Five Ways Dads Can Stop Missing Out


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Photo by Altanaka/Shutterstock

936 — the number of weeks we have between when our children are newborn and when they turn 18. That is not much time. I recently calculated that I only have 300 more weeks with my oldest until she officially becomes an adult. It reminded me to double down and get in the game as much as I can.

Did you know that 46 percent of fathers feel they spend too little time with their children (Source: 2013 Pew Research Center Study)? Sure, we are going to miss out on things, but we dads have to make every effort to be involved. We do not want to look back and wish we spent more time with our kids. Our involvement can have a positive impact on our kids academically, emotionally and behaviorally.

Here are five ways to get in the game before it’s too late:

Be Engaged

Is it just me or are there more time commitments and places we have to be with our kids compared to when we were growing up? Know when and where things are taking place and make every effort to attend them. Engagement applies at home, too. If your child wants to play or build something, do it then, not later. Focusing our attention pn them when we have conversations with them, for example, is another way to be more engaged. When we are fully engaged in their lives by focusing our attendance and our attention on them, it shows them we care, it shows them they can count on us to be there and it creates memories.

Get to Know Their Friends

Our kids spend up to one-third of their childhood surrounded by friends. Know who they are spending time with — online and offline — so you know that those kids are good influences in their lives. When we know who they are spending time with it helps us know when to step in to diffuse any problematic behaviors or actions before they start.

Be a Coach

Coaching can be intimidating and stressful, but the benefits include them seeing you lead, knowing you care and spending more of these precious weeks with them.

Listen Up

It's easy for us parents to control a conversation with our child because we may think we know more than our child due to our age or experience. Sometimes the best thing we can do is to just let our child talk. Listen and let them share what is on his or her mind. Ask questions, correct your child if necessary, and get eyeballs to eyeballs with him or her. If your child is telling a story, let him or her share it and you show your interest in your child's creative mind sharing. It's important for our children to know we are there to listen to them when they need to get something off their mind – big or small.

Be Adventurous

Going on adventures can be inspiring to all of us and can also be a great learning experience. It can be a simple visit to a new park or museum, or it can be a road trip to explore a new city. The key is your family is going on a journey of exploration together. In addition to learning and getting inspired, these fun adventures give us exercise, create fun memories and help build confidence within our children. So where is your next adventure going to be?

These are only five ways to be more involved as a dad. Being involved is worth the investment of your time and attention because it strengthens the relationship with your children and shapes their character as they grow. Being a dad is one of the most important roles we will ever have. We should always look for ways to get in the game.

Derek Polen is a father of two, author, and publisher of “Next Level Dad” and “A Money Saving Mindset."

 

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July 2018

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

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

Where:
Optimist Park Community Center/Greenways
5900 Whittier Drive
Raleigh, NC  27609
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Sponsor: FIT4MOM
Telephone: 919-348-0472
Contact Name: Missy Currin
Website »

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Take part in a class that teaches individualized ways to foster motor development for your child. Learn about tummy time alternatives, best positions for your baby, how to help your child learn to...

Cost: $18

Where:
Open Arts
1222 Copeland Oaks Dr.
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Babies On The MOVE
Contact Name: Rebecca Quinones
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Take part in a class that teaches individualized ways to foster motor development for your child. Learn about tummy time alternatives, best positions for your baby, how to help your child learn to...

Cost: $18

Where:
Open Arts
1222 Copeland Oaks Dr.
Morrisville, NC  27560
View map »


Sponsor: Babies On The MOVE
Contact Name: Rebecca Quinones
Website »

More information

Take part in a class that teaches individualized ways to foster motor development for your child. Learn about tummy time alternatives, best positions for your baby, how to help your child learn to...

Cost: $18

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

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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
Website »

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Take part in a class that teaches individualized ways to foster motor development for your child. Learn about carry positions, best positions for your baby, how to help your child learn to crawl,...

Cost: $18

Where:
Open Arts
1222 Copeland Oaks Dr
Morrisville, NC  17560
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Sponsor: Babies On The MOVE
Contact Name: Rebecca Quinones
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Little ones enjoy storytime.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble
5959 Triangle Town Blvd.
Cary, NC  27616
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Cost: $7 ages 1 and older.

Where:
Marbles Kids Museum
201 E. Hargett St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Durham's cookout experience features some of the best food trucks in the Triangle, face painting, games, craft vendors and more. Pets welcome.

Cost: Free

Where:
Durham Central Park
501 Foster St.
Durham, NC  27701
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Enjoy activities inspired by Eric Carle's popular book, "The Grouchy Ladybug." Ages are 4-9.

Cost: Free

Where:
Carrboro Library, Hillsborough Library, Kidzu
900 Old Fayetteville Road
Inside McDougle Middle School
Chapel Hill, NC  27516
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Sponsor: Orange County Library
Telephone: 191-996-93006
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Children make treasured memories while increasing their knowledge of plants and animals. Ages 7-10. Register online.

