Is it just us or is summer flying by too quickly? Thankfully there are still a lot of fun festivals and activities before the school year routine starts again. Here are some ideas for things to do in August.
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Experience an August Chapel Hill tradition: The Paperhand Puppet Show
The Paperhand Puppet Inventionreturns to the Forest Theatre in Chapel Hill for its 20th annual giant puppet show, “We Are Here.” These shows are always beautiful and entertaining for audience members of all ages. Every weekend from August 2 to September 29 (September 6-8 in Raleigh)
Celebrate culture through music, dancing, art, and of course, food!
14th Annual NC Japan Summer Festival Saturday August 3 at the NC State Fairgrounds Escape the heat for the this indoor festival celebrating Japanese culture. This year there will be more food and a larger Community Market.
6th Annual Festival Latinoamericano Sunday August 25 on W. Weaver Street in Carrboro This free and family-friendly outdoor festival celebrates traditional and contemporary Latin American culture.
Enjoy more delicious food and treats!
National S’mores Day in S’Morrisville Saturday August 10 at Morrisville Community Park (and three other parks) Celebrate the favorite campfire treat with music, games, and of course, lots of s’mores.
Triangle VegFest Sunday August 18 at the Durham Armory In addition to food samples and cooking demonstrations, there will be live music and a kids’ activity area.
Experience history coming alive
Vintage Baseball Game Saturday August 3 at Durham Bulls Athletic Park Watch baseball as it was played in the 1860s with historic uniforms, equipment, music, children’s games and old-fashioned concessions.
Harvest and Hornworm Festival Saturday August 24 at Duke Homestead Celebrate North Carolina farming culture with live music, local arts and crafts, and hands-on history.
Go for a long bike ride or a very short run
Carolina Tarwheels BikeFest Saturday August 10 in Hillsborough Race routes range from 35 miles to 100 miles, but there is also a Free Fun Ride, a seven-mile tour of historic Hillsborough sights.
The Point 262 Saturday August 24 at Fullsteam Brewery This year the one-one hundredth marathon will have an El Kiddo registration so kids can join the fun.
Have a roaring-good time watching the Perseid Meteor Shower
Wild Under the Stars Monday, August 12 at the Conservators Center in Burlington Listen to howls, roars, and calls of jungle cats and other animals as you watch the meteor shower in one of the darkest locations in the Triangle. You can even camp overnight!
Do you need a night out but can’t find a sitter? Your kids a can have fun at these Parents’ Night Out events
Friday, August 2 5:30-9:30pm at Marbles in Raleigh (ages 3-10)
Know what a “sprayground” is? Until recently, we didn’t! A sprayground is a playground with a water element. Spraygrounds give your kids all the fun of a sprinkler in front of the house, without letting them turn your yard into a mudpit. Last weekend, we took the kids to explore Durham’s spraygrounds. The kids had fun getting wet and several of the spraygrounds we visited are a great destination on a hot day when traditional playgrounds are unappealing. There are none in Chapel Hill or Carrboro (there should be!), but there are four listed on the Durham Parks and Recreation website. The North KIDolina team recently visited all of them.
Our favorite was Forest Hills Sprayground (1639 University Drive, Durham, NC 27707). The kids thought the water element was more fun at this sprayground was the best because it was better for running through. There are six swings, including two baby swings and a high-back chair swing. We hadn’t been to Forest Hills park before, but we will definitely go back. It has a pleasant atmosphere, a public pool facility (closed when we were there), and access to a greenway. Also, the other parents and kids were very friendly. The park has a large umbrella structure next to the sprayground, but water had created a deep puddle so you couldn’t stand under it. There is a cute gazebo nearby, some benches in the shade by the playground, and a large picnic shelter a little further off.
We also enjoyed the Edison Johnson Sprayground (500 W Murray Avenue, Durham, NC 27701). We have driven right by it dozens of times on the way to the Life and Science Museum and never realized it was there. There were geysers and water coming out of arcs that were fun, but the playground was mostly metal and uncomfortably hot. This may be a better spot for young kids because there is a sandbox area with a play structure for little ones. There are only two swings (neither bucket-type). There was a nice large umbrella structure that provided a shady spot in sight of the sprayground area and playground.
