Born in 1988

Perspectives from a new generation of parents


Published:

Photo courtesy of Samantha Krafte

Samantha Krafte and her parents in 1988.

Thirty years ago, Carolina Parent was born. So were many of today’s parents. To reflect on how life has changed over the years — and the state of parenting today — we gathered insight from a few moms who also turned 30 this year (or will before the year ends). While some of the tools and tactics have changed over time, today’s parents want many of the same things their parents did: happy, healthy, well-adjusted kids who are ready to better their community and world.


Building on Tradition

Every generation is different, but the most persuasive examples of how to parent (or, sometimes, how not to) often come from one’s own parents and childhood experiences.

“My parents did a wonderful job of loving us and growing our confidence as individuals,” says Natalie Carmen, a North Carolina native who was born in Durham and currently lives in Raleigh with her husband, Andrew, and 2-year-old son, Daniel — and has another baby on the way. “We are still early in the active parenting stage as far as discipline, education, and creating rhythms and traditions.”

PHOTO COURTESY OF Morton Photography

Andrew, Natalie and Daniel Carmen enjoy a ride at Pullen Park.


Carmen and her husband are fans of transparent parenting. “We are committed to letting our children see us disagree, communicate openly, forgive and find resolution,” she says. “For us, the most important aspects of that process are demonstrating healthy communication and demonstrating the need to give and receive forgiveness. While it can be scary to expose our children to the parts of our personality that cause embarrassment, it is more important to us that we demonstrate humility and the characteristics that make us most human. We aim to build on the skill sets that our parents taught us, and we hope that our children, in turn, are able to build upon the skills we teach them.”

Samantha Krafte of Durham, mom to 20-month-old Max, places a strong emphasis on family, since it was instilled in her as a child.

“Growing up Italian-American meant everything centered around family,” she says. “We are lucky to be raising our son 20 minutes from my dad, my brother and my husband’s parents. We prioritize family visits on weekends and put our little family first, no matter what.” 

Krafte’s father, Jack Marcheschi of Chapel Hill, now gets to witness his daughter and son-in-law’s family-centered parenting approach firsthand.

“Both parents put their son’s needs and welfare first, and are willing to sacrifice their own needs and pleasures for those of their child,” Marcheschi says. “They are remarkable about sharing care for the baby, and my son-in-law is a much more hands-on dad than I was, and I admire him for that. I always knew my daughter would be a great mom because of the type of person she is. My grandson is very lucky to have the two parents he has.”

Another way that parents today are building on their experiences is through family traditions.

“My parents excelled in building traditions around family time,” says Lauren Sweetman of Cary, mom to 2-year-old Jack. “We spent most of our holidays celebrating with my grandparents, and most Fridays we would do something fun as a family. I want my son to recognize the importance of family. I’m looking forward to building our own traditions as he gets older.”

“Parenthood is beautiful, but it’s also the hardest thing many people will ever have to do, and I can’t imagine going through it without the wonderful people in my life.” — Chelsea Hartweg of Raleigh, mom to 2-year-old Ellie

Making Changes

“I feel like I parent really differently from my parents,” says Cheri Armour of Raleigh, mom to 2-year-old Liam. “I feel like I and a lot of parents don’t spank, which was perfectly acceptable when we were growing up. We care about added sugar, and we take what our kids may feel or have to say into account.”

Armour feels that, over time, her parents have softened their ways, thanks in part to seeing how she and her husband now raise their son. She has observed that as grandparents, her parents are much more relaxed toward their grandchild, instead of applying the stricter parenting style they used with her. Armour studied social work at North Carolina State University, which she says has influenced some aspects of her parenting style.

“I think there’s more of an understanding that when your 2-year-old is acting like a complete animal, that’s okay — their frontal lobe isn’t developed,” she says. “They’re making a lot of leaps, and they’re not just being malicious or manipulative. A lot of times, they’re going through something.”


Striving With Intention

Many of today’s moms and dads keep certain intentions in mind regarding how they parent. They strive to consider the big picture and long-term impact of how they’re raising their children. They might look to different resources — books, friends or parenting methods — to help shape their opinions and strategies. At the same time, they hope to offer grace, both to their kids and themselves, as they figure everything out.

“My style is I do what works. I know not every kid is going to be the same, so you have to meet your kids where they are,” Armour says. “I think I want my kids to remember that I really did the best I could, the best way I knew how. I hope they remember the reading, the dancing, the laughing, the jokes and the trips to Whole Foods to find dinner when I ruined a Crock-Pot creation.”

Photo courtesy of Jen Hershberger

Jen Hersherger and her dad in Greensboro


Jen Hershberger, who was born in Greensboro and now lives in Wake Forest, feels her Southern upbringing shaped her in many ways. She hopes to pass along everything from manners and hospitality to an appreciation for nature to her 14-month-old son, Nolan. She isn’t just thinking about how she parents now, but also about who her son will grow up to be.

