STEM Camps Are in Session Across North Carolina


Published:

iD Tech teaches campers that math and computer science go hand in hand.

Photo courtesy of iD Tech

In a state where science, technology, engineering and math careers economically fuel cities and regions, STEM camps are educating the next generation of thinkers and innovators. If you have a STEM kid, here are some North Carolina camps offering curriculum for each letter in STEM.

S is for Science 

From technology to biology, science is an integral part of our daily lives. Many camps use nature, animals and traditional settings to encourage discovery, but nonprofit Project Scientist in Charlotte focuses firmly on providing STEM education for girls.

“Our mission is to educate girls who have a passion, talent or aptitude for science, technology, engineering or math,” says Senior Program Director Alyssa Sharpe. 

Based on research showing that women make up 55 percent of the nation’s work force but only 25 percent of the STEM work force, Project Scientist offers an educational camp experience that encourages girls to strive for STEM careers and develop the confidence they need to continue to improve. 

“A lot of girls assume that they’re born good at math or bad at math,” Sharpe says. “We focus on a growth mindset. Just like you’re not born a good soccer player, you practice and that makes you better; you need to practice these skills, too.” 

STEM-accredited teachers lead the camps and introduce campers to women who excel in a wide variety of STEM careers.

“Career interest and career knowledge are really important, so we expose them to a wide breadth,” Sharpe says. 

Learn more about Project Scientist at projectscientist.org.


T is for Technology

Susan Wells is nothing short of a technology education icon. She has been at the cutting edge of technology education as a teacher, principal, administrator and technology coordinator for 30 years. In her experience, she saw clearly how difficult it was to give technology education the time it deserved in a standard school day. 

With this knowledge in mind, she founded Camp TechTerra. Based in the Triangle, TechTerra runs summer day camps in partnership with local schools throughout Durham, Raleigh and Chapel Hill. 

Wells says the camp sells out out every year. Students learn coding and computational thinking within a hands-on environment that honors safety, choice, exploration and fun. She says that although she knows every child will not grow up to be a coder, she wants to give each of her students an opportunity to learn.

“Our youngest learners are very open and brave,” she says. “Our learning is scaffolded. We start with code where you physically code, you walk the code, then we move into visual coding. We want kids to be excited and open to new tools and about trying new things.”

Learn more about Camp TechTerra at techterraeducation.com.

UNC Charlotte offers robotics and Minecraft camps for children in grades 4-12. Camp projects lead campers to use higher-level thinking, problem-solving and in-demand skill sets as they build a robot or code their own mini-game in Minecraft. Rising first- through sixth-graders also have the option of a half-day LEGO engineering camp provided by Playwell TEKNOLOGIES.

Learn more about tech camps at UNC Charlotte at summercamps.uncc.edu.


E is for Engineering

Since North Carolina State University in Raleigh is home to one of the consistently top-ranked engineering degree programs in the nation, we don’t need to look far to find engineering camp options. The College of Engineering offers the Young Engineers camp program for rising kindergartners through rising seniors in high school.  

“Engineering is the least known part of STEM,” says Director Susan D’Amico, which is precisely why it’s vital to introduce engineering to kids in a way that is accessible, she says. “Being aware of the difference that engineering makes in the world, from a kids perspective, makes learning it relevant. It makes the discovery of math and science purposeful.” 

Young Engineers instructors teach campers that helping people and solving problems to make the world a better place is integral to being an engineer, and they show campers how engineers often work together to contribute to a greater good.

Despite the program’s academic rigor, the camp is structured to make engineering fun.

“The number one goal is to have fun. If the kids aren’t having fun, it’s not going to work,” D’Amico says.

Young Engineers residential programs are offered for rising 11th and 12th graders, but day camps are provided throughout the state in Charlotte, Hickory, Havelock, Wilson and Rocky Mount. Learn more at go.ncsu.edu/esp.


M is for Math 

The trick to getting kids interested in math is to understand how it is applied to the things they already love. IDTech, which offers an array of computer programming camps at university campuses throughout North Carolina, as well a residential camp option for kids ages 7-17, teaches campers that math and computer science go hand in hand.

