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Written by:  Compiled by Lauren Townsend
Date: June 1, 2012

When it comes to family-friendly places to eat, shop and visit in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Cary and other Triangle towns, parents know best. We asked you about your favorite places and sorted through all of the responses. In some cases, the top vote-getters were extremely close, so we awarded two. Businesses or places that also had an overwhelming number of votes are recognized as Honorable Mentions.

Without further delay, here are your top recommendations for families in the Triangle:

GOING PLACES

Annual Festival/Event for Families
The N.C. State Fair attracts more than 1 million people over 11 days for food, rides, exhibits and concerts. The 2012 state fair is Oct. 11-21. 1025 Blue Ridge Rd., Raleigh; ncstatefair.org.

Area Museum
The Museum of Life and Science provides indoor and outdoor exhibits featuring live animals, an insectarium, a butterfly house and wetlands, and other special areas; adults-only after-hours programs; and regular family-friendly programming. 433 Murray Ave., Durham; ncmls.org.

Rainy-Day Outing
Marbles Kids Museum exhibits encourage imaginative play and creativity. Marbles also offers an IMAX theater. 201 E. Hargett St., Raleigh; marbleskidsmuseum.com.

Sports Event for Families
The Durham Bulls play April through September. Kids games and activities include a playground and running the bases. Night games frequently feature fireworks. Durham Bulls Athletic Park, 409 Blackwell St., Durham; dbulls.com.

Place to Take Visitors
Duke Gardens. See Place for a Picnic for information.

Place That's Free
The N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences has four floors of exhibits featuring different parts of North Carolina and special traveling exhibits (for a fee). The new Nature Research Center makes scientific research accessible with hands-on activities. 11 West Jones St., Raleigh; naturalsciences.org.
Honorable mention:

Duke Gardens. See Place for a Picnic for information.

Day Trip Outside Triangle
The N.C. Zoo offers 500 acres of exhibits with more than 1,100 different animals from North America and Africa. Through October kids can see 15 life-like animatronic dinosaurs and dig up their own fossils to take home. 4401 Zoo Pkwy., Asheboro; nczoo.org.



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