Families with children have plenty to do in the great outdoors in Transylvania County, along with other activities to keep everyone engaged and happy during the summer months.
Pisgah National Forest offers a number of outdoor opportunities. The Davidson River’s shallow waters are perfect for tubing, with tubes available for rental at the forest’s entrance in the Pisgah Forest community off U.S. 276. Another water-related experience in the forest is Sliding Rock. The site charges a daily fee of $3 per person and is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Memorial Day through Labor Day, when lifeguards and other staff are on duty. From the forest entrance on U.S. 276, travel about 8 miles. Sliding Rock will be on your left.
The Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education has several programs specifically geared toward young people. In the center there are live fish in aquariums, small terrestrial vertebrates and native plants in terrariums, and mounted specimens of bobcats, owls and other birds representative of a mountain cove habitat. The center includes specific programs for young people that focus on the natural world. The center also houses the Bobby N. Setzer State Fish Hatchery, where for a quarter you can feed the trout. Fly fishing classes are also conducted. To get to the center, travel 4 miles from the forest entrance on U.S. 276 and then take a left on FR 475 for 2 miles. Admission is free at the center. Call (828) 877-4423 for more information or go to www.ncwildlife.org/Learning/Education- Centers/Pisgah.
At 11 miles from the forest’s entrance is the Cradle of Forestry. The Cradle houses a Forest Discovery Center, which includes 15 hands-on activities. Also on the grounds are exhibits, including a steam engine.
DuPont State Recreational Forest and Gorges State Park have many trails perfect for hiking, mountain biking or horse riding, plus trail destinations to many waterfalls and other sites.
The following are some of the many other options for family friendly fun:
•In Brevard, Franklin Park on Lakeview Avenue includes a swimming pool operated by the city and a wonderful play area for children. The pool will open on Saturday, May 25, and will remain open only on the weekend until June 7, when it will remain open seven days a week until Aug. 12. The pool will revert to being open only during the weekend, with the last day on Sept. 2. Individual day passes are $2 per person. For more information, go to www.cityofbrevard.com.
•Basketball and tennis courts are open — and free — on the grounds of the Silvermont Mansion on East Main Street in Brevard. The park is open from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. every day. The park also has a playground. •The Transylvania County Library on South Broad Street in Brevard has several programs throughout the summer (see story and listing in this publication’s calendar), while the Rockin’ Bowl bowling alley (828-884-2695) on U.S. 64 in Brevard and the Co-Ed Theatre (828-883-2200) on West Main Street provide other distractions. The Co-Ed also offers several free children’s movies during the summer. For more information, go to www.coed cinema.com.
•The Transylvania County Parks and Recreation Department provides activities and various camps for young people during the summer months. The department’s Activity Center is located on Ecusta Road behind Pisgah Forest Elementary School. In the center’s gym, there are courts for basketball, volleyball and badminton. The center also has gymnastic equipment. The Recreation Department oversees 34 acres at the Activity Center. On the grounds are softball, soccer and multi-purpose fields, a playground, horseshoes and shuffleboard facilities. For more information, call (828) 884-3156 or go to tcpr.recdesk.com/recdeskportal/
•The Champion Park Pool in Rosman is open when school is out. For more information, call (828) 884-7977. The park also has a softball field, basketball court, tennis court, a playground and access to the French Broad River. •The Brevard Rock Gym, 240-B S. Broad St., is a great place for children to get exercise, to have fun and to learn about rock climbing. Call (828) 884-7625 or go to www.brevardrockgym.com.
•Another popular activity is gem mining. There are several locations in the county to dig deep for treasure (see the story about gem mines on page 74 of this publication). •One helpful resource for things for children to do this summer is the Transylvania Resource Access Information Network (TRAIN), which may be found at www.transylvaniaresources.com.