Cures for Cabin Fever

Cures for Cabin Fever: Kids activities are making a careful comeback at these recently reopened family favorites
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WNC Nature Center » Asheville

After months in the proverbial wilderness of COVID-19 closure, the Nature Center is back, offering slightly scaled down but ever-engaging encounters with real-life wildlife. The indoor environments and areas deemed “high touch” remain closed for the time being, but a wide range of outdoor settings for no-touch visits with animals are open. (Recent visitors report that the otters, in particular, are happy to see humans again.) Safety measures include required masks for everyone five or older, regular cleaning of public areas, and social distancing. Online ticketing encouraged; payment by card only at ticket office. (828) 259-8080;

Hands On! Children’s Museum » Hendersonville

The exhibits at Hands On! practically beg to be interacted with, as young visitors play while learning science, math, and everyday endeavors, from child and animal care to buying groceries and visiting the post office. So the museum’s staff has instituted special safety and sanitation measures, including required advance ticketing and timed entry, reduced capacity, face coverings for everyone two and older, and thorough midday cleanings. Contactless temperature checks and health screenings required for admission; (828) 697-8333;

Catawba Science Center » Hickory

With over 35,000 square feet of science and technology exhibits and interactive features, Catawba Science Center bustles with inspiration. To help everyone take it all in safely, capacity has been reduced to half, with face coverings required for those five and older and visitors following one-way, social-distanced pathways throughout the center. The aquarium touch tanks are now hands-off, but there’s still plenty for budding scientists to see firsthand. Advance ticketing for timed entry encouraged; (828) 322-8169;

Hawksnest Snow Tubing » Seven Devils

This High Country downhill dream will be welcoming snow and making plenty of its own at its tubing slopes throughout the winter. Carpet lifts shuttle tubers to the tops, and lickety-split rides down lanes stretching from 400 to 1,000 feet wide offer one of the faster forms of safe outdoor adventure. Hawksnest’s runs are fully lit for nighttime outings and also offer no shortage of adult-speed options. Reservations, especially for groups, recommended; (828) 963-6571;

Asheville Museum of Science » Asheville

Compelling introductions to science—including the French Broad River water table, bird’s nest tree climb, and Colburn Hall of Minerals—still abound at AMOS, but a slew of safety measures now accompany the museum’s displays and educational play areas. Masks are required for those five and older and encouraged for three- and four-year-olds too. One-way lanes with an emphasis on social distancing keep the fun moving, and rolling cleanups throughout the day help keep germ-sharing in check. Timed entry tickets required; (828) 254-7162;