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Written by:  Odile Fredericks
Date: July 19, 2012

This weekend offers a range of free family fun, from the Carolina Hurricane's annual Summer Fun Fest to Scoops for Troops, an ice cream social and family day honoring the military. If you're looking for cool indoor entertainment, you could head to a family-friendly play, catch a kindie rocker performance, enjoy story times or attend events catering to Star War fans, kids who love remote control cars or those who dabble in clay.

The Carolina Hurricanes will host their annual Summer Fun Fest on Friday starting at 5:30 p.m. at PNC Arena. Parking, and admission are free. Park and enter on the east side of the arena. This year, Summer Fun Fest will move inside PNC Arena with activities spread across the arena floor and the first level. While the ice will not be down, fans will be able to take pictures on the Hurricanes' bench, in the penalty box, with the Olympia ice resurfacers and more. In addition, the team's championship banners and the retired jerseys of Ron Francis, Glen Wesley and Rod Brind'Amour will be lowered from the rafters so fans can take their pictures with them.

As part of Summer Fun Fest, fans can enjoy live music from DJ George, more than 20 interactive inflatables and games, giveaways, appearances by Stormy and the Eye Care Associates Storm Squad, discounted concessions, street hockey and hockey games and extended hours for The Eye. Fans also are invited to take part in a School Supply Charity Drive during the event to benefit the Wake County Boys & Girls Clubs. Supplies can be brought to the Kids 'N Community Foundation kiosk inside the East Priority Lounge during the event. Items can include pencils, pens, notebook paper, spiral notebooks and crayons. Fans who choose to bring an item will be entered to win a 2011-12 team-signed replica jersey.

Also on Friday night, you'll find two nature events Children's Owl Hike with S'mores at Irvin Nature Preserve, in Chapel Hill, and Crowder by Night: Owl Prowl, in Apex. Check our Daily Calendar for details on registration, pricing and more.

SATURDAY

The Town of Cary, will host Scoops for Troops, a free ice cream social and family day to honor all active military and veterans on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in downtown Cary. The event will be held at the Downtown Performance Green, located on the corner of Academy Street and Kildaire Farm Road. The event features a military Ice Cream Eating Contest, games on the lawn, kids activities, including crafts, music and entertainment on stage, military vehicles and displays. Miss North Carolina Teen USA and Chewy the USO Ambassadog will make appearances. You're invited to take expired coupons and non-perishable items for donation to troops overseas and their families. The event is cosponsored by the USO of North Carolina. For details, visit the Town of Cary's site.

Does clay speak to you? It's feel good to knead cool clay on a hot day. At 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday, the North Carolina Museum of Art, in Raleigh  will host Family Fun Saturday: Hey, It's Clay!, when kids ages 5 to 11 with family members are invited to learn the language of clay through a gallery tour and studio workshop.The cost is $3 members, $5 nonmembers. See our Daily Calendar for details, including how to register.

For more cool indoor fun for your kids of all ages, head to a free story time on Saturday. You'll find them at Cameron Village Regional Library, in Raleigh; East Regional Library, in Knightdale, the Durham County Library (where story time will be in German), in Durham; Orange County Public Library's Carrboro Branch, in Chapel Hill; and Barnes & Noble, in Durham. See our Daily Calendar for details, including schedules.

In addition, Cameron Village Regional Library, in Raleigh, is featuring a free Star Wars Celebration, appropriate for all ages, from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday. Celebrate all things Star Wars with games, crafts and more fun. See our Daily Calendar for details.

If remote control cars are more your thing, head to the free Ho-b Max Car Drift Racing Event from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday at Northgate Mall, Durham. Visitors age 10 and up can sign up for 5-minute rides with remote control drift cars from noon to 3:30 p.m.  From 3:30-4 p.m., Ho-b Max customers who bring their own drift car can race against Ho b Max employees. See our Daily Calendar for details.

Fans of kindie music have their choice of two performances this Saturday:

  • Justin Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players perform at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the N.C. Museum of Art, in Raleigh. Visit our Daily Calendar for ticket prices.
  • Recess Monkey will sing about outer space, superheroes and the circus at 11 a.m. Saturday at The ArtsCenter, in Carrboro. See our Daily Calendar for details on ticket prices.
You can also catch a number of plays this weekend, including "East of the Sun and West of the Moon" at Raleigh Little Theatre, in Raleigh; "Oliver" at the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts, in Raleigh; and "Urinetown" at the Paul Green Theatre, in Chapel Hill. The North Carolina Museum of History is also featuring two interesting exhibits, Al Norte al Norte: Latino Life in North Carolina and "At the Speed of a Girl — Celebrating 100 Years of Girl Scouting." Head to the Historic Yates Mill County Park, on Saturday and Sunday in Raleigh, to step back in time with 19th century costumed interpreters and watch the millstones at work grinding corn into meal. Visit the park's site for details.

SUNDAY

The Ackland Art Museum, in Chapel Hill, will host Family Day starting at 2 p.m. Sunday, when kids ages 4 to 8 and their family are invited to join in hands-on activities and scavenger hunts in the galleries. The event is free and no registration is required. Visit our Daily Calendar for details.

Also, the North Carolina Museum of Art, in Raleigh is hosting free family-friendly tours at 10:30 a.m. Sunday.  Join a museum guide for a lively discussion and activities in the galleries. Meet at the West Building Information Desk. See our Daily Calendar for details.

From noon to 5 p.m., Sunday, you can also catch "Our State Dog: North Carolina's Plott Hound," a free traveling exhibit at the North Carolina Museum of History which explores the history and evolution of the Plott hound. A legendary hunting dog, the Plott hount is  the only dog breed known to have originated in North Carolina.

From 4 to 5 p.m. Sunday, the Junior Naturalist: Super Skinks and Snakes program at Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs, in Cary, is designed to help children ages 5 to 8 gain an understanding of local nature. See our Daily Calendar for details on cost and registration.


Browse our Summer Fun Guide for more activities, including summer movies deals for families and outdoor theater offerings.

Oh Baby! Our 2012-2013 Online Baby & Toddler Fair is now live! Discover services, businesses and products in the Triangle that cater to new and prospective parents.

Visit our contests page for a chance to win A Kindle Fire!
Carolina Parent is celebrating the warm weather season of lazy days, vacation getaways, new friends and discoveries with our My Summer Stories campaign – and you could win a Kindle Fire. Find out more here.












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