By Rachel Hoeing
Dan Nicholas Park is so much more than just a park! With a carousel, paddle boats, putt-putt, train rides, animals, and more, this park is an afternoon excursion great for the whole family. It’s also the perfect place to meet your Charlotte friends for a picnic and day-out with the kids. Located right off I-85 in Salisbury, it’s less than an hour drive from anywhere in the Triad.
The park does not charge a fee to visit, and just about every attraction is either free or just a few dollars. Animals are allowed in the park, but are not allowed on attractions. So, it’s a great day for your furry family members as well.
In a nutshell, this park has just about everything a little kid would go nuts for: enormous playgrounds, a barnyard, nature center, a carousel, a mini train ride, a gem mine, mini golf, paddle boats, a splash pad, and an aquarium! Currently, the website lists park hours as: January/February: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., March: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., April/May: 8 a.m. – 8 p.m., June-August: 8 a.m.-9 p.m., September: 8 a.m.-8 p.m., October: 9 a.m.- 7 p.m., November/December: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. But, be sure to check the website here for details on each attraction. Different attractions may not be available depending upon the time of year you visit. One of the employees at the park told us that it usually gets crowded around 2pm, so if you can visit early in the day, the park should be less crowded.
Dan Nicholas Park also has 17 covered shelters with picnic tables and grills. There is a charge for shelters and picnic tables on weekends and holidays, so call ahead to reserve, or just bring a blanket like we did and enjoy a picnic on the grassy area. The concession area is located beside the lake and includes refreshments, snacks, and permits for fishing. There is also a building next to the mini golf course that sells Cheerwine Slushies! Yum!
Most of the park is geared toward the younger kids. My children (almost 13 and 15) enjoyed the day because they were able to take their one-year-old cousin on the rides and attractions, but if we were there alone, I think the paddle boats and mini golf would have been about it for them!
The park has a huge lake and campground. There are family cabins available to rent, along with 70 camp sites you can reserve for tent camping. (Sites with electricity and water are available.) This would be a great overnight camping trip with plenty to do during the daytime.
Enjoy this day trip and click here for more ideas!
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