What are the five best things to do with kids in Raleigh-Durham?

Even if your kids aren’t old enough to start looking at colleges, Raleigh-Durham still flaunts a whole host of activities for your whole family to enjoy. And, hey, it’s never too early to start looking at higher education. The five best things to do with kids in Raleigh-Durham are:

1. North Carolina Museum of Life and Science in Durham. Exhibits about rocks and robots will vie for your attention, along with the Magic Wings Butterfly House, a farmyard full of animals and hands-on wind experiments.

2. Pullen Park in Raleigh. Carved rabbits, tigers, horses and other artistically carved and painted animals spin round the park’s carousel, which is on the National Register of Historic Sites. While on your adventure at this park, you can make use of the paddleboats or let your little ones monkey around on the jungle gym. For a refreshment, stop by the concession stand

3. Marbles Kids Museum in Raleigh. This hands-on museum includes an IMAX theater that’s all the rage. What’s better than kids learning about all kinds of things such as the Moneypalooza, where kids are encouraged to play smart with their money — a way to teach your kids a life skill without having to drill it into their heads.

4. Eno River State Park. Walk its hiking trails, perch on rocky outcroppings, wade in the knee-high waters, or take a swim in Sennett’s Hole. Let your kids run around in the wild until their hearts are content; trust us, they will sleep much better that night.

5. Durham Bulls baseball game. Take them out to the ball game. This intimate stadium makes for a great atmosphere with the crowd and the goofy entertainment. The best part is, you are close enough to actually watch baseball: You can see what the coaches are doing, how the shortstop holds the runner at second, and what the ball players are like.

  • On June 25, 2012
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the best museums in Raleigh-Durham?

    Top-notch universities and buzzing tech companies put Raleigh-Durham on the map; but that’s not to say that there aren’t plenty of museums to be explored. We’ll give you the three best: The North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh, the Nasher Museum of Art in Durham and the North Carolina Museum of Life and Science in Durham.

    The North Carolina Museum of Art features 30 Auguste Rodin sculptures — the best collection of the artist’s work in the Southeast. And the best part is, admission to this permanent exhibit is totally free, so you can save a few bucks while still getting culture with the whole family.

    For an unrivaled collection of contemporary and post-modern art, venture to the Nasher Museum of Art in Durham. We promise you, this museum will certainly make an impression on the right side of your brain. Finally, for kids, nothing beats the North Carolina Museum of Life and Science in Durham. Exhibits about rocks and robots will vie for your attention, along with the Magic Wings Butterfly House, a farmyard full of animals and hands-on wind experiments. All things combined, you’ll have a variety of art and science exhibits to keep you busy while you’re in Raleigh-Durham, no matter what time of year you visit.
  • On June 25, 2012
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What should I pack for a trip to Raleigh-Durham?

    A couple of vital things must be in your carry-on for any trip to Raleigh-Durham. First of all, don’t close your suitcase without that pair of trusty walking shoes. Whether your tastes run toward urban adventures or natural retreats, you’ll find plenty of on-foot exploring to do; we suggest a hike at the Eno River State Park if you’re an adventure seeker. If you’re looking for a day full of shopping to the point of utter exhaustion, your sneakers will come in handy for your shopping trip to Raleigh’s Cameron Village. And as you stroll on the campus of the University of North Carolina, you might even think back to your halcyon days at your university — though they may not be quite so idyllic as any time you’ll spend at UNC

    We should also mention your GPS as an important item to bring along. Whether it’s on your iPhone or a portable Garmin, you’ll certainly need some guidance to navigate through the sprawling collection of towns that make up Raleigh-Durham. Though the towns are only a few miles apart, it’s easy to become disoriented, especially if you’re an out-of-towner. The locals will be more than happy to help you out, though, if you’ve left the navigation at home, extending that unquestioned charm and Southern hospitality.
  • On June 25, 2012
    Jim Beley answered the question: Jim Beley

    What is the best way to see Raleigh-Durham in two days?

    We would encourage having a car, since our area is spread between Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill. Must-sees in Raleigh include the North Carolina Museum of Art and Museum Park, Contemporary Art Museum, North Hills shopping center, Umstead State Park, downtown Raleigh trolley tour, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and the Marbles Children’s Museum. In Durham, you might want to visit the Duke University campus and Duke Gardens, a Durham Bulls baseball game, Streets of Southpoint shopping center, downtown Durham’s farmers market and the American Tobacco entertainment complex. In Chapel Hill, try the Morehead Planetarium, Franklin Street shopping, ASouthern Season gourmet food shop and the Carrboro farmer’s market.
  • On June 25, 2012
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What is the best way to see Raleigh-Durham in two days?

