Your family's on-slope skills are improving by leaps and bounds - or by slaloms, jumps, and jibs - on perfect bluebird days with prime snowy conditions. With three area ski resorts within a short drive of downtown Boone, you'll always find an exciting variety of terrains and cozy lodges where your family feels right at home. After exhilarating days on the slopes, treat everyone with these après-ski activities. These work well for inclement weather days as well.


1. The Children's Playhouse 

This hands-on children's museum fills up a renovated house on the edge of downtown Boone. With nine play areas throughout the house, The Children's Playhouse offers an intimate, child-friendly space that is open year-round. After completing renovations in 2021, there are even more exhilarating and educational opportunities for children from birth to age eight.


2. 10 High Country Lanes 

Eat, drink, and bowl at one of Boone's favorite indoor entertainment spots. Bring your family, friends, or colleagues, and get bowling on 16 lanes of fun! With a full bar of craft beer and cocktails, plus a delicious pub food menu, your family can enjoy the game as well as food and drinks at your station or on the patio outside.


3. Center 45 Climbing Gym

Center 45 Climbing & Fitness offers visitors 2000 square feet of indoor climbing (bouldering) terrain. Bouldering is a fun, challenging, and popular form of ropeless climbing for all ages - typically done on a wall or rock formation at 20ft or less. The walls at Center 45 are all 14ft at the apex with a long bouldering wall varying from a sheer roof to vertical terrain, a massive 60-degree overhang, a smaller cap roof, a steep arête, a helical wall, and an independent 45-degree power wall. Every week, talented and creative route setters craft new and exciting climbs. 


4. App State Mountaineer Basketball

Treat the kids to a spirited game at the Holmes Convocation Center and watch them turn into lifelong Mountaineers fans! In 2024, there are nine Men's games that take place on weekday or weeknight afternoons/evenings. Ticket prices typically range from $15-$20. The 2024 Women's season also has nine games that are completely free for the whole family to enjoy. 


5. Blowing Rock Art & History Museum 

Families and kids will enjoy memorable outings and workshops at Blowing Rock Art & History Museum (BRAHM). Completely free to the public with an adjacent parking deck, visitors will enjoy a collection of permanent and rotating exhibits year-round. Choose from weekly programs in the Wilson Education Center downstairs, such as Afternoon Art Club for ages 6-10 at 3:30-4:30pm every Tuesday, or the Doodlebug Club for preschoolers, every Thursday from 9:30-10:30am. 


6. Turchin Center for the Visual Arts 

Connect with your expressive self through a free visit to the many exhibits of the Turchin Center for the Arts, the largest such venue in the NC/TN/VA Appalachian region. The Moskowitz Gallery on the first floor near the main entrance provides a hands-on art-making station for families which provides activities related to a current exhibition. Check-in at the visitor services desk for additional special activities for children to enjoy while visiting.


7. Watauga Community Pool 

Watauga Community Recreation Center offers two saline-chlorinated pools - a recreation pool and a lap pool - which is a safer, more effective, and environmentally friendly method for sanitizing pools. In addition, the pools also offer distinct water temperatures: the lap pool is set at 80-81°F, the training pool, and kiddie pool are set at 84-86°F. Salt chlorinators provide mildly saline water, turning the swimming pool into "mineral spa water." The schedule is subject to change based on the season. 


8. Mystery Hill 

A one-stop-shop for endless fun, you can explore the Natural Gravitational Anomaly, Hands-On Science and Optical Illusion Exhibits, Giant Bubbles, Gem Mining, Axe Throwing, the 1903 Dougherty House, the Moon Mullins Native American Artifact Museum, or take souvenir photos at Professor Finnegan's Old Time Photos. 


9. Gem Mining

Gem mining is available year-round at Doc's Rocks and Foggy Mountain Gem Mines. As you sift through mine ore brought to you from actual Appalachian gemstone mines, your family will experience the thrill of discovering valuable treasures. The staff will teach you how to use the pans and water flumes, then help you identify the gemstones you find. Have your treasure cut to order and/or made into jewelry.

Doc's Rocks, 100 Shoppes on the Parkway Rd, Blowing Rock | 828-295-2034 | Open 9:30 am - 5 pm, Closed Tuesdays

Foggy Mountain Gem Mine, 4416 NC Hwy. 105, Boone or 2242 Hwy. 321 S., Boone (new location) | 828-963-4367 | 105 Location Hours: Daily 10 am - 4 pm; 321 Location Hours: Saturday - Sunday 10 am - 4pm


10. Mysterium Escape Adventure

Dive into a unique escape adventure in the middle of downtown Boone! Themed escape rooms will take you and your family on an immersive journey as you work to find clues and solve riddles. With only one hour to escape and up to eight participants, you'll want to pick your team carefully. A parent or guardian must accompany players under 18. While reservations are recommended (online-only), you can also walk right in from King St.


Locals' Tip

Stop by fizzEd after a few hours in the snow for a true, family-friendly Après-Ski experience in downtown Boone! This family bar and restaurant offers a full mocktail menu featuring "Kids Crafted Concoctions" alongside fun, kid-centric menu items.

There are plenty of fun things to do both on and off the slopes during winter in the Boone area. Ski resorts are open through mid-March. Plan your visit today!