Top Teen Social Media Apps and Websites


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Seeing your teen glued to her smartphone probably isn’t anything new, but it may make you wonder what, exactly, she’s doing on there all the time.

Of course, you can’t help your teen if you don’t know the ins and outs of the social media platforms she uses. That’s why Laura Tierney, founder and president of The Social Institute in Durham, says parents should equip themselves with skills to help their kids navigate the digital world.

In a fall 2017 survey of 840 students, The Social Institute identified apps and websites most frequently used by teens during a typical week. Here are explanations of what these apps and sites are, as well as tips for how to help your teen protect her image online and manage peer pressure associated with social media.

Email and Texting Apps

Teens use email and texting apps, such as GroupMe or Tango, to share messages, pictures and videos with each other. They often join multiple conversations via group texts with other teens. 

Pros: Teens can easily connect with and send messages to friends, making them feel closer to their peers.

Cons: Group texts can serve as a breeding ground for bashing or bullying, Tierney explains, because it provides a digital space where kids may give in to peer pressure and talk negatively about other students, adults, teachers or coaches. Tierney encourages parents to teach their children to say something thoughtful when the bashing or bullying occurs in an effort to change the conversation, or to leave the chat altogether if the tone becomes hostile.

Instagram

Instagram helps users connect through pictures and videos. Different filters enhance a photo’s quality and appearance in a few easy clicks.

Pros: Kids share moments with their friends via photos. Posts that everyone can relate to and will approve of typically garner the most “likes.”

Cons: Additional apps and filters can dramatically change the look of any Instagram photo to alter a user’s appearance. Also, when teens “like” photos or videos on their friends’ Instagram accounts, this increases the chance that their friends will “like” one of theirs in return. This is important to teens because they view Instagram as an extension of their identity. Consequently, many teens curate their “likes” and “dislikes” and will delete photos that don’t get enough likes.

Snapchat

This app allows users to send photos and videos, called “snaps,” to their followers. Snapchat offers teens the option to express their snaps creatively by attaching fun filters to photos and videos.

Pros: The content teens share with their followers isn’t stored on their device and therefore doesn’t eat up storage. Many Snapchat users also start “Snapstreaks” with each other, which means they have “snapped” each other by sending photos (not messages) within 24 hours for more than three consecutive days.

Cons: Just because snaps aren’t stored on a teen’s device doesn’t mean those photos and videos vanish into thin air. When it comes to Snapchat, teens are more likely to share media they “absolutely want to disappear,” Tierney says. However, she explains, third-party apps allow users to download the sender’s content without him or her knowing — a fact, she says, the majority of kids she speaks to are unaware of. Snaps can also be captured via screenshot, although the person who sends the snap is made aware of this when it happens. Also, many teens feel pressured to keep Snapstreaks going, since they will expire unless both Snapchatters send a photo snap back and forth to each other within a 24-hour window.

YouTube

You can learn almost anything while browsing this social media platform, which works much like an interactive encyclopedia, Tierney says.

Pros: Teens love sharing funny stories, personal conversations, inspirational content and how-to videos with viewers.

Cons: Once one video ends, the next begins. For many users, sexual content isn’t far away. Before you let your teen create his own public YouTube channel, Tierney says, have him practice on a shared parental account. Even if your child has a YouTube account that is public, you can disable the comment section.

Twitter

Twitter allows users to quickly share and spread news stories, ideas, pictures and short videos, accompanied by a few sentences commentary. Teens turn to Twitter for the latest headlines, and teachers often use it communicate class information.

Pros: Tierney describes Twitter as a social media platform through which users “can connect with anyone, read anything and share anything in one of the largest public settings in the world.”

Cons: Tierney also acknowledges that the minute users post a hurtful or negative tweet, it can “spread like wildfire.” She advises parents to remind their teens that everything they share on Twitter is a reflection of his or her core values and character.

Sit down with your teen and ask her to imagine that she’s the star at a national press conference, Tierney suggests. Each time she sends out a snap or post, it’s as if her words go straight into a microphone, out to the media for all to see and hear.

“As private as you think that [snap or post] might be, everything that you click ‘send’ on is going into that microphone,” Tierney warns.

Posting online only takes a second, but internet search engines save the information forever. It’s important that your teen understands the gravity of how social media can impact her life, college prospects and future job opportunities. It only takes one bad snap, post or video to create permanent damage your teen may not be able to undo.


Be sure to check out "Secret Apps Your Teen May Be Using to Hide Photos, Videos, Messages and Files" to learn more about apps teens use.


