Mom

100 FREE Things To Do Wilmington,NC

Family-Friendly, Fun regardless of age

Welcome to your ultimate guide to experiencing the best of Wilmington without spending a dime! 🎉✨ I’ve curated a list of 100 FREE things to do in this vibrant city, so you can explore, discover, and create unforgettable memories without breaking the bank. Whether you’re a local looking for new adventures or a visitor seeking budget-friendly experiences, I’ve got you covered. From stunning beaches to historical landmarks, family-friendly activities to hidden gems, this guide is your ticket to unlocking the abundance of free fun Wilmington has to offer. Get ready to embark on an incredible journey of discovery, filled with laughter, adventure, and endless possibilities. So grab your map, gather your friends and family, and let’s dive into the countless FREE treasures that await in Wilmington!

*Some activities may require paid parking
  1. Watch the sunrise at the beach. Sunrise is typically 6 AM. Parking is free at all beach accesses this early.
  2. Walk to Wrightsville Beach via the Summer Rest Trail and The Loop. Enjoy a free beach day! No need to look for parking at the beach. Instead, park at the old Port City Chop House and enjoy the walk. – View Post
  3. Beach day bucket list:
    • Build a sand castle – Don’t forget to cover up holes in the sand for the turtles.
    • Jump in the waves
    • Find seashells
    • Look for sharks teeth
    • Collect sand fleas in a bucket
  4. Walk on the Crystal Pier located at the Oceanic Restaurant and enjoy the view.
  5. Visit Harbor Way Gardens water feature/splash zone at Wrightsville Beach. Take a photo with the local flowers or play on the nearby playground. – View Post
  6. Walk to “The Mailbox” an iconic spot located in front of Shell Island Resort. Leave a love note or read others and reflect at the beauty of the beach.
  7. View the bird sanctuary in front of “The Mailbox” and see what type of birds you see.
  8. Walk the North End at Wrightsville Beach during low-tide. Small tidal pools form and its always fun for the kids to enjoy calmer water.
  9. Walk “The Loop” at Wrightsville Beach. – View Post
  10. Stop by South Channel Drive Mini-Park and dip your toes in Banks Channel. – View Post
  11. Visit the Wrightsville Beach Museum of History. View post
  12. Visit Wrightsville Beach Park Playground. View post
  13. Park and dip your toes in the water at Causeway Park. Every hour watch the Wrightsville Beach bridge open to allow vessels to pass. View post
  14. View or venture to Palm Tree Island. – View post
  15. Visit Airlie Gardens during their free admission days. Residents of New Hanover County are free the first Sunday of every month. –View PostRegister here
  16. Take a scenic drive down Airlie Road. Can you think of any movies filmed on this road? Pass by restaurants, where a few movies were filmed and enjoy the panoramic views of the intracoastal waterway.
  17. Attend free community events at Wrightsville Beach. Check out Summer Concert Series, Movies in the Park and educational events like Turtle Talks. Website