Unlike Forest Hills and Edison Johnson, the Hillside Park Sprayground (1221 Sawyer Street, Durham, NC 27707) is not free. It is included in the price of admission to the pool. For city residents, the admission fee for adults (19+) is $3 and children get in free. The fees for non-residents are $8 for adults an $5 for children. Although it did not seem to be very crowded, we were told that it was at capacity and couldn’t get in. We visited for the sprayground and I expect it would have been our favorite, but it was not operational when we were there. If you plan to go, it is best to call ahead to make sure you can get in (919-560-4783). There is a nice, large playground at the park outside the sprayground/pool area.
East End Park (1200 N Alston Avenue, Durham, NC 27701) is listed on the Durham Parks and Recreation list so we visited, but calling this a sprayground is overly generous. There is just one little geyser that shot up only about a foot. Since our purpose was the sprayground, we did not stay to play. The playground was not as well-maintained as the others.
Half a century ago this month, the Apollo 11 astronauts took one “small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” July is filled with big and small celebrations and space-related events in honor of that historic occasion. Do you know of more? Let us know here.
Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Lab Open House Museum of Natural History in Raleigh Saturday, July 20, 2019, 12pm-4pm Check out the Apollo landing sites on the Moon with new OpenSpace software and learn how you can use it to explore the Universe. The Astronomy & Astrophysics Research Lab will have interactive tours of lunar terrain where the samples were collected by Apollo astronauts
First Man in the Museum Park North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh Saturday, July 20, 2019, 8:30pm (gates open at 7pm) (2018) Directed by Damien Chazelle. Written by Josh Singer. 141 min. PG-13. Discover the truth behind the headlines in this biopic depicting the career of Neil Armstrong from Project Gemini to the historic Apollo 11 moon landing. Armstrong suffered hardship and tragedy before his triumphant “giant leap for mankind” took him into legend.
One Giant Leap Festival North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh Saturday, July 20, 2019, 11am – 4pm This indoor and outdoor celebration will feature hands-on crafts, demonstrations, and activities—including a virtual-reality lab where you can “travel” to space and be on the moon; and a bungee-jumping station where you, too, can experience weightlessness, like real astronauts.
Apollo Days Life and Science Museum in Durham Tuesday, July 16, 2019 to Wednesday, July 24, 2019 Your mission—should you choose to accept it—explore Mercury and Apollo-era artifacts and Aerospace exhibit with a special scavenger hunt. Zoom around the moon on the Science on a Sphere exhibit and watch historic footage from Apollo 11. Visit this summer’s special temporary exhibits: Sun, Earth, Universe, a new exhibition from NASA and the National Informal STEM Education Network (NISE Net) and photographs taken by the astronauts who landed on the Moon.
Carolina Skies: Lunar Landing Edition Morehead Planetarium in Chapel Hill Summer 2019 “Carolina Skies” takes Morehead visitors on a guided tour of the nighttime sky as it appears on the at very night above North Carolina. Visitors learn how to identify celestial objects visible to the naked eye and how to find the cardinal directions using celestial signposts. They learn about the legends and myths created by ancient cultures to explain the astronomical phenomena observed by those cultures. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, Carolina Skies shows in Summer 2019 will additionally feature some highlights of the mission and how astronauts from the Apollo program were trained in celestial navigation right here at Morehead!
Moon Landing 50th Anniversary Eno River State Park, Friday, July 19, 2019, 8pm Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing with crafts related to the Apollo 11 mission and other night-sky-related crafts. The park will provide small snacks and drinks as well as star gazing maps if there is clear weather.
One Giant Leap: 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11 West Point on the Eno, Saturday, July 26, 2019, 8:00pm-10:00pm RESCHEDULED FROM JULY 20 On July 20th, 1969 Neal Armstrong became the first human to walk on the moon. Join Durham Parks and Recreation 50 years later for an evening of fun and learning! Visit the Environmental Education Pavilion to meet with NASA ambassadors and other local experts to learn about what it took to get to the moon, and take in views of the night sky from the meadow! This event is free and open to all ages. Children must be accompanied by an adult.