    The best way to see Raleigh-Durham in two days depends on what type of traveler you are. We can help you sort it all out.

    If you’re traveling with children, spend the morning at the North Carolina Museum of Life and Science and learn all about rocks and robots; then head over to the Magic Wings Butterfly House, a farmyard full of animals and hands-on wind experiments. Your kids will be having so much fun, they won’t even realize they’re learning. Make a pit stop at Locopops to reload the little ones on sugar. After you’re sweet tooth is satisfied, venture through the picturesque campus of Duke University and into the Sarah P. Duke Gardens for a beautiful outdoor adventure. On day two, it’s all fun and games at Pullen Park in Raleigh. With paddleboats and a carousel that’s on the National Register of Historic Sites, there’s a little fun for everyone.

    If you’re a history buff, you can fill an afternoon walking through the historic campus of the University of Chapel Hill — one of the oldest universities in the country. Stroll across the quad of the first public university in the U.S. to admit students, way back in 1795. Feel the history of centuries-old bricks, then take a sip from the Old Well for good luck. And if you’re lucky, you might even spot a roundball player or two — just look for the tall guys decked out in team gear. Leave time for dinner at one of the area’s best restaurants, such as Lantern, Acme Food & Beverage Co. or Crook’s Corner. And on your second day, head to Raleigh to visit the North Carolina Museum of Art, where you can gaze at thousands of years of art, all housed in one comfortable (and free) space. How you divvy up the itinerary is up to you, but rest assured that you’ll not run out of things to fill up several days in Raleigh-Durham.
  • On June 25, 2012
    Jim Beley answered the question: Jim Beley

    What is the best way to see Raleigh-Durham in one day?

    There are several unique ways to see the towns in our area. Downtown Raleigh offers tours via trolley or Segway to see sites like the gingerbread-style governor’s mansion, Moore Square, the state capitol building, and the historic Oakwood district. To have a taste of our foodie culture, try Triangle Food Tours. This organization offers six delicious food tasting and walking tours throughout downtown Raleigh, Chapel Hill and Carrboro, downtown Durham and downtown Cary.
  • On June 25, 2012
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What is the best way to see Raleigh-Durham in one day?

    The best way to see Raleigh-Durham in one day is to start with a walk down Chapel Hill’s main strip, Franklin Street. The main thoroughfare is home to most of the city’s restaurants, bars and shops — including the Shrunken Head Boutique, a UNC sportswear store filled to the brim with Carolina Blue Tarheel gear.

    In Raleigh, make a stop at the North Carolina Museum of Art to peruse its impressive collection of Rodin sculptures and more than 5,000 years of art. And bring your appetite to Durham, where you can find some of the best sweets at LocoPops and Scratch, neighborhood bars like Fullsteam Brewery and dining at Magnolia Grill, Four Square, Watts Grocery and Piedmont. It’s certainly a lot of ground to cover, but by the time you’ve seen it all (or at least what a day permits), you’ll get a much better feel for why so many students choose Raleigh-Durham as the place to spend the best four years of their lives.
  • On June 25, 2012
    Jim Beley answered the question: Jim Beley

    What’s the best time to visit Raleigh-Durham?

    Our area is truly beautiful year-round. All four seasons are temperate, save for summer, which can sometimes get a little warm! Fall brings a gorgeous show of color and lots of outdoor activities, including the North Carolina State Fair. Winter is chilly with only an occasional snow. Spring perhaps is the most vibrant, with budding dogwoods and azaleas — the perfect time for a stroll in nearby Umstead State Park or the Duke Gardens. Summer invites you to enjoy the local lakes, including the expansive Lake Jordan and Falls Lake.
  • On June 25, 2012
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What’s the best time to visit Raleigh-Durham?

    The best time to visit Raleigh-Durham is definitely in the fall and spring, when the humidity isn’t raging and the landscape pops with color. During the warmer spring months, the North Carolina state trees, the dogwood, are in full bloom, covering the land as far as you can see; not to mention, the daffodils spring up all over the place. You can also catch the city’s minor league baseball team, the Durham Bulls, who helped make Kevin Costner famous before Field of Dreams in the film Bull Durham. As long as the weather is nice and the humidity is light, snag a table on one of the city’s various restaurant patios for a delicious Southern meal.