“Our goal is to inspire the next generation of innovators through a unique learning environment, and to expose them to things they might not be getting in their normal school environment, like computer science, robotics and electronics,” says Coray Cunningham, public relations manager for IDTech. 

When students begin learning how to program they must use vital mathematics concepts such as order of operations, logic and problem solving.

“As they’re learning to program, they are strengthening the logic skills they already have or are building a basis for more advanced math classes,” Cunningham says. “We blend fun into the summer camp with very tangible tech skills. Things get zany and fun but all students end the week with a project they can take home and be proud of.” Learn more at idtech.com.

Duke TIP’s Summer Studies program offers a three-week math-specific residential program for qualifying high-achieving students in grades 7-10. Technology and science courses are also offered. These programs take place at 13 college campuses across the country. In North Carolina they’re available at Appalachian State University in Boone, Davidson College in Davidson, Duke University in Durham and Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem. Learn more at tip.duke.edu.

Though you may not be pondering your child’s career path just yet, the U.S. Department of Labor reports that out of the 20 fastest growing occupations, 15 of them require significant mathematics or science education. STEM camps introduce these concepts in a fun, memorable and enriching way to help prepare your child for whatever his or her future may hold.

Mandy Howard is a freelance writer and mother of three in Raleigh.

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Calendar

May 2018

Run Club meets every Sunday at 8 a.m. in Midtown Raleigh or Wake Forest. Stroller friendly; children invited. 

Cost: $10/run or $100/annual pass

Where:
Optimist Park Community Center/Greenways
5900 Whittier Drive
Raleigh, NC  27609
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Sponsor: FIT4MOM
Telephone: 919-348-0472
Contact Name: Missy Currin
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Cost: Free

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Historic Downtown Wilson
210 Moss St.
Wilson, NC  27893
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Contact Name: Jerome De Perlinghi
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Cost: $18

Where:
Open Arts
1222 Copeland Oaks Dr.
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Babies On The MOVE
Contact Name: Rebecca Quinones
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Join Mindful Families of Durham, a Buddhist-inspired spiritual community that supports area parents, caregivers, and their children in the practice of mindfulness and the understanding of the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Erwin Road
Durham, NC  27705
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Sponsor: Mindful Families of Durham
Contact Name: Adam, Laura, Josh, Sumi
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Cost: $18

Where:
Open Arts
1222 Copeland Oaks Dr
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Babies On The MOVE
Contact Name: Rebecca Quinones
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Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
Fayetteville St.
, NC  27601
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Andia's Homemade Ice Cream and its owners Andia and George Xouris offer a day of family fun to thank patrons for their unwavering support since the shop's opening in July...

Cost: Free

Where:
Andia's Homemade Ice Cream
10120 Green Level Church Rd.
Cary, NC  27519
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Enjoy live entertainment, hands-on projects and gallery hunts.

Cost: Free

Where:
Nasher Museum of Art
2001 Campus Dr.
Durham, NC  27705
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It`s 1863 at Yates Mill, and the yard is alive with activity! Step back in time with our 19th-century costumed interpreters and watch the millstones at work grinding corn into meal.  Tour fee:...

Cost: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (ages 60+), $3/Child (ages 7-16), Age 6 & under free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
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For almost 200 years, farmers brought their wheat and corn to what is now Yates Mill to have their grains ground into flour and meal. Today, you can stop by the Yates Mill visitor center to see a...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
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Cost: Free

Where:
Apex Community Park
2200 Laura Duncan Rd.
Apex, NC  27502
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Sponsor: Town of Apex
Telephone: 919-249-3507
Contact Name: Allie Prelaske
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Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
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Carolina Ballet presents the beautiful fairytale featuring stunning visuals and musical compositions. Purchase tickets online. 

Cost: $32 and up

Where:
Raleigh Memorial Auditorium
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601


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Take the family to play bingo and enjoy prizes. 

Cost: $3/person

Where:
Century Center
100 N. Green St.
Carrboro, NC  27510
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Website »

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Applause! Cary Youth Theatre presents the tale of Emma Katz, the toughest Viking in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, who goes on a quest to save her town -- and herself. Purchase...

