Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

Help a Mom: Searching for teenage-friendly activities

Posted July 30, 2013

I received this Facebook message from a local mom the other day: 

I thought you would be able to tell me if the Museum of Life and Science in Durham is more geared toward younger children. Can you tell me what kind of things/places in the area are "teenager friendly"? Thanks so much!

I gave her a few ideas, which I'll list in a second, but I thought I'd throw it to Go Ask Mom readers too.

I think, in some ways, it's easier to keep younger kids entertained. Most are curious about everything and love exploring a museum or going to a festival with bounce houses at it.

Teens are at a different place in life (from what I remember and what I've observed from friends with teens). They're starting to figure out who they are and what they really like, just like an adult. So, while some teens and adults might love spending an afternoon at the art museum, others would prefer tickets to a ball game. And some of us would love to do either.

So with that in mind, here are some of things I suggested: 

  • I do think that some teens do enjoy going to the Museum of Life and Science, especially those who love nature study and animals. Some of their special programs, especially, might intrigue teens. They include the Black Light Insect Hunt on Aug. 16. The event, which runs 8 p.m. to 11 p.m., features black lights that lure bugs. Tickets required.
  • First Friday in downtown Raleigh is definitely teen friendly. On the first Friday of each month, galleries, museums and restaurants in downtown Raleigh offer deals and extended hours. They include the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences, which is open late, screens a free B movie and offers a teen science cafe during the school year. Click here to find out what's happening this First Friday.
  • And speaking of the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences, its new Nature Research Center is absolutely wonderful, particularly for older kids and teens interested in science and nature.
  • Outdoor movie series are offered across the region, but the showtimes, often after 8:30 p.m. or 9 p.m., once the sun has set, make it too late for many families with younger kids. But they are perfect for families with teens. Popular spots include the N.C. Museum of Art, Koka Booth Amphitheatre and Southern Village in Chapel Hill. Check our free and cheap movie database for more.
  • Morehead Planetarium and Science Center in Chapel Hill has some great shows for all ages, along with free Science Live shows, which feature some great experiments and fun science information. They also have monthly star gazing programs once the sun goes down. Morehead also has programs for teens from time to time, including this movie on Friday.
  • I love walking through the N.C. Museum of Art and N.C. Museum of History because I love art and history. I think these are great places to explore for teens and families who enjoy them too. 
  • Also, Defy Gravity, a trampoline arena, in Durham; Indoor Greens Mini Golf and Cafe in Cary for the teen golfer; Comedy Worx in Raleigh has all ages improv shows; outdoor laser tag at Go Play Outside Now in Garner; a hike through one of our many municipal and state parks; and college sports of all kinds - from football and basketball to soccer and volleyball.

What teen friendly outings do you enjoy with your kids? Please share in the comments below. (If you don't see the comments box below, you'll need to log in or sign up for a WRAL account. You can do that by going to the top of the page and clicking on either "log in" or "register").

Help a Mom features questions from readers every Wednesday. If you have a question that you'd like to ask Go Ask Mom readers, click here to email it to me. 


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  • asdfg Jul 31, 2013

    Try the parks and rec department for where you live they often offer various activities/classes for a reasonable costs. I found my town had a lot for children under 12 and for adults but slim offerings for the 13-17 age group. Volunteer activities are good, many hospitals have programs for teens but transportation can be an issue if the parents work. Hobbies are good, my daughter likes photography so we can go downtown or to a greenway, and she can take pics for a while. Canoeing or kayaking at local rivers or lakes or biking on the greenways. It's a little more expensive but she loves day trips to the beach, amusement park or water park. I let her bring as many friends as we can safely fit in the car but they each have to pay for their own park ticket. I usually pack a cooler with sandwiches and snacks to keep costs down. Starting a small business might be good for some teens with an interest and maturity, chores for neighbors, dog walking/sitting, website building, etc.

  • KIDDZA Jul 31, 2013

    SPCA volunteer opportunites too! local youth groups at churches in the area have activities going on...too!

  • laura8 Jul 31, 2013

    Teenagers know what they like to do...let then do it as long as it is safe and legal. My boys love to play video games (for hours wearing headsets and chatting with friends all over), sleep and hang out with their friends. If required to do things with me and the family, I let them bring friends and take them places that they choose...movies, burgers, water parks, shopping. Teenagers don't want parents to schedule for them or be made to feel as if they "have" to do things. I get that there is a happy medium but in the summer, I let them chill. They still have a few chores and the older one has a job. Other than than, if I take them where they want to go, they tell me what they want to do.

  • Zelda Jul 30, 2013

    My kids did volunteer work as teens. They volunteered at the Durham Arts Council camps, the Museum of Life and Science camps, at the Scrap Exchange and at Duke Gardens. There used to be a youth volunteer activities coordinator in town, but I don't know if it exists separately any more. However, I believe there is still a volunteer coordinating group and I would contact them.

  • Anna C. Jul 30, 2013

    Check your local library to see if they have any special teen activities. Ours has teen book clubs, movie afternoons, craft nights, etc.......all for free :)