Discovery Place Nature
Ever wish there was a magical place in Charlotte where your toddler can let themselves and their imaginations run free in a safe environment? A place where they can build forts in the forest, create musical instruments from nature and learn about animals?
Well, such a land does exist… Discovery Place Nature. Bring your toddler to experience the natural world where they can visit with a beekeeper, meet an animal guest, walk among free-flying butterflies and even visit other planets.
Whether you’ve got an hour before nap time or are ready to spend the day, the Museum is a unique spot for learning and fun.
During this time of year, young minds are craving some outside time that is essential to their physical and emotional wellbeing.
At Discovery Place Nature in Freedom Park, your toddler can explore the 100-year old forest on the Paw Paw Nature Trail. The trail is easy to navigate for small feet and filled with native plant species and animal visitors including chipmunks, squirrels, birds and sometimes deer.
You can take your time and stroll through or join one of the many guided nature walk for expert tips from our naturalists who design and adapt the tours to be engaging for all age levels.
We also have one of the coolest outdoor spaces for kids in Charlotte. Fort Wild is an amazing area filled with natural elements that toddlers can use to do everything from building a fort to simply enjoying the satisfaction of moving objects from one place to the other via child-size equipment including wheelbarrows.
Fort Wild offers plenty of seating for parents to comfortably observe kids as they create but the area is designed to encourage caregiver participation. This is also a great place to take a break to enjoy a packed lunch or snack.
Loop of Delight
Inside, the Museum is a loop of delight with all of the exhibitions connecting in a comforting way for when your littles run ahead or linger behind.
Highlights include the animals on exhibit in Creature Cavern which are often at eye-level for toddlers. Don’t miss fan-favorite Queen Charlotte, the city’s official weather-predicting groundhog.
To a toddler, Buttery Pavilion is dreamlike – with winged wonders floating through the air and sometimes landing on visitors. The indoor garden is a visual feast for young eyes with a variety of flowering plants. It is also an opportunity for parents to learn about which plants are best for butterflies, pollinators and other species native to North Carolina.
Our Big Backyard is a toddler parent’s dream come true. With short tunnels to explore, and a big clear ‘observation bubble’ it’s easy to keep an eye on your child as they learn about our animal friends that spend most of their time burrowed underground. There’s also an opportunity for water play and games.
Peetie’s Place is right around the corner and stocked with must-touch fun including books to look at, puppets to play with and a small tree-theater stage for toddlers to express their feelings during their own show.
The planetarium offers junior astronauts the chance to visit the stars. The seating is comfortable and flexible and the planetarium shows progress in a way that doesn’t make the dark seem scary. If you’re looking to spark curiosity and excitement about space, the shows are a journey your toddler will want to take again and again.
Don’t Have to Sit Still Shows
The Museum has the perfect blend of familiarity so your little one can visit their favorites mixed with the new; the show schedule changes with the seasons ensuring there is something different to experience with each visit.
Stewards of Adventure
Connecting kids with the natural world at a young age is a chance to bring balance to screen time and to hone their critical thinking skills.
The Museum fosters a lifelong sense of wonder with plenty of unstructured-play opportunities for free thinking and confidence-building opportunities as little ones are encouraged to ask why in their own way.
Whether you’re looking to get some energy out or just enjoy story time and a walk in the woods Discovery Place Nature is the big adventure for your pint-sized people you’ve been looking for.