hiking and chasing those waterfalls. Their road trips are full of adventures, delicious food, and educational but equally fun tours.
Plus, Tori and her family of 4 frequent Asheville, stopping for wine and beer with your favorite uncorked travel writers.
Tori wishes to create lifetime memories for her children and show you how to have extraordinary vacations, too.
With that said, uncover the best things to do with kids in Asheville – from Tori, with a few of our own additions.
Enjoy Asheville with toddlers or teens, including events and exhibits that adults will also enjoy.
See where you can pet farm animals, sit in planes, catch a baseball game, and watch sharks eat. Zipline, mountain bike, roller skate, enjoy holiday lights, and pick apples. Let’s get started!
Read more about all of the top things you can do in Asheville, NC.
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See our Top Places To Stay in Asheville.
Don’t miss out on these Asheville properties on Booking.com, too.
23 Best Things To Do In Asheville With Kids
By Tori Curran & Christine
1. Tour Biltmore Estate
If you’re thinking that America’s largest private home, full of antiques and breakables, isn’t going to make your Asheville with kids itinerary, think again.
Visitors may be surprised to learn just how kid-friendly the Vanderbilt’s Biltmore Estate really is.
Families can spend an entire day at the estate and barely scratch the surface of Biltmore’s family-friendly offerings.
For starters, tour the main house.
While young children, especially, may not appreciate the architecture, they will certainly get a kick out of the basement bowling alley, pool, and oversized children’s nursery.
Plus, for slightly older children, there’s an audio tour narrated by Cedric, the Vanderbilt family’s Saint Bernard.
What kid wouldn’t love hearing about Asheville and Biltmore from the perspective of a pet?
Beyond the home tour, families can spend some pent-up energy frolicking through the gardens or on one of the many Biltmore estate trails.
In Antler Hill Village, find Pisgah Playground, Biltmore Farmyard, and scheduled demonstrations that are sure to engage the kids.
For kid-friendly Biltmore Estate restaurants, head to Stable Cafe and Village Social. Both feature children’s menus. Of course, grab an ice cream treat at The Creamery.
While the Biltmore is one of the pricier Asheville kids’ activities or excursions, it’s more than worth the ticket price for the abundance of value.
Biltmore | 1 Lodge Street, Asheville NC 28803
2. Meet WNC’s Wildest Animals
One of the most popular things to do in Asheville with kids, the Western North Carolina Nature Center showcases the various animals and plants of the Southern Appalachian Mountains.
Find animal exhibits, including the American Black Bear, Red Wolf, Red Panda, Bobcat, and more, as well as interactive learning exhibits and nature play areas.
Practice balancing on natural beams, make music with nature’s instruments, paint with water, and more. Options are endless when nature is your playground.
The WNC Nature Center prides itself on reminding families that children thrive when exposed to nature.
Age and grade-appropriate nature packs and activity sheets also offer scavenger hunts and more nature-themed kids activities in Asheville’s premier zoological area.
More than just a zoo though, the WNC Nature Center is a truly immersive experience for kids of all ages.
If you are a Buncombe County library card holder, get free admission with their ZOOM Pass program.
WNC Nature Center | 75 Gashes Creek Rd, Asheville, NC 28805
3. Hike Along A Waterfall
Adventuring families will love to know that there is no shortage of kid-friendly Asheville hikes and that hiking in Asheville with toddlers is indeed possible.
Popular and adaptable for all experience levels, DuPont State Forest offers a multitude of hikes, including three waterfall hikes.
For newbies, try Hooker falls, a short hike leading down to a waterfall where kids may splash in the river (there are no lifeguards on duty, though, so exert caution).
You can easily add on Triple Falls and High Falls here, as well, from the same access area.
Our family made it through all three with a four, two, and one-year-old.
While the hiking packs come in handy, much of the trail is feasible for their little feet.
Additional family-friendly Asheville hikes include the 1.5-mile Catawba Falls out and back, Bent Creek’s short hikes which provide access to the beach at Lake Powhatan, and Chimney Rock State Park.
Though not stroller-friendly, Chimney Rock does have an elevator to shorten your hike or provide easy access to the views.
While we initially visited Chimney Rock for The Last of the Mohicans scenery, as do many others, we enjoyed finding some quieter trails at the top of Chimney Rock.
Read more about all of Asheville’s top hiking trails.
4. Zipline, Mountain Bike, & Climb
Just five minutes from downtown, the Adventure Center of Asheville offers some of the top-rated adventurous activities in Asheville for kids and teens.
Zipline through the canopies, learn to mountain bike, and climb through the trees in an elevated obstacle course with 77 challenges.
