Family Fun in the South, Part 11: Raleigh

This is my eleventh post about our recent adventure through Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Click for the firstsecondthirdfourthfifthsixthseventheighth, ninth, and tenth posts from this trip. Because I blog about educational travel, several of the places we visited gave me media passes, discounts, and similar benefits. Other places are free to everyone. We paid full price for everything else. This has no bearing on my reviews, as I only share what I can honestly recommend.


Family Fun in Raleigh

We arrived in Raleigh in the evening on Wednesday, January 5. We checked into our hotel, the Raleigh Marriott City Center, then headed out for dinner at Transfer Co. Food Hall. We had incredible empanadas and split a delicious ice cream cookie sandwich. 

As we headed back to the hotel, we passed a really cool art installation. When the wind chimes moved, the lights would turn colors. That's the Marriott in the back right of the photo. It turned out to be a great place to stay - clean, comfy, and convenient. 

The next morning, we started out at the Capitol, just a few blocks from our hotel. 

This was really unique. Enslaved labor was used to build the Capitol, then used to carry wood upstairs to heat the building. You could try the loaded wheelbarrow to see just how heavy and awkward it was. 

The stairs are still grooved and chipped from countless trips with firewood-laden wheelbarrows. 

The Liberty Bell replica was not on the Capitol grounds, but it's less than a block away at the museum complex (coincidentally, right where we were headed next). 

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and the North Carolina Museum of History are located right across from each other, one block from the Capitol. Both are huge. Both are fantastic. Both are free. It's a dream situation for a teacher planning a field trip, or a travel blogger and her family. 

We started with Natural Sciences. 

The museum has four stories, plus an elevated bridge across the street to another building with three stories of exhibit space. It was incredible. 

There are labs where, if they hadn't been closed due to COVID, we could have watched North Carolina State University students and staff conducting research. 

Another moon rock. 

You could easily spend all day enjoying the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Even with a significant amount of areas closed due to COVID, there was still so much to see.  

The most surprising thing to me was how many live animals were on display. The reptiles and fish weren't all that surprising, I suppose, but I did definitely not expect a butterfly garden or a sloth.

We'd had a big breakfast at the hotel, so we opted to skip lunch and go straight to the Museum of History. 

It was enormous and it was spectacular - one of my all-time favorite museums. Because it was so big, we focused only on the parts that were specific to North Carolina to save time. Despite that, we were there for three hours. Honestly, if you like history, you could go there every day for a week and not run out of interesting things to see. 

The museum is also home to the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame

Next stop: Dinner at Morgan St. Food Hall. There were tons of great choices. 

Next, we did the self-guided factory tour at Videri Chocolate

It was fun to see all the chocolate making steps. And the whole place smelled amazing. 

Unfortunately, their retail shop was closed due to COVID exposure, so we weren't able to try their chocolate. All we could do was press our noses against the glass and talk about what we'd try if we could actually buy some. 

I enjoyed all the public art in Raleigh. My favorite was this thank you to essential workers. 

The next morning, we made a quick stop at the City of Raleigh Museum before we left town. It's a small museum, but well worth a 30-minute visit. 


We had a great time in Raleigh and would have loved another few days to explore it further. But our trip was quickly coming to an end and we still had two more cities to visit. I'll tell you about those last two places tomorrow. 

1 comment:

  1. Looks like a wonderful time, Cindy! Loved seeing all of your pics!


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