What Dads Want for Father’s Day


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Photo by Tuzemka/Shutterstock

At the church service on Mother’s Day, the pastor turned around from the altar and smiled. He looked out into the congregation and welcomed the parishioners. 

“The church on Mother’s Day is always extra crowded, whereas come Father’s Day, the church is half full. This is because mothers say, ‘Oh, I want to go to church with my family.’ However, when Father’s Day rolls around, dads want to go fishing.” Everyone laughed, including me, even though I don’t fish.

My 12-year-old daughter, Jessie, turns 13 in a few months. How is it possible for this to be my last Father’s Day with a tween daughter? How in the world did the baby I rocked in my arms in our blue La-Z-Boy grow taller than her mother? 

As I ponder the changes past and the changes yet to come, I gave thought to what dads want. Father’s Day is right around the corner. Is it time for me to take up fishing? 

I’m not just any dad. I had a successful 20-year career in banking, accounting and auditing. I remember the breadwinner stresses — going to work before sunrise, drinking too much coffee and soda, sleeping way too few hours. Heck, one time I dressed in the dark, trying not to wake up my wife, and ended up at a one-day conference wearing one black shoe and one brown shoe.

Then, after almost 20 years of marriage, at the youthful age of 44, I became a father. Goodbye suits, ties and brief case. Hello, apron, vacuum cleaner and dust cloth. Instead of conversing with colleagues at the water cooler, my communication took place with a baby and my friend, Shout, in the laundry room. So, who better to pull together a list of what dads want for Father’s Day than someone who has been on both sides of the fence — the hard-working breadwinner and the 24/7 stay-at-home parent who’s gone through the baby, toddler, little girl and tween years? This is not going to be the normal list of gifts, like a snazzy tie or cotton socks.

But before I list the five items that made the final cut, here were a few contenders, especially pertinent to the older tween, and my guess, teenagers.

  • To see Jessie’s furniture in her bedroom. At least, I think there’s still furniture underneath the clutter in her room.
  • To regain control of the car radio station for the day. Somehow, Jessie has appointed herself “Dictator of the Radio.” This is not a good thing and the situation is magnified by Jessie’s choice of music. I miss Barry Manilow and Air Supply.
  • To get a good deal on a cellendectomy. I pray never to lose my daughter, but if she would get lost in a crowd, or the clutter in her room, I only need to call her cell phone.

OK, all joking aside, here’s my top five list of gifts that dads would enjoy on Father’s Day. A 55-inch flat screen television! Nah, I don’t want to start my list with a big, tangible, impersonal item. Let’s start over. 

  • The gift of food. For my birthday and special occasions, Jessie and my wife make me a Jell-O cake with the most delicious of frostings, a mixture of powdered sugar and Cool Whip. Please note that Dad shouldn’t have to help clean the kitchen if a flour, sugar and egg slime tornado hits.
  • The gift of peace. Let’s face it, whether dad works from home or his job takes him outside the house, fathers deserve (and need) a little peace and quiet. Some fathers might find it out on a lake holding a fishing rod, while others rejuvenate in a church pew during a Sunday morning service. And then there are some fathers who simply enjoy kicking back on the sofa in front of their new 55-inch flat screen TV. A quiet block of time for a nap fits nicely here, too.
  • The gift of time. We are all faced with limited time, our most precious resource. I think everyone struggles with how they balance their time between family, work and other commitments. I miss the days when Jessie and I colored together, did puzzles and had picnics any place a blanket could be tossed. I’d turn off a 55-inch TV to have her squeeze into the La-Z-Boy with me to read her books like I used to. Fellow men, don’t think less of me, but I miss reading Fancy Nancy.
  • The gift of love. We all need love. Dads enjoy when their efforts and the sacrifices they make for their family are appreciated. “Thank you” means a lot. Communicating respect and words that reflect love and admiration go a long way.
  • The gift already delivered. My best gift was already delivered ... and not from Amazon. No gift, not even a 55-inch flat screen TV, will provide this dad with greater joy than the one I unwrapped to change a dirty diaper almost 13 years ago. That gift makes me want to work harder and to be not just a good role model for her, but also a better man and husband. 

