Keeping your ultra-energetic 2-year-old busy in North Carolina's capital, Raleigh, is easy to do. With over 140 square miles of parks (9,477 acres to be exact), waterways, museums and other exciting features, toddlers won't tire of the many natural (and man-made) activities in this southern city.
What 2-year-old doesn't love the park? With fresh air and green space, Raleigh's city parks (raleighnc.gov/arts) are a natural way to spend the day getting in some busy play. Forty-one of Raleigh's parks are rated by the city for kids ages 2 through 5. These tot friendly spaces feature fun-filled climbers, slides and swings that are specifically designed with toddlers in mind. Make a day out of your park play and bring your own lunch to enjoy in a nearby picnic shelter.
Get your little learner off to a good start with a visit to the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (naturalsciences.org). As the largest museum of natural sciences in the southeast area, there are an exciting array of permanent and special exhibits that will appeal to both kids and their parents. Explore the ocean, investigate how weather works, discover the dinosaurs of the past and more. Try a fun-filled family program and learn about science and nature (sometimes in the great outdoors!) or check out one of the free with admission daily programs such as Storytime or Meet the Animals.
3. Indoor Play
When the weather simply won't cooperate with your 2-year-old's need to play, try an indoor space. Go Bananaz (gobananaznc.com) is a Raleigh favorite that features inflatables, rides and more. Don't worry about your tiny tot getting run over by an overzealous grade schooler. Go Bananaz has a special Toddler Zone that is only for younger children. If you don't want to 'go bananas', try out Monkey Joe's (monkeyjoes.com/Raleigh). This other Raleigh inflatable play place also features a separate area for kids under three.
If you are looking for a way to treat your mini-Monet to a day of art-astic activities, try Raleigh's North Carolina Museum of Art (ncartmuseum.org). As a bonus admission to the museum's park and permanent collection is absolutely free. Take your toddler through the museum's extensive collection (strollers are allowed if needed) that features a little bit of everything from ancient Egyptian art to contemporary works. Tour the museum with your little learner or take in a special kids and families event. Kids and families events vary depending on the museum's schedule and include classes, workshops and even meet and greets with favorite childrens' authors.