Vet School Open House 2013

The Vet School Open House was a success last year, with exciting discoveries for dad and son alike. Highlights for the son were live farm animals, and the cats/dogs from various pet rescue charities. Highlights for the dad were the live surgery demo and the fistulated steer. (I still shudder thinking about it.)

We both really liked the skeletons on display in the main lobby (not explicitly mentioned in the visitor’s guide, and the teddy bear clinic. Mom’s teddy bear finally got stitches on  a traumatic burn wound sustained several decades ago. (We will have to look for another “injured” stuffed animal this year; if you go, make sure to bring one along. Nothing explains “veterinarian” better to a 2-year-old than a vet student stitching up a beloved teddy bear. Saturday, 9a-3p. (at the Vet School, next to the fairgrounds.)

teddy bear in need of surgery   vet school 2   vet school 3 Our teddy bear, before, during and after surgery.

Sound of Music Sing-a-long

Note: This event is Friday 26, not Saturday 27 as originally stated. Sorry for the mistake!

“Doe, a deer, a female deer, Ray, a drop of golden sun…”

(I hope this is now stuck in your head for the rest of the afternoon!) What is better than singing along watching the Sound of Music? Singing along with many others at an outdoor screening of the movie! You can do just that this Friday(!) Saturday, at Booth Amphitheater in Cary. Doors open at 6:30, and the movie starts around 8:00 (as the sun goes down). If you kids are old enough to stay up late and love to sing, this will be the perfect evening. A lot of people dress up for this. Nun costume, anyone?

$12 for adults, $7 5-12, under 4 free. (More on day of show.)


“Doe, a deer, a female deer” by whiteoakart, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA

Children’s Day Festival of Cary

To put this Cary event in its global historic context: When Kemal Atatürk turned the old Ottoman Empire into modern day Turkey back in the 1920s, he also decided that the National Independence Holiday should be a “Children’s Day”. (Just one of his revolutionary and unique ideas for modernizing his country.)

To this day, Turkey celebrates its Independence Day basically as a children’s party – and so is the American-Turkish Association of Cary. But this celebration is not just for and by Turkish kids; there are performances by Taiwanese, Lebanese, Chinese, Filipino and other kids, as well as international foods and other fun things to do and see.


Children’s Day by Evgeni Zotov, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND

Raleigh St. Patrick Day Parade 2013

While Rome is celebrating Francis I, we and many others celebrate St. Patrick, Patron Saint of Ireland. My recommendation would be to partake in the events earlier in the day, and then head home as inebriation and excitement rises as the day goes on.

The main parade starts at noon and travels up Fayetteville Street, past the Capitol and down Blount St. to Moore Square, where the Festival takes place. Beautiful 70 degree weather will make this a beautiful day.

Just next door, Marbles will also host a number of St. Patrick Day’s activities like Clover Creations or a Leprechaun Freeze Dance.


Shreddin’ Irish! (St. Patrick’s Day Parade by twbuckner, licensed under CC BY.)

Foxes and Coyotes inside the beltline (Feb 2013)

I think I have seen just about every wild mammal that occurs in our region somewhere inside the beltline during one of my frequent outings. Beaver, Rabbit, Deer, Opposum, Raccoon and Fox are all quite abundant, event in the urban core. The only one I have yet to meet in person is the Coyote. They first made the news headlines in 2009, when they were sighted at RDU. (“Sighted” being a euphemism for run over by an airplane.) More recently, I’ve seen reports of coyote sightings in University Park and Cameron Park, so they are now here.

To learn about Foxes and Coyotes in a safe setting, have a look at the Nature program at the Wilkerson Nature Preserve. It takes place on Saturday from 10:30a-12p, and as of this writing, there were still a few spots available. ($3 for ages 3-5, adult required to accompany, but free.)

Coyote by Lindenbaum, used under the CC BY license

Coyote by Lindenbaum, used under the CC BY license (All pups are cute, even coyotes.)

DogGoneFast flyball dog races (1/12/2013)

I haven’t heard of flyball before, but I have to admit: It looks doggone fast!

Flyball is a relay race for dogs, who jump hurdles, retrieve a ball, and return to their master. It sounds crazy, and it looks hilarious.

There is a flyball tournament this weekend at the State Fairgrounds, in the Holshouser Building both Saturday and Sunday from 8-5.

(awesome video by Marek Russ)


Winterfest Sledding Day (1/5/2012)

I think it’s been three years since we had some real snow here in Raleigh, which means our kids still have to practice on the artificial ramp made by Snow My Yard at Winterfest on select Saturday.Yeah, Winterfest. It is already halfweay through. Have you been? The ice skating rink does give City Plaza a winterly feel, no matter what the temperature is. And who knows, maybe we’ll get some snow in February. And then, you’ll better be ready!

