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Weekend Plans: Santa arrives, The Polar Express, ballet and more

Santa arrives at local malls. The Polar Express is back on IMAX. There's a fossil fair, a Veterans Day parade and more. Your weekend family fun.

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Santa for North Hills
Sarah Lindenfeld Hall

Yes, indeed. It's time for Santa. Here's your weekend family fun ...

Santa will arrive at Triangle Town Center in Raleigh for his annual photo sessions at 7 p.m. Friday at Creekside Cafe outside the mall's food court entrance. He will be welcomed by Frosty. Caribou Coffee will be there with hot cider. And West Johnston High School Choir will perform. And the big guy will make his appearance at Cross Creek Mall in Fayetteville at 10 a.m. Saturday in the food court. Santa will arrive at other malls in the region in the next few weeks: Nov. 13 for Cary Towne Center and Raleigh's Crabtree Valley Mall; Nov. 20 for Northgate Mall in Durham, The Streets at Southpoint in Durham and Golden East in Rocky Mount. More on those later.
In other Christmas news, "The Polar Express: An IMAX 3D Experience" returns to the IMAX Theatre at Marbles Kids Museum on Friday. Check the website for showtimes. Marbles is open until 8 p.m. this Friday because it's the first Friday of the month and a variety of events are planned including theater games with the North Carolina Theatre Conservatory.
Speaking of First Fridays, the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences also stays open late on the first Friday of the month and usually features a B-movie. At 7 p.m. Friday, the museum will screen "King Dinosaur." The 1955 flick tells the story of Dr. Ralph Martin, whose war service "fortifies him with the experience of treating most diseases and fatalities that overtake a man." These movies might be especially fun for teens. The museum also is discounting tickets to its exhibit Animal Grossology on Friday night. All tickets are $4 after 5 p.m. The last ticket is sold at 7 p.m.
And the natural sciences museum's Fossil Fair is 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. The nation's largest event dedicated to fossils and paleontology returns to the museum for the first time in three years. Learn about being a paleontologist, bring your own discoveries and take a look at displays and activities. Free.
The Veterans Day Parade and Ceremony starts at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at Davie and Fayetteville streets in downtown Raleigh. An 11 a.m. ceremony on the State Capitol grounds follows the parade. The parade includes veterans groups; boy and girl scouts; and more.
The N.C. Museum of Art reopens its East Building at 10 a.m. Sunday with five new traveling exhibits. The big one is American Chronicles: The Art of Norman Rockwell. But kids also will enjoy Fins and Feathers: Original Children's Book Illustrations from The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. The Rockwell exhibit is ticketed. Tickets are $15 for adults; $12 for seniors, military and students age 13 and up; and $7.50 for kids 7 to 12. It's free for children 6 and under. Fins and Feathers is free. Check my earlier post for more on the exhibits. And stay tuned Friday for more on Fins and Feathers.
The Museum of Life and Science in Durham holds a Teddy Bear Clinic on Saturday and Sunday to focus on pediatric health issues. Kids should bring their teddy bear for a check-up or bring a new, decorated bear to donate to Duke Children's. It's 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. Free with museum admission.
Northgate Mall in Durham will hold a Prima Ballerina Tea at 4 p.m. Friday in its Macy's Court. The event features Prima Ballerina Svetlana Todinova and is a preview of the Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker, which will be at the DPAC at 8 p.m. Dec. 22. Todinova will talk about her life in Russia and her ballet career. She'll also conduct a brief vignette with local children who have been recruited to dance in the Nutcracker. The first 300 people in attendance will get refreshments and gift bags.
Speaking of ballerinas, the Raleigh Dance Theatre's very popular Storybook Tales runs Saturday and Sunday at the Fletcher Opera Theater at the Progress Energy Center for Performing Arts in Raleigh. The show, a great opportunity to expose young children to ballet, features dance based on classic stories. This year, that will include "The Dancing Princess" based on the Grimm's fairy tale "The Twelve Dancing Princesses." Performances are 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door. These shows often sell out. To order tickets, call 919-834-1058 or check the website. The Raleigh Dance Theatre is a preprofessional training program for young dancers.
Wake County schools will hold its Magnet Schools Fair for prospective magnet families from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at Southeast Raleigh Magnet High School, 2600 Rock Quarry Rd. I went to the fair a couple of years ago. It's an excellent opportunity to learn more about the county's magnet schools, meet some of the teachers and administrators, and ask questions about the process. Wake also offers regular information sessions on the first Tuesday of every month from September to December. And you can tour the schools too. Check the website for more information.
Read A Thon 2010 is from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at Holton School Career Center, 401 N. Driver St. in Durham. The free event is open to the public and geared toward kids ages 3 to 12. There will be storytellers, free books and other activities.
Fuquay-Varina High School Theatre will present "Schoolhouse Rock" at 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the high school. Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the door. Check the website for more information.
Crowder District Park in Apex will hold its Canine Carnival & Mutt Strutt from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. The free event features educational exhibits, contests for your dog and interactive games for people and dogs. There will be flyball, agility and obedience demonstrations. Plus Wake County Animal Shelter will provide $5 rabies shots and $10 microchip services. Check the website for a full schedule and more information about all the groups that will be involved.
The Raleigh Little Theatre will start its run of Jungalbook, which is adapted from Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Books. The show runs Friday through Nov. 21 and is best for kids ages 7 and up. Tickets are $13 for adults and $9 for kids ages 0 to 12. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Fridays and 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday and Sundays. There are a couple of weekday shows planned. They're for school groups, but there may be tickets available for individuals. Check the website for details.
The 2010 Free to Breathe 5K and 1-Mile Run/Walk and Rally is Saturday morning at N.C. State's Centennial Campus, 1099 Main Campus Dr. in Raleigh. All proceeds go to the North Carolina Lung Cancer Partnership to benefit lung cancer reseasrch, awareness and advocacy. The event is presented by Duke Raleigh Cancer Center. Registration starts at 7:30 a.m. The walk/run begins at 9 a.m. There's a dash for kids 6 and under and more family fun.
Lots going on for train lovers. Neuse River Trains' 26th annual Train & Railroadiana Show and Sale is 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the N.C. State Fairgrounds. Admission is $6 for those age 12 and older (check the website for a coupon). The event aims to promote the hobby of model railroading. You'll see lots of operating layouts (including some Thomas the Tank Engine layouts).
New Hope Valley Railway hosts its monthly rides through southwestern Wake County starting at 11 a.m. Sunday. As always, check New Hope's website for details on the ride. Get there at least 30 minutes before your desired departure time. Tickets are $10 for adult; $7 for kids 2 to 12.
A reminder: A few corn mazes/pumpkin patches/fall destinations are open for the next week or two. Check my earlier post for the details.

And I'm excited to meet many of you at Baby Loves Disco at The Carrboro ArtsCenter on Friday. The event is sold out! And after watching the tickets sell so fast, organizers tell me there is a very good chance they'll be back. So stay tuned!

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