My family doesn’t watch a lot of TV, but we catch a few select shows and I like my college football. Jessie, the dancer in the family, jumps off the sofa and performs impromptu dances during Dancing with the Stars. Her dances fill my heart with joy and my eyes with moisture. Jessie is happy and healthy. She sings and dances. Her self-esteem is high. Isn’t that what all dads want for their children? Even more than going fishing or a new 55-inch TV.

 

Patrick Hempfing is a former CPA turned stay-at-home dad who writes the self-syndicated column, “MoMENts,” about the joys and challenges of parenthood. He closes each column with the reminder to cherish the moments. His book, MoMENts: A Dad Holds On, is a compilation of his tender, humorous columns and new material. Learn more at patrickhempfing.com.

 

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August 2017

Kids can enjoy a free cookie with any purchase, and enjoy kid's books, chess, tic tac toe, and card games. 

Cost: Free

Where:
41 North Coffee Company
41 N. Main St.
Wendell, NC  27591
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Sponsor: 41 North Coffee Co
Telephone: 919-995-0680
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Cost: $10/adult, $7/child

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New Hope Valley Railway
3900 Bonsal Rd.
New Hill, NC  27562
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New Hope Valley Railway
3917 Bonsal Rd.
New Hill, NC  27562
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Clowns, daredevils, dance groups, contortionists and more highlight this lively circus act. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $19-$35

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PNC Arena
1400 Edwards Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
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Cost: $5/adult, $3 ages 7-16. Free for ages 6 and younger

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
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Children make treasured memories while increasing their knowledge of plants and animals. Ages 7-10. Register online.

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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Cost: $1/person

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
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PNC Arena
1400 Edwards Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
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Clowns, daredevils, dance groups, contortionists and more highlight this lively circus act. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $19-$35

Where:
PNC Arena
1400 Edwards Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
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Enjoy the spectacle of giant puppets, stilt dancers, shadow puppets and live music. All ages. A pre-show begins at 6:20 p.m.

Cost: Suggested donations are $8 for kids, $15 for adults

Where:
Forest Theatre
123 S. Boundary St.
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Telephone: 919-962-0522
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Cost: $2/child

Where:
Crowder District Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd.
Apex, NC
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Telephone: 919-662-2850
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Learn about water. Playing a water cycle game and take part in a water recycling relay race. Ages 6–13. Meet at the Beech Shelter Register online.

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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Toddlers enjoy a story.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble
760 S.E Maynard Rd.
Cary, NC  27511
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Kids ages 6 and younger enjoy stories. Take part in an optional arts and crafts session after storytime for $5.

Cost: Free

Where:
Read With Me Book Shop
111 E. Hargett St., $110
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Join others for an easy-paced walk along the greenway accompanied by a naturalist. Registration encouraged. Choose course #203546.

Cost: Free

Where:
Walnut Creek Wetland Park
950 Peterson St.
Raleigh, NC  27610
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Sponsor: Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Telephone: 919-996-2760
Contact Name: Stacie Hagwood
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Cost: $1/person

Where:
Crowder District Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd.
Apex, NC
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Telephone: 919-662-2850
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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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Clowns, daredevils, dance groups, contortionists and more highlight this lively circus act. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $19-$35

Where:
PNC Arena
1400 Edwards Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

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Orphaned in India, 11-year-old Mary Lennox returns to Yorkshire to live with her embittered, reclusive uncle Archibald and his son Colin. The estate's many wonders include a magic...

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Fletcher Theater
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Cost: $7-$10

Where:
Sky Zone Durham
1720 Guess Rd., Ste. 90
Durham, NC  27701
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Ages 3-6 enjoy fun games and drills. Call to RSVP.  

Cost: $5/child

Where:
Fitness4Life
6701 Glenwood Ave.
Suite 103
Raleigh, NC  27612
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Sponsor: Fitness4Life
Telephone: 919-787-2250
Contact Name: George Whitten
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Enjoy a story.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble Cary
760 S.E. Maynard Rd.
Cary, NC  27511
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Telephone: 919-467-3866
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Cost: Free

Where:
The Regulator Bookshop
720 Ninth St.
Durham, NC  27705
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Kids ages 6 and younger enjoy stories. Take part in an optional arts and crafts session after storytime for $5.

