Do you have friends and family visiting the Triangle for Thanksgiving Day Weekend 2018? Looking for something to do to get out of the house? Here is a big list of free things to do in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and beyond. More will be added! What do you think should be on the list?
We’ve highlighted a few major attractions, but please scroll down for a more comprehensive day-by-day list.
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One of the most spectacular light displays is Lake Myra Lights, at 10 S. Cypress St. in Wendell. It features almost a quarter of a million lights that dance in a synchronized show, with special effects, to holiday music. This isn’t a drive-thru or walk-thru light show. You park and come and watch the show. On weekends there will be free hot chocolate and on some nights there will be special appearances by Santa. The first night is Wednesday, November 21st, 2018. Click the above link for all the hours. It’s free to watch. Donations are accepted.
Ackland Art Museum, on The University of North Carolina campus, 101 S. Columbia Street, is having it’s monthly “Friends and Family” afternoon on Sunday, November 25th, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. The theme is “Artsgiving.” You can expect family-friendly hands-on arts activities.
The Scrap Exchange, 2050 Chapel Hill Road, Durham, a non-profit creative reuse center, is hosting SmashFest on Friday, November 23rd, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Admission is free and you can enjoy live music, fire pits and creativity all around you. You pay for food and for stuff to smash in their SmashZone.
Another great light display to check out is Piper Lights, at 5725 Fixit Shop Road, Wake Forest. In addition to the drive-through light display, there’s a Santa train you can ride, an old-fashioned candy store and visits from Santa. Piper Lights’ first night is Friday, November 23rd.
Take the kids to either Bass Pro Shops, 801 Bass Pro Lane, Cary, or Cabela’s, 201 Cabela Drive, Garner, and you an get a free picture of them with Santa. There are also free games and crafts for the kids. This is going on every day through Christmas Eve. Follow the above link for the hours.
Get outside and try one of these 15 hiking trails around the Triangle. If you’ve got young kids in your pack, try one of these Triangle hikes that are especially great for kids.
North Carolina Museum of Natural Science in downtown Raleigh is closed on Thanksgiving Day but open the rest of the weekend. The featured exhibition right now is Mazes and Brain Games, an interactive exhibit where you can test your mind in a collection of 3D puzzles and full body games. Also, check the museum’s schedule for “meet the animal” sessions if you have any animal-loving kids in your family.
The North Carolina Museum of History is also closed on Thanksgiving Day but open the rest of the weekend. Make use of Explorer Station, a starting point for family learning, and have fun in the Tar Heel Junior Historian Association exhibit.
On Saturday, at 10 a.m., meet at the Durham Farmers Market for a free walking tour. The focus is Architecture and the Urban Landscape.
As with the other two state museums, North Carolina Museum of Art is closed on Thanksgiving Day, but open the rest of the weekend. There are free tours every day, including family-friendly tours on Saturday and Sunday. Some of the current exhibits are The Art of Science and Innovation, Candida Höfer in Mexico, and The Beyond: Georgia O’Keeffe and Contemporary Art.