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Kid-friendly activities in Raleigh

We’re highlighting the best kid-friendly activities that Raleigh has to offer — complete with art classes, animal encounters, and outdoor fun.

Playground equipment from a far.

John Chavis Memorial Park went through a multimillion dollar renovation and reopened in 2021.

Photo by RALtoday

Table of Contents

We’re not kiddin’ around. From major attractions like Marbles Kids Museum to hidden gems like Sandling Beach, there’s something in Raleigh for children of all ages. You’ll have no trouble entertaining the youngsters with this list of 25+ kid-friendly activities around the 919.

🧠 Educational activities

Marbles Kids Museum, 201 E. Hargett St., Raleigh | 🎟️ Family memberships available
This children’s museum encourages learning and creativity through play with hands-on exhibits like Splash, a re-imagined water play area. Plus, this interactive destination has the largest IMAX theater in Raleigh. Kids will remember engaging with a child-sized version of our community in the “Around Town” exhibit.

NC Museum of Natural Sciences, 11 W. Jones St., Raleigh | 🎟️ Family memberships available
Head to the Discovery Room to give kids a hands-on experience with natural science. Plan ahead: The museum’s much-anticipated Dueling Dinosaurs exhibit opens in April. Kids will remember touching the bones of a Right Whale.

Wake County Public Library, multiple locations | Free
Make like a library and check out storytime and programming for both younger children and teenagers. Kids will remember curling up with their new favorite book.

Kidzu Children’s Museum, 201 S. Estes Dr., Chapel Hill | 🎟️ Family memberships available
This hands-on museum has nine interactive exhibits fit for every age like an outdoor learning garden, STEM stations, and a climbing wall. Kids will remember hiding out in the crow’s nest inside the large-scale tree house.

A child holding a butterfly on his finger.

Let delicate butterfly’s land on you in the 35-foot tall glass conservatory.

Photo provided by the Museum of Life and Science

🦁 Animal encounters

NC Museum of Natural Sciences, 11 W. Jones St., Raleigh | 🎟️ Family memberships available
Don’t sleep on the animals at the museum — like the Fish and Invertebrates exhibit which features both fresh and saltwater species. Kids will remember the seahorses.

Purr Cup Cafe, 210 Prospect Ave., Raleigh | $10
Make a reservation to cuddle with some furry, adoptable felines after you enjoy a cup of hot tea in the cafe. Pro tip: Parties with children 8 and younger must book a private session. Kids will remember making feline friends.

The Museum of Life and Science, 433 W. Murray Ave., Durham | 🎟️ Family memberships available
Enjoy 84 acres of science and nature experiences with animal exhibits such as a butterfly house, Carolina wildlife, black bears, lemurs and tortoises, red wolves, an insectarium, the farmland, and a wander-away pollinator prairie. Kids will remember the funny little lemurs.

The NC Zoo, 4401 Zoo Pkwy., Asheboro | $9+
Encounter over 1,800 animals including bears, wildcats, and giraffes. Kids will remember seeing their favorite animal.

Bonus: Looking for even more ways to interact with animals? We gathered 11 places located within an hour of Raleigh where you can learn and interact through animal encounters.

🎨 All about the arts

Artspace, 201 E. Davie St., Raleigh | Free
Check out local art at the largest public studio environment for visual artists in NC. There are also classes available for both youths and adults. Kids will remember creating their own masterpieces.

CAM Raleigh, 409 W. Martin St., Raleigh | Free
Young artists can explore contemporary art in the Warehouse District. Be sure to check out its educational programming as well. Kids will remember honing their artistic skills.

Raleigh Little Theater, 301 Pogue St., Raleigh | Ticket prices vary
The Raleigh Little Theater offers plenty of kid-friendly shows, plus theater arts classes for youths. Kids will remember discovering their love for the theater here.


City Editor Anne is a newbie to climbing | Photo by RALtoday

🎢 Thrill-seeking fun

Adventure Landing, 3311 Capital Blvd., Raleigh | Pricing per attraction varies
Laser tag, batting cages, and mini-golf are on the fun agenda here. Kids will remember eating your dust while go-karting.

Frankie’s Fun Park,11190 Fun Park Dr., Raleigh | Pricing per attraction varies
This is the perfect spot for a birthday party or to just let off steam on attractions like mini-golf, go-kart, and arcade games. Kids will remember screaming until they laugh on the drop zone.

Galaxy Fun Park, 14460 Falls of Neuse Rd., Raleigh | Pricing per attraction varies
Treat the family to a thrilling day of trampolines, ropes courses, and go-karts. Kids will remember owning you at laser tag.

Triangle Rock Club, 6022 Duraleigh Rd., Raleigh | 🎟️ Family memberships available
Kids can test their strength and endurance by climbing — whether it’s through camp, classes, or even birthday parties. Kids will remember making it to the top.

Flowers Filed in Dorothea Dix Park in June 2022.

Dix Park is perfect for a picnic.

Photo by RALtoday

🏞️ Hit the park

Dorothea Dix Park, 1030 Richardson Dr., Raleigh | Free
This park — which is one of Raleigh’s largest — offers downtown skyline views, a summer sunflower field, and special events. Kids will remember taking a family picnic at Flowers Field.

