Monday, January 31, 2011

The Big Fun Guide to Tar Heel Country Giveaway

I promised you we'd be back with your chance to win a free copy of The Big Fun Guide to Tar Heel Country. So here it is, your chance to get your hands on this book!

Ok, honestly, we love our blog. And we hope it gives you the information you need to get going to fun adventures with your kids. However, even though we changed some settings to make this blog friendlier on your mobile device, we know that you can't take us with you. We also know that we are not comprehensive and sometimes we miss things. So you really need to keep a copy of The Big Fun Guide to Tar Heel Country in your car. At all times. I do.

This fabulous book by Erin Donoghue Baldwin has over 135 outings for families. It focuses primarily on Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Hillsborough, and Pittsboro. But I can also tell you there are some gems in Durham and Raleigh, too. The information is great, with notes on stroller accessibility, food options, bathrooms, and more. It was just published in 2008 so the information is still current.

Now that you are itching to get your copy, here is how:

- Just post a comment telling us your favorite activity (yup, you have to pick one) to do with your family in the Triangle.

That's all.

We'll select the winner at random next Sunday night and announce here on our blog.

Good luck!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Where Are We? #2 Winner

For Week #2 of Where Are We? we were at the RBC Center for a Hurricanes Game (yum, cotton candy). Out of the correct answers, we went to Random.org for our winner and it drew Katherine! If Katherine would get in touch we are sending you 1 free copy of The Big, Fun Guide to Tarheel Country. This book is a must-have. Hey blog readers, don't worry as your opportunity for a free copy will be coming up on our blog later this week as we give another one away. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, if Katherine could email us at mominchapelhill@gmail.com we would appreciate it. Thanks for playing!

Duke Lemur Center

Our boys loved the lemurs at the Museum of Life + Science. So when we read that there was a Lemur Center devoted to these fun little primates, we decided to take the boys!

The Duke Lemur Center is a real gem for our area. It gains nationwide recognition as being the only place outside of Madagascar where over 233 lemurs live and are studied. The Lemur Center was established in 1966, is on over 85 acres near Duke Forest, and is the world's largest sanctuary for these endangered species.

Getting tours to the Lemur Center is easy. They are generally offered during the weekdays and we went on a 10:30 am tour. However, advanced reservations are required. There is a limit to how many people can attend one tour (15). So don't just show up; call ahead!

Prices are: $10 for adults, $7 for kids 3 - 12, kids under 3 free.

The entire tour was about an hour. The tour started with a well-produced entertaining video about the Lemur Center that lasted about 20 minutes. Our boys enjoyed that, and it was very informative.

After that, we loaded the kids in their strollers and were taken on a guided tour of the Center. The place is very impressive, and the lemurs engaging.

Our advice to you, however, is to go when the weather is warm. In cold or rainy weather, the primates snuggle up inside. And when they go inside the public can not get close access to them as you are not allowed inside the animal centers and down the halls. Out of the hundreds of lemurs there, we saw maybe 6 because they were all indoors. When the weather is nice, however, the lemurs come to their individual outdoor spaces and the public can get nice and close.

Since the lemurs were inside, our tour guide spent a lot of time talking to us while we stood watching the lemurs we could see. Which was fascinating information but not so intriguing for most kids. Luckily our guide was really laidback and seemed not to mind or even notice the boisterous kids.

After our indoor tour, we went over to the nocturnal house. This was where some very different, non-lemur animals live. The Center controls the light in the building, reversing night and day, so that the animals can be studied and the public can see these animals on the move. They were so interesting (including one animal that has a long finger which rotates 360-degrees)! Of course, you are asked to be somewhat quiet in the nocturnal house. So while our boys loved the action of these animals, keeping excited kids quiet was somewhat hard to do.

Our tour guide was so great -- very knowledgeable and friendly.

Everything here is stroller accessible.

They do have a nice gift shop so your child can take home a stuffed lemur all their own if you want.

I would go again, but I would certainly go in nice weather to get a look at those fun little creatures as they play outside.

We had a very tasty meal at Nosh afterwards.

Duke Lemur Center
http://lemur.duke.edu/
On Lemur Lane, off of Old Erwin Road/Erwin Extension
919-489-3364

Friday, January 28, 2011

Kidstowne at Kelly Rd Park - Apex

From Sarah C.:

Visiting Kidstowne has been on my to-do list for quite some time now.  When a warm day popped up a few weeks ago, I loaded up our family and headed there.  It was so worth it even with the crowd which we expected given it was a weekend and the first warm, dry day in a while.


This playground did not disappointment.  I have a soft spot for the older style wooden playgrounds that look a bit like castles especially when they are adorned with fun paintings (a la the former All Children's Playground in Raleigh).  The playground was divided into two areas with the toddler section on the left and older kids to the right.   Both are fully fenced in except for the entrances which are open to the main walkway between the two.

We started off exploring the toddler area.  It had a smaller wooden structure to climb with a low, wide slide.  There were swings, a small playhouse and a sandbox too.  The latter was by far D's favorite part.  Oh, boys and dirt....

But the other side with all the bigger kids running around beckoned to him so the three of us headed that way.  There was an even larger wooden structure - you could climb, sneak through tunnels and over bridges, ride slides, ring bells, etc.  It was a little tricky being a busy day trying to keep an eye on our toddler amidst the older kids who were lost in their own bit of fun.  Truthfully, it wore us all out, but that was part of our reason for heading to the playground in the first place.

Outside of the playground is a basketball court, picnic tables and a baseball field (great for running off some of that built up energy from being stuck indoors on cold & rainy days).

The weather forecast is looking very balmy for January the next few days.  Head outdoors with the kids to this playground or find another we've reviewed on our Resources page here.  Have fun playing!

Kelly Road Park
http://www.apexnc.org/depts/parks/facilities/kellyRdPark.cfm
1609 Kelly Road
Apex

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Go Bananaz

It's Bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S. Now that I have that Gwen Stefani song stuck in your head all day, let's talk about the newest indoor inflatable place to open in the Triangle: Go Bananaz.

Go Bananaz opened two weeks ago. Located off of Duraleigh Road in Raleigh (not too far from Rainbow Play Systems), this was a fun little indoor stop for us.

I say little since the space was smaller than a lot of the other indoor play gyms we have been to in the past. But it was big on play.

Here is what makes Go Bananaz unique: they have bumper cars, an indoor pirate ship, and a mechanical bull (no Sex in the City scenes here though). So in addition to the inflatable slides and arcade games, there are a few unique options which older kids will definitely love.

