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Written by:  Odle Fredericks
Date: February 2, 2012

This weekend, you'll find a range of free family fun around the Triangle, starting with First Friday events during Raleigh's monthly arts celebration. Grab the kids and head to a parade in Durham featuring floats and bands in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Two Raleigh parks are hosting special celebrations, where kids will enjoy games and activities for kids. Bookshops are hosting free events for children.

And as usual, you can find inexpensive nature programs for children in our Daily Calendar. If you're headed to a Super bowl gathering or hosting one at home, see these ideas for healthy choices, Game Food: Help Your Children Eat Like Champs.

FRIDAY

It's First Friday in Raleigh, when lots of venues, from museums to art galleries and shops, stay open late to welcoming browsers. Marbles Kids Museum will be offering special admission savings.

Got an American Girl fan? The Barnes & Noble., located at 760 S.E. Maynard Rd., in Cary, will host a meeting of the American Girl Club at 7 p.m. Friday. Kids will be discussing McKenna and taking part in an activity. See our Daily Calendar for details.

SATURDAY

The 10th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. parade will kick off at noon Saturday on Fayetteville Street, in Durham, with the theme, ""I 'Still' Have a Dream." The parade will feature floats and bands in honor of the civil rights leader and other notable African-Americans. Call 919-680-0465 for details or visit www.spectacularmag.com.

In Raleigh, Historic Oak View County Park,  will host a Black History Month Celebration from 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Saturday. Enjoy a day filled with games, activities, crafts, live music, storytelling, and displays focusing on African-American history. The event is produced in partnership with Wake County Public Libraries. You'll also find more free cultural fun in celebration of Black History Month at the Wake County Commons Building, and you can catch a haywagon shuttle between the two locations. 

Blue Jay Point County Park, in Raleigh, is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a Winter Open House event that features free activities, hot cocoa and cake from 1-4 p.m., Saturday. Take part in "The Amazing Place"—an all-weather adventure similar to "The Amazing Race"—where you follow clues to learn about the 236-acre park. Catch the Blue Jay Express train from the education center to the lodge, and if you're among the families to finish all the activities, a prize will be waiting for you. Get all the details about the special activities for kids as well as freebies to be offered, in my earlier post.

In Raleigh, the North Carolina Museum of Art will host a free drop-in studio workshop at 11 a.m. Saturday featuring hands-on crafts. See our Daily Calendar for contact information.

In Chapel Hill, take your little one for Saturday Morning Story time from 10-10:30 a.m. at Flyleaf Books, located at 752 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. After story time, kids can take part in an activity. See our Daily Calendar for contact information.

Ahoy Mateys! Raleigh Little Theatre Storytellers To Go performers will present a tale of Blackbeard and his crew, from 2-3 p.m. Saturday at the N.C. Museum of History, in downtown Raleigh. The free show, "A Rollicking Tale of Blackbeard, Pirate of the Carolina Coast," will feature a wild pirate dance, storytelling, a sea chantey and more. See our Daily Calendar for details.

The North Carolina Museum of Art, in Raleigh will host "Trickster Tales" with Barefoot Puppet Theatre at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday. The show, for ages 5 and up, revolves around the adventures of Anansi the spider, Elephant, Hippo and many more characters. See our Daily Calendar for details.

In Carrboro, the ArtsCenter will feature "Transactors Improv: For Families," a family-friendly performance at 6 p.m. Saturday. The 45-minute show features short-form improvisation, with individual scenes running 5 to 10 minutes and based on audience suggestions. For more information, call (919) 929-2787 or visit www.artscenterlive.org.

SUNDAY

Are you ready for Valentine's Day? The Contemporary Art Museum, in Raleigh is hosting CAM You Be Mine Family Sunday, from noon-3 p.m., featuring Valentine-inspired projects and family-friendly tours of the "Born Digital" exhibit. For more details, including links to pricing information, visit our Daily Calendar.

MORE FUN

Triangle venues are planning lots of creative ways to celebrate love with Valentine-themed events for kids and families throughout February.

Got a nature nut in your family? Visit our Daily Calendar for a range of programs for kids in parks across the Triangle. You might also want to join with bird watchers of all ages across North America for the 15th Annual Great Backyard Bird Count Feb. 17-20

Headed to the movies? Be sure to check Jean's Movie Choices for Kids first to see what's appropriate for your tot, tween or teen.

February ushers in more family-friendly exhibits and performances to the Triangle. See the line-up here.

If you're going to be dining out, find out which Triangle restaurants let kids eat free or for 99 cents in our just updated Family Dining Deals Directory.



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