Saturday, July 2, 2011

US National Whitewater Center

What it is: While this activity is a bit farther away in Charlotte (about 3 hours away from Durham), we went down for a day and had a ball so we had to tell you about it.  My husband and I actually went on our own without the kids, but you could make this a great outing for the whole family if your kids are a bit older.

The US National Whitewater Center is an outdoor adventure center complete with the world's largest man-made whitewater river.  You can come for the day and enjoy a variety of activities including whitewater rafting, flatwater kayaking or paddleboarding, zip lines and outdoor ropes courses, mountain biking, rock climbing, and more.  While we were there we did the rafting, rock climbing on their rock walls, the climb to zip (where we climbed up a 32 ft. cargo net and took a zip line back down), and the mega jump (where we jumped off a 64 ft. platform while attached to a bungee cord).  We also enjoyed a lovely lunch at their grill overlooking the whitewater course.

In looking at the age restrictions, only the eco-trekking and trails were open to any age.  However, many of the ropes courses were open to between 45 and 265 lbs.  Several of the activities including the flatwater kayaking were open to children as young as 4 on a guided basis.  Other activities such as mountain biking were open to children 6 years of age and over, and the family rafting was open to kids over 8.  You can check their website to find out the age or weight restrictions of any activity.

What we liked:  This was perfect for a date without the kids if you and your husband like a little adventure.  While it was fun and exciting to do each of the activities, it was also relaxing to have the time to spend together minus the kids while doing something new and different.  Plus, the whitewater course was pretty neat to experience. They have class II, III, and IV rapids and a guide to take you down the course.   We also can't wait to take our two sons back when they are a little older for a different kind of family adventure.

What we would change: Depending on the time that you go, you can have a bit of a wait in the lines for the activities.  However, you can make your day more relaxing by reserving times for the whitewater rafting and rock climbing.  Some of the activities are also only open on a seasonal basis, so check this out before going.

Website and other important information: 


Address: 5000 Whitewater Center Parkway, Charlotte, NC 28214

Phone Number: 704.391.3900

Cost: You can purchase their All-Sport Pass for $49 for adults and $39 for kids 9 and under.  This will give you access to all of the center's activities for a day.  Other types of passes are also available on their website.


 1. A view of the front of the center

 2. A group of rafters checking out the whitewater course

 3. The climb-to-zip

 3. The rock walls

4. Someone jumping off the mega jump

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