Why College Visits Are Worth Time, Expense


Published:

The Harvard University campus in spring.

Photo by Jannis Tobias Werner/Shutterstock

Residing in the digital age, it’s tempting to forgo more and more tasks that, a decade or two ago, involved an actual trek out into the real world. Hassles such as buying paper towels or searching for the perfect used car that used to require legwork, human interaction, and possibly even wearing pants can now be done with a click of a mouse from one’s own living room.

Similarly, parents and students may find themselves considering skipping the annoyances of long car rides or plane trips, days away from work/school, and the slew of hotel bills that come from visiting your teen’s prospective colleges. After all, it’s possible to take a virtual tour of campus, chat with an admissions officer in an online forum, and find answers to most questions about anything from dorm life to financial aid on a school’s FAQ page. So, given the availability of fairly comprehensive virtual excursions, is it still worth the time and expense of a physical trip? We at College Transitions believe that, when feasible, it is for the following reasons:

1. Campus visits allow you to use your senses, including your gut.

For many, college will be life’s greatest expense outside of buying a home and should thus be given every bit as much attention. Would you ever considering buying a house, sight-unseen, from an online listing? What looks like a lush backyard may actually be swampland, the beautiful hardwood floors may be rotting and moldy, and two of the three alleged “bedrooms” may feel more like medium-size closets.

Just as with a new home, it helps to see, smell, feel, and fully experience a college campus before forking over that tuition money. Equally important will be the gut-sense you get around campus. Have a meal in the cafeteria, sit in on a class, read the student newspaper, and talk with a few current students. Does it feel like it could be home for four years? Does it have a positive vibe? Do you feel safe and comfortable walking around campus? The only way to answer these questions is to plant your feet on campus and soak it all in.

2. Distance is more than an abstract concept.

There are a multitude of reasons that 72 percent of college students choose to attend school in their home state, the chief one, of course, being reduced tuition at public universities. Yet, many teens are equally influenced by the proximity to family. After all, it’s comforting to know that a home-cooked meal, a free washer and dryer, and most importantly, a network of love, support, and guidance is no further than a few hours away.

If you don’t visit your prospective colleges then you are missing out on accurately assessing how important distance to family is to you. In the abstract, a school that is 200 miles away isn’t that much different than a school that is 2,000 miles away. One can rationalize that a 4-hour plane trip and a 4-hour car ride are roughly equivalent. As an armchair globetrotter it’s easy to acquire a false bravado. Actually packing your bags for the opposite coast, waiting for hours in the airport, crossing time zones, experiencing jet lag, and seeing how it feels to be so far from home is an appropriate test that will bring clarity to the geographical parameters of your college search.

3. Go on an official and unofficial tour.

It’s wise to begin with the official tour offered by your college. While sanitized and sales-pitchy, you’ll likely get a good sense of the heart of campus, and of the school’s main architectural and social attractions. It will also be a chance to ask your tour guide questions about dorm life, the social scene, and other anecdotal information that is tough to glean from websites and guidebooks.

After the official tour ends, we recommend setting off on a self-guided tour to make sure the infomercial version of the school appears to align with reality. Chat up a few random students about their favorite and least favorite things about their school. Explore the surrounding town or city. Dine at a restaurant or two. The more information you can take in, the better, whether of the school-sanctioned or unofficial variety.

4. Connect with an admissions officer.

If you are visiting a liberal arts school or a mid-size university, you will likely be able to schedule a one-on-one evaluative interview. If you are attending a larger university that does not offer a formal one-on-one interview, try to participate in an information session with an admissions official. Either way, you’ll want to come prepared to talk about your academic interests and achievements, extracurricular activities, and also have a number of thoughtfully-crafted questions for the admissions officer about their institution. Particularly at small liberal arts colleges, making a positive and lasting impression as a nice and engaging human being can pay dividends when application review time rolls around.

For more on how to prepare for a college interview and what type of questions one should expect, revisit our previous blog on the subject.

If you can’t swing an in-person tour …

As we stated at the beginning, we believe that visiting a college is immensely helpful, when it’s feasible. Sometimes due to budgetary or time constraints, seeing some of your prospective schools simply isn’t possible, especially if you have a lengthy and geographically diverse college list. If you aren’t able to view a campus in person, there are still actions that you can take to better form an assessment of a school’s fit.

For those who can’t make it to campus, attempt to schedule an alumni interview at a location near you. Doing so will still afford you the opportunity to humanize your application and make a lasting impression with someone affiliated with the university.