  18. Explore the Battleship North Carolina Memorial. You can walk around the ship for free. You’ll also have a wonderful viewpoint of Historic downtown across the river. Additional fees apply to tour inside of the ship. View PostWebsite
  19. Stroll along the scenic & Historic downtown Riverwalk. Parking is free the first 30 minutes in the parking decks. See what wildlife you notice along the river. More details on parking can be found here.
  20. Take a free tour of the Wilmington Convention Center. The hallways have a timeline of Wilmington history. – Website
  21. Kids 5 and under are free at Burgwin-Wright House, Latimer Houser and the Bellamy Mansion. Burgwin-Wright also hosts several free art shows throughout the year making the tour free for adults too!
  22. Hop on the free Port City Trolley for a 40 minute ride around historic downtown. You can catch the trolley at Padgett Station (located on 4th Street between Campbell St. and Red Cross St.) or simply wave to the driver along the route to signal them to stop. More details on the route and schedule can be found here.
  23. Explore The Cotton Exchange. – 3 hour parking is free for customers with validation from shops and restaurants. The buildings have a rich history, so be sure to read up before visiting or watch the short video on their website. Website
  24. Walk to Riverfront Park also know as Live Oak Bank Pavilion. A small climbing structure and water feature during the summer. This would be a good spot to walk from The Cotton Exchange since parking is scarce. – View Post
  25. Stop by the Riverfront Farmers Market downtown, The Wilmington’s Farmer Market at Tidal Creek, Frankie’s Outdoor Market, Wrightsville Beach Farmers Market (Mondays) or Poplar Grove Plantation (Wednesdays).
  26. Attend the free 4th Friday Gallery Walk in downtown Wilmington. – Click Here
  27. Visit the Wilmington National Cemetery and pay your respects to those who have passed serving our country. Memorial Day they hold a special ceremony. View Post
  28. Explore the historic downtown district.
    • Find the oldest building in Wilmington.
    • Find the Chandlers Wharf stream and waterfall.
    • Read historic signs on homes or the historical markers located on main roads.
    • Take a photo next to the Second Street Mural.
    • Can you find the old Nickelodeon painting?
  29. Explore the exhibits at the Cape Fear Museum of History and Science on their free day, which is the first Sunday of each month for residents of New Hanover County. You can also secure free passes with your library card through New Hanover County Library. – View post
  30. Visit the Wilmington Children’s Museum with the free admission pass through the New Hanover County Library or NHC Smart Start. The Attractions Coupon Book also has a BOGO coupon. – View Post
  31. Go to Dram Tree Park and watch the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge. Look up the schedule to see when it opens. Read up on Dram Tree too.
  32. Take a walk around Greenfield Lake Park. For a small fee, you can also rent paddle boats at the boat house. Download the free audio tour here. – View Here
  33. Watch skaters at Greenfield Lake Skate Park
  34. On Sundays, Take a self-guided walking tour of the historic district with the help of the Wilmington Historic Foundation. – Click Here
  35. Take a self-guided tour of the historic Oakdale Cemetery. See if you can find each of these graves. – Click Here
  36. Take a self-guided tour of the Wilmington Murals. Treat it like a scavenger hunt and see who finds the most.- Check out this map
  37. Visit Earl Jackson/ Northside Splash Pad. The attached community pool, Earl Jackson, is also available for a small fee of $3 adults + $1 kids. – View post
  38. Tour the Wilmington Police Museum & Education Center. Details here.
  39. Watch Little League or Youth Baseball, Softball, Soccer at Long Leaf or Ogden Park. We love to take snacks and watch the games.
  40. Find a Little Free Library – donate your old books or take a new one to read. Find one near you.
  41. Explore Ogden Park. Play on the playground, walk around the pond, watch the geese and turtles and see what other animals you see. View Post
  42. Visit Empie Park and walk the Cross City Trail to a hidden bridge. View Post
  43. Stop by River Road Park. Launch kayaks or simply take in the views on the pier. See if you can find fiddler crabs. View post
  44. Visit the Fort Fisher State Historic Site. View the mounds & learn the history. – View Post
  45. Explore Fort Fisher Battery Buchanan and The Rocks at Fort Fisher located at the end of Fort Fisher Blvd South.
  46. Visit the Coquina Rocks during low tide at Kure Beach. – View post here
  47. Walk on the Kure Beach Fishing Pier and swing on the Kure Beach mini-boardwalk. – View Post
  48. Attend free community events at Kure Beach Ocean Front Park – Website
  49. Stop and explore the “bush forts” you can walk inside at Fort Fisher. – View post
  50. Visit the Fort Fisher State Recreation Area. Walk to the beach and bring a picnic. It’s always free to park, but get there early as spots fill up quickly.
  51. Walk Basin Trail and visit the WWII Bunker home to Robert E. Harrill aka “The Fort Fisher Hermit”. Research “The Fort Fisher Hermit” and learn about his life living off the land View post
  52. Visit the Nature Play area at the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher – View post
  53. Ride the Aquarium Path – a paved bike path that begins at the Aquarium & connects to Fort Fisher Blvd. You can also walk the path and see if you spot any alligators in the small pond, which is a short walk from the Nature Play area mentioned above.
  54. Relax on the beaches of Carolina Beach.
  55. Walk the shops/restaurants and arcade on the CB Boardwalk.
  56. Watch the famous Britt’s donuts be made.
  57. Stop by the Mike Chappell Playground and Skate Park. – View Post
  58. Walk the Island Greenway around Carolina Beach. Click here for the route.
  59. Explore the trails at Carolina Beach State Park. Don’t forget bug spray and watch out for wildlife. View post
  60. Walk around Carolina Beach Lake Park. – Visit post
  61. Attend an event at Carolina Beach – Website
  62. Find the Carolina Beach Murals and snap a photo- Website
  63. Stop by the Smart Start Resource Room. Open Monday – Friday, 8AM – 5PM. – View post
  64. Visit Long Leaf Splash Pad. View Post
  65. Take a picnic to Long Leaf Park. Pick up pine cones to help out NHC Parks and Recreation, walk around the park or play on the playground. – View Post
  66. Visit the Stanley Rehder Carnivorous Plant Garden View Post
  67. Bike or walk along the Cross City Trail. Learn about the Gary Shell Cross City Trail, which begins at Wade Park. Click here.
  68. Visit and explore Wade Park. Learn about wetlands and their importance.
  69. Take in the scenery at Trails End Park. View Post
  70. Explore the nature trails at Halyburton Park and visit the Nature Center onsite to view and learn about native animals. View Post
  71. Visit the New Hanover County Arboretum. Bring quarters to feed the koi fish. – View post
  72. Explore the wooded trails behind UNCW, explore UNCW campus and check out the Bluethenthal Wildflower Preserve. See where to park here.
  73. Walk or bike to a hidden pond near Eastwood Rd. – View post
  74. Attend a community event. Website
  75. Walk the Abby Foy Nature Trail at Poplar Grove Plantation.
  76. Explore Pages Creek Park Preserve – View Post
  77. Visit Northern Regional Park and playground.
  78. Visit Pender Pines Gardens and don’t forget food to feed the animals onsite. Carrots, apples, etc. – View post
  79. Play at Kiwani’s Park in Hampstead View post
  80. Visit Soundside Park in Surf City – Visit post
  81. Go visit the World’s Largest Frying Pan – View post
  82. Visit Moore’s Creek Battlefield Historic Site. Details
  83. Visit the Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson State Historic Site. View Post.
  84. Check out Belville River Walk. – View post
  85. Enjoy a picnic and hike at Brunswick Nature Park. View post
  86. Explore the trails at Smith Creek Park or ride your bike around the pond. You can also launch a kayak or fish, but do not swim here. – View Post
  87. Visit the North Carolina Veterans Park. Walk around the pond and learn about lily pads and play at the playground.
  88. Enjoy a scenic drive along the River Road.
  89. Visit Arrowhead Park playground.
  90. Explore the trails at the Blue Clay Bike Park.
  91. Explore Ogden Park, walk around the pond, visit the playground and skate park. – View Post
  92. Watch airplanes take off and land at the Wilmington Airport Observation Area. – View post
  93. Walk around the Independence Mall.
  94. Visit Olsen Park playground (fully fenced in)
  95. Sign Up for Kids Bowl Free – Click Here
  96. New Hanover County Library Storytime and other free events. See their calendar here.
  97. New Hanover County Library – Find a book or rent a DVD to take home for a movie party at home! Also check out “Library of Things”.
  98. Kids DIY Workshops: You must pre-register
  99. Watch the sunset over the river downtown or over the ocean.
  100. Star gazing! Check out the “Astronomy Programs” offered with NC State Parks at CB State Park. – Click Here

Tag @WilmingtonMom or #FreeInWilmington when you share your adventures!

Mom

Local Independence Day Celebrations

Check out the local celebrations in coastal NC. These are in order by date of occurrence.

4th of July fireworks

NC 4th of July Festival | Southport & Oak Island

Friday, June 30 – Saturday, July 1, 2023
See detailed scheduled for locations

The N.C. 4th of July Festival is held annually in the City of Southport with many events also held in Oak Island.  The festivities kick off with a Welcoming Ceremony on June 30 at 6:30 pm on the Fort Johnston lawn in Southport. Oak Island will hold its Welcoming Ceremony at 5:45 pm on July 1 at Middleton Park Extension followed by a free concert.  July 1 also includes traditional Oak Island Beach Day activities such as games, music, food and fireworks.  Other festival events in Southport include: Reading of the Declaration of Independence, Flag Raising Ceremony, Naturalization Ceremony, Parade, Arts and Crafts Market, Music and Entertainment, Freedom Flotilla and more fireworks. 

