City guides

Things to do with kids in Raleigh

Discover Raleigh's most delightful and family-friendly spots, perfect for creating unforgettable memories with your little ones.

December 13, 2023
 min read
Last updated:
Feb 6
A view of the Raleigh skyline.
Raleigh, North Carolina, is a vibrant city filled with fun, educational, and engaging activities for children of all ages. From interactive museums to lush parks, the city offers a wide range of attractions that promise not only entertainment but also opportunities for kids to learn and grow. Whether you're a local or a visitor, these handpicked spots are sure to fill your family's day with joy and excitement.

Marbles Kids Museum

Marbles Kids Museum stands as a beacon of creativity and exploration in the heart of downtown Raleigh. This museum is not just any ordinary museum; it's a world where kids can lead the way, exploring everything from a pint-sized town where they can play roles in a real-world setting to engaging scientific experiments that spark curiosity. The museum's IMAX theater adds a unique cinematic experience, offering educational and entertaining films that capture the young audience's imagination. Whether it's building in the IdeaWorks section or exploring the power of water in Splash, Marbles offers a dynamic environment where learning feels like play.

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences opens up a universe of wonder for young explorers. This museum, the largest of its kind in the Southeast, takes children and their families on an immersive journey through the natural world. From the awe-inspiring dinosaur exhibits to the interactive Nature Research Center where kids can watch scientists at work, there’s something to spark the curiosity of every young mind. The museum's live animal exhibits and 3D movies enhance the learning experience, making it a place where education seamlessly blends with fun, offering a day out that's as informative as it is enjoyable.

Pullen Park

Pullen Park, a historic and cherished destination in Raleigh, is more than just a park; it's a wonderland for children and a retreat for adults. Established in 1887, it holds the title of being the first public park in North Carolina. The park features a range of attractions including a beautifully restored 1911 Gustave A. Dentzel Carousel, which is not only a ride but a piece of art. The kiddie boats, pedal boats, and the CP Huntington miniature train offer different ways for families to explore the park's scenic beauty. The playgrounds are tailored for all ages, ensuring even the smallest visitors can play safely. With open green spaces and picnic areas, it's the perfect spot for a family day out, combining historical charm with modern fun.

Neuse River Trail

The Neuse River Trail presents a serene escape into nature, stretching over 30 miles along the banks of the Neuse River. This wide, paved trail is ideal for families, whether you're biking, walking, or jogging, with plenty of opportunities for young adventurers to explore. Along the trail, you'll find picturesque views, boardwalks over wetlands, and interesting stops like the Buffalo Road Athletic Park and the Milburnie Dam. It's not just a trail; it's an opportunity to teach kids about the importance of nature and conservation in a fun and engaging way. The trail also connects to several parks and recreational areas, making it a versatile path for a full day of family adventure.

Polar Ice Raleigh

At Polar Ice Raleigh, families find an exhilarating blend of sport and entertainment. This full-size ice rink offers public skating sessions, figure skating lessons, and hockey leagues, catering to all levels of skaters. The friendly atmosphere makes it a welcoming place for beginners, with skate rentals and helpful staff ensuring everyone can enjoy the ice. It’s not just about skating; Polar Ice often hosts fun events like ice shows and themed skating nights, creating a lively and engaging environment. Whether you’re holding hands around the rink or watching your little ones take their first glide, the IcePlex promises a day filled with smiles and laughter.

North Carolina Museum of History

The North Carolina Museum of History is a gateway to the past, offering an immersive experience into the rich tapestry of the state's history. This museum isn't just about observing; it's about interacting and understanding the past through a modern lens. With exhibits that range from the age of the dinosaurs to the civil rights movement, the museum provides a comprehensive view of the state's evolution. The interactive nature of the exhibits, like the hands-on history lab and the sports hall of fame, make history tangible for kids. The museum also hosts engaging events like historical reenactments and storytelling sessions, making each visit both educational and captivating.

William B. Umstead State Park

William B. Umstead State Park is a natural oasis nestled in the midst of urban Raleigh, offering families a tranquil retreat from city life. The park's extensive network of hiking and multi-use trails beckon families to explore the great outdoors, with paths suitable for all ages and abilities. Whether it's fishing in one of the park's serene lakes, horseback riding along picturesque trails, or simply enjoying a picnic amidst the beauty of the North Carolina wilderness, the park provides a perfect backdrop for family bonding and relaxation. The park's educational programs, which include guided walks and nature workshops, are fantastic for sparking children's interest in ecology and wildlife.

Frankie's of Raleigh

Frankie's of Raleigh is a vibrant hub of excitement and joy, offering an array of activities that cater to every member of the family. From the rush of go-karts and the thrill of laser tag to the challenge of miniature golf courses and the fun of batting cages, the park is a paradise for those seeking a bit of adventure. The park's indoor arcade is filled with a variety of games, providing a perfect spot for some friendly family competition. Frankie's isn't just about the rides and games; it's about the laughter and joy that comes from sharing these experiences, making it a must-visit destination for families seeking a fun-filled day.

Raleigh Little Theatre Rose Garden

The Raleigh Little Theatre Rose Garden is a hidden gem within the city, a place of tranquility and beauty. This stunning garden, home to a magnificent array of roses, provides a serene backdrop for a leisurely stroll or a peaceful family picnic. The garden's enchanting atmosphere is enhanced by its adjacent amphitheater, which hosts various performances, offering an opportunity to combine cultural enrichment with the enjoyment of nature. It's not just a garden; it's a sensory experience, where the fragrance of blooms and the beauty of the surroundings create a perfect setting for making cherished family memories.

Adventure Landing

Adventure Landing beckons families with its promise of fun and excitement. This entertainment complex is a whirlwind of activities, offering everything from mini-golf courses that challenge and delight to exhilarating go-karts that provide a rush of adrenaline. The facility's extensive arcade is filled with games that cater to all ages, ensuring that everyone, from the youngest child to the oldest adult, finds something to enjoy. Adventure Landing is more than just a place to play; it's a destination where families can connect, challenge each other, and create lasting memories together. In Raleigh, every day can be an adventure filled with learning, laughter, and lifelong memories. These top attractions offer a diverse range of experiences that cater to every interest and age group, ensuring that your time in the city is as enriching as it is entertaining. So pack your bags, grab your little ones, and get ready to explore the best that Raleigh has to offer.
*Prices fluctuate based on season and day of the week.

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