    If you’re lucky enough to visit in October, you’ll want to make haste to the North Carolina Fair, which has been delighting pint-sized visitors for nearly 150 years. In the fall, summer-weary locals flock to outdoor attractions such as Umstead State Park and Eno River State Park to enjoy the foliage colors that not even Monet could create — and the Carolina Blue sky makes quite the backdrop.

    Of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the basketball teams that play in Raleigh-Durham throughout the winter. Home to Duke, UNC and NC State, Raleigh-Durham has more than its fair share of amazing, can’t-miss basketball games. Don’t forget, Duke won the 2010 NCAA Championship and Michael Jordan considers himself a Tarheel for life. There must be something to the hoops down in Carolina.
  • On June 25, 2012
    Jim Beley answered the question: Jim Beley

    What is Raleigh-Durham’s cultural scene like?

    The arts flourish throughout Raleigh-Durham. The esteemed Carolina Ballet, North Carolina Symphony and North Carolina Opera hold regular performances throughout the year. Broadway Series South at DPAC in Durham, the North Carolina Theater, Theater in the Park and Raleigh Little Theater offer a variety of musical and dramatic shows

    As far as visual arts, the North Carolina Museum of Art is a national treasure, featuring a large collection of classical Greek, Roman, Egyptian and European art from across the centuries. Most notable are a large collection of works by Auguste Rodin and an outdoors Museum Park that’s dotted with sculptures. The newly opened Contemporary Art Museum in downtown Raleigh offers the Art of our Time exhibit, meant to inspire and delight. The Nasher Museum on the Duke University campus presents thought-provoking works in a modern setting. And throughout Raleigh-Durham, art galleries and studios abound.
  • On June 25, 2012
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What is Raleigh-Durham’s cultural scene like?

    Raleigh-Durham’s cultural scene has a patchwork quality to it; by day, the area cradles high-tech businesses and top-ranked universities. By night, alternative music streams out the doors of its hillbilly-hip venues, while glittering performance centers host Broadway shows and big-name performers.

    In Durham, it’s hard to resist cheering for the unstoppable Duke Blue Devils; until of course, you venture across town to Chapel Hill and find yourself among an ocean of UNC Tarheels. Relive your college days as you soak up the culture at these top-tier universities.

    And while the biggest rivalry in college hoops receives all the fanfare, the American Dance Festival, the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, two large performing arts centers, and a thriving food scene all round out cultural goings-on in Raleigh-Durham. And the area, thankfully, hasn’t lost site of its roots; you’re still as likely to encounter a barbecue joint as a sleek tapas bar.
  • On June 25, 2012
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the five best free things to do in Raleigh-Durham?

    Although it calls one of the most expensive universities in the country its own, Raleigh-Durham still has plenty of low-cost activities to keep you occupied; after all, college students abound. Whether it’s a museum or an outdoor adventure, you’re certain to find something that will fit your interests and your budget. The five best free things to do in Raleigh-Durham are:

    1. Wander the woods at Eno River State Park. The wildflower-and-tangled-vine-filled woods line numerous paths throughout the state park, which runs alongside the 40-mile Eno River. Standout spots include Coon Foot Island and Buzzard Rock, just a few of the rocky outcroppings that let you become one with nature. Some points on the river, such as Sennett’s Hole, are deep enough for swimming, too.

    2. Stroll through more than 5,000 years of art at the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh, all with no admission fee, then lunch at the museum’s Blue Ridge Restaurant — though you’ll have to pay for the food.

    3. The William B. Umstead State Park, situated between Raleigh and Durham, is a 5,577-acre oasis of pines, lakes, trails and quiet. On any given day, people come with dogs, bikes and canoes. Borrow a mountain bike and zip past streams, lakes, Eastern Box Turtles — even the occasional creepy graveyard — on Umstead’s extensive trails

    4. Sarah P. Duke Gardens in Durham. As you make your way through the breathtakingly beautiful campus of Duke University, you’ll take in some of the best sights that Durham has to offer. Once you make it to the Sarah P. Duke Gardens, be sure to check out the Japanese teahouse and various water features.

    5. Venture across town to Duke University’s biggest rival, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. While you wander among the Tarheels and your mind drifts back to the good old college days, make sure to take in the history of the campus; UNC is one of the oldest universities in the country.
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