8 North Carolina Dads Featured in New Book


Published:

Austin Dowd, a Raleigh dad, and I met through the National At Home Dad Network. At the 2015 National At-Home Dad Convention, Austin and I discussed his idea about shooting environmental portraits of dads and how to turn it into a coffee table book about dads.

I loved the idea and suggested adding a form with questions for dads to answer and also add photos of dads with their kids. The result was pure gold with dads opening up and sharing endearing photos of them with their kids and intimate facets of fatherhood.

"DADLY Dads: Parents of the 21st Century" is the first coffee table book of its kind in the book industry. The book, which will be available in June, features 115 dads from a variety of family dynamics and 11 countries. Of the 115 there are eight dads who live in North Carolina. Henry Amador-Batten of Durham; Jerred Copeland, Wes Hall and Daniel Wilkerson of Cary; James Kline of Apex; Scott Price and Dylan Ward of Holly Springs; and Darrell Humphrey of Charlotte.

Austin and I created this coffee table book for the sole purpose of educating the world about the true image of dads as parents, which embodies the same kind of unconditional love, compassion and dedication that exists in moms as parents. This book is a friendly invitation to embrace a view of dads from a different lens than the one our culture and media’s constant portrayal of dads as incompetent, bumbling parents who are not as trustworthy as moms and could never raise a child and/or be the primary caregivers as well as moms.

We don’t know how or why this negative stereotyping of dads started and continues to exist today. What we do know is that the buck needs to stop here in the best interest of the KIDS!

To demonstrate the importance of why our positive message about today’s modern dads should be important to society and especially the kids who will eventually become future parents, we’d like to highlight stories about two dads, and also share our observations about how these daily occurrences deliver the wrong kind of message. 

Story No. 1

One day a mom gave a neighborhood dad the best compliment she could give him. She entrusted the care of her child to him. However, a week later she called the dad on the telephone and said, “I can no longer leave my child in your care.”

“Why?” He asked.

“I’m sorry. But my husband will not allow it anymore.”

Story No. 2

After a dad and teenage son arrived at their neighborhood community pool and sat in the lounge chairs, two moms approached the dad and said, “We don’t think it would be appropriate for you to sit next to these teenage girls.”

The dad obliged the moms and he and his son left the area and found another place to sit.

In both of these unfortunate scenarios, the husband and two moms rushed to an unfair judgment of the dad’s character. We feel there is another option they never considered in handling their concerns about the dads.

In the first story, the husband could have scheduled a personal phone call and/or meeting with the dad to get to know him better. During that time the dad would more than likely feel comfortable trusting his child in the care of this dad. This is a courtesy many parents provide to people they meet for the first time, such as babysitters, daycare providers and preschool teachers.

In the second story, the two moms could have also exercised the following approach.

“Hello, my name is Cathy and this is Stacey. We’ve never seen or met you before and would like to welcome you to the pool. If there is anything you need, please let us know and we’ll be happy to help.”

This kind of warm and welcoming introduction increases the chances of a more positive outcome and also squelches any fears and concerns the moms may have had about the dad.  

What we feel is also disappointing about the second story is that the dad and two moms overlooked how they contributed to the unfortunate stigma about dads not being good parents and passed it on to the teenage kids, who will more than likely become the next generation of parents.

For the boy there is the emotional trauma of watching two women emasculate his dad. His dad also did not serve as a good role model by surrendering to these two moms' unwarranted request.

The dad had another option: He could have used this as an opportunity to educate the moms and demonstrated to his son, in a constructive way, how to stand up for masculinity, for his role as a dad and for other dads in his position. He could have said:

“I’m sorry you feel this way ladies. My name is David. I live in this neighborhood. I’m here to enjoy the community pool with my son and chose these lounge chairs to sit with him. I’d like to assure you that I’m not a threat to these teenage girls. I would like to ask you ladies a question. What did you just teach these teenage girls with your request for me to leave and find another place to sit?”

The truth is that the community pool is a public place, in which a person is allowed to freely choose where to sit. Also, the dad did not pose a threat to the teenage girls, but more importantly, the moms may have taught the teenage girls to fear and not trust men.

Our message to parents is to consider the first course of action, which is to get to know the man behind the title of dad, before rushing to judgment.

