The new Nature Research Center has been the focus at the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences. But don't forget the museum's Prairie Ridge Ecostation in west Raleigh.
The 45 acres with a Piedmont prairie, forest, ponds and more is a great place to explore. They'll have a special Gnomes and Fairies Spring UP on the Prairie event from 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday.
The free event does not require registration and is designed for all ages (kids must be with an adult). The morning includes a spring scavenger hunt; 10:30 a.m. storytime; and balloon animals and bubbles. Kids can help build a village of gnome homes and fairy houses. And there's a kite flying festival - bring your own from home or make one to take home.
Visitors can decorate themselves at the ecostation's outdoor classroom and then join a Parade of the Roaming Gnomes and Prairie Fairies at 11:30 a.m. The parade will welcome a "moon tree" to Prairie Ridge.
Prairie Ridge also will hold its Walk through the Seasons hikes this month. The walks are from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Tuesday (May 8) and Tuesday, May 22. The guided walk is a great way to explore Prairie Ridge. All ages are welcome. Kids must be with an adult. Registration is required. Contact Cathy Fergen to register at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-733-7450, ext. 671.