9 Family-Pleasing Vacation Destinations


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America is a big, beautiful country waiting to be explored. From bustling urban cities to awe-inspiring mountaintops and breathtaking beaches, there’s a destination for every interest and desire.

Step back in time to relive a famous event in American history, go skydiving without a plane, splash through cooling Olympic park waters or tour the most famous residence in the U.S. We’ve got the scoop on these memorable activities and more in this roundup of nine family-friendly U.S. destinations.

UP IN THE SKY

TIP: Managing children in a confined space for an extended period of time is no easy task — especially when you’re flying through the air. Load up digital devices with new games for in-flight entertainment. Pack plenty of snacks and extra clothes for mishaps. Eliminating potential crankiness will help ensure a smoother, saner flight for all.

Austin, Texas

Flight time from the Triangle: About 5 hours

Known as the live music capital of the world, Austin boasts 100-plus live music venues, beautiful art and outdoor spaces. The Colorado River runs through downtown, but residents call it Lady Bird Lake.

Spend a day at Zilker Metropolitan Park, a 350-acre oasis beloved by locals and ideal for families. Take a ride on the Zilker Zephyr, an open-top miniature train for a 25-minute tour alongside Barton Creek and Lady Bird Lake. Austin Nature & Science Center, also located in the park, features exhibits of live animals that have been injured or orphaned. Kids can go on an archeological dig by uncovering castings of actual dinosaur bones that have been found in Texas.

Before you leave the park, cool off at Barton Springs Pool, a 3-acre natural limestone pool fed by underground springs. All activities are wallet-friendly since many are free and others cost just a few dollars per person.

Head over to iFly Austin Indoor Skydiving to experience skydiving without a plane. A wind tunnel and powerful fans create a true free fall effect during which participants are completely disconnected and don’t even need a parachute. Participants from ages 3 to 103 have flown here.

Take another adrenaline-pumping adventure by flying across breathtaking canyons and Lake Travis on the longest and fastest zip line in Texas at Lake Travis Zipline Adventures. After your high-flying ride, relax on the half-mile beach. Lounge in a hammock, play a game of horseshoes or cool off in the lake. Loaded picnic baskets are recommended.

End your day in Austin with a spectacular view of 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats that live beneath the Ann Richards Congress Avenue Bridge and take flight in a mass exodus each night at dusk. It’s free, but courage is required.

For more ideas, visit to austintexas.org.

Boston

Flight time from the Triangle: Less than 2 hours

One of the oldest cities in America, Boston is awash in historical significance and claims many firsts — the first lighthouse, subway, library, university and public school in America, for example. In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell made the very first telephone call from his Boston machine shop. You can explore these and many other well-preserved historic sites Boston has to offer.

Join actors in period costumes to relive the Boston Tea Party by dumping tea overboard one of the authentically restored tea ships at Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum. Lace up your sneakers and walk The Freedom Trail, a 2.5-mile red path that leads to 16 American Revolution sites, including the Paul Revere House, USS Constitution and Bunker Hill Monument. Follow costumed guides representing the 18th Century on a 90-minute tour or venture out on your own. Download The Freedom Trail Official App for more guidance.

Boston Children’s Museum features high-tech, hands-on art, culture and science experiences. Kids can ride a Bobcat in the Construction Zone or scale a three-story structure made of flowing, curved platforms at New Balance Climb. Kids can also sit in musical chairs, dance on a lighted dance floor and play a gigantic chess game at The Common.

Situated alongside the Charles River, the Museum of Science houses hundreds of interactive exhibits along with shows in the Charles Hayden Planetarium and IMAX movies in the Mugar Omni Theater. Budding architects and engineers can design, build and test a prototype, and young biologists will enjoy The Hall of Human Life.

For more ideas, visit bostonusa.com.

Chicago

Flight time from the Triangle: Just over 2 hours

The third largest city in the U.S., Chicago is known for its beautiful downtown, 26 miles of lakefront and friendly Midwestern vibe that attracts over 40 million visitors each year.

