Family Trip to Dan Nicholas Park in Salisbury NC

Dan Nicholas Park Family Attractions

Dan Nicholas Park in Salisbury, NC offers a great selection of entertainment bargains for all ages. Spend the day or a week at the park without spending a fortune.

Dan Nicholas Park offers entertainment for all ages at a reasonable cost. This Rowan County park provides visitors many no-cost and low-cost choices. The park’s main attractions are centrally located and many are handicap accessible. Dan Nicholas Park provides a quiet place to relax and enjoy nature as it attracts wildlife along with many secluded and peaceful areas. Special events, such as the Autumn Jubilee, attract numerous people from local areas and beyond.

Free Activities at Dan Nicholas

  • Free Admission to park, including parking
  • Splash Pad – Visit this recently added water park where visitors can splash and be splashed while walking under sprinklers surrounded by boulders. This area is a great place to cool off on a hot summer day. Swim diapers are available for purchase at the concession stand.
  • Aquarium and Reptile Center – Enjoy seeing a variety of venomous and non-venomous snakes, fish, small alligators, and more. Read educational information, such as how to tell the difference between the Coral Snake and the Scarlet Kingsnake. Visitors may even get the chance to touch a snake or see one being fed by a trained staff member. The staff does warn visitors that some of the animals do eat other live animals so that those who do not wish to see the feeding may exit the building during feeding times.
  • Educational Programs – Several different types are offered. Many of the staff members are more than willing to offer their knowledge and background information about the animals and facilities.
  • Sports – Play baseball, softball, volleyball, horseshoes, and tennis in select areas in the park.
  • Hiking Trails – These range from an easy walk around the lake to a 2-hour trek.
  • Playground – They regularly add new equipment to a wide variety of play equipment. The largest area features special equipment that is handicap friendly with wide ramps and includes special large swings for those with disabilities. An area for children under the age of six is fenced, and many of the slides offer steps for younger children. Children who like to climb, swing, and slide will certainly find something of interest in this large playground.
  • Autumn Jubilee each Fall, typically the first weekend in October. Admission is free with items sold by vendors.

Dan Nicholas Park is a great way to spend an afternoon with the family, and a little bonus is that it is extremely affordable making it completely worth the drive to Salisbury.  We recently visited the park and as a family of 3 (I’m not including my daughter in this count because she is 9 months old and free for all attractions) only spent $11.00.  I am guessing the initial reaction to the cost is likely, “parks are free!”  Dan Nicholas is no ordinary park with attractions that allow it to stand out from all the rest.  There are truly too many attractions to list.  Instead here is a list of those attractions that were included in our trip: a carousel, nature center, gem mine, barnyard, and train station.

Activities for $3 or Less at Dan Nicholas

  • Miniature Train Ride – The conductor just might say “All Aboard!” before taking riders through a short ride through the woods. A few “wild” animals are strategically placed to add interest to the youngest kids. The train travels through two enclosed wooden tunnels.
  • Haden’s Carousel – Ride a beautifully designed horse, giraffe, dragon, lion, or another animal on this carousel that was donated to the park in memory of Haden Holmes Hurley.
  • Wildlife Adventures Area – See bears, bobcats, bald eagles, owls, chickens, turtles, a woodchuck, and several other animals. The animals tend to be more active during scheduled feeding times. A small playground with overhead tarps is located here as well.
  • Petting Barn – See a collection of old farm equipment and enjoy a few animals, such as goats and a donkey, up close and personal in the recently re-built petting barn. Handwashing facilities are available.
  • Paddle Boats – Ride regular boats or choose ones with bikes on top. Character boats, including a duck, swan, dragon, or pelican, are also available. The lake offers a beautiful view of the lake area and a wide array of wildlife, including ducks, geese, butterflies, dragonflies, turtles, and more.
  • Fishing – Seniors may fish for free while others pay a small fee to fish at the lake.
  • Miniature Golf – Two 18-hole courses are available.

Other Activities at Dan Nicholas

  • Miner Moose Gem Mine – Find a treasure at one of four flumes. An identification chart is included with the bucket of sand and stones, and visitors can have your stones identified by an experienced “rock hound.” Have favorite stones cut into custom pieces or purchase one of many souvenirs at the gift shop. Bucket prices range from $7 to $42.
  • Camping – This is a quiet area located on the far side of the lake with nightly and weekly rates available with or without electricity and water. Campsites tend to be level, quiet, and spacious, and several offer pull-through areas for easy entry and exit.
  • Picnic Shelters/Picnic Tables – Rent an area for a half-day or all day.
  • Concessions/Souvenirs – Available year-round.

The train station included a short ride on a miniature train through a wooded area and two small, barn-like enclosures. My child would have stayed on this thing for hours. We finished the day out with a picnic and headed home shortly after. We definitely will be returning to finish out the rest of the attractions.

Dan Nicholas offers a wide array of activities and scenery for people of any age. People on a tight budget will enjoy prices that are quite reasonable with many opportunities to enjoy parts of the park for free. Some activities or rentals may require a prior deposit and reservation, and a few activities are seasonal.

6800 Bringle Ferry Rd.
Salisbury, NC
704-216-7800 or 866-767-2757


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