Spring is just a few weeks away and the weekend family events schedule is growing. Here's your weekend family fun ....
It's LEGO-palooza time at Morehead Planetarium and Science Center in Chapel Hill! This big, free annual event is now in its seventh year. Members of the North Carolina LEGO Users Group will inspire kids with their elaborate exhibits. They've made spaceships, castles and Wild West scenes all out of the popular bricks. Best for kids ages 5 and up with an adult. Teens and college students, who loved Legos as kids, also enjoy it. There are no hands-on activities here. It's from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
The Harlem Globetrotters will make their annual stop at the RBC Center with a show at what is the very family-friendly time of 2 p.m. Saturday. There also is a 7 p.m. show. I am so glad to see a show scheduled for mid-afternoon in addition to the evening this year. I think it's a great move for families out there who want to go, but don't want to be faced with an exhausted kid at the end of it (and the next day too). Tickets start at $17.
The Museum of Life and Science in Durham is launching its first ever tournament of science called March Science Madness 2011 with special events every Saturday in March. Visitors will learn about the science behind sports and explore themes such as microbiology, nanoscale science, sports science, animals and genomics. The museum will end the tourney with a visit from Rob Mies from the Organization for Bat Conservation who will immerse visitors in the world of nocturnal animals. This Saturday's focus is microbiology and general science. Check the website for more details.
The ArtsCenter in Carrboro is planning "Tales & Tribute: A Celebration of African-American Heroes & Heritage" on Saturday. The event features two renowned spoken-word artists, storyteller Charlotte Blake Alston and spoken-word poet Glenis Redmond. They will give voice to the past, blending folklore, story, song and poetry into a one-of-a-kind celebration of African-American heritage and history. I'm told the two have performed individually at The ArtsCenter, but not together before. This past week, they've been visiting local schools for shows and to talk with students. It's at 11 a.m. Saturday. Tickets are $7 in advance and $8 at the door for kids and $9 in advance and $10 at the door for adults. Kids 2 and under are free.
Also at The ArtsCenter, Paperhand Puppet Intervention's family-friendly winter show "The Big Tent Cabaret Road Show" runs through Sunday.
And Carolina Ballet's The Ugly Duckling also continues for one more weekend with performances at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Progress Energy Center for Performing Arts in Raleigh. The 35-minute piece is based on the classic story by Hans Christian Andersen and includes a narrator, adorable child dancers who come out in the transitions between scenes, and some wonderful costumes. The show, which is two hours total with intermission, also includes two other more traditional ballet works - The Flower Festival in Genzano (Pas de Deux) and a piece set to an Edvard Grieg piano concerto. Tickets start at $25.
Songs, stories and more are planned during Peter's Pajama Party, a regular event at The Regulator Bookshop in Durham. It's at 7 p.m. Friday. Wear your pajamas if you want.
Not your usual fun, happy family-friendly event this weekend, but the N.C. Museum of History will be opening a new exhibit Friday that explores child labor in North Carolina from 1908 to 1918. The 40 images in the exhibit were taken by Lewis Hine, who was hired to document the horrendous working conditions of young workers across the United States by the National Child Labor Committee. I've seen a few of the photographs and they are haunting .... kids on a factory floor staring out at you with blank expressions, children who look much older than their actual years. Hine captured children as young as six who were working at some of the state's textile mills. Photos such as these drew attention to the plight of children and helped to build support for stronger child labor laws. The exhibit is open through March 2012. Admission is free.
The history museum, which is in downtown Raleigh, also will host the statewide Poetry Out Loud recitation contest starting at 9 a.m. Saturday and lasts into the evening. High school students from across the state will compete in the contest which is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and coordinated by the North Carolina Arts Council. Kids might enjoy watching other kids on stage.
We have three consignment sales - Just 4 Kids in Fuquay-Varina, which closes Thursday; Wings Consignment in Raleigh, which is open Saturday; and the Chapel Hill-Durham Mothers of Multiples yard sale which is Saturday in Durham. Check my earlier post for details.
N.C. Parent Consultants will host one of its forums from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Saturday. The topic is "answering the hard questions" and is aimed at parents who need to talk about sex, death, divorce and other hard topics with their kids. Learn what to say and how. The forums are $10 at the door. Snacks are provided. No registration is necessary. Just email them at firstname.lastname@example.org to let them know you're coming. The group's office is at 4904 Waters Edge Dr. in Raleigh.
Raleigh Little Theatre's teen performance ensemble will perform "Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp" at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Halle Cultural Art Center in Apex. The free performance runs about 45 minutes. The group has been bringing the show to locations across Wake County. The final performance is at 2 p.m. March 12 at the East Regional Library in Knightdale.
Dreamsports Center in Apex will host its annual Spring Open House from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. The event includes free trial classes, inflatables, a raffle, games, crafts and more.
The Sandbox Band will be performing at Durham's Broad Street Cafe from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. It's a great venue for families with food and drinks and a free family-friendly show. The guys from Sandbox tell me they'll be performing some favorites and some new songs. Always fun!
And New York City-based Theatreworks USA will present "Click, Clack, Moo" as part of N.C. State Center Stage's Kidstuff Series. It's at 3 p.m. Sunday at Stewart Theatre on the N.C. State campus. It's based on the popular children's book that tells the story of cows who type out messages demanding blankets. Tickets are $10 each.