Whether you are planning on moving to Raleigh or simply doing some sightseeing with your family, this booming metropolis has tons to offer. You will find yourself surrounded by plenty of eateries, attractions, museums, lush green parks, and a warm and family friendly environment. Here are some amazing things to do in Raleigh NC with kids you just can’t miss!
Visit Pullen Park
Pullen Park is considered one of the world’s oldest amusement parks. It was founded in 1887! It was donated as a gift to the city of Raleigh to use as a parkland and is one of the best family friendly attractions.
You will find paddle boat rides, a carousel, plenty of playgrounds, tennis courts and athletic fields, and an art center where you can try painting, pottery, drawing, and jewelry making. There is also an indoor aquatic center where you can try out arm water therapy, water exercise, or recreational swimming! This is one of our favorite things to do in Raleigh NC with kids!
Go to the Marbles Kids Museum
If you want to make this a fun experience for your kids, don’t miss out on the Marbles Kids Museum. This is one of the most innovative interactive museums in the South. Kids are encouraged to “use their marbles” (hence the name!).
Kids are encouraged to do crafts, paintings, sculpting, and a wide range of activities within this 76,000 foot complex. You’ll find dozens of themed exhibits, five galleries, two outdoor escape rooms, and even a 3D IMAX theater where you can enjoy feature films and educational documentaries!
Go to the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is the largest natural history museum in the Southeast. The museum offers free admission to its visitors, so you can bring your family whenever you like!
The museum features four floors of immersive exhibits, including a 10,000-gallon aquarium with plenty of marine animals, a separate floor where you can observe small land animals, and on the third floor, you can view plenty of prehistoric dinosaurs on display. Finally, the fourth floor is dedicated to unique tropical dry forest animals, including turtles, fish, and even a two-toed sloth!
The Ann and Jim Goodnight Museum Park at the North Carolina Museum of Art
The North Carolina Museum of Art has a dedicated Museum Park, which is open free to the public from dawn to dusk. The park receives over 150,000 annual visitors who come to enjoy its contemporary gardens, impressive galleries, outdoor sculptures, easy-to-follow trails, and an elliptical lawn overlooking the Rolling Meadows.
You also don’t want to miss out on the “Cloud Chamber” – a woodland architectural installation that projects a mirror image of the exterior sky onto the inner walls of the hut! There is so much to explore in terms of art in Raleigh.
Go to the Daniel Dhers Action Sports Complex
The Daniel Dhers Action Sports Complex is one of the largest family-oriented mountain biking and skateboarding training facilities. It covers over 37,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor terrain. The facilities include a beginner’s area, a street plaza, a pump track, a foam pit, and a large viewing dock where you can enjoy watching skilled riders hit the ramps!
Go to Frankie’s Fun Park
Frankie’s Fun Park is located just minutes away from downtown Raleigh and Durham and is considered the ultimate entertainment megaplex covering 39,000 square feet. It covers a laser tag arena, bowling, mini-golf, go-karting, batting cages, a sky trail, a virtual reality Hologate, and bumper boats, all enhanced with playful colors and lighting that make a have-fun atmosphere!
It further features two cafes, a chill lounge, and a patio where you can relax. The mix of rides and great food make it a wonderful place to visit for kids and families of all sizes! In short, it is one of the best amusement parks in NC, and easily one of the most fun things to do in Raleigh NC with kids!
Go to the William B. Umstead Park
If you are an avid lover of the outdoors, visit William B. Umstead State Park, which covers over 6000 acres of recreational area. It features over 22 miles of hiking trails, 13 miles of mountain bike trails, and a variety of fun activities you can take part in, including camping, fishing, and paddling.
You may spot some interesting wildlife, including beakers, raccoons, deer, or the great blue heron!
Visit Adventure Landing
Adventure Landing is another fantastic family entertainment center with attractions perfect for kids of all ages, with fun games and dedicated areas for hosting birthday parties.
It features a quarter-mile speedway go-karting track. There are three miniature golf courses. It even has a multi-level laser tag arena. There’s also a gaming arcade with over 74 interactive games, batting cages, and a snack bar for you to relax. If you simply want to have a fun day with your kids, this is the place to be!
Go to JC Raulston Arboretum
The JC Raulston Arboretum is a part of the North Carolina State University. It covers over 10 acres of botanical gardens with unique trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plant collections. It features a beautiful Zen garden, a dedicated stone patio with lush plantations, and a rose garden.
