Adventures in Nature Across the Triangle

Climb, fly and paddle your way through some of the Triangle’s greatest adventures


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Paddle Creek is a well-known staple for nature lovers.

Photo courtesy of Paddle Creek

Over the course of a few weeks, our family has floated, climbed and soared our way through the gorgeous Carolina outdoors. And we did it all without traveling more than 35 minutes from our Raleigh home. 

Businesses throughout the Triangle offer opportunities to invest in adventure. You can find an activity that will fit every family type, age and skill level. Be ready for heart-pumping, adrenaline-rushing fun, because these adventures will change the way you see the world. The only question is: Which one will your family try first? 


TreeRunner Raleigh Adventure Park 
12804 Norwood Rd., Raleigh 

Halfway between Raleigh and Durham, nestled on the David R. Kahn Jewish Community Campus, 70 obstacles and zip lines zigzag throughout forested land, offering a wide variety of challenges and adventures. Each day at TreeRunner Raleigh Adventure Park starts with a guided safety training session to help guests feel confident using their harness and clipping mechanisms. The way these magnetic mechanisms work ensures that only one line can be unattached at any given time, so guests are always safely harnessed as they move about the trees. 

After training, guests are free to climb the cargo rope to the main deck. From there, they can choose one of seven routes, categorized by difficulty. A friendly park guide is always on the main deck to help guests decide which course to try based on their experience, skill level and, most importantly, what they enjoy doing. There are three beginner routes, two intermediate routes and two expert routes. The park requires that guests finish a beginner route before moving on to an intermediate course, and finish an intermediate course before moving on to the expert route. 

You’ll hear great music and encouraging instructions throughout the park. Even the youngest adventurers (ages 4-7) can experience their own course a little closer to the ground. 

Why you will love it: You can make the day your own! Even the most adventurous and confident teens can be humbled by the difficult courses, while kids who may be a little more cautious will experience joy and a self-confidence boost while accomplishing the beginning and intermediate courses.


Go Ape! Blue Jay Point County Park 
3200 Pleasant Union Church Rd., Raleigh

“Always stay attached!” The park’s slogan not only reminds guests to physically stay clipped in throughout the park, but also indirectly reminds them that this this is a place where their bond as a family and their attachment to nature can grow. Go Ape! has been thrilling families in the Triangle since 2015. The park offers two very distinct opportunities to accommodate multiple skill levels. 

Treetop Journey introduces the high ropes experience to all ages. Guests choose from two routes on one platform. In both, guests are attached to a continuous wire that leads them through obstacles that culminate in a zip line. Because of this constant attachment, climbers don’t need to worry about clipping on or off — they can just concentrate on the fun of traipsing through the trees. 

Ages 10 and older are invited to try the Treetop Adventure, a journey through the tops of the forest canopy. After training, participants are encouraged to go through the next five stations at their own pace. Each course starts with a gated station that has a ladder leading up to the trees, and ends with an exhilarating ride down a zip line. 

Why you will love it: The absolute vastness of the forest makes you forget that you are just a short drive from the hustle and bustle of a big city. 


Triangle Skydiving Center
480 Airport Rd., Suite 200, Louisburg

What is North Carolina known for if not for its beautiful blue skies? And what better way to show your sense of adventure than by sailing through the blue with nothing but a parachute to glide you to the green grass below?

Don’t be shy to admit if you’re one of the many people who think, “Well, skydiving is something I wanted to do before I had kids.” You’re not alone. Jumping out of a plane seems risky. But when it comes down to it, it is — statistically speaking — safe. According to Skydiving.com, you are more likely to be killed by a bee, dog or lightning than you are in a skydiving incident. 

Photo courtesy of Triangle Skydiving Center

Author Mandy Howard checks skydiving off her bucket list.

Is it really a family adventure? Absolutely! And although potential skydivers must be age 18 to jump, skydiving may be one of the most accommodating adventures multigenerational families could consider.

Triangle Skydiving Center not only accommodates adults of all ages, it also welcomes adventure-seekers with mobility issues. Recently, Triangle Skydiving Center hosted a family whose son lost the use of his legs in a car accident. Employees say that he landed with his tandem jumper with exhilaration and achievement on his face — and there wasn’t a dry eye on the field. 

Imagine surprising your high school graduate with a skydiving trip. Or maybe, instead of buying your college graduate a new watch, you could give him the sky and encourage him, symbolically, to reach for it and live life with his arms wide open. 

Why you will love it: It’s a bucket list item for a reason. It will literally change how you see the world. 


Paddle Creek
Multiple locations near Falls Lake and the Neuse River

A well-known staple for local nature lovers, Paddle Creek offers a wide variety of ways to float freely through the Triangle’s hidden waterways. Among other options, customers can choose the “Quick Trip,” in which the river is happy to do the work for you, a half-day Neuse River excursion, or an exploration of Robertson Millpond Preserve’s sunken forest.

