The first steam engine puffed up the Saluda Grade to the Hendersonville Depot in 1879. The steam engine needed a “help engine” attached to the rear of the train at Melrose for additional power to push the train up the Saluda Mountain Grade, the steepest main-line standard gauge railroad in the United States. The Carolina Special ran between Charleston, South Carolina and Cincinnati, Ohio from 1911 until 1968. The restored Depot houses a HO scale railroad layout that is highly detailed and is prototypical of Hendersonville, Saluda, Asheville, and Western North Carolina. The Deport features historical artifacts, a Southern Railway cabooser and a special children’s exhibit where they can operate a Thomas the Tank train in a scenic layout. See the 10ft x 80 ft Garden “G” scale layout.
Admission is free. Open Wednesdays & Saturdays, see their website for more info!
The Aquarium & Shark Lab by Team ECCO offers a public aquarium with 20+ displays showcasing eels, sting rays, sea horses, turtles and fish, a touch tank, a 2,000-gallon shark study tank with bamboo sharks, and much more!
The Aquarium & Shark Lab by Team ECCO offers many internship opportunities, educational opportunities for schools, and hosts a summer day camp called REEF Camp.
REEF Camp Info:
Offers great indoor and outdoor activities for kids of all ages, including a state-of-the-art arcade gallery, indoor mini-golf, indoor and outdoor go-karts, multi-level laser tag, aero-ball, bumper cars, mini-bowling, anti-gravity ropes course, soft play area, climbing wall, batting cages and more!
Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site is where Carl Sandburg, American poet, historian, author, and lecturer spent the final 22 years of his long and productive life at his estate, Connemara. The home, originally built in 1838, displays the Sandburg’s furnishing as they lived at Connemara from 1945-1968, including Carl Sandburg’s collection of 12,000 books. Tour the home for a small fee, and learn about Sandburg’s life as a writer, journalist, folk singer, social activist and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and biographer. Visit the barn and descendants of Mrs. Sandburg’s champion dairy goat herd and hike over five miles of trails. Access to trails, grounds, barns and public areas is free. Open year-round.
Open through October
The Cradle of Forestry in America is a 6,500-acre Historic Site within the Pisgah National Forest, set aside by Congress to commemorate the beginning of forestry conservation in the United States. Outdoor activities include two guided trails, which lead back in time to seven historical buildings, including a 1915 Climax locomotive and an old sawmill.
You can call the Cradle of Forestry during their normal business hours at 828-877-3130, or when they are closed, please call the Pisgah Ranger Station at 828-877-3265.
Indoor and outdoor covered flumes for rain or shine mining, open all year. Plus, you can visit and feed goats and chickens!
Stadium seating with 12 Screens
Bistro style cinema, featuring food, cocktails & local brews
The Flat Rock Playhouse has presented hundreds of productions for over sixty years. The Playhouse offers quality entertainment rarely found so far from Broadway. The Vagabond Players perform a variety of hits each year, featuring comedy, American classics, musicals, farces and whodunits. The Playhouse is open mid-April through mid-October, plus holiday productions, presenting matinees and evening performances Wednesday through Sunday.
Hands On! Children’s Museum is a children’s museum located on Main Street in Hendersonville – it’s the place where LEARNING comes into PLAY. Hands On! provides educational exhibits that stimulate the imagination and motivate learning. It is an affordable, educational and fun way to spend the day with your children, grandchildren, and students ages 1 – 10. Hands On! is open Tuesday – Saturday from 10:00am – 5:00pm. Admission charged.
Henderson County Heritage Museum is housed in the Historic Henderson County Courthouse on Main Street. It offers public displays, artifacts, lectures, collections, archives, libraries, demonstrations, a replica of a turn of the century county store and other similar exhibitions relating to the history, culture, heritage of Henderson County. The museum celebrates veterans of all wars, and has an Civil War Display.
Offers great classes and programs through the 6 branches for people of all ages 6 days per week!
The Hendersonville Community Theatre, Inc. is a non-profit, non-professional, wholly volunteer organization of theater-lovers that was formed in 1996 and is located in Hendersonville, NC.
Their season runs from May through early-November, plus special events during the off-season.
Tickets are available for a single show or season tickets.
The Cultural Center of Historic Flat Rock is a museum and cultural center located in the “Old Flat Rock Post Office” building, operated by Historic Flat Rock, Inc. The Center contains relics of Flat Rock from locals and tourists, and has a lot of the original furniture from the post office as well as antique furniture manufactured in Flat Rock.
