Things for Kids to do at the Biltmore

Tour the Biltmore house and then move on for more kid-friendly fun.


Published:

Be sure to bring your camera. There are lots of photo opportunities at the Biltmore in Asheville.

Photo by Michele Huggins

 

Whether it's your first visit or you've been many times before, the centerpiece of Biltmore Estate is the Biltmore House. It's architecture, history, and grand presence make it worth the visit, but in addition to touring the house, visitors can hike trails, see waterfalls, go horseback riding and fishing, take a carriage ride or go whitewater rafting, making the visit just a bit more exciting for active kids. 

My 7-year-old son and I spent two days exploring the Biltmore, spending a couple nights at the Village Hotel. The beauty of the estate's forests, farmland and vistas wow me each time I visit, but I expected some of that awe to be lost on my 7-year-old. Thanks to outdoor adventure, fishing, the specially designed audio tour for kids, and a swimming pool at the hotel, he and I had a wonderful getaway.

And summer is the perfect time to visit the Biltmore, as kids 16 and younger are admitted free with ticketed adult. The summer special runs through Labor Day, Sept. 4. Don't forget your camera! There are so many beautiful spots for family photos.


Touring the House

The house is massive — a castle in the eyes of my 7-year-old son. With 250-rooms, the details can get lost on kids, but it can also spark some funny conversations. The Kids Audio Tour, which is told by Cedric the dog — the Vanderbilt's beloved Saint Bernard — highlights facts and figures about the construction of the house and tidbits on the Vanderbilt's lifestyle in the late 19th century. The tour takes about two hours, which is long for children younger than 6, and trying for children younger than 10 or 11 — something to consider before embarking on the tour that has all visitors follow the same guided path through the house. 

Just when my son's attention was waning, Cedric mentioned secret passages and to look for hidden doors in the room. Game on. The kids audio tour shared highlights of what life was like for Cornelia Vanderbilt, the only daughter of George and Edith Vanderbilt, as a child growing up and playing in the fairytale-like house. He liked seeing the bowling alley and swimming pool, and we had fun looking at portraits of the family dressed in typical 19th-century fashion and talking about how funny it would our family dressed like that. In other words, make your own fun during the tour and sprinkle in reminders that there is more fun to come.

Word to the Wise: Be prepared to climb stairs, which makes maneuvering a stroller tricky. If you have a baby, opt for wearing them in a baby carrier. Also, the earlier you go, the smaller the crowd.

Biltmore House

On the house tour.

Michele Huggins


The Gardens and Trails

After touring the house, we visited the "confectionary" and Toymaker's store in the shops beside the house before going for a stroll in the gardens. Biltmore’s magnificent gardens erupt in bright colors each summer, with towering tropical foliage, flowers that attract both butterflies and hummingbirds, and the heady scent of the historic rose garden. The massive conservatory also has beautiful orchids, banana trees and many other tropical plant varieties.

Just around the bend from the gardens is the Bass Pond and Boat House. The Bass Pond Path is a half-mile loop trail that is easy walking and good for all ages. You can breakaway and extend the hike on the Meadow Trail, a quarter-mile loop that has you climbing hills through the meadow. There is also the Creekside Trail that is an easy quarter-mile trail. The trails are well-maintained and easy for all ages to walk along. There are more than 22 miles of hiking trails to explore, so pick your route and go explore.

Bass Pond at Biltmore

Bass Pond at Biltmore

Michele Huggins


Antler Hill Village

From the Biltmore house, catch a shuttle or drive over to Antler Hill Village where you will find a nook of activity with restaurants and shops. On summer weekend evenings, it comes alive with Live After Five. Live music on the Village Green features jazz and pop. A kids' grape stomp is held nearby, and you can get a scoop of ice cream at the Creamery, as well as a sandwich or salad. This is also where you'll find the Biltmore Winery.

This summer, Lego lovers will be intrigued to see a Lego model of the Biltmore on display in the wine shop at Antler Hill Village. The model features 50,000 toy bricks and 600-plus hours of hard work and comes in at 10 feet in length.

More than 50,000 Lego bricks make up this model of the Biltmore on display at Antler Hill Wine Shop.

Photo courtesy of Biltmore Estate

 

Just down the hill from the Village Green shops is the Antler Hill Barn and Farmyard. Wind your way through the barn and farmyard to see chickens, cows, donkeys and goats. And just steps away is the Pisgah Playground where little ones can swing, slide and climb.

