Vacation Ideas: 17 Places to See With Kids in North Carolina


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If you were born and raised in North Carolina — or are perhaps raising your own kids here — you know the possibilities for family fun are endless.

“From the mountains to the woodlands to the coast, family experiences unfold on a variety of landscapes,” says Suzanne Brown, media relations specialist for VisitNC. “We are also a state with a full range of seasons, so there’s a variety of things to do all year.”

With so many options, finding the perfect destination for your next family vacation or day trip can be a difficult decision. So to help, here are our top picks of things to do in North Carolina before your kids are grown. 

 

1. Watch the sunset on top of Jockeys Ridge.

jockey-s-ridge-1-family-flying-kites-with-sunset-(1).png

Photo courtesy of VisitNC.com

Nags Head | jockeysridgestatepark.com

There are very few spots in North Carolina where you can watch the sun set into a large body of water, but Jockey’s Ridge State Park is one of them. Through its popular Sunset on the Ridge summer program, you can climb to the top of the tallest active sand dune system in the eastern U.S. and watch the sun descend into the Roanoke Sound with the Atlantic Ocean behind you. Don’t be surprised if there’s spontaneous applause once the sun disappears. The views are breathtakingly beautiful. Arrive early to fly a kite with the kids.

Cost: Free

Nearby attractions: Wright Brothers National Memorial, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Bodie Island Lighthouse, Jennette’s Pier

 

2. Admire the blue ghost fireflies in DuPont State Recreational Forest.

fireflies.png
Cedar Mountain | dupontforest.com

Chasing backyard fireflies at dusk is a favorite childhood activity, but you’ve probably never seen fireflies quite like these. Instead of a yellow intermittent glow, the blue ghost fireflies of Transylvania and Henderson counties emit a steady blue glow along the forest floor. The eerie light show is only about four weeks long starting in May and disappearing by mid-June. Check the Friends of DuPont State Forest website or call for information about occasional guided tours.

Cost: Free

Nearby attractions: The forest is home to several waterfalls and is an ideal location for hiking or mountain biking.

 

3. See the wild horses along North Carolinas coast.

wild-horse-walking-on-carova-beach.png

Photo courtesy of VisitNC.com

Corolla, Beaufort, Shackleford Banks, Ocracoke | ncwildhorses.com

North Carolina’s coast is home to several groups of wild horses: Corolla’s wild Spanish mustangs; Beaufort’s wild horses at the Rachel Carson Estuarine Reserve, which descended from Banker horses (often referred to as ponies) and Quarter horses; Shackleford Banks’ wild Banker horses; and Ocracoke’s Banker horses. In general, you can see the horses for free. For example, all you need to see the horses in Corolla is a four-wheel drive vehicle so you can drive on the beach. Don’t have one? Several businesses offer four-wheel-drive guided tours. Visit ncwildhorses.com for details.

Cost: Free with four-wheel drive vehicle

Nearby attractions: While exploring North Carolina’s coast, be sure to visit one of the many lighthouses, including these that are climbable: Currituck, Bodie Island, Cape Hatteras, Ocracoke, Cape Lookout, Oak Island and Old Baldy.

 

4. See a bald eagle at Jordan Lake State Recreation Area.

eagle4.png
Apex | ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/jord/main.php

Jordan Lake State Recreation Area has the largest population of bald eagles in the eastern U.S., and the best time to see one is during the spring migration (April-June). Arrive early morning or near dusk to increase your chances of spotting our national bird and to find a location that gives you a wide view of the lake. Don’t forget your binoculars.

Cost: Free

Nearby attractions: The park offers a variety of activities such as camping, hiking, boating, fishing, swimming and more.

 

5. Ride a vintage steam locomotive at Tweetsie Railroad.

tweetsie-railroad-engine_no-_190_on_trestle5.png
Photo courtesy of Tweetsie Railroad

Blowing Rock | tweetsie.com

This popular attraction has two historic steam engines: No. 12 Tweetsie and No. 190 Yukon Queen. Both are coal-fired, narrow-gauge engines and will be a highlight for train enthusiasts of all ages. After your train ride around the park, enjoy a variety of rides, midway games, gem mining, the deer park and more. Be sure to check Tweetsie’s events schedule for special appearances such as Thomas the Tank Engine, Team UmiZoomi and Scooby-Doo.