Carolina Beach Independence Day Celebration by the Sea & Boardwalk Blast

Friday, June 30, 2023 | 6:30 PM – 9:30 PM
Carolina Beach Boardwalk

Presented by Carolina Beach Parks and Recreation is free for spectators. Enjoy music until fireworks at 9:00 PM.

Surf City Independence Day Celebration

Monday, July 3, 2023 | 6:00 PM – 9:25 PM
Soundside Park – 517 Roland Ave., Surf City, NC
Free Band – Jim Quick and the Coastline Band + Food Trucks + Fireworks at 9PM
Parking details here

City of Wilmington 4th of July Celebration

Tuesday, July 4, 2023 | 5:00 PM – 9:25 PM
Live Oak Bank Pavilion at Riverfront Park, 10 Cowan St., Wilmington, NC
Free | Food & Drinks available for purchase (no cash)
This City of Wilmington’s family friendly event will include music featuring the Wilmington Symphony Orchestra, other entertainment, kids activities, food, fireworks & more!

Stage Schedule:
5:00 pm – 6:30 pm – Cumulus Media (entertainment)
6:30 pm – Rukus (musical entertainment)
7:30 pm –  Wilmington Symphony Orchestra
9:05 pm  –   Fireworks will take place at 9:05 pm (best viewed along riverfront)

Food
Food and beverages (soft drinks, beer & wine) will be sold at the park. No outside food or drink can be brought inside the park with the exception of water up to 1 gallon in a factory sealed or empty bottle.

Parking 
Parking is available on the street and in downtown parking lots. Street parking on July 4 is FREE.  
Parking Information

Cashless Payments
This is a cashless event – no cash accepted.  All food and beverage sales will ONLY accept debit, credit, or mobile pay (Apple Pay or Google Pay).

Seating for Lawn Area
Beach Chairs (with legs no longer than 9 inches) and blankets will be allowed on the lawns.

Animals
No animals allowed inside the venue with the exception of registered, working service animals.

Burgaw 4th of July Parade

Tuesday, July 4, 2023 | 10:00 AM
Parade

Bald Head Island 4th of July Parade

Tuesday, July 4, 2023 | 10 AM

As always, if you attend any of these events, feel free to tag me on social media! Share tips before folks go or send updates to share.

Mom

Packing For Walt Disney World

The Disney vacation with 2 little humans is always a fun adventure. Early mornings for park openings, late night firework shows and all the memories made in between. Now, you know what works best for your family, but my frugal family is there at gate opening and stays until the park closes. We don’t return to the hotel for naps and relied on our strollers for that! (It was successful as both girls surrendered to a stroller nap.)

Packing is always exciting for me, so I put together a list of everything we brought! Keep in mind if you fly, your packing might be a bit lighter and you can always visit the grocery store or order through grocery delivery services like Walmart and Instacart when you arrive.

A few of my favorite travel items are:

The link below is a FREE downloadable checklist!

Have fun and I hope this is helpful!

Check out my Top 10 Disney World Tips & Tricks

Click photo below for the tips!

Mom

Fathers Day Gift Ideas

If you are on the hunt for a Father’s Day Gift Idea, check out this list. New gift ideas are added each day! Follow along on WilmingtonMom Instagram for more details!

Gamer Dads

Mom

Summer Concert Series | 2023

Here is a complete guide to family-friendly summer concert series in and around Wilmington, NC. Be sure to double check on the linked websites below for up-to-date details!

Tuesday’s

Topsail

FREE

2023 Topsail Sounds Summer Concert Series will occur every Tuesday from 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM at Topsail Beach Town Center.
Bring your lawn chairs and join for live music and fun!

DateBand
Tuesday, May 23Bacon Grease
Tuesday, June 27JT Parrothead
Tuesday, July 25The Cruise Brothers
Tuesday, August 22Dos Eddies
*Check the website to verify

Wednesday’s

Mayfaire

FREE

2023 Mayfaire’s Sunset Music Series is every Wednesday night from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM in the plaza in front of Regal Cinema.
You can purchase wine for half price on Wednesday at Coquina Fishbar. Brixx Wood Fired Pizza has a special $8 mix drink cocktail every Wednesday night and Fox and Hound offers $1 off bourbon & whiskey and $4 dark horse wine glasses. Alcohol is not allowed in the Plaza. We love pets, but please leave them at home.

DateBand
Wednesday, June 7Riff Tide NC | Rock Cover Band
Wednesday, June 14The Graes | Folk / Pop Duo
Wednesday, June 21Jeremy Mathews | Americana
Wednesday, June 28School of Rock House Band | Rock ‘n’ Roll
Wednesday, July 5Jenny Lynn Vaugh | Country
Wednesday, July 12Sam Hatch | Variety of Genres
*Check the website to verify

Thursday’s

Burgaw

FREE

2023 Summer on the Square Concert Series

DateBand
Thursday, June 1Gary Lowder & Smokin’ Hot
Forks n’ Motion, Pepes Food Trucks
Thursday, June 15Rivermist
Top Dog Hotdogs, Fusion Blue Zone Cuisine Food Trucks
Thursday, June 29Carl Newton’s Review
Webo’s, Somethin’ Good Food Trucks
Thursday, July 13Bacon Grease
Southern Roots, The Sea Queen Food Trucks
Thursday, July 27Blackwater Band
Top Dog Hotdogs, Mama’s Chick’n & Ribs Food Trucks
*Check the website to verify

Wrightsville Beach Park

FREE

2023 Sounds of Summer Concert Series occur Thursdays from 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM at Wrightsville Beach Park.

Bring your picnic, lawn chairs, and blankets for an evening of music and fun! Coolers are welcome, but no alcohol is allowed in Wrightsville Beach Park. Bring extra money to enjoy Cool Beans Wilmington and Sabino’s Italian ice, plus food trucks!

