We headed in, parked in their parking garage, and headed straight for the KidScience area. This area is a large room very much like Marbles. There are a bunch of areas the kids can explore themselves like the huge water table, life-size Lite Brite, wind tunnel, floating balls, vertical Lego wall, and countless other block tables. There was also a separate area for the kids under 3 within the room. I think that my boys could have stayed in there the whole day easily.
However, there was more museum to see. So, we got a snack at their wonderful spacious cafe (and some coffee for my family that is not so used to rambunctious boys). Then, we headed on to the aquarium. They had lots of great fish, and the boys were entranced by the larger tanks. Next, we breezed by the rainforest complete with birds and sloths, but we really didn't take as much time as we could have there.
Finally, we headed upstairs to check out "Cool Stuff" and "Project Build". These were more exploratory areas for the older kids, but there was still plenty that my littler ones were interested in. The boys enjoyed the thermal camera, music room, and air tubes, but there was a ton more up there that we didn't get to. The adults checked out the "bed of nails", but I don't think that's a kids activity. (It was a little painful...duh!) The kids were exhausted at that point, but we could have easily stayed all day and explored more including their IMAX theater.
What we liked: We loved the KidScience room, and it was so appropriate for the younger kids. However, the best part of the whole day was that Discovery Place has a reciprocal relationship with Life and Science in Durham, and since we're members at Life and Science we were able to get into Discovery Place for free, woohoo!
What we would change: Of course, we would change the fact that it's 3 hours away in Charlotte, but it's a great place for a day or weekend trip. It looks like it's only 1 mile away from the Charlotte Amtrak station so it might be possible to take the train down from Durham for a whole day of fun! (I haven't investigated the details of that trip though.)
Website and other important information:
Address: 301 N. Tryon St., Charlotte, 28202
Hours: Monday-Friday 9am-4pm, Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday Noon-5pm
Admission: Adults-$12, Children $10, Members of Durham's Museum of Life and Science-Free
(The Kid Science area)
(The water table)
(Big Lite Brite...wow!)