Cost: $27-$41

Nearby attractions: Blue Ridge Parkway, Julian Price Memorial Park, Moses H. Cone Memorial Park

 

6. Take a plunge down Sliding Rock.

sliding-rock1for6.png
Photo courtesy of VisitNC.com

Brevard | ncwaterfalls.com/sliding_rock1.htm

Beat the heat this summer in North Carolina’s cool mountain water. Sliding Rock is a 60-foot natural waterfall/rock slide. At the base, there’s a 6-foot-deep pool for a refreshing splash at the end of your exhilarating slide. Lifeguards are on duty from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.

Cost: $2

Nearby attractions: Pisgah National Forest, DuPont State Recreational Forest, Brevard Music Center

 

7. Climb to the top of Hatteras Lighthouse.

dawn-at-cape-hatteras-lighthouse7.png
Photo courtesy of VisitNC.com

Buxton | nps.gov/caha

It’s a strenuous climb with 257 steps, but you’ll be rewarded with gorgeous views from the top of the tallest brick lighthouse in North America. You’ll also have a great view of the lighthouse’s previous site before it was relocated in 1999. The self-guided climb is not recommended for young children because of narrow stairs and only one handrail on one side.

Cost: $4-$8

Nearby Attractions: Buxton Woods Reserve, Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum, Hatteras-Ocracoke Ferry

 

8. See Unto These Hills in Cherokee.
unto-these-hills-performance-cherokee-2.png

Photo courtesy of VisitNC.com

Cherokee | cherokeehistorical.org/theatre.html

The historical outdoor drama is performed nightly (except Sundays) from late May until mid-August at the Mountainside Theatre in Cherokee. The play tells the story of the Cherokee tribe’s highest point of power, the Trail of Tears and present day. The first version of the play opened in July 1950, making the production one of the longest-running outdoor historical dramas in the U.S.

Cost: Call 866-554-4557.

Nearby attractions: Oconaluftee Indian Village, Museum of the Cherokee Indian, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

 

9. Climb to the top of Chimney Rock.

chimney-rock9.png
Photo courtesy of Chimney Rock Park

Chimney Rock | chimneyrockpark.com

Take an elevator or make the strenuous climb up 26 stories of stairs to reach the iconic monolith, which is 535 million years old. From the top, enjoy the spectacular view of Lake Lure and the Hickory Nut Gorge. While exploring the park, kids will love the discovery stations on the Great Woodland Adventure, an easy .6-mile hike to discover the lives of frogs, owls, chipmunks and more. Also, don’t miss Grady’s Animal Discovery Den with live animals, and make sure the kids visit Hickory Nut Falls, the second-highest waterfall east of the Mississippi River.

Cost: $7-$15; free for ages 4 and younger

Nearby attractions: Lake Lure, Broad River Gems and Mining Co.

 

10. See The Lost Colony in Manteo.

lost-colony-performance10.png
Photo courtesy of VisitNC.com

Manteo | thelostcolony.org

This classic musical and outdoor drama tells the story of the Lost Colony of Roanoke, one of the first settlements in the New World and where the first English child (Virginia Dare) was born in North America. It is the second-longest-running historical outdoor drama in the U.S. The play is performed in two one-hour acts.

Cost: $10-$30; free for ages 5 and younger

Nearby attractions: Roanoke Island Festival Park, Island Farm, North Carolina Aquarium, Elizabethan Gardens

 

11. Take a guided horseback ride on the grounds of Biltmore Estate.
horseback-riding-at-biltmore11.png

Photo courtesy of Biltmore Estate

Asheville | biltmore.com

Explore trails and woodlands on the grounds of this magnificent French Renaissance chateau on horseback during a one-hour guided tour. Carriage, wagon rides and private tours are also available.

