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Written by:  Odile Fredericks
Date: August 2, 2012

With the sales tax holiday savings this weekend, many parents will be busy with back-to-school shopping. But if you have some time to play, you'll find lots of family-friendly events in and around the Triangle, from First Friday fun to free concerts, story times and Revolutionary War reenactments.

If you're free on Friday during the day, head to the Museum of Life and Science, in Durham, where National Watermelon Day will be celebrated with a watermelon feast for animals and humans. Enjoy special "Meet the Keeper" sessions and watch as lemurs and farmyard animals receive frozen watermelon "pops," while bears swim for whole watermelons. The museum's Sprout Café will be offering an assortment of refreshing watermelon meal options. Explore the science behind your favorite summer treat with a morning of melon experiments! See my earlier blog for more details, including a schedule of events.

On Friday evening, take in First Friday, downtown Raleigh's monthly arts, when museums and other venues stay open late for visitors to browse galleries, shop, eat and play. At 5 p.m. Friday, LoveBug 2012, a First Friday kids' party—featuring games, craft activities and a costume parade—kicks off. The event runs until 8 p.m. at Marbles Kids Museum, in downtown Raleigh. You'll find children's bug drawing competitions, with proceeds benefiting Toxic Free NC, which advocates for children's environmental health. The children' bug costume parade starts at 6:45 p.m. Learn more about the event here.

To celebrate First Friday, Marbles Kids Museum itself will feature Olympic-themed fun, inviting kids to get inspired by athletes and create action art. Learn more here. Through Saturday, the museum is also hosting the Marbles Olympics daily at 12:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. The program uses creative fun, from pool noodle fencing and scooter rowing to paper boat sailing, as a way for children to celebrate their own accomplishments. Also, see our ideas for Olympic fun at home here.

On Saturday and Sunday, head to Sanford to watch history come to life at Revolutionary War reenactments at the House in the Horseshoe State Historic Site.  Battle reenactments—at 4 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday—will recreate the events of July 29, 1781, when British loyalist Col. David Fanning attacked the home of patriot Revolutionary Col. Philip Alston. Look for large bullet holes from that battle that still mark the house. You'll see militia demonstrations and periodic firings of a replica 18th-century cannon throughout the day, on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. You can watch demonstrations of blacksmithing, gun engraving, weaving, and other period crafts, and let the children play period games.  The events are free, but donations are accepted.

In celebration of World Breastfeeding Week (Aug. 1-7), moms are heading to Sweetbottoms Baby Boutique, at 2855 Jones Franklin Rd., in Raleigh, on Saturday to join in The Big Latch On, when women around the world will try to break the record for the number breastfeeding simultaneously. Although the Latch-On starts at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, women are asked to show up at 10 a.m. for registration and to settle in. For more information, call (919) 438-1722 or email Tanya@sweetbottomsbaby.com.

In Chapel Hill from 10:30 to 11 a.m. Saturday, take your little ones, ages 1 to 4, to hear author Tatyana Feeney read from her book, Small Bunny's Blue Blanket. The event, at Flyleaf Books, is free. See our Daily Calendar for details.

On Saturday, you'll find a number of story times for kids at libraries in Raleigh, Apex, Durham and Chapel Hill. See our Daily Calendar for details.

On Saturday, Crucial Fiya will perform live reggae music in a free concert appropriate for all ages from 6 to 8 p.m. at Old Farm Road Park, 7 Hedgerow Place, in Durham. Take chairs or a blanket.  See our listing of August Triangle Family Performances on Stage for details and more upcoming concerts. 

On Sunday, catch Sensory Expressions, another free performance, on steel drums, saxophones and other instruments from 5 to 7 p.m. at E. Carroll Joyner Park, in Wake Forest. See our Daily Calendar for details. Also see our roundup of free or low-cost summer concerts in the Triangle.

You'll also find two nature programs for kids on Sunday:

  • Superhero Plants at 2 p.m. at J.C. Raulston Arboretum, in Raleigh, explores superhero plants that protect water from pollutants. The program is for ages 7 and up with a caregiver.
  • The Tarheel Turtle from 1 to 3 p.m. at Lake Crabtree, in Morrisville, teaches how to conserve North Carolina's state reptile, the Box Turtle.
See our Daily Calendar for details on price and registration.

More Resources:

See the lineup of family exhibits in the Triangle.

Visit our Things to Do, Family Fun and Summer Fun Guide for even more events.



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