Looking for things to do in Hendersonville, NC? Whether you’re a local or just passing through we’ve got loads of great tips and events to help you find your perfect adventure.

Interested in adding an event to our calendar? Please click the green “Post Your Event” button below.

Saturday, June 22, 2024
2024 Augusta Toy and Comic Convention fea. JoeFest
Jun 22 – Jun 23 all-day
Augusta Convention Center

2024 Augusta Toy and Comic Convention featuring JoeFest returns for a 7th year! Over 230 vendors with collectible toys and comic books! Meet celebrities, artists, and popular content creators! Anime too! All under one 20,000 square feet at the downtown Augusta Convention Center!

Friday, June 21, 2024 , 6:00pm-8:00pm
Saturday, June 22, 2024, 10:00am-5:00pm
Sunday, June 23, 2024, 11:00am-3:00pm

Adventure Begins At Your Library Summer Learning Program
Jun 22 – Aug 31 all-day
Black Mountain Library

You don’t have to travel far to fill your summer break with adventure and discovery! Adventure Begins at your Library is this year’s Summer Learning theme and our 12 libraries are sure to deliver memorable experiences for the whole family. Whether you’re hoping to get lost in a story set on a tropical island, or get your hands messy with backyard nature activities, there’s tons to explore at your local public library.

The 2024 Summer Learning Program runs June 1 to August 31 and is open to everyone ages birth through 18 years old. To participate in the program, visit any library after June 1 to pick up an activity sheet for kids or teens. Complete ten activities and return your sheet to get a free book!

Events in Black Mountain:
June 12, 2 p.m.: Balloon Art
June 20, 2 p.m.: Story Art
June 25, 6 p.m.: Black Light Fort Building Night
June 26, 2 p.m.: Baby Jar Butter Making and Stories

Grant Center Swimming Pool
Jun 22 all-day
Grant Center Pool

Swimming Pools

Asheville Parks & Recreation’s public pools provide safe and affordable outdoor summer fun for all ages. For info about pool schedules, please call 828-348-4770 or visit ashevillecitypools.com.

Malvern Hills Park’s 90 year-old outdoor pool will not open this summer. While we were able to keep the facility operational through last summer, the pool can no longer be repaired to safely meet the needs of our community. For more, read this article.

Admission

  • Individual – $3 per session
  • Individual Season Pass – $100
  • Family Season Pass – $150 (up to four individuals)

Locations

Events

  • Asheville Parks & Recreation hosts hundreds of free and low-cost activities, programs, and events each month. Check out the latest program guide.
  • Pools will open Saturday, May 25!

    Dates of Operation:
    Grant Center Pool: Saturday, May 25th through Sunday, August 11th
    Recreation Park Pool: Saturday, May 25th through Monday, September 2nd, weekends only from
    August 12th through September 2nd

    Pools open weekends only until June 10th, with the exception of Monday, May 27!

    Hours of Operation June 10 through August 11:
    Monday through Friday – 12:00pm-6:00pm
    Saturday – 11:00am-6:00pm
    Sunday – 1:00pm-6:00pm

    Cost is $3 per person per day

LaZoom Kids Comedy Tour: Lil Boogers
Jun 22 – Aug 31 all-day
LAZOOM ROOM

Fun for the whole family on the big purple bus! Educational and entertaining, LaZoom’s Kids’ Comedy Tour features a perfect blend of Asheville’s history and kid-centric comedy. You’ll learn about our city’s past and see the sights in true LaZoom style–complete with our famously outlandish tour guides, hilarious comedy skits and all sorts of special appearances!

Mile High Swinging Bridge
Jun 22 all-day
Grandfather Mountain

One of the top highlights and memories of visits to Grandfather Mountain nature park is walking across the famous Mile High Swinging Bridge. Since 1952, visitors have “oohed” and “aahed” at the bridge’s 360-degree panoramic views. America’s highest suspension footbridge gives easy access to the spectacular views atop Grandfather Mountain’s Linville Peak, elevation 5,305 feet.

The 228-foot suspension bridge spans an 80-foot chasm at more than one mile in elevation (hence the name!). To reach the Mile High Swinging Bridge, drive the two-mile, winding scenic road up the mountain to the summit parking area by the Top Shop. Climb 50 stairs adjacent to the parking area or inside the Top Shop to reach the short pathway to the bridge. Also, an elevator in the Top Shop takes you to the third floor for a level walk to the bridge.