Connect with current students at your prospective college through social media or via your high school’s guidance department. Chances are, unless you attend a tiny high school, a recent alum is currently attending your institution of interest and will be willing to share his or her experiences.

If you aren’t making a pilgrimage to campus, there are plenty of other ways to please the demonstrated interest gods. Attending a local admissions event, following a school on Facebook, and corresponding over email with an admissions counselor are all excellent ways to show a potential higher education destination that you have a genuine interest in attending.

College Transitions’ bottom line

There’s nothing wrong with buying paper towels online but when it comes to a six-figure purchase like a college education, an in-person inspection is recommended. If a school is within reasonable driving distance but doesn’t feel worth the time, effort, and money to visit, then it should be eliminated from your list.

Dave Bergman, Ed.D., is a co-founder of College Transitions, a team of college planning experts committed to guiding families through the college admissions process. He is also a co-author of “The Enlightened College Applicant: A New Approach to the Search and Admissions Process.” Learn more at collegetransitions.com.

 

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College Transitions

Expert advice for finding the right fit


About This Blog

College Transitions is a team of college planning experts committed to guiding families through the college admissions process. As counselors and published higher education researchers, we aim to bring perspective (and some sanity) to college planning, and we strive to provide students with the support they need to enroll and succeed at a college that is right for them. Learn more at collegetransitions.com

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Calendar

November 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
View map »


Sponsor: FIT4MOM
Telephone: 919-348-0472
Contact Name: Missy Currin
Website »

More information

Show up in your PJs for breakfast and Seussical fun before a 10 a.m. showing of "The Grinch" (the new animated 2018 movie). Pose with The Grinch and Max and...

Cost: Member: $11/adult, $9/child. Non-member: $12/adult, $10/child

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


Website »

More information

Come for a tour and try out a Music or Creative Movement class. Any child who will be preschool age (ages 2-transitional kindergarten) for the 2019-20 school year is invited to participate in...

Cost: Free

Where:
Saint Raphael Preschool
5801 Falls of the Neuse Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Sponsor: Saint Raphael Preschool
Telephone: 919-865-5725
Contact Name: Nora Duran
Website »

More information

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
View map »


Sponsor: Mindful Families of Durham
Contact Name: Adam, Laura, Josh, Sumi
Website »

More information

The comic book pop culture takes over Durham with vendors, a cosplay contest, special guests, panels by industry professionals, and more. Purchase tickets online. 

Cost: $25-$35/person. Free for ages 9 and younger with a paid adult

Where:
Durham Convention Center
301 W. Morgan St.
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Website »

More information

Tour 20 pottery studios and two teaching facilities. Learn how pottery is made and ask questions of all the professional potters. Locally crafted pottery will be for sale at all...

Cost: Free

Where:
Claymakers
701 Foster St
Durham, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-544-2451
Contact Name: Cynthia Aldrich
Website »

More information

See artists' studios and their creations during a self-guided tour. Visit the website for details.

Cost: Free

Where:
Orange County
, NC  27510


Sponsor: Orange County Artists Guild
Website »

More information

Shop antiques, crafts and art, and enjoy food trucks at this artisan and vintage market in downtown Cary.

Cost: Free

Where:
Fidelity Bank Parking Lot
100 W. Chatham St.
Cary, NC  27511
View map »


Contact Name: Leslie & Jessica
Website »

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Design, build and test a marshmallow tower with NC State Engineering ambassadors. 

Cost: $7/person. Free for age 1 and younger

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


Website »

More information

Kids ages 6-10 track deer in the nature preserve and discover their hiding places. Preregister online using course code #228039.

Cost: $3

Where:
Wilkerson Nature Preserve
5229 Awls Haven Drive
Raleigh, NC  27614
View map »


Sponsor: City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Telephone: 919-996-6764
Contact Name: Wilkerson staff
Website »

More information

Young adults with developmental disabilities enjoy a book club featuring "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets."  The group meets most Sundays at 4:45 p.m.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Shop for unique gifts at this three-day fair. See website for times.

Cost: Free

Where:
State Farmers Market
1201 Agriculture St.
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Website »

More information

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Come for a tour and try out a Music or Creative Movement class. Any child who will be preschool age (ages 2-transitional kindergarten) for the 2019-20 school year is invited to participate in...

Cost: Free

Where:
Saint Raphael Preschool
5801 Falls of the Neuse Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Sponsor: Saint Raphael Preschool
Telephone: 919-865-5725
Contact Name: Nora Duran
Website »

More information

Enjoy a special Jewish-themed storytime with Morah Dassy Cotlar.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Come for a tour and try out a Music or Creative Movement class. Any child who will be preschool age (ages 2-transitional kindergarten) for the 2019-20 school year is invited to participate in...