Historic Johnson Farm is a fine example of a late 19th and early 20th century farm & tourist retreat. The entire structure was handmade from bricks that were fired on site from French Broad River mud. Over the years many outbuildings were constructed, including a tool shed/blacksmith shop, barn, boarding house, and a cottage. The property offers historic home tours, nature trails, picnic tables, animals and 10 historic structures on 15 acres filled with trees in a natural setting.
The Heritage Weavers and Fiber Artists have transformed the boarding house into a fiber arts center, which includes weaving, rug hooking, bobbin lace, spinning or knitting.
A 25,000 sq. ft. indoor sports and family entertainment facility that has, trampoline courts, dodge ball, basketball, an arcade, a climbing wall, foam pits, a ninja course, toddler time and much more!
Open Tuesday – Sunday.
Mineral & Lapidary Museum of Henderson County houses exhibits from North Carolina, Indian artifacts, a specialty of a single mineral, fossils, fluorescent minerals, gems and a Henderson County Meteorite. A 260-lb. amethyst geode from Uruguay and replicas of World Famous Diamonds are featured displays.
An indoor play, jungle gym and party center
North Carolina Arboretum is a member of the University of North Carolina System and spans 434 acres. The Arboretum offers curated gardens, horticultural exhibits, education center, hiking, biking, indoor exhibits, educational events and nature trails are a few of the attractions available to the public. Located 15 miles north of Hendersonville.
Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education is located in Pisgah National Forest. The Center’s indoor and outdoor attractions include: aquariums, hands-on exhibits, garden display, special programs, viewing and feeding of the hatchery trout. Free admission.
December – March: Open Monday – Friday 8 am – 4:45 pm
April – November: Open Monday – Saturday 8 am – 4:45 pm
Serpentarium Magic offers educational tours with over 200 snakes, a two-headed Corn Snake as well as an albino collection of snakes, turtles, toads and frogs. Plus, lots of other unique interactive exhibits. Contact business for their hours as they change by season.
Sky Zone is fun for the whole family, with open trampolines, foam pits, climbing walls, jousting, dodgeball, a ninja warrior course, pace for birthday parties, trampoline workout classes, special family and glow in the dark nights, and a toddler zone for the littles.
This former home of Flat Rock Playhouse’s downtown stage, The Center for Art & Inspiration offers interactive dinner murder mysteries, national & international touring shows, repertory theatre, tribute music series, storytelling events, classes, and much more!
The Center for Art & Inspiration is also home of The Artful Cup coffee shop and Hendersonville location of Malaprop Books. The Artful Cup and Malaprop Books are open Tuesday – Sunday.
Check their website for info on hours, shows, showtimes, classes, etc.
Opened in 2008, the Oriole Mill creates luxury quality, Jacquard and Dobby woven textiles. Their own line of products, sold at their factory store, lines includes coverlets, duvets, shams, throws, decorative pillows, window covering, yardage, and more. Everything they sell at their store is made on-site.
Free factory tours are available most Fridays at 1pm, for groups of 12-16 people, however reservations for this tour are required. Must be at least 12-years-old and wear closed-toe and closed-heel shoes to enter factory. Private group tours are available as well. To make a tour reservation, call 828-693-5500 or email email@example.com.
The retail store is open Monday – Saturday.
The Western North Carolina Air Museum is the first air museum in the state of North Carolina known as the “first in flight” state. The museum features award winning restored and replica antique and vintage airplanes. No admission charge. The museum is located adjacent to the Hendersonville Airport. Advance reservations for groups requested.
The Thomas Wolfe Memorial is the childhood home of author, Thomas Wolfe. Wolfe immortalized his childhood home in his epic autobiographical novel, Look Homeward, Angel. This historic site is devoted to interpreting the life, literature and times of Thomas Wolfe through the use of his mother’s boardinghouse and Look Homeward, Angel. Located 25 miles north of Hendersonville.
Open Tuesday – Saturday. House tours are offered daily at half past each hour for a small fee. Group tours available by reservation.
The Western North Carolina Nature Center connects people with the animals and plants of the Southern Appalachian Mountain region by inspiring appreciation, nurturing understanding, and advancing conservation of the region’s rich biodiversity. The property is comprised of 42 acres of plants and animals native to the region. Open 7 days per week, year-round with indoor and outdoor exhibits, and many educational and events throughout the year. Located 21 miles from Hendersonville.