2013 Summer Fun Activities for Kids in the Triangle
Summer in the Triangle offers wonderful play escapes. See these suggestions for fun outings with kids that provide relief from the heat through indoor play, such as bowling or arts and crafts.
Or discover new places to enjoy outdoor activities when the temperatures are perfect.
Summer Arts & Crafts Activities
Beat the heat by getting creative this summer and exploring various arts and crafts activites. View the line-up of fun being offered here.
Free Kids Bowling Deals Offer a Way to Stay Cool
See where you can find free children's bowling programs at alleys in Cary, Durham and Raleigh this summer.
Head to Low-Cost or Free Outdoor Summer Concert Series
Keep the whole family entertained this summer withfree or inexpensive outdoor concerts throughout the Triangle area.
Family Movie Deals
Enjoy free or discounted films this summer that both you and your kids can have fun watching.
Play and Learn at a Museum
Many museums in the Triangle are designed to inspire children's imagination and learning with hands-on exploration. See our readers' 2013 Family Favorites Places to Visit for details on some of our readers' picks for places to go. Here's a look at some current exhibits at a few local museums:
The Museum of Life and Science, in Durham, has indoor and outdoor exhibits that bring science to life for kids. Head to the insectarium, where an "insect-cam" lets you watch and hear as caterpillar eats food. Venture into the tropical paradise of the Butterfly House, where 1,000 butterflies flit among exotic plants. Explore the wild to see black bears, red wolves and exotic lemurs up close. Step back in time millions of years ago with your little ones for a walk along the Dinosaur Trail.
The N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences, in downtown Raleigh, has four floors of exhibits featuring different parts of North Carolina (free admission) and special traveling exhibits (for a fee). Through Sept. 8, you can see a Dinosaurs in Motion, featuring 14 magnificent, life-size metal dinosaur sculptures inspired by actual fossils which can be manipulated. The Nature Research Center, an 80,000-square-foot free-admission wing, makes scientific research accessible with hands-on activities. Visit the center's SECU Daily Planet, a three-story multimedia space that links virtual to real nature and offers live programming on breaking science news. The center houses a 40 x 40 foot-high definition screen, where scientists present their work, offering impressive views of the universe.
In downtown Raleigh, Marbles Kids Museum's exhibits encourage imaginative play and creativity. In Around Town, children have a chance to slip into the lives of grown-ups, from bus drivers to firefighters and farmers. They can shop at a grocery store, be a chef or act on Broadway, all in pretend settings. Other areas of the museum include Splash! offering hands-on experiences with water, and IdeaWorks, where children can design, create and build structures, vehicles, simple machines and everyday products. See more exhibits here. The museum's Marbles also offers an IMAX theater.
The N.C. Museum of Art, in Raleigh, offers special programming for children, from crafts to tours, and amuseum parkthat covers 160 acres of fields, woodlands, and creeks, with trails that feature outdoor art on a grand scale. Admission to the Museum's permanent collection of art from around the world and Museum Park is free. There is a charge for some special exhibitions and programs, such as concerts, films, classes, and performances.
Kidzu Children's Museum, in Chapel Hill, offers creative play for children in its current "KidZoom: The Power of Creativity" exhibit, where they're invited to engage in real-life activities, from gardening and construction to painting and puppetry. Visit Kidzu's website.
Splash in a Public Swimming Pool!
What better way to celebrate summer than to jump into a sparkling light-filled pool? If your family likes to swim, head to a pool for inexpensive exercise. Some facilities offer special equipment for kids. Last year, The Buffalo Road Aquatic Center opened with a three-story waterslide, lazy river, water vortex, water basketball, water volleyball, and three lap lanes. The zero-depth entry has a tot-size play area including water tumble buckets, a water curtain, and tot-size slide.
Find a public pool that's open year-round near your home:
Venture on a Nature Hike or Bike Ride!
Outdoor activities offer a way to get moving and enjoy perfect weather. Visit our Daily Calendar for special nature outings geared for children any day of the week, and browse our readers' picks of for the 2013 Best Family Places to Get Moving and Be Active for more ideas.
If you like to go on outdoor excursions with just your family, check out the growing Capital Area Greenway Trail in the Triangle. Winding through the woods, the Capital Area Greenway Trail offers a network of public open spaces and recreational trails, where any day you'll find families walking, jogging, skating, hiking, bird watching, studying nature and fishing. Take a picnic for more outdoor fun. The trails connect many of Raleigh's parks.
Head to a Story Time
Local public libraries and bookstores feature lots of story times each week, some with crafts, music and discussion. Story times help children make new friends, and provide a chance for parents to meet each other. They're usually free! Search "storytime" in our Daily Calendar to pull up a slew of options.
Step Back in Time at a N.C. Historic Site
Visit the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources website to learn more about state historic sites that host activities and living history events for kids. In Durham, you'll find these three fascinating places:
* Bennett Place, in Durham, which is home to a simple farmhouse that was the site of the largest troop surrender of the American Civil War.
* Duke Homestead, in Durham, where you can see the early home, factories, and farm where Washington Duke first grew and processed tobacco. (Pictured at right, photo courtesy of N.C. Department of Cultural Resources)
* Historic Stagville, Durham, where you'll find the late 18th-century Bennehan House, four rare slave houses, a pre-Revolutionary War farmer's house, a huge timber framed barn, and the Bennehan Family cemetery.
OUT OF TOWN GETAWAYS!
Visit the N.C. Zoo
The N.C. Zoo, in Asheboro, offers 500 acres of exhibits with more than 1,100 different animals from North America and Africa. Asheboro; nczoo.org. The zoo is home to one of the largest chimpanzee troops in U.S. zoos, and has recently added four new chimps.( Pictured: One-year-old chimpanzees Genie (left) and Gigi (right) press their faces to the glass in the N.C. Zoo's chimp exhibit during their first day on exhibit Thursday. N.C. Zoo Photo by Tom Gillespie.)