Elizabeth Kane is a writer, content strategist and music instructor. She shows parents how to steer their young musicians toward success at practiceforparents.com.

 

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February 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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Join park staff in collecting data for the 21st 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

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Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Parkway
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Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 919-460-3355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
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Enjoy a free slideshow of the birds of Yates Mill Pond. Over 150 photographs of birds are featured in the show, along with a few mammals. This slideshow, which has accompanying...

Cost: Free

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Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
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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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The Wake County New Vehicle Dealers Association brings the world of cars and trucks to Raleigh. See hybrids, electric cars, SUVs, compacts, luxury vehicles and more. At the expo, the Carolina...

Cost: $10/adult, $5/preteen. Free for ages 5 and younger

Where:
Dorton Arena
1025 Blue Ridge Rd.
Raleigh, NC
View map »


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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Cost: Free

Where:
N.C. Museum of Art
2110 Blue Ridge Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
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Cost: Free

Where:
Studio School of Durham
1201 W. Woodcroft Pkwy.
Durham, NC  27713
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Sponsor: Studio School of Durham
Contact Name: Danielle Clark
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Cost: $18

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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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Cost: $10/person; free for ages 3 and younger

Where:
Spring Haven Farm
5306 Homer Ruffin Rd
Chapel Hill, NC  27516
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Cost: Free

Where:
Morrisville Outlet Mall
1001 Airport Blvd.
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Kids EveryWEAR Consignment Sale
Contact Name: Gail Walker
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Cost: $32 and up

Where:
Fletcher Theater
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601


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Go nutty for nature as children satisfy some of their curiosity about the world around them and parents share in the joy of discovery. Ages 3-5 with parent. Register online.

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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Carolina Ballet presents Shakespeare’s story of star-crossed lovers, dueling families, intrigue, deception and a tragic twist of fate. Dramatic sword fights, stunning costumes and...

Cost: $32 and up

Where:
Fletcher Theater
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601


Website »

More information

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Cost: $32 and up

Where:
Fletcher Theater
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601


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Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
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Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
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Cost: Free

Where:
Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Parkway
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View map »


Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 919-460-3355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
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More information

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Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 919-856-6675
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Cost: Free

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Cost: Free

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Blue Jay Point County Park
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Raleigh, NC  27614
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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
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Sponsor: Kids EveryWEAR Consignment Sale
Contact Name: Gail Walker
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4709 Ten Ten Rd.
Apex, NC
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Telephone: 919-662-2850
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New HIll, NC  27562
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Sponsor: Harris Lake County Park
Telephone: 919-387-4342
Contact Name: Joanne St. Clair
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Cost: $9/resident, $12/nonresident

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


Telephone: 919-387-5980
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Cost: Free

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2112 County Park Dr.
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View map »


Sponsor: Harris Lake County Park
Telephone: 919.387.4342
Contact Name: Joanne St. Clair
Website »

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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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Cost: $2/person

Where:
Horseshoe Farm Nature Preserve
2900 Horse Shoe Farm Rd.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
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More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Our PlayHouse Preschool
3501 Highway 54 W.
Chapel Hill, NC  27516
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Sponsor: Our PlayHouse Preschool
Telephone: (919) 967-2700
Contact Name: Elizabeth Lenn
Website »

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See William Shakespeare's classical masterpiece brought to life on stage by director Leo Egger, who lends his own unique vision to production. Tickets are available at the door...

Cost: $10/person

Where:
Durham School Of The Arts Blackbox Theater
400 N. Duke St.
Durham, NC  27707
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Cost: $9/resident, $12/nonresident

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Telephone: 919-387-5980
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Cost: $2/resident, $3/nonresident

Where:
Cary Senior Center Ballroom
120 Maury O'Dell Place
Cary, NC  27513
View map »


Website »

More information

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

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


Sponsor: Clayton Youth Theater
Telephone: 919-553-1737
Website »

More information

See William Shakespeare's classical masterpiece brought to life on stage by director Leo Egger, who lends his own unique vision to production. Tickets are available at the door...

