35 Fun Things to Do with Kids in Raleigh, NC

Updated
10 min read
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A view of the Raleigh skyline with buildings and trees under a blue sky with clouds
Raleigh is a top family destination with many things for kids to do

If you're planning your next family trip, consider adding Raleigh to your list of places to visit. The state capital of North Carolina has numerous attractions, plus beautiful scenery and friendly locals.

Best of all, there are many fun things to do with kids in Raleigh, NC. You can find kid-friendly museums, lots of playgrounds, and more unique attractions like tree-top adventure parks. No matter what your children like to do, they're guaranteed to enjoy these 35 Raleigh kids' activities!

  • 35 Raleigh things to do

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35 Fun Things to Do in Raleigh with Kids

Raleigh Things to Do Map

A map of Raleigh. Use the map to explore all the things to do.

One of the fun things to do with kids in Raleigh, NC, is exploring Pullen Park
Exploring Pullen Park is one of the fun things to do with kids in Raleigh, NC

Play at Pullen Park

Pullen Park opened in 1887 and is today located close to downtown. The park has lots of green space, plus a sports and playing field.

Other great attractions here for children include a carousel, a train, and pedal boats that you can take out on the water. There’s also a kids’ playground to keep all your children occupied.

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Hike at William B. Umstead State Park

If you’re looking to get outdoors, going to William B. Umstead State Park is recommended. The almost 5,600-acre park has forest trails, plus lakes and charming cabins. Wildlife is abundant here too, with animals like elk, chipmunks, and various bird species in the area.

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A rectangular building with a pond and statues in front of it
Your family can see world-famous artworks at the North Carolina Museum of Art

See artworks at the North Carolina Museum of Art

North Carolina has numerous top museums, and one of the best is the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh. You and your kids can admire the vast collection of art while visiting.

The collection includes paintings, drawings, sculptures, and pieces ranging from contemporary art to works dating back thousands of years.

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Learn through play at the Marbles Kids Museum

Going to the Marbles Kids Museum is one of the best Kids’ activities in Raleigh, NC. The interactive venue was designed with children in mind and has exhibits that allow them to play and learn. Some things for little ones to do include planting a pretend garden, exploring a mini town, and learning about rivers.

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A stone building that says "North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences"
The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences has lots of kid-friendly exhibits

Visit the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

Another top attraction to check out with your family is the Museum of Natural Sciences. The venue is one of the largest natural history museums in the United States and is the oldest museum in North Carolina.

As you look around, you’ll find exhibits on scientific phenomena, wildlife and conservation, and dinosaurs. This attraction is highly kid-friendly, with many interactive displays.

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Wander around the JC Raulston Arboretum

The JC Raulston Arboretum is managed by North Carolina State University and features ten acres of beautiful gardens. As you walk through the gardens, you’ll see a variety of flowers, plants, and trees. The Arboretum also hosts plant sales frequently, allowing your kids want to pick up some flowers to plant at home.

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A yellow sign that says "CAM Raleigh" on a wall with a garden behind it
The CAM has a vast collection of modern art to see

Admire modern at at the CAM

The CAM, or Contemporary Museum of Art Raleigh, is another great art gallery in the city. Your children can explore the gallery and discover a range of modern pieces. If your kids like art, going to the CAM has to be on your North Carolina bucket list!

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Hang out at Laurel Hills Park

Spending some time at Laurel Hills Park is one of the fun and laid-back family activities in Raleigh, NC. At the park, there’s a playground for kids to enjoy, complete with a jungle gym and slides. There’s also a scenic pond to walk around and a few nature trails.

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A park with green grass and trees and tall buildings in the background
Moore Square has green space, splash fountains, and garden games

Spend some time at Moore Square

Moore Square is an urban park area with green spaces and flower gardens. There are also some child-friendly attractions here, including garden games like giant chess and a splash fountain. If your kids get hungry, there’s an on-site snack shack with burgers and hot dogs.

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Treat your kids to cupcakes at The Cupcake Shoppe

The Cupcake Shoppe is the perfect place to pick up some sweet treats for your kids. Cake flavors available include peanut butter cups, red velvet, and chocolate. You can also get celebration cakes and other baked goods like cookies, brownies, and cinnamon rolls.

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Wandering along the Neuse River Greenway Trail is a fun family activity

Follow the Neuse River Greenway Trail

Walking along the Neuse River Greenway Trail is one of the fun things to do in Raleigh, NC, with kids on a sunny day. This 27.5-mile trail connects Falls Lake Dam to Clayton; however, you don’t have to hike the entire route to enjoy it. As you follow the path, you can appreciate river and forest views.

