The South is where it’s at y’all! In particular, things are looking bright in North Carolina with cities like Asheville, Charlotte, and Raleigh receiving national recognition as some of the country’s fastest growing cities, with Raleigh, in particular, also earning the spotlight as one of the United States’ best cities for small business.
Raleigh city planners and business leaders have helped to shape the region into an area where families not only want to live in, but visit as well. Here are just a few of the many activities in Raleigh to help keep families coming back for more.
1. Durham Central Park’s Food Truck Rodeo
Durham, which makes up a major portion of the greater Raleigh region (RDU), is just a short drive from Raleigh. At various dates throughout the year, regional food trucks converge onto the park for a food truck rally. According to The Wandering Sheppard, a leading food truck blog in the region, there are over 100 food trucks. While not all 100 gather for the rodeo, there are several dozen to sample from.
In addition to plenty of kid friendly food truck food, there are also fountains kids can play in, clowns, and lots of green space to run in. The food truck rodeo can get quite crowded, so I recommend going early to avoid long lines. Admission is free, but you pay for what you want to eat.
2. North Carolina Museum of History
Maybe a history museum doesn’t sound too exciting when you have the little ones in tow, but the North Carolina Museum of History does an excellent job at keeping children’s attention with interactive displays. Along the way, they’ll learn about the state’s storied history, covering its involvement in the revolutionary and civil wars and earlier. In addition, there are more kid friendly interests like the North Carolina sports hall of fame and a hands-on agricultural center.
Admission to the museum’s permanent exhibits is free. Some special exhibits do cost money. It varies depending on the exhibit.
3. North Carolina Museum of Natural Science
If history isn’t your thing, maybe science is. Be warned though, while some children may be mesmerized by the 40-feet (12m) long, 13-feet (4m) tall Acrocanthosaurus dinosaur that stands guard in the lobby, some might be frightened… Other highlights include the first dinosaur ever found with a fossilized heart, a whale skeleton that you can walk through, and a café serving chocolate covered insects! There’s also enough live animals that some kids will think they’re at the zoo. Admission to the museum is free, but of course, donations are welcome.
4. Dead Broke Farm
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
Allow your family to learn to ride horses the right way at Dead Broke Farm. Many of the horses available for riding were rescued from hostile situations and rehabilitated. Trainers will teach riders not only how to ride the horses but also how to treat them. Trails and rides are set up for riders of all experiences. They even offer western style riding lessons and overnight camping trips. The cost depends on which services you opt for.
5. New Hope Valley Railroad & NC Railway Museum
Young or old, who doesn’t love trains. Just last week, I was at the Beaches Museum in Jacksonville, Florida and totally geeked out as I had my picture taken in an old train steam engine car. Back to Raleigh though…
Thus, the New Hope Valley Railroad & NC Railway Museum is definitely a place the whole family will enjoy! The facility has a living train museum that offers free admission. On Sundays, guests can enjoy an hour-long ride in either the steam engine or diesel train for 10 USD for adults and 7 USD for children. Or, drive the train yourself. The diesel costs 125 USD and the steam 250 USD.
There’s more than enough to do in Raleigh
In addition to the above, there are also plenty of smaller cities with quaint downtowns dotted throughout the Raleigh region that are begging further exploration. Options include not only downtown Raleigh and Durham but Hillsboro, Fearrington Village, and Chapel Hill.
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