Greater Raleigh Drop-in Rainy Day To Do List

With all the recent rainy and snowy weather in Raleigh I wanted to create a list of drop-in activities that I could refer to whenever I’m grasping looking for something to do with little ones in tow.  Here’s a starter list of indoor activities outside the house that are guaranteed to educate and entertain the sweet babes:

  • rainy day playgroundFit4Mom/Stroller Strides of Midtown Raleigh – grab your Bob Stroller (or any stroller, really) and join other mommas for a great workout with your babes; first class is free; check out the Facebook group which is free to join and full of fun playdates
  • Tot Time with City of Raleigh Parks & Rec – free, indoor playtime (ages 5 and under) at various community centers around the city of Raleigh; each center has different toys (i.e., basketball hoops, tunnels, push cars, slides, etc) available for play; my favorite Tot Time is at Laurel Hills Community Center; consult the most recent Leisure Ledger for dates/times at each center
  • Great Harvest Bread Co in North Raleigh – has small play area with toys for kids while you enjoy delicious coffee and breads!
  • City of Raleigh’s Greystone Recreation Center – indoor playground in North Raleigh with rock climbing wall and various rope climbing structures; designed for kids ages 5-12, but I’ve found Ashley began enjoying this park at age 2 1/2; playground times vary, so be sure to check their schedule or sometimes I’ve found it’s easiest to call for their hours: 919-996-4848
  • Storytime at the library – libraries throughout Wake County have several storytimes grouped by ages: baby, toddler, preschool and family; storytime at Cameron Village featuring Mr. Erik is the most interactive library activity we’ve been to; check the list of kids’ events for dates, times and locations
  • Bounce Houses – refer to the list of bounce houses compiled by WRAL’s Go Ask Mom
  • Marbles Kids Museum – hands-on kids museum in downtown Raleigh that offers two floors of interactive, creative play for children; $5 per person over age one; one of the only indoor places in Raleigh open on Sunday mornings
  • Storytime at NC Museum of Natural Sciences – free, downtown museum with an amazing variety of exhibits, events, and hands-on displays for kids of all ages, but the daily storytime and “Meet the Animals” activities are our favorite activities
    • storytime and “Meet the Animals” schedule
    • complete list of events
  • NC Museum of History – free, downtown museum that has fewer hands-on exhibits for toddlers, but still boasts a large permanent collection on the history of NC along with several very interesting rotating exhibits (be sure to check out Watergate); weekly storytime on Thursdays; check full schedule of eventsrainy day playground
  • Rainbow Play on Glenwood Ave – large indoor party room with swing sets mostly designed for kids older than 2, but they do have a small area for early walkers and crawlers; open play time is Mon-Fri from 10am-2pm but call during other times to see if room is available for play; $5/child for ages 2 and up
  • Tumble Gym of Raleigh – open gym time with trampoline, balance beam, bars, and more; $10/hr per child; call for dates/times: 919-977-0357
  • See an IMAX movie at Marbles – other than the latest Hollywood movies, this theater shows several educational documentaries that are appropriate for toddlers
  • Paint your own pottery – paint ceramic pieces (plates, mugs, household items, etc) in a pottery studio; prices usually include all painting supplies, glazing and firing; pieces are available to pick up about a week later; makes for great gifts; our favorite is Klaystation off Durant Rd
  • Kids’ Workshops at Lowe’s and Home Depot – free hands-on workshops to teach kids about tool safety and do-it-yourself projects; Home Depot runs workshops on the first Saturday of each month – check local store for times; Lowe’s runs clinics on select Saturdays – consult schedule
  • The Farmers’ Corner at Historic Oak View County Park – this is a fantastic park that is so much fun for kids and adults, but the Farmers’ Corner in the Farm History Center is where kids can plant and harvest crainy day poolrops while reading books and playing dress-up; main building is open 8:30am-5pm on Mon-Sat and 1-5pm on Sundays but the Farmers’ Corner is sometimes not available due to scheduled programs, so call ahead 919-250-1013; see previous posts on this park
  • City of Raleigh indoor swimming pools – with so many options for year-round swimming in Raleigh, visit one of the indoor pools: Pullen, Millbrook, Optimist, Buffaloe Rd Aquatic Center; be sure to check the hours of operation before heading out
  • Bass Pro Shops in Cary and local pet stores – endless rows of interesting animals and fish to see
  • Train tables at Barnes & Nobles (Triangle Town Center) and Logan Trading Company in Seaboard Station offer great fun for little ones
  • DefyGravity trampoline Park in Raleigh features great fun for all ages, including a special jump session from 9-10am for kids under 7 where they play fun princess/toddler music

Where else in the Triangle do you explore on rainy or snowy days?  Let me know what I’ve missed so I can include your ideas.

