One of the primary benefits of living in the capital of North Carolina is the amount of family-friendly activities regularly available to you — and for free (or just about)! Here’s a handful of the most notable attractions to keep everyone entertained.
The Museum of Natural Sciences is North Carolina’s most visited museum and is affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution. After finishing renovations a few years ago, the museum contains not only four floors of exhibits, but also attaches to a four-floor nature research center, which provides a bit more of a hands-on learning experience for visitors of all ages. Featuring a butterfly house and a variety of exhibits for you to spend hours wandering through, the NC Museum of Natural Sciences has something for everyone.
As an interactive kids museum, this is the one place where you won’t have to repeatedly tell your kids to keep their hands off or things. Marbles Kids Museum focuses on play-based learning and ensures that every person that walks through the doors has the opportunity to play like a kid. Each day, a different activity is featured in addition to the colorful permanent exhibits.
At the price of $5 per person, Marbles’ kid-approved experience is a steal.
With a sprawling park of over 160 acres to accompany it, the NC Museum of Art provides an assortment of cultural enrichment. North Carolina was the first state in the nation to buy art with public funds, and NCMA’s permanent collection features American and European art, a thorough Rodin collection, Egyptian funerary art, and African and Jewish collections. The park itself contains art, trails to explore, and a cloud chamber that will amaze you. The main building itself is a work of art to behold, and your family will find amazement around every corner.
A nationally-acclaimed 10-acre garden run by NC State University, JC Raulston Arboretum features over 500 varieties of plants from over 50 different countries. Events such as Garden Storytime and Afternoon Adventures are provided by the arboretum to engage children of the community in learning about the plants you can see there. If your family enjoys the outdoors, the arboretum is a perfect destination for an afternoon.
The first public park in North Carolina (and the sixteenth oldest operating amusement park in the world!), Pullen Park is sure to keep the family entertained. In addition to a few different playgrounds, fields, and courts for you to choose from, Pullen Park has a miniature train that you can ride, kiddie boats, pedal boats, and an extraordinary carousel in the heart of the park. A few of the attractions require the purchase of tickets, but most only cost the equivalent of dollar per person to partake.