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 400 Tracy Circle, Boone | 828-263-0011

This hands-on children's museum fills up a renovated house on the edge of downtown Boone. With several play areas throughout the house, The Children's Playhouse offers an intimate, child-friendly space that is open every day throughout the year. Play areas include: Arts & Crafts Studio; Romp & Stomp area; the Meadow Room for babies; a Discovery Garden with Gnome Home; a Music & Drama corner; Construction Zone; Ramps & Balls area; a Conveyor Belt; the Book Nook, a Train Climber with slide; a Train Table; Loft Play Space; Sand & Water Play; Pretend Café; Doll House Neighborhood; Science Experiments; Special Activities for 5-8 year-olds; and the Parent Resource Lending Library.


2. 10 High Country Lanes 261 Boone Heights Drive, Boone | 828-264-3166

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 200 Den Mac Drive, Boone | 828-386-1550 | Open daily (Tues.- Sat. 10 am - 9 pm, Sun. 10 am - 7 pm, and Mon. 3 pm - 9 pm)

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. Additional weightlifting and general fitness opportunities are within the facility, including bench-press, free weights, treadmill, stationary bike, rope climbing, gymnastic rings, core exercise spaces, jump rope, medicine balls, and more bodyweight fitness options. A focused climber training area includes a variety of hang boards, an array of rock-ring and power ball training resources, a campus rung and pinch ball wall, a jungle gym-style campus ladder, and a symmetrical systems wall. Check out the aerial silks fitness workshops, too!


4. App State Mountaineer Basketball (Women's and Men's) Holmes Convocation Center, 111 Rivers Street, Boone | 828-262-2079

In 2021-2022, Mountaineers men's basketball at Holmes Convocation Center includes four Saturday matches, with tip-off at 4:00 or 4:30 p.m.: January 1 and 29, and February 12, and 19. There are also games scheduled for weeknights throughout the season, starting at 6:30 p.m.: November 12, 15, 18, and 29, December 1, 13, and 30, January 13 and 27, and February 10, and 17. Tickets for each game are $10-$15, depending on the seat. Women's home games during weekends will be on November 14, December 12, 18, January 22, February 19, and 24, with tip-off at 2 p.m. Women's weekday home games are scheduled for November 9, 22, December 1 and 21, January 6, 20, and 26, and February 24, with tip-off times varying. Depending on the seat, tickets to watch the Women Mountaineers compete in the Holmes Center are $5-$10.


5. Blowing Rock Art & History Museum 159 Chestnut Street, Blowing Rock | 828-295-9099

Families and kids will enjoy memorable outings and workshops at Blowing Rock Art & History Museum (BRAHM). Choose from weekly programs, such as Afternoon Art Club for ages 6-10 at 3:30-4:30 every Tuesday, or the Doodlebug Club for preschoolers, every Thursday from 9:30-10:30 a.m. Fees are $8 per person; RSVP is required.  Adults will enjoy time sans-kids through art and history education programs such as Thursday Arts & Culture Talks (TAC), Movies at the Museum, Scholars & Scones, and Cork & Canvas ($$).


6. Turchin Center for the Visual Arts 423 W. King Street, Boone | 828-262-3017 | Open Tuesday through Saturday 10 am - 6 pm (Fri. 12 pm - 8 pm)

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. Children ages 7-12 can sign up for a free day session of the Blazing Easels class, on select Fridays from 3:30-4:30 p.m., February through April. Pre-registration for Blazing Easels is required (online, by phone, or stop at the front desk). 


7. Watauga Community Pool 231 Complex Drive, Boone | 828-264-9511 | Recreation Pool Open Mon. - Fri. from 10:30 am - 7 pm; Saturday from 12 pm - 7 pm and Sunday from 12:30 pm - 4:45 pm.  

Watauga Community Recreation center offers two saline-chlorinated pools - a recreation pool and 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." Schedule subject to change based on the season. 


8. Mystery Hill 129 Mystery Hill Lane, Blowing Rock | 828-264-2792 | Open daily, 9 am - 6 pm

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 737 W King St, Boone | 828-865-0009 | Open Thurs. - Sat., Noon - 10 pm and Sunday, Noon - 8:30 pm

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. Players under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. While reservations are recommended (online-only), you can also walk right in from King St.

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 March. Plan your visit today!