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December 20th, 2019 - January 1st, 2020

by Pam & Michael Davison

The Holidays are here and the New Year is right around the corner! We hope you are enjoying the season with friends, family and parks.


Free Fun at Triangle Museums

If you have visitors in for the holidays and are looking for fun ways to get out of the house, remember that several of our Triangle Museums offer free admission.

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences offers free admission along with several free activities throughout the day including the hands on Discovery room and Meet the Animals.

The Museum stays open late every Thursday evening for a Science Cafe. December 26th's Science Cafe will be a Holiday Trivia.

Right across Bicentennial Plaza, the North Carolina Museum of History offers free admission to the museum. They have a wide variety of interesting and interactive exhibits. My favorite is the amazing display of North Carolina history from early native settlements through colonization, wars and the civil rights movement.

The North Carolina Museum of Art boasts two gallery buildings and an art trail on a 164 acre campus. Admission is free and every weekend, you are invited to join them for Meet Your Museum Tours and Weekend Family Friendly Tours. Take your kids to the desk at the West Building and check out an "Art in a Tote." Its a fun guided scavenger hunt through the galleries with activities and games to play along the way.

The City of Raleigh Museum works to collect and care for artifacts, curates exhibits, and provides educational programing that highlight and interpret Raleigh"s history and heritage. Their admission is free (they do gladly take donations). In addition to lots of fun Raleigh artifacts and maps, they often maintain a couple of temporary exhibits.

Marbles Kids Museum does have a $7 admission fee but, its a fabulous destination if you have a house full of kids and its too cold to go outside. The whole museum is hands on, interactive fun! On Thursday afternoons, they offer $3 Admission and extended hours.

Enjoy the Winter Sunshine at a Park

Wake County Park has two fabulous historic parks in addition to several parks for active and passive recreation. Historic Yates Mill County Park is a fully restored grist mill. You can learn about the history of the mill in the education center as well as explore the wildlife that lives around the mill pond.

From December 21st to 23rd, Yates Mill will be celebrating the Shortest Day. Just after New Years on January 2nd-5th, Yates Mill will explore New Year Celebrations around the World.

Historic Oak View County Park is a 19th century historic farmstead with a mission to interpret the agricultural heritage and rural history of North Carolina through educational programs, special events, and exhibits. This park offers more than 165 years of farm history combined with recreational opportunities. There is a visitors center with exhibits on agriculture, a cotton barn with exhibits on the cotton gin and the boll weevil, a restored historic home, summer kitchen, tennant farmers home, cotton field, gardens, a fishing pond, pecan groves and even some live goats.

Join an Eno River Park Ranger Friday to explore what Animals do during winter to survive.

Come back to Eno River State Park Sunday to tour the Historic Piper Cox House and learn about the families that lived there.

Join a Falls Lake Park Ranger to discuss the most common types of Animals that you will find in the Falls Lake Area.

Get Your First Night Raleigh Button

If you want to bring in the New Year with a blast, Downtown Raleigh is where you will want to be! First Night Raleigh 2020 actually includes two celebrations. The Childrens Celebration will be held from 2:00pm - 6:00pm culminating with a People's Procession, live music and an Early Countdown at 7:00pm complete with acorn drop and fireworks. The First Night Raleigh 2020 evening entertainment offers something for everyone and culminates with a repeat concert and a midnight countdown highlighted by the famous Raleigh Acorn Drop and Fireworks! Both celebrations feature a wide variety of Out of this World entertainment from a ferris wheel, theater, comedy, music, dance performances and interactive activities. Click through for the schedule of events and performers as well as information about admission buttons.

Ring in the Noon Year with kids at Marbles at 12:00 noon. Regular admission applies.

Start off 2020 with a Hike

Each year on January 1st, the Eno River Association sponsors a fun-filled afternoon of guided hikes, refreshments and merriment. This year, the New Year's Day Hike will offer two hike options, a 4-5 mile hike and a shorter, 2 mile route. There will be something for everyone, so come one, come all and enjoy New Year's Day at the Eno!

William B. Umstead State Park is hosting a hike that will combine beautiful scenery with some history about the park and the community that once lived there.

Raven Rock State Park hosts an easy 2.6 mile, two-hour First Day Hike to discover some of the natural wonders of this prominent landmark.

Come New Years Day and join a park ranger for a hike on the Fox Trot Trail at Falls Lake State Recreation Area.

Come on out to Jordan Lake for a First Day Hike on the Blue Loop Trail.

Cary will host their annual Kwanzaa Celebration on Friday, December 27th. The theme for this year's celebration is "Peace, Love and Respect...For Everybody" and will feature a performance by the children"s dance group, Kuumba Dance Company.


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