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Written by:  Odile Fredericks
Date: March 19, 2012

Celebrate the arrival of spring on Tuesday by heading out for free or inexpensive fun with the kids. From Raleigh to Durham and Chapel Hill, nature programs offer hands-on learning that fosters an appreciation for Mother Earth.</>

  • Free Ice Cream! Texas ice cream maker Blue Bell will be introducing its ice cream to the Triangle by giving away free ice cream cups to the City Council at 2 p.m., Tuesday in the council chamber of the Avery C. Upchurch Complex, located 222 W. Hargett St. in downtown Raleigh. Soon after, the Blue Bell team will be in the first-floor lobby presenting vanilla cups to Triangle ice-cream lovers.
  • Durham's fourth annual Creek Week, hosted by Keep Durham Beautiful, runs through March 24, inviting families to join in fun activities that teach the importance of local streams, rivers, lakes and creeks:  Here are three events through Wednesday:
  1. Head to the South Regional Library, located at 4505 S. Alston Ave., in Durham, at 6:30 p.m. on Monday to learn about the City of Durham's plan to clean up the Northeast Creek and Crooked Creek. The family-friendly event will offer food, games, hands-on demonstrations, crafts, and story time.
  2. Take your kids ages 3 to 5 to Nature Preschool on Tuesday, from 10-11 a.m., at West Point on the Eno. Led by the Durham Parks and Recreation Environmental Education staff, the program costs $5 for city residents and $7 non-city residents. For more information call 560-4355.
  3. Stop by Creek Week's Creek Critters table at the Museum of Life and Science, in Durham, on Wednesday from 2-4 p.m., to learn about the small aquatic bugs and other invertebrates that live in local creeks. You'll find the table located by the museum's wetlands (near the red wolves). Fees to the Museum of Life and Science are waived for Durham residents on Wednesday from 1-5 p.m. (ID is required for admission.)
  • n Raleigh, kids ages 4-6 are invited to learn about trees and their wildlife benefits from 10-11 a.m. on Wednesday at the Historic Yates Mill County Park, located at 4620 Lake Wheeler Rd. The Little Sprouts program, The Mighty Oak and Some Forest Fun, in honor of World Forestry Day, costs $4 per child with accompanying adult. Pre-registration is required. Call 919-856-6675. Visit for details.
  • In Chapel Hill, the North Carolina Botanical Garden, will offer The Signs of Spring Family Hike Saturday, March 24; from 1-2:30 p.m. for ages 5 and up with an adult. Discover who's singing in the vernal pools and what's blooming beneath the fallen leaves. Celebrate the Spring Equinox exploring the gardens and trails for signs that the natural world is waking from its winter slumber. Learn some spring facts and folklore and search for amphibians, bursting buds, early birds, and other spring surprises. The fee, per family, for up to three people is $15 ($10 for garden members); and $5 per additional child.
  • In Durham, check out Birds and Butterflies at Sandy Creek Park from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Saturday. This event features an "early bird" bird watching at 8 a.m., instruction all morning in bird and butterfly identification, environmental education activities for kids and adults, planting a butterfly garden, building bluebird houses, a geology exhibit, and tree planting. 

For more spring activities in the Triangle, from egg hunts and nature crafts to consignment sales, visit our Spring Guide.


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