Top Shop

Located adjacent to the Bridge, the Top Shop features a gift shop, snacks, restrooms, elevator and second-floor exhibition area. Also get the latest park information and trail maps. Read more.

Accessibility

Inside the Top Shop, an elevator makes the Mile High Swinging Bridge accessible to people with mobility challenges, including those in wheelchairs. From the Top Shop, there is a paved 50-yard path to the bridge. Read more about our accessibility.

Tickets & Hours

Walking across the Mile High Swinging Bridge is included in your Grandfather Mountain admission ticket that includes many other things to do in our nature park. Buy tickets online and book a reservation time to enter the park. You do not need a separate reservation for the bridge. It’s open, weather permitting, every day of the year except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. See hours.

More to Explore

Before or after visiting the Mile High Swinging Bridge, allow time to enjoy other parts of the mountain: wildlife habitats, Wilson Center for Nature Discovery, restaurant, hiking trails, roadside overlooks, picnic areas and more. See more Things to Do.

Nearby Hiking Trails

Trailheads to many of the Grandfather Mountain hiking trails are located near the Swinging Bridge. In fact, the 0.4 mile Bridge Trail takes you beneath the bridge, starting from the Black Rock parking area just below the summit. For details on our nearby trails, go to our Hiking Guide.

Bridge Tips & Tidbits

  • Does it really swing? Very little — unlike the original one. Today’s bridge is made of steel and reinforced with cables and springs. It has railings on the sides to ensure safety.
  • We suggest you wear rubber-soled shoes and walk with care when crossing the rocks on the far side of the bridge.
  • If heights give you pause, you can still enjoy Blue Ridge Mountain views from the ground before you reach the bridge and even from the parking area.
  • Due to periodic extreme weather conditions at the bridge, it closes when there is area lightning, high wind or icy conditions.
  • The official U.S. Weather Service Reporting Station atop the Mile High Swinging Bridge has provided daily weather observations since 1955. The temperature is usually 10 to 20 degrees cooler than in the flatlands you see below. It’s also one of the windiest locations in North Carolina, with a 124-mph record set in winter 2019. Learn more about our weather.
  • Pets are allowed on the bridge if well behaved and on a leash.
  • Photographs and videos to remember your visit are encouraged. Be mindful of sharp drop-offs along the Linville Peak ridge. Drones are not allowed. See our photography policies.
  • The Singing Bridge? When the wind blows, the Mile High Swinging Bridge “sings” in the same way as a harmonica.
  • In April through October, join Grandfather’s expert naturalists by the Bridge for Interpretive Talks about the our unique weather, climate, flora and fauna. Read more.
  • Need driving directions? The address for Grandfather Mountain’s entrance gate is 2050 Blowing Rock Highway, Linville, NC 28646 (click link for Google Maps). There are no shuttles, so you must have your own vehicle to explore our nature park. No RVs longer than 28 feet in length or hinged vehicles are allowed through the Entrance Gate. See detailed directions.
  • To see much more info, see our Plan Your Visit section.

Mile High Swinging Bridge History

Former North Carolina Tourism Director Charles J. Parker coined the name “Mile High Swinging Bridge” at the Bridge’s dedication in 1952. The term “mile high” refers to the structure’s elevation above sea level (5,280 feet). The term “swinging” refers to the fact that suspension bridges are free to sway.

The original 1952 bridge was designed by Charles Hartmann Jr. of Greensboro, N.C. It was fabricated in Greensboro and then reassembled on top of the Mountain. Erecting the bridge took three weeks, a process slowed by inclement weather created by a hurricane off the North Carolina coast. Cost was $15,000. It was dedicated on Sept. 2, 1952 by North Carolina Gov. William B. Umstead.

The bridge was rebuilt in 1999 using the original towers. The cables, floor boards and side rails were all replaced using galvanized steel. One of the main advantages of the modern building materials is that they do not have to be painted. Now, Grandfather Mountain employees will not have to hang out over the gorge to paint the span. It was redesigned by Sutton, Kennerly & Associates Engineering of Asheville, N.C., and rebuilt by Taylor & Murphy Construction Company of Asheville. The cost of rebuilding was $300,000.