Experience the iconic Navy Pier, a landmark extending nearly 1 mile into Lake Michigan, where visitors can ride on a 150-foot Ferris wheel and enjoy restaurants, shops and fireworks extravaganzas.

Adjacent to the Navy Pier, explore the Chicago Children’s Museum. Build a skyscraper, tinker with real tools or climb on a rope-suspended schooner. Visit Museum Campus to explore The Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium and Adler Planetarium.

Enjoy incredible views of the city at Skydeck Chicago where you can step onto The Ledge, a glass balcony extending 4 feet outside the 103rd floor, if you dare. Take in a 360-degree view of four states at the John Hancock Observatory.

Be sure to stop by Millennium Park, a gathering spot in the heart of downtown Chicago. Have your photograph made in front of The Bean, an outdoor sculpture resembling an enormous metal bean. In the summer, kids can splash around in Crown Fountain, an interactive work of public art.

Take Chicago’s First Lady Cruise to learn about 50 famous Chicago buildings. You can also choose from other cruise outings such as fireworks cruises, nighttime tours and dinner cruises.

Calling all animal lovers! Lincoln Park Zoo, the country’s oldest public zoo, is also one of the world’s last free admission zoos — and it’s open every day of the year.

A slice of deep-dish pizza is a must-have when visiting Chicago. Try three legendary pizzerias: Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria, Giordano’s Pizza and Gino’s East of Chicago.

For more ideas, visit choosechicago.com.

RIDE THE RAILS

TIP: Taking a train is safe, comfortable and affordable. When the journey is part of the experience, kids are entertained by watching the world go by. Prevent restlessness by roaming around the train to explore and burn off energy. Bring a carry-on bag packed with entertainment and snacks to curb boredom and hunger.

Atlanta

Train travel time from the Triangle: Just over 6 hours

Famous for peaches, peanuts, the Atlanta Braves and President Jimmy Carter, Atlanta bustles with activities for the entire family.

Centennial Olympic Park, built for the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games, offers plenty of outdoor space for walking and playing. Kids can cool off at the Fountain of Rings on hot summer days. Right next door, Georgia Aquarium, the world’s largest, offers 9½ acres and 8 million gallons of undersea exhibits. Don’t miss the beluga whales, whale sharks and manta rays.

Quench your thirst at World of Coca-Cola, a museum and interactive experience in one. Try over 100 Coke flavors from around the world, watch a short film titled Moments of Happiness, view the world’s largest collection of Coca-Cola memorabilia and learn about the legend of the secret Coca-Cola formula in the Coca-Cola 4-D theater. Be sure to stop by the Coca-Cola Store for a souvenir.

Purchase an Atlanta CityPASS at worldofcoca-cola.com/purchase-tickets/special-ticket-offers/city-pass to access the World of Coca-Cola, CNN Studio Tour, Fernbank Museum of Natural History or High Museum of Art, and Zoo Atlanta or the Atlanta History Center and Margaret Mitchell House.

Visit the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site to learn about the life and legacy of this iconic civil rights leader. You’ll see his birth home, the church where he preached and the memorial site where he is buried. Admission and parking are free.

For heart-pounding thrills, Six Flags Over Georgia features high-action family fun. The largest theme park in the Southeast offers rides for guests of all ages. Bring your swimsuit so you can enjoy waterpark rides to beat the heat on hot days.

Explore 3,200 acres of preserved land at Stone Mountain Park. Take the Summit Skyride to the top of this 825-foot granite wonder for an up-close look at the mountain’s Confederate Memorial carving. Ride a train or take a paddlewheel riverboat cruise for a 360-degree view of the mountain.

No trip to Atlanta is complete without a meal at the largest drive-in fast-food restaurant in the world, The Varsity, famous for its chili cheese dog and fried pie.

For more ideas, visit atlanta.net.

Williamsburg and Virginia Beach

Train travel time from the Triangle: About 3.5 hours to Williamsburg, then another hour to Virginia Beach

Take a trip to Williamsburg and Virginia Beach for the best of both worlds — a historic experience and beach vacation. Since these cities are only an hour apart, you can blast into America’s past and enjoy the waves.