Cost: See website for fees

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

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Enjoy a Zumba Kids class as a fundraiser for the future Carolina Children's Museum in southwest Wake County area. Enjoy movement, music, instruments and fun...

Cost: $10

Where:
Devils Ridge Golf Club (Homestead Room)
5107 Linksland Drive
Holly Springs, NC  27540
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Sponsor: Carolina Children's Museum
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Children with special needs and their families enjoy an afternoon of boating. Ages 11 and older. Register online. Choose course #111595.

Cost: $7/resident, $10/nonresident

Where:
Bond Park
801 High House Rd.
Cary, NC  27513
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Children with special needs and their families enjoy an afternoon of boating. Ages 11 and older. Register online. Choose course #111595.

Cost: $7/resident, $10/nonresident

Where:
Bond Park
801 High House Rd.
Cary, NC  27513
View map »


Website »

More information

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Enjoy the renowned outdoor and indoor photography festival, featuring the work of 100 prominent photographers from 38 countries. Historic Downtown Wilson is transformed into a vibrant...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Downtown Wilson
210 Moss St.
Wilson, NC  27893
View map »


Telephone: 1-708-271-3042
Contact Name: Jerome De Perlinghi
Website »

More information

Take a closer look at bees and their relationship with flowers. Discuss bee conservation, the wide range of bee species, and the differences between them. Learn how to make your yard or garden...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 191-946-03355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
Website »

More information

This Father's Day weekend, Kings Dining & Entertainment welcomes single fathers for a time to be celebrated with other single dads and have fun with their children. Register today...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kings Dining & Entertainment
141 Park at North Hills St.
Raleigh, NC  27609
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Sponsor: Baptist Grove Church
Telephone: 919.787.4528 ext.224
Contact Name: Cynthia Jacko
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Weekly basic skills cooking class offered for children ages 5-10 at Whole Foods North Raleigh.  This free class meets at the cafe each Tuesday at 4 p.m. and is offered by registering...

Cost: Free

Where:
Whole Foods Market (North Raleigh)
8710 Six Forks Road
Raleigh, NC  27615
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Website »

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Children with special needs and their families enjoy an afternoon of boating. Ages 11 and older. Register online. Choose course #111595.

Cost: $7/resident, $10/nonresident

Where:
Bond Park
801 High House Rd.
Cary, NC  27513
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Website »

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Come celebrate Turtle Day by stopping by the park’s visitor’s center to learn some cool facts about North Carolina’s turtles! Meet our live park ambassador – Frankie the Turtle – and play...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Enjoy the renowned outdoor and indoor photography festival, featuring the work of 100 prominent photographers from 38 countries. Historic Downtown Wilson is transformed into a vibrant...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Downtown Wilson
210 Moss St.
Wilson, NC  27893
View map »


Telephone: 1-708-271-3042
Contact Name: Jerome De Perlinghi
Website »

More information

This Father's Day weekend, Kings Dining & Entertainment welcomes single fathers for a time to be celebrated with other single dads and have fun with their children. Register today...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kings Dining & Entertainment
141 Park at North Hills St.
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Sponsor: Baptist Grove Church
Telephone: 919.787.4528 ext.224
Contact Name: Cynthia Jacko
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Learn all about frogs and toads while investigating real live tadpoles. Ages 3-5 with adult. Register online at http://apm.activecommunities.com/wakeparks/Activity_Search/2711.

Cost: $4/child

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

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Enjoy the renowned outdoor and indoor photography festival, featuring the work of 100 prominent photographers from 38 countries. Historic Downtown Wilson is transformed into a vibrant...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Downtown Wilson
210 Moss St.
Wilson, NC  27893
View map »


Telephone: 1-708-271-3042
Contact Name: Jerome De Perlinghi
Website »

More information

Join us at Chatham Marketplace in Pittsboro every Thursday at 10 a.m. for a casual storytime on the porch or even out in the yard. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Chatham Marketplace
480 Hillsboro St.
Pittsboro, NC  27312
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Sponsor: Chatham Marketplace
Telephone: 919-542-2643
Contact Name: Craig Kolman
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Enjoy an easy-paced and stroller-friendly walk along the greenway. Suggested for ages 3 and younger with parent. Register online. Choose course #219869.

