2017 Mother’s Day Reflections & Raleigh Events

water lilies at NC Art MuseumOver the past two years, I’ve learned that Mother’s Day is all about the balance for me. After losing my mother so suddenly in 2015, I realize I yearn for more reflection and relaxation (aka alone time without kids) to counter my natural tendency for wide-open family fun and adventure. I’ve consciously let the reflection and relaxation needs run their course because I know later that day, that week, or that month I’ll be a less crazy better mom and wife. 

After our traditional Nags Head trip with friends last year (aka the fun and adventurous side of things) I walked solo around the NC Museum of Art’s Museum Park while listening to music and my favorite parenting podcast, Atomic Moms. It helped me clear my head, process things, and feel grounded. This year, I’ll probably head to a similar place after getting home from our Nags Head trip. 

So, if you’re around in Raleigh this week/weekend and are looking for a special way to celebrate the special wife or mom in your life, look no further than this list of upcoming organized events in the local parks and my personal mix of outdoor outings to balance adventure with relaxation.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there and cheers to making memories and searching for finding balance.

Organized Programs

  • You are my Sunshine Mother’s Day Craft at Buffalo Road Athletic Park (Tues., May 9 at 11am) – Join the super fun Fit4Mom Midtown Raleigh Stroller Strides group after class for a Mother’s Day footprint craft. All ages welcome & all supplies will be provided. Meet by the playground and we’ll make sunny feet under the shade at the picnic tables; all ages welcome; FREE
  • Dorothea Dix Guided Walking Tour at Dorethea Dix Park (Tues., May 9 from 5:30-7:30pm) – Take a 2-hour, 3.5 mile tour that covers the history of the buildings, land, and legacy of Dorothea Dix, the current use of the area as the headquarters of the Department of Health and Human Services and the steps the City will take in planning a future park; pre-registration required; FREE
  • Moonrise Stroll at Falls Lake State Recreation Area (Tues., May 9 from 7:30-8:45pm) – join an easy 1.2 mile hike to watch the nearly full moon rise over Falls Lake; start location – Beaver Dam Recreation Area, Duck Cove Trailhead; all ages; FREE; hikers are encouraged to pre-register
  • Birds & Nests at Annie Louise Wilkerson Park (Wed., May 10 from 10:30-noon or Sat., May 13 from 10:30-noon) – go on a bird hunt, make a craft, and meet Mama and Papa bluebird and take a peek in their nest box; $3; ages 3-5 with parent; course # 205486, 205487
  • Gifts for Mom at Worthdale Community Center (Wed., May 10 from 10-11am) – Make a special gift for Mom; $8; ages 2-5; course # 207187 
  • Mother’s Day Crafts at Hill St Community Center (Wed., May 10 from 5-6pm) – create a special Mother’s Day Craft; ages 5-12; FREE; course # 197397
  • Mother’s Day Tea Party at Greystone Community Center (Thurs., May 11 from 10-11:30am) – do you want to make Mom feel special? Come and enjoy time with your mom/caregiver at our Mother’s Day Tea Party. This workshop will give children an opportunity to create a special gift for their mother. Enjoy tea/juice and cookies; ages 18 months to 4 years with parent participation; $9; course # 205695
  • Photography walk at JC Raulston Arboretum (Thurs., May 11 from 2-3pm) – let mom explore the close-up world in the garden and achieve strong compositions and fun abstracts; $10 members/$15 non-members 
  • nature play space at Durant Nature ParkNature & Sensory Play Day at Durant Nature Preserve (Fri., May 12 from 10-noon) – come check out Durant’s Sensory and Nature Play Garden! Enjoy self-guided activities to delight the senses and encourage nature play. Although registration is not necessary, it is helpful for preparation; all ages, with parent participation; FREE; course #205363 
  • Wee Wetland Walkers at Walnut Creek Wetland Center (Fri., May 12 from 11am-noon) – this program is designed to move at a toddler’s pace: Run. Stop. Pick dandelions. Run. Climb on a rock. Find an interesting leaf! Join others for an easy-paced hike around the greenway, accompanied by one of our naturalists. Registration is not required but is helpful for planning; FREE; all ages; course # 203539
  • Parents’ Evening Escape at Millbrook Exchange Community Center (Fri., May 12 form 6-8:30pm) – Mom and Dad deserve a night out! Let your child join us for a fun-filled night of games, activities and pizza. Participants will create a Mother’s Day gift while you’re out; $15; ages 5-10; course #205154
  • Nature Scavenger Hunt at Horseshoe Farm Nature Preserve (Sat., May 13 from 1-2pm) – Exploring the preserve, and learn about nature while uncovering the hidden nature-themed treasures! Make an afternoon of it and bring a picnic lunch to enjoy before or after the hunt; ages 4 years and up with adult participation; $1; course # 206618
  • Weekend Family-Friendly Tours: Bon Voyage at NC Art Museum (Sat., May 13 or Sun., May 14 at 10:30am) – Discover all the places art can take you as you travel the world without leaving the Museum walls; FREE; half-hour tours for ages 5-11 with their adult companion
  • Are you my Mama at Blue Jay Point County Park (Sat., May 13 from 1-2pm) – Create great Mother’s Day cards while learning about different styles of mothering in the animal world; $1, all ages but most appropriate for ages 5 years+, pre-registration required  
  • Mommy & Me Tea Party at Eastgate Park (Sat., May 13 from 2-4pm) – Celebrate Mother’s Day with a spot of tea at an afternoon tea party for mothers and daughters of all ages. We will enjoy tasty treats while sipping steaming cups of tea or ice cold lemonade. Mothers, grandmothers, daughters and other significant women in your young lady’s life are all welcome; $10 per person; all ages, course #205100

Home Grown Adventure & Relaxation

Mother’s Day 2016

Image-1Celebrate the Mom in your life with an adventure!  Here’s a list of upcoming organized events in the local parks and my personal mix of outdoor outings combined with food and beer (give Mom what she really wants)!  Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there and cheers to making fun memories.