Cost: Free

Where:
Saint Raphael Preschool
5801 Falls of the Neuse Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Sponsor: Saint Raphael Preschool
Telephone: 919-865-5725
Contact Name: Nora Duran
Website »

More information

Enjoy the story about turkeys and numbers by Tony Johnston and learn about colors outdoors. Ages 18 mos – 3 yrs with adult. Register online. 

Cost: $2/child

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


Telephone: 919-870-4330
Website »

More information

Take the family for Kids Night at Chick-Fil-A in Garner. Enjoy a free indoor playspace, face painting and balloon twisting with Mimi the Clown. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Chick-Fil-A
2720 Timber Dr.
Garner, NC  27529
View map »


Sponsor: The MelodyMaker Entertainment
Telephone: (919)639-9328
Contact Name: Melody Scruggs
Website »

More information

Stone Soup Supper is back for its fourteenth year in a row, with more chefs than ever before. Enjoy soups from 20 local chefs while shopping unique pottery pieces from The Triangle Potters...

Cost: $25/person

Where:
McKimmon Center
1101 Gorman St
Raleigh, NC  27606
View map »


Telephone: 919-836-1642
Contact Name: Jordan Hewitt
Website »

More information

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Come for a tour and try out a Music or Creative Movement class. Any child who will be preschool age (ages 2-transitional kindergarten) for the 2019-20 school year is invited to participate in...

Cost: Free

Where:
Saint Raphael Preschool
5801 Falls of the Neuse Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Sponsor: Saint Raphael Preschool
Telephone: 919-865-5725
Contact Name: Nora Duran
Website »

More information

Enjoy stories with Amy Godfrey.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Preschoolers ages 3-5 (accompanied by an adult).  The winter birds are arriving at the nature preserve! Make paper-tube binoculars and talk a walk to spy on our bird buddies in the forest and...

Cost: $3

Where:
Wilkerson Nature Preserve
5229 Awls Haven Drive
Raleigh, NC  27614
View map »


Sponsor: City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Telephone: 919-996-6764
Contact Name: Wilkerson staff
Website »

More information

Strut down a woodland trail to learn about that fantastic feathered fowl: the turkey, and enjoy theme related stories and activities for parent and child aged 3-5 years. Register online. ...

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 »

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Celebrate the grand opening of Duluth Trading's new store at Crossroads Boulevard in Cary. Enjoy a ribbon-cutting ceremony with local dignitaries at 9 a.m., and live lumberjack shows...

Cost: Free

Where:
Duluth Trading
301 Crossroads Blvd.
Cary, NC  27518
View map »


Website »

More information

Explore a part of art. Ages 2-5 with caregiver. Purchase tickets online for workshops at 9:15, 10:15 or 11:15 a.m.

Cost: $6/member, $8/nonmember

Where:
NC Museum of Art
2110 Blue Ridge Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607-6494
View map »


Telephone: 919-715-5923
Website »

More information

Come for a tour and try out a Music or Creative Movement class. Any child who will be preschool age (ages 2-transitional kindergarten) for the 2019-20 school year is invited to participate in...

Cost: Free

Where:
Saint Raphael Preschool
5801 Falls of the Neuse Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Sponsor: Saint Raphael Preschool
Telephone: 919-865-5725
Contact Name: Nora Duran
Website »

More information

Mix, measure and flip seasonal hotcakes and taste the comforts of cozy fall cuisine. 

Cost: $7/person. Free for age 1 and younger

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


Website »

More information

Enjoy a magical lighting exhibition for the entire family, under the cover of darkness artfully lit on a crisp November evening. Enjoy live music, food trucks (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday),...

Cost: $10/member, $20/nonmembers, $5 for children

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


Website »

More information

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Help plant a new tree that flowers, produces fruit, and has flaming leaves. After a brief ceremony to declare Chapel Hill as a Tree City, you can toss a shiny new penny and a shovelful of dirt to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Chapel Hill Public Library
100 Library Dr.
Chapel Hill, NC  27514
View map »


Website »

More information

Come for a tour and try out a Music or Creative Movement class. Any child who will be preschool age (ages 2-transitional kindergarten) for the 2019-20 school year is invited to participate in...

Cost: Free

Where:
Saint Raphael Preschool
5801 Falls of the Neuse Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Sponsor: Saint Raphael Preschool
Telephone: 919-865-5725
Contact Name: Nora Duran
Website »

More information

Take part in a class that teaches individualized ways to foster motor development for your child. Learn about tummy time alternatives, best positions for your baby, how to help your child learn to...