PARI Summer STEM and Space Exploration Camps
Jun 22 – Aug 1 all-day
Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute

Unleash your curiosity of the unknown when you retreat to a dark sky oasis where the stars are innumerable
and beckon overhead. Let the magnificence of space overwhelm you as you discover the mysteries that still
confound scientists, it just might drive you to become tomorrow’s astronauts, physicists, and engineers.
Come learn how different telescopes work and use them and real data to explore space just like professional
scientists do. PARI is a unique site, rich in space science history, and is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains
of North Carolina, where an abundance of adventures awaits. From Space and Science to tubing, waterfall
swimming and roller skating, there are fun, refreshing activities for everyone.
Your Next Adventure Awaits!
When you look up at night and see a field of twinkling lights or the bright crescent of the Moon, what is it
you think of? Maybe you wonder what makes the stars burn and how they came to be, or what planets might
orbit them and the worlds they hold. Perhaps you see patterns that tell a story or point the way to a place
beyond the horizon. Or, do they instill in you a sense of adventure and desire to explore?
Space is a frontier that sparks imagination and curiosity to discover and understand. It invokes the same
spirit that drove ancient peoples to sail into the unknown and pioneers to set out across continents. To reach
into space requires tenacity and grit, bringing together people from diverse backgrounds who’ve studied,
experimented, and pushed humanity’s abilities forward again and again.
The summer of 2024 will begin PARI’s twenty- third summer camp season. It brings camp programs where
campers explore the ways that researchers delve the depths of our universe to make new discoveries, and the
challenges that humans face when leaving the Earth to explore the Moon, Mars, and beyond.
It is also the third summer of our new partnership with Clemson University. This collaboration expands our
ability to inspire with new topics and resources and will reach even more campers who will become the next
generation of scientists and explorers.
Have you got what it takes to conquer STEM and Space?
PARI Summer Camps
Mission Control: Martian Frontier
-Do you have what it takes to plan a mission to another planet?
Gain confidence, learn space science, and strive to make it to a new world in this combination role-play—academic
camp. The wide variety of topics makes this camp a good fit for a range of interests. You’ll tackle challenges in
space craft and habitat design, astronaut health and well-being, and capturing public interest while swaying others
to support your plan.
This camp is designed for middle and high school aged campers.
Above & Beyond
-Models the research process followed by professionals in space science!
Our signature and most academically intensive camp explores the universe through astronomy, physics, and
astrobiology. Use real research-grade instruments and data to investigate objects like super-nova remnants and
distant star clusters, or map the Milky Way. One small step as a space explorer, one giant step in launching your
career in space.
This camp is designed for high school aged campers.
3D Planets – PARI Edition
Lunar and Martian Geography, 3D Modeling & Printing
What is the surface of other planets like? How do we find out and turn that information into a three dimensional
model? Can we accurately recreate other places in the solar system with a 3D printer in a way that anyone can
see and touch and gain an understanding of places beyond Earth? Campers will investigate these questions and
delve into the processes of making science accessible to all. The PARI edition will feature a field trip to a unique
mountain location to experience the beauty of the Land of Waterfalls.
This camp is available in versions for either middle school or high school aged campers.
Clemson & PARI Summer Camps
3D Planets – Clemson Edition
Lunar and Martian Geography, 3D Modeling & Printing
What is the surface of other planets like? How do we find out and turn that information into a three dimensional
model? Can we accurately recreate other places in the solar system with a 3D printer in a way that anyone can
see and touch and gain an understanding of places beyond Earth? Campers will investigate these questions and
delve into the processes of making science accessible to all.
The Clemson Edition of this camp will feature a guest speaker from Clemson University who will engage campers
with the science and research going on there. Campers will also hike to a unique mountain location in the Land of
Waterfalls.
This camp is designed for middle school aged campers.
Advanced 3D Planets – Clemson Edition
Lunar and Martian Geography, 3D Modeling & Printing
What is the surface of other planets like? How do we find out and turn that information into a three dimensional
model? Can we accurately recreate other places in the solar system with a 3D printer in a way that anyone can
see and touch and gain an understanding of places beyond Earth? Campers will investigate these questions and
delve into the processes of making science accessible to all.
The advanced version of this camp is designed for high school aged campers and will go deeper into the math
behind how the data is modeled in the computer. We will also learn to represent 3D models with code.
The Clemson Edition of this camp will feature a field trip to Clemson University where students experience the
science and research going on there.
This camp is designed for high school aged campers.
3D Planets – Clemson Edition
6/16/2024 3 PM – 6/21/2024 10 AM
Ages 11 – 15
Advanced 3D Planets – Clemson Edition
6/23/2024 3 PM – 6/28/2024 10 AM
Ages 14 – 17 years
3D Planets – PARI Edition
6/30/2024 3 PM – 7/5/2024 10 AM
Ages 11 – 15
Above & Beyond
7/7/2024 3 PM – 7/18/2024 10 AM
Grades 9th – 12th
Martian Frontier
7/21/2024 3 PM – 8/1/2024 10 AM
Grades 7th – 12th
Empowering today’s campers to become tomorrow’s leaders in space and science discovery

