If the bombast of patriotic concerts or the cacophonous spectacle of a fireworks display aren't your family's speed, that's OK: The crowding and noise associated with many July 4 celebrations don't appeal to everybody - particularly young kids. If you're looking for a quiet Fourth, here are some suggestions:
• Through the month of July, 1,000 blue morpho butterflies will be released into the Museum of Life and Science's Magic Wings Butterfly House - that's hundreds per week. These brilliantly colored tropical insects will be released twice daily Monday through Saturday (11 a.m. and 3 p.m.) and once on Sunday (11 a.m.). Museum admission runs from $10 to $14, while kids 2 and younger get in free. Visit lifeandscience.org.
• The Wildlife Resources Commission annually declares July 4 Free Fishing Day, license or not. Catch and release fishing at Morrisville's Lake Crabtree Park is not only free, but staff will be on hand with poles, tackle and instruction at the fishing pier. The Lake Crabtree event runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Call 919-460-3390 for park-specific info, or visit ncwildlife.org to learn more about Free Fishing Day statewide.
• Build a birdhouse, a bird feeder or try building something you never have before - maybe let your kids pick. Whatever you choose, be sure you and the family make it together. Pre-cut kits are available at pretty much any craft store, for those of us (me included) who have no business near a bandsaw.
• Or maybe use a quiet weekend at home as an excuse to start something new. See whether your kids want to sign up for swim lessons or learn an instrument - with the latter, you can even do it with them. There's still plenty of summer left, after all.
Send Family Picks suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org