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Frankie’s is an amusement park designed for children and game-minded adults. Just about every amusement park activity is available here: flight simulators, bumper boats, ropes courses, rides, laser tag, go-karts, arcades, batting cages, and more. If that doesn’t sound fun enough, rumor has it that Frankie’s has the best mini golf in Raleigh. Please note that Frankie’s does not charge general admission. Rather, guests pay for each activity.
Lake Lynn Park is an impressively-equipped city park that offers visitors 2.8 miles (4.5 kilometers) of trails around a greenway great for walking, cycling, or running. On the grounds there are also batting cages, a playground, four tennis courts, two bocce courts, and a baseball field. The Lake Lynn Community Center on the north side of the park has basketball courts, meeting rooms, a dance studio, and an art room. Lake Lynn Park is a great place to enjoy a stroll, or to take advantage of first-rate outdoor amenities in a serene setting.
One of the leading art museums of the American South, the North Carolina Museum of Art opened in 1956 as the first in the nation established with public state funds. More than 40 galleries here are home to a permanent collection of paintings, artifacts, and sculptures spanning the history of art from antiquity to the present day. Visitors can see paintings of the European Renaissance, Egyptian funerary artifacts, and contemporary international works of art, among others. An amphitheater hosts outdoor performances, and a museum park features more than a dozen major site-specific works surrounded by forests and fields.
Fullsteam brewery serves classic and innovative beers crafted with locally farmed ingredients, including sweet potatoes, basil and grapes used in experimental recipes. The industrial, spacious brewery has plenty of room for groups, the occasional live band, arcade games, darts, and ping pong tables. Although Fullsteam does not serve food of its own, visitors are welcome to bring their own, or take advantage of the rotating cast of food trucks that park just outside the bar on most days.
Pull up a bench and revel in nature's beauty in this eight-acre (three-hectare) garden wonderland. This outdoor laboratory for the Department of Horticulture at North Carolina State University is a delight for visitors and locals alike. Sit in the shade of trees from over 50 different countries, wander down the 450-foot (137-meter) long mosaic of the Perennial Garden, or bring a good book and relax in the Reading Garden. The Victorian gazebo in the Klein-Pringle White Garden is a popular choice for local brides and the Japanese and Paradise gardens are must-sees.
The Nasher Museum is dedicated to presenting contemporary art from around the world, and showcasing art made by historically underrepresented groups. Founded in 2005 on the campus of Duke University, the museum boasts a permanent collection of more than 10,000 works, with strong holdings in medieval, pre-Colombian, classical, and modern and international contemporary art. Free guided tours are made available to groups of ten or less two days a week.
Founded in 1934, The Sarah P. Duke Gardens offers 55 acres (22 hectares) of world-class gardens in the center of Duke University. More than five miles (eight kilometers) of pathways lead visitors on walks through four sections of beautifully landscaped terraces, gardens, and arboretums. The Duke Gardens host gardening, photography, and natural history classes, and a summer concert series. A cafe and a visitor center are on the grounds. Walking and trolley tours are given four days a week; reservations are recommended.
Named after the family of industrialist James Duke, this private, independent research university sprawls over three campuses, and is an icon of research, culture, and education. The university attracts visitors for its Collegiate Gothic Architecture, the highlight of which is Duke Chapel, an active interdenominational chapel in the center of the school's campus. Other highlights include the Lemur Center–a rare and endangered prosimian primate sanctuary—a Medical Center, the Perkins Library, the Sarah B. Duke Gardens, and the Duke Forest and Golf Club. Student-led tours, and maps for self-guided tours, are available through the undergraduate admissions office.
Lake Johnson Park offers visitors more than 5 miles (8 kilometers) of walking trails leading around a serene lake, past picnic shelters, a boardwalk, a public pool, and boat launches. Boat rentals are available through the park office. The park is a popular fishing destination, holds conference and event facilities, and hosts a public program of educational activities throughout the year.
The Duke Lemur Center is a sanctuary for rare and endangered prosimian primates – mostly lemurs – located a few miles from the Duke University campus. The sanctuary is the largest of its kind in the world, and houses nearly 250 non-primates across 21 species, on 85 acres. The center focuses on conservation, research, and outreach, but provides opportunities for guided tours seven days a week. Visitors can tour the grounds with a staff photographer, paint with lemurs, or experience a day in the shoes of a lemur caretaker. Tours are by appointment only, and should be reserved several weeks in advance.
Explore the natural wonders of North Carolina, from the depths of its ocean to its rocky mountains. Complete with a 20-foot (6-meter) waterfall, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science has much to offer. See North Carolina as it was, in a re-creation of six prehistoric habitats. This is home to the only Acorcanthosaurus skeleton discovered in the world, and Willo, the first dinosaur found with a fossilized heart. The Discovery Room is full of interactive exhibits. Looking for that perfect gift? The Nature Gallery has original nature-themed artwork available. There is a restaurant on site. General admission is free of charge. There is a cover charge for special exhibits. Children under 13 years must be accompanied by an adult. The Discovery Room, Naturalist Center, and Living Conservatory remain closed on Mondays.
The North Carolina State Capitol building is the former house of the North Carolina legislature and the current home of the state’s governor’s offices. Dominating a central block of downtown Raleigh, the building was completed in 1840 and is built in the Greek Revival style. The North Carolina State Capitol Foundation offers guided tours of the building and a program of lectures, children’s history classes, concerts, and exhibits to the public free of charge.