Raft + Rail A Fully Guided Experience
Jun 22 all-day
The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

The original Raft & Rail© since 1988: enjoy the two best adventures in the region in one day, great for families. Southern Living Magazine calls this “an ideal adventure for families, first-timers, young or old.” This full-day guided adventure starts with a Wildwater staff member greeting you at the train depot, followed by a scenic train trip, deli lunch with all the fixings, and a Nantahala River whitewater trip with a guide in every boat. Hot showers and a photo show follow immediately after your 8-mile Nantahala River trip. All transportation is included to and from the Bryson City Train Depot. Available April–October with the morning departure of the Nantahala Gorge Excursion departing Bryson City, NC. Train seating in Open Air Gondola. 2024 bookings starting soon!

Ticket fares subject to 7% Historic Preservation Fee and 7% North Carolina sales tax. Schedules, fares, motive power, equipment, seat selection, and meals are subject to change without notice. We guarantee the class of service you select. You will be notified if a change in schedule or motive power affects your reservation. Payment in full at booking by major credit card is required to finalize a reservation. You may cancel your reservation in full or in part and receive a refund less a $14.00 fee per adult ticket and $7.00 fee per child ticket as late as 5 days before departure, except The Polar Express Train Ride; The Polar Express Train Ride is as late as 60 days before departure. Within 5 days of the departure, or 60 days in the case of the Polar Express Train Ride, the reservation becomes nonrefundable. You may reschedule any time prior to your originally scheduled departure with a $7.00 fee per ticket for another date within the same calendar year. You may not reschedule a reservation after the scheduled departure.

Recreation Park Swimming Pool
Jun 22 all-day
Recreation Park

Swimming Pools

Asheville Parks & Recreation’s public pools provide safe and affordable outdoor summer fun for all ages. For info about pool schedules, please call 828-348-4770 or visit ashevillecitypools.com.

Malvern Hills Park’s 90 year-old outdoor pool will not open this summer. While we were able to keep the facility operational through last summer, the pool can no longer be repaired to safely meet the needs of our community. For more, read this article.

Admission

  • Individual – $3 per session
  • Individual Season Pass – $100
  • Family Season Pass – $150 (up to four individuals)

Locations

Events

  • Asheville Parks & Recreation hosts hundreds of free and low-cost activities, programs, and events each month. Check out the latest program guide.
  • Pools will open Saturday, May 25!

    Dates of Operation:
    Grant Center Pool: Saturday, May 25th through Sunday, August 11th
    Recreation Park Pool: Saturday, May 25th through Monday, September 2nd, weekends only from
    August 12th through September 2nd

    Pools open weekends only until June 10th, with the exception of Monday, May 27!

    Hours of Operation June 10 through August 11:
    Monday through Friday – 12:00pm-6:00pm
    Saturday – 11:00am-6:00pm
    Sunday – 1:00pm-6:00pm

    Cost is $3 per person per day

Registration Open: Fall 2024-Spring 2025 Asheville Junior Theater – School of Dance
Jun 22 all-day
Asheville Junior Theater

Get ready to dance into the spotlight because Asheville Junior Theater (AJT) –
School of Dance is excited to announce the grand opening its dance school. Registration
for the upcoming Fall 2024-Spring 2025 season is now open! With a commitment to igniting
artistic passion and fostering unparalleled talent, AJT School of Dance is your ticket to an
electrifying dance experience like no other.

AJT School of Dance is more than just a dance studio; it’s a gateway to a transformative dance
experience. With a focus on fostering self-confidence, promoting integrity, and nurturing a
genuine passion for dance, our dedicated instructors are committed to guiding each student on
a path of artistic discovery and self-expression.

Registration for the Fall 2024-Spring 2025 season at Asheville Junior Theater – School of Dance
is now open! Don’t miss your chance to be part of something extraordinary. Classes are offered
for ages 4-adult.
For more information on class offerings and registration, visit
www.ashevillejuniortheater.com/dance or contact [email protected].
Unique classes offered: Aerial Arts, Tricks and Stunts, Musical Theater, Performance Crew–
in addition to all the various technique classes of Jazz, Tap, Ballet/Lyrical, Hip Hop and more!

