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Weekend Plans: St. Patrick's Parade, concerts, theater for kids, much more

It's another very busy weekend with Raleigh's St. Patrick's Day Parade, N.C. Symphony's "Peter and the Wolf," "Really Rosie" at the Raleigh Little Theatre, and much more. Your weekend family fun!

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St. Patrick's Day Parade
Sarah Lindenfeld Hall

It's another big weekend! Your weekend family fun ...

The annual Raleigh St. Patrick's Day Parade starts at noon Saturday in downtown Raleigh. The route starts around Cabarrus and Wilmington streets, moves down Fayetteville Street and then around to Moore Square, where the Wearin' 'O the Green Festival continues with live music, dancing, vendors, children's games and activities and more. Note that there will be some street closings for the parade and the Run for the Oaks on Saturday.
Also in downtown Raleigh, the B-Ball on Bean Street family event will take over City Plaza, on the 400 block of Fayetteville Street, in downtown Raleigh from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday. The free event includes screening of the ACC basketball tournament on high definition televisions, along with basketball hoops, cornhole and children's activities provided by Marbles Kids Museum. Plus, free coffee and Mentos (thanks to the sponsors). See my earlier post for more information. This might be a good activity if your child has an early release day Friday, as many do if they attend a traditional calendar school in Wake County.
The N.C. Symphony will present "Peter and the Wolf" for kids on Saturday. The 11 a.m. performance is sold out, but there are still tickets for the 4 p.m. concert at the Progress Energy Center for Performing Arts in Raleigh. This hour-long program is designed for kids ages 4 to 12 and features the classic piece by Sergei Prokofiev accompanied by both dance and theater thanks to the Triangle Youth Ballet and the North Carolina Theatre. The concert also includes other works inspired by characters such as Huck Finn and Cinderella. If you have tickets, get there up to an hour early so your kids can check out the instruments in the symphony's popular Instrument Zoo. A face painter also will be on hand. I've been to a couple of these concerts and am excited to attend this weekend. These are really wonderful, fun and educational events for kids and just a joy to attend. Tickets are $20. See my earlier post for more information.
The Raleigh Little Theatre opens its production of "Really Rosie" on Friday. It runs until March 27. This youth musical by Maurice Sendak and Carole King stars Rosie, the sassiest kid on the block, who entertains herself and her friends by acting out show biz fantasies. It's based on a number of Sendak's books. Tickets are $13 for adults and $9 for kids ages 0 to 12. Performances are mostly Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays though there are a couple of Thursday morning shows. Those are primarily for school groups, but there may be some individual tickets available.
The Raleigh Little Theatre's youth performance ensembles also are busy this weekend. The teen ensemble will wrap up its production of "Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamb" with a free 45 minute performance at 2 p.m. Saturday at the East Regional Library in Knightdale. And students from its RLT Players To Go!, made up of students ages 10 to 13, will bring its show of Aesop fables to West Regional Library in Cary at 2 p.m. Saturday. The free show also is about 45 minutes long.
It's Reptile & Amphibian Day at the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. The 18th annual event features live animals from North Carolina and around the world, including sea turtles, green tree pythons, rattlesnakes, poison dart frogs, iguanas and more. There are presentations throughout the day, along with crafts. And don't miss the snake feeding demonstration at 1 p.m. and 3:45 p.m. (though I suspect there are a few of you who wouldn't mind missing that one).
The Museum of Life and Science continues its March Science Madness 2011 this Saturday and every Saturday in March. Visitors will learn about the science behind sports, explore themes like Microbiology, Nanoscale Science, Sports Science, Animals, Genomics, and celebrate National Pi Day. The Museum will end the tourney with a visit from Rob Mies from the Organization for Bat Conservation who will immerse visitors in the world of nocturnal animals. This Saturday's focus is National Pi Day.
Morehead Planetarium will have one of its regular skywatching sessions from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday at Jordan Lake State Park. These regular sessions are a wonderful opportunity to gaze at the night sky and learn what you're actually looking at. Experienced observers will be there to help out. Be sure to check the website for details and directions before you go.
The Upscale Resale consignment sale in Cary is this Friday and Saturday. The sale features upscale, boutique new and used children's clothing.
A Sea of Learning at Northgate Mall will present "The Cat in the Hat" with three show times at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. In the Macy's Court area of Northgate, the Cat in the Hat will be reading and interacting with kids as he presents highlights from several Dr. Seuss books. That's free. Kids can also get a photo with the Cat for $7. As part of the event, A Sea of Learning is asking families who attend to bring a pair of gently worn or new shoes to donate to the nonprofit Share Our Shoes.
Primrose School at Holly Grove will host a grand opening and family dance off from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Families that enroll their child during the grand opening will get 50 percent off the registration fee. There will be prizes, free food, games and activities for all ages. The school is at 1530 Avent Ferry Rd. in Holly Springs.
Duke Gardens in Durham will hold a nature storytime from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday. There will be nature stories and a take-home project for kids ages 3 to 8. It's $3 per child. Space is limited and registration is required. Call 919-668-1708 to register.
Marbles Kids Museum has a variety of events planned, as usual. First, the PG-rated family movie "Mars Needs Moms: An IMAX 3D Experience" opens Friday at its IMAX Theatre, as it does at other theaters across the region. From 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, its Science Solvers Guest Stars are entomologists from N.C. State, who will talk about their work with bugs of all kinds. And starting Saturday through March 17 (which is actually St. Patrick's Day), the museum will be celebrating the day with all kinds of holiday-related activities.
The Ravenscroft Book Club is hosting a benefit for WakeMed's Reach Out and Read program at The Alley, 2512 Hillsborough St. in Raleigh, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. The event is $15 per person and includes unlimited bowling and shoe rental. Freshberry will be handing out free samples and there will be music, games and other family fun. Attendees are asked to bring in a new or gently used children's book for Reach Out and Read, which provides books to doctors who hand them out to kids as they emphasize the importance of reading. A portion of the proceeds also will benefit Reach Out and Read. You can also donate children's books for kids ages 6 months to five years at a WakeMed Volunteer Services office at WakeMed Raleigh Campus, 3000 New Bern Ave. in Raleigh or WakeMed Cary Hospital 1900 Kildaire Farm Road, Cary.
And if you're looking for more St. Patty's Day activities, head over to the N.C. Museum of History for a free performance by the Thistledown Tinkers, a duo that will combine vocal harmonies with an array of instruments including guitar, fiddle, dulcimer, banjo and concertina. I'm told this music will make you want to get up and dance. It's at 3 p.m. Sunday at the downtown Raleigh museum.

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