Cost: $8/resident, $10/nonresident

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


Telephone: 919-387-5980
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Enjoy a complimentary 20-minute review of your child's current IEP for Section 504 Plan. Call 919-942-1430 to register.  When you call, state that you are requesting an appointment...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Gahagan Law Firm, PLLC
3326 Durham Chapel Hill Blvd
Suite 210-C
Durham, NC  27707
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Sponsor: The Gahagan Law Firm, PLLC
Telephone: 919-942-1430
Website »

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Cost: Free

Where:
Quail Ridge Books
4209-100 Lassiter Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
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At the Main Library in Hillsborough, Puppet Show Inc. presents a re-telling of Eric Carle’s classic book, “The Grouchy Ladybug.” A make and take craft will follow the show. Ages 4...

Cost: Free

Where:
Orange County Public Library
137 W. Margaret Lane
Hillsborough, NC  27278
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Sponsor: Orange County Public Library
Telephone: 919-245-2539
Contact Name: Libbie Hough
Website »

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Sunday, July 22; 2:00–3:00 p.m. Marshes, bogs, and swamps have one thing in common - they are all wetlands! Build a model wetland in a hands-on science experiment. Explore the important role...

Cost: $1/Person

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Road
Apex, NC  27539
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Sponsor: Crowder County Park
Telephone: 919-662-2850
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This epic musical is about wishes, family and the consequences of the choices that we make. A childless baker and his wife endeavor to lift their family curse by journeying into the woods,...

Cost: $15/person

Where:
Raleigh Little Theatre
301 Pogue St.
Raleigh, NC  27607
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Enjoy a family-friendly movie. See the website for the movie title. Showings at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. 

Cost: Free

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

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble
5959 Triangle Town Blvd.
Cary, NC  27616
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Did you know that July is National Ice Cream Month? Create a craft celebrating the treat that helps us beat the summer heat! We will bring the materials if you bring the imagination! For all ages...

Cost: Free

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

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The Art Therapy Institute has been working in the Chapel Hill/Carrboro City Schools with the Exceptional Children's Program for the past ten years. Enjoy a summer art therapy groups in June and...

Cost: $20 per session

Where:
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200 N Greensboro St. Suite D-6 (2nd Floor Carr Mill Mall)
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Cost: Free

Where:
Crabtree Valley Mall
4325 Glenwood Ave.
Raleigh, NC  27612
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Cost: Free

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205 S. Elm St.
Durham, NC
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Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble
760 S.E. Maynard Rd.
Cary, NC  27511
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Little ones enjoy storytime.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble
5959 Triangle Town Blvd.
Cary, NC  27616
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Enjoy a Build-A-Bear activity, storytime, games and painting from 11 a.m.-noon and 1-2 p.m.

Cost: Free

Where:
Crabtree Valley Mall
4325 Glenwood Ave.
Raleigh, NC  27612
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Cost: Free

Where:
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4209-100 Lassiter Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
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Website »

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Cost: Free

Where:
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480 Hillsboro St.
Pittsboro, NC  27312
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Sponsor: Chatham Marketplace
Telephone: 919-542-2643
Contact Name: Craig Kolman
Website »

More information

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. 

Cost: Free

Where:
N.C. Museum of History
5 E. Edenton St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Website »

More information

Enjoy giant board games, free-play areas and special activities for all ages. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Park
319 S. Academy St.
Cary, NC  27511
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Enjoy a slice of fresh watermelon and watch the weigh-in of watermelons vying for top prize in the market's Largest Watermelon Contest.

Cost: Free

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

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

Cost: Free

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

Cost: Free

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5959 Triangle Town Blvd.
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Enjoy a family-friendly movie, "Paddington 2," and a slice or two of pizza. p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px 'Times New Roman'; color: #ffffff;...

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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Kids hike, make projects and engage in nature activities. Ages 5-8. Register online.

Cost: $9/resident, $12/nonresident

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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: Free

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

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Pump It Up Raleigh
10700 World Trade Blvd, #112
Raleigh, NC  27617
View map »


Sponsor: Pump it Up
Telephone: 919-828-3344
Contact Name: Owner/manager Kellie Paterson McHugh
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free

Where:
American Tobacco Campus YMCA 'Cage' Court
304 Blackwell St.
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Sponsor: Bridge II Sports
Telephone: 18668802742 x12
Contact Name: Katharine Doyle
Website »

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Enjoy live music. Take a blanket or lawn chairs. Pets and alcohol not permitted.

Cost: Free

Where:
Apex Historic Depot
220 N. Salem St.
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Sponsor: The Halle Cultural Arts Center
Telephone: (919) 249-1120
Website »

More information

See the musical about rock star and teen idol Conrad Birdie. After he is drafted into the army, his manager Albert Peterson faces financial ruin. Desperate for a publicity stunt big...