Sunday, June 23, 2024
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Free Books for Children ages 0-5
Jun 23 all-day
online w/ Literacy Together

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library impacts the pre­-literacy skills and school readiness of children under the age of 5 in Buncombe County. The program mails a new, free, age-appropriate book to registered children each month until they turn five years old. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library creates a home library of up to 60 books and instills a love of books and reading from an early age. If you have any questions about the program, please send an email to [email protected].

A national panel of educators selects the Imagination Library titles, which include: The Little Engine that Could, Last Stop on Market Street, Violet the Pilot, As an Oak Tree Grows, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Llama Llama Red Pajama, Look Out Kindergarten, here I come, and many more (take a look at all the titles).

Register your child now!

Program Launch and Expansions

Literacy Together became a Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library affiliate in November 2015 with support from the Buncombe Partnership for Children. Through this program, registered children in Buncombe County receive a free book in the mail each month. Their parents also have the opportunity to attend workshops to learn how to build their children’s early literacy skills. Parents in need of literacy assistance are encouraged to receive tutoring through Literacy Together’s adult programming.

The program served 200 children during the 2015/16 fiscal year. The program expanded to serve 400 children in July 2016, and 600 in August 2017. In July 2018, capacity increased to 1,900 thanks to a special allocation in the North Carolina state budget. We’re now serving 4,600 kids in Buncombe County.  

Grant Center Swimming Pool
Jun 23 all-day
Grant Center Pool

Swimming Pools

Asheville Parks & Recreation’s public pools provide safe and affordable outdoor summer fun for all ages. For info about pool schedules, please call 828-348-4770 or visit ashevillecitypools.com.

Malvern Hills Park’s 90 year-old outdoor pool will not open this summer. While we were able to keep the facility operational through last summer, the pool can no longer be repaired to safely meet the needs of our community. For more, read this article.

Admission

  • Individual – $3 per session
  • Individual Season Pass – $100
  • Family Season Pass – $150 (up to four individuals)

Locations

Events

  • Asheville Parks & Recreation hosts hundreds of free and low-cost activities, programs, and events each month. Check out the latest program guide.
  • Pools will open Saturday, May 25!

    Dates of Operation:
    Grant Center Pool: Saturday, May 25th through Sunday, August 11th
    Recreation Park Pool: Saturday, May 25th through Monday, September 2nd, weekends only from
    August 12th through September 2nd

    Pools open weekends only until June 10th, with the exception of Monday, May 27!

    Hours of Operation June 10 through August 11:
    Monday through Friday – 12:00pm-6:00pm
    Saturday – 11:00am-6:00pm
    Sunday – 1:00pm-6:00pm

    Cost is $3 per person per day

Mile High Swinging Bridge
Jun 23 all-day
Grandfather Mountain

One of the top highlights and memories of visits to Grandfather Mountain nature park is walking across the famous Mile High Swinging Bridge. Since 1952, visitors have “oohed” and “aahed” at the bridge’s 360-degree panoramic views. America’s highest suspension footbridge gives easy access to the spectacular views atop Grandfather Mountain’s Linville Peak, elevation 5,305 feet.

The 228-foot suspension bridge spans an 80-foot chasm at more than one mile in elevation (hence the name!). To reach the Mile High Swinging Bridge, drive the two-mile, winding scenic road up the mountain to the summit parking area by the Top Shop. Climb 50 stairs adjacent to the parking area or inside the Top Shop to reach the short pathway to the bridge. Also, an elevator in the Top Shop takes you to the third floor for a level walk to the bridge.

Top Shop

Located adjacent to the Bridge, the Top Shop features a gift shop, snacks, restrooms, elevator and second-floor exhibition area. Also get the latest park information and trail maps. Read more.

Accessibility

Inside the Top Shop, an elevator makes the Mile High Swinging Bridge accessible to people with mobility challenges, including those in wheelchairs. From the Top Shop, there is a paved 50-yard path to the bridge. Read more about our accessibility.

Tickets & Hours

Walking across the Mile High Swinging Bridge is included in your Grandfather Mountain admission ticket that includes many other things to do in our nature park. Buy tickets online and book a reservation time to enter the park. You do not need a separate reservation for the bridge. It’s open, weather permitting, every day of the year except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. See hours.

