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Written by:  Odile Fredericks
Date: February 9, 2012

Triangle family fun runs the range this weekend, from Valentine and nature events to a free Darwin Day featuring children's activities and interactive exhibits about Charles Darwin. Catch a free acoustic blues guitar performance, enjoy free yogurt or head to a free story time with your little one. Unless otherwise noted, check our Daily Calendar for details on these upcoming events, some of which require pre-registration.


Meet Spot the Dog for free story time at 7 p.m. Friday during Family Fun Night at the Barnes & Noble at 760 S.E. Maynard Rd., in Cary.

Ready for a date night? Drop the kids off from 5:30-9:30 p.m. Friday for Kids Night Out at the Herbert C. Young Community Center, in Cary, while you head out for dinner or a movie. The program, for ages 3 to 9, offers arts and crafts and pizza. Pre-registration is required at the community center.


On Saturday, from 11 a.m.-5 p.m., the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, in downtown Raleigh, will offer Darwin Day, a chance to learn about Charles Darwin and his legacy. The free event will span the first three floors of the museum, as well outdoors on Bicentennial Plaza. Staff from the Conservators' Center of Mebane will show off a serval on the plaza and discuss the advantages that the cat has gained through evolutionary adaptations. You'll find fun activities for kids, including arts and crafts, button making and interactive exhibits about Darwin. For more information, visit the museum's site.

With Valentine's rapidly approaching, these venues are offering special events for kids.
* In Durham, Bull City Craft, located at 2501 University Dr., is hosting a Valentine Card Bash, from 2-5 p.m. for all ages. Make Valentine cards and enjoy sweet snacks. See our Daily Calendar for details, including price.
* In Chapel Hill, the North Carolina Botanical Garden, on the University of North Carolina campus, at 100 Old Mason Farm Rd., is hosting Valentine's is for the Birds Family Workshop from 10-11:30 a.m. Saturday. Visit feeders to identify common winter birds, learn how to participate as a citizen scientist in Project FeederWatch and make bird treats to take home. Pre-registration is required. See our Daily Calendar for details, including price.
* In Cary at 11 a.m. Saturday, the Barnes & Noble at 760 S.E. Maynard Rd. is offering a free special Valentine story time with crafts and refreshments.

Looking for  more Valentine's events? Visit our Valentine's Guide to the Triangle, to see where kissing on Valentine's Day gets you a buy-one, get-one free deal.

On Saturday, you'll also find these nature programs for kids.
* In Cary, Eco-Explorers: Seeking Salamanders runs from 2-4 p.m. at the Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs. The program helps kids ages 7-10 build observation skills through hands-on explorations of nature and ecology. Pre-registration is required. See our Daily Calendar for details, including price.
* The Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs is also hosting Family Programs: Finding Wildlife in Winter from 3-4:30 p.m. Saturday. The program invites all ages to search for winter hiding places for animals. Pre-registration is required. See our Daily Calendar for details, including price.
* In Raleigh from 3-4 p.m. Saturday at Lake Johnson, at 4601 Avent Ferry Rd., all ages are invited to learn about wildlife on a family nature walk. Pre-registration is required. See our Daily Calendar for details, including price.

In Cary, Menchie's Frozen Yogurt Store is celebrating its opening at 575 New Waverly Place from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday. Enjoy free frozen yogurt, bounce house, face painting, balloon artist, arts and crafts and more. See our Daily Calendar for details.


Take in a free acoustic blues guitar show when Boo Hanks performs at 3 p.m. Sunday at the N.C. Museum of History, Daniels Auditorium, in downtown Raleigh. See our Daily Calendar for details.

Remember your hula hoop days? At 1 p.m. and 2 p.m., Sunday Marbles Kids Museum, in downtown Raleigh. is featuring Family Fit Guest Star: Hooping Hoopla. Take the kids to learn hula hooping with the Pickle Mamas. For details, including price, visit our Daily Calendar.

Nobody listens to a story as well as a dog. If your child is a beginning reader, don't miss the free Read to a Dog program from 2-3:30 p.m. Sunday at the Cameron Village Regional Library, in Raleigh. Curry the Dog can't wait to hear your child read from his or her favorite book. Pre-registration is required, so see our Daily Calendar for details.

Got a birder  in your family? 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 brings lots of 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.

Shopping on a budget?  Save on children's clothing and more, when you visit these consignment sales and shops in the Triangle area.


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