Playing requires paying, though. There are a couple of different ticket options for play at Go Bananaz. There is an all-inclusive pass, but you can also pay a la carte for certain rides. Get all their pricing at the website (link below). Kids under 2 are $5; if you want to get an all access pass for your kids you can pay as much as $13.99. But, again there are all sorts of options.

In the back there are also 3 tvs with xbox Kinect hooked up. These were not running while we were there (which is too bad since I am totally interested in that dance game).

For the younger crowd, there is a toddler-specific area. This is truly toddler-geared. The inflatable bounce for the tots is small, with some fun velcro-calendar activities in it (surprise) as well as an appropriately sized slide. Also in the toddler area is a small ball pit. My son loves ball pits. Good thing: toddler area is close to the front door so that the older kids can run around in the back & not trample little ones. Bad thing: the toddler area is close to the front door, which leads to the parking lot. But the door is heavy enough where they can't get it open.

There are arcade games in droves here. You need tokens to play ($1 = 4 tokens) and you get tickets from play. Tickets get you prizes at the front desk. There are a lot of prizes.

No changing table.

Free wi-fi access for parents as well as some nice comfortable seats.

There are a few concessions for sale such as candies, cookies, sodas, and chips.

Since this place is so new, it is incredibly clean.

We paired this with a lunch at Bruegger's Bagels in Pleasant Valley on Glenwood (yum!) but there is a Chick-fil-A right across the street on Glenwood that has an indoor play place if your kids didn't get their fill. The hit lunch item for us? Bananas.

Go Bananaz
http://gobananaznc.com/

6022 Duraleigh Road
Raleigh
919-896-6945

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Carolina Basketball Museum

Now I know not all of you bleed Carolina Blue. In fact, I myself graduated from an ACC school outside of the Triangle. Still you can't help but be impressed by this museum, and the accolades the Carolina Basketball team has won over the years. What a prestigious program.

I took C here on a quick trip to kill some time. It is completely free to get into, and indoors. I wasn't thinking we would be here long, but I was wrong. There is an awards hall with championship rings, ACC trophies, national championship trophies, and more displayed in lit cases. There is a video room with a presentation about the history of the program, with highlights and clips from some of the biggest games and moments.

Then the area opens into a huge, sun-drenched exhibit. There is an unlimited amount of eye candy (and Carolina Blue) here . There is an area dedicated just to Dean Smith, NBA players from Carolina who went in the first-round, Michael Jordan, Sports Illustrated covers featuring UNC basketball, and who knows what else! (The oldest piece I found was from the 1920s.)

At first I was surprised at how fascinated C was by this museum. But then I realized that there was so much to look at (all locked behind safety glass, so this place is pretty kid-safe), including tvs with game clips running constantly. With a basketball floor great for exploring and running around. We had a great time here!

We tried to tie in a trip inside the Smith Center to check out the court, but it closes with no notice for practices. Thus we were denied. But we'll try again; it is generally open to the public Monday through Friday 8 am - 5 pm.

Parking for the museum is across the street in the Williamson lot. Despite the large sign at the front of the lot requiring employee-only parking tags, there are metered spots specifically for the museum and Smith Center ticket office. We used those. But don't tempt the parking folks, they will find you and ticket you if you don't adhere to the rules. Of course, all bets are off if there is a game. So you might want to check the Tarheel basketball schedule before you go.

Like I mentioned, entrance is free. This is absolutely stroller friendly. I didn't notice any changing tables.

It was a great little stop for us with our tot in tow.

Carolina Basketball Museum
http://tarheelblue.cstv.com/museum/

Closed Sundays and Mondays

Tuesdays - Fridays 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Saturdays 9:00 am to 1:00 pm
450 Skipper Bowles Drive
Chapel Hill

(but, really, look at the campus map here because I never saw that road name on a single sign-- the museum is directly next door to the Smith Center)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Postpartum Doulas

Today's informative article was written in conjunction with Pam Diamond of First Daze and Nightzzz (who we also mentioned in our Sleep Resources article). I know that a lot of people are exploring the options of doulas in the labor and delivery. But did you know that doulas can also help post-partum? This can be a great option for a lot of moms.

I know when we brought C home I had my mother stay with us, and found the help immeasurable. Someone to hold my hand while I hormonally-cried-for-no-reason, someone to make healthy food, someone to help with the laundry, and someone to be a sounding board of ideas, the support came in all forms and helped me adjust and recover.

But if family isn't an option or the right fit for you, there are still people out there to help. So here are the basics you should know when looking into this:

First off, why use a doula?

Studies show that when new mothers have support at home in the early weeks after delivery, the risk of postpartum depression diminishes, and the chance of breastfeeding successfully increases. Without support, healing from birth and learning to take care of a newborn might otherwise be overwhelming. A postpartum doula on hand helps make the transition from pregnancy to motherhood more manageable.

How to find a doula?

CAPPA (Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association - http://www.cappa.net/) and DONA (Doulas of North America - http://dona.org/) are the two agencies that offer postpartum doula training and certification. They both have listings on their sites where people can find doulas. When looking, CAPPA says, “Postpartum doulas should be good with children, patient, non-judgmental, and knowledgeable about newborn care and breastfeeding.”

Check with local childbirth educators, birth doulas, pediatricians, OB/GYNs or lactation consultants for other ways to get referrals to skilled and recommended doulas in your area.

It is really important, too, to interview and meet your doula beforehand to find the one you feel you "click" with. Afterall, this person will be in your home at a time when you feel vulnerable. Make sure you get along!

What can a doula do for you?

A postpartum doula is a knowledgeable, supportive professional whose role is to nurture, guide and educate the new mother during her transition into motherhood. Her role is not to take over complete care of the newborn (or newborns as the case often is) but to empower the family with education and support so they feel confident caring for their baby themselves. In addition, she may free the new mother from responsibilities that may interfere with her need for rest, recovery and time for bonding with her baby.

A postpartum doula provides breastfeeding education and infant care instruction. For instance, she will teach how to bathe, feed and burp the baby along with demonstrating proven and safe comforting techniques for the baby. She ensures mom gets enough food, fluids and rest. She helps the entire family with reassurance, simple meal preparation, light housework and errands. She offers proper support, encouragement and education so families can make informed decisions regarding the care of their babies.

A qualified postpartum doula recognizes signs of postpartum depression and can direct the mother to local resources for help.

Postpartum doulas do NOT offer any medical advice or perform any medical or clinical procedures, but instead can offer parents referrals to appropriate studies and published books and encouragement to seek guidance from their healthcare professionals when appropriate.

