Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

Ride the Bus: Family-friendly destinations on Cary's C-Tran

Posted November 15, 2015
Updated November 16, 2015

The $13 million Cary Arts Center includes an art gallery, a 400-seat theater, a ceramics studio and classrooms for arts programs.

I share this because I know readers are looking for things to do with their kids and also help out the community. Here's a twofer!

This week, from Nov. 16 to Nov. 20, passengers who bring one canned or non-perishable food item to any Cary C-Tran bus can board free of charge. Riders who donate two or more items will receive a voucher to ride the fixed route system fare-free for the day.

Here's what makes this fun for kids (particularly young kids): They love riding the bus - especially toddlers and preschoolers who usually only see buses from their car windows. My kids, in their days, have truly looked forward to this experience. It's something my six-year-old still loves to do.

Here's what makes it great for parents: It's free! And you get an opportunity, as we approach the gift getting season, to talk with your kids about giving back.

So where does Cary's C-Tran take you? Lots of places. A couple of things to know: Most C-Tran stops are about 1/4 mile apart. So you could just ride it through a couple of stops and walk back. Or you can take it somewhere fun! C-Tran does have a route map online and a print map throughout town, but the best way to get information about the routes and times when the bus will arrive at a particular stop is by downloading the Transloc app on your iPhone or Android.

Some destinations that town staff highlighted for me:

Routes 3, 4, 5 and 6 service downtown. There, you can take in an activity at the public library, take a class or see a show at the Cary Arts Center, grab lunch at one of the many downtown restaurants. If a child is a fan of trains, the visit can be timed to watch Amtrak cut through town. If you cross the railroad tracks, you can take a class at the Herb Young Community center or visit the Page Walker Arts and History Center garden or take a class at the Page Walker (classes are offered at certain times of year only).  If the visit is on a Saturday, check The Cary Theater listings before heading out. Sometimes there is a children’s movie on a Saturday morning. Christmas films begin on Dec. 4 and will run throughout December.

Cary Arts Center

Going away from downtown on route 5, C-Tran stops at Crescent Commons, a short walk to Ritter Park, or to Lochmere Lake. As C-Tran transports bikes, bring your bikes and take a ride around Lochmere Lake, or ride over to Ritter Park and take the bike trail from behind the Park and head to Booth Amphitheatre for a spin around Symphony Lake (bikes are needed for this trek; it’s might be a bit too far to walk for younger children). Another option is to take a picnic lunch and head to Hemlock Bluffs, hike the trails or take a parent-child class (most require pre-registration).

Ritter Park

Cary Towne Mall and the Triangle Aquatic Center are accessible on C-Tran routes 1, 2 and 6. Make a day of it – swim, lunch, take in a few shops.

Triangle Aquatic Center

Other parks that are on C-Tran routes are North Cary Park (check out the climbing wall while you’re there), Robert Godbold Park and Sk8 Cary, Walnut Street Park, and Bond Park and the Bond Park Community Center.

North Cary Park's climbing boulders

To ride for free, acceptable items include canned meat, tuna, soups, fruits and vegetables, peanut butter, uncooked pasta, dry cereal, and boxed rice. All items will be donated to Cary’s Dorcas Ministries Food Pantry to help meet the high demand for food assistance during the holiday season.

According to the town, C-Tran has provided about 2.3 million trips for citizens and visitors since the Town of Cary introduced its door-to-door service in 2001. The fixed route service began in 2005. C-Tran operates 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Using the online trip planner, citizens can ride C-Tran to connect to Triangle Transit and Capital Area Transit, reaching destinations in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill.


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