Triangle Places for Family Fun in Winter


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North Carolina Museum of History lobby

Photo courtesy of the North Carolina Museum of History

Winter may seem like a tough time to find play escapes with your kids, but not in the Triangle. Here are suggestions for fun outings with kids during the colder weather months.

Play and Learn at a Museum

Photo of the Museum of Life and Science's Hideaway Woods exhibit courtesy of the Museum of Life and Science


Many museums in the Triangle are designed to inspire children's imagination and learning with hands-on exploration. See our readers'Family Favorites Places to Visitfor details on some of our readers' picks for places to go.  Here's a look at some current exhibits at a few local museums.

The Museum of Life and Science, in Durham, has indoor and outdoor exhibits that bring science to life for kids. Head to the insectarium, where an "insect-cam" lets you watch and hear as caterpillar eats food. Climb to the top of a treehouse at Hideway Woods, a 2-acre, forested escape featuring eight interconnected treehouses. Venture into the tropical paradise of the Butterfly House, where 1,000 butterflies flit among exotic plants. Explore the wild to see black bears, red wolves and exotic lemurs up close. Step back in time millions of years ago with your little ones for a walk along the Dinosaur Trail

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh has four floors of exhibits featuring different parts of North Carolina (free admission) and special traveling exhibits (for a fee). Through April 28, you can see aspecial exhibit about the Titanic. The Nature Research Center, an 80,000-square-foot free-admission wing, makes scientific research accessible with hands-on activities. Visit the center's SECU Daily Planet, a three-story multimedia space that links virtual to real nature and offers live programming on breaking science news. The center houses a 40 x 40 foot-high definition screen, where scientists present their work, offering impressive views of the universe.

In downtown Raleigh, Marbles Kids Museum's exhibits encourage imaginative play and creativity. In Around Town, children have a chance to slip into the lives of grown-ups, from bus drivers to firefighters and farmers. They can shop at a grocery store, be a chef or act on Broadway, all in pretend settings. Other areas of the museum include Splash! offering hands-on experiences with water, and IdeaWorks, where children can design, create and build structures, vehicles, simple machines and everyday products. Learn about more exhibits here. The museum's Marbles also offers an IMAX theater.

The North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh offers special programming for children, from crafts to tours, and a museum park that covers 160 acres of fields, woodlands, and creeks, with trails that feature outdoor art on a grand scale. Admission to the Museum's permanent collection of art from around the world and access to the Ann and Jim Goodnight Museum Park is free. There is a charge for some special exhibitions and programs, such as concerts, films, classes, and performances.

Kidzu Children's Museum in Chapel Hill offers creative play for children in its current "KidZoom: The Power of Creativity" exhibit, where they're invited to engage in real-life activities, from gardening and construction to painting and puppetry. Visit Kidzu's website.


Attend Free Carolina Hurricanes Practices

Are your children hockey fans? Catch a Carolina Hurricanes practice session at the PNC Arena in Raleigh. Check the schedule to see when public practices are in session.


Splash in a Public Swimming Pool!

What better way to escape on a cold and dark day than to jump into a sparkling light-filled pool? If your family likes to swim, head to a pool for inexpensive exercise. Some facilities offer special equipment for kids. In 2012, The Buffalo Road Aquatic Center opened with a three-story waterslide, lazy river, water vortex, water basketball, water volleyball, and three lap lanes. The zero-depth entry has a tot-size play area including water tumble buckets, a water curtain, and tot-size slide.

Find a public pool that's open year-round near your home:

* City of Raleigh Pools & Aquatic Facilities

* Durham Parks & Recreation Aquatics

* Town of Chapel Hill Aquatics


Venture Out on a Nature Hike or Bike Ride

Photo of American Tobacco Trail courtesy of Carolina Parent staff


Outdoor activities offer a way to get moving if it's not too cold or rainy out. Check out one of these nearby hiking trails kids will enjoy you can see things you normally can't because many of the trees are bare. Visit our Daily Calendar for special nature outings geared for children any day of the week  and browse our Readers' Favorites for the Best Family Places to Get Moving and Be Active for more ideas.

If you like to go on outdoor excursions with just your family, check out the growing Capital Area Greenway Trail in the Triangle. Winding through the woods, the Capital Area Greenway Trail offers a network of public open spaces and recreational trails, where any day you'll find families walking, jogging, skating, hiking, bird watching, studying nature and fishing. Take a picnic for more outdoor fun. The trails connect many of Raleigh's parks.


Head to a Story Time

Local public libraries and bookstores feature lots of story times each week, some with crafts, music and discussion. Story times help children make new friends, and provide a chance for parents to meet each other. They're usually free! Search "storytime" in our Daily Calendar to pull up a slew of options.


Step Back in Time at a North Carolina Historic Site

Visit the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources website to learn more about state historic sites that host activities and living history events for kids. In Durham, you'll find these three fascinating places:

* Bennett Place in Durham, which is home to a simple farmhouse that was the site of the largest troop surrender of the American Civil War.

