Safe at Home: Weighing If It's Time for Sleepovers

The latest 'Father Figuring' column


Published:

Image courtesy of Olga1818/Shutterstock.com

Jessie is a blessed girl. She has already had many wonderful experiences in her young life. She has been to the beach, the zoo and even Walt Disney World. She takes dance classes and plays a musical instrument. She has many friends and spends quality time with her grandparents, uncle, aunt and favorite 4-year-old cousin. She even gets to use more than her fair share of hot water to take the long showers she finds so relaxing and conducive for singing. Jessie is a lucky girl indeed. 

However, Jessie makes one request that her mom, Mattie, and I have repeatedly denied. Jessie would like to go to sleepovers at friends’ houses. 

My guess is that many parents, and all of Jessie’s friends, will side with her tween perspective. Would it hurt for Jessie to have a sleepover with friends? 

With a 99 percent degree of certainty, I predict she would have a wonderful time, maybe not get enough sleep, but have a positive experience. However, as a cautious father, there’s that 1 percent chance of trouble. Therefore, Jessie sleeps at home in her own cozy bed, with her 22-pound guard dog. As a result, I sleep well, too.

I remember a discussion between Mattie and her mother that occurred the year after we got married. Mattie noticed that her dad took long naps each time we visited. Mattie’s dad has always worked hard and deserves a nap any chance he gets. However, it hurt Mattie’s feelings that her dad repeatedly slept when she had driven 45 minutes to see him. So, during one visit while Mattie’s dad dozed, she spoke with her mom.

“Mom, it seems like every time I come over, Dad goes to sleep.”

Mattie’s mom responded, “He hasn’t slept well since you left home. When you are here, he knows his girl is home safe and sound, so he can rest.” 

Until recently, I hadn’t given their conversation much thought. Now that I’m a father, it makes sense.

Will Mattie and I ever change our minds on sleepovers? Possibly. And it’s not like Jessie hasn’t experienced sleeping away from home. On occasion, she spends the night with her grandparents. A few times, she has even stayed overnight with her cousin. It’s the sleepover “with friends” that she has missed out on.

Obviously, Mattie and I can’t shield Jessie from all of life’s dangers. Trouble lurks in places we don’t always suspect. Jessie is independent, which is a good thing. Mattie and I want her to enjoy life, not shy away from it. Like all responsible parents, we want to put our child in places and situations where she’ll have a chance to grow, but not be in harm’s way. The right thing to do isn’t always clear, and many parenting decisions aren’t easy. 

But whether Jessie is resting in her bed at home or in a sleeping bag at a friend’s house, one thing is certain: Should Jessie ever sleep over at a friend’s house, I’ll likely take a long nap when she returns home the next day.

 

Patrick Hempfing had a 20-year professional career in banking, accounting, and auditing before he became a father at age 44. He is now a full-time husband, stay-at-home dad and author of “MoMENts: A Dad Holds On,” available on Amazon. Learn more about him at patrickhempfing.com.

 

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February 2019

The Flying Biscuit Café celebrates National Pancake Month by bringing back its Red Velvet Pancakes. The delicious red velvet pancakes, complete with hand-made cream cheese...

Cost: Dine-in purchase required

Where:
Flying Biscuit - Raleigh
2016 Clark Ave.
Raleigh, NC  27605
View map »


Website »

More information

Join park staff in collecting data for the 22nd annual Great Backyard Bird Count. We will look and listen for birds in a variety of habitats, and keep track of how many individuals of each species...

Cost: Free

Where:
Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Pkwy.
Morrisville, NC  27560
View map »


Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 191-946-03355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
Website »

More information

Come by the park center any time during the four days of the Great Backyard Bird Count to view a free slideshow of the birds of Yates Mill Pond. Over 150 photographs of birds are featured in the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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More information

Celebrate all things cats at the Tica Time Cat Show. Watch judging, learn about the different cat breeds, interact with the breeders and exhibitors, cheer on favorite cats, shop...

Cost: $5.00 adults; discounts for children and families

Where:
NC State Fairgrounds: Holshouser Building
1025 Blue Ridge Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
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Telephone: 9194774221919-477-42
Contact Name: Ruth Willett
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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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Cost: $13.50/person

Where:
Spring Haven Farm
5306 Homer Ruffin Rd.
Chapel Hill, NC  27516
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Sponsor: Spring Haven Farm
Telephone: 919-407-1806
Contact Name: Andrew
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Cost: Free

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Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Pkwy.
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 191-946-03355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
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Cost: $15-$25

Where:
Abbott's Creek Community Center
9950 Durant Rd.
Raleigh , NC  27614
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Sponsor: Classy Hair Products
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Cost: $12/resident, $16/nonresident

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


Telephone: 919-387-5980
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Search for salamanders, birds, deer and more. All ages with adult. Register online. Choose course #121683.

Cost: $12/resident, $16/nonresident

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


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Join a park naturalist on a one-mile hike around Yates Mill Pond and help to identify and count the birds that we see along the way. Learn how to identify backyard birds by sight, sound, and other...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Cost: $25/person

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Morning Glory Inn Bed & Breakfast
507 East 2nd Street
Clayton, NC  27520
View map »


Website »

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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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The Flying Biscuit Café celebrates National Pancake Month by bringing back its Red Velvet Pancakes. The delicious red velvet pancakes, complete with hand-made cream cheese...

