September 2019 Highlights

As the weather cools down, festival season warms up. From fairies and goats, to peppers and pirates, there is something for everyone this September. Find all events on the Full Calendar and sign up for the weekly newsletter for highlights and reminders.

Raleigh Greek Festival
Fri.-Sun. Sept. 6-8. NC State Fairgrounds, Raleigh
Listen to Greek music, watch traditional dances and eat authentic, homemade Greek food.

Brazilian Day Festival
Sat. Sept. 7. Durham Central Park
Celebrate Brazilian culture with music and dance performances, capoeira workshops, games, food and more.

NC Jerk Fest
Sat. Sept. 21. West Point on the Eno, Durham
Enjoy Jamaican jerk and other Caribbean foods while listening to reggae music. Kids Zone with free bounce house and other activities.

Irish Fest in the Forest
Sat. Sept. 21. Downtown Wake Forest
Celebrate Irish-American culture with Irish music, dancing, Leprechaun Lane Kids Area, and a red hair and freckles contest.

Sat. Sept 21. Bull City Burger & Brewery
Get your lederhosen and dirndl ready for limited edition beer, bratwurst and burgers (including veggie burgers). Music and a kids’ play area with a bounce house and entertainment.

Mama Afrika Festival
Sun. Sept 22. Knightsdale Station Park, Knightsdale
Experience African culture through drumming, poetry, music, food, workshops, exhibits and more.

Asia Fest and Dragon Boat Festival
Sat. Sept 28. Booth Amphitheatre, Cary
Watch the famous dragon boat races and enjoy a festive day of performances, culture exhibits, children’s activities, ethnic food and more.

Sat. Sept. 28. Lafayette Village, Raleigh
Try over 20 fall-style beers, listen to live music and watch the Wiener Dog Races.

Geekcraft Expo
Sat.-Sun. Sept. 7-8. Durham Convention Center
Channel your inner geek and check out the unique, handmade crafts. Free craft activities for kids. Cosplay is highly encouraged!

Critter Carnival
Sat. Sept 14. Southern Community Park, Chapel Hill
Meet and learn about animals while listening to live music and doing lots of animal-related crafts.

City of Oaks Pirate Fest
Sat. Sept. 14. Dorothea Dix Park, Raleigh
Engage in sword fights, sing sea chanties, play swashbuckling games, and more while you learn about the history of pirates in North Carolina.

Fall Goat Festival
Sat.-Sun. Sept 14-15 and Sat.-Sun. Sept 21-22. Spring Haven Farm, Chapel Hill
Celebrate fall with goats and other farm animals while enjoying fall treats and live music. Kids can take the Tractor Train Express.

Magical Hill & Fairy House Competition
Sat. Sept. 21. Chapel Hill Community Center Park
Embrace everything magical and whimsical at this inaugural event with food trucks, arts and crafts, and a fairy house competition. Dress as a fairy or gnome!

Sat. Sept. 21. NC Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh
Dive into the exciting world of bugs through 100+ exhibits, games, and activities and interact with entomologists to see bugs up close!

Centerfest Arts Festival
Sat.-Sun. Sept 21-22. Downtown Durham
Stroll through streets filled with the work of juried artists and enjoy live performances and activities for kids.

Burlington Carousel Festival
Sat.-Sun. Sept 21-22. Burlington City Park
Enjoy amusement park rides, listen to live music, and shop at the arts and crafts fair.

Sun. Sept 22. Downtown Pittsboro
Try creative, pepper-themed dishes by local chefs competing for awards at this large street festival with a kids’ zone.

Carrboro Music Festival
Sun. Sept 29. Downtown Carrboro
Listen to a wide variety of live music at venues throughout Carrboro.

Paperhand Puppet Intervention Summer Show: We Are Here
Fri.-Sun. Sept. 13-15, Fri.-Sun. Sept 20-22, Fri.-Sun. Sept. 27-29. Forest Theatre, Chapel Hill
The beautiful and moving giant puppet show ends this month.

Peppa Pig Live
Sun. Sept. 15. Durham Performing Arts Center
Characters from Nick Jr.’s hit show come to life in this new show filled with singing, dancing, games and surprises.

Who’s Bad: The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute
Fri. Sept 13. Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro

Abbey Road LIVE! – 50th Anniversary of “Abbey Road”
Sat. Sept 28. Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro

Mountains to Sea Trail Birthday Hike
Sat. Sept. 7. Glencoe Paddle Access, Burlington
Hike 2-3-miles on natural surface trails (roots, rocks, etc.) over rolling terrain with a few steep hills at a moderate pace.

High Ropes Discovery Day
Sat. Sept. 7. Bethesda Park, Durham
Explore Durham Parks and Recreation’s high ropes course and navigate a variety of obstacles, some reaching 55 feet in the air.

Sat. Sept. 14. NC Botanical Gardens, Chapel Hill
Meet live caterpillars, hear their fascinating stories, and explore the garden for these mysterious insects and their plant partners.

Recreational Tree-Climbing
Sat. Sept. 28. JC Raulston Arboretum, Raleigh
Climb into the canopy of a majestic oak tree on the NC State campus. All equipment and instruction are provided.

August 2019 Highlights

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.

To get weekly highlights delivered to your inbox, subscribe to our new newsletter. We are having an August promotion – we will be giving away 2 $50 gifts cards for Amazon or the store of your choice. Get an extra entry for every person you refer! Click here to sign up.

Experience an August Chapel Hill tradition: The Paperhand Puppet Show

The Paperhand Puppet Invention returns 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.

Reenactment of the Battle at the House in the Horseshoe
Saturday and Sunday August 3 & 4 in Sanford
In addition to the reenactment of the Revolutionary War skirmish, there will be activities, demonstrations, historical sutlers, and food vendors.

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)
  • Friday, August 2 6-8pm at Wytha Balance Yoga in Durham (ages 6-10)
  • Friday, August 9 6-9pm at Kidzu in Chapel Hill (ages 3-9)
  • Friday, August 9 6-10pm at Tumble Gym in Chapel Hill (potty-trained to 12)
  • Friday, August 9 6:30-8pm at the Durham Arts Council Clay Studio (ages 6-12)
  • Saturday, August 10 5:30-9pm at the Levin JCC in Durham (ages 3-10)
  • Friday, August 16 6-9pm at the Triangle Rock Club in Durham (ages 5-12)
  • Friday, August 23 6-9pm at Kidzu in Chapel Hill (ages 3-9)

We hope this list is a useful resource! For a weekly email highlighting major upcoming events and events for the age groups you choose, please subscribe to the North KIDolina weekly newsletter here.

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Durham Spraygrounds

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.

Forest Hills Sprayground
Forest Hills Playground

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.

Edison Johnson Sprayground
Edison Johnson 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.

Hillside Sprayground
Hillside Playground

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.

East End “Sprayground”
East End Playground

Celebrate Apollo 11’s 50th Anniversary

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.

Museum Events

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!

Park Events

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.

Bookstore Events

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.

Library Events

Chapel Hill Public Library
To The Moon Movie Series

  • 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)

Finding Harry Potter in the Stars with NASA Space Ambassador Tina Coyne-Smith
Wednesday, July 31 at 2pm and 4pm
Did you know that almost two dozen Harry Potter characters bear names of stars? Join us to find out all about them! (There will be spoilers!) Space is limited, pre-register here! Recommended for ages 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.

Welcome to North KIDolina!

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) or use the Contact Us page.

We hope you discover some new events that you might not have known about otherwise. Have fun!