Who Can You Trust for Online Health Information?


Published:

Keeping everyone in the family healthy is a parent's top priority. That's why, even before H1N1 showed up, health information was the topic people were most likely to look for online. Unfortunately, the sheer quantity of online information makes finding what you want like drinking from a fire hose.

While researching health information on your own doesn't replace a face-to-face visit with your health care provider — especially for serious concerns — you can find reliable health information if you start with the right Web site. At one end of the spectrum are search engines such as Medline, with technical terms and clinical studies designed for people with medical training. Generic search engines, like Google, are at the other extreme. Typing a health condition or, even worse, a symptom into an all-purpose search engines is like asking for health advice from the next 10 people you see. You may luck out and find a doctor or a nurse, but you're also likely to find plenty of people who have strong opinions based on little more than their own experience — or their desire to sell an ineffectual product at inflated prices.

When someone you love isn't feeling well, the last thing you need is a Web site with an ax to grind, a product to sell or a conspiracy theory to defend. You need sound, sensible advice derived from reliable scientific research as well as practical experience. Here are some Web sites that provide that winning combination:

WebMD.com has earned its reputation as a first-rate health portal. Journalists committed to impartial coverage of medical news staff the site. An independent medical board reviews content, which is clearly differentiated from advertising and sponsored messages. A special section about Parenthood and Pregnancy includes active bulletin boards moderated by experts so discussions stay civil.

Healthychildren.org is a new Web site from the American Academy of Pediatrics that gives parents answers to the kinds of questions they would ask if they had unlimited time with the pediatrician. In addition to a comprehensive Ages and Stages section, the site provides advice about preventing health problems and detailed information on 300 of the most common childhood health problems.

Healthline.com has a Symptom Checker where you can search for causes of common problems like headache or earache. For each symptom, the Symptom Checker generates a list of potential causes with related symptoms that makes it easier to zero in on the most likely problem. The site also has a treatment search tool that generates a list of treatment options that include alternative treatments graded for efficacy.

Righthealth.com functions like a standard search engine but searches only health sites with a reputation for quality, such as medical journals, research institutes and nonprofit agencies. The result is a "guide" that sorts information into helpful categories including articles, news, videos, research, reference, advice, organizations and even personal experience. Tabs at the top of each search results page help you drill down if you want to know about symptoms, treatment, causes or prevention.

Bing.com, a new multipurpose search engine from Microsoft, is an exception to the rule about not using generic search engines for health information. "Quick tabs" on the left side of every search help you focus your search more precisely on, for example, treatment or causes. The material that appears when you click on these tabs is drawn from a library of authoritative sources that are clearly labeled.

Health on the Net (www.hon.ch) is an international nonprofit that developed the first certification system for online health information. HON now has its own search engine, which returns only sites that have met its criteria for being trustworthy. You can further filter search results to get only sites relevant to children, women, seniors and other specific groups. It's also worth bookmarking the Mother and Child Glossary, which provides basic information about topics like pregnancy and common childhood illnesses (www.hon.ch/Dossier/MotherChild).

Medlineplus.gov gives parents remarkably easy access to a wide range of resources from the National Library of Medicine as well as the National Institutes of Health. In addition to a comprehensive medical encyclopedia and a dictionary of medical terms, the site offers directories of health providers and even information about health insurance. If you're looking for information about a specific area, such as autism or sports injuries, check the Other Resources section for organizations grouped by health topic. The patient or consumer sections of these specialized Web sites are often excellent sources of information about specific conditions.

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) (http://nccam.nih.gov) provides candid advice about the pros and cons of alternative practices ranging from acupuncture to yoga as well as supplements such as Hoodia and Valerian. Under the section "Be an Informed Consumer," you'll find detailed advice about evaluating health Web sites as well as information about what to do if your health insurer is unwilling to pay for CAM treatments.

No matter where it comes from, online health information should supplement and not replace consultation with your physician. Doctors often have ambivalent feelings about patients who pre-research medical conditions online, in part because health care providers have to re-educate those who have been seduced by improbable claims and wishful thinking. By using reliable health information sites, your online research can help contribute to informed decisions that will protect and improve the health of your family.

Carolyn Jabs has been writing about families and the Internet for more than 15 years. She is the mother of three computer-savvy kids.