We’d like to briefly share information about some of the exceptional dads you will meet in this book.

Patrick Emerson, a California dad who works as a deckhand on a supply boat that runs crew and cargo offshore for the oil rigs in Santa Barbara. His work schedule requires him to be away from his family for a week at a time.

Richard Blake, a Colorado dad who serves as the primary caregiver for his family.

Mike Beltran, a California single dad who received full custody of his son and works as a referee.

Kelly Farley, an Illinois dad who, in an 18-month period, experienced the loss of two babies: daughter Katie in 2004, and son Noah in 2006.

Mark Goblowsky, a Nebraska single dad whose son, Josh, suffered a massive traumatic brain injury due to a hit-and-run accident. Josh must wear a helmet for his safety and struggles to function like a normal person.

David Drysdale, a United Kingdom dad of two children. At the time we invited David to share his story, he was diagnosed with cancer. Sadly, David died peacefully before the publication of this book on July 4, 2016. (Austin and I would also like to acknowledge David’s amazing wife, Misol, who graciously honored David’s request to participate in this book.)

Nick Thorpe, a United Kingdom dad who adopted a child. Nick wrote the Tribute to David Drysdale, which we included in this book.

Pablo Elizaga, a New York dad who, after he announced to his wife he was gay, has a unique long distance and wonderful father-child relationship with his daughter who lives in Argentina.

Jason MacKenzie, a Canadian dad who lost his wife to suicide and, with the help of his second wife, conquered his alcohol and drug addiction.

David Mike, a Nebraska dad who had been incarcerated in a military prison for dishonorable desertion. After his release he turned his life around and became a productive citizen and wonderful dad. Austin and I included David to demonstrate that it is possible for a dad who made a mistake and/or committed a crime to turn his life around for the better and become a responsible and productive parent.

Darius Walker, a Wisconsin dad (of one child) who is serving a life sentence in a correctional facility. Austin and I included Darius to demonstrate that regardless of the crime a dad commits, concrete walls should not condemn or prevent him from building a relationship with his child(ren). Although incarcerated dads committed a crime and were sentenced by our legal system, Austin and I feel it is not our place to judge these dads while they serve their time in prison. They are still dads! Our attempt to invite and include incarcerated dads in this book wasn’t easy. Correctional facilities' strict policies made it difficult for inmates to participate in the book and for us to gain access to them. All but one of the inmates who contacted me gave up. The one inmate is Darius Walker. Darius has not only demonstrated an enormous amount of perseverance but also expressed remorse for his crime as well as his passion to continue being a father to his son. 

Shawn Fludd, a California dad who became a father at the age of 16 to a son who is now 20 years old. Shawn and his first wife divorced. He married again and he and his wife are parents to three children under age 5.

Wes Hall, a North Carolina dad who survived cancer but lost his right leg at the age of 15. After he retired from the YMCA in 2008, he and his wife made a decision for him to be the primary caregiver for their family.

Brian Knowler, a Canadian dad who works as a policeman and is a post dramatic stress disorder survivor. In March 2016 he debuted a book about his struggles with PTSD. The title of the book is "On the Other Side of Broken – One Cop’s Battle With the Demons of PTSD." 

Dylan Ward, a North Carolina gay dad who, with his partner and despite a difficult journey, adopted a 2-year-old boy.

After you acquaint yourself with this outstanding, diverse group of 115 dads, Austin and I believe you will come to the same conclusion we have about the true state of fatherhood: That the responsible, active, nurturing caring, loving, dedicated dads far outnumber the irresponsible, absent dads. But more importantly, we hope you'll see that fatherhood is alive in well all over the world!

The book is available for purchase in bookstores, at Amazon.com and other at retail outlets. The hard cover version is $39.95 and the paperback version is $27.95. If you’d like to contact the coauthors or preorder an autographed copy at a discount from one of the authors, please email Hogan Hilling at hogan@unitedweparent.com.

 

Hogan Hilling is a parent and nationally recognized and Oprah-approved author of 10 published parenting books in addition to the "Dads Behaving DADLY" book series. Hilling was the primary caregiver to three boys for 20 years. He has appeared on Oprah and ABC’s "The Story of Fathers and Son." He is also the founder of United We Parent and lives in Southern California.

