Hooray! It's time for another Three-fer Thursday! This time, we're headed over to the Northgate area of Durham. This Three-fer starts off at Northgate Mall. We have always found this mall a lot of fun for the kiddos. However, it's not so useful for actual shopping. Start your fun at any point in the mall. We would hit the carousel for a little horse riding. Then, find one of the areas filled with ride on vehicles. My kids can play on these vehicles for hours with our without the quarters needed for making the vehicles move. Once they have lost interest in the ride-on vehicles you can pay to head into the bouncy house or the bungee jump stations, or take a ride on the new train that travels around the mall. We haven't been on the train since it arrived, but the boys were so interested the last time we saw it so we know we will be back to try it soon. If you head to the mall it the summer, you can also head to the outdoor area to check out the water feature, but you might bring a change of clothes if you venture out there!
(Keep in mind, a few things at the mall have changed since our post on the mall...Sea of Learning has closed (boo) and the stationary train has been removed, replaced by the free-moving train.)
Once you've exhausted the mall, we would head to the food court for an early lunch. On our last visit to Northgate we checked out Jake's Wayback Burgers which opened in November in the food court. There you can enjoy some delicious burgers and dogs and even more amazing fries. For beverages you'll have to make the tough choice between the new entertaining Coke Freestyle machine with 100 options for soft drinks or their milkshakes...tough choice. If you have a more picky eater on your hands, there is also a Chick-Fil-A in the mall for your dining pleasure.
After a yummy lunch, leave time to burn off a little of those calories. Head back to your car and head practically across the street to Westover park (It's actually a few blocks North on Guess Rd.). This is a small park, but my boys had a lot of fun when we visited with play structures, swings, trail access, and a field for running.
When to go: You could do this Three-fer in many different ways depending on nap times. The fun at the mall opens with the mall at 10 (except on Sun. when if opens at noon). So, you could head there first as we mentioned, then have an early lunch around 11, and hit the park before afternoon nap. If you don't have the constraints of nap, then your schedule is much more flexible. If you would like to start earlier and the weather was warmer, you could do the park first, then as the day heats up, head inside to the mall and finish with a delicious lunch. Conversely, you could do this Three-fer in the afternoon by heading to the park after nap, then the mall, and finish with dinner at Jake's. The possibilities are endless.
What it'll cost you: The park is free. The cost of the mall is variable. Each entertainment will cost you between $1 and $5 dollars. So, you could keep it cheap by exploring the ride-on vehicles without paying. Or you could live it up and do everything from the train to the bungee jump to the carousel. Finally, Jake's Wayback Burgers was definitely on the more expensive end of food court dining averaging about $10 per adult and $5 for a kid's meal.
What to bring: Bring your diaper back and supplies, change for the ride-on machines if you would like to use them, and be ready to have some fun!