The post- partum doula may work from just a few weeks up to 3 or 4 months. A mother with multiples may need help a bit longer.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Where Are We? #2

You all guessed last week's Where Are We? so fast, it was impressive! This week, see if you can guess where we are satisfying our sweet tooth. **We will put all correct answers into a pot, draw a name at random, and the winner gets a a prize!**


Where are we?

SPCA of Wake County

From Sarah C. -- a new and creative find!

Even if you aren't looking for a new member of the family, the SPCA of Wake County is a great place to visit especially if your kids love animals. We adopted our oldest cat from the SPCA in 2000 when the adoption center was still located off Highway 70 in Garner. The new building is gorgeous and offers better accommodations for the animals as well as great viewing/visiting opportunities for two legged guests. ;)


D and I were looking for indoor (read out of the cold) ideas to keep us occupied when the thought occurred to me to visit. He loves our two cats (who run and hide from him) and gets so excited seeing the animals at Petsmart and Petco that I knew this would be a hit. Even better, here he could walk around versus being strapped into a stroller or shopping cart.

When checking the website (link below) to verify their hours, I browsed events and was thrilled to find the SPCA offers a Preschoolers & Pets program twice a month. The topic changes each month. This month we learned about the different types of homes animals have. There were various homes pictured on a felt board and the instructor pulled out images of animals. One by one the children had an opportunity to take one of the animals and place it with the corresponding home. We also sang songs complete with hand motions (did you know you can make a turtle by making a fist and sticking out your thumb?) and were given sheets & crayons with a matching game (ie, draw a line from the bird to it's house). The program is held in the retail shop at the front of the building. Admittedly, a few of the dog toys distracted D at times, but this is a relaxed class so don't worry if your child struggles to sit still and remain attentive for the entire 30 minutes.

If you are interested in attending the Preschoolers & Pets program check the SPCA's website (see below) for the day/time of the class and register to attend. The class is free but a donation of $1 per person is suggested. The donation box is located in the lobby.

Once the program ended, we were given instructions for visiting the animals. You are able to go into the cat rooms, request a visit with a dog (a volunteer will bring the dog to you in a special visiting room), peek into the cages at guinea pigs & rabbits, and pet puppies.

Knowing D's excitability, we started by just looking through the windows at the animals. Once I felt confident enough, we went into one of the cat rooms. His energy did seem to startle a some of the nappers, but only enough to barely crack an eyelid to glance his way. A few were kind enough to sit there and let him pat them.

Next we headed down the hall to see the dogs. Here we stuck to looking through the windows. Several were very excited to see us and jumped up at the windows to say hello. We saw a couple outside in one of the play yards enjoying recess. At the very back of the dog section, we found the puppies. Adorable little balls of energy! They have nice little tubs (think cinder block version of a playpen) where they can play or come up to you to say hello. It's perfect at keeping the puppies and kids apart but still allowing them to have a little interaction.


SPCA of Wake County
http://www.spcawake.org | Humane Education for Kids
200 Petfinder Lane
Raleigh
(919) 772-2326

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Sunday, January 23, 2011

South Estes Farmers' Market

The South Estes Farmers' Market happens every Saturday from 10 am to noon year-round, and is a great little stop.

This market isn't as big as Carrboro's Farmers' Market, even in peak season, but the South Estes Farmers' Market is in such a great location it makes it convenient to drop in.

Right now, not a lot is in season outside of root vegetables and some leafy greens. But the Farmers' Market runs year round and still manages to entice people now with fresh baked goods (yum) and loads of local meats for sale, straight from the farm. Great quality meat.

Unlike the Eno River Farmers' Market I didn't see any specific activities for kids. And also unlike the Carrboro Farmers' Market, no playground. But the South Estes Farmers' Market is still a great way to explore our community and support our local agriculture (which is a great lesson for kids to learn). And of course you can head in to University Mall for some activities there; this is right in the parking lot of A Southern Season.

Be sure to check this little community gem out in high season, too! They do host occasional special events, so check out their website starting in the spring.

South Estes Farmers' Market
http://www.southestesfarmersmarket.com/
201 South Estes Drive
Chapel Hill
(University Mall, parking lot of A Southern Season)

Saturday mornings Apr-Nov: 8am-noon Dec-Mar: 10am-noon
Tuesday afternoons
May-Nov: 3-6pm

Friday, January 21, 2011

Sport Art Gymnastics

Updated 1/2012- SportArt has renamed themselves Orange County Gymnastics and moved to a temporary location in University Mall while they renovate their facility.  Same great classes and great prices!
 
As you know blog friends, I have been on the prowl for some good movement classes for C as of later. We loved Little Gym, Tumble Gym, and Bull City Gymnastics. But I've been looking for something that combines a good price with a convenient location for our family. Sport Art Gymnastics seems the place that works for us!

Sport Art offers gymnastics for kids of all ages. We personally tried out the Mom/Pop & Tot Class, geared towards ages 16 months through Preschool. This class was lead by a woman named Nancy, who the kids just loved. Nancy has been doing this for over 30 years, and is so relaxed and funny. I loved her immediately.

The class we took was not nearly as organized or as planned as the other classes we have seen. In fact, this was a lot more like an open play time in a gym. There were obstacle courses set up and various age-appropriate equipment around. And some kids' music played intermittently in the background.

But Mrs. Nancy would spend one-on-one time with different children, encouraging them in whatever particular activity they seemed to be interested in. This was everything from rolling some of the kids in a big tube to helping others learn cartwheels. And for this age group, this seemed to be a great tactic. Especially as there can be a huge different between an 18-month old and a 26-month old in motor skills. I appreciated following C's natural tendencies and interest instead of trying to make him sit.

We did end with some parachute time and songs.

The facilities seem older than Bull City, but just as safe and entertaining and diverse (although I did not see a foam pit).

Parent + Tot classes are Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10:30 am. But Nancy is open to hosting other classes if there is a number of people committed (playgroups?).

There are also classes for older kids that are much more traditional gymnastics lessons. I hear from parents with children in those classes that they are learning a lot and having a lot of fun.

I do like the price of Sport Art. Parent + Tot is $43/month (assuming 4 classes in 1 month that is just over $10 per class). But you get a 10% discount if you register for an entire semester.

So even if you just want to drop in for a day of play, call up Mrs. Nancy at the number below. This is also close to the Homestead Aquatic Center and Park, and not too far from Orange Leaf for an apres-gymnastics treat!