 

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August 2018

Run Club meets every Sunday at 8 a.m. in Midtown Raleigh or Wake Forest. Stroller friendly; children invited. 

Cost: $10/run or $100/annual pass

Where:
Optimist Park Community Center/Greenways
5900 Whittier Drive
Raleigh, NC  27609
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Sponsor: FIT4MOM
Telephone: 919-348-0472
Contact Name: Missy Currin
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June 30-August 12; 8:30 a.m.– 5:00 p.m. Come to Historic Yates Mill to see a new temporary exhibit, Rich in the Rare, on loan from the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. This...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675
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Join Mindful Families of Durham, a Buddhist-inspired spiritual community that supports area parents, caregivers, and their children in the practice of mindfulness and the understanding of the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Erwin Road
Durham, NC  27705
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Sponsor: Mindful Families of Durham
Contact Name: Adam, Laura, Josh, Sumi
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Little ones enjoy storytime.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble
5959 Triangle Town Blvd.
Cary, NC  27616
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Shop antiques, crafts and art, and enjoy food trucks at this artisan and vintage market in downtown Cary.

Cost: Free

Where:
Fidelity Bank Parking Lot
100 W. Chatham St.
Cary, NC  27511
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Contact Name: Leslie & Jessica
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Children make treasured memories while increasing their knowledge of plants and animals. Ages 7-10. Register online.

Cost: $8/resident, $10/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
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Telephone: 919-387-5980
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Join staff and volunteers from the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center, Chapel Hill Astronomical and Observational Society (CHAOS) and Raleigh Astronomy Club (RAC) for a free skywatching...

Cost: Free

Where:
Dorothea Dix Park
2105 Umstead Dr.
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Examine “Shinrin-yoku," a Japanese healing technique that "takes in the forest atmosphere." Visit a natural area in the park and walk in a relaxed way to receive calming,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675
Contact Name: Rebecca Cope
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Squish, touch and feel your way through center-based activities to explore the senses.  Make a smelly painting and splash in a sink/float bucket. Ages 18 months-3 years with an...

Cost: $2/child

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd.
Apex, NC  27539
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Sponsor: Crowder County Park
Telephone: 919-662-2850
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Enjoy a family-friendly movie. See the website for the movie title. Showings at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Crabtree Valley Mall
4325 Glenwood Ave.
Raleigh, NC  27612
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Little ones enjoy storytime.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble
5959 Triangle Town Blvd.
Cary, NC  27616
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Observe the 41st anniversary of Elvis' passing by seeing two tribute bands, Scot Bruce and The Fab Four, face off in an adrenaline-pumping musical showdown. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $35-$65

Where:
Fletcher Opera Theater
2 E South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Enjoy live entertainment, hands-on projects and gallery hunts.

Cost: Free

Where:
Nasher Museum of Art
2001 Campus Dr.
Durham, NC  27705
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Meet a favorite princess or superhero from 11 a.m.-noon and 1-2 p.m.

Cost: Free

Where:
Crabtree Valley Mall
4325 Glenwood Ave.
Raleigh, NC  27612
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Learn froggy fun facts through trivia games and activities. Discover the differences and similarities between frogs and toads. All ages with adult. Registration required online. Meet...

Cost: $1/person

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd.
Apex, NC  27539
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Sponsor: Crowder County Park
Telephone: 919-662-2850
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Little ones enjoy storytime.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble
5959 Triangle Town Blvd.
Cary, NC  27616
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Weekly basic skills cooking class for children aged 5-10 at Whole Foods North Raleigh.  This free class meets each Tuesday at 4 p.m. and is offered by registering in advance...

Cost: Free

Where:
Whole Foods Market (North Raleigh)
8710 Six Forks Road
Raleigh, NC  27615
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Take the family for Kids Night at Chick-Fil-A in Garner. Enjoy a free indoor playspace, face painting and balloon twisting with Mimi the Clown. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Chick-Fil-A
2720 Timber Dr.
Garner, NC  27529
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Sponsor: The MelodyMaker Entertainment
Telephone: (919)639-9328
Contact Name: Melody Scruggs
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Enjoy live entertainment, hands-on projects and gallery hunts.

