By TMoM Team Member Rachel Hoeing
Triad moms, we’ve got amazing ideas in store for you and your toddler or preschooler to enjoy the best summer yet! Use our list to visit a venue in your own city, or venture to other parts of the Triad for a day trip! In addition, check out our Family Bucket List here for ideas, as well as our Day Trip directory here. Enjoy!
1. Go on a Train Ride
From mini-trains, to the real deal, check out these options! Most of the parks listed below have smaller choo-choo trains that go around the park and only cost a few dollars. Other options are to explore and ride on real trains!
2. See the Animals
North Carolina has a great mix of zoos where you can view the animals from afar, as well as unique habitats where you can get up close and personal with animals. Click each venue to visit the website and plan your trip!
Aloha Safari Zoo
All-a-Flutter Butterfly Farm
Buffalo Creek Farm and Creamery
Carolina Raptor Center
Dan Nicholas Park
Duke Lemur Center
Greensboro Science Center
Hill Ridge Farms
Lazy 5 Ranch
North Carolina Zoo
Piedmont Environmental Center
Sea Life Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
Western NC Nature Center
3. Explore Children’s Museums
We have so many fun museums close by that are specifically geared toward our youngest learners!
4. Scream for Ice Cream
I think this is more of a treat for moms than kids sometimes! In addition to the well-known chains, here are a few of my favorite spots to get a milkshake, fro-yo, or ice cream!
Abbott’s Frozen Custard
Andy’s Frozen Custard
Chill Nitro Creamery
Dewey’s Dewzy Bar
Di’lishi Frozen Yogurt Bar
Doss’s Hotdogs & Ice Cream
Feeney’s Frozen Yogurt Bar
Freddy’s Frozen Custard
Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt
Ozzie’s Ice Cream Shop
Smitty’s Homemade Ice Cream
Whit’s Frozen Custard
Yum Yum Better Ice Cream
Zack’s Frozen Treats
5. Enjoy Storytimes
At our local libraries, many branches have storytimes throughout the summer. You will find some of these library activities on our TMoM events calendar. You can also visit each county’s website below to see a full calendar of events for the branch that is closest to you.
6. Play in the Water
Splash pads and Spraygrounds are must-dos this summer, and the great news is that many are free! See our list here!
In addition, check out our Favorite Watering Holes list!
And if you really want to “go big” with the water theme, plan a trip to the beach by using our Beach Directory here. We have options all down the east coast with a variety of ideas for you and your family.
7. Indoor Jumping
Check each location to find times specific to little ones if you want to avoid larger kids jumping at the same time.
7. Stroll through Farmer’s Markets
Explore local Farmer’s Markets with your kids. It’s a great way to introduce your child to some heart-healthy foods while also supporting local farmers. Let your toddler pick out new foods to try and also have discussions of where they come from! Many local markets have special days during their seasons to celebrate certain foods or goods. Many will also surprise guests with live music! Click here for our directory of local farmer’s markets and find one near year for a fun morning out.
Don’t forget about all the opportunities for u-pick berries this season, too. Strawberry farms are operational right now (click HERE to view our list), and we will publish an updated list of local blueberry farms in July.
8. Go Bowling
You may think your toddler or preschooler is too small to bowl, but now that bowling alleys have lighter bowling balls and alley bumpers, it can be a lot of fun! Most bowling alleys also have ramps that young children and those with special needs can use to help guide the ball down the alley. Many also have arcade games to enjoy while you are there as well!
9. Explore a New Park/Playground
Do you know we have over 60 local parks listed on our directory? We include descriptions, photos, info on walking trails, etc. You will never run out of new places to explore with your toddler! Enjoy a day on the playground, or take a stroll on the walking trails. Pack a picnic lunch and find a shady spot under the trees. Some parks even have rides and water activities. You can view our list here to find many parks to explore!
10. Relax at Home
OK, so I know “relax” and “toddler” are two words that rarely go together, but sometimes it’s nice to just stay inside in the cool air-conditioning and come up with new things to do indoors. Here are some of our favorite ways to keep little ones entertained at home:
Build a fort with sheets
Play board games like CandyLand, Zingo, and Chutes & Ladders
Create with Play-dough, clay, Silly Putty or Flubber
Have a dance party
Let your kids play dress-up using your clothes
Make some crafts