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Cheer for the Carolina Hurricanes

A fun fact about North Carolina is that the state has a National Hockey League team. The Carolina Hurricanes are based in Raleigh and play at PNC Arena. Going to a game is a great way to spend the afternoon or evening and allows you to enjoy a fun sports environment. If your kids play hockey themselves, this experience is a must!

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A neon sign that says "Morgan Street Food Hall" on a black background
You can pick up some kid-friendly dishes at Morgan Street Food Hall

Eat yummy dishes at the Morgan Street Food Hall

Stopping to get some snacks at Morgan Street Food Hall is highly recommended! At the indoor market, you’ll discover a range of sweet and savory dishes, with many kid-friendly options to choose from.

Just a few of the vendors to check out include Oak City Fish & Chips, Wicked Taco, and Big League Waffles & Scoops.

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Have a fun day out at Adventure Landing

Adventure Landing is another of the amusement complexes in Raleigh. Activities for your kids to try here include going go-karting and playing laser tag or arcade games. There’s also a mini-golf course and batting cage for kids to practice their baseball skills.

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A stone building with columns and a path, statue, and canon in front of it
Touring the North Carolina State Capitol allows you to learn about politics in NC

Take a tour of the North Carolina State Capitol

As Raleigh is the state capital of North Carolina, you can find the State Capitol building downtown. Opened in 1833, the North Carolina State Capitol is a National Historic Landmark that offers tours to visitors. During a tour, you’ll see more of the building and can learn about politics in the state.

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Jump around at Sky Zone trampoline park

Bouncing around on indoor trampolines is another of the super fun Raleigh kids’ activities. Sky Zone trampoline park has a selection of standard trampolines, plus obstacle courses, climbing, and dodgeball trampolines.

Kids can practice tumbling and play games during a visit, and there’s also a special session for little ones aged up to five.

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Red and green apples in baskets on a market stall
You can shop for local produce at the North Carolina State Farmers Market

Shop at the North Carolina State Farmers Market

The North Carolina State Farmers Market is open daily and houses an array of vendors. You and your kids can wander from stall to stall finding locally grown produce, craft items, and baked goods. There are also on-site cafes and coffee shops if you need some refreshments.

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Tour a chocolate factory

One of the most fun Raleigh attractions is the Videri Chocolate Factory. During a tour, you’ll learn about the chocolate-making process and get to taste some samples.

When the tour is over, you can pick up some sweet treats in the cafe, like hot chocolate, ice creams, and boxes of chocolates.

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Kids can spot artworks in the Ann and Jim Goodnight Museum Park

Discover sculptures at the Ann and Jim Goodnight Museum Park

Located next to the North Carolina Museum of Art, the Ann and Jim Goodnight Museum Park features artistic sculptures and other installations. You and your family can wander around the park, discovering all the interesting art pieces. It’s a great place for your kids to run around a bit too.

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Go bowling at Kings-Bowl

One of the kids’ things to do in Raleigh, NC, that’s perfect for a rainy day is going to Kings Bowl. The chain bowling alley has multiple lanes to play a game or two with your children. There’s also an on-site restaurant serving bar snacks like nachos, burgers, and wings.

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A garden structure with a red, white, and pink rose garden in front of it
The Raleigh Rose Garden is a pretty place to take some pictures

Explore the Raleigh Rose Garden

A charming place to look around with your kids is the Raleigh Rose Garden. The attraction has sixty rose beds that feature a variety of rose species. The colorful gardens make a nice backdrop for some family photos too.

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Try watersports at Lake Crabtree County Park

Another great outdoor area near Raleigh is Lake Crabtree County Park. The forested park has trails and gardens as well as a scenic lake. While you can’t swim in the water, you can boat on it or try other water sports, like paddle boarding.

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The ocean with a house, trees, and a lighthouse on the sandy shore
A family road trip to the Outer Banks is a must!

Plan a trip to the Outer Banks

A fun trip to make from Raleigh is to the Outer Banks. Located about three hours from Raleigh, there are multiple towns on the Outer Banks to check out.

No matter which you choose to visit, you’ll be able to hang out on sandy beaches, enjoy water sports like surfing, and dine at ocean-side eateries. The Outer Banks is the ideal place to visit for a day or two of family fun!

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Enjoy the amusements at Frankie’s Raleigh

If you’re looking for a way to keep all of your kids occupied, a trip to Frankie’s is a must. The entertainment complex features mini-golf, go-karts, bumper cars, batting cages, and much more.