DateBand
Thursday, June 15 Overtyme Band
Good time rock & roll!
Thursday, June 22ReSoul Band
Wilmington’s hottest new dance / party band
Thursday, June 29Southern Trouble
Contemporary country/country rock, southern rock, with a few rock tunes and blues thrown in.
Thursday, July 6Jack Jack 180
A blend of high-energy party, pop, and rock covers.
Thursday, July 13Loud Music Company
A heavy mix of seamlessly blended pop, rock, country, soul, and funk.
Thursday, July 20Brown Dirt Cowboys
Original music from Wilmington. We also cover everything from Elton to Avett Brothers.
Thursday, July 27The Cruise Brothers
Performs #1 hits from Motown to Nashville
Thursday, August 3No Regretz
Classic rock, blues
Thursday, August 10(Rain Date)
*Check the website to verify

Fridays

Airlie Gardens

**Advanced Tickets Required

All concerts are from 6 – 8 PM on the following Friday evenings by the Airlie Oak tree

DateBand
Friday, June 2TripleWide featuring Brett Johnson
TripleWide from Wilson, NC plays funky, bluesy, rockin’, soulful tunes along with local artist Brett Johnson!
Friday, June 16 ReSoul
ReSoul is a hot new R&B band based inWilmington, NC covering the best danceable soul tunes from the 70s through today!  Chaka Khan, Gloria Gaynor, Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, Bruno Mars, Alicia Keys, Sade, Liz Wright, and many others.
Friday, July 7 Motel Soap
Motel Soap performs primarily 70s & 80s pop & rock from bands such as Chicago, Toto, Journey, Steely Dan U2, The Beatles and more!
Friday, July 21Jim Quick & Coastline
Pulling from the threads of Soul, Blues, R&B, and Americana, Jim Quick and Coastline weave together their own genre of music known as Swamp Soul!
Friday, August 11 Bibis Ellison
One of Airlie’s favorites, we are thrilled to welcome back Bibis Ellison! Her high-energy, power-packed vocals get the whole crowd dancing to the latest pop and covers!
Friday, August 18Brown Dirt Cowboys
The Brown Dirt Cowboys from Wilmington, NC play original music as well as covers of everything from Elton to Avett Brothers!
Friday, September 1Signal Fire
Signal Fire is a group of diverse musicians with a common goal, to spread unity through music. Hailing from the coastal town of Wilmington, North Carolina Signal Fire brings a unique blend of reggae/rock music to the masses.
*Check the website to verify

Costs:
General Admission | $10*
Children age 4-12 | $3*
Children 3 and under | FREE
Airlie Members | Admission Based on Membership Level

To purchase tickets, check out their website below. Members get priority booking.

Downtown Wilmington | Port City Marina

FREE

Friday Night Live! on the Pier Summer Concert Series will be from 6:30 PM – 10:00 PM
Food, beer and wine will be available for purchase during the show. Wristbands to drink are $1, which will be donated to charities in our community.

DateBand
Friday, June 2Satisfaction (Rolling Stones)
Friday, June 9Slippery When Wet (Bon Jovi)
Friday, June 2320 Ride (Zac Brown)
Friday, July 7Breakfast Club (Classic 80′s)
Friday, August 4Tuesday’s Gone (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
Friday, August 11Troubadour (70′s)
Friday, August 25Guardians of the Jukebox (MTV Hits)
Friday, September 1Departure (Journey)
*Check the website to verify

To keep up with all the details, check out the Facebook page for these events linked below!

Downtown Wilmington | The Eagle’s Dare

FREE

2023 Free Concert Friday at The Eagle’s Dare from 6:00 PM – 11:00 PM.

DateBand
Friday, May 26COWBOY-Kid Rock Tribute w/ Mark Sinnis and 825
Friday, June 2Dr. Bacon with Churchyard Ghost
Friday, June 9Jared Petteys + the Headliners with The Phantom Playboys
Friday, June 16Same As It Ever Was with The Swellings
Friday, June 23Silence and Light with Shallow Signals
Friday, June 30Striking Copper Band with Justin Fox Band
*Check the website to verify

Hampstead

FREE

2023 Hampstead Alive After Five Summer Concert series will occur every Friday at 6:30 PM at Kiwanis Park in Hampstead.
Bring your lawn chairs and join us for live music, food trucks and fun!

DateBand
Friday, May 19Carl Newton’s Review
Friday, June 9Chocolate Chip and Company
Friday, June 30North Tower Band
Friday, July 21Heartstop
*Check the website to verify

Saturday’s

Oak Island

FREE

Bands By the Beach Town of Oak Island’s Summer Concert Series will be hosted every Friday (two Saturdays) from 6:30 – 8:30 PM at Middleton Park. Parking is not charged during special events like these concerts!

DateBand
Friday, May 26Blackwater Band 
Friday, June 2Christine Martinez Band
Friday, June 9Autumn Tyde
Friday, June 16Old Man Mafia Band
Friday, June 23The Entertainers
Saturday, July 1**Carl Newton’s Review
Friday, July 7Chocolate Chip & Co.
Friday, July 14Rivermist
Friday, July 7Too Much Sylvia 
Friday, July 28The Sand Band
Friday, August 4The Powell Brothers
Friday, August 11The Embers feat: Craig Woolard
Friday, August 18Carolina Line Bluegrass Band
Friday, August 25Back Porch Rockers 
Saturday, September 2**The Main Event Band
*Check the website to verify

Sunday’s

Kure Beach

FREE

2023 Boogie in the Park Concert Series is hosted every other Sunday from 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM at the Ocean Front Park in Kure Beach.

DateBand
Sunday, May 7Gary Lowder & Smokin’ Hot
Soul, R&B, Party
Sunday, May 21The Phantom Playboys
Rockabilly & 50’s Rock-N-Roll
Sunday, June 4Uptown Easy
Dance Party Band
Sunday, June 18Randy McQuay
Blues & Roots
Sunday, July 2No concert July 4th Weekend
Enjoy the Holiday
Sunday, July 16ReSoul Band
Soul, R&B, Dance, Party
Sunday, August 6David Dixon
Pop, Rock, Soul
Sunday, August 20Da Howlies
Southern-Fried Hawaiian
Sunday, September 3No concert Labor Day Weekend
Enjoy the Holiday
Sunday, September 17Folkstone Stringband
Bluegrass
Sunday, October 1The Holiday Band
Southern, Soul, Beach
Sunday, October 15No Regretz
Classic Rock
*Check the website to verify
Mom

Wilmington Swim Academy Review

Our family is always near the water; not to mention Wilmington is almost completely surrounded by it! So in the summer, naturally, we find ourselves going to the beach or a pool to escape the heat and humidity. As a Wilmington mom, juggling two children near the water, I was eager to get our daughter enrolled into swim lessons. For years, I had heard that the best swim lessons in town were offered through Wilmington Swim Academy, so we enrolled our her.