“I hope to give my tiny human all the love, freedom, safety and security he needs to be a great adult who contributes positively to his community,” Hershberger says. “I want my son to value kindness and compassion for others. I want him to be able to succeed on his own for himself, and not just to please others. I want him to learn how to keep himself motivated and inspire others around him.”


Tapping Into Technology

A major presence in modern parenting that wasn’t around 30 years ago is the internet. Whether today’s parents use it to research a topic or set up playdates via social media, the wide variety of digital resources available can prove beneficial and overwhelming.

“My parents relied on the wisdom of past generations, their pediatrician and those around them,” says Lily*, a mom in Clayton. “In the internet age we have ‘Dr. Google’ and the experiences of parents all over the world to compare our parenting choices to. It’s a blessing and a curse to have so much information at our fingertips.”

But with that additional information also comes extra support. “I have found wonderful communities on Facebook and Instagram of like-minded parents,” Lily* adds.

Jenna Barnett, who started the “Millennial Mom” blog at millienialmom.tv when her daughter was born, aims to bring a voice to millennial parents’ needs. “Millennial parents seem to really love Facebook mom groups, and we use them as a resource for product and service recommendations, and parenting advice and techniques from fellow moms. It’s pretty amazing that at any time I can just go on Facebook and access a group of almost 40,000 fellow moms and ask questions like, ‘What potty training techniques worked for you?’ ‘Does anyone have tips for weaning my baby off the bottle?’ ‘What’s everyone’s favorite sippy cup that doesn’t leak?’”


Seeking Community

Whether established online or through various activities, today’s parents value community. When families are spread out across the country — or even across town — the “village” it takes to raise a child may look different than a tight-knit neighborhood of friends and family, but it’s still there.

“I wholeheartedly believe that your village can make or break your parenting experience. We were built for community, and we need to have that network of people to help support us,” says Chelsea Hartweg of Raleigh, mom to 2-year-old Ellie. “Parenthood is beautiful, but it’s also the hardest thing many people will ever have to do, and I can’t imagine going through it without the wonderful people in my life.”

Photo courtesy of Chelsea Hartweg

Chelsea Hartweg, her husband, Dana, and daughter, Ellie.


For example, Hartweg hired a doula for childbirth and later helped establish a co-op playschool for young children. She also finds child care support through both her mother and mother-in-law, and is active in several local and online mom groups.

“The amazing people I’ve met from some of those groups have become really close friends of mine — a few of which I really consider co-parents to our family,” Hartweg says. “Having someone you can call when you’re losing it, and then go to their messy house unshowered and just sit together, can be just what you need for those late afternoons when the kids are starting to lose it.”

Being able to turn to a community of parents who may be going through the same experiences works in a therapeutic way for many of today’s moms.

“I know the concept of ‘a tribe’ may sound cliche, but having a circle of other new-ish mothers has been pretty pivotal,” says Lauren Freudenberger of Louisburg, mom to 10-month-old Myles. “I haven’t been in this game long, but so far, one of my biggest efforts has been to curb my anxieties. I remember feeling the stress my parents were under when I was a kid, and I seem to have carried that with me into adulthood. I don’t want that for Myles.”

Freudenberger is not alone in feeling the impact from her support network and community. Carmen knows she can always lean on loved ones when parenting takes its toll on her.

“My best support is from friends and family,” she says. “Like so many seasons of life, it is a great encouragement to know that we are not alone and have many other souls in the cycle of trying, seeing failure and adapting.”


Samantha Gratton is a freelance writer living in Raleigh. She loves hearing and sharing life stories, traveling on a budget, rock climbing with her husband and doting on her little one.

•This name was changed at the parent’s request.

 

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Calendar

August 2019

August 16th is National Tell a Joke Day. Come to the Finley Center anytime during the day to share some jokes with the park community. A large board will be set up in the Exhibit Hall where...

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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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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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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Enjoy live music, kid activities, a taco eating contest and The Best Taco contest.

Cost: Free

Where:
Knightdale Station Park
810 N. First Ave.
Knightdale, NC  27545
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Ages 18 months-5 years with special needs enjoy educational and therapeutic toys with caregiver. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Flaherty Park Community Center
1226 N. White St.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
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Step back in time with our 19th-century costumed interpreters and watch the millstones at work grinding corn into meal. Tour fee: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (ages 60 & over), $3/Child (ages 7-16),...

Cost: $5/Adult, 4$/Senior (60+), $3/Child (7-16), 6&Younger 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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See the Game Grumps play games, make jokes and more in this stage show. Purchase tickets online. 

