Last Updated on September 8, 2021
Last Updated on September 8, 2021
If you plan to visit Western NC, please check beforehand to see if the area is safe following the recent flooding. Officials have closed some sections of Pisgah National Forest (including Forest Heritage Scenic Byway and Blue Ridge Parkway stops) to keep visitors out of danger. Please respect signage and local guidance.
We are so incredibly lucky that we get to call Durham our home and raise our child here. There are so many kid-friendly things to do in Durham that we never run out of fun! Whether your family prefers the city life or are more outdoorsy, Bull City has plenty for you.
We believe that kids can go just about anywhere, but it’s nice to explore some activities made specifically for families. If you’re searching for some fun with your family, here are 15 of our favorites (including museums, indoor and outdoor fun, and even restaurants) with our little one, that we hope you’ll enjoy with yours!
Things to Do with Kids in Durham
Note: Some of these things to do with kids in Durham may currently be closed to the public but we’re eagerly awaiting their reopening!
Spend a Day at the Museum of Life and Science
We’ve traveled the state checking out all the children’s museums and, while we might be a little biased, we can definitively say that the Museum of Life and Science is the best! Whether you’re experimenting and formulating hypotheses inside or checking out the dinosaurs outside, the Museum of Life and Science is engaging and interactive for children of ALL ages.
We’ve been taking our child to the MLS since she was an infant, and we never get tired of all of the fun activities there are. If you only have one day to spend, visiting the MLS should be the first thing you do with kids in Durham!
Make Sweet Music at Notasium
Durhamites are incredibly lucky to have Notasium, a museum unlike any other in North Carolina. An indoor music-based play space, Notasium features a guitar you can climb and slide down, an inflatable bounce house, and even a toddler-safe play space.
Note that socks are required to play but if you forgot some, they do have some available for purchase for cheap!
Duke Lemur Center
Did you know that the Duke Lemur Center has the world’s largest and most diverse collection of lemurs outside of Madagascar? Seeing these fun and adorable creatures ranks as one of our favorite things to do with kids in Durham!
Note that a reservation must be made in advance to see the lemurs, but there are plenty of tour options on their website. The Duke Lemur Center also hosts an annual Lemurpalooza in the fall where each family can adopt a lemur through a $75 donation!
How cool is that!
Check out the Murals
I’m never one to pass up a good photo op! And Durham has so many beautiful murals that it’s easy to spend an afternoon just walking around and admiring them with your kids.
Whether you are in downtown Durham or checking out the murals at Satellite Park, enjoy the vibrant art scene in Bull City.
Enjoy the Family Vibe at Nolia Coffee
We love the concept behind Nolia Coffee. A family-centric Durham coffee shop in the Golden Belt area, the vibe here is very welcoming.
Visit as a family and enjoy the Montessori-inspired play space, the large fenced-in outdoor area, and smiles from the owner Justin and his family while they pour your coffee.
They also host story-time and other events so make sure to follow them on social media to find out about the happenings!
Kid-Friendly Hiking Spots in Durham
Eno River State Park is one of our favorite state parks in North Carolina, and we’d argue that all of the trails are appropriate for children. Meander along the river or splash around at Penny’s Bend.
Afterward, head to West Point on the Eno to run across the bridge and play beneath the dam.
Our guide to the Triangle’s hiking trails include these fun things to do with kids in Durham and more!
Sarah P. Duke Gardens
Not only is Sarah P. Duke Gardens absolutely beautiful all year round, but feeding the gate ducks is one of our favorite things to do with kids in Durham! The gardens themselves are free to enter, but parking requires a small fee.
Purchase some duck food from the gift shop and then head to the pond to feed the ducks. Afterward, talk a walk around the gardens and head to the giant field to kick a ball around or enjoy a picnic.
Ride, Walk, or Scoot the American Tobacco Trail
The American Tobacco Trail starts in downtown Durham and runs for 22-plus miles through Chatham and Wake counties. Formerly lined with railroad tracks, the trail is now a popular spot for biking, walking, and, if you are like our kid, scooting!
There are plenty of playgrounds and parks along the way for you to stop and enjoy, making it a wonderful way to enjoy the outdoors in Durham.
Play at the Parks
Speaking of parks, Durham has more than 65 parks and playgrounds! From the spray ground at Forest Hills to the shaded and popular Burch Avenue, there is no shortage of outdoor fun to be had.
Some of our favorites include Piney Woods, American Village, and Cornwallis Park.
Get on the Ropes
Did you know that there’s a ropes course perfect for older kids right here in Durham? The 13-element Discovery Low Ropes course is located in North Durham near Lake Michie.
The minimum age requirement for the course is 10 years of age, and the course consists of both natural and man-made elements.
Jump it out
Whether you prefer Sky Zone or Defy Gravity, there are some great trampoline parks in Durham! Each park has a specific jump time for younger children and is also a great place to host kids’ birthday parties.
If you’re looking to pick some sweet strawberries in the summer, then head to Waller Family Farm located between Durham and Chapel Hill.
Play Ball at Durham Bulls Athletic Park!
Although there are so many fun things to do with kids in Durham, nothing will be as memorable as a Durham Bulls game! Watch as Wool-E Bull hypes up the crowd as you enjoy some Bull Durham Beer Company and your kids sip on some lemonade.
There are even games in the middle of the day, so you don’t have to worry about pushing bedtime!
Wheels Fun Park
Wheels Fun Park has been a family fun destination in Durham since 1972! Keep the smiles going all day long with their roller skating rink, go-karts, play gym, batting cages, and miniature golf!
If you have older kids, then you should most definitely check out Augmentality Labs! A virtual reality experience, Augmentality Labs has an expansive list of games and tours for all ages and skill levels.
My preteen niece absolutely loves hanging out here—and because it’s so fun, the whole family gets together for it!
Check out more free things to do in Durham!
Kid-friendly Restaurants in Durham
Durham is definitely a city for foodies, and, while we take our kiddo to almost every restaurant, it probably isn’t the greatest idea to make a reservation at NanaSteak with a toddler.
Here are some amazing Bull City restaurants that double as great things to do with kids in Durham:
- Bull City Burger and Pompieri have kid play spaces, and NuvaTaco has always been a pleasant experience for our kiddo.
- For sweets and treats, grab a cone at The Parlour, Rockwood Dairy Bar, or hop over to Locopops for a refreshing popsicle.
- Another great kid-friendly restaurant in Durham is Bull McCabes. With a fenced-in outdoor area, plenty of beer on tap, and pub food, this is always a great experience for kids and parents alike.
- If you have a mini foodie, we highly recommend Zweli’s! They are one of our favorite black-owned restaurants in Durham and the Piri-Piri chicken is out of this world!
- Pizza is always a hit for kids, and Durham has plenty of delicious pizza places. Grab some ‘za from Pie Pushers or Randy’s Pizza, both of which happen to be some of our favorites!
Ready to Dig Into these Things to Do with Kids in Durham?
Whether you live in the area or are simply visiting for a weekend, there are plenty of fun things to do with kids in Durham! Live life to the fullest at the Museum of Life and Science, fill your bellies with delicious food, or enjoy the trails at Eno River State Park.
Either way, we think Durham is the perfect destination for families with kids of all ages!
Do you live here or visit often? We’d love to know your favorites of what we mentioned and if there’s anything we missed. Feel free to let us know in the comments section below!