Sport Art Gymnastics
http://www.sportartgymnastics.com/
2200 Homestead Road
Chapel Hill
919-929-7077

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Pajama Time Storytime

From Sarah C. This is too cute!

Pajama Time is a family friendly storytime offered weekday evenings at select Wake County Public Libraries. The description on the website notes "Pajamas and teddy bears optional!" Our family of three recently visited West Regional Library for this storytime. We didn't wear our pajamas, but D did bring along his pacifier and lovey. Normally those come out for crib time only, but they seemed appropriate since this was a pre-bedtime storytime.

The storytime started off with a song and dance to get out the wiggles! Then we enjoyed two stories with a break between for another songand dance - a great little break from sitting quietly during the stories. Finally, it wrapped up with a puppet show based on the book Katy No-Pocket by Emmy Payne.

It was a nice, relaxing way to end the day and fun to have the opportunity for storytime together as a family since often those are weekday adventures for D and me while DH is working. If you're interested in attending Pajama Time or another storytime, check the Wake County Public Libraries website (link below) for event times and locations.

Wake County Public Libraries
http://www.wakegov.com/libraries/default.htm
Events & Storytimes for Kids

Eva Perry Regional Library - Pajama Time Thursdays at 7:00pm*
http://www.wakegov.com/libraries/locations/evaperry/events.htm
2100 Shepherd's Vineyard Drive, Apex
919-387-2100

Southeast Regional Library - Pajama Time Mondays at 7:00pm*
http://www.wakegov.com/libraries/locations/southeast/events.htm
908 Seventh Avenue, Garner
919-662-2250

West Regional Library- Pajama Time Wednesdays & Thursdays at 7:00pm*
http://www.wakegov.com/libraries/locations/westregional/events.htm
4000 Louis Stephens Drive, Cary
919-463-8500

*Please check the library events website or call ahead to verify in case of schedule change, holiday, etc.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Carolina Hurricanes Game

I love living in the Triangle. So many great opportunities: like the hockey games! A professional hockey team in our own backyard? Yes, please!

To cut you off at the pass: yes, hockey can be violent, and there can be fights and blood. But man if it isn't fun! It moves fast and swift. The talent of the players is unbelievable. And it is usually full of drama. It fascinates me. And a lot of kids, too! (The good news is that the cheerleaders are fully and appropriately clothed.)Hurricanes games, which happen at the RBC Center, are a lot of fun for the family. The RBC Center is a very nice, clean venue. It is open, airy, and well run. Nice changing stations in the bathrooms.

Of course, like nearly all arenas, it is also ridiculously overpriced. Onsite parking (pretty much the only thing available) is $10. And concessions, running everywhere from cotton candy, beer, wine, liquor, coffee bars, hot dogs, pizzas, BBQ joints, are also going to be expensive. But for a special once-in-awhile family outing this is a great idea.

The kids all around us, of all ages, seemed to love it. There is a lot more "game" here than at a Durham Bulls game. So not as many local, homegrown entertainment during breaks. But they still had fun music and fun games between the periods. The best parts are the crowd shots. They spend a lot of time picking people out of the crowd and flashing them up on the big screen. It is so great to see so many cute, happy kids dancing their hearts out, excited to be on the big screen.

There are a lot of home games every season, so lots of opportunities. Ticket costs per seat depend on when you go and what seats you get but are between $30 and $230. They do offer group discounts (birthday party?) as well as various season ticket plans.

DH and I went without C because of the whole bedtime thing. Combined with the fact that here, even moreso than a Bulls game, you have to stay in your seat (they actually don't let you go up and down the aisles while the puck is in play). But given how many kids were in attendance and how much fun they were having, I can't wait to take C.

I will say it made me want to pack C up immediately and head out for Stroller Skate.

* Little side note (2011): if you and your family just can't get enough hockey, Raleigh is hosting the All-Star game January 28-30.

Carolina Hurricanes
http://hurricanes.nhl.com/

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Fun Zone

From Sarah C. today. We were excited when Fun Zone opened for drop-in child care services. But we were even more excited when they then opened their doors for open playtimes during the week. Whatever option you choose, the Fun Zone is, not to be poetic, fun!

**Updated - Toddler Time is no longer offered. The Fun Zone is still open on Friday & Saturday evenings for Kids' Nite Out and can be reserved for Birthday Parties. See website at bottom of post for additional information.**

It can be hard keeping toddlers entertained especially when the cold and/or wet weather limit your options. Lucky for us, the Fun Zone in downtown
Durham began offering Toddler Playtime on Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 9:30-11:00am. Our playgroup visited last week for a bit of, well, fun!

The Fun Zone is packed with toys and crafts for all ages. Our boys ages 18-22 months were initially just running from bin to bin to see what they could find. There were plenty of matchbox cars for racing, puzzles to put together, tents to climb into (the bus one was a big hit!), a kitchen stocked with pretend foods, bean bags to sit flop on, a table filled with Little People (barn, house & castle), a wooden train set and more.

For us moms, we loved the enclosed, childproof space where our kids could play freely while we relaxed for a bit and caught up with each other. After
playtime ended, we headed immediately next door to Scratch for lunch. A delightful way to end our adventure!

If weekday fun doesn't fit your schedule, be sure to check out the Fun Zone on the weekends. They offer Friday and Saturday evening drop-in childcare (a la Green Kids) from 6:00-9:00pm. No longer can you use the lack of a sitter or last minute planning to skip a date night. Drop off the kids for fun at the Fun Zone while the parents enjoy adult fun with a quiet meal for two at any of the great restaurants within walking distance.

Check the website (listed below) for additional details as well as other offerings such as group playdates or a coordinated playdate/crafty time with the Fun Zone's sister business, Sew Crafty.

The Fun Zone
http://www.thefunzoneforkids.com/
104 W. Parrish St
Durham
919-740-3587

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Monday, January 17, 2011

Where Are We? #1

Something a little different for you all in 2011, but we loved this idea and thought we would give it a go (since giveaways aren't necessarily your flavor)....

At the beginning of the week MiCHill is going to post a photo of somewhere we've been, somewhere already reviewed and posted. You all try to guess where we are. There may or may not be prizes chosen at random from all correct answers entered. You will have to enter your guess then wait and see!

We always seem to have great photos of places we go in the Triangle that we want to share, yet our blogspots have limited space for photos. So this gives us a chance to show you more on places, give you a snapshot (ha!) into who we are a little more, and maybe sometimes win things.

So here's our first photo:

Where are we?

Orange County Public Library (Carrboro) & Storytime

I have mentioned the Orange County Library in Carrboro before, in our storytimes listing. And I mentioned how I have funny memories of this library since I was the person who tried to visit during school hours.

