Soak Up the Last Days of Summer With This Outdoor Itinerary

Soak Up the Last Days of Summer With This Outdoor Itinerary

We've got a few ideas for you and your kids to make the most of the last few days of summer – from splashing around in local spraygrounds to catching a solar eclipse!

Salma Ali, 5, Isabella Serrano (center), 4, and Sarah Ali, 9, run through the water at Forest Hills Park Sprayground. Photo by Briana Brough.


An easy way to cool off with the kiddos is at one of Durham Parks and Recreation’s spraygrounds – playgrounds equipped with water features. All are open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., with the exception of Hillside’s sprayground (see below). Find one at your closest park:

East End Park Sprayground, 1200 N. Alston Ave.

Edison Johnson Sprayground, 500 W. Murray Ave.

Forest Hills Park Sprayground, 1639 University Dr.

Hillside Park Sprayground, 1221 Sawyer St.

Located inside the Hillside Pool area, this sprayground is only open during pool hours: 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday; and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday.

Hillside Admission For city residents: youth and teens younger than 18, free; adults, $3; seniors (55+), $2. For non-city residents: youth and teens younger than 18, $5; adults, $8; seniors (55+), $7. Daily admission fees must be paid in cash. Other forms of payment or bills larger than $10 are not accepted. Free admission on Wednesdays.

Photo by Karla Towle.


Have a young zoologist on your hands? Join in one of these tours led by the knowledgeable guides at the center; you’ll experience an average of 10 species of prosimians on the path, and the material and pacing is catered to the kiddos, focusing on their interests and intrigue. Stop by the Lemur Landing gift shop before you leave to grab a souvenir, from T-shirts to paintings by the lemurs!

Admission Guests ages 3 and older, $9 per person plus tax; ages 2 and younger are free. Specifically recommended for kids ages 8 and younger, but there are no age restrictions.
Time Tours are approximately 50 minutes long and are offered Thursdays through Sundays at 10 a.m.
Reserving Call 919-401-7240; book early, as tours tend to fill up fast!


… An Animal Keeper
Get an inside look at what it takes to be a part of the team that takes care of the museum’s many animals – from lemurs to bears to the red wolves. Find out what the veterinary room looks like, and learn why the staff feeds the animals frozen mice instead of live ones.

Time Sunday, August 20, 9 a.m. – 10 a.m.

… the Bears
Discover all that goes into taking care of the museum’s four bears in this behind-the-scenes visit to the Bear House with the animal keepers.

Time Sunday, September 17, 5 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Admission Member adults and member children (ages 5-12), $25; non- members, $45. Tour attendees must be ages 5 or older, and ticket price includes all-day admission to the museum. Ticket purchases are non-refundable.
Reserving Tickets are available up to 72 hours prior to the tour start time. To check availability within 72 hours, call 919-220-5429 x 313 Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.


Open seven days a week, 9 a.m. – 8 p.m., this farmstand has existed just off East Woodcroft Parkway in southeast Durham for 47 years. Founder Rev. Dr. Joseph E. Perkins’ grandson, Donovan Alexander Watson, took over daily operations as a boy and has grown the business over the last several years, rebuilding the stand and starting to accept credit cards. Find out what fresh produce is available this week by visiting clicking here, and bring the kids out for a fun day of picking out fruits and vegetables while enjoying sugar- and dairy-free fruit sorbets and popsicles!

Mark Your Calendar Paint a Pumpkin – Visit the stand anytime from September 5 – November 1 and purchase either a $10 (one small pumpkin) or $15 (one jumbo pumpkin and one small pumpkin) package complete with art supplies to create your own masterpiece!


Come to the farmstand off Erwin Road to hear stories and sing songs about food, farming and the environment from farmer Tara Lawson. This program is tailored to toddlers and preschool-aged children. As mom Sarah King wrote on our blog after attending a storytime in March, “Friends, Funny Girl Farm is awesome. Funny Girl Farm has beautiful food. Funny Girl Farm hosts rocking story times. … Funny Girl Farm wants to get your kids outside and have fun while learning.” For more information on future storytimes, follow Funny Girl Farm on Facebook.

Admission Free, caregivers must accompany children.
Time Saturdays, August 12 and September 16, 9:30 a.m. – 10 a.m.

Photo courtesy


What an exciting and rare event for a budding astronaut! The last total solar eclipse – when the moon passes between the sun and Earth, creating a shadow on Earth – in the contiguous United States happened in 1979, and the next one won’t be until 2024. At the Gardens, this eclipse will begin at 1:15 p.m. and end at 4:05 p.m. At its peak (2:44 p.m.), 93% of the sun will be covered by the moon. Safe ways to observe the eclipse will be provided, as will a live stream of the total eclipse. Also check out hands-on experiments, crafts and other activities to explore how eclipses happen, why they are rare, what they have to do with plants and people, etc.

Admission Free and appropriate for all ages. In partnership with the East Durham Children’s Initiative’s STEAM programming, the gardens will provide free transportation for families in east Durham.
Time Monday, August 21, noon – 5 p.m. Reserving This is a drop-in event. Parking fees ($2 per hour) apply in Duke Gardens lots. Contact for more information.


Wild West Train and Kids Summer Movie Camp at Northgate Mall
Take a break from sweltering temps with some indoor activities perfect for you and the kids at Northgate. Hop on a train ride to the American frontier or catch a free movie at Stadium 10!

Wild West Train
Admission $3; Wild West accessories available for purchase.
Time Through September 17; Monday, Thursday–Saturday: noon – 7 p.m.; Sunday: noon – 5 p.m.

Summer Movie Camp
Admission Free. Movie survival packs include popcorn, drink and candy for $6.
Time Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 9:30 a.m. August 8, 9, 10 – “Norm of the North”; August 15, 16, 17 – “The Angry Birds Movie”