Far Away Friday: Raleigh, NC

My long time friend Jessica recently moved to Raleigh, NC. When I say long time, I mean we were best friends at six months old. We went to the same babysitter, preschool, middle, and high school, attended the same summer camps, and spent many, many, mannnny nights at sleepovers together. The ride to Raleigh should have only taken three hours, but my advice is to leave earlier than 5:00 and don't take the Portsmouth tunnel. We knew we wanted to check out the Raleigh Children's Museum, Marbles. Unlike the Richmond Children's Museum, this one is FREE if you're a member of the Virginia Children's Museum, and they let all five of us in.

Marbles is two floors, and huge. Downstairs exhibits include:
  • Toddler's Hollow: Ages 3 and under 
  • Around Town: Firetruck, ambulance, helicopter, bus, and R's favorite huge train tables
  • Splash!: Water play, jellyfish cove, the science sub, and a big pirate ship to climb on, there were even real fish 
  • Tree Tunes: outdoor area with a large sand pit and things to dig with plus musical instruments all around 
  • Seedlings: pretend gardens 
  • Sun Sprouts: also outdoors, tractors, things to climb on, and shady areas
  • Campout room: This was a traveling exhibit 
The stairs to get from the first floor to the second are a large light up piano. 

Upstairs Exhibits: 
  • Art Loft: All kinds of art, so much art, R wanted no art. 
  • Idea Works:  Kids can make cars and race them down a track 
  • Money Palooza: Indoor play area and lots to climb on 
  • Power2Play: Indoor hockey rink, gymnastics, dance, basketball, balance boards 
  • Stemosphere: Huge legos (to make towers and knock them over)
  • Kid Grid: electricity exhibit 

We happened to come on Operation Pumpkin day, where local doctors came to help kids carve their pumpkins. What this meant for us was that Jessica and I carved a pumpkin while R ignored us and went back to the train table.
The museum offers several ongoing weekly classes for toddlers and preschool aged children and has regular events for kids of all ages. (Even mamas apparently as we carved the pumpkins!) They have an Imax theatre. They are open every day from 9-5, even Sunday, and on the first Thursday and Friday of the month stay open until 7. Mondays are group free, which I love. We parked on the street a block away for free.

Special thanks to the kids around us for letting us sit at the table and carve our pumpkin with them, and the staff for not giving us the side eye while we did it. I think it came out pretty good!

This is part one of this series. Check back for parts 2 and 3!