Why is this funny? This library is located inside McDougle Middle School. And it is clearly marked as only open to the public on the weekends and after 3:30 pm on weekdays. Oops. I was hanging out with a bunch of 13 year olds. Luckily they were quite nice. No spitballs at the strange old lady.

In a different capacity, and armed with knowledge, I took C to the storytime here. Storytime is on Saturday at 10:30 am and advertises appropriateness for a huge age range (1 - 6).

We enjoyed this, and liked that it is an indoor activity is offered on the weekend for kids. The story part of storytime was short: 1 book. But it was cute. And the craft was way more intricate and well-thought than other storytimes I have been to. The kids made basketball hoops (it went with the book). Granted, the craft was a little old for C but we still had fun sticking stickers and coloring with crayons. And the older kids who were there were entertained.

The library itself is nice! It isn't the biggest library in the area, but it is of a decent size and the selection is good. The kids area kept C intrigued with its bench seats and wall murals. And it was nice that the storytime was so well attended it kept the library going with a constant din of noise. With a toddler who has a hard time staying quiet for too long, I appreciated the company of noise.

Orange County Public Library - Carrboro
McDougle Middle School
Information
| Events
900 Old Fayetteville Road
Carrboro
919-969-3006

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Stroller Strides

From Sarah C.:

New year, new you? Many of us want to get in a good workout but also struggle with what to do with our kids during that time. We are fortunate that there are options in the Triangle where you can take your child with you and that's exactly what Stroller Strides offers. There are two groups in the area - Raleigh and Midtown Raleigh. During warmer months, you'll find they each offer classes at several outdoor locations. Right now each has just one location with Stroller Strides of Raleigh meeting at Cary Towne Center and Stroller Strides of Midtown Raleigh meeting at Gold's Gym at North Hills.

D and I recently ventured to North Hills to attend a class to see what it was all about. Sure, I've strapped him in his stroller and gone for walks to get exercise but this was a whole new level. With the little ones snug in their strollers playing with toys and enjoying snacks (a few even napped!), the moms got in a full body workout. We started with warm up movements in place and did a few laps around the gym. Then the workout really kicked in - we did lunges, bicep & tricep curls with resistance tubing, squats, crunches and more. I confess, this was my first structured exercise class since I took Aquamoms while pregnant with D (yeah, that would be 18 months ago) and I haven't kept up any regular routine on my own so this was a challenge, but don't let that scare you because it was totally doable. A few times when I was struggling, I slowed down or tried the alternate exercise the instructor suggested.

For his part, D managed pretty well. I wasn't certain how he would take being strapped into his stroller for an hour. I think seeing all the other kids in their strollers helped. About 3/4 of the way through, he was crying and had had enough. Poor child is cutting molars plus really, really wanted the balls that the class needed for an exercise. Here's where this kind of class is awesome. Everyone is a mom. Everyone has a child. They get it. There were no "can't you keep your kid quiet" stares. I picked him up, held him and did some squats in place of the exercise the others were doing. Once he calmed down and the balls weren't in use, he freely ran around the gym chasing them while I did some floor exercises. If the ball went rolling in their direction, another mom would give it a little shove and send it rolling back across the room for him to chase. Now that I think about it, he got a bit of a workout there too!

The instructor and all the attendees were very friendly. It's clear that several have been regular members of the class and/or playgroup, but I wasn't treated as the "outsider" (beyond that extra hello and nice to meet you). It was truly an inviting experience.

Stroller Strides is safe for pregnant moms and the instructors can demonstrate modified exercises when needed. Try your first class for free. Pre-register on the website (see links below). For future classes, there are multiple options from pay per class to a membership.

This is also a great way to meet other moms in the area. Both Stroller Strides of Raleigh and Stroller Strides of Midtown Raleigh have Meetup Groups and offer playgroup & moms night out opportunities outside of the exercise classes. You don't have to take the Stroller Strides classes to attend.

Little note from AC here, but don't feel like you need to invest in or have to have a fancy jogging stroller to attend! Sarah C. did this with her travel system stroller. And I did the Baby Boot Camp this past summer with a hand me down umbrella. So, basically: no excuses!

Stroller Strides
http://www.strollerstrides.com/ | Class Search
Midtown Raleigh | Raleigh

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Friday, January 14, 2011

La Vita Dolce at University Mall

Updated 4/2011: And, like that, they've closed.  C'est la vie La Vita D.
 
You all are keeping secrets from me : La Vita Dolce opened in University Mall!? This is so great!

In November, on Black Friday, La Vita Dolce left their Southpoint Mall location to start a spot in University Mall. Southpoint's loss is our gain. If you don't recall, La Vita Dolce is the gelato spot C and I like to visit in Southern Village.

The University Mall location is a small counter, but lots of taste. A nice range of gelato choices as well as a full coffee bar and a selection of baked goods.

I like that I can now take my kid to Chick-fil-A for a kid-friendly lunch then head over and get some good caffeine. And, of course, A Southern Season is also in the vicinity!

And while I appreciate you all looking out for my post-New-Years-Resolution waistline, let's not keep secrets from each other any more.

La Vita Dolce- University Mall
http://www.lavitadolcenc.com/ (although not updated)
201 S. Estes Drive
Chapel Hill

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Sleep Help: Local Resources

Let's face it. Being a parent is a sleep-depriving, exhausting experience. There are the rare babies that are born with an innate ability and desire to sleep. But most parents have to spend considerable time teaching their children how to sleep.

And every family and child is so different. If there was one final answer, every child would be sleeping soundly. But the methods, resources, and tips out there are incredibly varied.

A lot of parents and kids can find their stride with hard work, diligence, the aid of their pediatrician, and a few good books.

But for other parents and kids, professional help and services are needed. Yes, there are a lot of websites out there to help, too. You can work with people re
motely via email and phone and they can guide you. And we are certainly not discounting those on this blog! Yet sometimes nothing beats bringing someone in to see your child directly and observe.

And MiCHill just learned that 2 doulas who live in the area, and are highly esteemed by some mommas who have used their services, have started a new sleep help service.

This new service is called Lullaby Sleep.

They describe themselves as such:
"Our program synthesizes the best of many sleep methods because we've learned that just one method doesn't fit all babies and families. We assess physical, neuorological, temperamental, and family needs, combined with psychological, biological and behavioral processes, to teach healthy habits to little ones."

They specialize in children 4 months - 24 months. And given their doula experience, these ladies have seen some things and have hands-on wisdom.

