There’s no shortage of things to do with kids in Durham, North Carolina! The city is impressively kid-friendly from exploring dinosaurs at the Museum of Life and Science to indoor go-karts at Angel Island Fun Park, and even time-traveling to the Civil War era at Bennett Place Historic Site – we’ve got it all covered! Here are the 18 best things to do with kids in Durham.

Best Things to Do with Kids in Durham, NC

Museum of Life + Science

Start your family adventure at the Museum of Life + Science, a captivating museum that combines hands-on exhibits, outdoor exploration, and live animal encounters. Your kids will love the interactive displays, the chance to meet playful lemurs, and the opportunity to wander through a dinosaur trail.

Pro Tip: Wear some walking shoes if you are going to see any of the larger outdoor animal or nature exhibits! Also be sure to purchase tickets at the front if you would like to ride the train. Did you know they have FREE days for Durham County residents? Check their website for dates.

Best Things to Do with Kids in Durham, NC

Explore Sarah P. Duke Gardens

Take a leisurely stroll through the stunning Sarah P. Duke Gardens, a picturesque oasis located on the Duke University campus. Let your kids run free in the vast open spaces, discover various plants and flowers, and enjoy the calming atmosphere. Don’t forget to bring a picnic lunch!

Be sure to check out free concerts in the spring and summer! Adult and youth programs like nature storytime and urban farm tours are available for free.

They also have a classroom with a variety of programs for kids and families. They have an open class in the learning laboratory for ages 3 and up on Tuesdays 1 pm-3 pm and other classes are available like a free drop-in Nature Storytime for ages 3-5.

Best Things to Do with Kids in Durham, NC

Play Indoors at Angel Island Fun Park

Angel Island Fun Park is the ultimate indoor play space in Durham! It’s packed with an indoor play area, go-karts, bumper cars, and an awesome arcade.

This indoor play area is BIG, featuring slides, a classic ball pit, crawl-through tunnels, and interactive games.

Best Things to Do with Kids in Durham, NC

Get musical at 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.

Best Things to Do with Kids in Durham, NC

Make-n-Take something together at Scrap Exchange

The Scrap Exchange is a true treasure. They have a retail store, classes, an art gallery. Drop in and check out the Make n Take Room, make anything you want using the materials in the space, and take it home!

Best Things to Do with Kids in Durham, NC

Pick out some books at the Durham County Library

Our favorite branch is the Southwest Regional. They also have a train table and coloring station for the kids. 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.

Sky Zone Trampoline Park

Bounce, flip, and soar at Sky Zone Trampoline Park. Experience the thrill of trampolines, foam pits, and gravity-defying activities that’ll have you feeling like you’re walking on air.

OC Aerial Adventure Park

Embark on an exciting aerial adventure at OC Aerial Adventure Park. Swing, zip, and climb through challenging courses high above the ground. It’s a thrilling experience for all ages!

Best Things to Do with Kids in Durham, NC

American Tobacco Campus

Once a tobacco factory, the American Tobacco Campus is home to the famous Lucky Strike Tower so many identify with Durham. It’s truly beautiful with a river running throughout the campus and a large green space for the kids to run around in. Stop by Parker & Otis for coffee and treats!

Lounge in hammocks, check out the Burt’s Bees house, and relax in the rocking chairs under the Lucky Strike Tower. Check out the free music concerts on the lawn in the summer!

Go for a family bike ride on the American Tobacco Trail

Hop on American Tobacco Trail for 22+ uninterrupted miles. It was once a railroad track that was converted into a beautiful trail for biking, walking, and running. You can even ride horses on the trail!

See more about American Tobacco Trail here.

Duke Chapel

Visit Duke Chapel

This is one of our favorite weeknight outings as a family for a relaxing evening. We’ll grab dinner at Brodhead Center. It’s food court style with tons of great, affordable options. Not just for students!