Biltmore_Farmyard

Biltmore Farmyard

MICHELE HUGGINS

 

Also in the Village is the Vanderbilt Travels Railway, a 250-foot model train display handcrafted from leaves, twigs and other natural materials. Enjoy seeing five separate trains threading through miniature versions of well-known landmarks (all stops on past Vanderbilt travels), including the Eiffel Tower, Arc De Triomphe, London Bridge and more. The railway was constructed by Applied Imagination, which creates an annual holiday train display in the New York Botanical Garden.

Part of the Vanderbilts Travel Railway Exhibit.

Photo courtesy of Biltmore

 

After a walk around the barnyard, stop by the mercantile to see blacksmithing and woodworking demos. There's also an old tractor and carriage that kids can climb on and grab the reins. Throughout the mercantile are historic markers and photos with details on how the community was transformed after the Vanderbilts arrived and built their home, and some toys from the time period kids can try as well.


Bring Your Bikes

Many of the outdoor adventures at Biltmore cost extra, but you can bring your own bikes and explore miles of paved bike trails to ride throughout the estate. You can also rent bikes at the Outdoor Adventure Center nearby Antler Hill Village. 


Fishing and Rafting

Rafting on the French Broad is another adventure available from the estate. The river float is a gentle ride great for first-time rafters. Children as young as 3 can join in on a guided rafting trip.

Fishing is another option for outdoor adventure, and the option my son and I chose. We met our guide mid-morning at the Outdoor Adventure Center in Antler Village. Our guide drove us to the lake where a rowboat, gear, bait and tackle was ready to go.

Biltmore_Fishing

On our fishing expedition at the Biltmore. 

MICHELE HUGGINS

Just the three of us floated for two hours on the small lake. Our guide patiently instructed my son on casting and reeling in a catch. Four catches later, he was hooked on fishing, and I was happy to have simply watched and enjoyed the view of the Biltmore House from boat. The fishing adventure is limited to one parent and one child (ages 7-11 must be accompanied by an adult). Note: Fishing without a guide on the Biltmore property isn't allowed.

Biltmore_Fishing_2

One of the Bass caught on our fishing expedition.

MICHELE HUGGINS

 


Horseback and Carriage Rides

Biltmore Carriage

The carriage can set up to 12, and affords a great view of the back of the Biltmore House along the way.

Michele Huggins

 

For a different view of the property, sign up for a carriage ride. The 45-minute carriage ride ends with a stunning view of the back of the Biltmore House. Along the way, our guide shared an immense amount of history with us about the Biltmore family. 

One-hour horseback ride tours are available as well to anyone age 8 and older. Call in advance to make reservations.


Village Hotel

The Village Hotel is just beside the Winery and Antler Hill Village, which makes it easy to walk over to Pisgah Playground or the Farmyard. It also has a heated swimming pool and hotel restaurant. There is so much to do on the estate, it's easy to make it a two-day visit. 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Content

Autumn at Oz Tickets on Sale Now

Follow the yellow brick road and join Dorothy and friends this fall at the Land of Oz.

Wilmington: Not Just a Beach Vacation

Not only does it offer quick access to Wrightsville Beach, but Wilmington also boasts plenty of other activities that appeal to multiple members of the family.

A Tale of Two Stone Mountains

Despite sharing a name, both Stone Mountains offer unique delights for families to enjoy.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

August 2018

Run Club meets every Sunday at 8 a.m. in Midtown Raleigh or Wake Forest. Stroller friendly; children invited. 

Cost: $10/run or $100/annual pass

Where:
Optimist Park Community Center/Greenways
5900 Whittier Drive
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Sponsor: FIT4MOM
Telephone: 919-348-0472
Contact Name: Missy Currin
Website »

More information

June 30-August 12; 8:30 a.m.– 5:00 p.m. Come to Historic Yates Mill to see a new temporary exhibit, Rich in the Rare, on loan from the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. This...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Join Mindful Families of Durham, a Buddhist-inspired spiritual community that supports area parents, caregivers, and their children in the practice of mindfulness and the understanding of the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Erwin Road
Durham, NC  27705
View map »


Sponsor: Mindful Families of Durham
Contact Name: Adam, Laura, Josh, Sumi
Website »

More information

Little ones enjoy storytime.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble
5959 Triangle Town Blvd.
Cary, NC  27616
View map »


Website »

More information

Shop antiques, crafts and art, and enjoy food trucks at this artisan and vintage market in downtown Cary.