Cost: Guided horseback, $55+; wagon rides, $6-$12; carriage rides, $30.

Nearby attractions: Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina Arboretum, Pisgah National Forest

 

12. Cross the Mile-High Swinging Bridge.

grandfather-mountain-swinging-bridge-aerial-view.png
Photo courtesy of VisitNC.com

Grandfather Mountain | grandfather.com

Crossing a 228-foot suspension bridge (pictured above courtesy of VisitNC.com) is not for the faint-hearted. Name for its elevation, the Mile-High Swinging Bridge spans an 80-foot chasm. Originally built in 1952, the bridge was rebuilt in 1999 using galvanized steel for the cables, rails and floorboards. While there, visit the Grandfather Mountain Nature Museum, 11 hiking trails and seven wildlife habitats to see deer, bald eagles, bears and more.

Cost: $9-$20; free for children ages 3 and younger

Nearby attractions: Linn Cove Visitor Center, Linville Gorge, Linville Falls, Blue Ridge Parkway

 

13. Visit the site of the first U.S. gold rush.

reed-gold-mine13_001.png
Midland | nchistoricsites.org/reed/reed.htm

When you think of a gold rush, California immediately comes to mind, but you might be surprised to learn that the first gold rush in the U.S. occurred right here in North Carolina. Our state also led in gold production until 1848. Reed Gold Mine is now a historic site open for tours.

Cost: Mine tours are free; $3 for gold panning

Nearby attractions: Downtown Midland, a 20-minute drive from Charlotte

 

14. Follow the Yellow Brick Road at Autumn at Oz.

100_0815yellowbrick14_001.png
Photo courtesy of autumnatoz.com

Beech Mountain | autumnatoz.com

The first weekend in October during the Autumn at Oz festival, visitors can explore the Land of Oz, which used to be a thriving theme park that opened in 1970 and closed in 1980. See Dorothy’s farm home, experience the tornado, arrive at Oz and see the beloved cast of characters. 

May 2016 update: The Land of Oz is opening every Friday in June for its Journey With Dorothy special event in celebration of Beech Mountain's Annual Family Fun month.

Cost: $35; free for children ages 2 and younger

Nearby attractions: Beech Mountain Resort, Sugar Mountain Resort, Roan Mountain State Park, Blue Ridge Parkway

 

15. Visit one of Blackbeards favorite islands.

aerial-view-village-of-ocracokeblackbeard15.png
Photo courtesy of VisitNC.com

Ocracoke | ocracokevillage.com

While on the island of Ocracoke, visit Teach’s Hole, a channel named for Edward Teach, the infamous pirate known as Blackbeard. Ocracoke was one of his favorite spots to drop anchor, and it’s also where he lost his life in a fierce battle. Young pirate fans will enjoy the Teach’s Hole “Blackbeard” exhibit and Pirate Specialty Shop. Pictured at right, an aerial view of the Village of Ocracoke. Photo courtesy of VisitNC.com

Cost: Free to visit the island; small admission fee for the exhibit

Nearby attractions: Ocracoke Lighthouse, Springer’s Point Nature Preserve, Portsmouth Island, Ocracoke ponies, Ocracoke Preservation Museum

 

16. Take a carriage ride through historic Wilmington.

wilmington-horse-and-carriage-low-res.jpg

Photo courtesy of Wilmington and Beaches CVB

Wilmington | horsedrawntours.com

From April through October, horse-drawn carriage rides depart daily every 30 minutes from Market Street in historic downtown. Your adventure begins near the waterfront, and from there you’ll pass Old Wilmington’s beautiful mansions and learn about the city’s history. See the website for a November-through-March schedule.

