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One of the prime attractions of Raleigh is the Pullen Park. This verdant public park acts as both a serene escape as well as an amusement park for young children. Carousels, boat rides and eateries are very popular here. While the entry is free of cost, the rides and other amenities in the park require a small fee.
Marbles Kids Museum is a modern, vibrant center of play-based learning designed for children 10 years old and younger. The museum is one of Raleigh’s top family destinations, and has a program of dozens of interactive exhibits, IMAX educational and feature film screenings, and special events. Children can explore the ins and outs of gardening and solar power, learn about healthy money habits, build simple machines, and interact with science, technology, engineering, and math learning stations. Groups of ten or more visitors are encouraged to make reservations ahead of time.
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.
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.
Founded in 1902, this museum is committed to exploring and preserving North Carolina's historical heritage. Among the permanent exhibits here are the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame, a history of the state’s role in the creation of funk music, and the expansive Story of North Carolina, a major exhibit tracing life in the state from the time of its first inhabitants through the 20th Century. The museum hosts a variety of temporary exhibits, and a large collection of regional costumes and furnishings.
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.
Hidden away from the crowded cacophony of the city life, William B. Umstead State Park stretches gloriously across 5579-acres (2257-hectare) crossing the border of Raleigh and spilling onto Cary and Durham. Endowed with tranquil lakes, picturesque pathways and dense drapes of forests, William B. Umstead State Park is a real boon for city-dwellers. An absolute delight for outdoor enthusiasts, numerous trails cut their way through the park's pristine span, offering off-road bicycling opportunities along with hiking and additional trails are also reserved for equestrians. There are numerous picnic spots scattered across the park and there are plenty of and campsites and cabins for those who wish to lodge overnight. A visitor center organizes a series of interactive exhibits, and park rangers regularly scheduled educational programs.
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.
The North Carolina Museum of Life & Science offers a number of interactive educational exhibits suitable for children and adults. Visitors can walk through a tornado, turn their movements into sound sculptures, and make contact with one of the largest butterfly conservatories on the American East Coast. The museum also features bear, red wolf, and lemur sanctuaries, and a forested tree house learning environment, which gives views of a landscaped forest from 20 feet (six meters) off the ground.
This chapel built in the center of Duke University in the Collegiate Gothic style was completed in 1932. Its tower soars 210 feet (65 meters) into the sky, and its founder, James B. Duke, felt that its inspirational presence would influence campus music, faith, and learning. Fine ornamentation, stained glass, and four beautifully crafted organs, including a Flentrop, or "Bach's Organ," draw thousands of admirers to the chapel every year. Free, guided tours of the chapel are offered every Sunday after an 11a worship service.