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Written by:  Odile Fredericks
Date: September 22, 2011

This weekend beckons with fun for moms, dads and kids of all ages, and many events are free. Enjoy games, giveaways and conversation at Carolina Parent's Online Baby Fair meet-ups in Cary and Durham. Join in festivals that celebrate storytelling, a variety of international food, the Caribbean, and music and the performing arts. Take a visit to an interactive theatre that teaches kids about the ocean and marine life. Or enjoy kids activities at a free family day at two museums.

This Saturday also kicks off Take a Child Outside (TACO) Week, when many parks are offering free kids activities. Sept. 24 is also a Worldwide Day of Play, and some local museums will be offering free admission that day. Here's a roundup of the fun. Unless otherwise noted, you'll find details of these events in our Daily Calendar.

FRIDAY

In the mood to head out alone with your spouse on Friday? Drop your kids ages 4-12 off at Pump It Up of Raleigh from 6-10 p.m., for a bouncing and sliding extravaganza while you enjoy a night out. Pre-registration is required.

Also on Friday, from 6-9 pm., The Cary Arts Center is also hosting an open house to showcase its youth programs. Register your children for youth programs and visit stations to create simple make-and-take art projects with your kids. Leave your kids ages 5-12 at the center to enjoy an evening of art while you have a night out on the town. Children must be enrolled or have completed kindergarten to participate. Refreshments provided.

SATURDAY

Join us at Carolina Parent's Online Baby Fair Meet-ups on Saturday from 10 a.m.-noon to meet local parents, get parenting tips and win prizes as part of Carolina Parent's Virtual Baby Shower. Our meetups are at Bright Horizons at Independence Park, located at 4205 Capitol St., in Durham; and at Bright Horizons at Harrison Park, located at 800 Weston Pkwy., in Cary.

.On Saturday at 1 p.m., head to the 3rd Annual Cary Caribbean Festival at the Herbert C. Young Community Center, in Cary for live music, dancing, kids activities, Caribbean food, handicrafts and cultural information.

The Children's Expo at the Goddard School, in Morrisville, will feature a talent show, pony rides, face painting, a pizza truck and fun activities from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday.

In Clayton, St. Ann's Catholic Church will host an International Food Festival on Saturday, from 11:30a.m.-6:30 p.m. Savor food from a range of exotic places as well as international entertainment, kids games and silent auction. More details in our Daily Calendar.

In Cary on Saturday from noon-6 p.m., check out Maripolooza, a free family-friendly festival for a good cause at the Koka Booth Amphitheatre at Regency Park. Enjoy performances by local musical and performing arts groups, food, kids activities (a child's activity wristband costs $5), a silent auction, and more!  Proceeds from the event will help create tuition scholarships for The Mariposa School for Children with Autism's students

In Raleigh,  a free Storytelling Festival will take place from 11 a.m.-4 .pm. on Saturday at Historic Oak View County Park. Enjoy a day of storytelling that includes historical yarns, legends, folk tales and ghost stories. Hear from Grammy-winning, Native-American storyteller Bill Miller, along with other noted storytellers. The event also offers hay rides, music, face painting and a food vendor. Take blankets, cushions or chairs. In the event of rain, all storytelling activities will take place indoors. 

Saturday is also National Public Lands Day, and kids ages 6 and up can volunteer from 10 a.m.-noon with a parent at Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs, in Cary, to help staff with trail maintenance and improvements.

SUNDAY

In Chapel Hill on Sunday from 1-4 p.m., the Ackland Art Museum, on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus, is hosting a free family day with the theme, People Around the World. See how artists in far-flung places represent people in their art. Enjoy a scavenger hunt and practice drawing or putting together faces.

In Durham, Nasher Museum of Art, at Duke University, is also hosting a Free Family Day from noon-4 p.m. on Sunday. Hands-on activities for ages 3-12 include creating hair portraits, writing one-line poetry, designing personal flags and more. Enjoy live music from Girls Rock N.C. at 1 p.m.

In honor of Take a Child Outside Week, head to Lake Crabtree County Park, in Morrisville for a free children's program from 1-5 p.m. on Sunday. Learn about plants and animals in the park, go on a scavenger hunts, birdwatching, fishing and more. Meet at the Dogwood Shelter. You'll find more TACO events in this blog.


In Apex, attend the Marine Mammal Geodome, an interactive theatre, on Sunday, from 1-6 p.m. at the Apex Community Center for a free children's event. The geodome recreates the ocean and covers topics such as marine life, climate change, green living and the ocean environment. You'll enjoy interactive displays, arts and crafts, expert speakers and more.

Headed to the movies? Read Jean's Movie Choices for Kids to see what's worth watching and appropriate for your tot, tween or teen. 

UPCOMING FUN! Meet, mingle, network at our Women@Work Breakfast on Thursday, Sept. 29, featuring N.C. comedian Kelly Swanson.





This article was updated Sept. 23




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