The USNWC operates 365 days a year, with grounds and trails (weather permitting) open from dawn until dusk. There are dozens of activity options, many of which are available year-round (check the activity calendar for schedules). While some activities are free, like mountain biking and hiking, others require a pass. You can purchase single activity passes or all-access day passes. Activity costs vary.
A single-activity pass for ice skating costs $20, which includes skate rental. When you arrive, you'll be asked to fill out a waiver for each participant before you can purchase your pass, so plan in a few minutes for that.
I would suggest timing your visit for late afternoon. Skate until the sun goes down, then take a hike on the light trail to end the evening. Magical.
The whole experience is well organized and staff are noticeably friendly and helpful. I highly recommend a visit.
How to get there: The U.S. National Whitewater Center is located at 5000 Whitewater Center Parkway, Charlotte, NC 28214. NOTE: It is free to visit the USNWC, but parking is $6 per car.
Don't forget to pack:
- $6 for parking
- Tall socks
- A childlike sense of glee and wonder