Flying Solo


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More than a million children will fly alone this year, with the majority flying during the summer. Most children travel to visit noncustodial parents, relatives or to attend residential camps. Nearly 100,000 unaccompanied minors traveled with U.S. Airways in 2007, and Northwest Airlines transported 146,000 children last year. Flying alone is both exciting and scary, but with some preparation and advice, it can be a great experience. Here’s what you should know to prepare your child (and yourself) for her first solo flight. Airline policies In general, children younger than 5 are not allowed to travel unaccompanied. Children ages 5 to 7 may fly alone, but only on nonstop flights with the exception of Delta, which allows connections. Youth ages 8 to 14 can take connecting flights on the same airline. To make sure kids arrive safely, airlines offer an unaccompanied minor program. The service is required for children younger than 15, but it can be requested for young adults ages 15 to 17 on most airlines. Preparing for the trip If possible, take your child to the airport before her first time flying alone. Information is the key to helping her feel confident. Show her the security checkpoint, explain what will happen and point out uniformed personnel from the airline she’s booked on. Watch planes take off and land. Also go over common concerns she might have while in the air. For example, when is it okay to leave your seat and go to the bathroom? Where is the motion sickness bag? What is turbulence? Get your child excited about the journey. Give an older child a camera and a list of items to find and photograph for a photo safari. Or have him describe the details of his trip in a fun, colorful journal. Be upbeat and positive, and make it seem like an adventure. What to pack Create an information packet for your child that includes all flight information, contact information for yourself and the person picking up your child, and emergency numbers in case you can’t be reached. “Make sure they have plenty to occupy them, and make them hit the bathroom before the flight,” recommends Kia Slade, a Raleigh mom whose daughter, Lindsay, first flew solo to visit her grandparents when she was 7. Pack a carry-on with snacks, quiet toys, books and crayons. Give your child a small amount of cash so he can purchase some food at the airport or during the flight. “We recommend that the child have a cell phone with them while traveling, just in case,” says Darcy Grimes, manager of travel marketing for AAA Carolinas. “We have had children who were not met on their connection, and we were able to walk them through the connecting process this way via phone.” Prepare for the unexpected The recent deluge of flight cancellations has many parents wondering what happens when a child is stranded alone. If the departing flight is delayed or cancelled, the airline will help you make arrangements for a later flight, and you will need to remain with your child until takeoff. If a delay or cancellation occurs en route, airline personnel will stay with your child while they book another flight. “We have staff who provide continuous supervision,” says Michelle Aguayo-Shannon, media relations manager for Northwest Airlines. “During this time, we're in contact with the parent or guardian at the destination regarding changes in flight plans, and we consult with them prior to making any arrangements.” In rare cases, such as in a major snowstorm, a child may need to stay overnight. Most airlines will assign an airline employee of the same sex to supervise your child at a hotel, while a few airlines will turn your child over to the local welfare agency for the night. To avoid overnight issues, try to book the first flight of the day to provide plenty of time to arrange a same-day alternative flight if necessary. At the airport All airlines require you to fill out an unaccompanied minor form at check-in with your contact information and the contact information for the person picking up your child. Airlines only will release your child to this individual, who needs to arrive at least 30 minutes early, show proper identification and sign a release form. “Parents may request security passes from the airline counter so they may accompany the child through security to the gate and wait with them until boarding/take off,” Grimes says. “The same is true when picking up.” Once you reach the gate and the plane is ready, “the gate agent specially delivers the child to the lead flight attendant,” says U.S. Airways representative Michelle Mohr. “The lead attendant lets the rest of the flight attendant team know there is an unaccompanied minor and where the child is seated. When the child arrives [at the destination], she’s escorted by the flight attendants to the gate agent.” Your child will get to board first. “The extra time allows our flight attendants to personally speak with the child to discuss safety and other features of the plane,” says Kelly Cripe, a public relations specialist for Continental. You’ll need to wait at the gate until the plane departs. While it might be hard to part with your child before her first flight, don’t worry too much, says former Southwest flight attendant Andrea Leckie, whose son has flown alone since he was 7. “It's important for parents to remember that 99 percent of the time, as soon as their child is seated on the plane, the tears seem to disappear,” she says. “I found that the kids really enjoyed their grown-up experience of flying alone. They loved being able to select their very own beverage from the soft drink menu!” Kyla Steinkraus flew for the first time when she was 15 — alone. She is the founder of the family travel Web site www.ToddlerTravelGuide.com. What You’ll Pay Here are one-way unaccompanied-minor fees for five popular airlines servicing the Raleigh-Durham International Airport: Continental Nonstop: $75 Connecting: $100 Delta All flights: $100 American Airlines All flights: $75 Northwest Nonstop: $50 Connecting: $100 U.S. Airways All flights: $50
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May 2019

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

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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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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Brunches Brew is our weekly jazz jam brunch hosted by Alan Thompson (Zoocru, sax). Each Sunday grab a seat on the lawn and enjoy good vibes, food trucks and a cold brew from Hi-Wire. This...

