Triangle Fall Weekend Offers Free Family Fun

Red Leaf

This weekend, the Triangle offers an eclectic range of family fun, from old-fashioned down-home delights at the State Fair to free scientific exploration at N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences’ Chemistry Day and a free Artstober Festival at the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts.

Celebrate fall at corn mazes, pumpkin patches and Halloween events in towns across the Triangle, including at a Howl-o-ween Pet costume contest. Enjoy story times, or join with others in reliving memories of days gone by at Home Movie Day at the State Archives. If you’re game for a getaway, see where you can find fall celebrations at N.C. festivals across the state. If you are without young children this weekend and enjoy a scare, check out the ghost ship, in Wilmington! Unless otherwise noted, see our Daily Calendar for details of these upcoming events.

The N.C. State Fair opens Oct. 13 and runs through Oct. 23 in Raleigh offering rides, concerts and a chance to gain a deeper appreciation of our state’s agricultural heritage. Head to the fair’s miniature farm to pick your own crops and learn more about our connection between the farm and the dinner table. View antique farm machinery,  ranging from spinning wheels to hand reapers and see more than 75 artists and crafters at the Village of Yesteryear. Stop by the State Fair Ark Animals exhibit to gaze upon cattle, sheep, goats, swine and learn about breeds of farm animals raised in North Carolina. You can also milk a cow with the help of volunteers.

Did you enjoy Schoolhouse Rock, the ABC-TV education animated series from the ’70s and 80s? In our house, those old songs helped our kids learn their multiplication tables, grammar and how Congress works! This Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Applause! Cary Youth Theatre Presents Schoolhouse Rock Live at the Cary Arts Center, in Cary. Take the family for a stage production designed to bring back great childhood memories. See our Daily Calendar for ticket prices and times.

This Friday is the opening night of Ghost Ship, when the Battleship North Carolina, in Wilmington, turns green and the zombies find their way aboard. The event, which runs Oct. 15, 21, 22, 28 and 29, is not recommended for young children. Tickets ($10 a piece) go on sale each night at 6:30 p.m. and are limited each night. Details at


The N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences and the North Carolina section of the American Chemical Society will present a free Chemistry Day from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the museum, in downtown Raleigh. All Chemistry Day activities will take place on the first floor of the museum. Kids and adults will be able to take part in hands-on chemical experiments, exhibits and special presentations. Exhibitors from the American Chemical Society, North Carolina State University, Duke University, Meredith College and Artspace will be on hand to talk about chemistry and health, metals in food, countertop chemistry and the electrochemistry of the brain.

On Saturday, from 10 a.m.-11 p.m., enjoy Artstober, at Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts, in Raleigh. The center’s resident performing arts organizations, including Carolina Ballet, Hot Summer Nights at the Kennedy, N.C. Symphony, N.C. Theatre, N.C. Opera and PineCone, will be offering sample programming throughout the day. You’ll also find Marbles Kids Museum, Artsplosure, and a Plein Air Arts Festival on Lichtin Plaza adding to the festivities.

If your kids enjoy story times, you have a choice of at least three events on Saturday.
* In Raleigh, Turkish Storytime runs from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at the Cameron Village Regional Library, offering a look at Turkish culture through stories, folk costumes and crafts.
* In Cary, you’ll find a Special Storytime at 11a.m. at the Barnes & Noble. at 760 S.E. Maynard Rd. Enjoy the new book, “If You Give a Dog a Donut,” treats and activities.
* In Knightdale, a Bilingual Storytime kicks off at 10:30 a.m. at the East Regional Library, located at 946 Steeple Square Ct. Hear stories in English and Spanish and meet animals.

On Saturday, from 11 a.m.-5 p.m., a free event, “Come Play with Me Weekend,” at Cameron Village, in Raleigh, offers a chance to tour custom-built playhouses and enjoy family activities and live music by the kids band Sandbox.

On Saturday, from 1-4 p.m., the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources’ State Archives will host Home Movie Day, a worldwide event started in 2002 to showcase the personal collections of people around the globe.  Most forms of film will be accepted, including 8 mm, Super8 or 16 mm, and screenings will be shown in the Cultural Resources Auditorium at 109 E. Jones St., in Raleigh. Home Movie Day is a joint venture of the State Archives, Duke University Archive of Documentary Arts, N.C. State University Film Studies Program and A/V Geeks.

Library patrons, now’s the time to show your support. In Durham, head to the Fall Book Sale, at the Main Library, located at 300 N. Roxboro St., from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. Shop for gently used books, CDs and DVDs to support Durham County Library.


CAM Raleigh, a new museum of Contemporary Art and Design, located at 409 West Martin St., in Raleigh, will host its first Family Sunday event, Howl-O-Ween, on Sunday from 1-4 p.m. Howl-O-Ween activities include pet costume contests, hands-on furry friend mask making and self-guided family-friendly tours of museum exhibitions. For ticket prices, visit our Daily Calendar.

Thinking of heading to the movies or watching one at home? See Jean’s Movie Choices for Kids to see what’s worth watching and appropriate for your tot, tween or teen.

Categories: Activities, Early Education, Education, Fall, Family Fun, Food + Fun, Preschool Activities, Preschoolers, School Kids, Seasonal, Seasonal Fun, SK Activities, Things To Do, Tweens and Teens