Your kids are tired of watching you read law books and you are tired of reading your law books. You're in luck! There's so much for kids to see and do in Durham and the surrounding area that we can't list all of it here. These are just a few suggestions for family fun in the Triangle. For more ideas, check out these resources:
There is no better kid-friendly location in Durham than the acclaimed Museum of Life and Science. It's an interactive science park where you and your kids can enjoy hands-on scientific discovery, sit inside a space capsule, paint with water, walk through a landscape of mist, see rescued black bears, and wonder at the "total immersion" of the 35 foot tall Magic Wings Butterfly House. There's even a Dinosaur Trail! They have camps, classes and clubs year round. The experience of the Museum of Life and Science is one that can be enjoyed everyday except Mondays (when the museum is closed).
Durham has a wonderful variety of activities in its more than 60 parks and recreation centers. Toddler playgrounds, big-kid climbing structures, trails, sports fields, pools, and even dog parks are available. Chapel Hill has several nice parks as well, and Jordan Lake State Recreation Area has boat ramps, beaches, and bald eagle sightings. Your kids will also love Pullen Park in Raleigh, with its old-fashioned carousel, kiddie and pedal boats, and a miniature train they can ride on.
Kids love the Duke Gardens. Its paths wind through landscaped gardens and wooded areas, with grottos, arched bridges, stone benches, gazebos, and pavilions. The duck and geese pond is a favorite with young visitors. Duke Gardens also has a café, visitor center, and gift shop. And there is the "bowl," a large sloping lawn perfect for picnics, outdoor games, and just enjoying the sunshine. Duke Gardens is open year round and is free!
West Point on the Eno is the convergence of nature and history in Durham. Restored mill buildings feature a water wheel and demonstrations of stone-grinding of corn meal and wheat flour. Acres of land are great for hiking and picnicking. And the Eno River is the place to dip your feet in, take a swim, or put in a canoe. There is even a small Museum of Photography. Don't miss the annual Festival for the Eno!
What would summer be without a baseball game? Durham is home base for the popular Durham Bulls, the AAA affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays. Besides the action of the game, the great food (and beer) selection and the friendly crowds, DBAP (Durham Bulls Athletic Park - not to be confused with its artsy neighbor DPAC) offers hilarious entertainment between innings, a bouncy castle, climbing wall, toddler play areas, gift shop, Friday Fireworks, Kids Run the Bases on Sundays, and at every game, the beloved mascot Wool E. Bull!
Do you know the one place that every lemur in a U.S. zoo has been? Durham, and the Duke Lemur Center. Home to the largest population of lemurs outside of Madagascar (their only true habitat), the Duke Lemur Center offers a range of tours including guided walks with the experts, training sessions with keepers or caretakers, and even observing as lemurs paint you a picture!
A necessary escape for any Duke Law student. Whether it’s for Beach Week or a random Saturday getaway during August, Wrightsville is the perfect retreat – only two and a half hours away on I-40 with surfing, boating, and delicious seafood restaurants for miles. Parking is scarce and can be annoying to find so be sure to leave early! If you don’t mind the longer drive, Emerald Isle and the Outer Banks also have beautiful beach spots and are filled with history – you can visit Kitty Hawk, site of the Wright Brothers’ historic flight, the vanished colony at Roanoke, or even Blackbeard’s grave.
An absolutely beautiful space! The park is over 150 acres with a trail system and site-specific works of art to entrance any walker, cyclist, or jogger. Best of all, it’s a space for the museum to host orchestras, performance artists, singers, and even a screening of The Big Lebowski.
Take a break from the outdoors and head into Durham’s public libraries! In addition to the materials you can borrow, like books, CDs, DVD, audiobooks, and Ebooks, the libraries offer lots of great programming and events for kids. Visit the large Main Library Downtown or any of the branches located throughout Durham.
Museums in the Triangle
- Museum of Life and Science, 433 Murray Ave., Durham, 919-220-5429
- Kidzu Children's Museum, 201 S. Estes Dr. (in University Mall), Chapel Hill, 919-933-1455
- Morehead Planetarium and Science Center, 250 E. Franklin St., Chapel Hill,919-962-1236
- Children's Museum of Alamance County, 217 S. Main St., Graham, 336-228-7997
- Marbles Kids Museum, 201 East Hargett St., Raleigh, 919-834-4040
- North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences,11 W. Jones St., Raleigh, 919-707-9800
- North Carolina Museum of History, 5 E. Edenton St., Raleigh, 919-807-7900
Museum Day Trips
- Discovery Place, 301 N. Tryon St., Charlotte, 704-372-6261
- Greensboro Children's Museum, 220 North Church St., Greensboro, 336-574-2898
- North Carolina Aquariums: Roanoke Island, Pine Knoll Shores, and Fort Fisher
- N.C. Transportation Museum, 411 S. Salisbury Ave., Spencer, 704-636-2889
- North Carolina Zoo, 4401 Zoo Parkway, Asheboro, 1-800-488-0444
- Old Salem Museum & Gardens, 600 S. Main St., Winston-Salem, 336-721-7300
Arts and Culture Fun
- Durham Symphony Orchestra, 919-491-6576
- Nasher Museum of Art, 2001 Campus Dr., Durham, 919-684-5135
- North Carolina Museum of Art, 2110 Blue Ridge Rd., Raleigh, 919-839-6262
- Paperhand Puppet Intervention, 919-923-1857
- Walltown Children's Theatre,1225 Berkeley St., Durham, 919-286-4545
Family-Friendly Festivals and Events
- American Dance Festival
- Bimbé Cultural Arts Festival
- Bull Durham Blues Festival
- Festival for the Eno
Rainy Day Activities
- Create a masterpiece in the Make and Take Room at The Scrap Exchange or at Bull City Craft
- Visit one of the Durham County Libraries
- Ride the Carousel in Northgate Mall
- Hang out at Stay & Play Snack Cafe
- Bowl a few frames at AMF Durham Lanes
- Have an indoor picnic and play ping-pong at Fullsteam
- Explore the Museum of Life and Science
Food Kids Will Love
- Bull City Burger and Brewery, 107 E. Parrish St. Durham, 919-680-2333
- Durham Farmers' Market, Pavilion at Durham Central Park on Foster Street
- Elmo’s Diner, 776 Ninth St., Durham, 919-416-3823
- Mellow Mushroom, 410 Blackwell St., Durham, 919-680-8500
- Parker and Otis, 112 S. Duke St., Durham, 919-683-3200
- The Original Q Shack, 2510 University Dr., Durham, 919-402-4227
- Torero’s, 800 W. Main St., Durham, 919-682-4197; 4600 Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd., Durham, 919-489-6468
- Local Yogurt, 2816 Erwin Rd., Durham, 919-382-7400
- Locopops, 2604A Hillsborough Rd., Durham, 919-286-3500
Independent, used and rare bookshops
- Regulator Bookshop: A reliable favorite, this bookshop on 9th Street has a collection of used fiction, magazines, new and prizewinning literature, non-fiction and, best of all, a carefully curated selection of books on Durham and North Carolina.
- Letters Bookshop: Their inventory is small but growing! Located right on Main Street, Letters has a beautiful feel and an accessible and highly useful website.
- Nice Price Books: The selection is incredible, their records are rare and wonderful, and the prices are extremely reasonable. You can happily spend hours browsing in here.
- Wentworth and Leggett Rare Books: The best place to get old maps, painted postcards, and beautifully bound, gilt and leather books. A Triangle treasure!
- The Bookshop (Chapel Hill): Huge, well-stocked, and best of all, the owners’ cats wander the aisles to keep you company while you browse. What’s not to love?