Cost: Free

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

This Father's Day weekend, Kings Dining & Entertainment welcomes single fathers for a time to be celebrated with other single dads and have fun with their children. Register today...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kings Dining & Entertainment
141 Park at North Hills St.
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Sponsor: Baptist Grove Church
Telephone: 919.787.4528 ext.224
Contact Name: Cynthia Jacko
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More information

Enjoy concerts, educational panels, limited merchandise and unique artwork at this Japanese animation and culture convention. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $70/person

Where:
Raleigh Convention Center
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Website »

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Learn parenting strategies to help a child with special needs. Register online. Choose course #111592.

Cost: $11/resident, $15/nonresident

Where:
Cary Senior Center
120 Maury O'Dell Place
Cary, NC  27513
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Decorate a walking stick to use on your nature hikes. Repurpose some invasive bamboo canes to paint and wrap with string. The result will be a personalized walking stick perfect for using to...

Cost: $3/person

Where:
Horseshoe Farm Nature Preserve
2900 Horse Shoe Farm Rd.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
View map »


Sponsor: Horseshoe Farm Nature Preserve
Telephone: (919) 870-2871
Contact Name: Nikki Jones
Website »

More information

For families and visitors requiring special accommodations, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences’ Nature Exploration Center will stay open late for visitation during a quieter...

Cost: Event free; $3/person for featured exhibition

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

More information

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Enjoy concerts, educational panels, limited merchandise and unique artwork at this Japanese animation and culture convention. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $70/person

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


Website »

More information

Enjoy the renowned outdoor and indoor photography festival, featuring the work of 100 prominent photographers from 38 countries. Historic Downtown Wilson is transformed into a vibrant...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Downtown Wilson
210 Moss St.
Wilson, NC  27893
View map »


Telephone: 1-708-271-3042
Contact Name: Jerome De Perlinghi
Website »

More information

Explore the gardens to find the perfect spot to spread a picnic blanket for garden stories and crafts. Meet at the Bobby G. Wilder Visitor Center. Dress for the weather. Ages 3-5 with...

Cost: Free for Arboretum Family members, $5.00 per child for nonmembers.

Where:
JC Raulston Arboretum
4415 Beryl Road
Campus Box 7212
Raleigh, NC  27606
View map »


Telephone: 919-513-7011
Contact Name: Elizabeth Overcash
Website »

More information

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

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Pump It Up Raleigh
10700 World Trade Blvd, #112
Raleigh, NC  27617
View map »


Sponsor: Pump it Up
Telephone: 919-828-3344
Contact Name: Owner/manager Kellie Paterson McHugh
Website »

More information

This Father's Day weekend, Kings Dining & Entertainment welcomes single fathers for a time to be celebrated with other single dads and have fun with their children. Register today...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kings Dining & Entertainment
141 Park at North Hills St.
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Sponsor: Baptist Grove Church
Telephone: 919.787.4528 ext.224
Contact Name: Cynthia Jacko
Website »

More information

This Memorial Day, honor those who have served our nation as Project Uplift USA hosts the annual Freedom Balloon Fest at Fleming Loop Park in Fuquay-Varina. See 35 hot air...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fleming Loop Park
2321 N. Main St.
Fuquay-Varina, NC  27526
View map »


Website »

More information

Kids hike, make projects and engage in nature activities. Ages 5-8. Register online.

Cost: $9/resident, $12/nonresident

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


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Bats are the world's only flying mammals, and having wings is only one of the adaptations that make them unique. Discover just how special bats are during this evening program.