Cost: $5-$12

Nearby attractions: USS North Carolina, Airlie Gardens, Cape Fear Museum, Wilmington Railroad Museum, Henrietta III

 

17. Take a rail excursion on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad.

gsrrgreatsmokeyrail17_001.png
Bryson City, Dillsboro | gsmr.com

Enjoy a scenic train ride with the kids! Choose from day-trip excursion packages and a variety of ticket options to explore the Nantahala Gorge and Tuckasegee River. The Nantahala excursion includes a one-hour layover at the Nantahala Outdoor Center while the Tuckasegree trip offers a layover for shopping in Dillsboro. Be sure to check out the railroad’s special events calendar for dates that include the Dinosaur Train (based on the popular PBS “Dinosaur Train” series), Peanuts Pumpkin Patch Express, The Polar Express and more.

Cost: $20-$94

Nearby attractions: Nantahala Outdoor Center, Cherokee, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

 

Myra Wright is the publisher/editor of Piedmont Parent, a sister publication of Carolina Parent and Charlotte Parent. She loves exploring the state with her husband and three kids.
 

More Family Fun on CarolinaParent.com

Visit these Carolina Parent resources for more events and kids fun:

• Things to Do
• Family Fun
• Seasonal Fun 
• Daily Calendar

SEE ALSO: 8 Family-Friendly Hikes in NC and 10 Playgrounds Worth a Drive and NC By Train and Amtrak Offer Summer $5 Kids Ride Deal

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Calendar

March 2017

Shop for gently used clothing, toys, books, baby equipment and more.

Cost: Free

Where:
The Factory
1839 S Main St
Wake Forest, NC  27587
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Explore "All Matterings of Mind" and get inspired to make your own magical works of art. The Duke Chemistry Society will present “The Magic of Chemistry” and magician...

Cost: Free

Where:
Nasher Museum of Art
2001 Campus Dr.
Durham, NC  27705
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Website »

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Create music and dance-inspired crafts, go on a scavenger hunt for artworks featuring dance and music, or play around with art-inspired poses in the galleries. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Ackland Art Museum
UNC-Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, NC  27514
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Meet nanoscientists from Duke University, NC State University and Triangle MRSEC as they share hands-on activities and interactive demonstrations on all things teeny-tiny. 

Cost: $5 ages 1 and older

Where:
Marbles Kids Museum
201 E. Hargett St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Telephone: 919.834.4040
Contact Name: Taylor Rankin
Website »

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A young girl dreams about taking flight in the makeshift airplane that she has built in her backyard. After a huge storm, she finds an elderly woman who looks and sounds like a bird, but who just...

Cost: $14/adult, $10 ages 12 and younger

Where:
Raleigh Little Theatre
301 Pogue St.
Raleigh, NC  27607
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Enjoy a bouncy castle, inflatables, a playground, field games, face painting, giveaways and a food truck. Sponsored by New City Church, a new church starting in North Raleigh in April. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Williams Park
1525 Lynn Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27612
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Sponsor: New City Church
Telephone: 919-434-1900
Contact Name: Pastor Dylan Dodson
Website »

More information

A young girl dreams about taking flight in the makeshift airplane that she has built in her backyard. After a huge storm, she finds an elderly woman who looks and sounds like a bird, but who just...

Cost: $14/adult, $10 ages 12 and younger

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


Website »

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Preschoolers enjoy stories.

Cost: Free

Where:
East Regional Library
946 Steeple Square Ct.
Knightdale, NC  27545
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Website »

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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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Teens in grades 6-10 read, create and take on challenges.  March is the month of movie release parties, including "Logan" and "The Beauty and the Beast." Build circuits and...

Cost: Free

Where:
East Regional Library
946 Steeple Square Ct.
Knightdale, NC  27545
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Website »

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Toddlers enjoy stories.

Cost: Free

Where:
East Regional Library
946 Steeple Square Ct.
Knightdale, NC  27545
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Website »

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Get ready for spring with an enjoyable story.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble
760 S.E Maynard Rd.
Cary, NC  27511
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Website »

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Get ready for spring with an enjoyable story.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble
760 S.E Maynard Rd.
Cary, NC  27511
View map »


Website »

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Experience a music and movement class. Explore Orff and percussion instruments and do a little jumping and jamming. Call to RSVP.

