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Taking train to Raleigh for the Day April 8 (With the rugrats)

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Hi all,

    As the title states, I'll will be taking the train to Raleigh for the day with my kids (three girls, 3, 7, and 8) and wife.  We will arrive at 10:17AM (Amtrak time) and depart 5:16PM (again, Amtrak time).  I plan to hit the Natural Science Museum, Capitol, and History Museum (not in that order).  I would like some advice, is this too much to accomplish in one day with all the rugrats?  Is there something better they would like? Is there something else we should do?  Would love your input, I haven't spent time in Raleigh for a very long time.  Additionally, are there lockers at the Raleigh Amtrak Station or will we be humping all our stuff?


(P.S.)  The schedule is composed of things that I think would be fun, so please let me know what your kids like, I "could" be nice and only make my kids "suffer" through one educational visit.



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I live in Charlotte so I can't help much with the things to do question but I can offer:

  • there are no lockers in the Raleigh station -- its a tiny place
  • its a long walk from the station to the Capitol (particularly w a 3 year old). Uber or the free R Line bus may be very helpful.
  • Marbles Children's Museum is well spoken of and on your route (my kid aged out so I can't offer personal experience)
  • the train coming home is quite likely to be late but the Amtrak app will do a good job of telling you the actual arrival time after 3:30 or 4
Edited by kermit

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Well, I don't have kids so it doesn't seem like a long walk at all to me. I live in Downtown Raleigh for what its worth. I've done some downtown itinerary planning for friends and family before, so here is just one possible day.

From Amtrak the kids would definitely love Videri Chocolate. It's a small, but cool chocolate maker very close to the station and on the way to (or from) downtown proper. It's a tad expensive, but worth it. It has a coffee shop in the back of the space too for mom and dad's energy levels (there are several coffee shops downtown). 

Across the street from Videri is also an arcade/bar. It doesn't much turn into a bar until after work, and I'd say its kid friendly enough for a potential look in. 

Heading still towards downtown proper, you can cut across Nash Square. It has a well done firefighter memorial in the center, and is leafy and full of benches. Exploris Middle School's kids play there around lunch time. A nice Oasis between Dawson and McDowell streets which have the highest traffic volumes in downtown. 

The museums all seem doable. Natural Science will be more fun for the kids. Giant Sloth and dinosaur skeletons are pretty awesome for adults too. History requires more reading of things but it is chocked full of old guns and uniforms and nice displays. There is usually a special exhibit though I am not sure what that is right now. The Capitol is a pretty quick tour. There are tons of art galleries plus a City history museum at 220 Fayetteville St (more interesting to a resident I'd guess). The biggest art place is a collective called Art Space in City Market (more City Market mention below)

We do also have a kids specific museum, Marbles. It is adjacent to the other downtown park, Moore Square. Moore Square is adjacent to the bus terminal so has more people just standing around and stuff. Just a heads up as some people are deterred by any homeless presence. Ours is not bad at all. 

There is an ice cream shop called Treat on Blount street very close to Moore Square. While near Moore Square, a stroll on the cobblestones of City Market is nice, even though its not a huge district. There is also a gelato place close to the ice cream place. 

For a family it might be easier to eat in a museum cafe, but I will still recommend trying something in the city proper. There are pizza by the slice places (Vics), old school hot dog places (Snoopy's or Roast Grill), modern higher end sandwich shops (Capital Club 16), tacos both cheap and expensive (El Rodeo, Virgils, Virgils also being an Arcade-bar) and a ton of places that would cover most folks eating interests. Ask if you want more food opinions. 

As an aside to your plans, our oldest residential area is sort of behind the Governor's mansion, called Oakwood which is bounded by Edenton, East, Person and Boundary streets roughly. Also Blount Street, which is the address of the Governor's mansion, has a handful of magnificent mansions that survived the wrecking ball and are being restored. The best three are at Blount and North Street, not too far from the Museums. 

There are quite a few new high-end clothing places, bakeries and emerging new districts along the edges of downtown proper but these probably are more interesting to prospective residents. 

I am sure I am leaving stuff out, and other folks will have different thoughts on how to spend limited valuable time....but feel free to ask any follow up questions 


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