For younger kids, KidZip offers the country’s first zip line for children four to ten years old!
Families with children four and over can also take advantage of the various white water rafting tours available.
At the Adventure Center, excitement and adventure are available for almost all ages and skill levels.
If you are looking for free ways to mountain bike or practice those newly learned skills, though, head to the Bent Creek Experimental Forest next to The NC Arboretum.
On the weekends, you’ll catch parents teaching their children how to mountain bike on the easier and shorter trails.
The Adventure Center | 85 Expo Dr, Asheville, NC 28806
5. Visit A Farm Or Apple Orchard
By now you’ve probably realized that there is no shortage of thrilling outdoor things to do with kids in Asheville or around the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains.
While you may not expect a pasture-raised cow and poultry farm to make the list, though, a visit to the charming Hickory Nut Gap Farm will have you believing otherwise.
A self-guided tour will put you up close with baby animals, while expansive land provides plenty of space to run around or enjoy a picnic.
During the fall, there are plenty of seasonal activities, like a corn maze and pumpkin patch, and of course, the farm store is open year-round to grab some edible treats and meats.
If you are looking for more farm and fall things to do in Asheville with kids, head to the Hendersonville apple orchards, too.
Sky Top Orchard is famous for its apple cannons, bamboo forest, cider donuts, children’s bee train, and hayrides.
Hickory Nut Gap Farm | 57 Sugar Hollow Rd, Fairview, NC 28730
Sky Top Orchard | 1193 Pinnacle Mountain Rd, Flat Rock, NC 28731
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6. Play With A Giant Light Bright
Looking for baby, toddler, and preschool kids’ activities in Asheville?
Head to Hands On! Children’s Museum in Hendersonville, NC, about 40 minutes from the heart of Asheville.
Discover a giant Light Bright, dress up and perform on the Play Stage, immerse your little ones in the music of the Sound Zone, or let loose in the Imagination Playground.
There’s also a grocery store, post office, vet center, a miniature Kilwin’s Ice Cream shop, a nature nook, and Mt. Hands On, an 850-square-foot mountain and waterfall right inside the museum.
Hands On! is the perfect introduction to WNC.
Asheville for kids doesn’t get any better than this; play and let loose in the museum, and then visit the places that inspired the museum.
Hands On! Children’s Museum | 318 N Main St, Hendersonville, NC 28792
7. Stroll & Picnic At The NC Arboretum
Discover a beautiful and serene but also kid-friendly Asheville spot to spend a day with the entire family at The NC Arboretum.
While the floral and tree exhibits will be quite a sight for visitors of all ages, little ones will especially enjoy hiking through Bent Creek, geocaching, or exploring the Nature Discovery Room.
Littles can also join the Arboretum’s initiative, ecoEXPLORE, in which kids discover and document plants and animals at the arboretum and beyond to earn badges across North Carolina.
Whenever we visit gardens and arboretums, we keep our kids engaged with an “eye spy” game.
This lets them focus on finding patterns and colors in nature while the adults get to marvel at the natural scenery, as well.
Don’t forget to pack a picnic lunch, and check out the special events to make the most of your day.
From November to January 1st, the family will love the Arboretum’s Winter Lights Festival.
Drink peppermint hot chocolate in the gardens at night as holiday lights dance to music. There are even s’mores stations.
The North Carolina Arboretum | 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way, Asheville, NC 28806
8. Play Arcade & Video Games
For one of the most unique museums in Asheville for kids and teens (and, ok, adults, too!), head to the Asheville Pinball Museum.
A play-all-you-wish arcade, this museum offers over 75 retro pinball machines and classic arcade games.
Alternatively, play all day for $10 per person at Retrocade. Find over 5000 video games, pinball, billiards, skeeball, and more.
Know though, that while Retrocade is a fun and appropriate setting in Asheville for kids, after 9 PM it’s an adults-only joint.
These kid-friendly Asheville museums might be hard to choose from.
Asheville Pinball Museum | 1 Battle Square St, Asheville NC 28801
Retrocade | 800 Haywood Rd #100, Asheville, NC 28806
9. Watch Sharks & Stingrays Feed
Vacations with kids can add up, so if you are curious about inexpensive things to do with kids in Asheville and the surrounding areas, consider taking a day trip to Hendersonville to check out the Aquarium and Shark Lab.
This is the first inland aquarium in WNC. Children under 2 are free, kids 2-4 are $4.75+, and visitors 5-65 are only $6.75+.
Meander through the majestic ocean life exhibits. Let the little ones get up close with the touch tank.
Witness a shark and stingray feed, or catch the reptiles when they’re brought out for personal encounters.