Cost: Free

Where:
Millbrook Baptist Preschool
1519 E. Millbrook Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
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Sponsor: Millbrook Baptist Preschool
Telephone: 919-876-4030
Contact Name: Suzanne Holleman
Website »

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Kids learn, explore and play outdoors, while doing a fun nature-based activity. Ages 18 mos-5 yrs with parent. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Forest Hills Park - West End
504 E. Forest Hills Blvd.
Durham , NC  27707
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Sponsor: Tinkergarten
Telephone: 919-806-7502
Contact Name: Kate Macartney
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Parent and child enjoy stories, songs, movement, observation and hands-on, creative projects that explore the gardens. Ages 3-5. Register online.

Cost: $7/member, $10/nonmember

Where:
Sarah P. Duke Gardens
420 Anderson St.
Durham, NC  27705
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Telephone: 919-668-1707
Website »

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Babies enjoy stories.

Cost: Free

Where:
East Regional Library
946 Steeple Square Ct.
Knightdale, NC  27545
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Website »

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Ages 5-12 learn about healthy fruits and vegetables, kitchen and food safety, and enjoy a healthy snack. Meet in the bakery side of the cafe. Email sherry.thrasher@wholefoods.com to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Whole Foods North Raleigh
8710 Six Forks Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27615
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Telephone: 919-354-0350
Contact Name: Sherry Thrasher

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Toddlers enjoy stories.

Cost: Free

Where:
East Regional Library
946 Steeple Square Ct.
Knightdale, NC  27545
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy the story about Squirrel's birthday gift to Big Bear.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble
760 S.E Maynard Rd.
Cary, NC  27511
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Enjoy musical storytime with Amy Godfrey. 

Cost: Free

Where:
The Regulator Bookshop
720 Ninth St.
Durham, NC  27705
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Website »

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Babies enjoy stories.

Cost: Free

Where:
East Regional Library
946 Steeple Square Ct.
Knightdale, NC  27545
View map »


Website »

More information

The library's Teen Leadership Corps hosts an opportunity for kids of all ages to come build something special with Lego and Duplo bricks, and play games to improve reading and math skills.

Cost: Free

Where:
East Regional Library
946 Steeple Square Ct.
Knightdale, NC  27545
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Website »

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Preschoolers enjoy stories.

Cost: Free

Where:
East Regional Library
946 Steeple Square Ct.
Knightdale, NC  27545
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy the outdoors with a story read aloud in the gardens. Nature-themed stories are followed by a related activity or garden walk. Ages 3-5. Meet in the Charlotte Brody Discovery Garden Story...

Cost: Free. Parking fees apply

Where:
Sarah P. Duke Gardens
420 Anderson St.
Durham, NC  27705
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Telephone: 919-668-1707
Website »

More information

A young girl dreams about taking flight in the makeshift airplane that she has built in her backyard. After a huge storm, she finds an elderly woman who looks and sounds like a bird, but who just...

Cost: $14/adult, $10 ages 12 and younger

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


Website »

More information

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A day-long conference that features nationally recognized speakers and mental health experts addressing issues associated with faith and mental illness. Breakout session will address caregiver...

Cost: $35

Where:
St. Thomas More
940 Carmichael St.
Chapel Hill, NC  27514
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Sponsor: Faith Connections on Mental Illness
Contact Name: Shaylyn Murphy
Website »

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Learn about "yucky" things and the science behind them. Ages 6-8. Register online. Choose course #199207. 

Cost: $25/child

Where:
Walnut Creek Wetland Center
950 Peterson Street
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 »

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
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Telephone: 919-387-5980
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Enjoy imaginative play in a natural setting. Materials provided. Register online. Choose course code #198886.

Cost: Free

Where:
Wilkerson Nature Preserve
5229 Awls Haven Drive
Raleigh, NC  27614
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Sponsor: City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Telephone: 919-996-6764
Contact Name: Wilkerson staff
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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
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Sponsor: Pump it Up
Telephone: 919-828-3344
Contact Name: Owner/manager Kellie Paterson McHugh
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Kids hike, make projects and engage in nature activities. Ages 5-8. Registration required.