Colonial Williamsburg is the largest living history museum in the U.S. This beautifully restored 18th-century town features costumed actors who recreate the American Revolution time period. Tickets are required to enter and provide access to historic sites, museums and programs.

Visit the Jamestown Settlement to experience America’s 17th-century Colonial beginnings and board replicas of the three ships that brought America’s first permanent English colonists to Virginia. Interact with costumed Native Americans in the Powhatan Village through live demonstrations of cooking and toolmaking. In James Fort, watch tradespeople show off their skills.

Take a Tavern Ghost Walk to learn about ghosts who still haunt Colonial Williamsburg’s taverns and historic buildings. This early-evening activity is suitable for all ages.

A European-themed adventure park with 17th-century charm, Busch Gardens Williamsburg offers 100 acres of family fun. Roller coasters and gentle rides for the little ones make this a fun destination for the entire family.

Beat the heat at Water Country USA, the mid-Atlantic’s largest water park, where a 1950-60s surf theme entertains all ages. Get wet on waterslides, falls and water cannons.

Need more soaking? Virginia Beach offers beautiful beaches, a lively boardwalk, a historic lighthouse and outdoor activities. Hike or bike around First Landing State Park to discover cypress swamps and nesting grounds for a variety of birds.

For more ideas, go to visitvirginiabeach.com and visitwilliamsburg.com.

Washington, D.C.

Train travel time: Just over 6 hours

Service provided by: Amtrak

Touring The White House, strolling along the National Mall and gazing at national treasures will leave a lasting impression on children and adults. This budget-friendly destination offers more than 100 free attractions.

The most famous address in the U.S. is 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., where the U.S. president resides. White House tours take visitors through the East Wing; State Dining Room; and Red, Blue and Green Rooms. Visit whitehouse.gov to find out how to book a tour.

Watch millions of dollars being printed at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing as you overlook the production floor during this free, 40-minute tour.

The National Mall is a 2-mile green space spanning the banks of the Potomac River, from the U.S. Capitol Building to the Lincoln Memorial. View the Washington Monument, Vietnam Veterans Memorial and Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial while walking along this pedestrian-friendly boulevard.

Often called America’s treasure chest, the Smithsonian consists of 17 separate museums. The most popular museum in the world, based on attendance numbers, is the Air and Space Museum. Other popular Smithsonian museums include the American History Museum, the Museum of Natural Sciences and the National Zoo, where baby panda Bao Bao and her parents, Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, are the zoo’s most popular attractions. Admission is free.

Take the Metro rail system to reach locations around the city quickly and provide some fun for the kids.

Rent a paddleboat on the Tidal Basin for a great view of the Jefferson Memorial when you need a break from touring.

For more ideas, visit washington.org.

ON THE ROAD

TIP: Minimize how many times you hear, “Are we there yet?” by using roadtrippers.com. Just upload your destinations and interesting places pop up on the site’s map to make your road trip more entertaining. Choose from a variety of offbeat attractions, scenic points or historic monuments.

Asheville, N.C.

Travel time from the Triangle: Just under 4 hours

Tucked in the Blue Ridge Mountains, this lively mountain city offers an active outdoor community and a bustling art and music scene. Thanks to Art Deco skyscrapers, buzzing cafes and eclectic bistros, Asheville has been dubbed “Paris of the South.” Not only does it possess a cosmopolitan flair, it also reflects a laid-back mountain vibe that lures visitors from far and wide.

A must-see is America’s largest home: Biltmore Estate, a French Renaissance-style mansion with 250 rooms. Marvel at the two-story library, gilded elevator, indoor swimming pool and bowling alley. Children can pet travel-biltmore.jpgbaby animals in the estate’s farmyard or drive across obstacles on the Land Rover Kid’s Adventure Course. (Photo at right of Biltmore Estate is courtesy of exploreasheville.com.)

Go Bellayaking, a new way to travel down a river that was created in Asheville, by paddling while on your stomach using webbed gloves. This provides a great way for beginners to explore the French Broad River. Riders advance to their knees, then feet.

Experience a unique aerial obstacle course at Asheville Treetops Adventure Park.

