Child-Friendly Activities in Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville, North Carolina, nestled in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, is a vibrant city known for its stunning natural beauty, rich history, and diverse cultural scene. While its reputation tends to conjure up outdoor activities and a haven for foodies, it’s also an excellent destination for families seeking memorable experiences. From interactive museums to outdoor adventures, Asheville offers an abundance of activities tailored to entertain and educate kids of all ages. This guide helps you discover some of the best things to do in Asheville with kids!

Visit the Biltmore Estate

No visit to Asheville is complete without a trip to the magnificent Biltmore Estate. This iconic mansion, built by George Vanderbilt in the late 19th century, is America’s largest privately-owned home. Boasting 250 rooms spread across 8,000 acres of picturesque landscapes, there’s no shortage of places to explore! While parents marvel at the opulent interior, kids stay engaged with a child-friendly house tour narrated by Cedric, the beloved family dog of the Vanderbilts. When your house tour is over, spend time with your children on the property in Antler Hill Village. You’ll find friendly farm animals, a playground, a working model train village, and a delicious ice cream shop.

Discover the Asheville Museum of Science

asheville museum of science

For curious young minds, the Asheville Museum of Science (AMOS) is a must-visit destination when visiting Asheville with kids. Located downtown, this interactive museum offers a hands-on learning experience through its engaging exhibits and educational programs. Kids can dive into various scientific disciplines, from astronomy and physics to biology and paleontology. Highlights include the Colburn Hall of Minerals, the STEM Lab, and the exciting “AMOS Canyon” exhibit, where children can simulate geological phenomena like erosion and sedimentation.

Immerse in Nature at the North Carolina Arboretum

NC Arboretum

Nature-loving families will find bliss at the North Carolina Arboretum, a 434-acre public garden nestled on the edge of Asheville, heading toward the Blue Ridge Parkway. Here, kids can roam through lush gardens and hike along scenic trails. A favorite among children is the model train village which operates through a miniature version of the gardens. The Arboretum also offers educational programs and family-friendly events, including guided nature walks, botanical art classes, and seasonal plant sales. Don’t miss the kid-friendly Bent Creek Bistro to refuel for the rest of your Asheville outings.

Book a Guided Hiking Tour for Kids

children's hiking tour asheville nc

Asheville’s stunning natural surroundings provide the perfect backdrop for outdoor adventures that the whole family can enjoy. From hiking along scenic trails to tubing down the French Broad River, there’s no shortage of outdoor activities to choose from. Take a break from the city by booking a guided hiking tour, specifically geared toward children! Parents can relax and soak up the mountain scenery knowing their children are entertained. From nature-based scavenger hunts to splashing in fresh mountain streams, a morning amongst the mountains is always time well spent.

Visit the Western North Carolina Nature Center

western north carolina nature center asheville nc

For an up-close encounter with native wildlife, head to the Western North Carolina Nature Center. This 42-acre zoological park is home to over 60 species of animals native to the Appalachian region, including black bears, red pandas, and river otters. Kids can observe these fascinating creatures in their natural habitats, participate in educational programs led by knowledgeable staff, and enjoy hands-on exhibits that highlight the importance of conservation and biodiversity.

Get Creative at the Hands On! Children's Museum

Children's museum near asheville north carolina

Located in nearby Hendersonville, just a short drive from Asheville, the Hands On! Children’s Museum offers a multitude of interactive exhibits and creative activities designed to inspire young imaginations. From building and construction zones to art studios and science labs, there’s something for every child to explore and enjoy. Kids can unleash their creativity, engage in imaginative play, and learn through hands-on experimentation, making it the perfect destination for a fun-filled day of family bonding.

Enjoy Sweet Treats

French Broad Chocolate Factory Asheville North Carolina

What’s a vacation if you don’t indulge in some delicious treats?! Asheville has become quite the scene for foodies, and decadent desserts are no exception. Visit local favorites like the French Broad Chocolate Lounge for handmade chocolate made right in the shop. Children can watch the entire process behind floor-to-ceiling glass walls. Stop by The Hop Ice Cream Café for handcrafted ice cream made with locally-sourced ingredients. Their flavors continually rotate, but if you’re lucky, you’ll catch unique combinations like Lavender Vanilla or Blueberry Kale. 

Asheville, NC with Kids

Asheville, North Carolina is not just a tourist destination, it’s also the largest city in Western North Carolina with approximately 94,000 full time residents. Full time families know that there is no shortage of family-friendly activities to keep your youngest travelers entertained! Whether exploring historic landmarks, soaking up fresh mountain air, or engaging in hands-on learning experiences, Asheville is a destination that will not disappoint.

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