Cost: $18

Where:
Open Arts
1222 Copeland Oaks Dr
Morrisville, NC  27560
View map »


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

More information

Take part in a class that teaches individualized ways to foster motor development for your child. Learn about carry positions, best positions for your baby, how to help your child learn to crawl,...

Cost: $18

Where:
Open Arts
1222 Copeland Oaks Dr
Morrisville, NC  27560
View map »


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

More information

Stop by the market to enjoy fresh North Carolina collards with all the fixings.

Cost: Free

Where:
State Farmers Market
1201 Agriculture St.
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Website »

More information

Go on an owl prowl to discover the kinds of owls and other night-time birds that are found in the Piedmont. All ages. Register online. 

Cost: $1/person

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


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

During the holiday season, come share the excitement as Park West Village hosts Winter Wonderland in the District. Take the family to enjoy train rides, magical winter lights, live music and visits...

Cost: Free; $5 donation for sledding

Where:
Park West Village
3400 Village Market Place
Morrisville, NC  27560
View map »


Telephone: 919-234-6710
Contact Name: Conner Dixon
Website »

More information

Kick off holiday festivities with Waverly Place’s 7th Annual Tree Lighting Celebration. Arrive early for dinner and socializing with family and friends, then make your way to The Park area...

Cost: Free

Where:
Waverly Place Shopping Center
307 Colonades Way
Cary, NC  27518
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy a magical lighting exhibition for the entire family, under the cover of darkness artfully lit on a crisp November evening. Enjoy live music, food trucks (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday),...

Cost: $10/member, $20/nonmembers, $5 for children

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


Website »

More information

Give Gala has been celebrated for its unique donation model where tickets to the event are exchanged for time and services that benefit terminally ill children and their families. Attendees...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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Enjoy a baby expo offering loads of product information, vendors, parent tips, resources and samples.  

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Buy Buy Baby
Website »

More information

See Raleigh's annual Christmas parade, featuring large helium balloons, dance and performance groups, floats, Santa and more. Parade held rain or shine. Sponsored by ABC 11.

Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
Raleigh, NC  27601


Website »

More information

Enjoy face painting and photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and a Woodplay’s largest sale of the year on playsets and Springfree Trampolines

Cost: Free

Where:
Woodplay Playsets of the Carolinas
9521 Lumley Rd.
Raleigh, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-781-6556
Website »

More information

Come for a tour and try out a Music or Creative Movement class. Any child who will be preschool age (ages 2-transitional kindergarten) for the 2019-20 school year is invited to participate in...

Cost: Free

Where:
Saint Raphael Preschool
5801 Falls of the Neuse Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Sponsor: Saint Raphael Preschool
Telephone: 919-865-5725
Contact Name: Nora Duran
Website »

More information

Ages 1-5 and caregiver take a relaxing stroll to experience nature. Register online. Choose course #117302. 

Cost: $8/resident, $10/nonresident

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


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Children's booksellers read their favorite picture books. All ages.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Preschoolers ages 3-5 (accompanied by an adult).  The winter birds are arriving at the nature preserve! Make paper-tube binoculars and talk a walk to spy on our bird buddies in the forest and...

Cost: $3

Where:
Wilkerson Nature Preserve
5229 Awls Haven Drive
Raleigh, NC  27614
View map »


Sponsor: City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Telephone: 919-996-6764
Contact Name: Wilkerson staff
Website »

More information

Originally from Salvador da Bahia, Caique Vidal is an accomplished performer, percussionist, and songwriter, blending the rhythms of samba, reggae, salsa, bachata, pop, rock and Bossa Nova in both...

Cost: $5

Where:
Carolina Theatre of Durham
309 W. Morgan St.
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Telephone: 919-560-3030
Contact Name: Jaimie Lee
Website »

More information

Take Fido to enjoy a pop-up dog park featuring four acres for dogs to roam, and a small dog area too. Food vendors and pet-themed vendors will be on site.

Cost: Free

Where:
Dix Park
801 Biggs Dr.
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Website »

More information

Learn about the state’s American Indian culture from musicians, dancers, craftspeople and storytellers from eight state-recognized tribes. Over 100 presenters will fill the museum and...

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Enjoy snow sledding, photos with Santa, an inflatable obstacle course and bounce house, and an appearance by Matt Iseman, host of NBC's "American Ninja Warriors."