Cost: Free

Where:
Fidelity Bank Parking Lot
100 W. Chatham St.
Cary, NC  27511
View map »


Contact Name: Leslie & Jessica
Website »

More information

Children make treasured memories while increasing their knowledge of plants and animals. Ages 7-10. Register online.

Cost: $8/resident, $10/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Join staff and volunteers from the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center, Chapel Hill Astronomical and Observational Society (CHAOS) and Raleigh Astronomy Club (RAC) for a free skywatching...

Cost: Free

Where:
Dorothea Dix Park
2105 Umstead Dr.
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Examine “Shinrin-yoku," a Japanese healing technique that "takes in the forest atmosphere." Visit a natural area in the park and walk in a relaxed way to receive calming,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675
Contact Name: Rebecca Cope
Website »

More information

Squish, touch and feel your way through center-based activities to explore the senses.  Make a smelly painting and splash in a sink/float bucket. Ages 18 months-3 years with an...

Cost: $2/child

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd.
Apex, NC  27539
View map »


Sponsor: Crowder County Park
Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

Enjoy a family-friendly movie. See the website for the movie title. Showings at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Crabtree Valley Mall
4325 Glenwood Ave.
Raleigh, NC  27612
View map »


Website »

More information

Little ones enjoy storytime.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble
5959 Triangle Town Blvd.
Cary, NC  27616
View map »


Website »

More information

Observe the 41st anniversary of Elvis' passing by seeing two tribute bands, Scot Bruce and The Fab Four, face off in an adrenaline-pumping musical showdown. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $35-$65

Where:
Fletcher Opera Theater
2 E South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Enjoy live entertainment, hands-on projects and gallery hunts.

Cost: Free

Where:
Nasher Museum of Art
2001 Campus Dr.
Durham, NC  27705
View map »


Website »

More information

Meet a favorite princess or superhero from 11 a.m.-noon and 1-2 p.m.

Cost: Free

Where:
Crabtree Valley Mall
4325 Glenwood Ave.
Raleigh, NC  27612
View map »


Website »

More information

Learn froggy fun facts through trivia games and activities. Discover the differences and similarities between frogs and toads. All ages with adult. Registration required online. Meet...

Cost: $1/person

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd.
Apex, NC  27539
View map »


Sponsor: Crowder County Park
Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

Little ones enjoy storytime.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble
5959 Triangle Town Blvd.
Cary, NC  27616
View map »


Website »

More information

Weekly basic skills cooking class for children aged 5-10 at Whole Foods North Raleigh.  This free class meets each Tuesday at 4 p.m. and is offered by registering in advance...

Cost: Free

Where:
Whole Foods Market (North Raleigh)
8710 Six Forks Road
Raleigh, NC  27615
View map »


Website »

More information

Take the family for Kids Night at Chick-Fil-A in Garner. Enjoy a free indoor playspace, face painting and balloon twisting with Mimi the Clown. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Chick-Fil-A
2720 Timber Dr.
Garner, NC  27529
View map »


Sponsor: The MelodyMaker Entertainment
Telephone: (919)639-9328
Contact Name: Melody Scruggs
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Enjoy live entertainment, hands-on projects and gallery hunts.

Cost: Free

Where:
Nasher Museum of Art
2001 Campus Dr.
Durham, NC  27705
View map »


Website »

More information

Little ones enjoy storytime.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble
5959 Triangle Town Blvd.
Cary, NC  27616
View map »


Website »

More information

Read "Froggie Babies" by Suzanne Farrior and make a froggy craft. Practice jumping skills, learn to "ribbitt," and examine the differences between the frogs and toads. Ages...

Cost: $4/child

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd.
Apex, NC  27539
View map »


Sponsor: Crowder County Park
Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

See Happy Dan perform magic, comedy and more.

Cost: $5/person

Where:
Renaissance Centre
405 Brooks St.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy a Build-A-Bear activity, storytime, games and painting from 11 a.m.-noon and 1-2 p.m.

