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Weekend Plans: Nature Research Center opens, train rides, Earth Day celebrations, more

It's huge weekend with all kinds of events, including many to celebrate Earth Day, which is Sunday. Here's your weekend family fun!

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Nature Research Center
Sarah Lindenfeld Hall

It's a huge weekend with all kinds of events, including many to celebrate Earth Day, which is Sunday. Here's your weekend family fun!

Let's start off with the weekend's big news: The N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences' new wing - the Nature Research Center - opens at 5 p.m., Friday, for a 24-hour grand opening celebration. Activities, which span the museum, new wing and outdoor spaces nearby in downtown Raleigh, are free. It all begins at 4 p.m., with a performance by the Shaw University Band, followed by a procession at 4:30 p.m., featuring the Paperhand Puppet Intervention. Walk-throughs of the new 80,000-square-foot space will continue until 4 p.m. on Saturday. There will be live music, demonstrations, movies, hands-on activities for kids and so much more throughout the event. If you're a Burt Bee's fan, don't miss the giant sale tent outside the museum's front steps where you'll get up to 80 percent off lip balm, lotion and other products.
New Hope Valley Railway in southwest Wake County opens a couple of weeks early on Sunday with some special activities in honor of the N.C. Science Festival. The railway also will be unveiling a new mascot and logo. And, of course, it will be offering it's popular diesel and steam engine rides, which run about an hour. Read my earlier post for more information.
I'll be witnessing one of the Great Cloth Diaper Change events in the Triangle on Saturday. The events, part of an international effort to set the Guinness World Record for cloth diaper changes, aim to raise awareness about clothing diapering. They also sound like a fun opportunity for cloth diapering families to get together. I'll be at SmartMomma in north Raleigh. Sweetbottoms Baby Boutique in Cary and GreenPea Baby in Apex also are participating. Pre-registration is required for all three of the events. Read my earlier post for more information.
Kidcycle consignment sale at University Mall in Chapel Hill opens to the public on Friday. Read my earlier post for more information.
The Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival of Music & Dance runs Thursday to Sunday in Chatham County. This major, four-day festival features all kinds of music, crafts and activities for kids. You can camp on site. A special area for kids includes group activities, story telling, face painting, a climbing wall and a Sunday afternoon parade. Family performers include Farmer Jason. Check the festival's website for many more details.
YMCA Healthy Kids Day is 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, at Camp Kanata, 13524 Camp Kanata Rd., in Wake Forest. The free event focuses on healthy habits and fun camp activities, including archery, crafts, canoeing, traditional camp games, tours of the camp and more. WakeMed will be there with kid-friendly exhibits. Kids who take part in a healthy nature challenge will get a T-shirt. As this is an outdoor event, check the YMCA weather updates in the case of bad weather.
The Brier Chapel neighborhood in Chapel Hill will hold an Earth Day event from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday. It begins with a 5K and also includes live music, food trucks and a screening of Wall-E.
The first Festival of Legends, a "fantasy faire" is from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, at One Storybook Lane in Chapel Hill. There will be music, mythical creatures, an archery contest, artists and more. Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for kids.
The IMAX theater at Marbles Kids Museum will open "To the Arctic 3D," narrated by Meryl Streep. The documentary features the journey of a mother polar bear and her cubs as they navigate the Arctic wilderness. Opening weekend events from Friday to Sunday include real snow in the IMAX courtyard, Northern Lights painting, a snowball toss, and more. Tickets to the movie are between $7 and $9 each.
The N.C. Museum of Art in Raleigh plans a Spring Family Festival at 1 p.m., Sunday. The event includes a special appearance by artist and children's book author Ashley Bryan at 3 p.m. The event also features music, art workshops, dancing and singing to explore rhythm, rhyme, reading and writing. The museum will be collecting books to donate to Book Harvest, a local group that distributes books throughout the Triangle to encourage children to read and build their own libraries. It's all free. Bryan's work is the focus of a new exhibit at the museum, which will be on display through Aug. 19. Bryan also will visit Quail Ridge Books & Music in Raleigh at 3 p.m., Saturday, and The Regulator Bookshop in Durham at 7 p.m., Saturday. Bryan has received many honors for his work, including multiple Coretta Scott King Awards, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award and the New York Public Library Lion Award.
Keep Carrboro Beautiful is from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., Saturday. Meet at the Century Center for a morning of cleaning up the town and keeping trash from entering local streams. Call 919-918-7392 for more information.
Durham's Earth Day Festival is noon to 5 p.m., Sunday, at Durham Central Park, 502 Foster St. You'll find green activities and demonstrations, music, food, a special area for kids, an Earth Day parade and more. It's free.
KidZ in a Minute Drop-in Childcare will have a free event from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday, at 6021 Poyner Village Parkway in Raleigh. The event includes arts and crafts, Ebony Child face painting, a visit from First-In Fire Company's fire truck and more.
And, finally, the "Max and Ruby" show at Carolina Theatre scheduled for this Saturday was canceled.
Happy Earth Day!


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