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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May 2019

For almost 200 years, farmers brought their wheat and corn to what is now Yates Mill to have their grains ground into flour and meal. Today, you can stop by the Yates Mill visitor center to see a...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Cost: $4-$12

Where:
North Carolina Transportation Museum
1 Samuel Spencer Drive
Spencer, NC  28159
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Sponsor: North Carolina Transportation Museum
Telephone: 704-636-2889
Contact Name: Ian J. Kuhn

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Ages 6-14 swim, walk and run to benefit Just Tryan It, an organization dedicated to supporting families facing pediatric cancer. Proceeds benefit families at UNC and...

Cost: $55

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Chapel Hill Country Club
103 Lancaster Drive
Chapel Hill, NC  27517
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Contact Name: Sheryl Blackwell
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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: 24.00

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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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Downtown Raleigh
Fayetteville St.
, NC  27601
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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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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: 24.00

Where:
Open Arts
1222 Copeland Oaks Dr.
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Babies On The MOVE
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Cost: See website for fees

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N.C. State Fairgrounds
1025 Blue Ridge Rd.
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Cost: Free with advance registration

Where:
Hilton Raleigh
3415 Wake Forest Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
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Sponsor: Girls World Expo
Contact Name: Valerie Moore
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Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Chapel Hill
140 W. Franklin St.
Chapel Hill, NC  27514
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It`s 1863 at Yates Mill, and the yard is alive with activity! Step back in time with our 19th-century costumed interpreters and watch the millstones at work grinding corn into meal.  Tour fee:...

Cost: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (ages 60+), $3/Child (ages 7-16), Free/Child (ages 6-under)

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
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Get in the driver's seat with this hands-on experience with vehicles of all kinds. Children will be allowed to touch, climb on and ask questions about their favorite vehicles in a safe,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Apex Community Park
2200 Laura Duncan Rd.
Apex, NC  27511
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Sponsor: Town of Apex
Telephone: 919-249-3507
Contact Name: Allie Prelaske
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Enjoy free, live performances from the best artists from around the Triangle in front of Stone Theatre as well as kid-friendly activities. 

Cost: Free

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Park West Village
Morrisville, NC  27560


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Cost: $15 or use your package/membership

Where:
Kids Mindful Movement - Pittsboro
184 East St.
Pittsboro, NC  27312
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Ages 5-13. Homeschool Yoga is a one-hour class designed to strengthen and stretch the entire body, balance the nervous system, improve body awareness. Weave in art and journaling before or after...

Cost: $15 or use class pass/membership

Where:
Kids Mindful Movement - Pittsboro
184 East Street
Pittsboro, NC  27312
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The flowers are in full bloom at the park! Create a craft bursting with color inspired by nature. We will bring the materials if you bring the imagination! For all ages (adult accompaniment...

Cost: Free

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Road
Apex, NC  27539
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Telephone: 919-662-2850
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Ages 5-13 enjoy a one-hour yoga class designed to strengthen and stretch the entire body, balance the nervous system, improve body awareness, encourage the development of communication and social...

Cost: $15 or use class pass/membership

Where:
Kids Mindful Movement - Pittsboro
184 East St.
Pittsboro, NC  27312
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Ages 11 and older with disabilities make New Orleans creole. Register online. Choose course #120057.

Cost: $19/resident, $24/nonresident

Where:
Herbert C. Young Community Center
101 Wilkinson Ave.
Cary, NC  27513
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Enjoy free, live performances from the best artists from around the Triangle in front of Stone Theatre as well as kid-friendly activities. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Park West Village
Morrisville, NC  27560


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Enjoy free, live performances from the best artists from around the Triangle in front of Stone Theatre as well as kid-friendly activities. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Park West Village
Morrisville, NC  27560


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Come celebrate Turtle Day by stopping by the park’s visitor’s center to learn some cool facts about North Carolina’s turtles! Meet our live park ambassador – Frankie the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
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Making a kite is the perfect fun spring project! Learn about the forces that make kites fly and listen to the story of Benjamin Franklin and his kite (did he really draw electricity from lightning...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
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Enjoy the classic story as presented by Rags to Riches Theatre for Young Audiences. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Century Center
Carrboro, NC  27510


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Connect with your baby, other parents and yourself during this adult-focused postpartum yoga class. Recommended for babies newborn to walking. Take a mat, a blanket for your little one, and...

Cost: $15 or use class pass/membership

Where:
Kids Mindful Movement - Pittsboro
184 East Street
Pittsboro, NC  27312
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Cost: Free

Where:
IngenuiTea Kombucha Coffee & Tea
514 E Williams St
APEX, NC  27502
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Sponsor: IngenuiTea Brews
Telephone: 919-438-3684
Contact Name: Mark Poole
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Discover the joy of cooking with storybook characters. Ages 3-5 with parent. Register online. Choose course #120084.

Cost: $23/resident, $30/nonresident

Where:
Herbert C. Young Community Center
101 Wilkinson Ave.
Cary, NC
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Enjoy free, live performances from the best artists from around the Triangle in front of Stone Theatre as well as kid-friendly activities. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Park West Village
Morrisville, NC  27560


Website »

More information

Come celebrate Turtle Day by stopping by the park’s visitor’s center to learn some cool facts about North Carolina’s turtles! Meet our live park ambassador – Frankie the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
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Help monitor and keep bluebird and wood duck boxes clean throughout our park, create or place additional habitat boxes and assist with other natural resource tasks. Come prepared to learn and work...

