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Kids at home for spring break? Here's your guide to fun!

Spring break is coming up for many students in the Triangle. If you're at home with the kids, here are some activities for those days when you need to get out of the house.

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Math Moves! opens at the Museum of Life and Science
Sarah Lindenfeld Hall

With all of the year-round schools, private schools, charter schools and homeschools around here, I'll acknowledge right off the bat that not all kids have spring break during the first two weeks of April.

But for kids in traditional calendar public schools (and some others), five days of school-free time are coming up. My check of a dozen counties in the region finds that spring break is split about evenly between the week of April 2 and the week of April 9 with a teacher workday thrown in before or after those weeks depending on the school system.

Spring break is the week of April 2 for Wake County, Orange County, Johnston County, Nash County, and Chapel Hill-Carrboro schools. It's the week of April 9 for Durham County, Chatham County, Franklin County, Harnett County, Cumberland County, Moore County and Lee County schools. Many preschools in those counties follow the same calendar as the public schools.

I know a lot of kids will be at camp, day care, with grandma or at the sitters for break. But for those of us with kids at home, I thought I'd offer a little guide for those moments when you just want to get out of the house.

Here's what's happening:

  • Marbles Kids Museum in downtown Raleigh's Spring Break Blast offer special events the week of April 2. Activities focus on springtime fun with a green energy twist such as Sun Prints, Curious Cloud Science and Garden Tasting. The museum's Green Energy Guest Star series will be at 11 a.m. each day. Marbles, which usually is closed on Mondays, will be open from 9 a.m .to 5 p.m., April 2.
  • The Museum of Life and Science in Durham opened a new exhibit last month called Math Moves. This active exhibit lets kids think about math in different ways as they use their body to measure and learn how their shadow changes sizes.
  • The N.C. Museum of Art in Raleigh will hold its regular programs for kids and families during the spring break period. They include Family Fun Saturdays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., April 7. The program is designed for families with kids ages 5 to 11. The fee is $5 per person. Pre-registration is highly recommended.
For kids ages 2 to 4 and their adults, the museum's fantastic What's in the Box program is at 10:30 a.m., 11 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., April 12. It includes crafts, a story and more. The fee is $3. This is a very popular event and offered on a first come, first served basis. Get there by 10 a.m. if you want to participate in the 10:30 a.m. session. Click here for details on both activities.
  • Morehead Planetarium and Science Center's schedule varies depending on the day during the first two weeks in April. There is a full schedule of planetarium shows on April 6, including the Magic Tree House Space Mission at 10:30 a.m. Go to Morehead's website for details.
  • White Deer Park Nature Center in Garner will host one of its regular Discovery Days from 10 a.m. to noon, April 5. The program, usually attended by homeschoolers and students who are tracked out, features games and hands-on experiments. The theme on April 5 is amazing amphibians. This drop-in activity is free. No registration is required. Activities take about 30 minutes. It's a great opportunity to explore this park and its neighbor Lake Benson Park. See my reviews of White Deer Park and Lake Benson Park.
  • Seasons begin the first week in April for both the  Durham Bulls and Carolina Mudcats in Zebulon. Read my earlier post for details. Tickets are on sale now.
  • The new Annie Louise Wilkerson MD Nature Preserve in north Raleigh will offer Froggy Went A' Courtin' for ages 6 to 12 from 1 to 2:30 p.m., April 4. The fee is $3. Kids will learn to identify frogs and toads by their calls and look for courting frogs around a pond and other places. Registration is required. Read my earlier post about the preserve. (A side note: Many other parks in the region hold workshops for kids such as this. Check with your town or county's park's system to find more).
  • Duke Gardens in Durham has a variety of drop-in programs during the first two weeks of April, including storytimes and other outdoors-related activities. Click here for the full schedule of all of the gardens' activities. Duke Gardens also will have a spring break camp for kids ages 7 to 11 the week of April 9. This also is a great time to explore the gorgeous gardens!
  • And it's a good time to visit JC Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh, which has a spring egg scavenger hunt that runs from March 31 to April 8. This free, drop-in program encourages kids to search the garden for painted plywood eggs with letters on them. Unscramble the letters for a secret code and win a prize. Read my earlier post for details.
  • If you're up for a drive, the N.C. Zoo is opening a new dinosaur exhibit at the end of March. Visitors will be able to walk deep into a forest full of animatronic dinosaurs and ancient plants. Click here for details.
  • Kazoom Puppet Theatre in Raleigh will have puppet shows at 10 a.m. and 11:10 a.m., April 4 and April 5. These shows are great for toddlers to young grade schoolers. Tickets are $5 per person.
  • The N.C. Museum of Natural Science in downtown Raleigh has two movies at its 3D theater - "Tornado Alley 3D" and "Dinosaurs Alive 3D." Click here for ticket information.
  • It looks like strawberry season could start early around here because of the warm weather. WRAL is reporting that some farms may have them for sale as early as April 5. Check our strawberry database for a list of pick-your-own farms and farm stands in the region. Be sure to check with the farm to see if they have strawberries before you head out.
  • For more ideas, check some of our resource pages for links to other family-friendly places in the region, including park and playground reviews and posts on Triangle family destinations. Check the box above for other resource pages, including kids eat free, indoor playgrounds and more.

    Hope your spring break is a great one!

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