More to Explore

Before or after visiting the Mile High Swinging Bridge, allow time to enjoy other parts of the mountain: wildlife habitats, Wilson Center for Nature Discovery, restaurant, hiking trails, roadside overlooks, picnic areas and more. See more Things to Do.

Nearby Hiking Trails

Trailheads to many of the Grandfather Mountain hiking trails are located near the Swinging Bridge. In fact, the 0.4 mile Bridge Trail takes you beneath the bridge, starting from the Black Rock parking area just below the summit. For details on our nearby trails, go to our Hiking Guide.

Bridge Tips & Tidbits

  • Does it really swing? Very little — unlike the original one. Today’s bridge is made of steel and reinforced with cables and springs. It has railings on the sides to ensure safety.
  • We suggest you wear rubber-soled shoes and walk with care when crossing the rocks on the far side of the bridge.
  • If heights give you pause, you can still enjoy Blue Ridge Mountain views from the ground before you reach the bridge and even from the parking area.
  • Due to periodic extreme weather conditions at the bridge, it closes when there is area lightning, high wind or icy conditions.
  • The official U.S. Weather Service Reporting Station atop the Mile High Swinging Bridge has provided daily weather observations since 1955. The temperature is usually 10 to 20 degrees cooler than in the flatlands you see below. It’s also one of the windiest locations in North Carolina, with a 124-mph record set in winter 2019. Learn more about our weather.
  • Pets are allowed on the bridge if well behaved and on a leash.
  • Photographs and videos to remember your visit are encouraged. Be mindful of sharp drop-offs along the Linville Peak ridge. Drones are not allowed. See our photography policies.
  • The Singing Bridge? When the wind blows, the Mile High Swinging Bridge “sings” in the same way as a harmonica.
  • In April through October, join Grandfather’s expert naturalists by the Bridge for Interpretive Talks about the our unique weather, climate, flora and fauna. Read more.
  • Need driving directions? The address for Grandfather Mountain’s entrance gate is 2050 Blowing Rock Highway, Linville, NC 28646 (click link for Google Maps). There are no shuttles, so you must have your own vehicle to explore our nature park. No RVs longer than 28 feet in length or hinged vehicles are allowed through the Entrance Gate. See detailed directions.
  • To see much more info, see our Plan Your Visit section.

Mile High Swinging Bridge History

Former North Carolina Tourism Director Charles J. Parker coined the name “Mile High Swinging Bridge” at the Bridge’s dedication in 1952. The term “mile high” refers to the structure’s elevation above sea level (5,280 feet). The term “swinging” refers to the fact that suspension bridges are free to sway.

The original 1952 bridge was designed by Charles Hartmann Jr. of Greensboro, N.C. It was fabricated in Greensboro and then reassembled on top of the Mountain. Erecting the bridge took three weeks, a process slowed by inclement weather created by a hurricane off the North Carolina coast. Cost was $15,000. It was dedicated on Sept. 2, 1952 by North Carolina Gov. William B. Umstead.

The bridge was rebuilt in 1999 using the original towers. The cables, floor boards and side rails were all replaced using galvanized steel. One of the main advantages of the modern building materials is that they do not have to be painted. Now, Grandfather Mountain employees will not have to hang out over the gorge to paint the span. It was redesigned by Sutton, Kennerly & Associates Engineering of Asheville, N.C., and rebuilt by Taylor & Murphy Construction Company of Asheville. The cost of rebuilding was $300,000.

Raft + Rail A Fully Guided Experience
Jun 23 all-day
The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

The original Raft & Rail© since 1988: enjoy the two best adventures in the region in one day, great for families. Southern Living Magazine calls this “an ideal adventure for families, first-timers, young or old.” This full-day guided adventure starts with a Wildwater staff member greeting you at the train depot, followed by a scenic train trip, deli lunch with all the fixings, and a Nantahala River whitewater trip with a guide in every boat. Hot showers and a photo show follow immediately after your 8-mile Nantahala River trip. All transportation is included to and from the Bryson City Train Depot. Available April–October with the morning departure of the Nantahala Gorge Excursion departing Bryson City, NC. Train seating in Open Air Gondola. 2024 bookings starting soon!