Update: Greystone Recreation Center

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The weather this summer was extremely kind to my previously pregnant self.  There were few, if any, days where the weather was so ungodly hot you couldn’t go outside.  On those ungodly hot days we ate an early lunch followed by some type of run-your-ass-til-you’re-tired activity…all indoors.  This is when I discovered the super cute local coffee shop, Sola, in the Greystone Shopping Center in North Raleigh.  Actually, I didn’t discover Sola, but TriangleExplorer writes about it frequently so we finally checked it out.

True to the reviews, the folks there are super nice and accommodating of small children and they make some delicious sandwiches and mini donuts!  Let me repeat – they make mini donuts and they are freaking amazing!  They are also super fancy with their coffee making techniques, so if you’re looking for a french press coffee these are your people.

After a lunch at Sola we had some extra time to kill before nap, so we ventured over to Greystone Recreation Center, which is located in the same shopping center as Sola.  The last time we visited Greystone, Ashley was still crawling and it wasn’t a practical place to take her.  Now that she’s a rough and tumble 2 1/2 yr old she can pretty much do everything in the play area.  We arrived at just the right time too – summer camp was finishing up for the day so the play area was pretty quiet.  The playground is a perfect spot for kids who love to climb, jump and swing from ropes.  Ashley is still learning how to climb the rope ladders so this was a good place to try because the surface is spongy and I can be right there to assist.  She wasn’t a fan of the spinning play equipment yet, but also liked the 2ft tall rock you can jump off from.

It’s been interesting to see how my perspective of playgrounds has changed over time while Ashley has become more capable of doing difficult activities.  I wouldn’t dream of bringing a crawling child here again because of the smallness of the play area and all the big kids like Ashley running around, but I’m excited to see how much fun she’ll have here over the years to come.  If visiting Greystone, be sure to check the playground hours before going as they seem to change quite a bit over the year.

Visit my original post on Greystone Rec Center for additional photos.

Thumbs up: great indoor activity for hot or rainy days, various organized programs held through City of Raleigh

Thumbs down: smallness of area, tendency for playground to be crowded

Greystone Recreation Center

With the weather being rainy on the 10th day of Raleigh Parks Christmas, we headed to an indoor park (yes, that’s correct) in North Raleigh.  We visited Greystone Recreation Center at 7713 Leadmine Rd in the Greystone Village Shopping Center.

Greystone Rec Center has a unique indoor playground area with several different climbing structures that are all intertwined. There’s a giant rope spider web, holes suspended by rope to climb through, nature rocks, and spinners.  The back wall has been turned into a great climbing wall.  The playground area sits atop the spongy surface, which is mostly green in color except for the blue “river” that runs through the playground.

This indoor playground is mostly designed for kids ages 5-12 years old, but there were plenty of kids ages 2 and up enjoying the playground too.  I was clearly the one with the youngest baby and the staff didn’t say anything to me about her age.  We mostly hung out near one of the corners by the rock wall, cruised along the rock wall, crawled on the ground, and tried to stay out of the way of the older kids.  Ashley was also pretty entertained by the paintings on the wall too.  The playground hours are 9-11am and 12:30-5pm Mon-Fri and 9-noon on Saturday.

This indoor park also has several benches along the wall, vending machines, and nice restrooms.  Greystone Rec Center also has several programs for people of all ages going on throughout the year.  Here are a few coming up:

  • Jan 10-Feb 2: Mom and Tots Leap into Learning (ages 20-24months, Tues/Thurs, 9:15-10am, $35)
  • Jan 12-26: Dance-Twinkle Toes I (ages 2-3yrs, Thurs, 11:20-12:15, $40)
  • Jan 12-26: Tumbling Tinies (ages 9-24months, Thurs, 9:30-10:15am, $40)
  • Jan 12-Feb 2: Math Madness (ages 3-5yrs, Thurs, 2-3pm, $40)
  • Jan-Apr: Mahjongg Open Play (adults, Mon, 2-4pm, FREE)
  • Jan-Apr: Bingo (adults, 1st & 3rd Tues, 2-3pm, $1)
  • Jan-Apr: Senior Fitness (Mon/Fri, 10-10:45am, $15/month)

Thumbs up: unique indoor play area, rock wall, community center programs

Thumbs down: indoor playground is small and gets easily crowded on popular days, unattractive shopping center setting