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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Smarty Day Trip Series: Latta Plantation

By Dana D, Charlotte Smarty Pants

What a great day trip to change things up a bit this summer. I had read and heard about Latta Plantation (located in Huntersville, NC) but never made the trip until now. It’s about a 30 minute drive north from Charlotte (less than an hour southwest of Winston-Salem), not bad at all. The main attraction for my kids at the age of three was the pony rides. I met my friend Allison there with her three kiddos and we had a fabulous time! I will start with the pony rides but there are several activities available at the plantation. We couldn’t fit them all in one day, so we look forward to another trip to Latta Plantation in the near future.

When you enter the Equestrian Center, drive ahead to the general store. This is where you will purchase your tickets, the pony rides are $8 each. . You can make reservations but it’s usually not necessary if you go early enough in the morning. There are some girls that lead the ponies for the five to ten minute ride and the children are required to wear helmets. There are beautiful horses in the stables and we even saw a couple of new colts. The employees are fantastic. but I think that the experience would have been a little less nerve racking if an adult was present for supervision during the rides.

The girls leading the horses are probably around 12 years old and some didn’t appear to be all that comfortable with the kids or horses. There was a bit of an incident which prompted a woman to come down and take over. Nothing major but I definitely would prefer an adult to be present. We used to have horses when I was growing up and they are smart animals. They can sense apprehension and they need someone who can take charge to lead them. So we went on our pony rides and the boys loved it! You couldn’t tell as much while they were riding, but they kept talking about it all day. There extremely focused (or should I say frightened) at first but they eased into it and kept asking when they could go back.

There are a few picnic tables in the shade to have a snack or eat lunch afterwards. This was a nice little break before we headed over to the Plantation House. We toured the grounds of the plantation. Kids under 5 are free and adults are $6. It was really neat to see the old cabins and learn some of the history behind Latta Plantation (as much as you can do with 5 three year olds running around). You can tour the house which has many 1800 Circa antiques. We wisely decided this would be better suited for an adult only trip to Latta Plantation. No need to send five bulls into a china shop, right? We walked the grounds which were beautiful and we saw a few sheep, chickens and some more horses. There weren’t any activities going on but it was still a good outing for three year olds. If you have older children then you may want to call ahead and check out what’s on the calendar. I would definitely send my kids here to one of their educational camps when they are of the appropriate age. It is such a cool setting and different than your traditional camp. Refreshments are available at both the Equestrian Center and at the Plantation House in case you forget to bring any or don’t have enough.

You don’t want to miss the Raptor Center or the Nature Preserve either. The kids were running out of steam so this will be saved for our next trip. I have heard it is spectacular! There are campgrounds, nature trails, canoes and more. You can go pan for gold. You can have birthday parties there as well as tea parties and a civil war soldier party . I will definitely be taking the boys back this summer. Oh, and don’t miss the Bluegrass and Barbecue Fundraiser in September. It appears to be quite the event for the family.

Latta Plantation is located at 5225 Sample Road in Huntersville, NC. Visit the website for more information. Definitely well worth the trip, thanks Latta Plantation!

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Becky said...

I had never heard of this spot. It sounds like a lot of fun, especially for my horse-loving daughters.

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