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
Website »

More information

Kids spend a night out in nature making memories and new friends in an old-fashioned, camp-style program. Ages 8-12. Registration required.

Cost: $18/resident, $23/nonresident

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


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

A young girl dreams about taking flight in the makeshift airplane that she has built in her backyard. After a huge storm, she finds an elderly woman who looks and sounds like a bird, but who just...

Cost: $14/adult, $10 ages 12 and younger

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


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Students in grades 3-5 take part in a basketball tournament. Players are guaranteed to play at least three games each. 

Cost: $75/player. $15/spectator admission fee

Where:
Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club
810 N. Alston Ave.
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Website »

More information

Join 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
View map »


Telephone: 919-460-3355
Website »

More information

Join 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 Parkway
Morrisville, NC  27560
View map »


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

More information

Take part in an interactive workshop that illuminates common challenges parents face following divorce, as well as explores techniques that can be used to anticipate and overcome these challenges....

Cost: $26.99

Where:
3820 Merton Drive
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Sponsor: New Direction Family Law
Telephone: 919-719-3470
Contact Name: Jen Bordeaux
Website »

More information

Spend a day with animal friends and enjoy tours of the hospital, labs and grounds, animal care demonstrations, expert Q&As, dog agility demos and more. All ages.

Cost: Free

Where:
NC State College of Veterinary Medicine
1060 William Moore Dr.
Raleigh, NC  2607
View map »


Website »

More information

Cary Judo Club and Karate International of Cary presents its 3rd Annual St. Baldrick's Fundraiser. In addition to the "Brave a Shave for Kids with Cancer" head...

Cost: Free

Where:
Karate International of Cary
250 Nottingham Drive
Cary, NC  27511
View map »


Sponsor: Cary Judo & Karate International of Cary
Telephone: 919-539-9937
Contact Name: Chris Collins
Website »

More information

Pick up a scavenger hunt card at the Information Desk in the West Building, and follow the clues to find fragrant flowers and artful treasures in the galleries. Free with "Art in Bloom"...

Cost: $13/members and $18/nonmembers. Free for ages 6 and younger

Where:
N.C. Museum of Art
2110 Blue Ridge Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
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Telephone: 919-839-6262
Website »

More information

Take the family to enjoy a garden festival. Learn about bees and bugs, take part in hands-on learning activities and garden crafts, and see birdhouses on display. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $5/nonmember, $10/family. Free for members.

Where:
JC Raulston Arboretum at NCSU
4415 Beryl Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27606
View map »


Sponsor: JC Raulston Arboretum
Telephone: 919-513-7011
Contact Name: Elizabeth Overcash
Website »

More information

Enjoy the town's annual egg hunt.

Cost: Free

Where:
Zebulon Municipal Complex
301 S. Arendell Ave.
Zebulon, NC  27597
View map »


Telephone: 919-269-7455
Website »

More information

Enjoy the outdoors with the family. Kids can play in an over-sized sandbox or making wheatgrass containers for home windowsills. Adults can learn about the newest techniques in gardening and...

Cost: Free

Where:
South White Street Downtown Wake Forest
301 S. Brooks St.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
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Sponsor: Town of Wake Forest
Contact Name: Lisa Hayes
Website »

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Enjoy pottery demonstrations, kiln openings, raku firings, glass blowing demos, food trucks, live music, a raffle and more. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Cedar Creek Gallery
1150 Fleming Rd.
Creedmoor, NC  27522
View map »


Sponsor: Cedar Creek Gallery
Telephone: 919-528-1041
Contact Name: Jennifer Dolan
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. Advance registration required online.

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

Enjoy a pop-up market featuring perfect gifts for Easter baskets, Mother's Day, Father's Day and more. https://www.facebook.com/events/600484073473736/

Cost: Free

Where:
Windborne United Methodist Church
9121 Six Forks Road
Raleigh, NC  27615
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Sponsor: Windborne United Methodist Church
Telephone: 919-386-0212
Contact Name: Lu
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Visit Stagville for an open house and learn about the Cameron's role in bringing the railroad to North Carolina. Make your own train car. Suggested donation of $1 per person.

