Fun for the Family in Durham

Monday, August 17, 2015

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Hey, parents! Wanna have fun with the little one and get out and about, too? Searching for activities can be hard, so we did it for you! Get ready to take on Bull City with your tots and tweens!

Spend Your Rainy Day at Kidzu

"Museum" hardly seems like the first word we would use to describe the activities and exhibits in the Kidzu Children's Museum. We think "Exploration Station" or "Imagination Central" might be more fitting for this spacious University Mall location with creative, drop-in programs and educational, hands-on activities. Kidzu ingeniously finds ways to get your kiddos active and learning. Exhibits include Farm to Fork, The Makery, The Build Guild and more. We suggest heading over to the Book Nook-picture cozy reading hammocks and story times in English or Spanish. Admission is $5.50 unless you're under 11 months, but don't miss Pay What You Can Sunday on the first week of the month.(Chapel Hill) (Photo via @kidzucm)

Roam the Museum of Life and Science at Sunset

As the sun goes down and all of the food truck windows come up, enjoy all of your fave exhibits at the Museum of Life and Science. Science at Sunset will feature fun and hands-on displays like the Magic Wings Butterfly House, fossil dig, Dinosaur Trail and more. The main building's closed, but we know you'll enjoy a little bit of fresh air and outdoor live music at the end of the work week. Purchase tickets the day of for $7, but get kiddos 2 and under in for free. (Durham) (Photo via @jsoplop)

Explore Bull City Beauty at Nature for Sprouts

Explore Sarah P. Duke on Friday mornings with stories, songs and creative endeavors during Nature for Sprouts. This is a great chance for your prince or princess to fall in love with all things active and outdoors. Pay $8 for 1 session or $28 for all four weeks of flowery fun. Register with or (919) 668-1707. Meet at the Doris Duke Center to start this green adventure! (Durham) (Photo via @cobblestonecouture)

Grab Good Eats at Elmo's Diner

The diner feeling is pretty distinct. It's inviting, it's unpretentious, and although it may not be the best place for the fanciest of date nights, Elmo's Diner is the perfect place to catch up with friends. Enjoy spending time with your favorites over a delicious breakfast, offered whenever. If you aren't feeling breakfast, try another soda shop classic like a burger and fries. Elmo's has almost anything (not many menus have burritos and spaghetti... or sweet potato pancakes and bacon waffles. Maybe we'll stick to breakfast forever!). Finish off the ordeal with a malt or a pie a la mode, and if you're really feeling like embracing your inner kid, grab an Elmo Duck placemat to color. (Durham & Carrboro) (Photo via @suz_rob)

Treat Yourself to "Cow to Cone" Ice Cream

Maple View Farm sells its ice cream in multiple locations around the Triangle, but there's nothing quite like getting it straight from the source. Located just outside Chapel Hill, Maple View offers a scenic escape from the bustle of the city and some of the best homemade ice cream in the area. Their ice cream is churned on location and made with the freshest and highest quality ingredients available. They offer delicious year-round flavors like Butter Pecan and Honey Toasted Almond and seasonal flavors like Peach in the summer, Brown Sugar Bourbon in the fall and Chocolate Peppermint in the winter. Yes. Yes. Yes. Best of all, after laboring over the decision of what flavor to order (or flavors, no judgement here), you can enjoy your scoops on the rocking chair lined porch looking out at the rolling pastures. Test your collegiate allegiance with the Tobacco Road Ice Cream Rivalry; Maple View churns Carolina Crunch and Devil's Delight year round. Taste 'em both and let the flavors speak for themselves when you decide which you like better, we won't tell if you're a traitor.(Hillsborough) (Photo via @jennyl31)

Stroll Alongside Life-Size Dinos

North Carolina's Museum of Life and History opened their Pre-History Trail in 1967, but damage by Hurricane Fran in 1996 forced the museum to close the critically acclaimed exhibit. To fill the pre-historic void the Museum opened the Dinosaur Trail in 2009. The trail features small-bird like dinosaurs and massive creatures like the Alamosaurus. Admission to the museum is $10 for children (3-12) and $14 for adults. Once you step foot on the trail you're entering a world of late Cretaceous, North American dinosaurs. Don't forget to check out the Fossil Dig Site during your visit. The pit contains dirt that's rich in fossils and trucked in from an area in Eastern North Carolina that used to be a part of the ancient ocean floor! (Durham) (Photo via @mrsrawr24)

Explore the Magic Wings Butterfly House

Magic Wings is a "total immersion" butterfly exhibit where guests will walk through a rainforest surrounded by 1000 tropical butterflies. One of the Museum of Life and Science's most popular attractions, Magic Wings is a thrill for visitors with a dramatic 35 foot tall conservatory and the Bayer Crop Science Insectarium. Magic Wings makes it possible to come into intimate contact with exotic butterfly species such as the radiant Blue Morpho or the huge, 5-inch wide Owl Butterfly, all in an indoor tropical environment. Magic Wings is one of the largest butterfly houses in the world, and it's always 80 degrees (sweet for winter when it's cold, and summer when it's really hot). (Durham)

Hangout with Lemurs and Ponder Animal Antiquities

On a daily basis, the Lemur Center offers one of the coolest experiences in Durham: guided tours. If it's any indicator of their popularity, tours tend to book up 2-3 weeks in advance, longer for weekends during the spring and summer months. If you want next-day booking, wait until the winter. The tour starts out with a video presentation about the center, after which you'll walk through the lemurs' dwelling cages, which are surprisingly plush. If you're on a summer tour and the weather is cooperative, you'll be ushered into a forested portion that mimics the lemur's natural habitat. Ticket Prices Adults $12; Children $9; Children (2 and under) FREE. While on your tour, you won't want to miss a few marquee lemur species (there are over a dozen species in all). One is the aye-aye, a nocturnal, funky looking cross between a rat, a lemur, and Dobby from Harry Potter. Of the 50 aye-aye lemurs in captivity throughout the world, the majority are here in Durham at the Center, and legend has it if one points its middle finger at you, you are cursed forever. The other, also nocturnal, is the slender loris, also known as the "banana on stilts" due to their small size and long legs. You'll have to be diligent to spot these fascinating nocturnal lemurs, but once you do, any time you're in the forest you'll forever wonder if lemurs are watching!(Durham)

Tour Carolina Tiger Rescue

Get ready to be amazed! Your tour guide will take you on a half-mile walk outdoors on grass and gravel to meet some of the world's most endangered species. All told, the tour lasts about 1.5 hours. Lions and tigers are obviously the most eye catching attractions, but CTR also has many other wild cats including caracals, servals, ocelots, binturongs and cougars. You'll hear engaging stories about how the cats live in the wild as well as their background stories before they were rescued. Many of the cats had pretty interesting lives before Carolina Tiger Rescue! (Pittsboro)


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