The first lesson was a little rocky and a bit scary [for me] because this was the first time she stepped into a pool without a life jacket or a puddle jumper on. Two instructors were over five young children and I was skeptical of how the class would go. To my surprise, Brooke was learning various techniques to help her move in the water. Mary Grace, one of the instructors, would explain and demonstrate skills then the class would follow. Sometimes all at once and other times one at a time. They used back floats and pool noodles while treading water and swimming the lap lane. Even after the first class, I was impressed.

After a few lessons and incredible encouragement from the coaches (whom B thought were mermaids) she was confident in the water. She was excited when we told her we had swim lessons and was eager to get home and practice the skills she’d learned from “Coach” in the bathtub, such as blowing bubbles, holding breathe under water and floating on her back.

She started the class as a total beginner and ended by jumping off the diving board and swimming to the pools edge. In just four weeks, we had watched a totally transformation and knew we wanted to continue lessons with Wilmington Swim Academy.

We are so excited to go back to class and get a solid refresher course this spring as the ocean and pools in town start to warm up. I look forward to seeing what new skills she learns and how she continues to become confident in the water. As a parent, you want to keep your children safe and I highly recommend swim lessons!

Mom

Adopt – A – Senior 2022

Each year WilmingtonMom partners up with Elderhaus to provide a little Christmas spirit for participants in need at Elderhaus. Elderhaus is an adult day service in Wilmington, NC that helps seniors in our community live independently, while also receiving assistance where needed. This year, our list for Elderhaus participants were claimed in under 48 hours, so we asked other assisted living and nursing homes if they had residents in need – so our list has grown and we are excited to see how we can make these seniors feel the love and care from our community!

Want to Help?

Awesome! I’m excited you are interested in participating in “Adopt-A-Senior” & really appreciate your willingness to shop for a senior in need this Christmas.

First, please email wilmingtonmomnc@gmail.com the following information:
– Your Full Name
– Person below you’d like to shop (Please include which number – Ex: #1, female)

(Scroll down as their are several facilities listed)

Please ensure you get a confirmed email back BEFORE shopping. 🙂
**FYI: Those who have been strikes through have already been selected!**

Azalea Health & Rehab Center

Female

  1. Gloria –  Large Pants, socks, body wash, deodorant, peppermints, soft pony tail holders (black)
  2. Joan F.  – She loves to paint bird houses, she loves to do crafts to stay busy, Adult Coloring/Painting books & she is deaf, but reads well, Favorite candy is Reese’s Cups
  3. Rene – Large pants and Large tops, socks, body wash, perfume 
  4. Renate: X-Large gowns, body wash, soap, lotion, red lip stick  (patient stays in bed)
  5. Sharon – Small pants, Small shirts, Mountain Dews are her favorite, Dove body wash or soap,  deodorant & socks
  6. Charlotte – perfume, body wash, Large shirts and Large bottoms, deodorant, magazines, and a doll baby
  7. Susan – Large pajamas and Large tops, socks with grippers or bedroom slippers that come over hill

Start Shopping!

  • Feel free to write a card/note and include a family photo and any details you want to share. If you wish, please include your address as many would love to send a thank you card for your thoughtfulness.
  • Please no baked goods or food items (unless requested) as most have specialized diets.
  • Gift wrap is strongly encouraged! The same wrapping paper will also help identify whose gifts belong to which senior. Also, please write their initials on the outside of each present!

Drop-Off Directions

Please drop-off items at Azalea Health and Rehab Center
3800 Independence Blvd, Wilmington, NC 28412
Please drop-off all items before December 23, 2022

Cedar Cove Assisted Living

Female

  1. Peggy – Slippers (Size 7-8), loves Peppermint
  2. Linda – Necklace, loves Russell Storen
  3. Fannie – Large coat/jacket, loves Butterscotch
  4. Pauline – Medium PJ’s, loves Snickers
  5. Faith – Large Jacket, loves Snickers
  6. Alberta – Size 18 Jeans, Loves Three Muskateers
  7. Judith – XL Red pants and XL shirt, loves Macaron
  8. Beth – Size 8/5 Slippers, loves Three Muskateers
  9. Donna – Colored Pencils, loves Three Muskateers
  10. Norma – XL Pajamas and Nightgown, loves Three Muskateers
  11. Carole – XL Robe (long), loves Three Muskateers
  12. Paula – Medium Slippers, loves M&M’s
  13. Kathleen – Pocketbook, loves Butterfingers
  14. Debra – 7/8 Socks, loves Butterfinger

Female/Memory Care

  1. Mary Alice – Baby doll, Soft Chocolate
  2. Mary L. – Crossword Puzzles, Chocolate
  3. Margie – Baby doll, Dum Dums
  4. Alee – Baby doll, Dum Dums
  5. Judy – Baby doll, Dum Dums
  6. Mildred – Sweater (Size Medium), Diabetic, Graham Crackers
  7. Milli – Baby doll, Lemon Heads
  8. Josephine – Head Turbans, Twizzlers
  9. Marcile – Crossword puzzles, Butterscotch
  10. Georgia – Doll baby, chocolate
  11. Nancy – Doll baby, chocolate
  12. Peggy (MC) – Doll baby, nerds
  13. Gloria – Socks/hat, Reeces Cup
  14. Joyce – Sweater (Size Large), Diabetic, Peppermints
  15. Ruth – Sweater (Size Large), Butterscotch
  16. Marcia – Shoes (Size 10), Peppermints