Another service in the Triangle Area is called First Daze.

Described as such:
"No single approach works with all of the babies all of the time. Pam helps families find an approach that fits their child's temperament, the family's values, and one they can follow consistently. She empowers the parents and guides them in a non-judgmental way toward resolving their baby's sleep issues."

Pam Diamond is the owner of the operation, and also a doula. She further offers services in lactation consultation and post-birth home help.

Both of these professionals offer their services to clients all over the Triangle.

If none of that works or you prefer a more clinical approach, Duke Hospital's McGovern-Davison Children's Health Center has a sleep study clinic. You get in from referral from your pediatrician. You must start your child with a medical screening test (looking for common sleep problems such as asthma, allergies, acid reflux). From there, dependent on diagnosis, the treatment plan and next steps differ. But they do have an overnight program where your child sleeps overnight in a room, you in attendance, to be monitored.

Here's the thing: none of these services are going to be cheap. Duke's program may be covered by your insurance, and the in-home help will vary in cost depending on what your treatment plan ends up being. But consider it an investment in the future. Starting healthy sleep habits for the sake of the whole family.

And good luck!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Foster's Market Family Dinners

Hello blog friends. Don't worry about me being iced in over here. We picked up the Foster's Market Family Dinners this week. So we are eating like royalty while my car stays permanently parked in the garage!

A blog reader had recommended the Foster's dinners awhile ago. And while I am nearly always inspired to cook fresh dinners in the spring, summer, and fall, I tend to lose my stride in winter. So after another night of scarfing down a grilled cheese sandwich, I remembered the reader suggestion and decided we would give this a go.

You have to plan in advance. You put your order in on Friday before 2pm the week before you want the meal (in other words, you put your order in Friday at 2pm, pick up the next Monday after 2pm). You can order from the Durham or the Chapel Hill location. They both offer the same program, same price, same meals. You can order by email or by phone, and they will confirm with you that they have your order. There are vegetarian options, just specify when ordering if you prefer that (no single entree substitutions, though).

You go to the store you ordered from Monday at 2pm to pick it up. Here is what it looks like:
I know, it doesn't look like much. But inside is a wealth of fantastic food. Our meal plan for the week included pork with a cranberry relish, tilapia with a remoulade, chicken with a scallion rice, butternut squash casserole over barley with goat cheese, mac and cheese, spinach with a cranberry vinagerette dressing, fresh rolls, and cookies. Everything is clearly labeled:
You are provided very clear and easy directions for reheating. And freezing, too, should you wish to freeze any of the packages for later use.

It is $100 for meals for 2 ($200 for 4, $400 for 8). Which if you really got 1 meal a day would be only $14 a day to feed two. Alas, this is not going to last us a week. But it is an easy 3 nights of dinners with some fantastic sides to accompany us the rest of the week. Looking at 3 nights of gourmet dinners (and that's being dramatic), this ends up being $33 a day to feed two. So it isn't the cheapest, but it's not outrageous. It's just swallowing (pun!) that upfront payment.

The food is absolutely scrumptious. I actually like this better than a lot of the fare I have had at Foster's when I dine in.

There are kid entrees available for additional purchase ($15). Tell them when you place your order if you want the add on.

Menus for the month are posted here: http://www.fostersmarket.com/menus/family-dinners/. Be still my growling stomach.

To order from Durham: 919-489-3944 cateringdur@fostersmarket.com
To order from Chapel Hill:
919-967-3663 cateringch@fostersmarket.com

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Quail Ridge Books

From Sarah C., another book haunt:

During a recent trek into Raleigh, D and I stopped by Quail Ridge Books. It's a well known independent book store located in Ridgewood Shopping Center off Wade Avenue just inside of I-440. The store hosts regular events including readings and book signings.

Our plan for visiting was simply to stop in and browse the Children's section. D loves books and had some Christmas money so I thought it would be a great place to search out a new title or two for our personal library. The Children's Section is tucked into the back left corner. It's a very cheery room with bright yellow walls and shelves overflowing with books. We quickly located a good selection of board books and began our search. I'm betting if there is a book you are looking for, you will find it in this store. We were quite pleased to stumble across a Curious George board book that D didn't already own (we have a slight obsession with him at the moment and I prefer board books to avoid torn pages for now) and we hadn't seen at any other stores we have visited. True, we could have ordered it online, but I love book shopping in person and supporting our local businesses.

The staff is extremely friendly and helpful. Be sure to ask if you can't find the book you want.

Preschool Storytime is every Monday at 10am and occasionally features guest authors. Check the website (listed below) for any dates when storytime will not be held.

Quail Ridge Books & Music
http://www.quailridgebooks.com/
Kids & Teens Events | Preschool Storytime
3522 Wade Avenue
Raleigh, NC 27607-4048
(919) 828-1588

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Monday, January 10, 2011

Barnes & Noble (Southpoint) Storytime

We have been all about Barnes & Noble lately. I don't know if you caught it, but we mentioned them in our Train Table Roll Call post, and in general C is obsessed with books. It is a great place to take a break from errands and let him get out energy (and it's free). But I figured I would try out their more formal entertainment events and take C to their storytime (also free).

Even though we have been using both the New Hope Commons and the Southpoint locations for our enjoyment as of late, we went to storytime at Southpoint.

The kids area is so cozy with, in addition to the train table, kid sized benches, chairs and tables as well as a little stage.

The best part of this storytime was how incredibly unstructured it was. The narrator was very talented, and did a good job keeping the older kids interested. But this is a very popular storytime, and the younger kids spent more time arguing over the train table than listening to the story. But it was all okay, and everyone was so happy.

After the completion of the story (and the stories this month are all about snow), there was a crafty activity. But with so many kids in attendance, the crafty activity has to be easy so it is usually coloring. Crayons and coloring sheets provided. The kids were pretty diligent about coloring their sheets.

I know that Barnes & Noble has branched out to selling toys now. And for some parents that is a little frustrating as it used to be a place to take your kids to be about books. But overall, we love hanging out there. I get to pump myself with some caffeine and C gets to start learning about "sharing" at the train table.

Storytime on Fridays is at 10:30 am and usually happens every Friday. Sometimes they have characters show up (Clifford is scheduled to come on Jan 28th). But they do reserve the right to change the schedule, so MiCHill recommends checking their website (below) before you go. We've been bitten by cancelled storytime here before.

It's just too bad the peppermint mocha is no longer the drink of the month....I got seriously addicted to those....