Cost: Free

Where:
Read With Me Book Shop
111 E. Hargett St., $110
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Website »

More information

Clowns, daredevils, dance groups, contortionists and more highlight this lively circus act. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $19-$35

Where:
PNC Arena
1400 Edwards Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
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Cost: Free

Where:
Dorothea Dix Park Big Field
Barbour Dr.
Raleigh, NC
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Sponsor: City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
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Read "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" and discover caterpillars' favorite foods. Learn the life cycle of butterflies and make a caterpillar necklace. Ages 3-5 with adult. Register online.

Cost: $4/child

Where:
Crowder District Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd.
Apex, NC
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Telephone: 919-662-2850
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Cost: Free

Where:
Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Parkway
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 919-460-3355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
Website »

More information

Orphaned in India, 11-year-old Mary Lennox returns to Yorkshire to live with her embittered, reclusive uncle Archibald and his son Colin. The estate's many wonders include a magic...

Cost: See website for fees

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


Website »

More information

Clowns, daredevils, dance groups, contortionists and more highlight this lively circus act. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $19-$35

Where:
PNC Arena
1400 Edwards Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

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Explore the ways you can plan ahead for the heat and care for yourself while outdoors on hot days. Explore how wildlife deals with the heat. All ages. Register online.

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Clowns, daredevils, dance groups, contortionists and more highlight this lively circus act. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $19-$35

Where:
PNC Arena
1400 Edwards Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

Orphaned in India, 11-year-old Mary Lennox returns to Yorkshire to live with her embittered, reclusive uncle Archibald and his son Colin. The estate's many wonders include a magic...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Fletcher Theater
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Make music with FIT4MOM Chapel Hill and Erica Berry, Director of Jammin Baby. Enjoy songs and rhymes, movement activities, and instrument play.

Cost: Free

Where:
Southern Village Green
400 Market St.
Chapel Hill, NC  27516
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Parent and child explore the gardens together to find the perfect spot to spread a picnic blanket for garden stories and crafts. Ages 3-5. Program begins at the Bobby G. Wilder...

Cost: $5/nonmembers. Free for members

Where:
JC Raulston Arboretum
4415 Beryl Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27606
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Sponsor: JC Raulston Arboretum
Telephone: 919-513-7011
Contact Name: Elizabeth Overcash
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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
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Sponsor: Babies On The MOVE
Contact Name: Rebecca Quinones
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Parent and child explore the gardens together to find the perfect spot to spread a picnic blanket for garden stories and crafts. Ages 3-5. Program begins at the Bobby G. Wilder...

Cost: $5/nonmembers. Free for members

Where:
JC Raulston Arboretum
4415 Beryl Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27606
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Telephone: 919-513-7011
Contact Name: Elizabeth Overcash
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Preschoolers enjoy a story.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble
8030 Renaissance Parkway, Ste. 855
Durham, NC  27713
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Telephone: 919-806-1930
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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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Hear a few of tales about corn, learn corn facts, and make a corny craft to take home. All ages with adult. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, AL
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

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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
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Sponsor: Babies On The MOVE
Contact Name: Rebecca Quinones
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Preschoolers enjoy a story.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble
5959 Triangle Town Blvd.
Raleigh, NC  27616
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Telephone: 919-806-1930
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Discover wildlife, their habits and their habitats through hikes, activities and crafts. Ages 5-8. 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
Website »

More information

Kids explore nature, play games and make a craft. Dress to get dirty. Ages 5-10. Register online. Choose course #203560.

Cost: $4/child

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


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

More information

Play super-sized classic favorites, become a mini golf master, build and drop parachutes off a treehouse, design your own gamepiece and more. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $25/family

Where:
Kidzu Children's Museum
201 S. Estes Dr.
Chapel Hill, NC  27514
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Sponsor: Kidzu Children's Museum
Telephone: 919-933-1455
Contact Name: Kidzu Marketing
Website »

More information

Enjoy the spectacle of giant puppets, stilt dancers, shadow puppets and live music. All ages. A pre-show begins at 6:20 p.m.