Cost: Free

Where:
SummerStage
800 Taylor St
Durham, NC  27707
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Sponsor: Hi-Wire Brewing, abc11, and Offline

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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 (ages 6-under)

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
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See the world through bugs’ eyes and listen with deer’s ears. Learn how animals use their senses to get around. Play some games to discover your senses and make a smelly craft. For all ages;...

Cost: Free

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Road
Apex, NC  27539
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Enjoy free, live performances from the best artists from around the Triangle in front of Stone Theatre as well as kid-friendly activities. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Park West Village
Morrisville, NC  27560


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

Cost: $65/person

Where:
Raleigh Convention Center
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Get inspired by the park's natural beauty and contribute to a community art project celebrating the season of flowers. Head to the Finley Center to make a few paper flowers and help to...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 919-856-6675
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Enjoya an open gym, giveaways, obstacles, panel discussion, performances, the American Meltdown Food Truck, JAM Ice Cream truck and celebrity Ninjas and obstacle course racers....

Cost: Free

Where:
Warrior Tech OCR
220 G Dominion Drive
Morrisville, NC  27560
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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
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
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Enjoy free, live performances from the best artists from around the Triangle in front of Stone Theatre as well as kid-friendly activities. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Park West Village
Morrisville, NC  27560


Website »

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

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 919-856-6675
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More information

Celebrate the merry month of May in nature! Stroll along the trails around Yates Mill Pond while searching for the many marvelous wildflowers that are in bloom. Explore how flowers function and the...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 919-856-6675
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This free workshop is for middle school girls, grades 6-8. Students will learn the basics of 3D computer graphics like creating objects and modeling using Clara.io. No previous experience is...

Cost: Free: registration required

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

Cost: Free

Where:
Park West Village
Morrisville, NC  27560


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

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
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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Come into Learning Express to learn about the life cycle of a butterfly and make your own butterfly habitat with live caterpillar, food, and container. You will also have the option to purchase a...

Cost: Free

Where:
Learning Express Gifts
2020 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC  27518
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Sponsor: Learning Express Gifts
Telephone: 919-325-6057
Contact Name: Stephanie Gillespie
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Enjoy free, live performances from the best artists from around the Triangle in front of Stone Theatre as well as kid-friendly activities. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Park West Village
Morrisville, NC  27560


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Search for birds. Ages 13-15. Register online. Choose course #119075.

Cost: $12/resident, $16/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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Enjoy free, live performances from the best artists from around the Triangle in front of Stone Theatre as well as kid-friendly activities. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Park West Village
Morrisville, NC  27560


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Enjoy fun, games, friendship and more every Friday.

Cost: Free

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

Cost: Free

Where:
Park West Village
Morrisville, NC  27560


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Rribbit! Listen to the chorus of frogs and toads as the sun sets at Crowder County Park. Sort through amazing facts about amphibians, play froggy bingo, and make a froggy craft! Then walk down to...

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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Celebrate National Trails Day and 40 years of Cary greenways. Enjoy 16-mile and 6.5 mile bike rides, a Walk n' Roll event, food trucks, inflatables and more. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Bond Park
801 High House Rd.
Cary, NC  27513
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King Solomon #71 ,HRAM, of Raleigh NC, is hosting a Carwash and ahotdog/hamburger plate sale tobenefit the York Rite Scholarship Fund. This is an opportunity to raise funds to replenish the budget...

Cost: $10 - basic; $15 - deluxe; $5 hamburger or hot dog, chips, and a drink

Where:
Tupper Memorial Baptist Church
501 South Blount Street
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Sponsor: King Soloman #71 HRAM
Telephone: 252-367-7111
Contact Name: James Purington
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Join our bird enthusiast Vernon for an easy walk while looking and listening for our feathered friends. Discover different types of birds and their habitats. Meet at the Waterwise Garden.

