Mud runs, basically 5Ks with obstacles, mud flats and other accoutrements are all the rage, and now also come in a family version! This Saturday, the Big Muddy Challenge takes place. And while registration has ended yesterday, some race-day spots should be available if you come early. The race is completed as a team of two – one parent and one child, age 6-12. Sounds like a lot of fun!
Not especially geared towards kids, but “for all ages” (kids under 7 run free and strollers are welcome) is a completely different race one week later, the Electric Run. Basically a linear rave, but possibly healthier and more fun, you don as many glow sticks and LED lights as you can find, and immerse yourself in a glowing, flickering landscape with pumping music.
With all these options – don’t take your kids to a dull, old school 5K!
If you’ve lived in Raleigh for a few years, you know that we’re getting ready for the busiest month: Babysitters are booked months in advance, OpenTable.com crashes and pedestrian traffic jams block downtown sidewalks. We used to call it just ‘busy September’, but this year it has become “The M.A.I.N. event“, a cleverly chosen acronym for music, art, innovation and, um, noise. So we’ll focus on the first two, since innovation is focused on grown-up stuff like entrepreneurship, angel funding and venture capital, and the noise, well, we parents have that year-round.
Of the 18 events that make up M.A.I.N, here are the best for families and kids:
Another week later, Sept. 12-15 is dedicated to SparkCon, with many options for kids, from music to street art to circus and fashion shows.
After catching our breath (or attending a few entrepreneur event without kids), we put in the ear plugs and get ready for Capital City Bikefest, organized by Ray Price Harley Davidson, and declared “family-friendly”. If you think kids and bikers don’t go together, read this article. There will be stunt shows and more to excite little vroom vroom fans.
As the bikers are rolling off into the sunset, we seamlessly shift into a quieter kind of noise, as Bluegrass takes over from Sept. 24-28. A whole week of music, trade fair and award show will offer plenty opportunities to bring your kids closer to this genre that is so closely tied to our state.
To round off the month, Marbles‘ birthday party is on 9/28, as is the (re-)opening of the City Museum.
Ready? As the wild things said, “Let the wild rumpus start!”
A visit to the Saturday Market often marks the beginning of the weekend for us. What has started as a food truck and a farm table a couple years ago has become a steady and year-round fixture in our Boylan Heights neighborhood.
The food truck(s) rotate, so it is always a surprise what you find. Captain Poncho and Chirba Chirba are among our favorites. You can always find coffee and sweets, and for “real groceries”, the LoMo Market has a wide variety of fresh vegetables, baked goods, meat, dairy and sometimes seafood.
For the kids, a visit to market is almost as cool as a visit to a farm. Besides the chicken coops, which are the main draw, it is interesting to see what is growing in the garden, watch a train maneuver through the Boylan Wye, or just run around.
Every industry has its trade show, and so do the firefighters. But unlike other industries, where booths filled with sales people and presentations by subject matter experts dominate, the firefighters know how to put up a decent parade.
In fact, the fire truck parade is on the same level as the annual holiday parades, well attended, and very interesting. Here is a video from last year:
The parade starts promptly at noon, and will probably not last for too long, so it pays to be there before 12. The parade route is down Fayetteville from the Capitol, and then hops over to Salisbury, passes the Convention Center (another good viewing area) and ends in a static display in front of the Performing Arts Center, where all the trucks can be viewed from up close.
It’s time again to feature First Friday, the evening where all art galleries and many museums are open late. One option is to drop them off at Marbles for their First Friday Kid Camp. You drop the kids off at 5:30 with a packed dinner, and pick them up at 8:30, having enjoyed some grown-up time exploring the art scene, having dinner or even a movie at the IMAX.
One special treat this Friday is a free concert at the Red Hat Amphitheater, sponsored by Red Hat, and if I understand correctly, also Red Hat’s summer party. Goodbye Titan, MONA and Silversun Pickups are the bands on stage.
The NC Museum of Art has an interesting exhibit revolving around time, but its time is nearly up: “0 to 60” will end on August-11. Not every piece in the show is specifically geared towards children (although all of it should be ‘suitable’). but some are either funny or interesting even for younger kids.
A site-specific installation by Lisa Hoke, for example, is made from plastic and paper cups, and might inspire someone for a future craft project. Some large video installation will be fun to look at, as the slow, meditative images are very different from the concrete, fast-paced videos children typically get to see.
If your kids are old enough to stay up late and you like short-notice plans, “Cars” by Pixar is playing in the outdoor movie theater tonight (Friday, 7/26).
While we’re talking about the Art Museum: The museum park is always worth a visit and has a few new items, including an installation related to 0 to 60, and is always a welcome way to let one parent take the kids outside, while the other parent can have a quick look at the other exhibits currently on display: Two interesting shows have opened recently, both with themes that are more on the grown-up level.
There are many good reasons to go to Marbles, and there is now one more: Pogo, Marbles’ new restaurant. opened yesterday and is located between Marbles and the IMAX, the place previously occupied by a sandwich chain restaurant.
Pogo’s tagline is “fresh from NC farms”, as it focuses on locally grown food. Ample choices for kids, as you would expect at Marbles, but look at that: French Wine! Micro Drafts! Since Pogo also caters to the IMAX audience, parents don’t need to stick with soda or bottled water. But on the food side as well, choice like shellfish ceviche or the thai chicken salad should satisfy all palates. Kids selections are broad, as you would expect at Marbles, from PB&J to hot dog and beyond.
Sign up today for these two family program today since pre-registration is required.
Many parks have free or cheap activity program, and I just picked two examples: Crowder Park is looking up to the sun, and forward to harnessing solar power on Sunday from 2p-3p. $5 for the entire family.
On the opposite side of Raleigh, Blue Jay Point is focusing on water and all the nice little creatures that live in it. This is on Saturday from 10-11.
Logan’s Trading Company, the downtown garden store, is hosting another edition of its Wipeout event; come dressed to get wet (kids with bathing suit under their clothes), have fun splashing and take advantage of their summer clearance sale.
Logan’s is in the Seaboard Station area north of downtown, at 707 Semart Drive. Wipeout is from 11-4 on Saturday.
You think Food Truck Rodeos are all the rage? Wait until you see the Garbage Truck Rodeo! An annual event held at the state level and with national finals, the “SWANA Road-e-o” tests the skills of garbage truck drivers and mechanics. If you live in a neighborhood where the trash is picked up in back alleys, you are familiar with their skill to navigate big trucks through tight spaces.
My son has always been particularly fond of garbage trucks, and this event will not only feature trucks driving obstacle courses, there are garbage trucks that can looked at, touched, and climbed into. (The driver seat only, of course.)
The event takes place at the Wilders Grove Solid Waste Services facility; this brand new facility is worth a trip in itself, being the first LEED certified plant of this type, with many environmental improvements. (I’m not sure if this weekend it can be toured inside, though.)
The facility is at 630 Beacon Lake Drive, which is off 64 out towards Knightdale. (Follow your GPS and don’t turn at the first Beacon Lake Drive crossing, since this road is split in two disconnected parts.)