Cost: Free

Where:
Crabtree Valley Mall
4325 Glenwood Ave.
Raleigh, NC  27612
View map »


Website »

More information

Expand your knowledge of our local flora and fauna by exploring a different area of the park each month. Join park staff as they "nerd out" over amphibians, birds, insects, spiders, and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Pkwy.
Morrisville, NC  27560
View map »


Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 191-946-03355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
Website »

More information

Join park staff for an informal fishing experience for the whole family. Take your own poles or borrow one from the park through the Tackle Loaner Program. Bait and basic instruction are...

Cost: Free

Where:
Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Parkway
Morrisville, NC  27560
View map »


Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 919-460-3355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
Website »

More information

Join park staff for an informal fishing experience for the whole family. Take your own poles or borrow one from the park through the Tackle Loaner Program. Bait and basic...

Cost: Free

Where:
Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Pkwy.
Morrisville, NC  27560
View map »


Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 191-946-03355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Celebrate National Tell a Joke Day by sharing some jokes with the park community. Meet in the Exhibit Hall. Drop-in program. All ages. Registration not required.

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675
Contact Name: Rebecca Cope
Website »

More information

Enjoy live entertainment, hands-on projects and gallery hunts.

Cost: Free

Where:
Nasher Museum of Art
2001 Campus Dr.
Durham, NC  27705
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy an easy-paced and stroller-friendly walk along the greenway. Suggested for ages 3 and younger with parent. Register online. Choose course #219872.

Cost: Free

Where:
Walnut Creek Wetland Park
950 Peterson St.
Raleigh, NC  27610
View map »


Sponsor: City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Telephone: 919-996-2761
Contact Name: Stacie Hagwood
Website »

More information

Little ones enjoy storytime.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble
5959 Triangle Town Blvd.
Cary, NC  27616
View map »


Website »

More information

Ages 7-12 enjoy fashion and design activities from 11 a.m.-noon.; ages 13-18 enjoy the same activities from 1-2 p.m.

Cost: Free

Where:
Crabtree Valley Mall
4325 Glenwood Ave.
Raleigh, NC  27612
View map »


Website »

More information

Celebrate Raleigh's creativity under the beautiful lights and cobblestone streets of City Market. Find locally-made goods and enjoy a night filled with music and entertainment with over 30...

Cost: Free

Where:
City Market
306 Parham St
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Raleigh Night Market
Contact Name: Sara Buxton
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Take part in a class that teaches individualized ways to foster motor development for your child. Learn about tummy time alternatives, best positions for your baby, how to help your child learn to...

Cost: $18

Where:
Open Arts
1222 Copeland Oaks Dr
Morrisville, NC  27560
View map »


Sponsor: Babies On The MOVE
Contact Name: Rebecca Quinones
Website »

More information

Enjoy live entertainment, hands-on projects and gallery hunts.

Cost: Free

Where:
Nasher Museum of Art
2001 Campus Dr.
Durham, NC  27705
View map »


Website »

More information

Little ones enjoy storytime.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble
5959 Triangle Town Blvd.
Cary, NC  27616
View map »


Website »

More information

A wonderfully kid-paced hour featuring music, play and dancing with toddler stars singing on the mic at Cotton's gently amplified & participatory music show. Children delight in...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Pump It Up Raleigh
10700 World Trade Blvd, #112
Raleigh, NC  27617
View map »


Sponsor: Pump it Up
Telephone: 919-828-3344
Contact Name: Owner/manager Kellie Paterson McHugh
Website »

More information

Take part in a class that teaches individualized ways to foster motor development for your child. Learn about carry positions, best positions for your baby, how to help your child learn to crawl,...

Cost: $18

Where:
Open Arts
1222 Copeland Oaks Dr
Morrisville, NC  27560
View map »


Sponsor: Babies On The MOVE
Contact Name: Rebecca Quinones
Website »

More information

Experience the the excitement of wheelchair basketball in preparations for August Madness. Whether your team is practicing for August Madness or you're looking for a fun Friday activity, all...

Cost: Free

Where:
American Tobacco Campus YMCA 'Cage' Court
304 Blackwell Street
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Sponsor: Bridge II Sports
Telephone: 18668802742 x12
Contact Name: Katharine Doyle
Website »

More information

Take a walk with a park naturalist to explore the woods and fields at this special time of day.  Register online.