Aquarium and Shark Lab | 11 N Main St, Hendersonville, NC 28792
10. Rock Out With A Dinosaur
Little science lovers will be thrilled at the Asheville Museum of Science, complete with hands-on exhibits and scavenger hunts to make navigating the museum engaging and educational.
Become a geologist, dig for fossils, and learn about the French Broad River and its ecology. After, climb and explore the forest-themed indoor playground.
Don’t forget to spy on the Teratophoneus Curriei, a giant dinosaur skeleton. Though we don’t think you’d be able to miss him!
Plus, take advantage of the Little Explorers Club, an in-house and free preschool program on the first and third Friday of every month – with ever-changing activities and themes.
Asheville Museum of Science | 43 Patton Ave, Asheville, NC 28801
11. See A Meteorite With T-Rex
You may not think that rocks and minerals fascinate Asheville’s youngest visitors, but Hendersonville’s Mineral and Lapidary Museum has a way of making paleontology fun.
If you’re visiting Asheville with kids who love dinosaurs, they will especially enjoy the fossil displays.
Encounter dinosaur eggs, a T-Rex skull, a sabertooth cat skeleton, mastodon bone and tusk, and a 6 foot 7-inch tall wooly mammoth bone.
Plus, learn about and see the Hendersonville Meteorite and marvel at the various geodes, which include a several-foot-high amethyst specimen.
While in this area, don’t miss Hendersonville’s delicious restaurants like Mikes On Main, one of the best kid-friendly restaurants.
For adults, Hendersonville is full of wineries and breweries.
Mineral and Lapidary Museum of Henderson County | 400 N Main St, Hendersonville, NC 28792
12. Sit In A Plane
Are you heading to Asheville with kids – young and old – who love planes?
The WNC Air Museum is the perfect place to get up close and personal with North Carolina’s aviation history.
Plus, kids (and adults) can even sit in some of the planes.
With twenty or so aircraft on display, visitors will be happy to know that there are no glass cases or ropes keeping you at a distance. Just watch your head.
Explore a simple, unassuming museum, free of charge, dedicated to preserving flight history and encouraging visitors to get up close and personal with it.
Especially find WWI replica planes as well as recreational aircraft donated over the years. Along with a little library, spy exhibits including ejection seats and model airplanes.
Friendly docents will tell you more about the planes. Buy a fun trinket in the small gift shop, and leave a donation, if you can.
Western North Carolina Air Museum | 1340 E Gilbert St, Hendersonville, NC 28792
13. Climb Through A Jungle Gym
Where can you discover a miniature Asheville, complete with a kid-sized Biltmore and a three-part jungle gym?
For indoor things to do in Asheville with kids, head to Mountain Play Lodge.
Let the littles enjoy soft play equipment, climbing obstacles, and a toddler area, all while discovering the magic of Asheville.
Perhaps the kids will be more inclined to enjoy Biltmore Estate once they’re done climbing through the pint-sized version, Cedric the Saint Bernard included.
Jungle gyms are accessible to adults, so join in the fun, and remember to bring socks as they are required.
Mountain Play Lodge | 3389 Sweeten Creek Rd, Arden, NC 28704
14. Laugh Along On A Big Purple Bus
Wanting to learn more about Asheville’s history, take a guided tour, or sit down for an hour… but worried about entertaining the kids? LaZoom has a solution.
Hilarious and educational, LaZoom’s Lil Boogers Kids’ Comedy Tour perfectly blends comedy and the history of Asheville for kids.
Geared specifically for children 5-12 years old, families will explore much of Asheville while being entertained by comedic skits, zany tour guides, and special guest appearances.
Younger children are welcome as well, and lap children under three are free.
LaZoom Kids Comedy Tour | 76 Biltmore Ave, Asheville, NC 28801
15. Take A Train Ride Through History
Grab the entire family and take a train ride through history. The open-air train ride is a perfectly unique Asheville experience, especially for those train-loving littles.
Learn about the railway history of WNC, and hop aboard some of the old train and trolley cars.
Two-hour train rides begin at $90+ for a family of four and increase in price with additional riders.
Plus, if you’re searching for seasonal kids’ activities in Asheville, you’ll find fall-themed events, as well as a Jungle Bell Trolley Ride in December, complete with hot chocolate, cookies, and a visit from Santa.
Craggy Mountain Line | 111 Woodfin Ave, Asheville, NC 28804
16. Slide Down A Waterfall
Families seeking more outdoor Asheville kids’ activities might be interested in Sliding Rock, a 60-foot natural waterslide in the Pisgah National Forest.
