Arts & Culture

July 10, 2014

Family Picks: Full moons and fireflies

Maybe this is the weekend to keep the kids up past their bedtimes for a full-moon hike - or maybe just to watch fireflies from the back porch.

My wife and I regularly sit on our patio and watch the fireflies. It’s fairly rural where we live, and they come out in great numbers, flickering against our back woods. Usually, though, it’s after our girls’ bedtime, so they miss this summer-in-North Carolina sight. Maybe this weekend, though, is the weekend for all of us to let our kids stay up and see fireflies. But whether by day or night, there are excellent outdoor activities Triangle-wide this weekend.

• Celebrate Saturday’s full moon with a night hike on the American Tobacco Trail in Apex. If you live in one of the cities here’s where to go for fireflies, as the trail is an excellent place to spot them without streetlights’ interference. All ages are welcome, though walking shoes are recommended. Registration is required, so visit or call 919-387-2117. Cost is $5 per family or $3 per person, and the hike runs from 8:30 to 10 p.m.
• Saturday is Military Appreciation Day at New Hope Valley Railway just south of Apex. Active service members and their immediate families ride free. Saturday, too, marks the return of 17 – New Hope Valley’s steam engine – making it a perfect day to visit. This railway maintains 4 miles of woodland track, several operational locomotives and restored cars and a train museum. As if that isn’t enough to make this a perfect place for kids, an outdoor model railroad features Thomas engines – Thomas and Emily, specifically. Rides cost $7-$12 per person; military families are allowed up to four free. Visit to see the schedule and buy tickets – these rides tend to sell out.
• Make your own wetland Sunday at Crowder District Park in Apex. The idea is to understand how wetlands function in the larger ecosystem, but also to see how pollution affects aquatic creatures. Children will also learn what animals live in these habitats. This 2 p.m. program is $5 per family. Registration required; call 919-662-2850.

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