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Stagville
5828 Old Oxford Road
Durham, NC  27712
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Sponsor: Historic Stagville
Telephone: 919-620-0120
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Kids learn, explore and play outdoors, while doing a fun nature-based activity. Ages 18 mos-5 yrs with parent.

Cost: Free

Where:
Briar Chapel
Catullo Run/Briar Chapel Pkwy
Chapel Hill, NC  27516
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Sponsor: Tinkergarten
Telephone: 919-274-7933
Contact Name: Heather Murphy
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Residents and their canine friends are invited to the Dog-Gone Egg Hunt at Piney Wood Park from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. Dogs must meet the minimum vaccination requirements of the dog park. Non-dog...

Cost: Free

Where:
Piney Wood
400 E. Woodcroft Pkwy.
Durham, NC  27713
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All ages help with trail maintenance, clearing the Bennett family cemetery and fixing the fence around the historic garden. The rain date is April 8. For more information, email...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bennet Place State Historic Site
4409 Bennett Memorial Rd.
Durham, NC  27705
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Select Sitters is excited to provide an opportunity for families to meet with and interview its prescreened babysitters and nannies. Babysitter Speed Dating allows each family to connect with...

Cost: $15 for prospective clients

Where:
Snickerdoodles Play Cafe
3721 Lynn Rd #112
Raleigh, NC  27613
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Sponsor: Select Sitters
Telephone: 919-561-6233
Contact Name: Kara Varnell
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Celebrate spring and the great outdoors. Kids can play in an oversized sandbox, make wheatgrass containers for home windowsills, paint with mud, and peruse assorted fossils and animal skeletons....

Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Wake Forest
S. White St.
, NC  27587
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Enjoy storytime with a community farm member, a book swap via Little Free Library, and free play in a natural playground.   

Cost: Free

Where:
The Community Farm at Camp Chestnut Ridge
2902 Mount Willing Rd.
Efland, NC  27243
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Contact Name: Sandy Straw
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Take part in a free trial class with Tinkergarten Leader Heather Murphy. Children of various ages and needs explore, problem solve, communicate, collaborate, and create together....

Cost: Free

Where:
Briar Chapel
Catullo Run/Briar Chapel Pkwy
Chapel Hill, NC  27516
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Sponsor: Tinkergarten
Telephone: 919-274-7933
Contact Name: Heather Murphy
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Kids learn, explore and play outdoors, while doing a fun nature-based activity. Ages 18 mos-5 yrs with parent.

Cost: Free

Where:
Forest Hills Park - West End
504 E. Forest Hills Blvd.
Durham, NC  27707
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Sponsor: Tinkergarten
Telephone: 919-806-7502
Contact Name: Kate Macartney
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Children enjoy free arts and crafts. p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; text-align: center; -webkit-hyphens: auto; font: 20.0px 'Times New Roman'; color: #323333; -webkit-text-stroke:...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Halle Cultural Center
237 N. Salem St.
Apex, NC  27502
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Families enjoy stories.

Cost: Free

Where:
East Regional Library
946 Steeple Square Ct.
Knightdale, NC  27545
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Take the family for a birthday party that includes face painting, balloon twisters, pony rides, soccer, art and music activities, games and more. 

Cost: Free

Where:
The Goddard School
1162 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd.
Chapel Hill, NC  27514
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Sponsor: The Goddard School
Telephone: 919-933-9022
Contact Name: Seema Naik
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p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 15.0px Calibri; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000} span.s1 {font-kerning: none} Celebrate the release of the new "Beauty and the Beast"...

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble
760 S.E Maynard Rd.
Cary, NC  27511
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Join a textile artist and long-time sewing instructor for this class designed for brand new beginners and re-entry sewers. The class covers tools and sewing concepts, machine threading and...