* Duke Homestead in Durham, where you can see the early home, factories, and farm where Washington Duke first grew and processed tobacco. (Pictured at right, photo courtesy of N.C. Department of Cultural Resources)

* Historic Stagville in Durham, where you'll find the late 18th-century Bennehan House, four rare slave houses, a pre-Revolutionary War farmer's house, a huge timber framed barn, and the Bennehan Family cemetery.


Get Out of Town

chimps-added-2013nczoo.jpg

Photo courtesy of North Carolina Zoo


Visit the North Carolina Zoo

The North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro offers 500 acres of exhibits with more than 1,100 different animals from North America and Africa. Asheboro; nczoo.org. The zoo is home to one of the largest chimpanzee troops in U.S. zoos, and has recently added four new chimps.( Pictured: One-year-old chimpanzees Genie (left) and Gigi (right) press their faces to the glass in the N.C. Zoo's chimp exhibit during their first day on exhibit Thursday. N.C. Zoo Photo by Tom Gillespie.) 

Where to Ski, Tube and Snowboard

One of the best things about living in the Triangle is our proximity to the mountains. In less than five hours, snow lovers can find skiing, snowboarding and snow-tubing fun. Browse this roundup of different ski and/or tubing resorts in North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia within a six-hour drive of the Triangle.

Updated Jan. 9, 2017

 

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Volunteer and Community Service Opportunities in the Triangle

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Calendar

January 2017

Help Videri Chocolate Factory celebrate its 5th anniversary with special products available this day only and prizes at the door. Activities for kids include face painting, arts and crafts and a...

Cost: Free

Where:
Videri Chocolate Factory
327 W. Davie St., #100
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

Listen and learn about the members of the woodwind family: flute, clarinet and bassoon. Family Concerts in Kirby Horton Hall last one hour. Come early to check out the instrument zoo. Ages 5 and...

Cost: $10 adults / $5 children and students

Where:
Kirby Horton Hall, Sarah P. Duke Gardens
420 Anderson Street
Durham, NC  27705
View map »


Sponsor: Mallarmé Chamber Players
Telephone: 919-560-2788
Contact Name: Ellye Walsh
Website »

More information

See the first feature documentary created about the famous writer, poet, actress and activist.

Cost: $5

Where:
The Cary Theater
122 E. Chatham St.
Cary, NC  27511
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Website »

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Join Bach to Rock for a day of Rock Band Camp on MLK Day. Students will name their band, design a logo, build their repertoire of songs, record their music in our studio, and finally...

Cost: $75

Where:
Bach to Rock
958 US 64
Apex, NC  27523
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Sponsor: Bach to Rock
Telephone: 919-446-5386
Contact Name: Kelly Foster
Website »

More information

Spend the afternoon helping to maintain and beautify the area around the center in honor of MLK Jr. Day of Service. All ages. Registration required for either the 10 a.m.-noon or 2-4 p.m. session.

Cost: Free

Where:
Middle Creek Community Center
123 Middle Creek Park Ave.
Apex, NC  27539
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Website »

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Triangle families are invited to celebrate MLK Day with a family-friendly birthday party for Dr. King. Enjoy English/ Spanish storytimes, kids’ zumba, interactive activities, crafts,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Northgate Mall
1058 W Club Blvd, Northgate Mall, I-85 Exit 176
Durham, NC  27701
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Sponsor: MomsRising
Telephone: 919-696-0142
Contact Name: Beth Messersmith
Website »

More information

Ages 3-5 enjoy stories.

Cost: Free

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

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Enjoy an hour-long nature series film, popcorn some scientific exploration. Participants may also take a dinner and watch the film. Register online by Jan. 13. Choose course #199053.

Cost: $1/person

Where:
Walnut Creek Wetland Center
950 Peterson St.
Raleigh, NC  27610
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Sponsor: City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Telephone: 919-996-2760
Contact Name: Stacie Hagwood
Website »

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Children delight in discoveries of shapes, colors and textures in nature. Ages 1 and older with parent. Registration required.

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

Go on a hike, make a craft and learn how to help wild animal friends. Ages 3-5. Register online.

Cost: $3/child

Where:
Wilkerson Nature Preserve
11408 Raven Ridge Rd.
Raleigh, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-996-6764
Website »

More information

Parent and child enjoy a craft, an engaging activity and a guided walk. Ages 2-6. Register online by Jan. 14. Choose course #199096. 

Cost: $3

Where:
Walnut Creek Wetland Center
950 Peterson St.
Raleigh, NC  27610
View map »


Sponsor: City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Telephone: 919-996-2760
Contact Name: Stacie Hagwood
Website »

More information

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CycleBar, a new concept in premium indoor cycling that offers a high energy workout in a concert-like atmosphere, celebrates its Cary studio grand opening by offering locals free rides from Jan. 19...

Cost: Free

Where:
CycleBar Alston
5022 Arco St.
Cary, NC  27519
View map »


Website »

More information

Children delight in discoveries of shapes, colors and textures in nature. Ages 1 and older with parent. Registration required.

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

This workshop introduces parents to reasons behind common behaviors that create difficult situations while providing suggestions to prevent and manage parenting challenges. Parents are encouraged...