Male

  1. John – Medium T-shirts, Peanut M&Ms
  2. Mike S. – Leather glove with fur inside (Large), Milky Way
  3. Donald – Slippers (10.5), Snickers
  4. Henry – Small coat/jacket, Mr. Goodbar
  5. Jerome – Medium Sweatpants, M&Ms
  6. Husslen – XL T-shirts, orange slices
  7. Joseph – 35W/30L jeans, Three Muskateers
  8. Ruben – Socks (9-10), M&M’s
  9. Dwayne – XL Slippers, Slice oranges
  10. Kevin – XL hoodie, carmel
  11. Jr. Murphy, 3X PJ Set, Baby Ruth
  12. Willie – Large coat, Miky Way
  13. Ray – Medium T-Shirts, Milky Way
  14. Leon – Dove bodywash, Peppermint
  15. Tommy – Large hoodie, colored pens, Mr. Goodbar
  16. Fredrick – Socks (9-10), Peppermint Sticks

Male/Memory Care

  1. Duc – Size 9 Slippers, Lollipops
  2. Bill – Large Sweatpants, Chocolate candy
  3. Jimmy – Large T-Shirts, Large sweatpants, Lollipops
  4. Alfred – 2X T-shirts 2X sweatpants, Skittles
  5. Dwight – Large Sweaters and sweatpants, Lollipops
  6. Charles – Size 9 Slippers, Lollipops
  7. Thomas – Medium T-Shirts and Medium Pajamas, Lollipops
  8. David – X-Large sweatpants, Lollipops
  9. Henry – XL Pajamas, Chocolate Candy

Start Shopping!

  • Feel free to write a card/note and include a family photo and any details you want to share. If you wish, please include your address as many would love to send a thank you card for your thoughtfulness.
  • Please no baked goods or food items (unless requested) as most have specialized diets.
  • Gift wrap is strongly encouraged! The same wrapping paper will also help identify whose gifts belong to which senior. Also, please write their initials on the outside of each present!

Drop-Off Directions

*Notate on the gift if it’s for Memory Care side*
Please drop-off items at Cedar Cove Assisted Living and Memory Care
4200 Jasmine Cove Way, Wilmington, NC 28412

Drop off can be 12/14/2022 between 9am & 2pm for the Residents Christmas Party or
Please drop-off all items before December 23, 2022 – ask for Belinda Jones

Cypress Pointe Health and Rehab

Female

  1. Carolyn – Tissues in packs, Medium top, Size 9 shoe, loves suckers & gummies 
  2. Lilli – X-Small top, Small bottom, Slippers (Size 8)
  3. Natalie – Medium top, Large bottom
  4. Betty – Slip on shoe (Size 9), Medium or Large housecoat with front zipper
  5. Alicia – 3X gowns with no zipper or ties, long
  6. Clarida – XXS top, XS bottom, blanket
  7. Linda – 2X top, Large bottom, slippers (Size 8), blanket
  8. Maria- Small or Medium top, slippers (Size 8)
  9. Francina – Small top, slippers (Size – asking), Small bottom, blankets, snacks, suckers & gummies
  10. Dorothy- books, Large bottom, Large top, baskets for organization, better shampoos?, better body wash
  11. Celia – Large top, Large bottom, snacks, slippers (Size 8)
  12. Pat – XL top, shoes (Size 9), slipper Large, XL bottom, XL nightgown 
  13. Heidi- Small top, Medium bottom, Slippers (Size), deodorant, snacks, drinks (prefers degree or dove, fruit cups or softer cookies would be best)

Males

  1. Joseph – 4X bottom, 2X top, 4X underwear, crew socks, headphones, love Sundrop & Oreos 
  2. Tim – XLbottom, loves racing, hats, slippers (Size 11), XL top, stocking hat
  3. Phillip – hats, Size 11 shoe, X-Large top, socks, movies, candy, soda, snacks, gummies (very high functioning and young)
  4. Charles – XL top, Large bottom, slippers (Size 10), hat 
  5. Rocky – 2X top, 2X bottom, slippers, shoes (Size 11), hats 

Start Shopping!

  • Feel free to write a card/note and include a family photo and any details you want to share. If you wish, please include your address as many would love to send a thank you card for your thoughtfulness.
  • Please no baked goods or food items (unless requested) as most have specialized diets.
  • Gift wrap is strongly encouraged! The same wrapping paper will also help identify whose gifts belong to which senior. Also, please write their initials on the outside of each present!

Drop-Off Directions

Please drop-off items at Cypress Point Health and Rehab
2006 S 16th St, Wilmington, NC 28401
Please drop-off all items before December 23, 2022

Elderhaus

Elderhaus participants have all been spoken for but I’m awaiting new lists from other nursing facilities in the area. Please check back!

Female

  1. CC – Female – Needs Yarn, toiletries, and socks
  2. VH – Female – Needs body wash and Pajamas size small
  3. EH- Female – Needs lotions, socks, and any clothing size medium
  4. ER – Female – Clothing size small
  5. CT – Female – Clothing size 2x, smell good toiletries, jewelry
  6. CP – Female – Clothing Size medium
  7. FH – Female – Clothing size Medium
  8. MB – Female – Clothing Size Medium
  9. AB – Female – Clothing size medium, scarves, jewelry, cute hats
  10. JC – Female – Clothing size 2X
  11. CG – Female – Clothing Size 2X; jewelry
  12. LS – Female – Pajamas Size Large
  13. BS – Female – Clothing Size XL
  14. JT – Female – Clothing Size XL

Male

  1. JC – Male – Needs clothing Size Large, socks, toiletries
  2. WLJ – Male – Needs Pajamas- Size Medium
  3. FP – Male – Clothing size Medium, toiletries
  4. JW – Male – Needs clothing Size XL
  5. WJ – Male – Needs clothing size XL
  6. DE- Male – Clothing Size Large
  7. JK- Male – Clothing Size 2X
  8. BL- Male – Toiletries, clothing size XL
  9. MT- Male – Large print Word Search Books; Men’s dress hats; he’s a SHARP dresser
  10. WW- Male – Clothing 2X
  11. LW- Male – Clothing Size Large

Drop off Details 

Please Drop-Off Items between December 10 – December 23, 2022

  • Elderhaus (newest looking building)
    1320 N College Rd, Wilmington, NC
  • Monday – Friday; 8 AM – 5PM 
  • Drop Off box located once you enter the automatic doors. If there isn’t enough room, please ring the door bell to the left of the box. The receptionist can also take gifts. 

