My Favorite Things to Do in Asheville with a Toddler
When we landed on Asheville as our new city to call home, we heard over and over again how family friendly it is.
Our son was 11 months when we moved, and now at 17 months I’ve found tons of fun things to keep us occupied. Here are a few of our regular hot spots:
Suzie started Baby Steps classes in 2015 and you can feel how much she loves leading them! I found out about her Baby Boogie classes by attending Baby Steps’ 2nd birthday party, a free celebration class that showed us what a typical class is like, and I was hooked.
Baby Boogie classes are 45 minutes (held on Saturday mornings) and geared for 1-4 year olds along with their caregiver(s). There’s a mix of fun toddler action songs, incorporating things like scarves, egg shakers, a parachute, and more.
Drop in classes are $10 and you can always save if you do a whole session class pack (usually 6-8 weeks). For more information and to purchase a pass, click here.
Moving in December means we had some cold and rainy days where we couldn’t enjoy the outdoor scene we moved here for. I like to get out of the house for at least a portion of our day, but also don’t want to spend $$$ in order to do so.
This is why the library is my new best friend. The first library I visited was the downtown, Pack Memorial, location, under a 10 minute drive from home.
While all the libraries I have visited have a decent children’s area, the Pack Memorial Library has dedicated nearly an entire floor downstairs, so I never worry about him toddling into an area not ready for his voice and hands.
There’s a variety of toys in different areas of the children’s section, enough for us to easily spend 1.5 hours going from area to area.
For more structured playtime, check out Story Time, offered at most locations throughout the week! Story Time is about 30 minutes with playtime afterwards. You’ll hear a few books geared towards that story time’s age group (4-18mo, 18mo-3yrs, 3-5yrs) along with music and movement.
During the summer, Pack Memorial offers Baby Gym from 11-Noon on Tuesdays for babies and toddlers 0-3. It’s basically a baby rave with music, bubbles, and toys for infants through toddlers.
I asked for a membership for Owen’s first birthday and it paid for itself within the first month. It’s small but in a good way. I know we can cover the entire place in a reasonable time, but it’s big enough to spend an hour or two.
There are a couple of Nature Play spots for kids to get their energy out!
The first time Brett and I walked into the Botanical Garden we were stunned it was completely free. Seriously, we had to ask a woman on her way out when we first walked in, “you mean it’s…free?”
There are tons of parks in Asheville, but the Botanical Garden is such a special spot. There are plenty of places to post up with a blanket and toys – or picnic if you have an older tot – and the walking paths are easy to maneuver with young ones in tow. We tend to walk around a bit, then play in the creek.
Story time in a bar is the epitome of Asheville. I can walk to Archetype, but would drive here if I couldn’t. We love the beer but it’s the strong community that keeps us coming back!
Every 1st and 3rd Wednesday they offer a free story time at 3pm. There are no age specifications so the reader always has a range of books to keep everyone entertained. It’s not a large crowd – which is nice – and always very welcoming and relaxed. I mean, we’re in a bar.
Like I’m not going to mention my tribe! I met Jess Maurer when I first moved to Asheville and quickly made new mom friends by attending Stroller Strides, and soon became a Fit4Baby instructor (new classes start July 10th!).
Fit4Mom classes allow me to bring Owen with me, meet other moms, AND get a workout in. I always leave feeling uplifted and energized!
I’d heard about the Biltmore long before even considering moving to Asheville, and I had no idea it would end up being a great place to bring a toddler.
We looked at getting a yearly pass, but $220/pp seemed steep. When they ran a deal for $100 off, we went for it and it’s been worth it! I’ve been numerous times and haven’t even gone in the actual house, there’s that much to do.
The main attraction for us is the brand new playground right next to the Farmyard in Antler Hill Village.
The conservatory is beautiful and through September there is a train exhibit with tons of toy trains running throughout the plants. If we go only 3 times a month (which we have zero problem doing) it costs under $3.50 an outing!
Honestly, I was a little concerned I’d miss the abundance of activities we left in Chicago. Turns out, there are plenty of things to keep us busy, and not break the bank.
Live in Asheville? What’s top of your list for toddler activities?