Winterfest has a sledding ramp on Sunday, Jan-6 and again on Sun-27, from 12-4.

Ft. Greene Park Sledding by cisc1970, used under the CC BY-NC license_resized

Ft. Greene Park Sledding by cisc1970, used under the CC BY-NC license
(for some real photos from the Raleigh event, see here.)

Raleigh Christmas Parade 2012

Raleigh Christmas Parade 2008 051 by Anodoin, used under the  CC-BY license

Have tractor and Santa hat, will travel

It bewilders me every year that the Christmas parade takes place even before Thanksgiving. But so be it, the Raleigh Christmas Parade is upon us this Saturday, 10 a.m. (If that is too early, WRAL will air it repeatedly until 12/25.)

The parade will be grand marshaled by Emily Minor from Wilmington, NC, now hailing from Nashville TN by way of “American Idol”. (Last year, the grand marshal was Scotty McCreery.) The route stays the same, starting on Hillsborough at St. Mary’s and then head toward the Capitol and zig-zag right onto Fayetteville.

It seems that the Hillsborough street section is always more crowded that the Fayetteville section, so my advice for last week’s parade still applies. (00 block of Fayetteville is the best choice for casual watchers. By the Confederate Memorial is best for hardcore early-risers, because you see the entire parade coming towards you, and it slows down to manage the two turns at the Capitol.)

Like St. Patrick’ Day has moved beyond the Irish, the Christmas parade has long moved long beyond the church-going crowd, and is a must-see event for people of all affiliations and creeds. Sometimes formal and classy, sometimes well, not-so-classy, there is something to be seen and enjoyed for everybody. (All links WRAL coverage of 2011 parade.)

Leave the car, bring the lawn-chair, blankets and hot drinks and settle down for a display of fine entertainment.

Saturday, 11/17, 10 a.m. Hillsborough and Fayetteville streets.

The image is Raleigh Christmas Parade 2008 051 by Anodoin, used under the  CC-BY license

Corn Maze, Hay Maze, Pumpkin Patch (Fall 2012)

Fall is upon us, and with it the annual visit out to the pumpkin patch at the local farm(s). There are several farms who have fall activities, two of which I’d like to present in more detail:

First off is Ganyard Hill Farm, on the outskirts of Durham, about 30 minutes from downtown Raleigh. (Address: 319 Sherron Rd, Durham, NC 27703). What I like about Ganyard is that it caters well to the wee little ones. It has Haystack Mountain, basically a “jungle gym substitute” complete with giant tunnel, a hay maze (see image below) and a corn crib (see image on the left). Some animals can be fed by the kids, and of course there is a Pick-your-own-Pumpkin field. When we went, the boys (father and son) really enjoyed rolling around in the corn crib, although mom insists that this is how we got our bug bites. A hay ride and a corn maze are also available, but perhaps not a exciting as at other locations.

If you do look for a ginormous-tastic corn maze, head in the opposite direction to Ken’s Korny Corn Maze in Garner. (Take Hwy. 50 South, Ken’s is just before the intersection with Ten-Ten Road.) The maze has 2.5 miles of paths, and you should plan 2-3 hours to enjoy all the attractions. When you enter the corn maze, you are given a flag on a long pole that you’re supposed to wave if you’re hopelessly stuck – it seems that does happen. Besides the maze, there are the usual hay maze, pumpkin patch, etc., all arranged very nicely.

Check websites for hours and special events, as all attractions depend on the harvest season and the weather.

KidSPARK (SPARKCon) (9/15/2012)

Update for 2013: SparkCon does not appear to have a “KidSpark”, but I believe that the KidZone on Hargett and Fayetteville will have similar items.

Also, see my 2013 SparkCon article for current links, this one is from last year.

SparkCon features again a corner just for the kids, located at Davie and Fayetteville. Build a pinwheel (and keep it). Walk the runway (with a paper hat). But you would miss a lot if you only go to the kids’ section: circusSPARK promises some sparkling performances, and wheelSPARK is all about skateboards, with demos all day Saturday and Sunday. And what child wouldn’t like streetpainting? The good thing about SPARKcon is that most everything is close together; head out to Fayetteville Street and see what you like!

SPARKcon started yesterday and continues through Sunday; check out the schedule on the website or just head out and see what exciting thing you run into.

Photo: groundSPARK, 2008 by twbuckner, used under the CC BY license