From the bottom of my heart, thank you!

Mom

Best Local Annual Memberships

Looking for a unique Christmas or birthday gift for a child in the Wilmington area? I have you covered! Feel free to send Santa or Grandma this list. These experiences are truly the gifts that keep on giving all year around.

Check out the top suggestions below along with all the details:

# 1 – NC Aquariums Annual Membership


Members receive unlimited free admission for one or two years at all three North Carolina Aquariums (Fort Fisher, Roanoke Island and Pine Knoll Shores), plus discounts or free admissions to reciprocal zoos and aquariums nationwide!

  • Family memberships receive free admission for two adults named on the card and their children or grandchildren under the age of 18.
  • Curator members receive the same Family benefits, plus free admission for one guest per visit (perfect for babysitter or grandparents).
  • Members also receive free walk-on admission at Jennette’s Pier, gift shop and program discounts AND reciprocity with 150+ Other Zoos & Aquariums, which means FREE admission into the NC Zoo in Asheboro, NC (worlds largest natural habitat zoo). This is the one reason why we get this pass every year. It pays for itself!

Annual Pass Cost: $89
Basic family, but check out the website for other options.

Insider Tip*We ask for this membership each year from our family for Christmas because it’s the perfect indoor activity and we visit the NC Zoo at least once a year. It pays for its self!

# 2 – Airle Gardens

Your membership to Airlie Gardens brings insider perks and rewards; including, advanced member-only ticket offers and year-round fun. Your support as a member helps the Garden continue to be a valued local attraction and allows Airlie to provide public programs, education and special events to our community. 

Current Members: Please DO NOT renew your membership more than 60 days prior to your current expiration date. You will receive an emailed and mailed renewal notice as a reminder starting 60 and 30-days prior to your expiration.Your Membership Card will be mailed to you, please allow 7-14 business days for processing. Use your E-receipt to redeem membership benefits immediately.

Annual Pass Cost: $75 – family
See website for other options

Insider Tip* Enchanted Airlie tickets are offered to members first in October. This allows you to get the time and date you wish to attend without the hassle of logging in early in hopes of securing a ticket. Also, depending on which membership level you get, your tickets will be free or discounted.

# 3 – Jungle Rapids Family Fun Park

Jungle Rapids Family Fun Park really is the only place in town that offers so many activities for kids in one place. Dry activities include Jungle Golf (outdoor putt-putt), mini bowling, spin zone, laser tag, arcade, rock climbing wall, outdoor go karts, Kid Jungle Gym (for kids 8 years and under).
The waterpark has 2 body water slides, a large wave pool and lazy river, The Super Bowl slide, The Sidewinder, The Rapid Racer and Volcano (check out my Jungle Rapids post) and also a large Kids Splash zone with several slides.

The season pass includes access to the waterpark, which is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Once the water park closes, your pass will allow you ONE free dry activity every Sunday between 4PM – 9PM from October – March (excludes laser tag). Children 2 and under are free and do not need an annual pass.

Annual Pass Cost: $160

Insider Tip* Jungle Rapids offers a discounted ticket for $160 if purchased before December 31, 2022. After that date, season passes increase to $180+. Keep in mind children 2 and under are free and do not need passes to the waterpark.

#4 – DefyWilmington

Defy is a indoor trampoline park that has basketball

Let them get in on the crazy fun happening at DEFY all year long with our Black Friday Annual Pass. Get 90 minutes of Flight Time every day — all for way less than $1 a day! Don’t miss out on our biggest deal of the year!

Annual Pass Cost: $119

Insider Tip* Don’t forget the Defy Grip Socks to avoid spending more money when you visit.

#5 – Children’s Museum of Wilmington

Annual Membership Cost: $110
*Other tiers are offered

# 6 – The Little Gym

An Annual Family Membership at The Little Gym of Wilmington, NC enables your child to participate in weekly classes. Each time they attend, they’re presented with opportunities to master new skills and accomplishments. As a parent, you benefit as well! Membership allows you to take advantage of several special privileges, including:

  • Participation in Priority Enrollment
  • Member Discounts:
    • Awesome Birthday Bash parties
    • Camps
    • Events & More Fun

Annual Membership Cost: $50
*Note that the $50 grants you access to membership perks – classes are typically $85 per month

# 7 – Wilmington Railroad Museum

If you have a train lover on your hands, this may be the best place in town for you! The Wilmington Railroad Museum is a fun interactive museum located in downtown Wilmington along the riverfront. Watch and learn about trains and how important they were to the Port City long ago.

  • Coach/ Individual | $50: Free admission for 1 person for a year + 10 % Gift Shop discount + Annual Membership Reception
  • Club Car/ Family | $80: (Best Value) Free admission for 4 persons for a year + 10 % Gift Shop discount + Annual Membership Reception
  • Pullman Pass | $150 : Free admission for 4 persons for a year + 10 % Gift Shop discount + Annual Membership Reception + 10 free passes for friends/relatives
  • Private Car | $250: Free admission for 4 persons for a year + 10 % Gift Shop discount + Annual Membership Reception + 20 free passes for friends/relatives
  • Railroad Baron | $500: Free admission for 4 persons for a year + 10 % Gift Shop discount + Annual Membership Reception + 20 free passes for friends/relatives + Limited Edition ACL History Book
  • Champion | $1,000: Free admission for 4 persons for a year + 10 % Gift Shop discount + Annual Membership Reception + 10 free passes for friends/relatives + Limited Edition ACL History Book + Sponsorship for you or your company

# 8 – Smart Start of New Hanover County

A very inexpensive and worthwhile annual membership. If you have a child 5 and under, this is a must. Stop by the Resource Room, which is free to use any time (to non-members as well). If you are a member, enjoy

For a $5 annual fee, families have access to:

  • Theme kits with educational toys and materials
  • Laminating supplies and equipment
  • Die cut machine
  • A two week trial membership to the Wilmington Children’s Museum & Cape Fear Museum
  • A wide variety of other books and materials available for check out

Annual Pass Cost: $5 (Yes, you read that correctly)

Insider Tip* Just buy this one. It’s worth every bit of $5.