Paddle Creek provides transportation for its customers to or from their car and will set them up in the water with their personal flotation device and a paddle board, or a solo or tandem kayak. The quick trip is an ideal family adventure. It’s long enough for families to immerse themselves in the beauty of nature and possibly see deer, osprey, owls, beavers and muskrats, and it is short and simple enough that they can’t make a wrong turn.

Why you will love it: Rocked gently by the flow of the river and surrounded completely by nature, you and your family will want to escape to the sanctuary of the water time and again.

 

Mandy Howard is a freelance writer and mother of three in Raleigh who literally took a leap of faith to experience these adventures with her kids for the purpose of writing this article. 

 

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June 2019

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...

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Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Raleigh Convention Center
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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The Regulator Bookshop
720 Ninth St.
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Cost: Free

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Erwin Road
Durham, NC  27705
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Sponsor: Mindful Families of Durham
Contact Name: Adam, Laura, Josh, Sumi
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East End Community
Wake Forest, NC  27587


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Cost: Free

Where:
North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
11 W. Jones St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Cost: Free

Where:
NC Museum of Natural Sciences
121 W. Jones St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Cost: See website for fees

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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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Discover Historic Yates Mill - a place of business, community, and exciting local history! Watch a brief slideshow, then explore the inner workings of the mill itself and witness the power of water...

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

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Nido: Coworking & Childcare
902 Broad St.
Durham, NC  27705
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Durham Refugee Day celebrates the contributions and cultures of our refugee and immigrant communities and provides an opportunity to stand in solidarity with these neighbors. This is a...

Cost: Free

Where:
Durham Central Park
501 Foster St.
Durham, NC  27701
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Cost: $10/resident, $13/nonresident

Where:
Bond Park Community Center
801 High House Rd.
Cary, NC  27511
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Cost: Free

Where:
The Regulator Bookshop
720 Ninth St.
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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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Enjoy stories with Amy Godfrey.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

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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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East Regional Library
946 Steeple Square Court
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Herbert C. Young Community Center
101 Wilkinson Ave.
Cary, NC  27511
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The Regulator Bookshop
720 Ninth St.
Durham, NC  27705
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Cost: $3/person

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Carrboro Century Center
100 N. Greensboro St.
Carrboro, NC  27510
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Cost: See website for fees

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500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Telephone: 833-202-7626
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Cost: Free

Where:
Orange County Main Library
137 W Margaret Ln
Hillsborough, NC  27278
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Sponsor: Orange County Public Library
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Cost: Free

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IngenuiTea Kombucha Coffee & Tea
514 E Williams St
APEX, NC  27502
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Sponsor: IngenuiTea Brews
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Cost: Free

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Orange County Main Library
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Cost: Free

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N.C. Museum of History
5 E. Edenton St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Cost: $5

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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
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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: Free

Where:
East Regional Library
946 Steeple Square Court
Knightdale, NC  27545
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Cost: $2/resident, $3/nonresident

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Page-Walker Arts & History Center
119 Ambassador Loop
Cary, NC  27511
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Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
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Cost: $22-$36

Where:
Raleigh Convention Center
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Cost: Free

Where:
East Regional Library
946 Steeple Square Court
Knightdale, NC  27545
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Cost: $23/parent and child pair; $12 additional child

Where:
Bond Park, Kiwanis Shelter
801 High House Rd.
Cary, NC  27513
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Cost: General Admission

Where:
TreeRunner Raleigh
12804 Norwood Rd
Raleigh, NC  27613
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Sponsor: N/A
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Cost: $22-$36

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


Website »

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Cost: $20-$70

Where:
Kerr Scott Building of NC State Fairgrounds
1025 Blue Ridge Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
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Cost: Free

Where:
PNC Arena
1400 Edwards Mill Rd.
Raleigh , NC  27607
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Ages 1-5 and caregiver delight in the discoveries of nature. Register online. Choose course #124952.

Cost: $8/resident, $10/nonresident

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


Telephone: 919-387-5980
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More information

Please join us for the SouthEast Crab Feast event this summer in Raleigh, NC.  This event offers the Low Country Coastal Heritage of outdoor cooking of fresh seafood.  This highly...

Cost: $10-$30

Where:
Lake Wheeler Park
6404 Lake Wheeler Rd
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Sponsor: SouthEast Crab Feast Inc.
Telephone: 980-202-1142
Contact Name: Jamell Hamilton
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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 »

More information

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Cost: $8/resident, $10/nonresident

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


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

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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...

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 »

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Cost: Free

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Launch Ministries
3013 Barrow Dr.
Raleigh, NC  27616
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Contact Name: Yolanda Morgan
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Annual Guides

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