Barnes and Noble
The Streets at Southpoint
www.barnesandnoble.com
8030 Renaissance Parkway
Durham, NC
919-806-1930

Sunday, January 9, 2011

For Mom: Pure Barre

Was your New Year's Resolution to get in shape? Well, when I saw a place that advertised that their programs help "New Moms Bounce Back," I knew I had to get in there.

Pure Barre is the newest trend in workout studios. And on their website is a portion specifically dedicated to new moms: "Pure Barre is the safest and most effective way to get back in shape after your baby. In PB there is no impact, you can work at your own pace and it focuses on the areas that need the most attention post-baby (abs, hips & thighs). To help you bounce back after your baby, we offer a special priced 3 month unlimited package for new moms. "Let's be honest, if you have had a child those probably are your problem areas. They are for me! So with a location in Meadowmont, I gave it a go.

Pure Barre focuses on tiny, controlled movements to burn and tone. You use a small ball, resistance bands, light weights, and a ballet barre. It starts off fast, right into the first round of abdominal work within 10 minutes.

There isn't any cardio component to this, it is all about toning.

I was a ballet dancer for years, and thought this would be run more like a ballet class, but the particular session I attended just used the barre for balance and stability. I was told that how balletic the class is is dependent on the instructor.

This was tough! I like to think myself reasonably in shape, and I was shaking on some of the moves. As were the other ladies in the class with me....

It was all low impact moves, integrating some Pilates. And the instructor was great about coming around and correcting form and technique to keep the workouts safe and effective.

Even though my glutes would be mad to hear me say this today, I would definitely go back to Pure Barre!

Psst, when you do get hooked, there are workouts available on DVD and podcast for you to do at home. Do something good for mom, head to Pure Barre.

Pure Barre
http://purebarre.com
Two locations in the Triangle:

Pure Barre Chapel Hill
608 Meadowmont Village Circle
Chapel Hill, NC
919-537-8305
chapelhill@purebarre.com

Pure Barre Raleigh
4209-134 Lassiter Mill Road
Raleigh, NC
919-896-7464
raleigh@purebarre.com

Friday, January 7, 2011

Bull City Gymnastics

I am on the prowl for gymnastics classes for C. We have loved Kindermusik in the past, but now that he is constantly on the move and "all boy" (meaning he likes to run into things at tremendous speeds), I wanted something mobile.

We've tried out Tumble Gym and Little Gym. Both were great, but I need to be thorough in my research. So to Bull City Gymnastics we went!

This was a fantastic experience. We did the Parent + Tot class. Bull City is a place that garners a lot of awards and trains kids to be fantastic gymnasts, so its reputation preceded it.

I can't say that C or his buddies are ready to be competition level gymnasts, but they had a blast.

The lesson started with some songs and movement. From there, we moved on to different obstacle courses. We spent about 10 minutes at each different course. But this was loosely structured. So if your child wanted to go back and re-explore the first course, they were permitted.

The teacher was very sweet and lead the kids (or tried to lead the kids, it's like herding cats) through exercises designed to promote different motor skills.

We ended with a parachute moment filled with songs and dancing on the parachute.

In all, this lesson wasn't too dissimilar from other places we have tried out. But what separated Bull City for me were the facilities. There was so much equipment here, it was all in tip top shape, and there was a lot of space. There is even a visitor's gallery where people can watch if they wish (think kids that are dragged to their sibling's lesson).

Overall C and all the people in our mommies group really enjoyed this experience. Alas, the drive is a little too far for me personally to commit to every week, so the hunt continues...

Kids must be over 12 months to take a class at Bull City Gymnastics.

They have classes for adults who want to work out in a gymnast-sort of way, and they also have special events such as "Kids Nights Out."

They do birthday parties and overnight parties (I was told that they get to sleep in the foam pit!).

Bull City Gymnastics
http://www.bullcitygymnastics.com/
4502 Bennett Memorial Road
Durham
919-383-3600

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Wheels Fun Park

To battle the post-holiday blues, we're getting out a lot these days. And we're making the circuit of indoor play places. Accordingly, Sarah C. and I packed up the boys and went to Wheels Fun Park.

Wheels is in 2 steel buildings in Durham. One building houses the roller rink, which we did not test for you. The other building houses the play gym. There are multiple outdoor options, too, including go-karts, putt putt, a skate park, and batting cages. Quite a lot here! 8 1/2 acres.

We paid our $5 each to get in (price varies depending on activity and age, but is not listed online, so we recommend calling ahead if you want to know before you go). Then the boys hit the 6,500 square foot play gym. This thing was amazing. I refer to it as a hamster cage for humans, but in a loving, full of amazement way. There were tubes, slides, ropes, tunnels, bounces, and ball pits all over. Like I said, absolutely amazing. Hard to describe; you're lucky we took pictures!

In the back of the room are picnic tables, arcade games (bring coins), and building blocks. Wheels thoughtfully erected a baby area that includes a little slide, rocking horse, and is entirely enclosed by a play yard.

Wheels has been around since 1977. The 80s were the heyday of my roller skating years and would have been a great fit then, too! And while Wheels has a lot to offer, it is clearly old with few updates and renovations. The play gym area was very cold (we kept our jackets on), and it was clear that the equipment had seen better days.

But our kids loved the enormous ball pit. We were fortunate as we were the only ones in the place the day we went, therefore no older kids were coming down the slides. But even if there had been more people, Wheels has plenty of space for them!

We also appreciate that this is a great place to take kids of varying ages, and is also a place the boys can grow with.

There is a concessions stand. The staff here was incredibly friendly and helpful.

They do parties and events with a pavilion outside and a large party room inside. Call if you are interested.

This place is not too far from where I am in Chapel Hill. Unless, of course, your toddler is obsessed with "I Love Trash" and you listen to that 1 song the entire way there. Then it feels like it takes forever.

We paired this with a little lunch at Foster's Market on 15/501.

Hours can vary depending on season and activities booked at Wheels (they are generally closed on Mondays) so call before going.

Wheels Fun Park
http://www.wheelsfunparkdurham.com/
715 N. Hoover Road
Durham
919-598-1944

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

NCMA: Fins & Feathers plus more!

From Sarah C.:

The East Building (ie, the original building) at the NC Museum of Art reopened in early November as home to its special exhibits. Earlier this week D and I bundled up, braved the cold wind on the long walk from the parking lot to take a peek. Our mission - to see Fins and Feathers: Original Children’s Book Illustrations from The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.

