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Written by:  Odile Fredericks
Date: June 28, 2012

With temperatures forecast to soar above 100 degrees this weekend, I've picked out lots of cool spots for family fun across the Triangle. And if you have relatives or friends visiting ahead of the July Fourth holiday, you'll find a variety of interesting museum exhibits to explore with them. Unless otherwise listed, see our Daily Calendar for details on these upcoming events:

Cool Museum Exhibits Open This Weekend

* Too hot to observe nature outdoors? The fun is inside at the Nature Research Center, a new state-of-the-art wing of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, in downtown Raleigh. The Nature Research Center features participatory exhibits, games, displays and working labs where visitors can actually help with scientific research. Admission is free. Get more details in our roundup of new museum attractions here.

* Al Norte al Norte: Latino Life in North Carolina features 51 images by the Pulizer Prize-winning photojournalist Jose Galvez at the North Carolina Museum of History, in downtown Raleigh. See our Daily Calendar for opening times this weekend, and learn more about the exhibit in our round up here.

* At the Speed of a Girl — Celebrating 100 Years of Girl Scouting, also at the North Carolina Museum of History, looks at the history of the Girls Scouts of America organization. See our Daily Calendar for opening times this weekend.

* El Anatsui: When I Last Wrote to You About Africa, features more than 60 works by internationally celebrated artist El Anatsui, including driftwood pieces created in Denmark, metal sculptures constructed from thousands of Nigerian bottle tops, chainsaw-carved woodwork. The exhibit is at the North Carolina Museum of Art, in Raleigh. See our Daily Calendar for opening hours this weekend.

* Southern Roots, Enduring Bonds: African American Families in North Carolina looks at family roots spanning generations and can be seen the Wilson Special Collections Library, 4th floor, in Chapel Hill. See our Daily Calendar for schedules.

* Looking Closely, Sixteen Slices of Love, The Salvage Series and Transluclandia is at the Durham Arts Council, in Durham.. Four exhibits feature abstract quilts inspired by nature, photographs of people in urban settings, paintings inspired by metal salvage areas and dump yards and abstract mixed media wall hangings. See our Daily Calendar for opening hours.

* Look below for two more exhibits that you can catch Saturday.

Polar Ice House Offers BOGO Deal

Chill out indoors by ice skating with a cool deal starting Saturday, June 30. Each day the temperature rises above 95 degrees, three Polar Ice House locations will offer an exclusive "Buy One, Get One Free Admission."  Learn where to get this offer here.


On Friday, you'll also find free concerts outdoors. Check out the Fridays on the Front Porch Series concert from 5-8 p.m. at The Carolina Inn, in Chapel Hill, the Kickin Grass Band, at 7 p.m. at the Page-Walker Arts & History Center Garden, in Cary, and a concert by the Triangle Jazz Orchestra on the old courthouse lawn in historic Hillsborough at part of the Last Fridays in Hillsborough celebration.

Organized by the Hillsborough Arts Council, the Last Fridays celebration features workshops for kids as well as food vendors, musicians and artisans, a pie eating contest at Cup A Joe's and this month, free ice-cream!! The Annual Ice Cream Social will be held on Friday from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on the front lawn of the Burwell School Historic Site. Enjoy free Maple View Ice Cream served by local "Celebrity Scoopers." Visit for details. This month, the children's activity will involve making a sea turtle costume using cardboard and found objects.  The festival also features an Art Walk, and you can view a map of the walk here.


A new outdoor exhibit, Into the Mist, opening Saturday at the Museum of Life and Science, in Durham, helps you discover how the earth was shaped over thousands of years. Explore mist, landforms and water while shaping and experiencing the landscape. Interactive features include droplets of water suspended in air that create low-lying clouds, a stream that shows how water erosion changes stones to pebbles and rainfalls that demonstrate water's impression in sand. Visit our roundup for details.

Catch another new event, Biotechnology Day, at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, in downtown Raleigh, on Saturday, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Learn about a fast-growing industry in our state and how biotechnology affects our daily life. Watch presentations and take part in hands-on demonstrations, experiments and crafts. Bone up on new CPR technologies from the Duke Heart Center or plant-based vaccines from Medicago. Visit the museum's website for details.

You'll also find a variety of story times for your little ones on Saturday at public libraries:
*Story time at Orange County Public Library's Carrboro Branch kicks off at 10:30 a.m. Stories will be followed by discussion and craft-making for ages 1-5 and their caregivers.
* Family Story time at East Regional Library, in Knightdale starts at 10:30 a.m. featuring a tale with books, music and more.
*Baby Story time at Cameron Village Regional Library, in Raleigh, runs from 10:15-10:35 a.m., and Family Story time runs from 11-11:30 a.m. See our Daily Calendar for details.

Superhero Saturday runs from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (you guessed it, on Saturday) at Marbles Kids Museum, in downtown Raleigh. Take the kids to leap buildings in a single bound in an obstacle course, enjoy science activities and make a secret-identity cape. Wear a superhero costume and take part in a parade. See our Daily Calendar for pricing.

Head to the American Tobacco Campus, in Durham, from 2-4 p.m. for Durham Dances, a free celebration featuring music, dance, a parade with Paperhand Puppet Intervention, arts and crafts with Scrap Exchange, and much more. The Gravy Boys will be providing a free concert on the ATC stage, so take your lawn chair.

Not sure what to do on Sunday? See our Daily Calendar, for more indoor fun, like the Bubble Blast at Marbles Kids Museum, in downtown Raleigh.

And visit our roundup of July Fourth Celebrations in the Triangle to see where you'd like to watch the fireworks, enjoy parades and kids activities next week!

For savings, see our Summer Fun Guide to find summer movie deals for families and low-cost or free outdoor summer concerts,

Do you have a special summer memory. Share it with us and you could win a Kindle Fire in our Summer Stories contest.

Updated 5:20 p.m., June 29


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