Tour de Toys 2013

If you’re brave enough to take on the cold weather and threatening rain, join the Tour de Toys bike “race” this Saturday morning. The race is family-friendly and in past years, kids in trailer, trailer-bikes and on their own bikes have participated. There is a 12-mi course for the ambitious and a shorter 6-mile ride for the leisurely minded. Two free beers (not for the kids) are included; your entry into the race is not a monetary fee, but a donation of a new toy worth $15 or more.

The race starts at 10am at Natty Greene’s, curves through downtown and ends again at Natty Greene’s for a post-race party.

It will be very cold with possible rain – dress accordingly. We’re planning to go with kids and all if the weather is not too crazy. See you there?

Tour de Toys, Saturday 10am, Natty Greene’s. Sign-up today online or tomorrow (if there are any spots left) in person.

Umbrella required – Hands optional (Photo by Franck Vervial, licensed un der CC BY-NC-ND)

Not your average 5K…

Running a 5K was once cool, but is now sooo 2012. These days, when you run a 5K, you do it in costume. Or barefoot. Or being hunted by zombies. Or, “muddy”:

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!

Tucker Lake

The City Pools are too small but the beach is too far? How about going half-way, and have a little beach and a lot more water at Tucker Lake. Yes, the place you all know from driving to the beach and have always said, “I wonder what that is like?”

After finally checking out Tucker Lake over the long weekend for the first time, I can now “speak authoritatively” about it: While it is probably not the poshest destination in the area, it is definitely not trashy or dirty, but by and large a safe, clean, family-friendly destination. The place is well-kept and operated, and on a comparable level for amenities and cleanliness as an average beach on the coast.

There is a small concessions are for chips, hot dogs, and ice cream, but ideally you bring a picnic or something to grill; there are countless grills and picnic tables scattered throughout a shaded 4 acre area, and there is probably about 1/2 mile of sandy lake shore. The water depth is very gradual and suited for all levels of experience, if you observe your limits. There are several life guards, but the area is quite large; I would compare it again to a ocean beach with lifeguards; they are there, they watch, but you still need to keep a very close watch on your kids, especially around the numerous slides, rope swings, and other play elements. There is also an impressive water slide which we didn’t try this time.

Since last year, Tucker Lake features also a wakeboard park with a large cable system. (You get pulled by a cable like a ski lift, not by a boat. Don’t sneer at it until you try it – it is how I learned to wakeboard back in the day.) This is of course more for older kids and adults, but I think it brings some welcome funds to the place that should lift up the entire operation. At any rate, if you’ve been to Tucker Lake years ago, you should give it another try; it came under new management in 2012, and seems to be doing well.

Location: Roughly at I95&I64, address: 3025 Allens Crossroads Rd Benson NC, 27504
Hours: Daily 9-6 during the summer, weekends in the fall and closed in winter.
What to bring: Coal and stuff to grill, umbrellas, lawn chairs, small coolers, water toy. But no pets, glass or alcohol.

Tucker Lake

Pool season starts this weekend! (5/25)

This Saturday, Lake Johnson Pool opens at 10 a.m. and officially starts the pool season. The pool will be open daily until the fall and is also open on Monday (Memorial Day). The other pools will open soon as well, Ridge Road on June-1, and Chavis on June-8. Finally, I also want to mention Buffaloe Road Aquatic Center, which is indoors and open year-round, and a great alternative during the summer as well.

Got to be NC Festival 2013

Do you feel like the State Fair is a “must-see” for your kids, but do you loathe the crazy crowds? Try the Got to Be NC Festival instead.

Less crowded, less crazy, more family-friendly, more exciting. You still get all the main State Fair ingredients (rides, tractor pulls, lawn mower racing, farm animals, fried food), but in a more relaxed atmosphere.

The event kicks off Friday afternoon and continues through Sunday. Admission and parking is free.

PonyRide_sm

Image (c) NC Department of Agriculture.

Kidical Mass Bike Ride in Raleigh (2013)

Briefly mentioned last week, Oaks and Spokes is a festival celebrating cycling in Raleigh. Events, mostly geared towards adults, have taken place all week, but on Sunday the kids will take over for a the “Kidical Mass” ride through historic Oakwood and Mordecai.

The event will kick off on Sunday at 10am at the Oak City Cycling Project, but the ride won’t start until 11:30am. Kids old and skilled enough to ride alone are encouraged to do so, with the watchful parents riding along. Two loops are planned through Mordecai and Oakwook, and you can expect to be done by 1pm.

The weather should also get better, with Sunday clear and in the 60s.

kidical-mass_square

Sports, Now or Later (Mar 2013)

If you like quick decisions, you got about 6 hours. At 7pm tonight, the Harlem Globetrotters are performing live at the PNC arena. If that is too soon, here an early notice for another event next week: Join Kidical Mass, a bicycle event for kids, and the culmination of Oaks and Spokes, a weeklong event celebrating the Daddy’s favorite means of transportation: The Bicycle.

Harlem Globetrotters by Battle Creek CVB