School is officially out and that means the summer vacation season has officially begun. It’s time to start planning some fun things to do if you haven’t already done so. Normally I like to plan out our summer months ahead but for this season we are winging it every weekend. I was browsing places to visit and came across Durham, North Carolina which is not too far from me. I was excited to learn about the many different free and affordable fun things you could do in this city.
As a single mother of four children, I always have to find big family events to attend as well as restaurants for us to eat in. I tend to lean towards what locals recommend or maybe whichever location is giving a fantastic deal for my whole family to enjoy. I found 10 different things your family can enjoy in Durham, North Carolina this summer and I’m excited to share them with you.
1. Eno River State Park. The Eno River flows through Durham for 33 miles before eventually ending up in Falls Lake on the eastern edge of the county. This park, only 10 miles from Downtown Durham, offers terrific access for those who wish to experience the natural beauty the region has to offer. The river winds through hills and bluffs with shrubs and pines that are ready to be hiked and enjoyed through one of five access points.
Day trips can also include canoeing or fishing in the Eno itself and can also easily turn into overnight trips with both individual/small group and group campsites available along the trails in the park. There’s ample opportunity to sink into the peaceful atmosphere of the natural forests for as much time as you need before you return to your daily life, whether it’s a quick walk or a night under the stars.
2. Waller Family Farm. Working farm offering pick-your-own strawberries as well as other fresh-grown fruit and vegetables for sale seasonally. If your family loves to pick strawberries like my family does, this is the place to go!
3. Mardi Gras Bowling Center. The Mardi Gras Bowling Center is a destination for family-friendly fun and entertainment. Their smoke-free and alcohol-free facility features 24 bowling lanes, a private party room, plush furniture, multiple flat-screens, and a game room featuring an air hockey table and dozens of arcade-style video games. They also have free Wi-Fi and a café serving pizza, burgers, snacks, and more! Check out their weekly specials featuring live DJs, black lights, and glow-in-the-dark bowling. And be sure to like them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter to stay up-to-date on any specials and private events!
4. Museum of Life + Science. The 84 acres that encompass the Museum of Life + Science are packed full of attractions designed to spark wonder and curiosity in guests. Popular exhibits include one of the largest butterfly houses on the East Coast, a dinosaur trail where guests can admire over a dozen life-size dinosaurs, and Hideaway Woods, a two-acre nature discovery environment featuring eight tree houses, a flowing stream, and fanciful nature sculptures.
With indoor and outdoor exhibits designed to accommodate a range of interests and abilities, a day at the museum means hands-on learning fun for science lovers of all ages!
5. Explore the Wild at the Museum of Life + Science. Explore the Wild is a preserved natural setting home to black bears, red wolves, and lemurs. Natural observation areas, 750-foot boardwalk, outdoor microscopes, and field cameras look into this dynamic natural landscape, its wildlife, plant life, and supporting habitats. Included with admission to the Museum of Life and Science.
6. Butterfly House at the Museum of Life + Science. Three-story tropical butterfly conservatory, the largest on the East Coast, featuring exotic flowers and tropical plants in a rainforest area and stream garden. Insectarium has more than 25 live exotic species of insects and an extensive collection of mounted specimens from around the world. Included with admission to the Museum of Life and Science.
7. B-Bar Farm & Tack Shop. Horse rentals, camps, trail rides, holiday-themed rides, and boarding. B-Bar Farm & Tack Shop is a community barn, family owned and operated for over 40 years. Nestled off the beaten path and just minutes to I-85 it is a great family-friendly experience. The facility offers a large barn, several pasture areas, a lighted riding ring and on-site tack shop for horsemanship supplies.
Horses are available for rent (as well as facilities for use by horse owners) with other animals to entertain friends and family as well — dogs, cats, chickens, and yes, even goats.
8. Sarah P. Duke Gardens. Named one of the top 10 public gardens in the U.S. by TripAdvisor and winner of the 2013 Horticulture Magazine Award for Garden Excellence, Duke Gardens is a stunning 55-acre public garden on the campus of Duke University and one of the premier university gardens in the country. Dedicated in 1939, Duke Gardens is open 365 days a year, free to all, and it has earned top honors internationally. Among its many features are Italianate terraces, an Asiatic Arboretum, a garden of native plants, a white garden, water features, and an SITES-certified organic food garden.
Duke Gardens also has a café, gift shop, and visitor center with an elegant rental hall. It offers classes, walking and trolley tours (reserved in advance), free drop-in programs for families, and other events for adults and children, as well as internships, summer camps, and volunteer opportunities.
9. DefyGravity. A 13,000 square-foot facility with wall-to-wall, steel-frame trampolines including angled wall trampolines, an Olympic Foam Pit and one of the largest trampoline dodgeball cages in the country.
10. Notasium. Notasium is an interactive, music-based play space and school designed to awaken the musician in any child at any age. The space provides ample room for lessons, classes, and birthday parties, including time in the play area and music activities. Notasium also offers summer camps and track-out camps, which aim to incite the love of music in your children.
There is so much to do in Durham I cannot wait to get this adventure started. Learn more about everything Durham has to offer! Visit this website for more Kid-FriendlyThings To Do to choose from, or head over here to find family friendly places to eat. Plan the perfect summer getaway to Durham for you and your family today!
Have you ever visited Durham, North Carolina before? When is the last time you visited Durham, North Carolina? What would you pick from my top 10 list above to do first when you visit Durham, North Carolina?