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Calendar

January 2020

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Hope Community Building
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Cost: $70/month

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Hope Community Building
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Telephone: 191-990-25432
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Cost: 20

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5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
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Cost: See website for fees

Where:
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Contact Name: LetsRoam!
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Cost: Free

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5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
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Telephone: 704-391-3900
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More information

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Cost: $15-$35

Where:
Participating Restaurants
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Website »

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Downtown
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Contact Name: Kelly
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Cost: $70/month

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Hope Community Building
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Telephone: 191-990-25432
Contact Name: Leigh Hamm
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Cost: For all ages; FREE. Registration is required for all family members,& children

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Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

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Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

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4709 Ten-Ten Rd
Apex, NC  27529
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Telephone: 919-662-2850
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More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
Charlotte, NC  28214
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Sponsor: USNWC
Telephone: 704-391-3900
Website »

More information

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Cost: 20

Where:
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5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
Charlotte, NC  28214
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Sponsor: USNWC
Telephone: 704-391-3900
Website »

More information

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Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
Website »

More information

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Cost: $15-$35

Where:
Participating Restaurants
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Sponsor: Triangle Blvd
Telephone: 919-673-5784
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

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St. David's School Performing Arts Center
3400 White Oak Road
Raleigh, NC  27609
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More information

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Cost: Ticket prices start at $15

Where:
PlayMakers' Repertory Company
120 Country Club Rd
Chapel Hill, NC  27599
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Cost: Free

Where:
Jim Graham Building
1025 Blue Ridge Road
Raleigh, NC  27607
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Cost: $11

Where:
Downtown
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Sponsor: Let's Roam
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: Kelly
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More information

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Cost: $70/month

Where:
Hope Community Building
2080 E Williams St
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Apex/Holly Springs, NC  27539
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Telephone: 191-990-25432
Contact Name: Leigh Hamm
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
Charlotte, NC  28214
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Sponsor: USNWC
Telephone: 704-391-3900
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More information

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Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
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Cost: 20

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
Charlotte, NC  28214
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Sponsor: USNWC
Telephone: 704-391-3900
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Cost: $75-$216

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Cost: $225

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Cost: $225

Where:
Hope Community Church- Apex
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Apex, NC  27539
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Cost: $15-$35

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Participating Restaurants
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Telephone: 919-673-5784
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Telephone: 919-624-9568
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Cost: Ticket prices start at $15

Where:
PlayMakers' Repertory Company
120 Country Club Rd
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View map »


Telephone: 919-962-7529

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Forget tourist-filled museums, make your own memories with a photo scavenger hunt tour in Raleigh! On a Let’s Roam scavenger hunt, you and your team will work together to wander throughout...

Cost: $11

Where:
500 S Salisbury St
raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Let's Roam
Website »

More information

Join us for the Kids Exchange Spring/Summer Consignment Sale in February!   This FREE ADMISSION event is the largest kids consignment sale in the nation and is held at the NC State Fairgrounds...

Cost: Free

Where:
Jim Graham Building
1025 Blue Ridge Road
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »

More information

Amongst the ancient oak trees is the heart of Raleigh. We'll help you see the forest for the trees and all its magic splendor. Tourist, local, or new to town, this is a lively small group activity...

Cost: $11

Where:
Downtown
500 S Salisbury St
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Let's Roam
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: Kelly
Website »

More information

Join us for the Kids Exchange Spring/Summer Consignment Sale in July! This FREE ADMISSION event is the largest kids consignment sale in the nation and is held at the NC State Fairgrounds at...

Cost: 0 – $10

Where:
Jim Graham Building
1025 Blue Ridge Road
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

Kindermusik is a research-based early childhood curriculum that includes 45-minute classroom lessons with materials and resources that encourages parental involvement . Research has linked...

Cost: $70/month

Where:
Hope Community Building
2080 E Williams St
Hope Community Building, Fuquay Varina Room
Apex/Holly Springs, NC  27539
View map »


Telephone: 191-990-25432
Contact Name: Leigh Hamm
Website »

More information

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Raleigh Convention Center
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Sponsor: Marketplace Events
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Contact Name: Liz Morgan

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Cost: Free

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1 Glenwood Ave
#105
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Telephone: (919) 863-2561
Website »

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Sign up for a Raleigh scavenger hunt and put on your best Nick Cage impression as you seek out the national treasures hidden in Raleigh. Via an app, be guided through the cultural, historical,...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
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Lights is a half-mile walking trail that leads viewers through a series of immersive light installations featuring  honeycombs, vines, crystals, and other natural features integrated into the...

Cost: Free

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
Charlotte, NC  28214
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Sponsor: USNWC
Telephone: 704-391-3900
Website »

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Skate on an ice trail or free skate on 17,000 sq. ft of ice. Located in the Upper Pond of the Whitewater Center, the skating environment features three distinct programming areas and an on-ice...

