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Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

Parks, outdoor spaces gear up for annual Take a Child Outside Week

Posted September 16, 2019 8:55 p.m. EDT

Courtesy: N.C. State Parks

Take a Child Outside Week kicks off, as it does every year, Sept. 24 and is designed to help kids get out and explore the natural world.

The program, founded by Liz Baird, chief of school and lifelong education for the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences, is now marked in all 50 states and four other countries. It was inspired by Richard Louv’s book “Last Child in the Woods,” which identifies the benefits of outdoor experiences for children and addresses some of the problems of what he terms “Nature Deficit Disorder,” such as increased stress and feelings of being disconnected from the world, according to a news release from the natural sciences museum.

Here in the Triangle, there are lots of free and inexpensive programs to mark the week. Most are offered by state and local park systems, along with the natural sciences museum. Some require pre-registration, which is why I'm sharing the details now instead of later.

The week will run through Sept. 30.

Here's what's planned:

Praire Ridge Ecostation, 1671 Gold Star Dr., Raleigh

The natural science museum's outdoor learning lab, Prairie Ridge Ecostation in west Raleigh, will host daily activities. Here's when they are:

  • 10 a.m. to noon, Sept. 24: Nature Playday
  • 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., Sept. 25: Nature Art
  • 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Sept. 26: Nature Stories
  • 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Sept. 27: Sunset Walk
  • 10 a.m. to noon, Sept. 28: Nature Playday
  • 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Sept. 28, Citizen Science Saturdays
  • 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., Sept. 29: Fossil Dig
  • 10;30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Sept. 30: Guided Walk

For information e-mail cathy.fergen@naturalsciences.org, call 919-707-8878 or visit Prairie Ridge online.

Raleigh Parks, various locations

From a program about butterflies to junior fishing to a nature hike, the city of Raleigh offers a slew of TACO-related activities. Many of these activities require pre-registration and a small fee. Plan ahead! Raleigh parks' website has more information about the events, registration and locations.

Town of Cary

The town of Cary's Bond Park Community Center and Stevens Nature Center will host Take a Child Outside events fro Sept. 22 to Sept. 28. Details and registration information are on Cary's website.

Wake County parks

The park system also is hosting a variety of special events for Take a Child Outside week. Check Wake's website to search and find what's offered at a park near you.

JC Raulston Arboretum, Raleigh

The arboretum, part of NC State University, will host daily programs, including a garden storytime and scavenger hunt. The arboretum's website has the details.

Across North Carolina

North Carolina Environmental Education, part of the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality, has a big listing of Take a Child Week Outside activities on its calendar.