Ticket fares subject to 7% Historic Preservation Fee and 7% North Carolina sales tax. Schedules, fares, motive power, equipment, seat selection, and meals are subject to change without notice. We guarantee the class of service you select. You will be notified if a change in schedule or motive power affects your reservation. Payment in full at booking by major credit card is required to finalize a reservation. You may cancel your reservation in full or in part and receive a refund less a $14.00 fee per adult ticket and $7.00 fee per child ticket as late as 5 days before departure, except The Polar Express Train Ride; The Polar Express Train Ride is as late as 60 days before departure. Within 5 days of the departure, or 60 days in the case of the Polar Express Train Ride, the reservation becomes nonrefundable. You may reschedule any time prior to your originally scheduled departure with a $7.00 fee per ticket for another date within the same calendar year. You may not reschedule a reservation after the scheduled departure.

Recreation Park Swimming Pool
Jun 23 all-day
Recreation Park

Swimming Pools

Asheville Parks & Recreation’s public pools provide safe and affordable outdoor summer fun for all ages. For info about pool schedules, please call 828-348-4770 or visit ashevillecitypools.com.

Malvern Hills Park’s 90 year-old outdoor pool will not open this summer. While we were able to keep the facility operational through last summer, the pool can no longer be repaired to safely meet the needs of our community. For more, read this article.

Admission

  • Individual – $3 per session
  • Individual Season Pass – $100
  • Family Season Pass – $150 (up to four individuals)

Locations

Events

  • Asheville Parks & Recreation hosts hundreds of free and low-cost activities, programs, and events each month. Check out the latest program guide.
  • Pools will open Saturday, May 25!

    Dates of Operation:
    Grant Center Pool: Saturday, May 25th through Sunday, August 11th
    Recreation Park Pool: Saturday, May 25th through Monday, September 2nd, weekends only from
    August 12th through September 2nd

    Pools open weekends only until June 10th, with the exception of Monday, May 27!

    Hours of Operation June 10 through August 11:
    Monday through Friday – 12:00pm-6:00pm
    Saturday – 11:00am-6:00pm
    Sunday – 1:00pm-6:00pm

    Cost is $3 per person per day

WILD Excursions is a FREE summer field trip program: registration open
Jun 23 all-day
Asheville Area

Are your kids ready to explore the outdoors this summer? WILD Excursions is a FREE summer field trip program for rising 7th-12th grade students where they get to hike, learn about and meet animals, and even camp out overnight.

Join Buncombe County Soil & water for this amazing experience to investigate and connect with nature.

To register and for more information, contact Buncombe County Soil & Water Environmental Educators Rose Wall and Jen Knight at [email protected].

2024 WILD Excursions Summer Schedule

July 12 – Lake Powhatan – 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
In this hiking adventure, we will focus on water quality in Lake Powhatan and the surrounding streams using the same chemical testing & macroinvertebrate sampling techniques used by scientists.
Bring: Lunch, water bottle, and closed-toed shoes.

July 26 – Balsam Mountain Trust Nature Center – 9:45 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
This experience has a little bit of everything. We’ll hike, stream stomp, do community science, and meet the nature center’s animal ambassadors. We know you’ll love the birds of prey and possum!
Bring: Lunch, water bottle, and closed-toed shoes.

August 16-17 – Camp Out at Purchase Knob (rising 9th-12th only) – Friday 1 p.m. – Saturday 12:30 p.m.
Join us at the Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center for an overnight camping adventure. NPS educators will lead us in doing community science for ongoing research projects. We’ll have plenty of time to explore, relax and reflect. Great for beginner campers.

NC Arboretum Hiking Trails
Jun 23 @ 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
NC Arboretum

Located within the wildly-popular and botanically beautiful Southern Appalachian Mountains, The North Carolina Arboretum offers more than 10 miles of hiking trails that connect to many other area attractions such as Lake Powhatan, the Pisgah National Forest and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Visitors of all ages and abilities can enjoy their hiking experience at the Arboretum as trail options include easy, moderate, and difficult challenge levels. All trails are dog-friendly and visitors are asked to adhere to the proper waste disposing procedures for pets.

Part of a running group that would like to use the Arboretum as a starting point or parking location? Please review our Running Group Guidance and email [email protected] with any questions.

ON EXHIBIT—- Bugs: Outside the Box
Jun 23 @ 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
NC Arboretum

Baker Exhibit Center

Where can you see a butterfly with a five foot wingspan, or a longhorn beetle with antennae more than twelve feet across? The answers can be found amongst the enormous sculptures on display in BUGS: Outside the Box!