Cost: Dine-in purchase required

Where:
Flying Biscuit - Raleigh
2016 Clark Ave.
Raleigh, NC  27605
View map »


Website »

More information

Come by the park center any time during the four days of the Great Backyard Bird Count to view a free slideshow of the birds of Yates Mill Pond. Over 150 photographs of birds are featured in the...

Cost: Free

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

More information

Is it true that Turkey and Eagle once faced off to see who would be our national bird? Find out the answer and discover the natural characteristics that made each bird a contender. Celebrate...

Cost: Free

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

More information

Join park staff in collecting data for the 22nd annual Great Backyard Bird Count. We will look and listen for birds in a variety of habitats, and keep track of how many individuals of each species...

Cost: Free

Where:
Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Pkwy.
Morrisville, NC  27560
View map »


Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 191-946-03355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
Website »

More information

Help staff add to the Great Backyard Bird Count data by walking along the trails and shoreline to identify birds in different habitats of the park. Free for all ages. Suggested for ages 4...

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 »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Blue Jay Point County Park
3200 Pleasant Union Church Road
Raleigh, NC  27614
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Telephone: 191-987-04330

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Cost: $15 or use your package/membership

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Kids Mindful Movement - Pittsboro
184 East St.
Pittsboro, NC  27312
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Cost: Free

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Harris Lake County Park
2112 County Park Dr.
Apex, NC  27502
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Sponsor: Harris Lake County Park
Telephone: 919-387-4342
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Kids Mindful Movement - Pittsboro
184 East St.
Pittsboro, NC  27312
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Cost: Free

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Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Road
Apex, NC  27539
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Cost: Free

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Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Pkwy.
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 191-946-03355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
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Cost: Free

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Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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William Peace University presents its final concert of the 2018-2019 year of the Manning Music Series in partnership with the North Carolina Symphony.  The concert features the String...

Cost: Free

Where:
William Peace University
15 East Peace St.
Kenan Hall
Raleigh, NC  27604
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Website »

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Join us on a winter bird scavenger hunt! Search for common birds of the park and count them along the way. Practice using binoculars and learn how to identify these animals by shape and color. For...

Cost: Free

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Road
Apex, NC  27539
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The Flying Biscuit Café celebrates National Pancake Month by bringing back its Red Velvet Pancakes. The delicious red velvet pancakes, complete with hand-made cream cheese...

Cost: Dine-in purchase required

Where:
Flying Biscuit - Raleigh
2016 Clark Ave.
Raleigh, NC  27605
View map »


Website »

More information

Is it true that Turkey and Eagle once faced off to see who would be our national bird? Find out the answer and discover the natural characteristics that made each bird a contender. Celebrate...

Cost: Free

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

More information

Enjoy "Planes" on a big screen. Take snacks and blankets. Doors open at 9:30 a.m.

Cost: Free

Where:
The Halle Cultural Center
237 N. Salem St.
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Website »

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Ages 2-5 enjoy movement and mindfulness. Learn basic yoga elements through age-appropriate breath-work techniques, games, storytelling, and creative visualization and more.

Cost: $15/child, use your package/membership.

Where:
Kids Mindful Movement - Chapel Hill
781 Mt Carmel Church Rd
chapel hill, NC  27517
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Can you believe there are active beavers building dams and lodges inside Raleigh’s beltline?? Bring your budding naturalist to the park to learn about these awesome creatures that call our park...

Cost: $2

Where:
Walnut Creek Wetland Park
950 Peterson Street
Raleigh, NC  27610
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Telephone: 919-996-2760
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Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department and Shaw University Men's & Women's Soccer teams offer spring soccer clinics for youth ages 5‐7 who are interested in...

Cost: Free

Where:
Sanderford Road (Softball Field)
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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Celebrate Black History Month with a poetry reading featuring Ashley Harris, Fred Joiner, and members of the local youth and teen poet community. Ashley Harris is a former youth-slam competitor and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Orange County Public Library
137 W Margaret Lane
Hillsborough, NC  27278
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Sponsor: Orange County Public Library
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Contact Name: Libbie Hough
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The Flying Biscuit Café celebrates National Pancake Month by bringing back its Red Velvet Pancakes. The delicious red velvet pancakes, complete with hand-made cream cheese...

Cost: Dine-in purchase required

Where:
Flying Biscuit - Raleigh
2016 Clark Ave.
Raleigh, NC  27605
View map »


Website »

More information

Is it true that Turkey and Eagle once faced off to see who would be our national bird? Find out the answer and discover the natural characteristics that made each bird a contender. Celebrate...

Cost: Free

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

More information

Connect with your baby, other parents and yourself during this adult-focused postpartum yoga class. Recommended for babies newborn to walking. Take a mat, a blanket for your little one, and...

