Take a Child Outside Week: Sept 24 – 30, 2014

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Brookhaven Nature Park hike, Fall 2012

With the fall weather on our heels, it couldn’t be a better time to participate in Take a Child Outside Week (TACO), held September 24-30, 2014. Take a Child Outside Week is an national initiative through the NC Museum of Natural Sciences with partner organizations throughout the country.  The program emphasizes outdoor nature activities with children to increase their awareness and appreciation of the environment.  Here are several outdoor activities at local parks to highlight this program:

Umstead Park – various organized events that week including: Animals of Umstead, Hug-a-Tree, Learn to Fish, Millin’ Around, American Beech Hike; for more info search their September calendar

JC Raulston Arboretum – various organized events that week including: Leaf Rubbings, Garden Bingo, Plant Sale, Cloud Watching, Garden Storytime; for more info visit their September calendar 

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Prairie Ridge Ecostation Nature Play Space

NC Museum of Natural Sciences – a few events that week including Nature Stories and a family-friendly event on Sat, Sept 27 at Prairie Ridge Ecostation; for more info visit the Prairie Ridge Ecostation TACO Events Page

Historic Yates Mill County Park – enjoy several events including Paddle the Pond, Apple Orchards, Mill Tours, Fishing Footprint, and an organized Nature Hike; for more info visit the Yates Mill Events

Blue Jay County Park – free events this week including Hopper Herding and Nature Stories; pre-registration is required; for more info visit the Blue Jay County Park Events

Bill hiking with Jerry at Harris Lake, circa 2008
Pre-kiddo pic of Bill hiking with Jerry at Harris Lake, circa 2008

Lake Crabtree County Park – free scavenger hunt event on Mon, Sept 29 at 6pm; pre-registration is required; for more info visit the Lake Crabtree County Park Events

Harris Lake County Park – various events including Park After Dark and a Drop-in Nature Exploration; for more info visit the Harris Lake County Park Events

American Tobacco Trail – attend the Biking with Bats 3-mile bike ride on Sun, Sept 28 from 6-8pm; for more info visit the ATT Events

 

Durant Nature Park

  • Durant Family Campout (COR Reclink barcode #161109) – Fri, Sept 26 at 6pm; ages 6+; a lakeside campsite will be your home for the night; have an overnight experience including dinner, a night hike, s’mores, a light breakfast and fishing; Adults $15, Youth $10; for more info check the Reclink description or visit the Nature Programs page
  • Wee Walkers (COR Reclink barcode #161125) – Thu, Sept 25 from 10-11am; easy paced hike around the park; free; pre-registration is required; for more info check the Reclink description or visit the Nature Programs page

If you can’t make it to any of these organized events, check out TACO’s list of suggested activities and head to the nearest park or greenway and just explore!

By the way, what TACO activities in the Greater Raleigh area am I missing?  Please let me know in the comments section below.

9/15/2014 Update: Since this post was originally posted, the City of Raleigh has compiled a list of TACO week events happening at various parks around the county.

Fun Father’s Day Ideas in Raleigh

This post originally appeared on Southwestraleigh.com where you learn more about how to live, work and play in the Creative District.

With Father’s Day around the corner, now is the best time to plan some fun with dear ol’ Dad.  And being in the Creative District, we’ve got some fun, fresh ideas on the perfect way to say thanks to dad. Here are a few Father’s Day events along with some suggestions of great lunch/park combinations:

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!

Mother’s Day Ideas in the Raleigh Parks

Mother's Day 2011 at the Rose Garden

This post originally appeared on Southwestraleigh.com where you can learn more about how to live, work, and play in the Creative District.

With Mother’s Day just around the corner, it’s about that time to start planning a special way to celebrate her. And being in the Creative District, we’ve got some fresh and cool ideas on the perfect way to say thanks to mom.