Cost: $12/adult, $6 ages 18 and younger

Where:
The Clayton Center
111 E. Second St.
Clayton, NC  27520
View map »


Sponsor: CYT
Telephone: 919-553-1737
Contact Name: CYT Staff
Website »

More information

This epic musical is about wishes, family and the consequences of the choices that we make. A childless baker and his wife endeavor to lift their family curse by journeying into the woods,...

Cost: $15/person

Where:
Raleigh Little Theatre
301 Pogue St.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

Friday, July 27; 8:00–9:00 p.m. On any given summer night, hundreds of moths are on the wing in North Carolina. A park naturalist will attempt to attract as many as possible using light and a...

Cost: $1/Person

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


Sponsor: Crowder County Park
Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

Join us on the playfield at Harris Lake County Park for some really cool night sky viewing through telescopes and binoculars. If you are willing to stay late and the weather cooperates, we will be...

Cost: $1 per person

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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Learn how worms turn food waste into nutritious soil for the garden. View different worms, play worm games, and learn how to keep food waste from the landfill. Ages 8-15. Choose...

Cost: $6/child

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

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Kids ages 6-14 launch their very own start-up business at a one-day pop-up market. This event is held in conjunction to the monthly Downtown Garner Pop-Up Market.

Cost: Free

Where:
Garner Recreational Park
221 E. Garner Rd.
Garner, NC  27529
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Website »

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Ages 7-16 with an interest in singing, dancing and musical theatre can audtion for Lythgoe Family Productions' special holiday show taking place in Raleigh...

Cost: Free

Where:
Crabtree Valley Mall
4325 Glenwood Ave.
Raleigh, NC  27612
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Take the family to enjoy a day of hands-on learning. Discover life on a 19th-century farm and play historic games, from parlor games to town ball, and make a toy of your own.

Cost: Free

Where:
Duke Homestead
2828 Duke Homestead Rd.
Durham, NC  27705
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Enjoy a special storytime to preview the upcoming children's shows from the Raleigh Theatre created by Matthew Hager. During August, Aggregate Theatre Company presents four shows...

Cost: Free

Where:
Quail Ridge Books
4209-100 Lassiter Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
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Cost: Free

Where:
Quail Ridge Books
4209-100 Lassiter Mill Rd.
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Tech-savvy Charlotte is confused when she receives a new toy -- a doll! Once she finds the hidden battery pack, things get interesting. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble
5959 Triangle Town Blvd.
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Cost: Free

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Cost: $12-$14/person

Where:
New Hope Valley Railway
3900 Bonsal Rd.
New Hill, NC  27562
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Aggregate Theatre Company joins Read with Me for a special edition storytime. In preview of Aggregate's upcoming children's theatre series, actors will perform songs from the new...

Cost: Free

Where:
Read with Me
111 E. Hargett St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Sponsor: Aggregate Theatre Company
Contact Name: Matthew Hager
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View the main power drive and milling machinery while exploring the mill's history and aspects of its preservation. All ages. Registration encouraged online; tickets available inside...

Cost: $5/adult, $3/ ages 7-16. Free for ages 6 and younger.

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675
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Explore the historic heart of downtown Raleigh on a walking tour of Fayetteville Street. Tours highlight the people, places, architecture and political movements that have shaped...

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

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City of Raleigh Museum
220 Fayetteville St.
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See the musical about rock star and teen idol Conrad Birdie. After he is drafted into the army, his manager Albert Peterson faces financial ruin. Desperate for a publicity stunt big...

Cost: $12/adult, $6 ages 18 and younger

Where:
The Clayton Center
111 E. Second St.
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Fathers and daughters enjoy an afternoon of dancing, photo opportunities with Princesses and goodies to eat. Your favorite Princesses will be there! The cost is $25 which includes entry for both...

Cost: $25 for first child; $15 each additional child

Where:
The Mill Room at The Factory
1839 S. Main Street
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Sponsor: Mouse Dreams Foundation
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Spend the night under the stars at the DPAC. Enjoy an exciting Bulls baseball game followed by a sleepover on the famous DBAP outfield. Take part in a pre-game parade, enjoy dinner and...

Cost: $22.20

Where:
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Enjoy live music. Take a blanket or lawn chair. Pets and alcohol not permitted.

Cost: Free

Where:
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2600 Evans Rd.
Apex, NC  27502
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Sponsor: The Halle Cultural Arts Center
Telephone: (919) 249-1120
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Cost: $15/person

Where:
Raleigh Little Theatre
301 Pogue St.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

Celebrate National Moth Week and learning about these beautiful and under-rated insects and their fascinating adaptations. Head outside to see who’s come to visit the baits and black lights....

Cost: $7/member, $8/nonmember

Where:
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100 Old Mason Farm Rd.
Chapel Hill, NC  27517
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Sponsor: North Carolina Botanical Garden
Telephone: 919-537-3770
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More information

Take the family to watch a family-friendly movie on the farm. During the movie, take turns holding the farm's baby goats. Concessions available. Purchase tickets online. 

Cost: $10/person

Where:
Spring Haven Farm
5306 Homer Ruffin Rd.
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