Cost: $30

Where:
The Scrap Exchange
2050 Chapel Hill Road
Durham, NC  27707
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Sponsor: The Scrap Exchange
Telephone: 919-213-1278
Contact Name: Anna Graves
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Families enjoy a 45-minute interactive tour for kids ages 5–11 and their adult companions. Free with "Art in Bloom" exhibit admission.

Cost: $13/members and $18/nonmembers. Free for ages 6 and younger

Where:
N.C. Museum of Art
2110 Blue Ridge Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
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Telephone: 919-839-6262
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A young girl dreams about taking flight in the makeshift airplane that she has built in her backyard. After a huge storm, she finds an elderly woman who looks and sounds like a bird, but who just...

Cost: $14/adult, $10 ages 12 and younger

Where:
Raleigh Little Theatre
301 Pogue St.
Raleigh, NC  27607
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Families enjoy a 45-minute interactive tour for kids ages 5–11 and their adult companions. Free with "Art in Bloom" exhibit admission.

Cost: $13/members and $18/nonmembers. Free for ages 6 and younger

Where:
N.C. Museum of Art
2110 Blue Ridge Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
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Telephone: 919-839-6262
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Search for early wildflowers. Meet in front of Bond Park Community Center. All ages with adult. Advance registration required online.

Cost: $16/resident, $20/nonresident

Where:
Bond Park
801 High House Rd.
Cary, NC
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Telephone: 919-387-5980
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Wander through the wetlands to net some macroinvertebrates, learn how to identify them and discuss their value in the aquatic environment. Wear clothing that can get wet. All ages. Advance...

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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Read plant-themed stories, paint colorful garden rocks, and learn how flowers and vegetables grow by planting seeds to take home. This program is perfect for families with children ages 4 and older.

Cost: Free

Where:
Chapel Hill Public Library
100 Library Drive
Chapel Hill, NC  27514
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p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 13.0px Verdana; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000} span.s1 {font-kerning: none} Learn about the meaning and 16th-century origins of this saying...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, AL
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
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Budding photographers can take on photo missions designed to challenge their creativity and improve their photography skills. DSL and phone cameras encouraged. Wear comfortable shoes and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Joyner Park Amphitheater
701 Harris Rd.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
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Telephone: 559-281-0661
Contact Name: Brett Rounsaville

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See a show that benefits individuals in South Uganda. Students from  p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Consolas; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000} span.s1 {font-kerning: none}...

Cost: $25/person

Where:
North Raleigh Arts and Creative Theatre
7713-51 Lead Mine Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27615
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Sponsor: Stage Door Dance Productions
Telephone: 919-720-3036
Contact Name: Chasta Hamilton Calhoun
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A young girl dreams about taking flight in the makeshift airplane that she has built in her backyard. After a huge storm, she finds an elderly woman who looks and sounds like a bird, but who just...

Cost: $14/adult, $10 ages 12 and younger

Where:
Raleigh Little Theatre
301 Pogue St.
Raleigh, NC  27607
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Find eggs in a swimming pool. An adult will need to enter the water with children 9 years old and younger.  Life jackets provided. Advance registration required online. Choose course...

Cost: $6-11

Where:
Campus Hills Pool
2000 S. Alston Ave.
Durham, NC
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Join Capitol staff for a unique glimpse of the state capitol building, a 19th-century treasure. Participants must be at least 10 years old and comfortable climbing stairs and being in confined...

Cost: $17/person

Where:
N.C. State Capitol
1 E. Edenton St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Annual Guides

GPS [Go. Play. See]

GPS, soon to be replaced by The Triangle Go-To Guide, connects you to all the Triangle has to offer, from museum expansions to new parks and schools to youth sports and family fun. Plus, discover our 2016 Readers' Favorites.

Education Guide

The 2016-17 Education Guide offers 643 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

The Triangle Go-To Guide will replace the GPS in 2017 and continue to connect you to family fun resources across the Triangle. Plus, find out who our 2017 Readers' Favorites are.