Scientifically exact, with a keen attention to detail, the exhibit features a virtual army of giant bugs with one aim in mind – educating the public and shining a light on museum collections, taxonomy, and the power of magnification.

Among the highlights of the exhibit is a rarely seen long-arm beetle more than ten feet in height, a collection of heavily armored stag beetles with impressive jaws and horns as long as your arm, and an insight into the amazing intricacy of the physiology of each insect on display. Alongside these impressive works of art is the insect in question represented at life size,  and detailed information on the life habits, location, and other facts unique to each insect and its family.

 

Outdoor Bonsai Exhibition Garden
Jun 23 @ 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
NC Arboretum

What is Bonsai?

Bonsai is a challenging and rewarding horticultural activity, in which ordinary plants are grown in an extraordinary way. Through rigorously applied cultivation techniques, trees, shrubs, vines and even herbaceous plants are kept in a miniaturized state, developed into artistic shapes and then displayed in special containers.

What makes the Arboretum’s bonsai endeavor unique among all other public collections in the United States? Regional Interpretation. Visitors will find the Arboretum’s bonsai collection of more than 100 specimens carefully cultivated with a Southern Appalachian accent. The collection draws inspiration from the traditional roots of bonsai, but takes the form of a contemporary, Southern Appalachian influenced American garden. Plantings in the landscape include species and cultivars of American, European and Asian origin.

 

The Bonsai Exhibition Garden

Established in October 2005, The North Carolina Arboretum’s Bonsai Exhibition Garden is a world renowned garden that displays up to 50 bonsai specimens at a time. Represented are traditional Asian bonsai subjects such as Japanese maple and Chinese elm, tropical plants such as willow-leaf fig and bougainvillea, and American species such as bald cypress and limber pine. Of particular importance are the plants native to the Blue Ridge region, such as American hornbeam and eastern white pine, which enable the Arboretum to bring the thousand-year tradition of bonsai home to the mountains of Western North Carolina. Interpretive signage throughout the garden conveys information about the art and history of bonsai, and the Arboretum’s own creative approach to it.

 

Outdoor Bonsai Exhibition Garden

  • Bonsai on Display Mid May – November; 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily
  • Garden Open Year Round
  • Parking Fees
    • Personal/Standard Vehicle (up to 20′ long): $20
    • Large vehicles (21′-29′ long): $60
    • Busses and Oversize Vehicles (30′ long+): $125
    • Members: Free

    Apart from the parking fee, there is no other admission charge to enter the Arboretum or our facilities, except in the case of advertised ticketed events.

Summer Splash Water Days
Jun 23 @ 9:00 am – 8:30 pm
Pack Square Park

Splasheville

Splasheville is located in Pack Square Park on 80 Court Plaza. The free splash pad’s regular daily hours are 9.m-8:30pm, but may close for special events or during inclement weather. Check the calendar for scheduled closures.

Li’l Boogers: Kids Comedy Tour
Jun 23 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
LaZoom Room Bar & Gorilla

Explore Asheville with the whole family!

Age Restrictions

All Ages Welcome!
(Content is geared towards ages 5-12 years old)
Children must be accompanied by an adult.
Children 3 and under do not need a ticket if they are sitting in an adults lap.

Duration

60 Minutes

What’s Included

Crazy funny guide
Off-bus characters
Fun facts about Asheville
Age-appropriate jokes

About

Now’s your chance to bring the whole family on the big purple bus! Educational and entertaining, LaZoom’s Kids’ Comedy tour features a perfect blend of Asheville information and kid-centric comedy. Geared specifically towards the 5-12 year old crowd, you’ll learn about our city’s history and see the sights in true LaZoom style – complete with our famously outlandish tour guides, hilarious comedy skits, and all sorts of special appearances! Perfect for birthday parties or school field trips, it’s the best thing to do with your kids in Asheville. It’s a show on wheels!

The tour is 60 minutes long and includes no stops. The tour is hosted by a zany tour guide, and along the way other characters will hop on the bus and perform kid-centric sketches (Candy Pirate, Ninja, and a Levitator) The tour is not only fun – it’s educational! Kids and adults will learn new and interesting facts about Asheville along the way. There must be 1 adult for every 4 children. We do not allow any unaccompanied children. Children 3 and under do not need a ticket if they are sitting in an adults lap.

Waitlist

If your desired time and availability is full, then please give us a call to be added to the waitlist.