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Weekend Plans July 4 Edition: What's open, closed, happening

Posted July 3, 2013
Updated July 4, 2013

Fourth of July celebrations have officially begun in the Triangle as the Town of Wake Forest kicked off its 40th annual fireworks show Wednesday night.

It's stacking up to be a busy July 4 long weekend. And, if the forecast holds, it looks like we might actually get a break from all this rain! WRAL Weather says that we should have clear skies Thursday night, when many towns and cities plan their fireworks displays. 

For a full list of July 4 events and fireworks shows, check's Out & About listing. They also have the skinny on many other events this weekend on their calendar.

But here are the details about some popular July 4 family fun in the Triangle, along with information at the end of this post about the holiday hours for popular Triangle family destinations. Happy July 4!

The 'Works will take over downtown Raleigh from noon to 11 p.m., Thursday. You'll find a kids zone with bounce houses and slides, a water game area, live music, food, art vendor and two fireworks displays. 

Because of this week's rains, the Festival for the Eno has had to shift a few things around. But the rains won't keep the popular and long-running festival from happening. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday and Saturday, this year. The festival offers all kinds of live music, food, crafts and educational activities in and around the Eno River. It all takes place at the West Point on the Eno Park in Durham. Tickets are $20 per day; $10 for teens ages 13 to 17; and free for kids 12 and under. 

The Town of Cary offers all sorts of activities on July 4. They include an Olde Time Celebration at Fred G. Bond Metro Park with a fishing tournament, parade in the park, games, a watermelon eating and seed spitting contest, water balloon toss, sidewalk decorating contest, doughnut eating contest and Lakeside Olympics. It runs 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Thursday. Then, at 3 p.m., you can head over to Koka Booth Amphitheatre for even more, including a 50-foot Ferris wheel, kids' activities, a Model Boat Regatta, ice cream eating contest, scavenger hunt and more. It's all capped by a concert with the N.C. Symphony and fireworks at 9 p.m.

In downtown Apex, an Old Fashioned Fourth of July is 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Thursday. You'll find inflatables, games, street performers and a parade of wheels featuring whoever wants to be part of it and their bikes, scooters, wagons and strollers decorated in red, white and blue. It all ends at 12:30 p.m. with the very popular fire department splash down! It's free. 

Wake Forest's fireworks are on Wednesday evening. But the fun continues on Thursday with a children's parade at 10:30 a.m. (line-up starts at 10 a.m.) and arts and games at Holding Park at 11 a.m.

Chapel Hill's Fourth of July at Kenan Stadium includes live music, a watermelon eating contest, face painting and fireworks. Suggested donation is $1 per person and $5 per family. (Town staff who will be accepting donations may not make change). Gates open at 7 p.m. Fireworks start at 9:30 p.m. The first 10,000 people through the gates will get a free glow necklace from Grace Church.

Holly Springs' Independence Day celebration is Friday at a new location, Sugg Farm Park, 2401 Grigsby Ave. Fireworks will start around 9:15 p.m. Before that, you'll find inflatables, music, food, crafts and more. 

Garner's display, originally scheduled for Wednesday, was moved to Friday because of the rainy weather. It's at Lake Benson Park, 921 Buffaloe Rd. It all begins at 5:30 p.m. with inflatables, music and other activities. Fireworks are scheduled for 9:30 p.m. Gates at the park will open at 5 p.m. Shuttles are available from Bryan Farm, located at 1832 New Bethel Church Rd., beginning at 5 p.m. Handicap-accessible parking will be available at Lake Benson Park, and some limited general parking will be available at Lake Benson Park and White Deer Park (2400 Aversboro Rd., across the street from Lake Benson Park).

Both the Carolina Mudcats and the Durham Bulls will have fireworks after their games on Thursday and Friday. 

In downtown Raleigh, the Joel Lane Museum House will host an Independence Day open house from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.,  Thursday. They'll have old fashioned games and hands-on activities for kids, along with a variety of demonstrations. It's free.

Friday is the first Friday of July, which means it's First Friday in downtown Raleigh. There are plenty of activities to keep families entertained. Check my earlier post for details about what's on tap this week. 

The American Dance Festival's kids series continues with a 1 p.m., Saturday, performance by Brenda Angiel Aerial Dance Company at the Durham Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $15. After the hour-long performance, there's a party in DPAC's lobby with music, activities, snacks and more. Here's a description of the company from the festival's website: "Since 1994, Brenda Angiel Ariel Dance Company has redefined the conventional ideas of modern dance by not only taking it out of traditional performance spaces but also by throwing the use of gravity out the window. Having reimagined various forms of dance techniques to create her acclaimed aerial work, Angiel keeps audiences on their toes through her highly flying yet sophisticated and daring dances."

The New Hope Valley Railway's monthly train rides on its diesel and steam engines start at 11 a.m., Sunday, in New Hill in southwestern Wake County. The hour-long rides in the open air cars take you through the country. You can also check out historic train cars and a model railroad. Tickets are $10 to $12 for adults and $7 to $8 for kids (depending on whether you ride the steam or diesel engine). 

Here are the holiday hours for popular family destinations in the region: 

The N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences and its Nature Research Center in downtown Raleigh are open both Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. They will not, however, be open late on Thursday (as it usually is each week) or on Friday for First Friday, this week. The museum's Dinosaurs in Motion exhibit, featuring metal dinosaur skeletons that museum goers can move, is open. (Disclosure: Go Ask Mom is a sponsor).

The Museum of Life and Science in Durham is open Thursday and all weekend. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., weekdays, and noon to 5 p.m., Sunday. The museum just expanded its Aerospace gallery with some fun hands-on activities. And, in July, they are releasing a total of 1,000 Blue Morpho butterflies in its Magic Wings Butterfly House. I'll have more about this on Friday. These are beautiful blue butterflies.

Marbles Kids Museum in downtown Raleigh is open as usual on Thursday. The museum will offer some special July 4 activities, including water relays, fizzing fireworks and sparkler hats. All free with admission, which is $5 per person. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., weekdays (except Mondays) and weekends. Summer hours on Mondays are 9 a.m. to noon, no field trips allowed. 

Marbles' IMAX theater will screen documentaries and a 31-minute short for kids called "Animalopolis" in the morning and early afternoon. After that, it will have four showtimes for "Man of Steel 3D."

The N.C. Museum of History in downtown Raleigh is closed Thursday, but open the rest of the weekend. 

The N.C. Museum of Art in Raleigh is closed Thursday, but open the rest of the weekend.

Morehead Planetarium and Science Center in Chapel Hill has a full slate of shows and presentations on Thursday and the rest of the long weekend. 

Kidzu Children's Museum in Chapel Hill is closed Thursday, but open the rest of the weekend. 

And the N.C. Zoo in Asheboro, about 90 minutes from the Triangle, is open.


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