Family Picks

Family Picks: Take advantage of balmy weather to burn some energy outdoors

CorrespondentDecember 19, 2013 

Play a game of “I Spy” as you take a ride to the Longleaf Pine Restoration Area and Womble Family history site.


If your children are like mine, they are bouncing off the walls with the anticipation of Christmas. Burn off some of that candy cane-fueled energy, and get away from the holiday bustle for a while, by heading outdoors this weekend.

There are a few interesting nature programs that might give your family a needed respite. Plus, the weather is looking balmy.

• Lake Crabtree in Morrisville is offering two family-friendly programs this weekend. Both cost $5 per family and require registration. Just call 919-460-2723.

On Saturday from 1-3 p.m., a ranger will guide you through the park and teach about identifying trees in winter, when they have shed their showy leaves and are more difficult to tell apart. You can learn to identify several common tree species by examining their twigs, buds and bark.

The ranger will provide hand lenses and field guides. The program is appropriate for kids 7 and up.

The Sunday program, which is open to all ages, will teach children about hibernating animals. From 1-3 p.m., a ranger will teach about how and why animals hibernate and answer some interesting questions: Why don’t they starve? Why don’t they die of thirst? Why can’t humans hibernate?

• Also on Sunday, Harris Lake County Park in New Hill will host a winter hayride 1:30-3 p.m. Rangers will engage kids in a game of “I Spy,” and the hayride will take you to visit the 680-acre waterfront park’s Longleaf Pine Restoration Area and its Womble Family history site. Hot chocolate will be served along the way.

The cost is $5 per family. Register by calling 919-387-4342.

• If you’re looking for some free fun outdoors, this might be the perfect weekend just to stroll through one of the Triangle’s several beautiful gardens. While they are overrun in spring, we often forget that these sites are lovely in winter as well.

Try J.C. Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh, Duke Gardens in Durham or the N.C. Botanical Garden in Chapel Hill are all perfect places to discover that elusive “peace” that the holiday season is supposed to bring.

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