Here are a few Mother’s Day events along with some suggestions of great lunch/park combinations:

  • Mother’s Day Brunch at the Rose Garden – Sunday, May 13; first seating at 10:30am or second seating at 1:30pm; $35 for adults; $12 for children (ages 5-13); children under 5 are free; ticket includes scrumptious brunch buffet, drinks (mimosas served after noon), professional photograph, live guitar music, special gift for mom, special appearance by RLT’s Cinderella; reservations are required and spaces fill quickly
  • Mother’s Day Hike – Sunday, May 13 from 11am-noon; Historic Yates Mill Park; for all ages with accompanying mom; $5/family
  • Ashley and I at the NC Zoo this past weekend...what a difference a year makes!

    Family Fun Saturday: Adventures in Color at the NC Art Museum – Saturday, May 12 at 1pm; NC Art Museum; fun family workshop to discover each other’s creativity; families with children ages 5-11; $3 members/$5 non-members; grab lunch from Whole Foods on Wade Ave and have a picnic in the Museum Park beforehand

  • Lunch in the Gardens – grab lunch from Neomonde on Beryl Rd and head to JC Raulston Arboretum for a picnic among the flowers
  • Brunch at the Park – order brunch-to-go from Flying Biscuit and then walk over to Edna Metz Wells Park for a picnic and nice stroll
  • Hot Dogs & Ice Cream at the Park – for the more casual mom, grab some hot dogs and ice cream from Snoopy’s on Hillsborough St and then walk over to Pollock Place Playground for a picnic and some playground time with the kids

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there!

Historic Yates Mill County Park


This post originally appeared on Southwestraleigh.com where you can learn more about how to live, work, and play in the Creative District.

Even though the Historic Yates Mill County Park has only been open for less than six years, Yates Mill dates back to the early 1800’s and is the only gristmill still standing in Wake County.  Throughout the mill’s history it changed ownership about a dozen times and the park is now owned through a partnership between NC State, Yates Mill Associates, Wake County, and the NC Dept of Agr & Consumer Services.

Historic Yates Mill County Park is located at 4620 Lake Wheeler Rd, about 3 miles south of I-40/440.  After winding down a short entrance road you arrive at a large parking lot with a beautiful research and education center as the backdrop.  The A.E. Finley Education and Research Center is a beautiful stone and wood building that contains an exhibit hall, classrooms, auditorium, and back porch complete with rocking chairs overlooking the pond.  They offer programs for people of all ages and here are just a few upcoming events to highlight:

After you’ve finished exploring the Park Center, head to one of the trails for a walk out and around the pond.  We explored the Millpond Trail (1 mile), which loops around the pond offering breathtaking views of the wildlife, water, and flora.  On this trail, you’ll pass by the old mill and dam, boardwalks along the pond that are great for fishing, several picnic areas, the Field Classroom, and tree markers that correspond to the “Tree Identification Trail” brochure at the Park Center.  Even though it’s an unpaved path, it’s quite wide and flat but not suitable for strollers in all areas.  Being a beautiful sunny day, I passed quite a few people jogging the trail too.  Whatever you do, be sure to stop by the mill yard and dam and take tons of pictures!

The two other trails we didn’t have time for today are the High Ridge Trail and the Creekside Trail.  The trail map shows that High Ridge Trail is more strenuous and about .78 miles and connects up with the Millpond Trail.  Creekside Trail is an out and back unpaved trail that is 2 miles in total length.

This park is jam-packed with activities and sights, but also has several peaceful areas if you just want to relax a bit.  Try your luck fishing from one of the boardwalks, enjoy a picnic lunch at one of the many spots along the Millpond Trail, or take a nap in the rocking chairs on the back porch.  So, whether you came for excitement and learning or quiet time and reflection there’s something for everyone.

Thumbs up: photo ops, serenity, educational exhibits, pond, mill and dam

Thumbs down: trail maps don’t indicate whether paths are stroller-friendly (thanks to the sweet mom-daughter team that helped us out)