Triangle boasts free, outdoor family fun

Posted July 31, 2009 3:51 p.m. EDT
Updated August 1, 2009 6:47 a.m. EDT

The Triangle is a treasure trove of parks, playgrounds, ponds and plants. You can find family fun, times four, all for free in your own back yard.

At Kids Together Playground in Cary, children are encouraged to reach out and try something new. The two-acre playground is part of the 16-acre Marla Dorrel Park, at 111 Thurston Drive.

“Since it's free, it's totally worth the cost to get in," mother Cindy Yandle said. "Any place we can go that's free or cheap, that's our daily thing."

Historic Yates Mill sits on the edge of Yates Mill Pond off Lake Wheeler Road in Raleigh. Although the park offers 174 acres of great outdoors, many are drawn specifically for the mill.

"We get all ages – from pre-schoolers to retirement communities," said William Robbins, a miller on the site.

The 18th-century mill is open for tours on weekends and hosts other special events through out the year.

"I think people are impressed once they get out here and see the mill and learn about it," Robbins said.

Over at William B. Umstead State Park, there is plenty of peace and quiet. It is a great place to get outdoors. Jeremy Liles and his dad, Troy Coleman, spent an “Andy and Opie" day there recently taking advantage of the activities.

The park, at 8801 Glenwood Ave. in Raleigh, is accessible from Interstate 40 and U.S. Highway 70.

A more cultivated outdoor experience is available among the bees, butterflies and blooms at the J.C. Raulston Arboretum on the North Carolina State University campus, 4415 Beryl Road in Raleigh.

The bountiful, beautiful flowers are maintained by members of the university community.