Then take a walk over to Duke Chapel. You have to see Duke Chapel’s breathtaking beauty in person to truly appreciate it. Its doors are open for you to visit 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

While you’re at Duke University, check out the Duke Basketball Museum! Featuring visual and audio exhibits, theatre, and trophies of national championships.

Play at one of Durham’s 65+ parks

There’s definitely not a shortage of parks in Durham, that’s for sure. You can find a sprayground at the Forest Hill’s park, a performance stage at Burch Avenue Park, and a community garden at Orchard Park. A few favorites are Forest Hills Park, Trinity Park, and Cornwallis Road Park.

Check out all of Durham’s 65+ parks here.

Eno River State Park

Hike or Swim at Eno River State Park

Looking for some outdoor escapades? Head on over to Eno River State Park, where your family can unleash their inner adventurers. Hike the trails, spot wildlife, and maybe even take a dip in the refreshing swimming spots.

Explore West Point on the Eno together

West Point on the Eno is free 404-acre park along the Eno River.  Tour three historic buildings, a rebuilt operational grist mill on the site of what was once the largest mill on the river, the house of the one-time mill owners, and the old tobacco packhouse is now home to the Hugh Mangum Museum of Photography.

Explore nature too with five miles of scenic trails along the river for hiking and fishing, an amphitheater used for festivals and concerts, and the river itself, with a natural play space and rapids.

Durham Bulls Baseball Game

Catch a Durham Bulls Game

Now, folks, we’re talking baseball. But not just any baseball—minor league baseball at Durham Bulls Athletic Park! Put on your baseball gloves and cheer on the Durham Bulls!

Popcorn, hot dogs, and wild cheers are all part of the game. Be sure to snag a photo with everyone’s favorite mascot, Wool E. Bull!

Durham Central Park

Durham Central Park

Playgrounds, art workshops, and outdoor performances galore! Let your kids run wild, explore the creativity around every corner, and soak in the lively atmosphere. It’s the perfect place to let your inner child shine.

Be sure to check out their concerts in the summer, see the site for dates.

Saturdays at the Durham Farmer’s Market is one of our favorite activities. We pick up dinner for the weekend, try lots of local goodness, grab coffee, donuts from Rise, and browse vendors at the Art Market. Then you can let them run some of that energy out at Mount Merrill in Durham Central Park and play with the interactive pixel mural.

Duke Lemur Center

Duke Lemur Center

Time for a close encounter of the lemur kind at the Duke Lemur Center. These little critters are like real-life animated characters, and you’ll get a chance to meet them up close and personal. Take a guided tour, learn about their conservation efforts, and who knows, maybe they’ll even teach you a thing or two about mischief-making.

Note: You must have a reservation in order to see the lemurs, check out some of their tour options on their website here.

Visit a Historic Site

History buffs, rejoice! Bring history to life by visiting Bennett Place State Historic Site, where the largest surrender of Confederate soldiers during the American Civil War took place.

Take a tour, soak up the stories, and let your imagination transport you back to the days of hoop skirts and musket battles. It’s like a real-life time machine, minus the flux capacitor.

Visit one of the largest pre-Civil War plantations in the South at Stagville Historic Site. Explore the historic buildings, learn about the lives of the people who lived and worked there, and gain a deeper understanding of North Carolina’s history

Or head to Duke Homestead State Historic Site – a place where history comes alive. Your kids will love the experience of stepping into the past and learning about North Carolina’s tobacco farming history.

And there you have it, folks – the best things to do with kids in Durham, NC!

From mind-blowing science exhibits at the Museum of Life and Science to chill walks amidst flowers in Sarah P. Duke Gardens you’re in for a total blast! So, grab your gang, put on your adventure hats, and hit up these awesome spots for unforgettable memories.

Katelyn Belch
Author: Katelyn Belch

Founder of Best of the Bull and Shop Durham. It’s my chief goal to keep you in the know about all things Durham.