Ride a smooth slab of rock down into an 8-foot pool for a thrilling, natural experience in the heart of the woods. During the summer, the cool 50-60 degree water is the perfect reprise.
What kid wouldn’t line up to try that at least once?
Sliders, including all children, must know how to swim. Kids seven and under must ride with an adult; life jackets are allowed.
While Sliding Rock is open year-round, there is only a lifeguard present from May through September. During this peak season, visitors will be charged $4+ per person. It is free during the off-season.
Sliding Rock is also close to additional family-friendly Asheville hikes, like Moore Cove Falls, Skinny Dip Falls, Daniel Ridge Falls (shorter trail), and Looking Glass Falls.
Sliding Rock Natural Waterslide | 7851 Pisgah Highway, Pisgah Forest, NC 28768
More Asheville kids’ activities from Christine
17. Watch Shakespeare In The Park
While not every show is kid-friendly, Shakespeare in the Park, performed by the Montford Park Players, is one of the most fun things to do with kids in Asheville – especially for older teens.
For exploring Asheville with toddlers, though, you might want to consider skipping this one.
Most May through October shows start around 7:30 PM Friday through Sunday, although they’ll occasionally host more family-friendly performances at 5:30 PM – like The Sword in the Stone (in 2021).
Not all shows are Shakespeare either, including favorites like The Little Prince (2022).
Even better, the event is free – although generous donations are highly encouraged. Sit outside under the stars with a picnic, and bring or rent lawn chairs.
There are on-site restrooms, and we highly recommend this activity for the literary travelers in your family.
Nearby, enjoy gorgeous Historic Montford, including older homes, Free Little Libraries, and parks.
There is a playground and baseball field before entering the Hazel Robinson Amphitheatre.
18. Cheer For The Asheville Tourists
Watching a baseball game at McCormick Field is by far one of the best things to do in Asheville with kids, especially if they are sports lovers.
Cheer for the Asheville Tourists, AVL’s minor league baseball team, and try to grab a picture with the furry mascot…or a walking baseball?!
Tickets are budget-friendly, and family members will find souvenirs, craft beer, and all of that deliciously bad-for-you baseball food.
Watch those cheesy in-between-innings and 7th-inning-stretch shows, and stay for as long as you like.
We suggest watching a game on a cooler and dry day.
For food before you go, check out Downtown Asheville restaurants like Farm Burger – gf and vegan burger options – or Asheville Pizza and Brewing, serving up the best pizza in town.
19. Spend A Day At A WNC Lake
The lakes around WNC are beautiful and full of family-friendly Asheville activities. Many of the lakes make for great day trips too.
Located within the city itself, enjoy biking, hiking, and the recreational area at Lake Powhatan in the Bent Creek Experimental Forest.
Beaver Lake in North Asheville is home to a 2.1-mile perimeter trail and bird sanctuary – although there are no restrooms for the littles.
Or, head to Lake Lure near Chimney Rock or Lake Junaluska for boating, fishing, and more. Plus, closer to the summer, a few of these lakes boast of mountain beaches.
Of course, please follow all posted rules and keep a vigilant eye on family members around the water. Many of the lakes do not have lifeguards. Some have facilities.
20. See All Of The Winter Light Displays
Nothing beats an Asheville Christmas.
Biltmore House lights up for Candlelight Christmas Evenings, and as mentioned above, The NC Arboretum hosts Winter Lights in the gardens.
From November to January, The Omni Grove Park Inn features their famous Gingerbread House Competition, serving up hot chocolate with incredible mountain views.
Families across WNC pile into cars hoping to find and chop the perfect Christmas tree while enjoying cocoa and shopping at holiday pop-up stands.
Of course, the highlight of the season includes those vibrant light displays. Drive through the lights at Lake Julian or head to Tryon for Shadrick’s Christmas Wonderland.
Forest City has been named the #1 Western North Carolina Christmas town, and much of Asheville festively decorates for the season.
Explore all of our winter in Asheville posts.
21. Spend An Afternoon In The Park
For outdoor kids’ activities in Asheville, why not head to one of Asheville’s parks?
French Broad River Park provides shaded picnic tables, easy walking trails, and a dog park with little and big dog sides.
Carrier Park promises a playground, easy and paved trails perfect for biking, picnic areas, and even a hockey rink.
Plus, you can bike, walk, and skate on that unique velodrome.
Our favorite area, the new RAD Riverwalk in Asheville’s River Arts District, has bike lanes, picnic tables along the French Broad River, and a wide walking path.
Enjoy swinging benches or launch a float down the river.
Of course, just be mindful of the littles around the river. There are no lifeguards, and the water can be dangerous.
