Benefit for the Saturday Market (Sat 9:30a-1:30p)

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.

This Saturday, a special Benefit event is taking place. You’ll need tickets ($10/adult $5/kid), and will get roasted pork, sides, drink and beer.

To me, the Saturday Market is probably the most authentic Farmers Market we have around, and it is well worth a visit even if you live further away.

Saturday Market

Maker Faire – Creativity in all its Diversity

The great thing about Maker Faire is that is bring together a wide, wide range of creative expression. Here three shots that try to capture that diversity.

Stormtrooper vs. Quadcopter
Spinner and Giant Robots
3D Printer and Recycled Glass Art

GirlTalk at CAM Raleigh (Jan 2013)

CAM - Contemporary Art Museum by Suzie Tremmel, used under the CC BY license_squareWhile CAM is not the place to go on a rainy day to release some energy, it is well worth a visit with a well-behaved, relaxed child, and you might be surprised how they react to contemporary art that some adults have a hard time appreciating.

GirlTalk has been up for a while and will close in about two weeks, on 1/14/2013. So this is your chance to see it, and a perfect one-parent-one-child outing. On a grown-up level, GirlTalk features works of nine women, who are all using text in their pieces to convey a message. I like the textile art by Lisa Anne Auerbach, seeing some small pieces by Jenny Holzer, a video (excerpts also available here) by Marily Minter, as well as the large dominant piece by Kay Rosen.

And while you ponder the works and messages on an abstract level, your budding reader will be happy to find big fat letters everywhere, and even some sight words.

If you’re done upstairs, and want to expose your little one to some truly fragile and beautiful sculptures, head downstairs for the Angel Otero exhibit. Handholding strongly recommended!

The image is CAM – Contemporary Art Museum by Suzie Tremmel, used under the CC BY license

Review of Vet School Open House 2012

On 3/31/2012 we went to the Open House of the College of Veterinary Medicine at NC State University that I wrote about earlier. The event was very, very well organized, and I would say it is interesting for anyone 18 months old or older, and we will keep this on our radar for the coming years.

Our 2-year-old liked that his teddy bear with an old and nasty burn wound did finally receive proper medical treatment. He also enjoyed seeing the mares with their 6-week old foals, and observing how a cow gets milked.

I found it surprising that he recognized many of the skeletons on display throughout the building. Horse, Lion, Cat, Giraffe, were all studied with great interest. The only one that left him puzzled was the elephant; I wonder if that is because the trunk was not visible. (No bones about it!).

But the parents also got to see many interesting sights, some of them still lingering long after dinner: A documentary about animal parasites was shown while we waited for the teddy bear surgery, and I saw way too much of it. Some animal got spayed in the glass-walled OR, but I didn’t look closely enough to see if it was a cat or a dog. And yes, I went to see the fistulated steer. By my self. And only from far.

If you missed it, come back next year. We will, knowing that other displays will become age-appropriate and a return visit will not be boring. Original post here.

Born Digital @ CAM & Toys @ History Museum (3/2012)

Born Digital @ CAM, 1/28-4/30

Born Digital is a feature exhibition at the Contemporary Art Museum and is on display during February, March and April 2012. This is partially an ‘interactive exhibit’, and visiting with a young art lover requires close supervision; I recommend 1 adult : 1 child so that it is enjoyable for everybody. (You, the child, and other visitors.)

Daniel Rozin, Snow Mirror, 2006. Courtesy of the artist and bitforms gallery, New York.

Daniel Rozin, Snow Mirror, 2006, silk, projector, video
camera, custom software, computer. Edition of 6, 1 AP.
Courtesy of the artist and bitforms gallery, New York.

There are several pieces than can appeal to a very young child, and I’d like to mention two of them. Snow Mirror by Daniel Rozin creates a mirror image of the observer, but only if you are still for a few seconds – every movement translates only into blurred snow. My son liked how his ghost-like mirror image appeared out of nothing, and I was impressed that he recognized himself despite the grainy image.

Scenocosme : Gregory Lasserre & Anais met den Ancxt, Akousmaflore, 2011. Courtesy of the artists.

Scenocosme : Gregory Lasserre & Anais met den Ancxt, Akousmaflore, 2011,
Sensitive and interactive musical plants. Courtesy of the artists.