Kayaking through the trees or snowboarding on open air are just two of the 50 unique challenges offered, which range from beginner to advanced skill levels. Kids as young as age 7 have taken the challenges

In Pisgah National Forest, take a slide down Sliding Rock. This 60-foot natural waterslide has delighted young and old for years and offers a great way to cool off on a hot summer afternoon. There is a nominal $1 parking fee.

Animals and plants native to the Southern Appalachian region can be seen at Western North Carolina Nature Center. You’ll find 60 species of animals including river otters, bobcats, cougars and red and gray wolves. Children can also snuggle up to farm animals and hop on a red tractor.

For more ideas, visit exploreasheville.com.

Charleston, S.C.

Travel time from the Triangle: Just over 4 hours

For many years, Charleston has maintained a high ranking on many travel surveys as a top U.S. destination. This Southern city’s rich history, elegant architecture and coastal landscapes draw nearly 5 million visitors each year, according to Conde Nast Traveler magazine.

Clippity-clop down cobblestone streets atop a carriage ride offered by one of the many carriage tour businesses in Charleston to learn about the city’s history and culture. You’ll pass breathtaking antebellum mansions, historic churches and enchanting side streets.

Explore the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon, where George Washington was entertained and American patriots and pirates were imprisoned. A period costumed guide leads small groups on a 30-minute tour through the dungeon.

Visit the South Carolina Aquarium on historic Charleston Harbor, home to loggerhead sea turtles, alligators, great blue herons, jellyfish and sharks. The aquarium’s largest exhibit, The Great Ocean Tank, extends from the first to the third floor.

Stroll through the Historic Charleston City Market, where individual vendors sell products in open-air buildings. Browse art, clothing, food products and sweet grass creations.

Grab a swing and enjoy the view from Waterfront Park. Walk to the end of the pier to take in the shores of the Cooper River. On hot days, kids can play under the streaming water at Splash Fountain.

Just a few blocks south of Waterfront Park you’ll find Hazel Parker Playground, which offers a fenced-in area for little ones and an open area for older kids.

Go on a treetop adventure at Wild Blue Ropes, Charleston’s first open-air ropes course, where families can challenge their athletic abilities, enjoy the outdoors and have fun.

For more ideas, visit charlestoncvb.com.

Crystal Coast, N.C.

Travel time from the Triangle: About 3 hours

The Crystal Coast stretches from Emerald Isle to Beaufort and Cape Lookout. Pristine beaches, laid-back towns and a welcoming atmosphere make this stretch of beach a favorite summertime destination for families. Due to countless shipwrecks along the shore, including a World War II German U-boat sunk by the Coast Guard in 1942, the region has garnered the nickname, “Graveyard of the Atlantic.”

See wild horses and go shelling with Port City Tour Company. After a 15-minute ferry ride to Shackleford Banks on the Cape Lookout National Seashore, visitors are guided to see wild horses, then given an opportunity to go shelling on one of North Carolina’s best shelling beaches.

Located on Bogue Banks, Fort Macon is home to a pentagon-shaped Civil War fort.

Surrounded on three sides by water — the Atlantic Ocean, Beaufort Inlet and Bogue Sound — Fort Macon is free and offers nature trails, opportunities for surf fishing and a protected swim area.

Climb to the top of the 150-year-old Cape Lookout Lighthouse to enjoy the endless ocean views. Nicknamed “The Diamond Lady,” it’s one of North Carolina’s most iconic lighthouses.

The infamous pirate Blackbeard lost his flagship, the Queen Anne’s Revenge, when it ran aground in Beaufort Inlet. View artifacts from the ship and experience interactive exhibits to learn about Blackbeard at the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort.

Get up close and personal with marine life at the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. While you’re there, check out the 300,000-gallon tank featuring a replica of a sunken World War II German U-boat and a variety of sea life.

No seaside vacation is complete without getting out onto the water. Experience a variety of sailing and fishing excursions available throughout the area for aqua adventures, such as dolphin cruises, sunset sails, moonlight cruises and sport-fishing daytrips.

For more ideas, visit crystalcoastnc.org.