Cost: $10/person

Where:
Durham School Of The Arts Blackbox Theater
400 N. Duke St.
Durham, NC  27707
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
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Cost: $30

Where:
Baby + Company
226 Ashville Ave
Cary, NC  27518
View map »


Sponsor: Babies On The MOVE
Telephone: 773-495-8117
Contact Name: Rebecca Quinones
Website »

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Cost: $23/resident, $30/nonresident

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


Website »

More information

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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 »

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Cost: $3

Where:
Wilkerson Nature Preserve
5229 Awls Haven Drive
Raleigh, NC  27614
View map »


Sponsor: City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Telephone: 919-996-6764
Contact Name: Wilkerson staff
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Stagville
5828 Old Oxford Hwy.
Durham, NC  27712
View map »


Telephone: 919-620-0120
Website »

More information

See L.M. Montgomery’s beloved novel "Anne of Green Gables" come to life in this stage adaptation by Peter DeLaurier. Enjoy the misadventures of Anne Shirley, a...

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

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


Sponsor: Clayton Youth Theater
Telephone: 919-553-1737
Website »

More information

See William Shakespeare's classical masterpiece brought to life on stage by director Leo Egger, who lends his own unique vision to production. Tickets are available at the door...

Cost: $10/person

Where:
Durham School Of The Arts Blackbox Theater
400 N. Duke St.
Durham, NC  27707
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: $45-$175

Where:
Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Telephone: 919.996.8700
Contact Name: Blake Jones
Website »

More information

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Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Cary Arts Center
101 Dry Ave.
Cary, NC
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Website »

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Cost: $50-$80

Where:
Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
2 E South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Telephone: 919.996.8700
Contact Name: Blake Jones
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Cost: $35-$89

Where:
Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St.
Durham, NC  27701
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Cost: Free

Where:
Horseshoe Farm Nature Preserve
2900 Horse Shoe Farm Rd.
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Cost: $55/child

Where:
SMILE Camp
6301 Hillsborough St.
Raleigh, NC  27606
View map »


Sponsor: SMILE Camp
Telephone: 919-538-5278
Contact Name: Sheila Marsh
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Cost: Free

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N.C. Museum of Art
2110 Blue Ridge Rd.
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Cost: $5 for 10 swings

Where:
Chapel Hill High School
1709 High School Rd.
Chapel Hill, NC  27516
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Sponsor: Chapel Hill High School Baseball Team
Telephone: 856-952-3054
Contact Name: Coach Lee Land
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Cost: Free

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North Carolina State Capitol
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Cost: $7 ages 1 and older

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Marbles Kids Museum
201 E. Hargett St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Cost: $8/resident, $10/nonresident

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

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

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City of Raleigh Museum
220 Fayetteville St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Cost: Free

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Cameron Village Library
1930 Clark Ave.
Raleigh, NC
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See William Shakespeare's classical masterpiece brought to life on stage by director Leo Egger, who lends his own unique vision to production. Tickets are available at the door...

Cost: $10/person

Where:
Durham School Of The Arts Blackbox Theater
400 N. Duke St.
Durham, NC  27707
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: $10/person

Where:
The Scrap Exchange
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Durham, NC  27703
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Sponsor: The Scrap Exchange
Telephone: 919-213-1278
Contact Name: Anna Graves
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More information

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Cost: $3

Where:
Wilkerson Nature Preserve
5229 Awls Haven Dr.
Raleigh, NC  27614
View map »


Sponsor: City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Telephone: 919-996-6764
Contact Name: Wilkerson staff
Website »

More information

See L.M. Montgomery’s beloved novel "Anne of Green Gables" come to life in this stage adaptation by Peter DeLaurier. Enjoy the misadventures of Anne Shirley, a...

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

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


Sponsor: Clayton Youth Theater
Telephone: 919-553-1737
Website »

More information

Applause! Cary Youth Theatre presents the tale of Scraps, who intends to go her own way until she happens onto an adventure that broadens her understanding of herself and the world around....

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Cary Arts Center
101 Dry Ave.
Cary, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

See William Shakespeare's classical masterpiece brought to life on stage by director Leo Egger, who lends his own unique vision to production. Tickets are available at the door...

Cost: $10/person

Where:
Durham School Of The Arts Blackbox Theater
400 N. Duke St.
Durham, NC  27707
View map »


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More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
First Baptist Church Morrisville
209 Church St.
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: The Un-Intentionals
Telephone: 919-475-4211
Contact Name: Marc Moore
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Where:
The Cary Theater
122 E. Chatham St.
Cary, NC  27511
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Annual Guides

Education Guide

The 2017-18 Education Guide offers 660 education resources in the Triangle, including area preschools, private schools, public school systems, charter schools, boarding schools and academic resources.

The Triangle Go-To Guide

Our debut Triangle Go-To Guide connects you to family fun resources across the Triangle. Plus, find out who our 2017 Readers' Favorites are.