Green Frog, Green Frog, What do you see? Eric Carle
I am sure all of our blog readers can relate immediately to Eric Carle's work. The Fins and Feathers exhibit features some of his illustrations, but also some from other artists. All are on loan from The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Massachusetts. The exhibit is in a small room with each illustration framed and mounted on the wall. Above the illustrations are quotes from the various books featured. In the center of the room is a mobile created from book pages and, below it, a collection of the books themselves on a circular table with 4 chairs. We spent a good bit of our visit sitting there thumbing through them. Such a great, simple way to make this exhibit interactive for children of all ages.

We next headed across the hall to see the Birds of America exhibit. I was pleasantly surprised at how this one also entertained D. He couldn't quite see (or appreciate) the gorgeous plates of John James Aubudon's work (which I plan to return to enjoy on a future "adult only" visit), but the stuffed birds mounted around the room definitely caught his eye and he let out several loud excited cries.

On our way out of the building, we slowly passed through the area featuring Bob Trotman's Inverted Utopias. No deep analysis of it here. We simply enjoyed looking at the sculptures of people (or parts thereof - one featured several people from chest up reaching for the sky as though they are sinking into the floor). I think D's favorite was the likeness of Trotman himself called "Vertigo" that is suspended above the visitor.

If you are looking for an enjoyable time indoors, be sure to drop by the Museum this month to catch Fins and Feathers and Inverted Utopias before they leave. All current special exhibits and dates are listed below. Note that photography is not allowed in the special exhibits.

See Allison's review of the "new" museum, the West Building, featuring the permanent collection here.


NC Museum of Art
http://ncartmuseum.org/ 
Exhibitions | Upcoming Exhibitions | Kids & Families

2110 Blue Ridge Road
Raleigh, NC 27607
(919) 839-6262

Current Exhibitions
American Chronicles: The Art of Norman Rockwell - now through January 30, 2011 (note: ticket required)
Fins and Feathers - now through January 30, 2011
Binh Danh: In the Eclipse of Angkor - now through January 30, 2011
Bob Trotman: Inverted Utopias - now through March 27, 2011
John James Audubon’s The Birds of America - ongoing

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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Chocolaterie Stam

Updated 11/2011: Alas, it didn't take.  Chocolaterie Stam has closed its doors.
 
Stam had been at Chapel Hill North for years, yet I never went (I think I always got sidetracked by Margaret's and then Orange Leaf). Yet now that they are relocated to East 54 and in the flight path of Southpoint and Target for me, I am in! And C is happy about that.

Stam is an international chocolate house, with most of their locations in the Netherlands and Iowa (yeah, not sure). But Chapel Hill is lucky enough to be one of their chosen locations!

Stam has gelato, artisans chocolates, coffee drinks, hot chocolate (of course), shakes, specialty candies, and more.

I have to say, I am a bit of a gelato connoisseur now thanks to this blog and this might not be the best gelato in town, but it still passed C's test. The chocolates are, of course, delicious.

The atmosphere inside was cute -- all decked out with chandeliers and other sparkly accouterments. We sat on the big red sofa to eat our gelato. But I really look forward to the summers when East 54 starts its music series again and we can eat the gelato outside with live entertainment.

Oh, and not that you needed to know this right now if your New Year's Resolution was to lose weight or get in shape, but EVERYTHING in the store is 20% off through January. Everything.

And on that note, enjoy!

Chocolaterie Stam
http://www.stamchocolate.com/

1115 Environ Way
Chapel Hill
919-967-9373

Monday, January 3, 2011

Fullsteam Brewery

Yup. A brewery. And it is actually a great place to take a family.

Microbrews and locally crafted beers are in. And here at my house we're happy about that. But we don't get to explore the new breweries cropping up over the Triangle all that often with C in tow. Then my friend KP told me about Fullsteam in Durham as a great place to take the kids, so we went.

The beers were quite fun here (with quirky descriptions such as "if bacon were a beer"). And in addition to Fullsteam's full array of beers, they also have guest taps featuring another brewer or 2 in the area.

Yet the best was how many families were here. Fullsteam is a large warehouse with a bunch of nice picnic tables. In the back, where you can get a good look through the glass at the beer brewing in action, there is an open & powered up organ (yes, little fingers can play) and a stage. They have live music on Friday nights starting at 8 pm.

In the front is an arcade of sorts: pinball machines, foosball, ping pong tables, and more. This is great for the kids! And there is plenty of room to run around. Kids can be loud, kids can play with each other, and it just contributes to the overall atmosphere of enjoyment here.

Fullsteam does offer a few little snack items for sale, but they really encourage you to bring your own food or order in. Indeed, while we were there one family had a pizza delivered.

There are kid beverages available here, like Cheerwine.

By the way, another friend told me that you can call ahead to order growlers of beer to pick up on Saturdays at the Durham Farmers Market. Cool.

They do rent the space for parties, so check online before you go. And if you want to rent, give them a call.

Obviously, please use caution when drinking with kids in tow! Taste, don't party-hardy. But do enjoy this great new Durham haunt.

Fullsteam Brewery
http://www.fullsteam.ag/
726 Rigsbee Ave
Durham Central Park's D.I.Y. District.
(Look for the big backwards F!)
888-756-9274
919-682-BEER

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Chapel Hill Community Center Indoor Pool

We've talked about the Community Center before. And in fact, C and I were just there to test out the sledding for you. But when we were looking for activity that was indoors and fun, I took him to the indoor pool to test the waters there (so to speak).
This is a 25 meter pool, and accounts read that it is recently remodeled. But I can't tell how "recent" that is. I have to say it is very nice. This has a zero depth entry with one tricky step at the end (be careful!). There is a family changing room off the pool deck for ease. The locker rooms themselves were fairly small but adequate (although no changing table in the locker room).

This pool deck was so clean and organized, and there were a lot of fun toys for kids to play with during the open swim hours.

I may be a wimp, but I thought the water was cold for an indoor pool! So make sure you bring a swimshirt for your child, but get to enjoying.

The fees are reasonable and vary depending on age and if you are an Orange County resident (and the same amount as the Homestead Aquatic Center). Kids 5 & under are $1 for residents of Orange County, $2 for non-residents. Adults are $3 for residents, $6 for non. Kids ages 5 - 18 are $2 for residents, $4 for non.

Make sure that you check the online schedule or call ahead before you go. This is the community pool so is used by local high schools for swim practice. If you want to take your kids, you need to wait for an Open Swim time.

Chapel Hill Community Center Indoor Pool
Pool Schedule: http://www.townofchapelhill.org/index.aspx?page=1123
120 South Estes Drive
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
Telephone: 968-2790
Information Line @ Community Center: 685-8316