Cost: $15 or use class pass/membership

Where:
Kids Mindful Movement - Pittsboro
184 East Street
Pittsboro, NC  27312
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Website »

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Meet other families in your community in a recreation setting. The play room will be reserved for parents and their young children. Sports and recreation equipment will be available...

Cost: Free

Where:
Sanderford Road Center
2623 Sanderford Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27610
View map »


Sponsor: Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department
Telephone: 919-831-1898
Contact Name: Adam Sproles
Website »

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Show Less...

The Flying Biscuit Café celebrates National Pancake Month by bringing back its Red Velvet Pancakes. The delicious red velvet pancakes, complete with hand-made cream cheese...

Cost: Dine-in purchase required

Where:
Flying Biscuit - Raleigh
2016 Clark Ave.
Raleigh, NC  27605
View map »


Website »

More information

This program is designed to move at a toddler’s pace: Run. Stop. Pick dandelions. Run. Climb on a rock. Find an interesting leaf! Join others for an easy-paced hike around the greenway...

Cost: FREE

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Walnut Creek Wetland Park
950 Peterson Street
Raleigh, NC  27610
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Telephone: 919-996-2760
Contact Name: Stacie Hagwood

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Cost: $15/class, or use your class pass/membership.

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Kids Mindful Movement - Chapel Hill
781 Mt. Carmel Church Rd.
Chapel Hill, NC  27517
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Cost: 0

Where:
Orange County Public Library
137 W Margaret Lane
Hillsborough, NC  27278
View map »


Sponsor: Orange County Public Library
Telephone: 191-924-52539
Contact Name: Libbie Hough
Website »

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Enjoy the family-friendly movie and a slice or two of pizza. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $5/person, $2 for ages 2 and younger

Where:
The Halle Cultural Center
237 N. Salem St.
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Website »

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Cost: $22/person, $33/couple

Where:
Project Enlightenment
501 S. Boylan Ave.
Raleigh, NC
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Website »

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Learn to recognize warning signs of unhealthy dating relationships and potential dating violence. In addition, participants will learn current sexting statistics and trends as well as North...

Cost: Free

Where:
Poe Center for Heath Education
224 Sunnybrook Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27610
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Website »

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The Flying Biscuit Café celebrates National Pancake Month by bringing back its Red Velvet Pancakes. The delicious red velvet pancakes, complete with hand-made cream cheese...

Cost: Dine-in purchase required

Where:
Flying Biscuit - Raleigh
2016 Clark Ave.
Raleigh, NC  27605
View map »


Website »

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Cost: $5.00 per child for Arboretum family members, $7.00 per child for nonmembers (no

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JC Raulston Arboretum
4415 Beryl Road
Raleigh, NC  27606
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Telephone: 919-513-7011
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Cost: Free

Where:
Orange County Public Library
137 W Margaret Lane
Hillsborough, NC  27278
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Sponsor: Orange County Public Library
Telephone: 191-924-52539
Contact Name: Libbie Hough
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Cost: Free

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Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Road
Apex, NC  27539
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Cost: $3

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Century Center
100 N. Greensboro
Carrboro, NC  27510
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Cost: Free

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

More information

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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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Cost: $3

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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
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Cost: $25

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Cary Hot Yoga
952 Kildaire Farm Rd.
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The Flying Biscuit Café celebrates National Pancake Month by bringing back its Red Velvet Pancakes. The delicious red velvet pancakes, complete with hand-made cream cheese...

Cost: Dine-in purchase required

Where:
Flying Biscuit - Raleigh
2016 Clark Ave.
Raleigh, NC  27605
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

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Quail Ridge Books
4209-100 Lassiter Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
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Telephone: 919-942-7373
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North Carolina Museum of History
5 E. Edenton St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Grace Bible Fellowship
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Cary, NC  27513
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Telephone: 919-468-4590
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Children make treasured memories while increasing their knowledge of plants and animals. Ages 7-10. Register online. Choose course #121613.

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

The sixth annual Marbles Future Me Kids Career Fair introduces children to architects, dentists, engineers, scientists, educators, entrepreneurs and many other...

Cost: $7 ages 1 and older

Where:
Marbles Kids Museum
201 E. Hargett St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Website »

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Cost: 0

Where:
Orange County Public Library
137 W Margaret Lane
Hillsborough, NC  27278
View map »


Sponsor: Orange County Public Library
Telephone: 191-924-52539
Contact Name: Libbie Hough
Website »

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Enjoy a docent-led tours through exhibits that highlight the contributions of African-Americans to North Carolina.

Cost: Free

Where:
North Carolina Museum of History
5 E. Edenton St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

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Winter days find many animals curled up in their dens. They sleep warmly, awakening in spring ready to enjoy the renewed Earth. Discover how animals prepare for cold weather and which ones...

Cost: Free

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

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Quail Ridge Books
4209-100 Lassiter Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Telephone: 919-942-7373
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Quail Ridge Books
4209-100 Lassiter Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Telephone: 919-942-7373
Website »

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Cost: $2/person

Where:
Horseshoe Farm Nature Preserve
8305 Camp Durant Rd.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Quail Ridge Books
4209-100 Lassiter Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Telephone: 919-942-7373
Website »

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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. Plus, find out who our 2018 Readers' Favorites are.