Cost: 20

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
Charlotte, NC  28214
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Sponsor: USNWC
Telephone: 704-391-3900
Website »

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Triangle Restaurant Week (January 20-26, 2020) is a week-long celebration of culinary excellence designed to incorporate the premier Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and surrounding area restaurants....

Cost: $15-$35

Where:
Participating Restaurants
, NC


Sponsor: Triangle Blvd
Telephone: 919-673-5784
Website »

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Take a hike after dark and enjoy the sights and sounds of a quiet night along the American Tobacco Trail. We will walk to the Beaver Creek bridge and back (about one mile total). Free for ages 4...

Cost: Free

Where:
American Tobacco Trail
1309 New Hill-Olive Chapel Rd.
Apex, NC  27502
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Sponsor: Harris Lake County Park and the American Tobacco Trail
Telephone: 919-387-4342
Contact Name: Joanne St. Clair
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Hounded by Death, the character of Everybody desperately seeks out everyone and everything they know in hope of finding something meaningful to take to the grave. These 90 minutes of theatrical...

Cost: Ticket prices start at $15

Where:
PlayMakers' Repertory Company
120 Country Club Rd
Chapel Hill, NC  27599
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Telephone: 919-962-7529

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Rumpelstiltskin-A Tale of Gold Book by Ellie FaggionMusic and Lyrics written by Brian Shrager and Ellie FaggionProduced by special arrangement with the author.Directed by Beth Wilson...

Cost: varies

Where:
Spiritual Twist Productions
1250 Aversboro Road
Garner, NC  27529
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Sponsor: Spiritual Twist Productions
Telephone: 919-977-1976
Contact Name: Kathy MacDonald
Website »

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David Burney, lead singer for the acclaimed Johnny Cash tribute band Johnny Folsom 4, brings his one-man show to The ArtsCenter for three shows, January 24-26, 2020.  In “Hello, I’m...

Cost: $15 to $20

Where:
The ArtsCenter
300-G East Main St.
300-G East Main Street.
Carrboro, NC  27510
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Sponsor: The ArtsCenter
Telephone: 919-929-2787
Contact Name: Patrick Phelps-Mckeown
Website »

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Forget tourist-filled museums, make your own memories with a photo scavenger hunt tour in Raleigh! On a Let’s Roam scavenger hunt, you and your team will work together to wander throughout...

Cost: $11

Where:
500 S Salisbury St
raleigh, NC  27601
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Sponsor: Let's Roam
Website »

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Join us for the Kids Exchange Spring/Summer Consignment Sale in July! This FREE ADMISSION event is the largest kids consignment sale in the nation and is held at the NC State Fairgrounds at...

Cost: 0 – $10

Where:
Jim Graham Building
1025 Blue Ridge Road
Raleigh, NC  27607
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Website »

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Amongst the ancient oak trees is the heart of Raleigh. We'll help you see the forest for the trees and all its magic splendor. Tourist, local, or new to town, this is a lively small group activity...

Cost: $11

Where:
Downtown
500 S Salisbury St
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Sponsor: Let's Roam
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: Kelly
Website »

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Join the Museum and the Raleigh Astronomy Club to help you see the big picture — of the Universe! From comet crafts to solar observing, lectures to rocket launches, space enthusiasts of all ages...

Cost: Free

Where:
NC Museum of Natural Sciences
11 W. Jones St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Website »

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Join us for the Kids Exchange Spring/Summer Consignment Sale in February!   This FREE ADMISSION event is the largest kids consignment sale in the nation and is held at the NC State Fairgrounds...

Cost: Free

Where:
Jim Graham Building
1025 Blue Ridge Road
Raleigh, NC  27607
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Kindermusik is a research-based early childhood curriculum that includes 45-minute classroom lessons with materials and resources that encourages parental involvement . Research has linked...

Cost: $70/month

Where:
Hope Community Building
2080 E Williams St
Hope Community Building, Fuquay Varina Room
Apex/Holly Springs, NC  27539
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Telephone: 191-990-25432
Contact Name: Leigh Hamm
Website »

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Family Wildlife Series: Tricky Tracks Saturday, January 25 10-11 a.m. Come dressed for the weather so you can roam the park learning the fine art of “tracking”.   Make a cast of an animal...