This is a great place to visit in the summer, where you can enjoy the beauty and serenity of the well-tended gardens with your family or host family events.
Go to Lake Johnson Park
Lake Johnson Park covers over 300 acres of land surrounding a central 150-acre lake. You can visit the lake for a bunch of different boating activities, including canoeing, kayaking, sailboating, or paddling. You can also use the picnic shelters to enjoy a day in the shade.
The park also features facility rentals and greenway trails and even hosts special events every now and then. If you are up for a day of fishing, try your luck at hunting for largemouth bass, catfish, and carp at the lake! Visiting the lake is one of the most fun things to do with family in Raleigh North Carolina
Visit Galaxy Fun Park
Galaxy Fun Park is one of the largest indoor family amusement centers in Raleigh. It spans over 60,000 square feet, making it well worth the visit! It features a trampoline park, indoor go-karts, and spinning bumper cars. There is also a rope course, a laser tag arena, a soft play course, a mini golf course, and even additional arcade games. It is one of the top places for fun things to do in Raleigh North Carolina. When it comes to the best things to do in Raleigh NC with kids, it doesn’t get much better!
Go to Xtreme Park Adventures
Xtreme Park Adventures is another incredible outdoor adventure destination in the Raleigh area that ranks high on the list of the most fun things to do in Raleigh NC with kids. It includes plenty of interesting attractions for you to enjoy with the family, including paintball, airsoft fields, soccer, laser tag, rock climbing, zip-lining, a ropes course, an outdoor quest arena, and an escape room, all spread across the 50-acre park. It is one of the top places for fun things to do in Raleigh NC.
The park also allows you to take advantage of its multi-media room if you want to host a birthday party or a group gathering.
Go to Lake Johnson Loop Trail
When it comes to outdoor things for kids to do in Raleigh NC, the Lake Johnson Trail consists of a 6.8-kilometer loop trail that will take you roughly an hour and a half to circle. The trail is open year-round and is perfect if you’d like to go hiking with the family or enjoy a fishing trip at the inner Lake Johnson. The trail starts at the lake. Here you’ll be greeted with gorgeous views. The track itself is well-paced and reasonably easy to traverse!
Go to the Shelley Lake Trail
The Shelley Lake Trail is also well worth the visit with your family. It features a 3.5-kilometer loop trail that takes roughly 44 minutes to travel fully. This one is nearly half the size of the Lake Johnson loop trail. It is perfect if you don’t want something too challenging for the kids. The area surrounding the trail is also popular for bird watching, fishing, and mountain biking!
Bike the Art to Heart Trail
Planning on going biking? Don’t miss out on the Art to Heart trail! This is centered in the North Carolina Museum of Art. Admissions are generally free and open to the public. It covers a 6-mile trail! Here you can enjoy biking with the whole family. Fortunately, the trail is incredibly kid-friendly, and you’ll thoroughly enjoy your time there!
Historic Yates Mill Trails
The Historic Yates Mill County Park is a 174-acre park located five miles south of downtown Raleigh. It features over three miles of hiking trails covering ponds, creeks, and wetland habitats you can enjoy with the family. It also has a fully preserved water mill that will take you back in time. The Yates Mill originally served as a water-powered mill for Wake County. It served for over 200 years. It is a key historical site you should visit on your trip across the trails!
Go to Bond Lake Trail
The Bond Lake Trail is a 2-mile loop around Bond Lake. It is an excellent natural trail. It features a picturesque lake and a mix of paved and unpaved woodland settings that are accessible year-round. The trail is reasonably easy, and is great for walking, running, biking, and birdwatching! Plus, if the trail isn’t too challenging for you, Bond Park also has an additional 6 trails you can join!
Go to the Neuse River Greenway Trail
The Neuse River Greenway Trail is one of America’s most scenic bike trails covering 27.5 miles of uninterrupted paved ground. The trail features winding boardwalks and suspension bridges to keep it interesting. The trail is great for jogging, walking, running, cycling, and even rollerblading with the family!
Lastly, now you know the fun things to do with family in Raleigh, North Carolina. Raleigh is one of the fastest-growing cities in North Carolina. Raleigh has a rich culture, thriving ecosystem, and plentiful attractions! Stunning trails, interactive museums, and plenty of lakes and gardens make it perfect for any day out with the family!