Not-So-Plain Plane Travel With Kids

Planning a plane trip in the next few months? Traveling with children can be exhilarating and exhausting. Here are tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to help make your family’s travel safe and stress-free.

- Allow extra time to get through security.

- Have children wear shoes and outer clothing that are easy to remove for screening. (Children under age 12 are no longer required to remove their shoes for routine screenings.)

- Bring strollers through security to be gate-checked before boarding.

- Talk to your children about the security screening process in advance. Let them know backpacks and stuffed toys must go through the X-ray machine, but will be returned.

- Take along your own car seat or arrange for one at your destination. Airlines may allow families to bring a car seat as extra luggage at no additional charge.

- Children under 40 pounds are best protected when properly restrained in an Federal Aviation Administration-approved car seat on the plane that is appropriate for the child’s age, weight and height.

- Ensure that each child has his or her own seat. Although the FAA allows children under age 2 to sit on an adult’s lap, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that families try to ensure that each child has his or her own seat. If it is not feasible to purchase a ticket for a small child, try to select a flight that is likely to have empty seats.

- Pack toys and snacks to keep your child occupied during the flight.

- Encourage your infant to nurse of suck on a bottle to decrease ear pain on ascent and descent. Older children can chew gum or drink liquids with a straw.

Source: healthychildren.org.

Please note: Travel times are estimates and do not account for possible layovers.

updated May 6, 2014

 

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June 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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Telephone: 919-856-6675
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Cost: Free

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Cabela's
201
Cabela Dr.
Garner, NC  27529
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Telephone: 984-204-2200
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Cost: Free

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Bass Pro Shops
801 Bass Pro Ln.
Cary, NC  27513
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Telephone: 417-413-9368
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Cost: Free

Where:
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Sponsor: Mindful Families of Durham
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Sign up for a Raleigh scavenger hunt and put on your best Nick Cage impression as you seek out the national treasures hidden in Raleigh. Via an app, be guided through the cultural, historical,...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
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Cost: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (ages 60+), $3/Child (ages 7-16), Free/Child (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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Cost: Free

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Road
Apex, NC  27539
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Cost: $12/resident, $16/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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Cost: Free

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Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Road
Apex, NC  27539
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Telephone: 919-662-2850
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Cost: Free

Where:
Carrboro Cybrary
100 N Greensboro St
Carrboro, NC  27510
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Sponsor: Orange County Public Library
Telephone: 919-918-7387
Contact Name: Cybrary
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Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
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Kids hike, make projects and engage in nature activities. Ages 5-8. Register online. Choose course #124963.

Cost: $9/resident, $12/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC  27518
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Telephone: 919-387-5980
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Cost: $9/resident, $12/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC  27518
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Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

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Cost: Free

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Orange County Main Library
137 W Margaret Ln
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Sponsor: Orange County Public Library
Telephone: 919-245-2539
Contact Name: Orange County Main Library
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Cost: Free

Where:
Orange County Main Library
137 W Margaret Ln
Hillsborough, NC  27278
View map »


Sponsor: Orange County Public Library
Telephone: 919-245-2539
Contact Name: Orange County Main Library
Website »

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Cost: $2/resident, $3/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC  27518
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Website »

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Cost: Free

Where:
White Plains United Methodist Church
313 S.E. Maynard Rd.
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Sponsor: White Plains UMC
Telephone: 919-467-9394
Contact Name: Michele Vansteen
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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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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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Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
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Raleigh, NC  27601
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Sponsor: LetsRoam!
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East Regional Library
946 Steeple Square Court
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Vacation Bible School includes dinner. Register at wpumc.com/vbs

Cost: Free

Where:
White Plains United Methodist Church
313 S.E. Maynard Rd.
Cary, NC  27511
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Sponsor: White Plains UMC
Telephone: 919-467-9394
Contact Name: Michele Vansteen
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Cost: Free

Where:
The Regulator Bookshop
720 Ninth St.
Durham, NC  27705
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Preschoolers (ages 3-5 with accompanying adult) learn about different frogs and toads that live in our area and what they sound like.  Make frog sounds, hop along the park trails and look for...

