Seeking the perfect place for your growing family? Want an area full of kid-friendly events and activities? The Triangle is the place for you.
KaBOOM! recently announced its 2015 list of the top Playful Cities USA naming Durham, Garner and Raleigh some of the very best in the nation. Judged on play-related infrastructures, programming, integrated play services, and safety, these three cities have a lot to offer residents, young and old.
So, what is there to do? A lot. A whole lot. You’ll probably want to add these fun places to your kids’ summer bucket list.
- American Tobacco Trail – A 22+ mile rails-to-trails project, the American Tobacco Trail route crosses many Triangle cities with a pass through Jordan Lake. Runners, walkers, and bikers enjoy use of this great trail.
- Apex Community Park – This 160-acre community park has it all—3 ball fields and batting cages; soccer fields; volleyball, tennis and basketball courts; playground; fishing dock; picnic shelters and more.
- Apex Nature Park and Amphitheatre – Apex hosts family-friendly concerts and movies at this special location. Head over to the spacious amphitheatre with your kids and lawn chairs to enjoy a great show!
- Jordan Lake – The perfect place to spend a Saturday (or two), Jordan Lake offers water fun for the whole family. Fish, boat, float or swim the day away and enjoy a picnic lunch or dinner afterwards.
- Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve – One of the few nature preserves located in the state, Hemlock Bluffs features unique flora and fauna typically found in the mountains. The preserve includes many amenities for visitors, including trails, boardwalks, and an educational center.
- Marla Dorrel Park – Children love this 2-acre park with a Kids Together Playground, picnic shelter, basketball court, trails and open fields.
- Triangle Aquatic Center – The perfect place for swimming and fitness, the Triangle Aquatic Center includes a large indoor pool with programs for swimmers of all ages.
- WakeMed Soccer Park – This area soccer park draws talented middle- and high-school teams from throughout the country. Spectators enjoy great athletic matches at a well-maintained facility.
- Kidzu Children’s Museum – A great place for kids to make, build, explore and learn about the world around them. Check out the special exhibits, The Forest Theatre and the Tarheel Treehouse.
- Morehead Planetarium and Science Center – Sit back and stare at the stars! Offering family science workshops and learning centers for children and their parents, the Morehead Planetarium is a must-visit location.
- NC Botanical Gardens – A conservation garden open to the public, the Botanical Garden offers families a special look at nature. Children will love the Wonder Garden full of fun features like bird watching areas, a natural playground and more.
- Duke Lemur Center – A special conservation center that houses the largest captive population of lemurs in the world. Visitors may watch and learn about the special creatures.
- Durham Bulls Athletic Park – Grab your kids and take them out to the ballgame! You’ll find a fantastic baseball facility with family-friendly activities and a great team.
- Durham Performing Arts Center – Grab a show at the Durham Performing Arts Center. Known for hosting Broadway performances, the DPAC has quickly become a favorite for culture and entertainment.
- Eno River State Park – Minutes outside the Triangle, the Eno River State Park offers nature trails that follow a winding river. Visitors enjoy canoeing, fishing, hiking and camping.
- Museum of Life + Science – The Museum of Life + Science offers fun activities for young children to seniors. Learning through play is embraced and encouraged at this colorful and exciting museum.
- Sarah P. Duke Gardens – Enjoy this 55-acre collection of gardens expertly designed and maintained. Children will enjoy special programs including Nature for Sprouts, Gardening for Families, seasonal celebrations and more.
- White Deer Park/Lake Benson Park – Two area parks in the heart of Garner. White Deer Park offers playgrounds and a nature center on more than 96 acres of land. Lake Benson Park features more than 1.5 miles of walking trails surrounded by picnic areas, play space and a beautiful lake for fishing and boating.
- Polar Ice House – An ice skating facility offering fun for kids and adults. Children can take part in hockey and figure ice-skating lessons.
- Arts Together – A non-profit organization offering year-round arts education in visual art, dance and drama.
- Blue Jay Point County Park – A 236-acre park with open play fields, playgrounds and an environmental education center.
- Marbles Kids Museum – This nationally recognized museum offers hands-on, minds-on learning for children and families. Connected to the IMAX Theater, families visit and stay all day.
- NC Museum of Natural Sciences – A great place to spend the day sightseeing indoors, the Science Museum offers exhibits that will interest kids and adults.
- Pullen Park – This public park has fun for children of all ages. Kids love the indoor carousel, paddle boats, park train and playgrounds.
- Raleigh Little Theatre – A community theatre offering more than 150 performances annually. Children enjoy the entertainment showcased on stage.
- Falls Lake State Recreation Area – Falls Lake is a 12,000-acre lake surrounded by 26,000 acres of forest. Families can play on the water, camp and hike the area.
- Hill Ridge Farms – This spacious farm offers seasonal fun! Visit the pumpkin patch and take a hayride in October. Walk through a beautiful light display during the holidays. Get wet at the splash park in the summer months.
- The Factory – Combining sports and recreation, entertainment, retail and restaurants, The Factory is like no other place in the Triangle. Kids can ice skate, play soccer, basketball or baseball, bounce around the Jumpin’ Beans inflatable playground or skate at the skateboard park.