Eastgate Park, 4200 Quail Hollow Dr., Raleigh | Free
Take the kids to the playground featuring a dome climber and other play structures. Kids will remember the hopscotch court.

Eliza Pool Park, 1600 Fayetteville St., Raleigh | Free
This neighborhood park boasts a multi-purpose field and playgrounds. Kids will remember racing to the slide.

Fred Fletcher Park, 820 Clay St., Raleigh | Free
This urban, tranquil park has multiple picnic shelters, basketball and tennis courts, a softball and multipurpose open field. Kids will remember the sand surface playground.

John Chavis Memorial Park, 505 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Raleigh | Free
This park is on the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places and has a wide variety of kid-friendly amenities. For example, the playground is equipped with rubber safety surfacing. Kids will remember the splash pad available during the warmer months.

Junious N. Sorrell, 416 E. Lee St., Raleigh. | Free
Two playgrounds are available for children ages 2-5 and 5-12. Kids will remember the climbing structure with swings and slides.

Laurel Hills Park, 3808 Edwards Mill Rd., Raleigh | Free
Head to the Sassafras All Children’s Playground at this park, which was designed for inclusive play and features sensory-rich activities. Kids will remember dangling on rings built over soft sand.

Bonus: If you’re looking for where to swim and get your splash on in Raleigh, we’ve got a list for that too.


Boxcar Bar + Arcade | Photo by RALtoday

🎳 Indoor adventures

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, 2116-D New Bern Ave., Raleigh| Ticket prices vary
Check out Alamo’s calendar for movie parties and special screenings of flicks your kids will love. Kids will remember becoming a mini-film buff while snacking on fries.

Boxcar Bar + Arcade, 330 W. Davie St., Raleigh | 1-4 tokens per game, 4 tokens per dollar
Kids are allowed in before 8 p.m. on weekdays and 7 p.m. on weekends. Play classic and modern games like pinball and air hockey. Kids will remember falling in love with the classics.

Greystone Recreation Center, 7713-55 Lead Mine Rd., Raleigh | Free
This recreation center is the first to feature an indoor playground and rock climbing wall — plus, it’s right beside Two Roosters which would make for the perfect after-play treat. Kids will remember making it across the wall.

ParTee Shack, 5300 Fayetteville Rd., Raleigh | $8+
Choose from three mini-golf courses or take a swing at virtual golf and multi-sport simulators. Kids will remember playing zombie dodgeball.

Strike & Barrel, 413 Brooks St., Wake Forest | $5+
This entertainment destination features traditional and duckpin bowling, bocce, cornhole, and more. Be sure to check out their multiple birthday party packages. Kids will remember getting a strike.

United Skates of America, 2901 Trawick Rd., Raleigh |
Lace up your skates to join specialty nights like Kids Pop Skate and take a break in the arcade to try and win some prizes. like Kids will remember spinning under the disco ball and multi-colored lights.

Falls Lake

Falls Lake offers some of the most stunning views on the MST.

Photo by John Goldfield

🌳 Great outdoors

Falls Lake State Recreation Area, 14600 Creedmoor Rd., Wake Forest | Free entry
Head to Sandling Beach, Beaverdam, and Rollingview for swimming. Kids will remember camping out at Holly Point.

Lake Raleigh, 2300 Main Campus Dr., Raleigh | Free entry
Paddle around 75+ acres of water or go fishing at the pier. Kids will remember catching largemouth bass and catfish.

Pullen Park, 520 Ashe Ave., Raleigh | Free entry
Have the kids enjoy amusements like kiddie boats, the playground, or the train. Kids will remember taking a turn on the carousel.

🧃 Be prepared

Shop some of our favorite kid-friendly essentials to keep the whole family happy, hydrated, and ready to make memories.

  • Owala Kids Insulated Stainless Steel Tumbler | This tumbler has a spill-resistant straw (yes, that’s a thing) and is top-rack dishwasher safe.
  • Bentgo Kids 5-Compartment Lunch Box | Pack snacks for kids in a popular Bentgo box that’s BPA-free and dishwasher safe.
  • Nintendo Switch | You just can’t beat a handheld gaming device for keepings kids quiet, happy, and entertained during car rides around town.
  • Hap Tim Travel Backpack | Keep everything in a backpack that’s got good padding on the straps, plenty of compartments, a wide mouth opening, and a rain-resistant exterior.
  • Kids sketch pad | Kids can sketch, take notes, and feel connected to your adventures with a sketchbook meant to inspire creativity.
  • Disposable cameras | Kids will have a ton of fun + stay entertained by taking their own pictures of what they see during your adventures.
  • KeepGoing Travel First Aid Kit for Kids | Be prepared for minor scrapes or bruises that could slow your day down — this kit contains 60 pieces of essential first aid supplies.
  • Sunscreen stick | Have a portable sunscreen stick handy for outdoor adventures.

Ready to visit these local attractions but don’t know where to start? We’ve created this handy map so you can find all of these featured activities.

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