Cost: $5

Where:
Wilkerson Nature Preserve
5229 Awls Haven Drive
Raleigh, NC  27614
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Sponsor: City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Telephone: 919-996-6764
Contact Name: Martha Kane
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Bees are really important in our gardens! Read The Honey Robber and the Bee by Eric Carle and discover the world of bees and honey! Find your fellow bees by following your sense of smell, make a...

Cost: Free

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Road
Apex, NC  27539
View map »


Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

Sign up for a Raleigh scavenger hunt and put on your best Nick Cage impression as you seek out the national treasures hidden in Raleigh. Via an app, be guided through the cultural, historical,...

Cost: See website for fees

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


Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
Website »

More information

Enjoy tea time for the whole family. Samples of hot tea, cold tea, and kombucha will be provided, along with games and family fun.

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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Vacation Bible School includes dinner. Register at wpumc.com/vbs

Cost: Free

Where:
White Plains United Methodist Church
313 S.E. Maynard Rd.
Cary, NC  27511
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Sponsor: White Plains UMC
Telephone: 919-467-9394
Contact Name: Michele Vansteen
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Enjoy an out-of-this world space spectacular event. Preschoolers and their families are invited to fly in for space-themed games, crafts, and more. No registration required.

Cost: Free

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East Regional Library
946 Steeple Square Court
Knightdale, NC  27545
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Join park staff for an informal fishing experience for the whole family. Bring your own poles or borrow one of ours through the Tackle Loaner Program. Bait and basic instruction are provided. All...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Pkwy.
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 919-460-3355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
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Cost: $9/resident, $11/nonresident

Where:
Bond Park Community Center
801 High House Rd.
Cary, NC  27513
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Enjoy giant checkers, giant jenga, bubbles, and special art activities in Downtown Park. All other permanent games (ping pong, bocce ball, chess) will continue to be available.

Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Park
319 S. Academy St.
Cary, NC  27511
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Meet a staff member at the information desk and follow your guide outside to the garden exhibit or into one of the museum galleries. Look around and listen to a history-related story. Ages 3...

Cost: Free

Where:
N.C. Museum of History
5 E. Edenton St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Enjoy stories with Amy Godfrey.

Cost: Free

Where:
The Regulator Bookshop
720 Ninth St.
Durham, NC  27705
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Kids ages 6-9 discover the wonders of reptiles that live at the Preserve.  The focus will be hands-on outdoor investigation and the study of living things in their habitat.  In case of...

Cost: $5

Where:
Wilkerson Nature Preserve
5229 Awls Haven Drive
Raleigh, NC  27614
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Sponsor: City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Telephone: 919-996-6764
Contact Name: Marti Kane
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Parent and child ages 2-5 water plants in the native wildflower gardens. Register online. Choose course #124907.

Cost: Free

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
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Telephone: 919-387-5980
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Sign up for a Raleigh scavenger hunt and put on your best Nick Cage impression as you seek out the national treasures hidden in Raleigh. Via an app, be guided through the cultural, historical,...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
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Join Optimist Aquatic Center as thousands of kids and adults around the world unite for the world's largest swimming lesson. The World's Largest Swimming Lesson will celebrate its 10th...

Cost: Free

Where:
Optimist Aquatic Center
5902 Whittier Dr.
Raleigh, NC  27609
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Cost: Free

Where:
East Regional Library
946 Steeple Square Court
Knightdale, NC  27545
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Vacation Bible School includes dinner. Register at wpumc.com/vbs

Cost: Free

Where:
White Plains United Methodist Church
313 S.E. Maynard Rd.
Cary, NC  27511
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Sponsor: White Plains UMC
Telephone: 919-467-9394
Contact Name: Michele Vansteen
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Every year on June 21, we enjoy the most hours of sunlight during the whole year. Discover the science and cultural celebrations behind this special summer day. Make a pretty sun catcher to hang in...

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 stories with Amy Godfrey.

Cost: Free

Where:
The Regulator Bookshop
720 Ninth St.
Durham, NC  27705
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What do Historic Yates Mill County Park and the woodland faeries have in common? They both love nature! Take a short walk near the millpond to search for evidence of faeries (sightings are not...

