The city of Raleigh -- the bustling, artsy capital of North Carolina -- is home to big city attractions, world-class museums and scenic state parks. Whether it's a day at the symphony or a camping trip at a nearby lake, this charming, family-friendly Southern city has plenty of toddler activities that will educate and entertain your little one.
Marbles Kids Museum is an interactive children's museum that has the capacity to entertain your toddler for hours. Explore a kid-sized version of the Raleigh community in the "Around Town" exhibit or help your toddler engage in water experiments in the "Splash" exhibit. At "Toddlers Hollow," your little one can practice crawling, walking and balancing in a woodland forest setting. The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences has special areas where your toddler can engage in sensory experiences through hands-on learning. Exploration stations are located throughout the museum where your toddler can participate in informal learning. Visit the Discovery Room, where your toddler can touch fossils and feathers, try on costumes and play with puppets.
2. State Parks
Umstead State Park is a peaceful haven tucked between the busy cities of Raleigh, Durham and Cary. Take your toddler here to experience nature. Enjoy an overnight camping trip or visit for the day, picnicking on the shores, going for walks, and pointing out the birds and colorful flowers. A half-hour north of Raleigh is Fall Lake State Recreation Area. This scenic park boasts a 12,000-acre lake and 26,000 acres of woodlands to entertain your toddler. Enjoy fishing or boating or dipping your toes in the cool water with your little one.
3. On a Rainy Day
Expose your toddler to classical music through the Young People's Concert Series put on by the North Carolina Symphony. Dress your little one in his Halloween costume and bring him to the annual Halloween Spooktacular or attend another kid-friendly concert during the regular symphony season. At each concert, your toddler will be able to try out orchestra instruments at the Instrument Zoo. Enjoy a relaxing morning with your toddler at the Wells Fargo IMAX Theatre at Marbles Children's Museum. The 3D screen is the largest in North Carolina at 70 feet wide. In addition to Hollywood features, the theatre shows kid-friendly, shorter length documentaries perfect for a toddler's short attention span.
4. Beat the Heat
Raleigh is home to a plethora of pool and aquatic facilities. Take your toddler for a float down the lazy river at the Buffaloe Road Aquatic Center. Ridge Road Pool has plenty of toddler-friendly aquatic features, boasting a wading pool and small spray ground for your little one. For a larger spray ground, visit Chavis Pool or Millbrook Exchange Pool. Optimist Pool has a large wading pool and an adult lap pool where you can exercise while your toddler enjoys swim lessons from the American Red Cross.