Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

Spring Break Guide: Events, activities, destinations to keep families busy

Posted March 23, 2015
Updated March 25, 2015

Storytime at Prairie Ridge Ecostation

Spring break is all over the place at schools in the Triangle. Most of Wake County's break is canceled this week. Other school systems don't have weeks off for another week or two.

And that doesn't include the many charter and private schools around here, who have as many as two weeks off. Oh ... and then there are the year-round students who just happen to be tracked out. And let's not forget preschools which, if they're like my younger daughter's in Wake County, have all week off.

So, in Go Ask Mom's annual spring break guide, I've featured a few scheduled events, but mostly ongoing activities and popular destinations that should keep you and the kids busy.

Have a great one!

Easter is April 5, which means we have a lot of chances to see the Easter Bunny and load up those baskets with candy. Our Easter events database has all of the information about more than 50 events across the region.

Marbles Kids Museum in Raleigh has its regular offerings over the next few weeks, including $2 Thursdays. Every Thursday, the museum is open until 7 p.m. and admission is just $2 per person (instead of the usual $5).

JC Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh is great place to explore with kids. It will hold its annual Spring Egg Hunt from March 30 to April 5. Families can walk around the garden looking for giant painted wooden eggs with a letter on each of them. Once you've found all of the eggs, unscramble the letters to find the secret word. This is a free and very informal activity.

The Museum of Life and Science will hold its third annual Dino Egg Hunt from March 28 to March 29 and April 3 to April 5. Think your typical egg hunt, but with some bigger eggs and ... dinosaurs!! The cost is $7 per egg hunter (plus admission to the museum). (Best for ages 6 and under).

The N.C. Museum of Art in Raleigh will hold three sessions of its very popular What's in the Box preschool program. Sessions are 10:30 a.m., 11 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., March 26. They involve an activity and a little gallery tour. These are such fun programs and I'm getting a little nostalgic that both of my kids have nearly aged out of this one. The fee is $3. The art museum's kids and family calendar also has other activities, including museum tours and more.

Morehead Planetarium in Chapel Hill has a big slate of shows on the weekends. (Shows also are scheduled during the week for school groups. If the group doesn't fill the auditorium, tickets are available to the public, but it's not a sure thing). I'd recommend "One World, One Sky" for preschoolers and young grade schoolers. Both of my girls - a preschooler and grade schooler - enjoyed "Grossology." The other shows, including the Magic Tree House Space Mission and Carolina Skies, are long-time favorites.

The N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences' special exhibit "The World's Largest Dinosaurs" continues through April 12. The exhibit explores the physiology of giant sauropods, focusing less on their skeletons and more on what was inside them. Kids especially love the fossil dig pit at the end of the exhibit. Tickets are free for members; $14 for adults; $12 for seniors, students and military; and $8 for children, ages 3 to 12. Admission to the rest of the downtown Raleigh museum is free.

Super-sized dinosaurs on display at NC Museum of Natural Sciences The N.C. Museum of History, also in downtown Raleigh, has its "Starring North Carolina" exhibition on display. This is a fascinating look at the history of film and television in North Carolina with all sorts of props, stories and more from television shows and movies that have been filmed here over the decades. Be sure to read my review for details and information about a handful of exhibits that aren't the most kid-friendly (but would be a lot of fun for teen movie buffs). Tickets are $10 per person and $6 for ages 7 to 17, 60 and up, active military personnel and college students with an ID.

Speaking of the history museum, it has a weekly storytime for young children from 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., each Thursday. The quick program includes a book and some discussion about an exhibit in the museum. These are free, drop-in and very informal.

Prairie Ridge Ecostation, the outdoor lab for the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences in west Raleigh, also has some great programs for families. They include a weekly 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Thursday, storytime, which is best for ages 7 and under. The free storytime includes a story, activities and exploration. Kids must be with their adults, but no registration is required. The weekly Citizen Science Walk, best for kids 8 and older, is 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., every Saturday. A guide will introduce participants to ways they can contribute to scientific research and help gather and post data. Topics vary each week. No registration is required. It's free. While you're there, be sure to check out the nature playground.

We've had a lot of new trampoline parks open in the past couple of years - Defy Gravity is in Raleigh and Durham; Sky Zone is in Raleigh and Durham; and The Launching Pad is in Raleigh.

Nature play space at Prairie Ridge Ecostation Nature play space at Prairie Ridge Ecostation This region has so many great parks to explore. I've ranked my five favorite nature parks. And our database of parks and playgrounds in the region has many more. And there's always Go Play Outside Now and Three Bears Acres, businesses which offer a lot of opportunities for outdoor fun. Of course, there's Pullen Park. The rides at Pullen Park in Raleigh are open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., daily.‚Äč

After lots of running around, you might be in the mood for a treat. We have three relatively new bakeries in the downtown Raleigh area to check out - Yellow Dog Bread Company, Night Kitchen Bakehouse and Cafe and Boulted Bread.

And there's more: Check out our posts on Triangle family destinations, from historic sites to restaurants to exhibits, and our posts on road trips if you're ready for a bigger excursion.

Happy spring break!

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