I know how hard it is to get young kids out of the house to go somewhere - even quick outings require you to pack enough snacks, diapers, and toys to make you think you’ll be gone for a week. And who wants to wrestle kids in and out of carseats just to find out that your destination isn’t kid-friendly? That’s why I’ve decided to visit Triangle area sites to see if they’re worth your trip. I won’t use a rating system but I’ll try to describe what you’ll see well enough for you to decide if your kids would find it interesting. I’ll also give you the heads up on bathrooms, stroller accessibility and any other SNAFUs I encounter.


NC Botanical Garden - Chapel Hill


My wife and I visited the Garden a couple of years ago without the kids. I can't say I've ever been during 'peak season' when everything is in bloom.

I thought all 3 of my kids would enjoy this quick trip at the end of Spring Break. It doesn't take long to explore all of the Garden. If you're looking to spend a whole day among plants you should check out Sarah Duke Gardens.

Like Duke Gardens, NC Botanical has an Education Center with a library where you can peruse books (including some offerings for children). There's also a gift shop and a small kids' area with
coloring sheets and crayons.

To make it more enjoyable for the kids I planned an informal scavenger hunt with only one item to find - the cabin.

But there's plenty of other little things you can challenge your kids to find throughout the Garden.

Chess set
By the end of our visit my toddler was going commando. I forgot to bring an extra diaper and I thought he had had a BM because I found a turd smear on my arm after giving him a piggy back ride. Turns out the turd didn't belong to him but he somehow got it on the seat of his pants after sitting somewhere.

Can You Find?


Horseshoe Farm Park - Wake Forest

Raleigh Park's website regarding Horseshoe Farm

Don't confuse this with the House in the Horseshoe, a State Park in Sanford.

This is the first time I've visited a park that's not really a park yet. At the time of this writing, according to the above website, Wake County is accepting bids from contractors to make the proposed plan a reality. You can get a glimpse of the plan on the website and if you want to go into even more depth there's a link to an architectural study of the farmhouse.

If you visit right now you'll find a gravel drive into the 'park,' a small gravel parking lot, a big open meadow that's kept manicured, the closed farmhouse, a kiosk with info on the history of the property, and a sign pointing in the direction of the Neuse River Trail.

The area seems to be very popular with dog owners. And many folks took advantage of the parking to begin their trek on the NRT.

Surprisingly even though the property is surrounded by the River on three sides you'd never know it. A dense wooded area separates the river from the rest of the park. One visitor we talked to said there was an informal trail following the River on the outskirts of the park but to actually see the River you'd have to do some bushwhacking.

The land definitely has a lot of potential. The meadow would be great for picnicking on a blanket while enjoying an evening concert. The area's popularity with the canine crowd makes a dog park on the property a logical step. It would be nice to be able to see the surrounding river, so a minimal and responsible thinning of the woods makes sense. There are some beautiful trees (tulips, firs, and pines) surrounding the farmhouse that should definitely be preserved. A walking trail alongside the river which could connect to the NRT would also be a welcome addition.

The nearby NRT provides nice views including this suspension bridge which is visible from highway 401.