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Triangle’s Top Ten for Kids

It is nice for adults and children to get out of the house so that neither feel cooped up and bored. It also provides a different and unique environment for bonding.  Unfortunately, often the kid-centered places for fun are hard on the pocketbook. Luckily, the Triangle offers many free or inexpensive places for childhood entertainment. Below is a list of the top ten places along with descriptions and prices per visit. Many of the museums also offer a membership which can be cost effective. Pick up a copy of Carolina Parent magazine for further ideas. They print budget friendly monthly activities for adults and children.

Kidzu: The Chapel Hill Children’s Museum is designed mostly for 0-8yr olds and is located at 123 West Franklin Street in University Square. It is open Tue-Sat 10am-5pm and Sunday 1pm-5pm. Admission is free on Sundays, and is $5 for adults and children 2 and older, and $2 for 12-23 month olds the rest of the week. Infants are always free. More information can be found at http://www.kidzuchildrensmuseum.org/.

Marbles Kids Museum: This children’s museum has many wonderful exhibits including an Art Loft, Storybook Forest and a Splash exhibit. It is located at 201 East Hargett St. Raleigh, NC 27601. The hours are Tue-Sat 9am-5pm and Sun 12am-5pm. Admission is $5 for adults and children 1 and up. Children under 1 are free. http://www.marbleskidsmuseum.org/

Observation Park: Observation Park is a wonderful free park for children who are interested in airplanes. It is located at RDU near the Air Traffic Control Tower. You can see the airplanes and even hear the communication at the control tower. There is a playground, picnic area and a café open from 8am-2pm daily. http://www.rdu.com/whileatairport/obpark.htm

Durham Museum of Life and Science: This is one of the greatest museums in the area designed for children. It has an indoor section with exhibits on space, weather, live animals and a small playground with a separate section for toddlers. There is also an outside section with exhibits including a dinosaur walk, butterfly house, barnyard animals, trains and musical instruments. It is located at 433 Murray Avenue, Durham, NC 27704 and is open Mon-Sat 10am-5pm and Sun 12am – 5pm. Admission is $14 for adults, $10 for children 3-10 and free for children under 3.

Museum of Natural Science: This is a free museum located at 11 W. Jones St. Raleigh, NC 27601. It is open Mon-Sat 9am-5pm and Sun 12am-5pm. It has 4 floors, each with their own theme such as dinosaurs and the rainforest. There are also aquariums and a butterfly exhibit. http://naturalsciences.org/visitor-info

Library Story time: Every city in the Triangle has its own library. They offer story time for infants-school age children. This is completely free. In order to check out books, you must have a library card.

Movie: There are many movie theaters located throughout the Triangle. Most of the time there is a children’s movie playing. Also, in the summer some of the theaters (including Southpoint Cinemas in Durham) play older movies at a discounted price.

Southpoint Mall: Southpoint Mall at 6910 Fayetteville Rd Durham, NC 27713 has an inside playground. This is a great free activity for rainy days. The mall is open Mon-Sat 10am-9pm and Sun 12pm-7pm.

Jump Zone: Jump Zone is located at 2723 NC Hwy 55 Cary, NC 27519. Open play is Mon-Thur and Sat, sun 10am-6pm and Fri 10am-8:30pm. Admission is free for adults and children under 2 when accompanied by another child who paid to enter. Entrance for children over 2 costs $9. The price is for the entire day. Jump zone has inflatable games and slides. It also has a separate area for toddlers. http://www.jumpzoneparty.com/JumpZone_Open_Play.php?jzpcity=Cary&jzpid=013

Frankie’s Fun Park: Frankie’s is located at 11190 Fun Park Drive  Raleigh, NC 27617. It is free to get inside but then each activity costs money prices start at $5.There are bumper boats, miniature golf, laser tag, arcade games, etc. Frankie’s is open Mon-Thur 10am-10pm, Fri and Sat 10am-12am and Sun 11am-10pm. http://www.frankiesfunpark.com/home