Weekend Plans: Theater, improv, Mardi Gras celebrations, bird counts
Posted February 11, 2015
Updated February 12, 2015
Happy Valentine’s Day weekend! Here’s what’s happening on the family fun front. As always, check WRAL.com’s Out & About calendar for more.
The N.C. Theatre presents “Billy Elliot” with shows now through Sunday. The musical with a score by Elton John tells the story of a young boy who finds a talent for dancing. The production features Ira David Wood III, who plays Billy’s father, and Charlotte native Sam Faulkner, who plays Billy. The cast includes a variety of local kids and others who have traveled her to be part of the professional production. A warning: The show is not recommended for kids under age 10 as there is some strong adult language. Tickets start around $27.
Theatre Raleigh’s The Wolf has shows Thursday and Friday at the Duke Energy Center for Performing Arts. The piece is the nonprofit’s first foray into children’s theater and features a debut work commissioned for the company, led by Broadway star and Raleigh native Lauren Kennedy.
If your child has an early release day like many Wake County students, JC Raulston Arboretum is open with free activities as part of its Afternoon Adventure programs. It’s 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Friday, at the arboretum, which sits near the N.C. State Fairgrounds. The low-key program, which requires no pre-registration and is $1 per family, is an opportunity to explore the gardens while searching for five brain tickling questions. Start at the Visitor Center to pick up your map and instructions.
Ackland Art Museum in Chapel Hill has several programs for kids on Saturday. Kids ages 6 to 9 can make Valentine’s Day cards during two sessions of the museum’s Art Adventure series. And kids ages 10 to 13 also can get in on the Valentine’s Day fun during the museum’s monthly Drawing for Teens program. The cost for each of the programs is $5. Registration is required as space is limited.
While it's out of a home for a few more weeks, Kidzu Childrens Museum in Chapel Hill is holding special free activities for kids on the weekends. From 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, at University Mall, Kidzu will offer a special activity with the American Dance Festival. Through sounds, rhythms, and creative movements, Jody Cassell and Jude Casseday will create a heart-warming dance experience that is great fun for children and their families.
Marbles Kids Museum in Raleigh celebrates play during I Heart to Play Day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday. Activities include a jump rope jam, a dance party and fitness challenges. It’s free with admission, which is $5 per person.
Chuggington Live stops at the Crown Theatre in Fayetteville with a show at 7 p.m., Friday. The live-action, musical children's show, based on the popular TV series, gives young fans and their families the opportunity to experience the train-tastic adventures of the Chuggington trainees, Wilson, Brewster and Koko, according to the description.
This one is more for us moms and dads: The Green Chair Project, a wonderful Raleigh group that helps needy and homeless families and people by providing furniture and home goods, will have a fundraiser sale this weekend featuring all kinds of furniture and home accessories. There's a preview party from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Thursday, where, for $25 at the door, shoppers can get a first look at what's for sale. The sale is open to the public, with no admission, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday and Saturday. This is a great opportunity to support a wonderful group and spruce up your home.
Saturday is Darwin Day at the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh. The free event is 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the downtown Raleigh museum. The event includes presentations, demonstrations and more about Charles Darwin and will take a closer look at this theories and their impact on modern science. For kids, activities include games, a Valentine’s Day craft and plant biology lessons.
Transactors Improv will perform one of its family shows at 1 p.m., Saturday, at Common Ground Theatre in Durham. Tickets are $10 and $6 for students. It’s best for kids in kindergarten to sixth grade. The improvised show is based on audience suggestions.
We have some Mardi Gras-related events.
In Durham, the Scrap Exchange will hold its Public Samedi Gras Celebration from noon to 4 p.m., Saturday. Activities include a costume and mask make and take and float decorating (for $5 per person); facepainting for a fee; a performance by the Bulltown Strutters; and a parade starting at 2 p.m. led by the Bulltown Strutters.
And Wake Forest will celebrate Mardi Gras with a street festival from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday. Admission is free to the event, which takes place in downtown Wake Forest. The festival includes street painters, strolling entertainers, music, an inflatable playground, contests and more. A parade starts at 1 p.m.
Finally, Wake County parks are participating in the annual Great Backyard Bird Count. The four-day event aims to get bird watchers of all ages and abilities outside to count birds and report their results to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Wake County parks will host a variety of walks and programs this weekend as part of the count. The county’s website lists all of the ways you can get involved.