Cost: Free

Where:
Blue Jay Point County Park
3200 Pleasant Union Church Road
Raleigh, NC  27614
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Telephone: 919-870-4330
Website »

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RALEIGH (Jan. 16, 2020) – The North Carolina Association for Public Charter Schools will host its first school fair during National School Choice Week on Saturday, Jan. 25. The fair will take...

Cost: Free

Where:
Raleigh Convention Center
500 S. Salisbury Street
Raleigh, NC  27610
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Sponsor: NC Association of Public Charter Schools
Telephone: 336-669-9996
Contact Name: Rhonda Dillingham
Website »

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Just in time to keep up with those home improvement resolutions for 2020, the Downtown Raleigh Home Show returns to downtown’s Raleigh Convention Center January 24-26, 2020  with a jam-packed...

Cost: Tickets are $12 for adults and free for children under 12. Advance $9 tickets

Where:
Raleigh Convention Center
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Sponsor: Marketplace Events
Telephone: 904-608-3823
Contact Name: Liz Morgan

More information

Lights is a half-mile walking trail that leads viewers through a series of immersive light installations featuring  honeycombs, vines, crystals, and other natural features integrated into the...

Cost: Free

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
Charlotte, NC  28214
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Telephone: 704-391-3900
Website »

More information

Skate on an ice trail or free skate on 17,000 sq. ft of ice. Located in the Upper Pond of the Whitewater Center, the skating environment features three distinct programming areas and an on-ice...

Cost: 20

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
Charlotte, NC  28214
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Telephone: 704-391-3900
Website »

More information

Sign up for a Raleigh scavenger hunt and put on your best Nick Cage impression as you seek out the national treasures hidden in Raleigh. Via an app, be guided through the cultural, historical,...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
Website »

More information

Spanish Alive is providing Family Spanish classes starting in January! Join us to learn Spanish as an entire family in an immersive, fun environment. Our teachers are trained Spanish educators and...

Cost: $75-$216

Where:
Spanish Alive
156 E. Chatham St
Cary, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Rumpelstiltskin-A Tale of Gold Book by Ellie FaggionMusic and Lyrics written by Brian Shrager and Ellie FaggionProduced by special arrangement with the author.Directed by Beth Wilson...

Cost: varies

Where:
Spiritual Twist Productions
1250 Aversboro Road
Garner, NC  27529
View map »


Sponsor: Spiritual Twist Productions
Telephone: 919-977-1976
Contact Name: Kathy MacDonald
Website »

More information

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

Cost: For all ages; FREE. Registration is required for all family members,& childre

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


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Triangle Restaurant Week (January 20-26, 2020) is a week-long celebration of culinary excellence designed to incorporate the premier Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and surrounding area restaurants....

Cost: $15-$35

Where:
Participating Restaurants
, NC


Sponsor: Triangle Blvd
Telephone: 919-673-5784
Website »

More information

Join us in Arendelle for Frozen-inspired STEAM activities for the whole family! Included in the ticket cost is dinner and dessert for the whole family, make your own sock Olaf and Frozen bouncy...

Cost: $35 per 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
Website »

More information

AML Wrestling presents our 5th Anniversary Celebration! WHEN: Saturday, January 25th, 2020WHERE: Winston-Salem Fairgrounds in theHome & Garden Building 408 27th Street NW/Gate #9 Winston-Salem, NC...

Cost: $5

Where:
Winston-Salem Fairgrounds
408 27th Street NW/Gate #9
Winston-Salem, NC  27105
View map »


Sponsor: AML Wrestling
Telephone: 336-831-0646
Contact Name: Tracy Myers
Website »

More information

Hounded by Death, the character of Everybody desperately seeks out everyone and everything they know in hope of finding something meaningful to take to the grave. These 90 minutes of theatrical...

Cost: Ticket prices start at $15

Where:
PlayMakers' Repertory Company
120 Country Club Rd
Chapel Hill, NC  27599
View map »


Telephone: 919-962-7529

More information

David Burney, lead singer for the acclaimed Johnny Cash tribute band Johnny Folsom 4, brings his one-man show to The ArtsCenter for three shows, January 24-26, 2020.  In “Hello, I’m...

Cost: $15 to $20

Where:
The ArtsCenter
300-G East Main St.
300-G East Main Street.
Carrboro, NC  27510
View map »


Sponsor: The ArtsCenter
Telephone: 919-929-2787
Contact Name: Patrick Phelps-Mckeown
Website »

More information

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Education Guide

The 2019-20 Education Guide offers 718 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 Triangle Go-To Guide connects you to family fun resources across the Triangle. In our 2019-20 issue, explore 1,028 resources for family fun.