Friday is the first Friday in March, making it First Friday in downtown Raleigh when downtown museums, galleries and restaurants are open with extended hours, special exhibits and deals.
The evening can be fun for families. Here are some of the family-friendly options:
The N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences is open until 9 p.m. on First Fridays. Here's what the museum has scheduled: Free, 7 p.m., screening of "War of the Monsters," the second of several Japanese giant monster films featuring Gamera, the giant turtle, and Barugon, the giant lizard/hellhound monster mashup, according to the museum presser. At 6 p.m. in the Daily Planet Cafe, this month's Teen Science Cafe will feature scientists from N.C. State's Human PoWeR Lab (that stands for Physiology of Wearable Robotics) for a demonstration of a thought-controlled, lightweight, air-powered exoskeleton. You could even "test-drive thought-controlled artificial muscles!" The museum also will offer a BOGO adult admission deal to its Birds of Paradise exhibit.
Marbles Kids Museum is open until 7 p.m. for evening play on First Fridays. Its kids camp runs from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. if it's time to enjoy an adult dinner out. Pre-registration is required for the camp.
CAM Raleigh opens its doors for free on First Fridays from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. See art and learn about it from middle school docents; make something in the creation station and order from food trucks.
The Lee Hansley Gallery will feature art by faculty members of UNC-Chapel Hill, N.C. State, Duke and Wake Forest University. The gallery on Glenwood Avenue is open until 10 p.m. See a variety of media, including painting, sculpture, printmaking, drawing and photography.
Irregardless Cafe, which has live music every night of the week, will feature Something Acoustic, a musical ensemble performing popular tunes from the 60s to today, on Friday. The cafe has a great children's menu. Young kids, I'm told, often sit on front of the stage to watch the musicians perform. The cafe even has a toy corner with blocks and coloring books.
Blake Street Shops and Studios is open from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Its show, Image and Imagination, features a variety of artwork from new artists and seasoned ones. The evening includes a live painting demonstration. There's cheese and grapes for the kids, wine for the parents.
Flanders Gallery is open 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. with the exhibit "frames per second." It features 14 videos by nine video artists. Some are playful, the gallery manager tells me, others are captivating.
Artspace, with its broad collection of artists and exhibitions, is open 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on First Fridays. It's a great place for families to wander around to see all kinds of art.
The Cupcake Shoppe, 104 Glenwood Ave., offer its buy one, get one half off cupcakes deal on First Fridays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. There's also free coffee.
Videri Chocolate Factory offers free tours of its small chocolate factory, along with free samples. Relax with some coffee or hot chocolate from their bar. It's open until 9 p.m.
Dickey's Barbecue Pit, 170 E. Davie St.,offers free dessert with purchase of a barbecue meat plate and drink or one free kid's meal for ages 12 and under per paid adult meal of equal or greater value on First Fridays.