Cost: Free

Where:
Nasher Museum of Art
2001 Campus Dr.
Durham, NC  27705
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Little ones enjoy storytime.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble
5959 Triangle Town Blvd.
Cary, NC  27616
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Website »

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Read "Froggie Babies" by Suzanne Farrior and make a froggy craft. Practice jumping skills, learn to "ribbitt," and examine the differences between the frogs and toads. Ages...

Cost: $4/child

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd.
Apex, NC  27539
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Sponsor: Crowder County Park
Telephone: 919-662-2850
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See Happy Dan perform magic, comedy and more.

Cost: $5/person

Where:
Renaissance Centre
405 Brooks St.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
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Enjoy a Build-A-Bear activity, storytime, games and painting from 11 a.m.-noon and 1-2 p.m.

Cost: Free

Where:
Crabtree Valley Mall
4325 Glenwood Ave.
Raleigh, NC  27612
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Expand your knowledge of our local flora and fauna by exploring a different area of the park each month. Join park staff as they "nerd out" over amphibians, birds, insects, spiders, and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Pkwy.
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 191-946-03355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
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Join park staff for an informal fishing experience for the whole family. Take your own poles or borrow one from the park through the Tackle Loaner Program. Bait and basic instruction are...

Cost: Free

Where:
Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Parkway
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 919-460-3355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
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Join park staff for an informal fishing experience for the whole family. Take your own poles or borrow one from the park through the Tackle Loaner Program. Bait and basic...

Cost: Free

Where:
Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Pkwy.
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 191-946-03355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
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Celebrate National Tell a Joke Day by sharing some jokes with the park community. Meet in the Exhibit Hall. Drop-in program. All ages. Registration not required.

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675
Contact Name: Rebecca Cope
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Enjoy live entertainment, hands-on projects and gallery hunts.

Cost: Free

Where:
Nasher Museum of Art
2001 Campus Dr.
Durham, NC  27705
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Enjoy an easy-paced and stroller-friendly walk along the greenway. Suggested for ages 3 and younger with parent. Register online. Choose course #219872.

Cost: Free

Where:
Walnut Creek Wetland Park
950 Peterson St.
Raleigh, NC  27610
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Sponsor: City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Telephone: 919-996-2761
Contact Name: Stacie Hagwood
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Little ones enjoy storytime.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble
5959 Triangle Town Blvd.
Cary, NC  27616
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Website »

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Ages 7-12 enjoy fashion and design activities from 11 a.m.-noon.; ages 13-18 enjoy the same activities from 1-2 p.m.

Cost: Free

Where:
Crabtree Valley Mall
4325 Glenwood Ave.
Raleigh, NC  27612
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Celebrate Raleigh's creativity under the beautiful lights and cobblestone streets of City Market. Find locally-made goods and enjoy a night filled with music and entertainment with over 30...

Cost: Free

Where:
City Market
306 Parham St
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Sponsor: Raleigh Night Market
Contact Name: Sara Buxton
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Take part in a class that teaches individualized ways to foster motor development for your child. Learn about tummy time alternatives, best positions for your baby, how to help your child learn to...

Cost: $18

Where:
Open Arts
1222 Copeland Oaks Dr
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Babies On The MOVE
Contact Name: Rebecca Quinones
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Enjoy live entertainment, hands-on projects and gallery hunts.

Cost: Free

Where:
Nasher Museum of Art
2001 Campus Dr.
Durham, NC  27705
View map »


Website »

More information

Little ones enjoy storytime.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble
5959 Triangle Town Blvd.
Cary, NC  27616
View map »


Website »

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A wonderfully kid-paced hour featuring music, play and dancing with toddler stars singing on the mic at Cotton's gently amplified & participatory music show. Children delight in...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Pump It Up Raleigh
10700 World Trade Blvd, #112
Raleigh, NC  27617
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Sponsor: Pump it Up
Telephone: 919-828-3344
Contact Name: Owner/manager Kellie Paterson McHugh
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Take part in a class that teaches individualized ways to foster motor development for your child. Learn about carry positions, best positions for your baby, how to help your child learn to crawl,...

Cost: $18

Where:
Open Arts
1222 Copeland Oaks Dr
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Babies On The MOVE
Contact Name: Rebecca Quinones
Website »

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Experience the the excitement of wheelchair basketball in preparations for August Madness. Whether your team is practicing for August Madness or you're looking for a fun Friday activity, all...

