As I've written before, it's hard to write about school calendars around here when there are so many options - traditional, year-round, homeschool, modified year-round, private schools and more.
But for kids on traditional calendars and others, spring break is coming up. And for many of us, including those with kids in Wake County and Johnston County schools, the break is actually the same or a half day longer than winter break at the holidays.
My check of a dozen counties found that most public schools will have spring break the week of April 1 (with many out March 28 and Good Friday, March 29, too). Wake, Orange, Durham, Chapel Hill-Carrboro, Johnston, Nash, Franklin, Harnett and Cumberland public schools are out the week of April 1. Students at public schools in Chatham and Moore counties get to celebrate early with spring break this week.
Of course, some private schools and many preschools follow the calendar for schools in their county.
I know many kids will be in camps, with grandparents, at the sitter's house or on vacation for break. But there are plenty of families who will be looking for activities to do during the long break. So for them, here's a little guide:
Marbles Kids Museum will pull out the stops all week, from Thursday, March 28, to April 7, with daily activities during the museum's hours, which are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Marbles will be closed Easter Sunday, but open on April 1). Marbles' Spring Break Blast offers a schedule of art, science and active games, including hula hooping, a juggle jamboree, dizzy design spin art and more. The museum also will help kick of the N.C. Science Festival and host a Family Science Fair on April 6. And since you'll have a week to prepare for the fair, why not register (registration closes April 3)?
Baseball season begins the first week of April for both the Durham Bulls and Carolina Mudcats. The Bulls' first home game isn't until April 8, but the Mudcats will be in town. Games at Five County Stadium in Zebulon are 7:15 p.m., April 5, 6:15 p.m., April 6; and 2 p.m., April 7. You'll see fireworks after the game on April 5. Kids run the bases at the game on April 7. And tickets are cheap. Kids 3 and under are free. Tickets for kids ages 4 to 6 are $3 (call or go to the Mudcats Ticket Office to get the discounted tickets for young children). And you also can save $1 on tickets for kids ages 7 to 12 too. Check the Mudcats' website for details.
Kazoom Puppet Theatre in Raleigh will have shows at 10 a.m. and 11:10 a.m., April 3 and April 4, at ComedyWorx on Peace Street in downtown Raleigh. Tickets are $5 each. These are great shows for the age 2 to early elementary school crowd. My three-year-old had a blast last week at the show. The topic in April is jungle animals.
JC Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh will host its second annual egg hunt from March 23 to Easter Sunday. This isn't a scheduled search for candy-filled Easter eggs. Instead, this is a drop-in, on-your-own hunt for large, brightly colored eggs hidden across the arboretum. Find all the eggs, unscramble the letters you see on the eggs to find a word and get a small prize. The arboretum on Beryl Road near the N.C. State Fairgrounds is a beautiful place to wander even without an activity like this. Read my earlier post for more information.
The arboretum also will host its annual birdhouse competition with shows April 6 and April 7, along with its Raulston Blooms garden festival for all ages from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., April 6. The free event includes food, demonstrations, arts and crafts and more.
The Museum of Life and Science in Durham also is offering a different take on an egg hunt from Thursday, March 28, to Easter Sunday. This one is a Dino Egg Hunt where eggs are filled with science prizes and passes to see Jurassic Park 3D. The museum also recently reopened its very popular exhibit Soundspace where visitors can move to create sounds and images. This is a great, active indoor exhibit. It's free with admission.
Morehead Planetarium and Science Center in Chapel Hill has shows scheduled March 28 to Easter Sunday and April 6 and April 7. This includes shows on Thursday, March 28, and Friday, March 29, which are scheduled for field trips, but may have public seating depending on the size of the group. Shows on Saturday include "One World, One Sky: Big Bird's Adventure" (great for the preschool to early elementary school crowd) and "Magic Tree House Space Mission," which is fun for grade schoolers.
The N.C. Museum of Art in Raleigh will offer its "What's in the Box?" preschool program at 10:30 am., 11 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., April 4. For ages 2 to 5 and their adults, the program involves stories, art and more. This is a wonderful activity. No pre-registration is required for this. It's first come, first served. But if you want to get in the 10:30 a.m. session, it's best to get there around 10 a.m. to make sure you get a slot. The cost is $3. The museum also will offer its Family Fun Saturday program for ages 5 to 11 and their adults on April 6. The cost is $5. Click here for details about both programs.
Our state's Executive Mansion in downtown Raleigh is opening its doors for tours from March to June 27. They include a Wednesday morning garden tour designed for children. The mansion, home to the governor, features a large collection of decorative arts and extensive flower and vegetable gardens. House tours are available at 10 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 2 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 3 p.m., Wednesdays and Thursdays through June 27. Tours of the almost five acres of flower and vegetable gardens are Wednesdays and Thursdays through June 6. The 9:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., Wednesday, tours are designed for children. The Thursday garden tours are for adults. These tours are free, but reservations are required. Space is limited. Call 919-807-7950 for more information and to reserve your spot.
The dinosaurs are back at the N.C. Zoo on April 1. The exhibit returns to the Asheboro destination through Oct. 31. This was a hugely popular exhibit last year that brought a lot of people to the zoo. This year, you'll see a new cast of animatronic dinosaurs, which move, snarl and roar. The exhibit is open daily at 10 a.m.
At the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences, Titanic: The Artifacts Exhibition is in its final weeks. It ends April 28. Click here to find online guides for families about the exhibit. And film buffs won't want to miss the "Gone with the Wind" exhibit at the N.C. Museum of History.
For big outdoor fun, Three Bears Acres in northern Wake County is open. Check my review for details (note: ticket prices are now $13 for adults and $7 for kids). And Go Play Outside Now in Garner also features lots of outdoor activities.
And if you have babies to preschoolers, check out the new Stay and Play Snack Cafe in Durham, which offers a cozy place for kids to play and parents to sip a coffee and chat, work or just relax.
Of course, the weather will hopefully be absolutely beautiful for spring break. So be sure to check our posts on parks and playgrounds and Triangle family destinations. Also check our indoor playground and inflatables resource page for more fun.
Happy spring break!