Organized Programs

  • Mother’s Day Tea Party at Greystone Recreation Center (Tuesday, May 3 from 10-11am) – Enjoy time with your mom/caregiver at our Mother’s Day Tea Party where children will create a special gift for their mother and enjoy juice and cookies; ages 18-months to 4 years; $7; adult participation required for ages under 4; program barcode #189063
  • Tour Dorothea Dix Park (Wednesday, May 4 at 11:30am) – Enjoy a 1.5 hour walking tour covering the history of the land and the legacy of Dorothea Dix, the current use of the area as the headquarters of the Department of Health and Human Services and the steps the City will take in planning a future park; FREE; pre-registration is required
  • Strawberry Picking with Fit4Mom Midtown Raleigh Stroller Strides (Thursday, May 5 at 3:30pm) – Join a great group of moms and kiddos for strawberry picking, homemade ice cream and more at Porter Farms & Nursery in Willow Springs; sign-up via Meetup
  • Mother’s Day Surprise program at Optimist Park (Friday, May 6 at 12:30pm or Saturday, May 7 at 12:30pm): creative arts-and-craft project or edible creation; ages 3-5; $7; program barcode #188078 or #188079pre-registration is required
  • Birding with Vernon at Lake Crabtree County Park (Saturday, May 7 from 8:30-10am) – Discover different types of birds and their habitats during an easy walk with bird enthusiast, Vernon; meeting at Waterwise Gardens; Free, no preregistration required
  • Family Friendly Tour: Animal Farm at NC Art Museum (Saturday, May 7 at 10:30am or Sunday, May 8 at 10:30am) – take a guided tour looking for farm animals in the galleries; ages 5-11 with adult companion; FREE; plan ahead and bring a picnic lunch or stay for lunch at Iris
  • Mill Heritage and Local History Tour at Historic Yates Mill County Park (Sunday, May 8 from 2-3pm) – Watch a brief slideshow, then explore the inner workings of the mill itself and witness the power of water as it turns the milling machinery; $5/Adult, $4/Senior (ages 60+), $3/Child (ages 7-16), Children ages 6 & younger are free; preregistration is encouraged
  • May Flower Folly at Historic Yates Mill County Park (Sunday, May 8 from 3:30-4:30pm) – Celebrate Mother’s Day in nature with a hike around Yates Mill Pond while searching for wildflowers, listening to a few flowery poems, learning about locally flowering plants and hear the latest buzz on local pollinators; for all ages; FREE; online registration
mother's day
My mom and I, summer 1981

Get Out & Explore with Mom

Mother’s Day 2015 Ral-ideas

My sister, Ginni, my mom and I (summer 1983, Atlantic Beach, NC)

Mother’s Day is right around the corner and it’s the perfect time to show your mom, wife, or other special maternal lady in your life how much you care about and appreciate her!  While it’ll be a bitter sweet conglomerate of emotions for me this year, I’m glad to be carrying on my 10-year tradition of heading to Nags Head with friends to drink run my way through the Yuengling Nags Head Woods 5k race.  Even though my mom can’t be at this year’s race with us, I’ll have fond memories of races past to reflect on with dear old friends.

But, if you’re around in Raleigh this weekend and are looking for a special way to celebrate the mom in your life, look no further than this list of unique organized events and park/picnic/restaurant/brewery ideas.

  • Readings & Drinks for Girl’s Night Out (Thursday, May 7th or Friday, May 8th): give mom the night off to hear local bloggers/authors in the Listen to Your Mother (LTYM) show at Kenan Hall at William Peace University followed by drinks in the nearby Seaboard Station; I’ve attended the LTYM shows the past two years and have left full of emotion
  • Mother’s Day Craft & Playtime with Stroller Strides at North Hills (Friday, May 8, 10-11am): Join Fit4Mom’s Stroller Strides group after class today for open play in the play area, a Mother’s Day craft, a game of Cow Toss, sample some Chick-N-Minis and MEET THE COW!
  • Mother’s Day Surprise program at Optimist Park (Friday, May 8 at 12:30pm): creative arts-and-craft project or edible creation; ages 3-5; $7; program barcode #171955at the time of this blog post publication only 1 spot remained
  • Mother’s Day Family Class & Muffins with Mom at Pullen Park (Saturday, May 9 at 9:30am): Join the Fit4Mom Stroller Strides exercise class at 9:30am and a “Muffins with Mom” snack and playtime after class starting at 10:30am! Meet us for class and our Muffins with Mom time in the grassy area near the stage, behind the Pullen Cafe.  The flat rate of $15/mom/class allows you to bring your family members to workout with you too (bring Dad along)!
  • Decorate a Cookie for Mom at Whole Foods on Wade Ave (Saturday, May 9, 9-10am): stop by the cafe between 9-10am to create a cookie for Mom
  • Family Fun Saturday at NC Museum of Art (Saturday, May 9 at 10am): take a guided tour in the Museum Park followed by a sketch of your explorations; families with children ages 5-11; $3 members/$5 non-members; plan ahead and bring a picnic lunch or stay for lunch at Iris
  • Springtime Safari at Lake Crabtree Park (Sunday, May 10 at 1pm): trek around the park and discover flowers, insects, birds and more and then create a bouquet of flowers to give to Mom or someone special; $3 person/$5 family; plan ahead and bring a picnic lunch

Get out and try something fun:

Additional Resources

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!