Where:
Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St.
Durham, NC  27701
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Stop in during one of our Back to School Open Houses!  Meet our instructors, tune your instrument, learn a quick song and more!. Aug 12th 7-8:30 Brass & Woodwinds Aug 17th 12:30-2:00...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bach to Rock Music School
9587 US 64
Apex, NC  27523
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Sponsor: Bach To Rock Music School
Telephone: 919-446-5386
Contact Name: Kelly Foster
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Ages 18 months-5 years with special needs enjoy educational and therapeutic toys with caregiver. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Flaherty Park Community Center
1226 N. White St.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
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Website »

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Ages 11-17 learn how to make foods inspired by Asia. Register online. Choose course #124729.

Cost: $35/resident, $46/nonresident

Where:
Herbert C. Young Community Center
101 Wilkinson Ave.
Cary, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Stop in during one of our Back to School Open Houses!  Meet our instructors, tune your instrument, learn a quick song and more!. Aug 12th 7-8:30 Brass & Woodwinds Aug 17th 12:30-2:00...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bach to Rock Music School
9587 US 64
Apex, NC  27523
View map »


Sponsor: Bach To Rock Music School
Telephone: 919-446-5386
Contact Name: Kelly Foster
Website »

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Enjoy storytime with Amy Godfrey. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Locopops Dessert Cafe
2618 Hillsborough St.
Durham, NC  27705
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Dragonflies love to eat flying bugs, especially mosquitoes and gnats!  Discover the different parts of a dragonfly's body through a colorful craft, learn about its life cycle, and play fun...

Cost: Free

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

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Ages 18 months-5 years with special needs enjoy educational and therapeutic toys with caregiver. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Flaherty Park Community Center
1226 N. White St.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
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Website »

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Join us at Harris Lake County Park as we explore the wonders of water through educational activities and some for just plain fun! We will dip for critters in our pond to discover what lives...

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
Website »

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Ages 18 months-5 years with special needs enjoy educational and therapeutic toys with caregiver. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Flaherty Park Community Center
1226 N. White St.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
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Website »

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Come to Learning Express Falls Pointe for an instructive class on how to make your very own Do-A-Dot Art creation.

Cost: Free

Where:
Learning Express Falls Pointe
9660 Falls of Neuse Rd
#130
Raleigh, NC  27615
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Sponsor: Learning Express Falls Pointe
Telephone: 919-325-6057
Contact Name: Stephanie Gillespie
Website »

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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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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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Take the fast track to nature in this hands-on study of ecology. Ages 8-12. Register online. Choose course #124972.

Cost: $9/resident, $12/nonresident

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

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Ages 18 months-5 years with special needs enjoy educational and therapeutic toys with caregiver. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Flaherty Park Community Center
1226 N. White St.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
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Website »

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Design a T-shirt. Materials provided. Grades 3-5. Register at the library or call 919-245-2539.

Cost: Free

Where:
Orange County Main Library
137 W. Margaret Ln.
Hillsborough, NC  27278
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Sponsor: Orange County Public Library
Telephone: 919-245-2539
Contact Name: Libbie Hough
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We are so excited for our next Durham Night Market at Pine & Poplar at The Wine Feed. Over 40 local makers will be selling their handmade products. There will be food trucks, live music...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Wine Feed
307 S Roxboro St
Durham, NC  27701
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Sponsor: Raleigh Night Market
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Film to be announced. *Actual time to be determined by sunset. Bring your lawn chairs, blankets, and picnics to enjoy a movie under the stars in our beautiful garden!

Cost: Free

Where:
GREGG MUSEUM OF ART & DESIGN
1903 Hillsborough Street
Raleigh, NC  27607
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Sponsor: Gregg Museum of Art & Design
Telephone: 919-515-3503
Contact Name: Gregg Museum
Website »

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Ages 18 months-5 years with special needs enjoy educational and therapeutic toys with caregiver. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Flaherty Park Community Center
1226 N. White St.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
View map »


Website »

More information

Personality Festival is a Roxboro tradition. Enjoy amusements rides along Main Street, food vendors, singers, dancers, craft and merchandise vendors, local businesses and more. Little Miss...

Cost: Free

Where:
Uptown Roxboro
211 N. Main St.
Roxboro, NC  27573
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Sponsor: Roxboro Area Chamber of Commerce
Telephone: 336-599-8333
Contact Name: Melissa
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Bring your friends and family to Learning Express for a Family Game Night. There will be several games available to play including popular board games, card games, arcade games, and dice...

