Valentine’s Weekend Fun: 6 Outings in Raleigh, Durham, Apex

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Courtesy Karen Swain/North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
A visitor to "Darwin Day" takes a close look at a leaf insect.

Why not celebrate Valentine’s weekend with novel experiences? Take your kids to craft a gift for birds. Head out with your significant other to look at art that reflects the many faces of love. Gaze at the stars as a family. Learn about Darwin. See our state’s “birth certificate.” Attend a free theatrical performance about African American groundbreakers. This weekend, fun and learning for children covers science and history, and many events are free.

1. Learn about famed naturalist Charles Darwin, take a closer look at his theories and their impact on modern science, and meet some of the scientists who are continuing his work when the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences hosts "Darwin Day" Saturday, Feb. 13, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Admission is free; donations are welcome. 

Courtesy Karen Swain/North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

2. See the Carolina Charter of 1663, considered North Carolina's "Birth Certificate," during this rare viewing in conjunction with the Treasures of Carolina exhibit all weekend at the North Carolina Museum of History in downtown Raleigh. The Carolina Charter marks the beginning of organized, representative government in the province of Carolina, granting rights to the colonists. 

Photo courtesy of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources

3. Head to Wake Forest to enjoy two free shows of “Black History Hall of Fame” on Saturday, Feb. 13, performed by Bright Star Touring Theatre, a national professional touring theater company based in Asheville. The first performance starts at 1 p.m. at the Alston-Massenburg Center at 416 N. Taylor St.; the second show starts at 7 p.m. at the Wake Forest Renaissance Centre for the Arts at 405 S. Brooks St. Each 45-minute show introduces groundbreakers like Maya Angelou, Aretha Franklin, the Buffalo Soldiers and Mae Jemison. 

Photo of Bright Star Touring Theatre courtesy of the Town of Wake Forest

4. Step out to gaze at the stars in Raleigh or Apex“Astronomy Nights,” a program for ages 5, and older will take place at 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 12, at Wilkerson Nature Preserve in Raleigh. Registration is required, and the cost is $2 per person. Or head to Jordan Lake State Recreation Area in Apex, 7-9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 13, for a free tour of the constellations with educators from the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center. The event will take place at Ebenezer Beach, but check the weather on the day of the event as clouds will mean it is canceled. 

PHoto courtesy of North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources

5. If you’ve ever had instant chemistry with a work of art, you’ll want to head to the Nasher Museum at Duke University for a “Special Tour: The Art of Love” at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 14. You’ll hear stories about art on view that will make you fall in love, break up or start a complicated relationship with works of art you’ll see at the museum. The one-hour tour is free with admission.

Nicola Maria Rossi, Italian, Marriage of Jupiter and Juno (detail), c. 1720-1730. Oil on canvas, 35 x 27 inches (88.9 x 68.6 cm). Collection of the Nasher Museum. Gift of Joseph and Marilyn Sparling. Photo by Peter Paul Geoffrion.

6. This weekend, you’ll also find nature programs for kids at parks, with many focusing on birds. Learn about birds during the Breakfast with the Birds Hike, 9-10:30 a.m. Saturday at Historic Yates Mill County Park in Raleigh. Help with the Great Backyard Bird Count at Crowder District Park, 1-2 p.m. Saturday in Apex. Both events are free but registration is required. On Sunday, "Happy Valentine’s Day, Mother Nature," 2:30-3:30 p.m., offers kids a chance to craft a gift for the birds at Crowder District Park. Registration is required and costs $5 per family. 

 

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