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Six Things to Do for Family Fun in Downtown Raleigh

Six Things to Do for Family Fun in Downtown Raleigh

Article provided by the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau/

With a mix of down-home Southern charm and modern influences, the Raleigh area is a hub for families looking for both tried-and-true and new experiences. And downtown Raleigh offers a lot of those! Check out this quick list of family-friendly activities to round-out your weekend (or week day) itinerary.

Marbles Kids Museum

In developing Marbles Kids Museum (pictured in header), president/director Sally Edwards designed a place for hands-on exhibits, never-ending fun and the chance for kids to learn while they play. Check out the Around Town exhibit, where kids can explore the community through costumes, imagination, playsets, props and more, or Toddlers Hollow, where children under three can practice crawling, walking and balancing on the meandering bridge, uncover a pixie hideaway and dress up as a forest creature. Another highlight is the new TreeTunes exhibit, with a giant banjo you can play with your feet! The museum also includes the Marbles IMAX, boasting N.C.’s only certified 3D-capable giant screen. Take home some fun toys at the Marbles Corner Store.

Arts events

Raleigh has dozens of arts events to experience with your kids, including musicals and plays at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, exhibitions at various art galleries like CAM Raleigh and Artspace and more. Relax and enjoy some of Raleigh’s finest arts offerings.

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences offers both educational and entertaining exhibits, perfect for families. The Southeast’s largest natural history museum is all contained inside four floors across two wings. Kids will love the museum’s Discovery Room with hands-on activities, the Prehistoric North Carolina exhibit featuring dinosaur fossils and the “Terror of the South,” plus the live animals in areas such as Tropical Connections and the Living Conservatory. Learn and interact with N.C. nature! Bonus: Admission is free!

North Carolina Museum of History

At the museum of history (another free-admission museum downtown!), families can explore 14,000 years of N.C. history. Get one of the gallery-themed backpacks for younger kids, filled with activities to help you explore the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame, The Story of North Carolina exhibit and the history of our state's American Indians. Also, visit on the first or second Tues. of every month for the Time for Tots event where kids three to five years learn about N.C. history through a hands-on project and a story. There are also some great programs for older kids—check those out here!

Explore and Shop at Read With Me and Briggs Hardware

Read a few books and shop at children’s book store and art shop Read With Me, owned and operate by Christine Brenner, a former school librarian and teacher. Packed with a great selection of contemporary, high-quality and diverse children’s books for ages up to 17, Read With Me also hosts story time and craft events, cartooning and drawing classes and more. For more shopping, next door is the charming Briggs Hardware general store, with fun toys (including Melissa & Doug!) and candy.

Tour Videri Chocolate Factory

Videri Chocolate Factory is truly a chocolate lover’s paradise! Housed in the historic downtown Raleigh Depot building in the Warehouse District, Videri is crafting chocolate in the heart of the City of Oaks. Videri offers up self-guided tours, available any time—upon entering, look for the posted signs throughout the factory so you can easily read your way through the whole chocolate-making process with your kids. After learning about the chocolate-making process, head over the retail counter to sample a few of Videri’s classic bars. Samples typically include their classic dark chocolate, dark chocolate with sea salt and dark milk chocolate. Pick your favorites and purchase a few bars to take home with you (because you know the kids will be asking for more!).

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