Cost: Suggested donations are $8 for kids, $15 for adults

Where:
Forest Theatre
123 S. Boundary St.
Chapel Hill, NC  27514
View map »


Telephone: 919-962-0522
Website »

More information

Play nature games, observe nocturnal animals, and roast s'mores around the campfire. All ages with adult. Register online.

Cost: $1/person

Where:
Crowder District Park
4709 Ten Ten Rd.
Apex, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

Orphaned in India, 11-year-old Mary Lennox returns to Yorkshire to live with her embittered, reclusive uncle Archibald and his son Colin. The estate's many wonders include a magic...

Cost: See website for fees

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


Website »

More information

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Kindergarten students entering the traditional school calendar practice a lunch line, get moving at recess, hop on a school bus and more.  

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Toddler Time is a special time for ages 5 and younger to bounce under the supervision of their parents, and without interference from the big kids. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $7-$10

Where:
Sky Zone Durham
1720 Guess Rd., Ste. 90
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Website »

More information

Step back in time with a 19th-century costumed interpreter and watch the millstones at work grinding corn into meal. Registration encouraged online. Tickets available at the...

Cost: $5/adult, $3 ages 7-16. Free for ages 6 and younger

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

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Cost: Free

Where:
Park West Village
Village Market Place
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Triangle Children's Business Fair
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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: $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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Infants-age 6 enjoy storytime featuring books related to a particular social justice theme. Stories are paired with an activity and music. May: Differently Abled People; June: Women...

Cost: Free

Where:
302 West Main Street
Durham, NC  27701
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Sponsor: Social Justice Storytime
Telephone: 919-714-3377
Contact Name: Jessica Hulick
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Cost: Free

Where:
Northgate Mall
1058 W. Club Blvd.
Durham, NC  27701
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Kids ages 6 and younger enjoy stories. Take part in an optional arts and crafts session after storytime for $5.

Cost: Free

Where:
Read With Me Book Shop
111 E. Hargett St., $110
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Website »

More information

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Cost: $30 (tuition + materials)

Where:
The Scrap Exchange
2050 Chapel Hill Rd.
Durham, NC  27707
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Sponsor: The Scrap Exchange
Telephone: 191-921-31278
Contact Name: Anna Graves
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Cost: $18/resident, $24/nonresident

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


Telephone: 919-387-5980
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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
Website »

More information

Step back in time with a 19th-century costumed interpreter and watch the millstones at work grinding corn into meal. Registration encouraged online. Tickets available at the...

Cost: $5/adult, $3 ages 7-16. Free for ages 6 and younger

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


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Leigh Farm Park
370 Leigh Farm Rd.
Durham, NC  27707
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Sponsor: Durham Parks and Recreation
Telephone: 919-560-1116
Contact Name: Natalya Buckel
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Cost: Free

Where:
Hillsborough Street
2011 Hillsborough St.
Raleigh, NC  27607
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Sponsor: Live it Up! Hillsborough Street Community Service Corporation
Contact Name: Lara Bannister
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Cost: Free

Where:
thecoderschool - Cary
201 Davis Grove Circle
Cary, NC  27519
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Sponsor: theCoderSchool - Cary
Telephone: 919-234-5193
Contact Name: Nidhi Joshi
Website »

More information

Orphaned in India, 11-year-old Mary Lennox returns to Yorkshire to live with her embittered, reclusive uncle Archibald and his son Colin. The estate's many wonders include a magic...

Cost: See website for fees

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


Website »

More information

Enjoy the spectacle of giant puppets, stilt dancers, shadow puppets and live music. All ages. A pre-show begins at 6:20 p.m.

Cost: Suggested donations are $8 for kids, $15 for adults

Where:
Forest Theatre
123 S. Boundary St.
Chapel Hill, NC  27514
View map »


Telephone: 919-962-0522
Website »

More information

Orphaned in India, 11-year-old Mary Lennox returns to Yorkshire to live with her embittered, reclusive uncle Archibald and his son Colin. The estate's many wonders include a magic...

Cost: See website for fees

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


Website »

More information

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Cost: $29-$39. Free for ages 5 and younger; ticket required.

Where:
N.C. Museum of Art
2110 Blue Ridge Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

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Directories

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Annual Guides

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

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