It’s late July, which is about the time things slow down a bit on the organized weekend activities front. Families are gearing up for school if they aren't back already. Event planners are gearing up for fall festivals and series.
But there’s still plenty to keep you busy this weekend (be sure to check WRAL.com's Out & About calendar for more information about these and other events this weekend and the coming week). Here’s your weekend family fun!
The town of Hillsborough celebrates the last Friday of the month with Last Fridays. You’ll find live music, crafts, food vendors, a bake-off and more. Churches, museums and historic sites stay open late. Events and workshops for kids take place on the south lawn at the courthouse. Among the other events is a free screening of The Muppet Movie at 8:30 p.m at the Burwell School Historic Site (bring bug spray and blankets or lawn chairs).
A week after hosting the fantastic Justin Roberts and his Not Ready for Nap Time Players, the N.C. Museum of Art is back with another show (though very different one) for kids and their adults. Alloy Orchestra’s Not for Kids Only is 2 p.m., Saturday. The group of live accompanists for classic silent films, will perform with a series of shorts, including classic Buster Keaton and some animated films. Tickets are $12 for general admission and $6 for kids 3 to 12. Children 2 and under are free. The group performs again at 9 p.m. to the silent film classic “Phantom of the Opera.”
The art museum in Raleigh offers so much for families, including registration-required events on weekends and throughout the week. Check its kids and family calendar for details. It’s also a great (and free) place to walk around and cool off. I recommend a trip through its exhibit Rhythms of the Heart: The Illustration of Ashley Bryan, which features Bryan’s children’s book illustration. There are some small cushy bean bag chairs for kids to sit in while they watch a video of Bryan and read some of his books. My two-year-old loved picking out all of the animals in the artwork. And there’s always its weekend morning family tours.
Over in Durham, I got a chance to see “The Uncertain Museum” at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University this week. I’ll have more about this tomorrow, but this highly interactive exhibit, which involves visitors stepping inside a small room with large glass discs, is a lot of fun for kids (including my young kids and high schoolers who were there too). Once you walk into the small space, you see yourself reflected on the mirrored surface of the discs and become part of the patterns of projected light and shadow seen from the inside and outside. My two-year-old and seven-year-old had a blast going inside and then watching the outside of the exhibit. It’s there through Sept. 30. Admission to Nasher is $5 and free for kids 15 and under.
The final American Dance Festival children’s matinee is 1 p.m., Saturday, at the Durham Performing Arts Center. It’s followed by a kids party from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. outside DPAC’s plaza. Saturday’s performance features the Mark Morris Dance Group. Tickets are $15 per person (plus fees). This is the final one for the season, but if you missed the performances, it will return next year. Read my earlier post for more about this season so you can prepare for next year!
To mark the start of the 2012 Olympics, Marbles Kids Museum will host a daily Family Olympics at 4:30 p.m. from Saturday to Aug. 4 and a Family Science Olympiad from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday. The Family Olympics involve sports such as pool noodle fencing, scooter rowing or paper boat sailing. A Marbles Olympics track and field circuit will remain on the second floor of the museum during this time. At the second annual Science Olympiad, families work together in the “sport of science,” as Marbles says. That includes protecting an egg from a two-story fall, creating and launching rockets and more. It’s all free with admission, which is $5 per person.
Jasmin Sessoms, 2011 National Miss Black USA Talented Teen, will perform a tribute to Whitney Houston at Raleigh's Pullen Park on Saturday. The free concert starts at 7:30 p.m. Pullen Park's rides and playground are open until 9 p.m.
And if you’re looking to get out of the heat, head over to the Museum of Life and Science to check out its new exhibit Into the Mist. I’ll have more about it in the next week or so, but I highly recommend a visit to this outdoor spot, which includes a huge mist dome, a misty mogul field and a large rain tree. Kids will get wet (bring towels and water shoes and maybe even a change of clothes!), but it’s a lot of fun. It is free with admission, which is $14 for adults and $10 for kids 3 to 12.