Rock Quarry Park+NC Museum of Life and Science+Pelican's SnoBalls
Since the next few days are shaping up to be WAY too hot, we thought we'd make this Three-fer a way you can cool off with your kiddos on a hot summer day. Start your day at Rock Quarry Park in North Durham. It's actually right next door to the Museum of Life and Science. Look for the signs for Edison Johnson Recreation Center (which is located in Rock Quarry Park) off of Murray Rd. Turn in, park, and head for the playground in front of the rec center. It's not just any playground, this one has a sprayground! It's a perfect way to cool off on a hot summer day. Put the kids in their swim suits and let them run around in the spray for as long as you want. When you're done in the water, change your clothes, eat a snack and head next door to the NC Museum of Life and Science for some more cool fun.
Lunch time may be approaching at this time, so you have several options. You could either save money and eat lunch across the street from the museum in the dome shelter at the far end of the overflow lot, or you could head into the museum and eat at their new, delicious Sprout Cafe. Once your lunch decision is made the museum has all sorts of options to keep you cool. You could stay inside and wander around their inside exhibits all day which include the NC wildlife, kids play area, space area, and much more to explore. You really could spend all day in there. Or, if you need more activities while you beat the heat. Head to the outdoor section of the museum. In the wind section, there's a new exhibit called Into the Mist. One of our moms headed over there today and while a detailed report will come later, we hear that playing in the mist can be a great way to cool off.
Once you have toured around the museum for as long as you want, you may be in need of a little more refreshment. We have the perfect stop on your way home. Located less than a mile away is a great cool treat for a hot day. Just head down Murray St heading away from Edison Johnson and the sprayground. When you intersect Roxboro, take a left and head north. On your left you will find Pelican's SnoBalls, home to over 100 flavors of "snoball" which is New Orlean's Style shaved ice, yum! Just look for the pink sign. There, pick your flavor of snoball, enjoy it at one of their shaded picnic tables, and then head home after a long, fun day spent beating the heat.
When to go: We started our Three-fer in the morning about 10 (I think that's when the water comes on at Edison Johnson). If you play for about an hour, you can head over to the museum, eat lunch and explore for a couple of hours, get your Pelican's SnoBall and head home for a late nap. However, if you really want to explore the museum, you might want to make this an all day affair and not head home until dinner. It's up to you. If you're a member of the museum, you could head there at 9am (non-members can't get in until 10) before the sprayground, hit up Rock Quarry Park to cool off once it's really hot out, and get your sno ball on the way home, but be warned that the sprayground doesn't have many shady places for adults to hide from the sun.
What it'll cost you: The sprayground is free, the museum is fairly expensive with admission ranging from $10 for kids 3 and up to $14 for adults. However, if your a member, you can go anytime you want for free (after you pay your membership dues). Lunch will be free if you pack, but will cost you between $5 and $10 per meal at Sprout Cafe in the museum. Pelican SnoBalls are $1.50 for a kiddie size.
What to bring: Bring your swim suits, hats, towels, and sunblock plus a change of clothes for after the sprayground. Then, bring your standard diaper bag and money for the rest of the excursion. You may want a stroller for the museum because the distance to the mist exhibit can be a little far for small legs.