Here’s a list of the 22 best indoor activities for kids in Durham when it’s just too darn cold, hot, or non-stop raining.
(1) Take the family to the Museum of Life and Science
The Museum of Life and Science has a great indoor setup with a playground, giant blocks, reptiles, a weather exhibit, and more.
(2) Explore a museum
Here’s some to check out:
- Nasher Museum
- 21C Museum and History
- Durham Museum of History
(3) Take an arts & craft class
Check out Scrap Exchange or Freeman’s Creative in Lakewood for all kinds of creative classes. Or check out our round up of 8 Local Spots to Learn and Create Something New, featuring everything from sewing classes to music classes.
(4) Run around at Southpoint Mall
The Southpoint Mall is great place to stretch your legs and grab some grub at the food court (American Meltdown is now there!) or catch a movie. There’s also a indoor play area geared towards smaller kiddos.
(5) Discover a book at the Durham County Library
Our favorite branch is the Southwest Regional. They also have a train table and coloring station for the kids. We’re eagerly awaiting the renovated downtown Main library!
(6) Pick out some plants at Durham Garden Center
Have them pick out a plant they can take care of! Whether you’re a gardener or a plant enthusiast that can’t keep anything green alive, Durham Garden Center is for you. Not only are they super friendly and helpful when you pop in, they also host educational workshops and many of them are FREE! Bonus: Use your Shop Durham card to get 10% off your purchase.
(7) Roller Skate at Wheels Fun Park
Wheels Fun Park has an indoor climbing gym, games, mini-golf, go-karts & a roller rink.
(8) Bring the kids to Notasium
Notasium is an indoor music-based play space. There’s a climbing wall, interactive music exhibits, and a bounce house. Free wi-fi for you and a small coffee bar. Bonus: Get free open play with a trial music lesson using your Shop Durham card.
(9) Take a Durham Parks & Recreation Class
Durham Parks and Recreation has tons of great programs and class for kids of all ages to take advantage of. Like sewing, dance, tumbling, art, cooking and more. There are also workshops for teens and themed preschooler play days.
(10) Find a bargain at the Durham Green Flea Market
Teach them some negotiating skills at The Durham Green Flea market. They have an indoor area with lots of bargains to be found and great food. Stop by Saturday 7–4pm and Sunday 7–4pm
(11) Watch a movie at Carolina Theatre
Check out the Arts Discovery Series at Carolina Theatre for kids
(12) Find something unique at Parker and Otis
Life would be much duller without Parker & Otis. I always find something so very ‘Durham’ here and a greeting card that makes me laugh out loud. They have a great toy section that will keep the kids busy. I always let my little guy have a special treat like a giant cookie and pick out a book.
(13) Browse a local bookstore
Whether you’re looking for the perfect gift or a great read, Durham has fantastic bookstores. Check out our guide to Durham’s best bookstores here.
(14) Check out a tuba museum, V & E Simonetti’s Historic Tuba Collection
Check out the number one tuba museum in Durham. Vincent Simonetti has been building this collection since 1965. The museum offers tours of 5 rooms packed with tubas dating back to the 1830’s.
(15) Check out the championship trophies at Duke Basketball Hall of Fame
Check out decades of Duke University’s athletic achievements showcased with visual and audio exhibits, theatre and trophies of national championships at the Duke Basketball Hall of Fame.
(16) Visit Duke Chapel
Duke Chapel is at the very center of the Duke University. You have to see its breathtaking beauty in person to truly appreciate it. It’s doors are open for you to visit 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Walk over to the Brodhead Center afterwards for lunch or dinner. It’s food court style with tons of great options. Not just for students!
(17) Take a behind the scenes tour of DPAC
The second Monday of each month you have an opportunity to tour DPAC! Check out behind-the-scenes, where the stars prepare for show time, and even the view from the stage. The tour begins at 11:00 a.m. and lasts approximately 45 minutes. Learn more here
(18) Storytime at one of the Durham County Library branches
Most Durham County Library branches offer storytime for babies, toddlers and families. These aren’t your traditional book-only storytimes, instead they incorporate music, puppets, toys and learning throughout the session.
(19) Flip into a foam pit at Defy Gravity
DefyGravity is a 13,000 sq. ft. facility with wall-to-wall trampolines. There’s also a foam pit and one of the largest trampoline dodgeball cages in America. Great for big and small kids! There’s KidJump Times available for kiddos under 6.
(20) Paint a picture at Bull City Craft
A locally owned art supply and craft store that also has classes! You can drop in and do a craft with your little ones or if you need some time to yourself drop them off during Parents’ Morning Out! They have tons of classes available for all age range. Be sure to use your Shop Durham card to get 10% off retail purchases and Paint-it-yourself projects.
(21) Explore at the Duke Gardens Classroom
Sarah P. Duke Gardens has a classroom with a variety of programs for kids and families. They have a open class in the learning laboratory for ages 3 and up on Tuesdays 1pm-3pm and other classes available like a free drop in Nature Storytime for ages 3-5.
(22) Learn something new at the Levin Jewish Community Center
Classes are available at JCC for both members and guests like Tunes and Tots, Jujitsu, Danspiration, Chorus, and more for a wide range of age ranges.
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