Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

After the turkey: 12 activities to keep you busy this Thanksgiving weekend

Posted November 24, 2015

Courtesy: Museum of Life and Science

Many of us, including me, have been there. You're tired of turkey. The pies are gone. And you have a house full of people who could really use an opportunity to get out of the house.

Luckily, there's plenty of activities around here to keep you busy. Here are a dozen ideas to get out of the house this long Thanksgiving weekend.

1. Marbles Kids Museum starts its screenings of the Christmas classic "The Polar Express" on Friday. They will continue in the mornings through Christmas (with a break for a few days from Dec. 18 to Dec. 20 when "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" opens). Tickets for "The Polar Express," which is rated G, are $14 and $11 for kids under 12. For Marbles members, tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for kids under 12.

2. Speaking of Marbles, the downtown Raleigh museum will host special Thanksgiving-related activities both Wednesday and Friday. On Wednesday, from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., they include an opportunity for kids to make their very own parade float using all sorts of materials. From 4:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., they can show off their work at the Thanksgiving Parade and Dance Party. The Thanksgiving crafts return Friday morning as well. It's all free with admission, which is $5 per person.

3. Holiday light shows, including Lights on the Neuse, Meadow Lights, Hill Ridge Farms and Lake Myra, are open now or about to open this weekend. Some are free. Others charge admission. I list them all in an earlier post about the many holiday light shows in the Triangle area and beyond. New this year: The Chinese Lantern Festival at Booth Amphitheatre in Cary.

4. If you haven't been, I highly recommend that families check out the magnificent new Hideaway Woods at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham. This amazing new outdoor, permanent exhibit features a collection of tree houses, which sit high above the ground. There's also a manmade stream, a spot for younger children, trails, a giant sculpture made of twigs and more. This one is absolutely breathtaking! The museum also will host some special cranberry chemistry experiments in the lab through Sunday. It's all free with admission, which is $16 and $11 for kids ages 3 to 12. With Hideaway Woods and all of the museum's other activities, you could seriously spend the entire day here.

5. Learn all about the weird and wonderful animals that have roamed the Earth at Extreme Mammals, a special exhibit at the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh. Imagine seeing a bat the size of a bumblebee or a dinosaur-eating mammal or an animal that has a sixth sense to detect electrical current. They all are here! Tickets are $15 for adults; $13 for seniors, students and military with ID; and $10 for ages 3 to 12. Museum members are free.

6. Go see Santa. Santa has taken his seat at malls across the region. He'll also be greeting kids and taking wish lists at the Christmas Carousel Holiday Gift Market, which runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the N.C. State Fairgrounds. Tickets are $7 and $4 for kids ages 6 to 12.

7. Check out Kidzu Children's Museum and find out why it's seen record attendance since April when it opened in a new space at University Place (formerly University Mall) in Chapel Hill. The museum features an indoor tree house, rock climbing wall, a stage, pretend market and The Makery, a creative space that is especially great for older grade schoolers and tweens. After a few hours at Kidzu, head down to Southern Season for a tasty treat and some Christmas shopping.

8. Morehead Planetarium and Science Center in Chapel Hill will have planetarium shows Friday through Sunday this weekend. They include "One World, One Sky" with Sesame Street characters; "Magic Tree House Space Mission," based on the popular book series; and "The Longest Night: A Winter's Tale." The center's free Science 360 programs also are scheduled. Tickets to the planetarium shows are $7.68 for adults and $6.51 for kids.

9. "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" takes the stage Friday at the Duke Energy Center for Performing Arts in downtown Raleigh. The show runs until after Christmas. Tickets start around $23, but we have a deal where you can get them for just $10 for a limited time only! This show is a lot of fun and very faithful to the TV special version of this story.

10. Playmakers in Chapel Hill is presenting performances of "Peter and the Starcatcher" through Dec. 18 at Paul Green Theatre. Tickets start at just $15. The group recommends the show for ages 6 and up. Here's the description: "‚ÄčAn apprentice Starcatcher and an orphan boy take to the high seas in this whimsical and hilarious origin story of The Boy Who Never Grew Up." It's a prequel to Peter Pan!

11. Head over to Notasium, the new music-based play space in Durham with an indoor play area that includes a guitar kids can slide down and drums they can jump in. The spot also will offer a Drop an Shop on Friday for parents who would like a little time for kid-free shopping.

12. Go ice skating! Winterfest, Raleigh's downtown ice skating rink, is now open. It's open through Sunday this week with hours even on Thanksgiving day. It costs $10 (including skate rentals).

Happy Thanksgiving weekend!


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