There’s also a restaurant to grab snacks like pizza, burgers, or hot dogs. Going to Frankie’s Raleigh is definitely one of the best things for kids to do in Raleigh, NC!

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An old-fashioned yellow house with a wooden gate
The Joel Lane Museum House lets your kids learn about life in the 1700s

Look around the Joel Lane Museum House

An interesting educational attraction in Raleigh is the Joel Lane Museum House. The house-museum was constructed in 1769 and allows your kids to see what homes in the 18th century would have been like. After looking around the house, you can also explore the beautiful gardens.

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Interact with animals at White Deer Park

White Deer Park is a 96-acre park with nature trails and an education center. At the center, your kids can see some animals, like corn snakes and tree frogs. There are also wildflower meadows to explore and a children’s playground.

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A wooden house with a water wheel and a waterfall next to it
Your kids can see an over 250-year-old mill at Historic Yates Mill County Park

Find an old mill at Historic Yates Mill County Park

Another of the fun outdoor activities for kids in Raleigh, NC, is going to Historic Yates Mill County Park. The landmark attraction is home to a watermill that was constructed in 1756.

Other things to do in the park include following some woodland trails, viewing pretty gardens, and stopping for a lakeside picnic.

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Tackle tree-top obstacle courses at TreeRunner Adventure Park

Kids that like thrill-seeking activities have to check out TreeRunner Adventure Park! This attraction has a variety of tree-top courses for all ages and abilities, including a junior one for four to seven-year olds. Courses feature over 90 obstacles, including swings, ziplines, ropes, and more.

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A tent in woodlands with a lake and green trees in front of it
Jordan Lake State Park is a scenic place for a camping trip

Camp at Jordan Lake State Park

A fun family activity at Jordan Lake State Park is camping. You can pitch tents and spend the night enjoying the stunning views and starry skies. During the daytime, you can hike, swim or boat, and spot wildlife.

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Zipline above the forest at Go Ape Zipline and Adventure Park

Located about a 30-minute drive from downtown Raleigh, Go Ape Adventure Park has lots of exciting kid-friendly activities. Your little ones can choose from various tree-top courses to tackle, which reach 50 feet above the ground and feature ziplines, tree-to-tree crossings, and swings.

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A turquoise wall with a "Two Roosters Ice Cream" sign and a lamp underneath it
Treat your kids to ice cream at Two Roosters

Get Ice Cream at Two Roosters

Another of the fun things to do in Raleigh, NC, for kids that's sure to please everyone is getting ice cream at Two Roosters. The outlet has two locations in Raleigh and serves kid-approved flavors like cookies & cream and chocolate.

They also currently have some sundaes created by kids! These treats include a chocolate, peanut butter and S’mores combo and a fudge cookie with fudge sauce sundae.

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Rock climb at Triangle Rock Club

Going to Triangle Rock Climb is a great idea if your kids like adventure activities. The club has a youth program for children of all ages and climbing abilities. Kids can tackle a range of indoor rock climbing walls, and the venue also has fitness and yoga classes.

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A park with a colorful kids' playground and trees and buildings in the background
There's a great playground at John Chavis Memorial Park

Use the playground at John Chavis Memorial Park

John Chavis Memorial Park has some fun attractions for kids, notably a large playground. The playground has slides, climbing features, and swings to play on. You can also find a splash fountain here during the spring and summer months, plus a carousel and baseball field.

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Work together to get out of an escape room

If you have older children, playing an escape game is a fun activity to try, especially on rainy days. At Escape Room 5280, you can choose from themes like heists and scientific lab escapes. Whichever room you choose, you'll have one hour to work together to solve puzzles and escape.

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A lake with green trees surrounding it under a blue sky with clouds
You can hike and find child-friendly attractions at Shelley Lake Park

Walk through Shelley Lake Park

Shelley Lake Park is a scenic 144-acre outdoor space. It comprises walking paths, a dense forest, and a beautiful lake. When visiting, you can follow the two miles of trails, and there’s also an arts center. In addition, there are playgrounds and basketball courts.

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In Summary

You can discover a host of fun things to do with family in Raleigh, NC. The vibrant city has an activity for every kid, from trying adventure sports to visiting educational museums and playing in local parks.

This article was first published on Apr 21, 2022 23:16 UTC.

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Written by Alli Sewell

allisewell WRITER Currently based in Canada, I've also lived and worked in the UK and Brazil and travelled in North and South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. I love finding the best photo-ops and food and drink locations wherever I go!


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