Cost: Free

Where:
American Tobacco Campus YMCA 'Cage' Court
304 Blackwell Street
Durham, NC  27701
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Sponsor: Bridge II Sports
Telephone: 18668802742 x12
Contact Name: Katharine Doyle
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Take a walk with a park naturalist to explore the woods and fields at this special time of day.  Register online.

Cost: $3

Where:
Wilkerson Nature Preserve
5229 Awls Haven Dr.
Raleigh, NC  27614
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Sponsor: City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Telephone: 919-996-6764
Contact Name: Wilkerson Nature Preserve staff
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See the PG-rated movie under the stars at Booth Amphitheatre. After the disappearance of her scientist father, three peculiar beings send Meg, her brother,and her friend to space in order to...

Cost: $5 ages 13 and older. Free for ages 12 and younger.

Where:
Booth Amphitheatre
8003 Regency Pkwy.
Cary, NC  27518
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Kindergarten students entering the traditional school calendar practice a lunch line, get moving at recess, hop on a school bus and more.  

Cost: Free

Where:
Marbles Kids Museum
201 E. Hargett St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Website »

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Take a walk in the woods and discover the animals and plants that call the park home. Help collect data for our Natural Resource Inventory Database and other citizen science projects. All...

Cost: Free

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd.
Apex, NC  27539
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Sponsor: Crowder County Park
Telephone: 919-662-2850
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Young entrepreneurs, ages 6 -14, have an opportunity to sell their products or services to the general public. Participants can keep any profits from sales they make at the fair and will earn cash...

Cost: Free

Where:
Park West Village
Village Market Place
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Triangle Children's Business Fair
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Enjoy a celebration of products, services and resources for families featuring local organizations focusing on education, health and wellness, safety, special needs, child care and more....

Cost: Free

Where:
JD Lewis Multipurpose Center
2245 Garner Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27610
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Sponsor: Sunshine Family Expos
Telephone: 813-463-2712
Contact Name: Melinda Perez

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Enjoy live entertainment, hands-on projects and gallery hunts.

Cost: Free

Where:
Nasher Museum of Art
2001 Campus Dr.
Durham, NC  27705
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy an interactive dance story and craft time. Ages 3-7. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Graceful Expressions Dance Education
312 W. Chatham St., #103
Cary, NC  27511
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Sponsor: Graceful Expressions Dance Education
Telephone: 191-975-86003
Website »

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Search for snakes, salamanders, turtles and more. Ages 10-13. Register online.

Cost: $12/resident, $16/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Raleigh, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Children's booksellers read their favorite picture books. All ages.

Cost: Free

Where:
Quail Ridge Books
4209-100 Lassiter Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Website »

More information

Little ones enjoy storytime.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble
5959 Triangle Town Blvd.
Cary, NC  27616
View map »


Website »

More information

Learn more about pollinators during this family friendly event. Sample and buy local honey and honey-based products.

Cost: Free

Where:
State Farmers Market
1201 Agriculture St.
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Website »

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Take the family for treats, music, art and more. See a special exhibit showcasing the work of Artspace's talented young artists.

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace
201 E. Davie St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Stop by a discovery table to learn fun about the animals that live in Crowder Pond. All ages. Registration required. The display table is located at the Upper Playground.

Cost: Free

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd.
Apex, NC  27539
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Sponsor: Crowder County Park
Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

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Explore how bees pollinate flowers and help gardens grow. Discover how bee hives work and learn the ways that bee-keepers have historically housed and cared for their hives. All...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Explore the historic heart of downtown Raleigh on a walking tour of Fayetteville Street. Tours highlight the people, places, architecture and political movements that have shaped...

Cost: Adults (18+) $10; Youth (7-17) $4; Children (6 & under) Free.

Where:
City of Raleigh Museum
220 Fayetteville St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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See the PG-rated movie "Jurassic Park," part of the City of Raleigh's Movies by Moonlight series. Also enjoy food trucks. Register online....

Cost: Free

Where:
Dorothea Dix Park Flowers Field
2105 Umstead Dr.
Raleigh, NC
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Sponsor: City of Raleigh
Telephone: 919-996-6688
Contact Name: Joseph Voska
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