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 191-946-03355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

This Memorial Day, honor those who have served our nation as Project Uplift USA hosts the annual Freedom Balloon Fest at Fleming Loop Park in Fuquay-Varina. See 35 hot air...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fleming Loop Park
2321 N. Main St.
Fuquay-Varina, NC  27526
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy the renowned outdoor and indoor photography festival, featuring the work of 100 prominent photographers from 38 countries. Historic Downtown Wilson is transformed into a vibrant...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Downtown Wilson
210 Moss St.
Wilson, NC  27893
View map »


Telephone: 1-708-271-3042
Contact Name: Jerome De Perlinghi
Website »

More information

Enjoy concerts, educational panels, limited merchandise and unique artwork at this Japanese animation and culture convention. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $70/person

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


Website »

More information

Enjoy concerts, educational panels, limited merchandise and unique artwork at this Japanese animation and culture convention. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $70/person

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


Website »

More information

​CraZBrain Science Track out and Summer Camps has expanded to Holly Springs. Tour the facility, try out some activities and meet staff members This drop-in event is free; parental...

Cost: Free

Where:
CraZBrain - Holly Springs
333 Earnie Lane
Holly Springs, NC  27540
View map »


Sponsor: CraZBrain
Telephone: 919-357-2200
Contact Name: Aaron Rothrock
Website »

More information

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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
Website »

More information

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Cost: $2.00 per person

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


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
N.C. Museum of History
5 E. Edenton St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

Want to get inside Historic Yates Mill? Join us for a half-hour tour (starting at 1, 1:30, 2, 2:30 or 3 p.m.) to view the main power drive and milling machinery while exploring the mill's history...

Cost: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (ages 60+), $3/Child (ages 7-16), Age 6 & under free

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


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

This Father's Day weekend, Kings Dining & Entertainment welcomes single fathers for a time to be celebrated with other single dads and have fun with their children. Register today...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kings Dining & Entertainment
141 Park at North Hills St.
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Sponsor: Baptist Grove Church
Telephone: 919.787.4528 ext.224
Contact Name: Cynthia Jacko
Website »

More information

Ride on a diesel-powered train and enjoy festivities in the rail yard. Enjoy a beach-themed cookout complete with grilled shrimp, chicken, hot dogs, corn on the cob, and non-alcoholic tropical...

Cost: $12/adult, $10 ages 2-12. Free for ages 2 and younger

Where:
New Hope Valley Railway
3900 Bonsal Rd.
New Hill, NC  27562
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: $6/person

Where:
Durant Nature Preserve
8305 Camp Durant Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27614
View map »


Sponsor: Durant Nature Preserve
Telephone: 919-870-2871
Contact Name: Nikki Jones
Website »

More information

Explore the historic heart of downtown Raleigh on a walking tour of Fayetteville Street. Tours highlight the people, places, architecture and political movements that have shaped...

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

Where:
City of Raleigh Museum
220 Fayetteville St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

Learn how salamanders compare with their reptile cousins. Ages 5 and older. Register online at http://apm.activecommunities.com/wakeparks/Activity_Search/2724.

Cost: $1/participant

Where:
Blue Jay Point County Park
3200 Pleasant Union Church Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27614
View map »


Telephone: 919-870-4330
Website »

More information

Children in grades K-5 enjoy an art-filled afternoon. Materials provided. Register online.

Cost: Free

Where:
Eva Perry Regional Library
2100 Shepherd's Vineyard Dr.
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Website »

More information

Learn basic canoeing skills and a bit about the millpond's history, then head out to explore the pond's many features as seen only from the water. Canoes, paddles, and life jackets are provided,...

Cost: $10.00 per boat

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


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Enjoy an old-fashioned Memorial Day event on the lawn of the historic house that includes  barbecue (chicken or pork) and fixins, old-school relay games, prizes and fun. Tickets must...

Cost: $20-$25.

Where:
CocoFARM
960 Luther Rd.
Apex, NC  27523
View map »


Sponsor: CocoFARM
Telephone: 919-985-1865
Contact Name: Corrie Burton
Website »

More information

Celebrate the season opener by enjoying live music under the pines. Purchase tickets online. Kids 12 and under are admitted free on the lawn.

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Booth Amphitheatre
8003 Regency Pkwy.
Cary, NC
View map »


Website »

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Annual Guides

Education Guide

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

The Triangle Go-To Guide

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