Having spent a good amount of my adolescence and young adult life living in the Raleigh area, it’s safe to say that I very much refer to Raleigh as “home”. It’s been nearly a decade since I’ve actually lived in Raleigh; however, I do still have quite a bit of family in the area. I absolutely love Raleigh, so whenever we have the opportunity to visit, I’m always eager to go! I love how many family-friendly activities there are to do in Raleigh, and today, I am highlighting my 3 favorites. So, whether you currently live in Raleigh and are looking for some new local spots to explore, or if you are just visiting the area, I highly recommend checking out these 3 toddler-friendly destinations!
Pullen Park – We first visited Pullen Park when Noah was just over 1.5 years old, and it instantly became a favorite destination of ours. Every time we are in Raleigh we make a point to go! Pullen Park has SO much to offer for families with young children. The park is extremely well-maintained and very affordable. Entrance into Pullen Park is free; however, tickets are required for each ride/attraction at the park. Children 12 months and younger are able to ride for free and tickets are only $1 per rider for ages 13 months and up. There are four main rides at Pullen Park – the carousel, kiddie boats, train, and pedal boats. There is also a playground and sand/water play area for preschoolers and young school-aged children. You are welcome to bring your own food into the park; however, there is also a small cafe onsite where you can purchase fresh, local, and seasonal food. Before heading to the park, I suggest checking their website for current operating hours, as hours will vary depending upon season and may close for inclement weather. If you are in the Raleigh area, I definitely encourage you to check out Pullen Park for yourself! Below are a few photos of us enjoying the carousel and pedal boats (life jackets are provided) during Noah’s 1st visit.
Marbles Kids Museum – It’s no secret that my kids and I love visiting children’s museums. My favorite children’s museum that we’ve visited to date would definitely be Marbles! With general admission into the museum being only $5 for both children (1+ years old) and adults, this museum is an absolute must visit if you are in the Raleigh area. While Marbles is designed for children under the age of 10, there are so many fantastic exhibits for you and your little ones to explore. For the youngest crowd, there is the adorable “Toddlers Hollow” exhibit which is geared towards toddlers under the age of 3. Our personal favorite exhibits include: “Toddlers Hollow”, “Splash”, “Around Town”, and “Sun Sprouts” – all of which are toddler/preschooler-friendly. To learn more about their exhibits, click here. Mondays at Marbles are group-free, making it a great time to visit the museum if you are looking to avoid the crowds. According to their website, their busiest hours are Tues – Fri 10-1pm. Marbles is the perfect spot to host a play date or to take the kids to burn some energy off on a rainy day! Below is a little photo collage of Noah’s 1st visit to Marbles when he was 21 months old.
Porter Farms & Nursery – You might be wondering why I chose a farm/nursery to include in this post about toddler-friendly activities, but after one visit to this farm, you will clearly see why. Porter Farms is located in Willow Springs, NC, which is about 30 minutes outside of downtown Raleigh. If you happen to visit in the summer months, you can enjoy strawberry picking with your little ones (click here for my best tips on strawberry picking with small children). Or, if getting out and exploring when the temps have cooled off a bit is more your style, then be sure to visit their pumpkin patch in the fall. Farm fresh produce is also available from late spring through early fall. You can check out their crop calendar for more details. After you’ve done some strawberry (or pumpkin) picking, you can then head over to their ice cream parlor and enjoy an organic ice cream treat. The dairy for their ice cream is provided by Jackson Dairy Farm, a family-owned dairy farm since 1806. According to their website, “Jackson Dairy Farm raises happy cows, treated with kindness and respect. Cows are fed the finest grain and graze on grass from organic fields.” I always love ending our little outings to Porter Farms with a scoop of ice cream. What’s even more awesome is supporting local, family-owned farms in the process. P.S. Their cookies & cream ice cream is AH-MAZING!
This is the little seating area for the Porter Farms ice cream parlor (adorable, right?!). And look at that little play sand area, too…perfect for toddlers!
Do you live in the Raleigh area? What are your favorite family-friendly activities?