Cost: Free

Where:
Saint Mary's School
900 Hillsborough St.
Raleih, NC  27603
View map »


Website »

More information

Join costumed interpreters Jon and Karena Potter in learning and dancing 19th-century country dances. Registration not required.

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Take part in a fun and playful aerial yoga and movement class for parents and children age 5 and older. Stretch, move, play and learn aerial yoga poses. Breathing techniques will be taught to...

Cost: $35 child and adult pair, or $15/child and $25/adult

Where:
Cary Hot Yoga
952 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC  27511
View map »


Sponsor: Cary Hot Yoga
Telephone: 888-587-9530
Contact Name: hoa bui
Website »

More information

Visit a tabletop display to learn how colonial frontier communities prepared for the dark, chilly days ahead. Knead bread, roll candles and try your hand at corncob darts to sharpen your...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

This is a fundraising event for Fuquay-Varina Downtown Association and features things people love about North Carolina: BBQ, Blues and Craft Beer! Guests are encouraged to sample delicious...

Cost: Free admission; $10 for 10 tasting tickets

Where:
Stephens Hardware Bldg
405 E Broad St
Fuquay-Varina, NC  27526
View map »


Sponsor: Fuquay-Varina Downtown Assoc
Telephone: 919-552-0848
Contact Name: Rachel Cornett
Website »

More information

Talented dance students perform the lavishly staged holiday ballet alongside guest artists from Carolina Ballet. Show times are at 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. All ages. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $12-$27

Where:
Fletcher Theater, Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


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

See Wilkerson's fall flush and join a naturalist guide for a hike focused on our beautiful deciduous trees. The program is designed for adults, but children ages 5 and up are welcome with...

Cost: $2

Where:
Wilkerson Nature Preserve
5229 Awls Haven Drive
Raleigh, NC  27614
View map »


Sponsor: City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Telephone: 919-996-6764
Contact Name: Wilkerson staff
Website »

More information

All evening and into the night, 3000 pounds of molten iron will be poured into molds, in an exciting fiery display. Additionally, there will be Liberty Arts artists’ work for sale, scratch...

Cost: Free

Where:
Durham Central Park
501 Foster St.
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Website »

More information

Build a boat from just cardboard and duct tape and try to make it across Campus Hills Pool with just your wits and a paddle. Trophies will be awarded. Ages 6-15. Advance registration...

Cost: $6/resident, $11/nonresident per two-person team

Where:
Campus Hills Pool
2000 S. Alston Ave.
Durham, NC  27707
View map »


Website »

More information

Usher in the holidays with a tree-lighting and other seasonal activities.

Cost: Free

Where:
Lafayette Village
8450 Honeycutt Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27615
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy a sunset kayak adventure. Meet at the launch point 1 hour before sunset, just in time to review guidelines and equipment. Then go on  a leisurely paddle, keeping an eye out for wildlife...

Cost: $35/person

Where:
Jordan Lake
, NC


Sponsor: frolyk
Telephone: 866 481 6166
Contact Name: Lili Engelhardt
Website »

More information

Discover what's happening as the sun sets and listen to stories around a campfire. All ages with adult. Register online. Choose course #117094.

Cost: $18/resident, $24/nonresident

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


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Talented dance students perform the lavishly staged holiday ballet alongside guest artists from Carolina Ballet. Show times are at 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. All ages. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $12-$27

Where:
Fletcher Theater, Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


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During the holiday season, come share the excitement as Park West Village hosts Winter Wonderland in the District. Take the family to enjoy train rides, magical winter lights, live music and visits...

Cost: Free; $5 donation for sledding

Where:
Park West Village
3400 Village Market Place
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Telephone: 919-234-6710
Contact Name: Conner Dixon
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Enjoy a magical lighting exhibition for the entire family, under the cover of darkness artfully lit on a crisp November evening. Enjoy live music, food trucks (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday),...

Cost: $10/member, $20/nonmembers, $5 for children

Where:
JC Raulston Arboretum
4415 Beryl Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27606
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Look through telescopes, facilitated by Morehead staff and dedicated volunteers, at a variety of objects in the sky. Jupiter, Saturn and Mars will be prime targets, along with many other deep...

Cost: Free

Where:
Dix Park
101 Blair Dr.
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Annual Guides

Education Guide

The 2018-19 Education Guide offers 678 education resources in the Triangle, including area preschools, private schools, public school systems, charter schools, boarding schools, academic resources and an Exceptional Child special section.

The Triangle Go-To Guide

Our Triangle Go-To Guide connects you to family fun resources across the Triangle. Plus, find out who our 2018 Readers' Favorites are.