And, if you are touring WNC’s towns and cities, the Park at Flat Rock (about a 40-minute drive from Asheville) has a huge wooden playground, picnic areas, and flat walking trails.
Plus, Flat Rock is full of family-friendly things to do, including more hiking, seeing farm animals at the Carl Sandburg home, and nearby museums.
22. Devour Dessert
Of course, one of the best things to do in Asheville with kids is eat!
Treat yourself and the family to ice cream, bubble tea, donuts, and so much more. In “Foodtopia,” you can bet there is no shortage of desserts in AVL.
For Asheville donut shops, we suggest Vortex Doughnuts Downtown, Hole Doughnuts in West AVL, or Duck Donuts in North Asheville.
If you are craving gelato or ice cream, don’t miss Sunshine Sammies for ice cream sandwiches. Or, head to The Hop for ice cream and shakes. Both have vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free options.
Of course, everyone knows French Broad Chocolate Lounge for hot cocoa and truffles, and Asheville Chocolate is our favorite spot for chocolate, coffee, and gelato downtown.
23. Roller Skate To Music
Another one of the best Asheville kids’ activities is roller skating!
As mentioned above, Carrier Park has both a skating rink and “Mellowdrome,” perfect for beginner skaters. Both are largely flat and smooth with minor tree and leaf debris.
However, if you love indoor skating rinks with those colorful strobe lights and trendy music, head to Smoky Mountain Sk8way in Waynesville – about a 45-minute drive from Asheville.
Rent skates or bring your own along with quarters to lock up your personal items.
Thursday through Sunday, the Sk8way offers public skate hours, skating lessons, special events, and even an adults-only skate night.
Host a Birthday party here, or enjoy the Fun Zone, which features an obstacle course, inflatables, an 18-hole mini-golf course, and an arcade with 40+ games.
Smoky Mountain Sk8way’s cafe serves up kid-friendly food, including pizza, nachos, fries, burgers, and hot dogs. They do not allow outside food and drink.
For more skate-related things to do in Asheville for kids, RAD Skatepark is another great option, filled with ramps and bowls for all levels.
Pay per session, or get a membership. They also offer lessons and a summer skate camp.
Their youngest participants tend to be 5+ – you’ll see more tweens and teens here, though – and it’s OK to drop your children off, if you feel comfortable.
Next door, there is also a free, public outdoor skatepark.
Smoky Mountain Sk8way | 9025 Great Smoky Mountains Expy, Waynesville, NC 28786
Save Your Favorite Kids’ Activities in Asheville For Later:
Where To Stay In Asheville
Explore the best places to stay in Asheville. A few of our top suggestions:
- Aloft – Downtown Asheville – Centrally located and recently renovated, enjoy a rooftop pool, a gorgeous bar, and trendy rooms.
- The Omni Grove Park Inn – Treat yourself to a luxury resort in North Asheville, complete with breathtaking sunsets, terrace bars and dining, and loads of Asheville history.
- Hampton Inn And Suites Asheville Biltmore Area – A budget-friendly but renovated hotel on busier Brevard Road that’s perfect if you wish to stay between Biltmore Estate, Downtown Asheville, and the Blue Ridge Parkway.
- Asheville Cottages – Gorgeous 1 to 3-bedroom cottages with a private deck, housing a grill and hot tub. Find luxurious heated-floor bathrooms with rain showers, a well-stocked kitchen, and the cleanest rooms in town.
- Foundry Hotel – An oasis in Downtown Asheville, Foundry Hotel is a nod to AVL’s industrial history. Find famous restaurant Benne on Eagle while sleeping ensconced in charm and elegance.
- Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Asheville Westgate, NC – Located off of the highway as you enter AVL, find a sleek and clean hotel at a great price.
- Black Walnut B&B Inn – Designed by Biltmore’s supervising architect, Richard Sharp-Smith, this 1899 inn is close to Downtown AVL and serves afternoon tea. Two rooms are pet-friendly.
Don’t miss out on these Asheville properties on Booking.com, too.
Thank you to Uncorked Asheville contributor, Tori Curran from Explore With Tori
Tori is a mom to two boys, living in New York but adventuring everywhere, usually with a toddler on her back. She’s an avid traveler, nature junkie, and writer encouraging families to get outside and start exploring the world. When she’s not hiking or traveling, you can find her lost in a book, watching Bravo reruns, or obsessively decluttering her home.
What are your favorite things to do with kids in Asheville, NC?
What are the best kids’ activities in Asheville that your family loves? Do you have any Asheville family traditions? Let us know in the comments.
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DuPont Waterfall Hikes
Asheville’s Best Museums
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