Cost: Free

Where:
Learning Express Falls Pointe
9660 Falls of Neuse Rd
#130
Raleigh, NC  27615
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Sponsor: Learning Express Falls Pointe
Telephone: 919-325-6057
Contact Name: Stephanie Gillespie
Website »

More information

Kids spend a night out in nature making memories and new friends in an old-fashioned, camp-style program. Ages 8-12. Register online. Choose course #124903.

Cost: $15/resident, $19/nonresident

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

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Take the family for a night of jigs, reels and anything Celtic. 

Cost: $3/person

Where:
Carrboro Century Center
100 N. Greensboro St.
Carrboro, NC  27510
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Shop for local handmade arts and crafts from local vendors. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Durham Central Park
501 Foster St.
Durham, NC  27701
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Website »

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The North Carolina Boys Choir and Girls Choir Half-Day Camp and Music Workshop is open to public (all children in our community between 7 and 14 years of age). Register online. ...

Cost: Free

Where:
Binkley Baptist Church
1712 Willow Dr
Chapel Hill, NC  27514
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Sponsor: North Carolina Boys Choir and Girls Choir
Telephone: 919-239-9083
Contact Name: Robert Unger
Website »

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Hundreds of artisans from across the Southeast, festival foods, demonstrations, a kids' play area and live music highlight the town's signature arts and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Town Hall Campus
316 N. Academy St.
Cary, NC  27513
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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...

Cost: Free

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


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

More information

Play children's games from the past. No registration rquired. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Leigh Farm Park
370 Leigh Farm Rd.
Durham, NC  27707
View map »


Website »

More information

Celebrate North Carolina farming culture and history at Duke Homestead. Don't miss the looping contest and Hornworm Race. This event features live music, local arts and crafts vendors, hands-on...

Cost: Free

Where:
Duke Homestead
2828 Duke Homestead Rd.
Durham, NC  27705
View map »


Website »

More information

Celebrate North Carolina farming culture and history at Duke Homestead. Don't miss the looping contest and Hornworm Race. This event features live music, local arts and crafts vendors, hands-on...

Cost: Free

Where:
Duke Homestead
2828 Duke Homestead Rd.
Durham, NC  27705
View map »


Website »

More information

Personality Festival is a Roxboro tradition. Enjoy amusements rides along Main Street, food vendors, singers, dancers, craft and merchandise vendors, local businesses and more. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Uptown Roxboro
211 N. Main St.
Roxboro, NC  27573
View map »


Sponsor: Roxboro Area Chamber of Commerce
Telephone: 336-599-8333
Contact Name: Melissa
Website »

More information

Ages 18 months-5 years with special needs enjoy educational and therapeutic toys with caregiver. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Flaherty Park Community Center
1226 N. White St.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
View map »


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...

Cost: Free

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


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

More information

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
View map »


Website »

More information

Want to get inside Historic Yates Mill? Join us for a half-hour tour (starting at 1:00, 1:30, 2:00, 2:30 & 3:00 p.m.) to view the main power drive and milling machinery while exploring the...

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

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


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

More information

Come into Learning Express North Hills for a trading event. Socialize with others who collect Pokemon and/or LOL dolls and negotiate for rare cards.

Cost: Free

Where:
Learning Express Falls Pointe
9660 Falls of Neuse Rd
#130
Raleigh, NC  27615
View map »


Sponsor: Learning Express Falls Pointe
Telephone: 919-325-6057
Contact Name: Stephanie Gillespie
Website »

More information

Children make treasured memories while increasing their knowledge of plants and animals. Ages 7-10. Register online. Choose course #124931.

Cost: $8/resident, $10/nonresident

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


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Join Horne Memorial UMC & First Baptist Church of Clayton for an evening of Christian fellowship, inspirational music, free food and family fun. All proceeds benefit Clayton Area Ministries...

Cost: Free

Where:
Clayton Town Square
100 W. Main Street
Clayton, NC  27520
View map »


Sponsor: First Baptist Church of Clayton and Horne Memorial UMC of Clayton
Telephone: 919-218-4010
Contact Name: Melissa Dooley
Website »

More information

East Cloud Kungfu hosts a Parent's Night Out event, featuring a safe environment for kids as they about the wide world of kungfu.   Check it out!...

Cost: $25 first child, $20 each additional child

Where:
East Cloud Kungfu, LLC
5655-A Western Blvd
Raleigh, NC  27606
View map »


Sponsor: East Cloud Kungfu, LLC
Telephone: 252-646-7053
Contact Name: Imari Colon
Website »

More information

North Carolina State University celebrates the beginning of a new academic year with good, music and family-friendly activities. 

Cost: Free

Where:
North Carolina State University
Raleigh, NC  27607


Website »

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Caribbean culture and cuisine showcase this 7th annual festival that features masqueraders, arts and craft vendors, live music and a kids corner. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
400 Fayetteville St.
Raleigh, NC
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