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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Kick-off the library's summer learning program with a morning of space themed activities, games, crafts and sno-cones. All ages. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Orange County Main Library
137 W. Margaret Ln.
Hillsborough, NC  27278
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Website »

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Examine reptiles and amphibians and learn about their tracks and signs at an exhibit from the NC Museum of Natural Sciences. Enjoy family yoga sessions, learn how to identify song...

Cost: Free

Where:
E. Carroll Joyner Park
701 Harris Rd.
Wake Forest , NC  27587
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Website »

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Kick-off our Summer Learning Program with a morning of fun-filled space themed activities at the Main Library! Register for Summer Learning then Explore the Library and Beyond! All ages welcome.

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
Website »

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Help with trail improvements. Lunch provided. Ages 6 and older with caregiver. 

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Opportunities to explore all 4 levels of the mill don’t happen often! Learn the history of milling in North Carolina, test your mill trivia, and discover what interesting machinery is preserved...

Cost: $10/Adult, $8/Senior (ages 60+), $6/Child (ages 10-16)

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


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

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Take the family for a tour of backyard chicken coops and visit neighborhood chickens, bees and gardens. Proceeds benefit Urban Ministries of Wake County's mission of feeding,...

Cost: $15-$30

Where:
Backyards across Raleigh, Cary, and Apex
Raleigh, NC  27603


Sponsor: Urban Ministries Of Wake County Inc
Telephone: 919-256-2187
Contact Name: Jordan Hewitt
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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 (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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This family-friendly spectacular features food, drinks, live entertainment and fun activities for kids and adults, including a Ferris wheel and carousel. The night ends with a...

Cost: Free

Where:
Dix Park
101 Blair Dr.
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Reptiles are really “cool” critters! Learn more about these fascinating, often misunderstood animals and meet our educational box turtle and a few different kinds of snakes up close. Bring a...

Cost: Free

Where:
American Tobacco Trail - New Hill parking area
1309 New Hill-Olive Chapel Rd.
Apex, NC  27502
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Sponsor: Harris Lake County Park and the American Tobacco Trail
Telephone: 919-387-2117
Contact Name: Joanne St. Clair
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The library’s Teen Advisory Board invites kids, adults, & teens alike to a Hogwarts in the Library celebration! Get sorted into houses, fashion your wizarding wand, play trivia games and more!...

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: Libbie Hough
Website »

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The library’s Teen Advisory Board invites middle and high schoolers to put on their dress robes and gowns to attend a special, teen-only Hogwarts Ball. Registration is required...

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: Libbie Hough
Website »

More information

The Beaver Queen Pageant is the Triangle’s own special mix of folly, pageantry and humor. Contestants take on beaver personalities and compete for the title of Beaver Queen with their...

Cost: Free

Where:
Duke Park
106 W. Knox St.
Durham, NC  27701
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Sponsor: Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association
Telephone: 919-698-9729
Contact Name: Rachel Cohn
Website »

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Learning Express transforms into a land of magic and make-believe. Enjoy a day filled with fairy hair, face painting, and many fun mystical crafts and games. Ages 3 and older. Fee...

Cost: $10/child

Where:
Learning Express Toys
4209 Lassiter Mill Rd.
#128
Raleigh, NC  27609
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Sponsor: Learning Express
Telephone: 919-325-6057
Contact Name: Stephanie Gillespie
Website »

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The eight-piece soul band St. Paul & The Broken Bones headlines Band Together's annual event, which this year raises money for Interfaith Food Shuttle. The show also includes...

Cost: See website for fees.

Where:
Red Hat Amphitheater
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

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

Cost: Free

Where:
Park West Village
Morrisville, NC  27560


Website »

More information

Before the screening of Isle of Dogs, join in the festivities featuring local vendors, music, dog arts and crafts, demonstrations by the American Kennel Club, a splash zone, and more. Purchase...

Cost: $8 Members, $10 Nonmembers Children 6 and under free; advance ticket purchase

Where:
North Carolina Museum of Art
2110 Blue Ridge Road
Raleigh, NC  27607
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Blast off with the North Carolina Symphony as it presents music from "Star Wars," Holst's "The Planets" and more. Ages 12 and younger admitted free on the lawn.

Cost: See website for fees.

Where:
Koka Booth Amphitheatre
8003 Regency Pkwy.
Cary, NC  27518
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