Home of amazing North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, North Carolina Museum of Art, Pullen Park and many other activities to do in Raleigh on Memorial Day. We've compiled some of the best activities to do in Raleigh on this Memorial Day holiday.
Conveniently located downtown, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is one of the largest natural science museums in the southeastern United States. It has two buildings: one focused on the educational exhibits, and the other focused on the methods behind the science.
In addition to traveling exhibits, the Nature Exploration Center has permanent installations including the Arthropod Zoo; the Living Conservatory; and exhibits that explore North Carolina's coasts, mountains, and local natural history.
The Prehistoric section is the most popular, where you can meet Acro, the only genuine skeleton of an Acrocanthosaurus on display in the world. Those who like to get really hands-on will love the Discovery Room, where you are encouraged to touch and explore everything. The Nature Research Center is where you can learn about the science behind the natural world, from the DNA Investigative Lab to space exploration.
The can't-miss exhibit here, though, is the SECU Daily Planet, a three-story theater that explores the planet earth from the inside out. The museum offers detailed floor maps for self-guided tours, or you can get their app for a digital guide on your visit during Memorial Day.
The galleries at the North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA) first opened in 1956 as the first state-funded collection. They showcase art from the Renaissance, ancient Greek and Roman sculpture and artifacts, Egyptian burial artwork, pre-Columbian works, and early American art.
The NCMA is also proud to be one of two American museums to house permanent exhibits dedicated to Jewish art. The museum offers guided tours of its galleries and special exhibits, and also hosts workshops, lectures, films, and performing arts shows. The museum grounds are worth exploring for their sculptures, gardens, and a peaceful reflecting pool.
The African American Cultural Center at North Carolina State is at the Witherspoon Student Center and features exhibits by prominent artists that focus on this rich heritage.
First opened in 1887, this was the first public park in North Carolina. The park's 66 acres offer far more than the typical city park. Visitors during Memorial Day can take rides on the Gustave A Dentzel Carousel and the C.P. Huntington miniature train. Pedal boats are available to rent for a cruise around Lake Howell, and for the younger mariners there is a kiddie boat ride.
Kids will also love the huge playground, which includes water play for those hot summer days, and there are often shows in the children's amphitheater. Fans of The Andy Griffith Show will want to pose for pictures with the "Andy and Opie" statue.
The park also has a café, tennis courts, an aquatic center, sports fields, and the Theatre in the Park, as well as many special events throughout the year.
The hands-on Marbles Kids Museum should be high on the list of places to visit for families with young children on Memorial Day. It is filled with interactive exhibits, including an exploration of music at Tree Tunes; the world of horticulture at Sun Sprouts kid's garden; an energetic time at Kid Grid; and the BB&T Toddler's Hollow, where kids three and under can play and explore safely in a place just for them.
Laminated Picture Maps are available to borrow, so that the kids can plan their day, and parents will be happy to have the choice of eating at their on-site café or bringing their own lunch for a picnic. The Wells Fargo IMAX Theatre at Marbles shows both Hollywood hits and educational films on its 50 by 70-foot screen, keeping everyone in the family entertained.
The North Carolina Museum of History has permanent and traveling exhibits that encompass the state's past. You will find Native American tools, housewares of early European settlers, costumes from the Revolutionary War era, and weapons and military gear from the Civil War.
African American history is featured as well, from the first days of slavery through the arduous fight for freedom and equality. This is also home to the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame, where visitors can learn about native sports heroes and see plenty of memorabilia on your Memorial Day visit.
Near downtown Raleigh, the historic Oakwood neighborhood is North Carolina's largest, intact -century residential district, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Many of its hundreds of 19th-century homes have been fully restored to their former glory.
Be sure to stroll past the Tucker House, an impressive Neoclassical Revival-style home. In addition to the architecture, you'll see beautiful gardens surrounding many of the homes.
A walking tour guide can be found at the Capitol Area Visitor's Center, including a map and information about the houses and the history of the neighborhood. Maps and more detailed information can also be found at the Historic Oakwood website.
The Historic Oak View Country Park is an antebellum farmhouse built in 1885. It features the Farm History Center, the Cotton Gin House, and the Plank Kitchen. The gardens and orchards are the perfect place to bring your picnic on Memorial Day weekend.
Raleigh is home to a wide variety of performing arts venues and organizations. Theater-goers will love the Theatre in the park at Pullen Park, which hosts several productions each year and is best known for its annual December performance of A Christmas Carol.
The Burning Coal Theatre is located downtown, and the nearby Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts hosts stage plays and musicals produced by the North Carolina Theatre, as well as the work of the North Carolina Opera.
It is also the performance home for the Carolina Ballet and hosts the nationally celebrated North Carolina Symphony. In September, the city hosts the International Bluegrass Music Association's World of Bluegrass.
About five miles south of the center, Yates Mill is the area's last remaining water-powered gristmill, a reminder of an era when 70 of these ground corn and wheat into meal and flour for residents of Wake County. The mill still has its original equipment, and operated into the mid-1950s.
On Memorial Day a visit to the mill, open March through November, you can see costumed millers grind corn and learn how the water wheel powered the millstones. Programs, events, and exhibits help preserve the region's agricultural heritage, and the mill sits in a park that includes a 174-acre wildlife refuge and an environmental research center.
Several miles of hiking trails extend around the Mill Pond and into the surrounding park. Two boardwalks provide a place to fish, as rural residents did when the mill was a local gathering place.