Another piece that is suitable for closely watched little fingers is Akousmaflore by Scenocosme (Gregory Lasserre & Anaïs met den Ancxt). Plants that are connected to a built-in music system react to touch and play a more or less excited bird sounds. It feels like you’re touching a tree, and somebody high above starts fussing at you. We both had a good time with this.

Toys, Toys and more Toys! @ NC Museum of History, until 4/15

Do you want to show your children what you played with when you were little, but you no longer own a Rubik’s cube? Are you curious what your parents played with when they were little? Check out the exhibit about toys old and new at the history museum.

This exhibit has been there quite a while, but it will end in two weeks so use your chance and go see it! This facebook album gives you some impressions.

Southern Farm Show: vroom, bark, moo (2/2/2012)

Checking out the product display at Southern Farm Show in Raleigh

Daddy, can we put on of these in the backyard?

(This was two weeks ago, but I still wanted to write a brief review.)

On short notice and thanks to the tip of a reliable friend, the boy and I headed out to the Southern Farm Show on the State Fairgrounds. Now this is not the State Fair where kids are expected. This is a trade show for farmers. And we all know what farmers do. They have dogs. They have cows. They ride big friggin’ tractors.

I mainly went for the tractors; my son is at the stage where everything with wheels deserves a “Wow!”. Anything that looks more exciting than a car or bus is a dee-tee, from ‘digger’. There were lots of dee-tees. I was also not the only father, it seems many farmers brought their kids, so I tried to blend in as we studied the offerings of the farm equipment industry.

... upon further inspection of this image, I realize that maybe our "farmer and son" disguise had been busted. We enjoyed it anyway.

Before going, I looked at the program (always a good idea), and saw that a cowdog demos was scheduled for that day. Cowdogs are herding cows, and they are pretty good at it. We were both impressed by the half-hour demo..

The next Southern Farm Show will be in a year (1/30-2/1), so mark your calendars. However, we’ll be heading to the fairgrounds before that, in May (18-20) for the “Got To Be NC Festival”, formerly known as NCAgFest.

Best of Playgrounds: Chavis Park

The playground at Chavis Park gets 4 out of 5 stars. 4 because an upgrade/remodel is planned for the near future, and we need room for improvement, right?

Chavis Playground

My two-year-old particularly likes the suspension bridge on the play set and the large Jeep-shaped spring toy.

I like Chavis because it lies in a nice setting; the green way and a creek are nearby, and of course the pool in the summer. There are also picnic shelter and plenty of park benches. It has a quite interesting playset (pictured) with multiple slides and a second one for the little kids. Spring toys, diggers, swings, see-saws – it is all there.

The ground cover is sand, and I’m still undecided in the sand vs. rubber debate. Rubber is cleaner, but sand may be more fun.

Chavis is easy to get to from downtown; walk east on Martin / Davie / Cabarrus / Lenoir as you like, and then south on Chavis Way until you reach the playground. There is supposedly a nice antique carousel in the round building, but it is currently closed for renovation and should re-open later this year in a new building.

Review of “A Rollicking Tale of Blackbeard!” by Storytellers To Go (2012)

On Saturday, 1/28, my son and I went to see A Rollicking Tale of Blackbeard! Pirate of the Carolina Coast by Storytellers To Go and I we have to give it a glowing review. Storytellers To Go is a performance class for teenagers by Raleigh Little Theater. From what I saw, I should send my kids there someday.

Storytellers To Go perform "A Rollicking Tale of Blackbeard"

Why did we like it? Continue reading

Fred Fletcher Park

Fred Fletcher Park just might be one of those places that you will vaguely remember driving by, once somebody explains where it is. (Going from downtown to Five Points on Glenwood, it is on the left.)

If this is the case, the park is worth checking out up-close. Fletcher Park has just about everything you could want packed in one small-ish park. Some outdoor art, a large field, some hills and bushes to play hide-and-seek, swings, benches, open spaces and hidden nooks.

If you walk from downtown, follow Boylan to the North until it ends at the park entrance. If you drive, look for parking on the north side along Washington Street.

Note, this is not directly a kids’ destination like Pullen or Chavis with structured playsets and concession stand. But for running around and exploring, it is wonderful.