Reading Space Book Club for Rising 5th to 8th Graders: I Love You, Michael Collins Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador Tina Coyne-Smith will lead discussions of Lauren Baratz-Logsted’s historical fiction novel, I Love You, Michael Collins. The group will approach the book in four sessions with various themes. Kids may join for all sessions or individual ones. The themes for the discussion are:
Saturday, July 19 at 4pm: Apollo 11 and Michael Collins Saturday, July 26 at 4pm: Friendship Saturday, August 9 at 4pm: Solitude Saturday, August 16 at 4pm: Roles of Women and Men
About I Love You, Michael Collins: It’s 1969 and the country is gearing up for what looks to be the most exciting moment in U.S. history: men landing on the moon. Ten-year-old Mamie’s class is given an assignment to write letters to the astronauts. All the girls write to Neil Armstrong (“So cute!”) and all the boys write to Buzz Aldrin (“So cool!”). Only Mamie writes to Michael Collins, the astronaut who will come so close but never achieve everyone else’s dream of walking on the moon, because he is the one who must stay with the ship. After school ends, Mamie keeps writing to Michael Collins, taking comfort in telling someone about what’s going on with her family as, one by one, they leave the house thinking that someone else is taking care of her — until she is all alone except for her cat and her best friend, Buster. And as the date of the launch nears, Mamie can’t help but wonder: Does no one stay with the ship anymore? With I Love You, Michael Collins, Lauren Baratz-Logsted has created a heartwarming story about family and being true to yourself.
Monday, July 15 at 6pm – The Dish: The true story of a group of oddball scientists who man a satellite dish on a remote Australian sheep farm.that’s the world’s only hope for receiving the historic images of man’s first steps on the moon.
Tuesday, July 16 at 6pm – Apollo 11:Never-before-seen footage and take you straight into the heart of NASA’s most celebrated mission as astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins embark on a historic trip to the moon.
Wednesday, July 17 at 6pm- First Man:Ryan Gosling stars as Neil Armstrong in A visceral, first-person account, that explores the sacrifices and the cost on Armstrong and on the nation of one of the most dangerous missions in history.
Thursday, July 18 at 6pm – For All Mankind:Composed of actual NASA footage of missions and astronaut interviews, the documentary offers the viewpoint of the individuals who braved the remarkable journey to the moon and back in the 60s & 70s.
Space Explorers Book Club Do you love to read about space? Learn more about the universe around us by checking out some of our favorite out-of-this-world reads and join us for a spacetastic activity! Pre-registration required. July 11 at 3pm (rising grades 1-3) and 4pm (rising grades 4-6) July 25 at 3pm (rising grades 1-3) and 4pm (rising grades 4-6) August 8 at 3pm (rising grades 1-3) and 4pm (rising grades 4-6)
Bright Star Theatre: One Small Step: The Real-Life Journey to Outer Space Thursday, August 1 at 2pm and 4pm This tale marks the history of flight and space travel from the ancient tale of Icarus, to the first flights of the Wright Brothers on the beaches at Kitty Hawk, to the Great Space Race of the 1960s and beyond! Your young pilots and astronauts will be thrilled to learn about the real life characters that took One Small Step! Recommended for ages 4+.
Orange County Public Library in Hillsborough Spaced Out! Thursday, July 11 at 4pm Explore our amazing solar system through observations and hands-on astronomy activities.
East Regional Library in Durham Global Rocket Launch Tuesday, July 16 at 4pm Launching rockets to honor the Apollo 11 anniversary & celebrate Summer Reading! For all ages, outdoors. Please register.
Stanford L. Warren Branch Library in Durham Walking on the Moon Tuesday, July 23 at 1pm What’s it like to travel in space? With the help of some volunteers, kids will learn what it’s like to explore space and the space technology used on earth today! For elementary schoolers.
Southwest Regional Library in Durham Moon Rocks! Tuesday, July 23 at 3pm Make a little moon that can fit in your pocket! For Ages 7+. Registration required.
Galaxy Rocks! Thursday, August 1 at 4pm Make a little galaxy that can fit in your pocket! For Ages 7+. Registration required.
We are so glad that you found North KIDolina. We started this site to give parents and other caregivers an easy way to find all the family-friendly events going on in the Chapel Hill-Durham area. There is so much going on that it is hard to keep track of it all! We hope you find our calendar pages useful. We plan to add some blog posts reviewing family-friendly places in the area so please keep checking back.
In the meantime, we would love your input! We are still adding content and design features so please let us know if you have any suggestions. You can write to us at northkidolina(at)gmail.com or use the Contact Us page.
We hope you discover some new events that you might not have known about otherwise. Have fun!