Cost: $20/person, $30/couple

Where:
Project Enlightenment
501 S. Boylan Ave.
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-7774
Website »

More information

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CycleBar, a new concept in premium indoor cycling that offers a high energy workout in a concert-like atmosphere, celebrates its Cary studio grand opening by offering locals free rides from Jan. 19...

Cost: Free

Where:
CycleBar Alston
5022 Arco St.
Cary, NC  27519
View map »


Website »

More information

Learn about grey squirrels, their habits, habitats, and the perils they face. Register online either the the 8:30-10:30 a.m. or 1:30-3:30 p.m. session.  

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 919-460-3355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
Website »

More information

Parent and child enjoy music, stories and an art activity to provide a meaningful Shabbat experience led by seasoned preschool teacher Morah Elizabeth. Ages 5 and younger; older siblings welcome....

Cost: Free for members, $5/nonmember child

Where:
Raleigh-Cary Jewish Community Center
12804 Norwood Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27613
View map »


Sponsor: Raleigh-Cary Jewish Community Center
Telephone: 919-676-6170
Contact Name: Jill Lokitz
Website »

More information

Moms wanting breastfeeding help or those who simply want to interact with other breastfeeding moms enjoy a casual drop-in cafe with experts from La Leche League. lalecheleague.org/nb.html

Cost: Free

Where:
Grow, The Family Boutique
2885 Jones Franklin Rd
Raleigh, NC  27606
View map »


Telephone: 191-980-33521
Contact Name: Heather Dickens
Website »

More information

Enjoy a kid-paced hour featuring music, play and dancing with toddler stars singing on the mic at Cotton's gently amplified and participatory music show. Children delight in active,...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Pump it Up Briercreek
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

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

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

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  27560
View map »


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

More information

Discover wildlife, their habits and their habitats through hikes, activities and crafts. Ages 5-8. Registration required.

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

Show More...
Show Less...

CycleBar, a new concept in premium indoor cycling that offers a high energy workout in a concert-like atmosphere, celebrates its Cary studio grand opening by offering locals free rides from Jan. 19...

Cost: Free

Where:
CycleBar Alston
5022 Arco St.
Cary, NC  27519
View map »


Website »

More information

Zaniac Learning invites all local residents to its grand opening event, which features refreshments, raffle prizes, tours of the brand-new center and a chance to meet the instructors. Attendees can...

Cost: Free

Where:
Zaniac Learning
1206 Parkside Main St.
Cary, NC  27519
View map »


Telephone: (919) 342-8536
Contact Name: Matt Pepe
Website »

More information

Parent and Me is a combination acrobatics and aerial class for young children. With a parent, kids ages 3-7 will build a foundation of coordination, flexibility, balance, and strength that can...

Cost: $25

Where:
Lux Performance Arts
1231 Perry Rd., Ste. 102
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Contact Name: Jamie Trudeau
Website »

More information

Parents learn basic infant massage techniques to perform a full body massage for a baby to help promote bonding between parent and child (of any age), helps infants align their circadian rhythm...

Cost: $50

Where:
Grow, The Family Boutique
2885 Jones Franklin Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27606
View map »


Telephone: 191-980-33521
Contact Name: Heather Dickens
Website »

More information

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. Registration required.

Cost: $10/resident, $13/nonresident

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


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Go on a hike, make a craft and learn how to help wild animal friends. Ages 3-5. Register online.

Cost: $3/child

Where:
Wilkerson Nature Preserve
11408 Raven Ridge Rd.
Raleigh, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-996-6764
Website »

More information

Parent and child enjoy a craft, an engaging activity and a guided walk. Ages 2-6. Register online by Jan. 17. Choose course #199097. 

Cost: $3

Where:
Walnut Creek Wetland Center
950 Peterson St.
Raleigh, NC  27610
View map »


Sponsor: City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Telephone: 919-996-2760
Contact Name: Stacie Hagwood
Website »

More information

Each year, Cranberry Tree Farm donates its unsold trees to the Conservators Center for its animals to enjoy as a special form of holiday enrichment. During this walkabout, watch as wild animals...

Cost: $24 ages 12 and older, $18 ages 3-11

Where:
Conservators Center
676 E Hughes Mill Road
Burlington, NC  27217
View map »


Telephone: 888-650-1139
Website »

More information

Learn about birds and build a bird box. All ages with parent. Registration required.

Cost: $20/resident, $28/nonresident

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


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Take an interactive musical adventure as Daniel Tiger and his friends explore the vibrant world of their much-loved Neighborhood of Make-Believe, sharing stories of friendship, helping others and...

Cost: $29.50 and up

Where:
Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St.
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Website »

More information

Create a chainmaille necklace. Ages 12 and older.

Cost: $22.50 plus $8 materials fee

Where:
Durham Arts Council
120 Morris St
Durham , NC  27701
View map »


Sponsor: Durham Arts Council
Telephone: 919-560-2726
Website »

More information

Take an interactive musical adventure as Daniel Tiger and his friends explore the vibrant world of their much-loved Neighborhood of Make-Believe, sharing stories of friendship, helping others and...

Cost: $29.50 and up

Where:
Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St.
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Website »

More information

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