It's officially Winter here in the Hickory area and we have some fun spots to keep the kiddos and kids at heart happy and entertained without breaking the bank. Today we are focusing on our Museums that get the mind working and fill you with wonder and creativity! 


Catawba Science CenterScience Center Aquarium

Our first stop is at the Catawba Science Center (CSC) a 35,000 sq. ft. science technology children’s museum offering hands-on exhibits, salt and freshwater aquarium galleries, and a state-of-the-art digital planetarium theater is located in The SALT Block in Downtown Hickory is all about the kids. While some of you may have already visited this Hickory staple, the exhibits keep changing and the knowledgable staff at the Science Center are working to switch things up to keep your brain working.  Their goal is to promote safe and fun learning.  Make sure to get a wave from their famous stingray! The Millholland Planetarium at CSC is recently got a revamp with new state of the art equipment allowing you to experience space like never before. 

New exhibits and things to be on the look out for: Solar System Odyssey - playing now with select dates through January! Click here for more information. Musical Laser Shows at the planetarium - enjoy a beverage while watching a state of the art light show produced to fit a music genre or artist. Past artist have included Queen, Led Zeppelin, and more. Winter Hours: Monday & Tuesday - Closed | Wednesday - Saturday 10AM - 4PM | Sunday 1-4PM


Harper HouseHarper House 

Built by Daniel Webster in 1887. Traditional Queen Anne architectural elements characterize the house from the hipped roof with lower cross gables, to the scalloped wooden shingles and stained glass windows. Today, guests learn about the boom-and-bust economy of nineteenth-century Hickory as they tour the three primary floors gazing at gold-leafed ceilings, authentic wallpapers, a hidden speakeasy and more! Tours are given on Thursday-Saturday at 10a, 11a, 1p, 2p and 3p. Adults $10, Ages 6-17 $5, and under 5 are free. Other times by appointment. Closed in January and Holidays. Photograph credits: The Historical Association of Catawba County.


Aviation MuseumHickory Avation Museum 

The interior of the Hickory Aviation Museum has artifacts and memorabilia ranging from WWII to present day, including a display about NC natives, Bill and George Preddy provided by the Preddy Foundation. Models are on display that show how aircraft design changed from the Wright Flyer to the F-18 Hornet. Take a close look at ejection seats and flight suits. Collection of aircrafts outside to view up close! The Wall of Honor is inside, honoring members of their organization and local people that are veterans. The museum's Memorial Wall recognizes those that have passed. The Museum is open Tuesday- Friday 10a-3p | Saturday 10a-4p | Sunday 1-4p and is FREE for guests however they do accept donations. 


Hickory Museum of Art - Folk ArtHickory Museum of Art 

Discover Southern Folkart, changing exhibitions, educational tours, field trips, summer camps & art classes. The museum was founded in 1944 to collect, foster and preserve American art. Eight works were collected that year, and today, 70 years later, the Museum now has approximately 1,500 art objects in the Collection. Check website for current exhibitions. Hickory Museum of Art also offers an elegant atmosphere for receptions, parties, reunions, meetings and corporate functions. Wonderful works of art provide a prestigious environment for your event, and guests are encouraged to explore our changing exhibitions throughout the Museum. Featured in the 2020 November Issue of Outstate Magazine. The Hickory Museum of art is open Wednesday 10a-4p, Thursday 10a-8p, Friday-Saturday 10a-4p, Sunday 1-4p and FREE for visitors.


Catawba County Historical Museum funHistory Museum of Catawba County 

The History Museum of Catawba County offers testimony to the hardy settlers of the Catawba River Valley and their resourceful descendants who carved a world-renowned furniture and textile empire out of the backwoods. It is the story of the American Dream as perceived by the self-sufficient Scotch-Irish, German, English, and African peoples who followed the Native American trails along the Catawba River in search of a place to call home. The story is artfully displayed in the unique setting of the former Catawba County Courthouse, an imposing National Register Renaissance Revival structure built in 1924, on the square in downtown Newton. Free Admission although donations are welcomed. Hours are Tuesday-Saturday 9a-4p 


Southeastern Narrow Gauge & Shortline MuseumSoutheastern Narrow Gauge & Shortline Museum 

This museum is the ONLY railroad museum in the south with a concentration of narrow gauge railroading- houses a collection of vintage railroad equipment that dates as far back as the era of Reconstruction, days when primitive iron rails endeavored to connect the cotton fields of lowland farms to the vast timber interests of the Appalachians. This collection includes boxcars, log cars, passenger cars, cabooses, and a steam locomotive. We have the largest collection of vintage narrow gauge equipment in the south. Additionally, they operate several model railroads of N, HO, and O scale in their dedicated model railroad center. At the center of their 4-acre campus is an authentic Southern Railway depot, built in 1924. The depot houses their indoor museum, offices, and rental facilities. Hours: Friday 12-5p & Saturday 10a-4p Admission is FREE but donations are welcomed.