# 9 – Fit For Fun

Do you ever dream of taking your kid to a indoor facility full of toys that they can play with for hours and that you don’t have to clean up or put away afterward? If so, Fit For Fun is the place for you. Open for kids 5 and under, this large building has ever Fisher Price toy you can dream of, rooms filled with toys and even a fenced in playground perfect for the little tots to explore.

If you’ve never been before, go check it out! For just $5, you can explore the center and see if an annual membership would be something you’d enjoy! They also have special events and activities – check out the calendar on the website.

Annual Pass Cost: $110

# 10 – Cape Fear Museum

Wait! Before you decide you have been to the museum a few times and scroll on, did you know this membership actually gives you access to A LOT more cool museums other than the Cape Fear Museum?

  • Free admission to Cape Fear Museum
  • Two guest passes to share with others
  • Nationwide reciprocal admission to more than 300 participating museums and science/technology centers through Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC)
  • Nationwide reciprocal admission to more than over 750 participating arts, cultural, historical and children’s museums along with botanical gardens and science and technology centers through North American Reciprocal Museum (NARM).
  • Reciprocal admission to over 175 participating museums through Southeastern Reciprocal Membership Program (SERM).
  • Priority registration and discounts for selected programs
  • Subscription to the Museum e-newsletter

Annal Membership Cost: $100
*For $125, you can get the Smithsonian Affiliate Membership which comes with a few extra perks!

Insider Tip* Check out all of the other museums you gain access to with this pass including Discovery Place in Charlotte, Marbles Kids Museum in Raleigh, North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer, and so many other throughout the nation!

Other memberships to look into:

  • Carowinds – Located about 3.5 hours from Wilmington – Carowinds has a fantastic annual pass with water park, rollar coasters and a kids section all included. If you have family near Charlotte or visit that area often – I highly recommend checking it out.
  • NSEA Swim @ Earl Jackson Pool – A local year-around pool located downtown offers an annual membership for $40 for the whole family!
  • YMCA Membership at the Y gives you access to all YMCA facilities Nationwide.  You also get member pricing for all of our programs including afterschool, preschool, soccer, basketball, eSports and more.   Each branch of the YMCA has different features but at our Nir Family YMCA offers a basketball gym, racquetball courts, indoor pool.  They also have cardio equipment, weights, and lots of fitness classes. In addition, they offer child watch during select hours so your children can be cared for while you have time to use the facility.
Mom

Halloween – Decor + Best Trick or Treating

Wilmington, NC (in and around)

Leland

  • Lanvale Forest
  • Seabrooke
  • Windsor Park

Wilmington

  • Anchors Bend
  • Bella Sera at Vineyard Plantation
  • Brewster Lane
  • Carolina Sands (Carolina Beach)
  • Downtown
    • 1709 Chestnut St.
    • 23rd & 25th St.
  • Forest Hills
  • Harbor Island (Wrightsville Beach)
  • Kings Grant
  • Marsh Oaks Drive
    • 545 Aquarius Dr
  • Shinnwood West
  • Tarin Woods
  • Woodlake

Other Homes decorated!

  • 6606 Red Cedar
  • 126 Disney Drive
  • 608 McGinnis Lane
  • Stoney Creek St (Leland)

Don’t see your neighborhood and want to add it? Send an email to wilmingtonmomnc@gmail.com

Mom

Beach Baby Must Haves

As a local beach mom, I compiled my favorite must have items for those little beach babies. Whether you live at the beach or just visiting, you’ll want to ensure your little one stays cool in the shade, protected from the sun and hydrated, of course.

Check out my Amazon Storefront for quick links to the items listed below – https://www.amazon.com/shop/wilmingtonmom

  1. SPF Rash Guard
    • Check to ensure the rash guard has SPF. Most has 50+ which is perfect protection for that sensitive skin.
    • I love shopping Old Navy, Amazon and TJMaxx/Marshalls for Rash Guards.
    • Link to RuffleButts on Amazon
  2. Sunscreen (if older than 6 months)
    • Apply sunscreen before you leave the house for ultimate coverage. We love the mineral based sunscreen “Think Baby”. It’s gentle on their skin and
    • Babies under 6 months of age should not wear sunscreen unless they absolutely have to. It is best to leave infants in the shade and minimize direct sunlight before 6 months also. Talk to your pediatrician if you have questions.
    • Link to ThinkBaby SPF 50 Sunscreen
  3. Baby Carrier
    • My #1 baby essential is my Ergo Baby 360. I do not go anywhere without my baby carrier and the beach is no exception. I baby wear while I walk to the beach so my hands can carry any other items I take (bag, chair, shade, etc.)
    • It is wonderful to walk to the water with my older child and a safe place for baby to fall asleep.
  4. SPF Hat
  5. SPF Blanket
    • Since most rash guards don’t fully cover your little ones legs, I like to cover legs when I walk to the water or out in the sun. The blanket is also a great nursing cover or be used as a blanket for nap time! It’s cool and lightweight too.
    • Link to SPF 50+ Baby Blanket
  6. Swim Diaper(s)
    1. Remember swim diapers only hold poop, not pee!
    2. You can buy disposable swim diapers, but I love saving money and reusing swim diapers. The link below are great choices that can be adjusted as your child grows.
    3. Link the Reusable Swim Diapers
  7. Extra Diapers and Wipes
    • I like to store my in a wet bag to keep them dry and protected. I usually get my baby in the water and then a dry diaper before it’s time for nice beach nap. Remember swim diapers don’t hold pee, so you’ll want them back in a clean diaper before getting in the car seat.
  8. Battery Powered Fan
  9. Shade
    • This is probably the most important item you will need!
    • We love our Shibumi Shade and our Pop ‘N Go Playpen for the ultimate shade and napping area for our kids. They are both super easy to carry and I can put these both up with my baby in the carrier.
    • Link to Shibumi Shade (30 UPF)
    • Link to Pop ‘N Go Playpen (SPF 50 cover)
  10. Make sure baby is staying hydrated!
    • Bring bottles/formula or if you are nursing make sure you are staying hydrated also. I usually offer every hour just to ensure my little one is getting plenty of milk and not overheating!