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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Sign up for a Raleigh scavenger hunt and put on your best Nick Cage impression as you seek out the national treasures hidden in Raleigh. Via an app, be guided through the cultural, historical,...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
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Enjoy magic, storytelling and origami with Yasu Ishida. Grades K-5.

Cost: Free

Where:
East Regional Library
946 Steeple Square Court
Knightdale, NC  27545
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Enjoy an indoor/outdoor vendor market with food trucks, coffee, live music outside and plenty of fun for all ages.  

Cost: Free

Where:
Pine State Coffee
1614 Automotive Way
Raleigh, NC  27604
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Sponsor: Raleigh Night Market
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Vacation Bible School includes dinner. Register at wpumc.com/vbs

Cost: Free

Where:
White Plains United Methodist Church
313 S.E. Maynard Rd.
Cary, NC  27511
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Sponsor: White Plains UMC
Telephone: 919-467-9394
Contact Name: Michele Vansteen
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How many fireflies can you catch? Sign up for an evening of summer fun as we catch and release lightning bugs. Explore what gives them a special glow through hands-on discovery, games, and more!...

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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Every year on June 21, we enjoy the most hours of sunlight during the whole year. Discover the science and cultural celebrations behind this special summer day. Make a pretty sun catcher to hang in...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

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This celebration of toys features interactive attractions, vendors, toy experiences and more. Purchase tickets online. 

Cost: $12/person. Free for ages 2 and younger.

Where:
Raleigh Convention Center
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Enjoy stories with Amy Godfrey.

Cost: Free

Where:
The Regulator Bookshop
720 Ninth St.
Durham, NC  27705
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Website »

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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
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
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Young homesteaders learn about the importance of animals and pollinators on farms, both historically and today. Visit with animals, and enjoy interactive games, engaging crafts, imaginative face...

Cost: Free

Where:
Duke Homestead State Historic Site
2828 Duke Homestead Rd.
Durham, NC  27705
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DIY Fest returns with more than 30 artisans and family-friendly activities to support the mission of Durham 150, the anniversary of the incorporation of the City of Durham. 

Cost: Free

Where:
The Scrap Exchange
2050 Chapel Hill Rd.
Durham, NC  27707
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Sign up for a Raleigh scavenger hunt and put on your best Nick Cage impression as you seek out the national treasures hidden in Raleigh. Via an app, be guided through the cultural, historical,...

Cost: See website for fees

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


Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
Website »

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The fair is for women thinking about getting pregnant, currently pregnant, or recently post-partum. Triangle-area organizations will have tables at the fair to share information about resources...

Cost: Free

Where:
NC Cooperative Extension
721 Foster St.
Durham, NC  27701
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Sponsor: March of Dimes/Duke Family Medicine
Telephone: 678-246-9027
Contact Name: Courtney Simpson
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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 history...

Cost: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (ages 60+), $3/Child (ages 7-16), Free/Child (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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Ages 5-8 embrace science and nature while developing skills and knowledge about the natural world. Register online. Choose course #124927.

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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Enjoy all-things blueberry, food trucks, pie-eating contests and more at Vollmer Farms' annual Blueberry Festival. The Back-40 Country Playground will be open and features a...

Cost: $12 advance tickets, $15 at the door. Free for ages 12 and younger

Where:
Vollmer Farm
677 NC Hwy 98 East
Bunn, NC  27508
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Sponsor: Vollmer Farm
Telephone: 919-496-3076
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Enjoy a movie under the stars and play games at 7:15 before the movie starts. 

Cost: Free

Where:
E. Carroll Joyner Park
701 Harris Rd.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
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Annual Guides

Education Guide

The 2018-19 Education Guide offers 678 education resources in the Triangle, including area preschools, private schools, public school systems, charter schools, boarding schools, academic resources and an Exceptional Child special section.

The Triangle Go-To Guide

Our Triangle Go-To Guide connects you to family fun resources across the Triangle. In our 2019-20 issue, explore 1,028 resources for family fun.