Cost: $3

Where:
Wilkerson Nature Preserve
5229 Awls Haven Dr.
Raleigh, NC  27614
View map »


Sponsor: City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Telephone: 919-996-6764
Contact Name: Wilkerson Nature Preserve staff
Website »

More information

See the PG-rated movie under the stars at Booth Amphitheatre. After the disappearance of her scientist father, three peculiar beings send Meg, her brother,and her friend to space in order to...

Cost: $5 ages 13 and older. Free for ages 12 and younger.

Where:
Booth Amphitheatre
8003 Regency Pkwy.
Cary, NC  27518
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Kindergarten students entering the traditional school calendar practice a lunch line, get moving at recess, hop on a school bus and more.  

Cost: Free

Where:
Marbles Kids Museum
201 E. Hargett St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

Take a walk in the woods and discover the animals and plants that call the park home. Help collect data for our Natural Resource Inventory Database and other citizen science projects. All...

Cost: Free

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd.
Apex, NC  27539
View map »


Sponsor: Crowder County Park
Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

Young entrepreneurs, ages 6 -14, have an opportunity to sell their products or services to the general public. Participants can keep any profits from sales they make at the fair and will earn cash...

Cost: Free

Where:
Park West Village
Village Market Place
Morrisville, NC  27560
View map »


Sponsor: Triangle Children's Business Fair
Website »

More information

Enjoy a celebration of products, services and resources for families featuring local organizations focusing on education, health and wellness, safety, special needs, child care and more....

Cost: Free

Where:
JD Lewis Multipurpose Center
2245 Garner Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27610
View map »


Sponsor: Sunshine Family Expos
Telephone: 813-463-2712
Contact Name: Melinda Perez

More information

Enjoy live entertainment, hands-on projects and gallery hunts.

Cost: Free

Where:
Nasher Museum of Art
2001 Campus Dr.
Durham, NC  27705
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy an interactive dance story and craft time. Ages 3-7. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Graceful Expressions Dance Education
312 W. Chatham St., #103
Cary, NC  27511
View map »


Sponsor: Graceful Expressions Dance Education
Telephone: 191-975-86003
Website »

More information

Search for snakes, salamanders, turtles and more. Ages 10-13. Register online.

Cost: $12/resident, $16/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Raleigh, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Children's booksellers read their favorite picture books. All ages.

Cost: Free

Where:
Quail Ridge Books
4209-100 Lassiter Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Website »

More information

Little ones enjoy storytime.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble
5959 Triangle Town Blvd.
Cary, NC  27616
View map »


Website »

More information

Learn more about pollinators during this family friendly event. Sample and buy local honey and honey-based products.

Cost: Free

Where:
State Farmers Market
1201 Agriculture St.
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Website »

More information

Take the family for treats, music, art and more. See a special exhibit showcasing the work of Artspace's talented young artists.

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace
201 E. Davie St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

Stop by a discovery table to learn fun about the animals that live in Crowder Pond. All ages. Registration required. The display table is located at the Upper Playground.

Cost: Free

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd.
Apex, NC  27539
View map »


Sponsor: Crowder County Park
Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

Explore how bees pollinate flowers and help gardens grow. Discover how bee hives work and learn the ways that bee-keepers have historically housed and cared for their hives. All...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Explore the historic heart of downtown Raleigh on a walking tour of Fayetteville Street. Tours highlight the people, places, architecture and political movements that have shaped...

Cost: Adults (18+) $10; Youth (7-17) $4; Children (6 & under) Free.

Where:
City of Raleigh Museum
220 Fayetteville St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

See the PG-rated movie "Jurassic Park," part of the City of Raleigh's Movies by Moonlight series. Also enjoy food trucks. Register online....

Cost: Free

Where:
Dorothea Dix Park Flowers Field
2105 Umstead Dr.
Raleigh, NC
View map »


Sponsor: City of Raleigh
Telephone: 919-996-6688
Contact Name: Joseph Voska
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit Module

Magazine

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Directories

Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Annual Guides

Education Guide

The 2017-18 Education Guide offers 660 education resources in the Triangle, including area preschools, private schools, public school systems, charter schools, boarding schools and academic resources.

The Triangle Go-To Guide

Our Triangle Go-To Guide connects you to family fun resources across the Triangle. Plus, find out who our 2018 Readers' Favorites are.