Cost: Free

Where:
Harris Lake County Park
2112 County Park Dr.
New Hill, NC  27562
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Sponsor: Harris Lake County Park
Telephone: 919-387-4342
Contact Name: Joanne St. Clair
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This after-school class for kids in grades 3-5 offers fun learning yoga poses and mindfulness techniques to reduce stress. Grades 3-5. 

Cost: $15/class, or use your class pass/membership.

Where:
Kids Mindful Movement - Chapel Hill
781 Mt. Carmel Church Rd.
Chapel Hill, NC  27517
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Bring your curiosity and creativity and explore a variety of art media. Grades 3-5. 

Cost: 0

Where:
Orange County Public Library
137 W Margaret Lane
Hillsborough, NC  27278
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Sponsor: Orange County Public Library
Telephone: 191-924-52539
Contact Name: Libbie Hough
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Enjoy a family-friendly movie and a slice or two of pizza. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $5/person. Free for ages 2 and younger

Where:
The Halle Cultural Center
237 N. Salem St.
Apex, NC  27502
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Ages 11 and older with special needs enjoy karaoke. Take a dish to share. Register online. Choose course #121043.

Cost: $2/resident, $3/nonresident

Where:
Cary Senior Center
120 Maury O'Dell Place
Cary, NC  27513
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Enjoy free, live performances from the best artists from around the Triangle in front of Stone Theatre as well as kid-friendly activities. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Park West Village
Morrisville, NC  27560


Website »

More information

Come celebrate Turtle Day by stopping by the park’s visitor’s center to learn some cool facts about North Carolina’s turtles! Meet our live park ambassador – Frankie the...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 919-856-6675
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More information

Enjoy Raleigh’s premier Japanese animation and culture convention. Concerts, educational panels, limited merchandise, unique artwork and more highlight the event. Purchase tickets...

Cost: $65/person

Where:
Raleigh Convention Center
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Relax in the courtyard with live music and food. All ages.

Cost: Free

Where:
Edison Johnson Community Center
500 W. Murray Ave.
Durham, NC
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Enjoy fun, games, friendship and more every Friday.

Cost: Free

Where:
Sanderford Road Center
2623 Sanderford Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27610
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Sponsor: Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department
Telephone: 919-831-1898
Contact Name: Adam Sproles
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Enjoy free, live performances from the best artists from around the Triangle in front of Stone Theatre as well as kid-friendly activities. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Park West Village
Morrisville, NC  27560


Website »

More information

Each Fourth Friday of the month join us for a night of art, film, food and fun. This is free and open to the public.​

Cost: Free

Where:
SummerStage
800 Taylor St
Durham, NC  27701
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Sponsor: Hi-Wire Brewing and abc11

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Enjoy Raleigh’s premier Japanese animation and culture convention. Concerts, educational panels, limited merchandise, unique artwork and more highlight the event. Purchase tickets...

Cost: $65/person

Where:
Raleigh Convention Center
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

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Get inspired by the park's natural beauty and contribute to a community art project celebrating the spring season of flowers. Head to the Finley Center to make a few paper flowers and help to...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

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Dogs, face painting, animal tattoos, a bounce house, dog contests and canine demonstrations, handmade bandannas, photo booths and local vendors highlight this annual festival to benefit the...

Cost: $15-$30

Where:
Duke University East Campus
Durham, NC


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One Saturday of the month join us for our family fun series. This is free and open to the public. Here is what you can expect: 10am-12pm: Come to the plaza for family-friendly activities for...

Cost: Free

Where:
SummerStage
800 Taylor St
Durham, NC  27701
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Sponsor: Hi-Wire Brewing, abc11, and Offline

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Take a walk in the woods and discover the animals and plants that call our 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 Road
Apex, NC  27539
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Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

Learn basic canoeing skills and a bit about the millpond's history, then head out to explore the pond's many features as seen only from the water. Canoes, paddles, and life jackets are provided,...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Want to get inside Historic Yates Mill? Join us for a half-hour tour (starting at 1, 1:30, 2, 2:30 or 3 p.m.) to view the main power drive and milling machinery while exploring the mill's...

Cost: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (ages 60+), $3/Child (ages 7-16), Free/Child (ages 6-under)

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


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Stop by our FREE discovery table to learn about songbirds! Registration is not required. The display table is located at the Upper Playground.

Cost: Free

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

More information

Geocaching is a treasure hunt where participants use GPS coordinates to track down hidden “caches.” Learn what geocaching is all about and head out to find a real geocache in the park....

Cost: Free

Where:
American Tobacco Trail
1309 New Hill-Olive Chapel Rd.
Apex, NC  27502
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Sponsor: Harris Lake County Park and the American Tobacco Trail
Telephone: 919-387-2117
Contact Name: Joanne St. Clair
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Enjoy free, live performances from the best artists from around the Triangle in front of Stone Theatre as well as kid-friendly activities. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Park West Village
Morrisville, NC  27560


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More information

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Cost: $65/person

Where:
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More information

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