Happy Thanksgiving weekend! I'm listing events here as usual, along with some other ideas if you have extended family in town and are looking to get out of the house.
And if shopping is on your agenda this weekend, be sure to check out Faye's Black Friday tips on the WRAL SmartShopper blog.
Here's your weekend family fun!
The Rockettes wrap up their visit to Durham with shows through Sunday for their Radio City Christmas Spectacular at the Durham Performing Arts Center. I hear the show is absolutely amazing! Kids ages 2 to 12, particularly, will love it. Tickets start around $19.
Cinderella is the featured performance on a program presented by the Carolina Ballet at Raleigh's Progress Energy Center for Performing Arts. Performances started Wednesday night and continue to Sunday. Tickets start at $25.
Transactors Improv Company will present a kid-friendly show at 6 p.m. Saturday at The ArtsCenter in Carrboro. The established improv company typically performs for adults, but after playing to school audience this fall, the group decided to offer a family show to the public. Read my earlier post for details.
We have some Turkey Trots on Thursday. In Cary, Crossroads Plaza's Turkey Trot 5K starts at 9 a.m. There's also a one-mile fun run and a 100-yard kids dash. In Raleigh, the Ridgewood Turkey Trot includes an 8K, one mile run, kid's dash and more. And the 6th annual Gobbler's Run 5K Family Event is in Wake Forest.
Another major holiday lights display opens this weekend. Lights on the Neuse opens on Friday and continues to Dec. 24 in Clayton. The complex includes a one-mile, 30-minute hayride through a lights extravaganza filled with Christmas music. There's a 3D Christmas house, a sweets shop (with smores kits that you buy there and can cook at the picnic area), and a visit with Santa. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for kids ages 3 to 11. The region's other major light shows, Lake Myra Christmas and Meadow Lights, opened last weekend.
The Children's Shop at Sycamore Crossing Gifts in Zebulon also is open for business through Dec. 10. The shop is designed for kids to find gifts for friends and family. Everything is $10 or less. Santa will visit from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Friday and Saturday.
Dean's Farm in Wilson will open its Santa hayride and workshop on Saturday. Hayrides leave on the hour from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
A Dickens Holiday takes over downtown Fayetteville from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m., Friday. You'll find horse drawn carriages, kids greeting Father Christmas, carolers, fireworks and much more.
The Christmas Carousel Holiday Festival is Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the N.C. State Fairgrounds in Raleigh. The annual event features all kinds of arts, crafts and gift items. Santa also will be there for photos. Tickets are $8 for adults, $7 for seniors and $4 for children. Kids 5 and under are free. Admission tickets are good for all three days. There's also a coupon on the website.
Historic Yates Mill County Park just south of Raleigh will have mill heritage tours from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The one-hour guided tour explores how power is transferred from the mill's waterwheel to the milling machinery. Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for seniors ages 60 and up; and $3 for kids ages 7 to 16. Kids 6 and under are free. All tour fees support the mill's operations and maintenance.
Marbles Kids Museum will have a variety of special Thanksgiving events Friday through Sunday, including a special Marbles Day Parade on Friday. Marbles' IMAX also will open "Olivia Wintertime Cheer" on Friday. The movie, based on the children's book series, brings three featurettes together - Olivia's Snow Day, Olivia Builds a Snow Lady and Princess for a Day.
Archer Lodge's Christmas Celebration starts at 3:30 p.m. Sunday with a parade, followed by activities for kids, a living nativity and a tree lighting ceremony.
Chapel Hill's community tree lighting ceremony is at 6 p.m., Sunday, in the Memorial Garden of University Baptist Church, 100 S. Columbia St. The free event includes caroling and a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus. Bring your cameras for pictures of Santa with the kids. Parking is free in downtown Chapel Hill on Sundays in all municipal lots and on-street meters.
Nearly all of the region's museums also have new exhibits or special holiday plans to draw visitors in this season. (They also will all be closed on Thursday for Thanksgiving.) Here's what you'll find and where:
- Genghis Khan: The Exhibit is at the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh. The museum also recently opened a new 3D theater, which is playing "Tornado Alley."
- The N.C. Museum of History's The Story of North Carolina is a major new exhibit that traces 14,000 years of North Carolina history. You'll find lots of kid-friendly exhibits. I found it fascinating.
- A revamped Power2Play exhibit is open at Marbles Kids Museum, featuring a basketball court in the center and a mini-jumbotron over the synthetic ice hockey rink. I'll have more about that on Friday.
- Wonderland Express is a holiday exhibit featuring model trains at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham. See my earlier post for more information.
- Rembrandt in America is the big exhibit at the N.C. Museum of Art in Raleigh. Read my earlier post for more about taking kids to the exhibit.
- Kidzu Children's Museum in Chapel Hill is open again in a new location after being closed for several months. Don't forget: Admission is free on Sundays.
- Morehead Planetarium and Science Center will have special extended holiday hours this weekend. Click here for details.
- And Pullen Park in Raleigh is open! Click here for hours.