Pullen Park

DSC_4550.JPGThere is an amusement park right in the middle of downtown Raleigh! Operated by the City of Raleigh Parks and Recreation, Pullen Park has so much fun to offer to visitors at such a great price, it’s no wonder that it is a favorite for families of the triangle area.  A beautiful 19th century historic carousel, a train, and little kiddie boats can all be ridden here for $1/ guest.  The park also has play spaces for several ages and ability levels, and a sand and water area.  DSC_4467-01.jpegInteresting spaces, such as the amphitheater, koi pond, caboose, and small islands with shade and geese make spending time anywhere in the park unique and fun.  The pond also has pedal boats available for rent in the summer months, as well as some awesome evening films on outdoor screens.  The park restaurant, Pullen Place, offers locally sourced food and plenty of vegetarian and allergy friendly foods.  It’s such a fun place to be a kid! I hope your family gets to spend a day riding the rides and exploring the play areas soon!

With Love, Turtle Dove


Know Before You Go:  The restaurant opens at 11, and the rides open 10 am, while the park is open from 9 -9.  The rides close due to inclement weather and darkness.

Tickets for the train, carousel, and boats must be purchased at the park entrance box office and all adults need tickets to ride.

This park is stroller friendly.

There are restrooms in the center of the park, near the carousel, and also at the restaurant/outdoor dining area.

The sand and water play area does not have a foot or hand washing area.DSC_4587.JPG



Bass Lake Park

screenshot_20180430-222005_instagram.jpgThe Town of Holly Springs operates a great little nature center at Bass Lake Park, with live animals, small exhibits, viewing decks, and a little Natural History reading nook.  My children love visiting the long time animal residents there: a soft-shelled turtle, milk, king, and pine snakes, and even a little albino hedgehog.  There are always park staff members on hand to answer questions, and sometimes they even have the animals out for cage cleaning or education programs so you get to meet them up close.  Of course, Bass Lake also has animals living outdoors in their natural habitats, such as the fish for which the lake is named, as well as frogs, turtles and all types of waterfowl and songbirds.  Fishing is encouraged, and there are boats for rent and poles to check out for kids. The trail around the lake provides mulch-covered trails for comfortable strolling, and lots of places to stop and look around along the way.  I hope your family gets to see the cool creatures and beautiful flora at Bass Lake soon.

With Love, Turtle Dove

Know Before You Go:  The Nature Center has restrooms, water for sale, ice cream for sale, picnic areas, and nature backpacks to check out with your license or some other id.

The trails are all mulch and not really stroller friendly unless it is an all terrain stroller.

The main trail loops around the lake, returning to the center.

Snakes are along the trail, especially near the water.




Stephens Nature Center at Hemlock Bluffs

DSC_3528-01.jpegWe are so lucky to live in an area where almost every town sets aside some of its natural treasures for public use.  Hemlock bluffs is just that, a preserve that protects a population of Eastern Hemlock trees, intertwined with trails and educational areas that provide for great walks and learning adventures. DSC_3554-01 The park is a joint venture between the Town of Cary and the NC State Parks Service, and its 140 acres have various cool ecosystems to explore.  Town of Cary operates the Stephens Nature Center, with a small exhibit area, classrooms, 2 children’s gardens and a great play area with fun features like a mushroom and turtle hopscotch and a telescope.  DSC_3540-01.jpegThe bluffs themselves can be accessed by a set of long stairs and with overlooks that lead to a short trail loop perfect for kids. I hope you and your family get to see it soon!

With Love, Turtle Dove

Know Before you go: There are restrooms available at the center, none on the trails.

The stairs on the bluff trail are well kept, but there are a lot of them.  Also, they have gravel on top which can be slippery.

There are no food or drink facilities, but there are water fountains at the nature center.

There are plenty of snakes and ticks at this park.




Eno River (Fews Ford and West Point)

screenshot_20180415-114719_instagram.jpgThe Eno River is by far the most wonderful area for checking our different ecosystems, with river access, streams, piney woods, rocky outcroppings,  and beautiful deciduous areas you can find a little of everything here. Both of these sites were homesites, so there are also interesting historic structures to explore. The draw of this place for our family is river swimming and waterfall sliding! Fews Ford has great swimming spots along the hiking trails, and a little waterfall that is perfect for kids to climb up and slide back down again!  There is also a swinging rope bridge there that allows for some great views of the river as well as its residents, like herons and reptiles of all sorts! We’ve spotted a few types of watersnakes sunning themselves along the banks.  Screenshot_20180415-124209_GalleryWest Point on the Eno is a Town of Durham park, and offers tons of picnicking opportunities, hiking and a little boat launch for wading near the Historic Mill.  There are a few groups that offer educational programs here, as well.  Hope you get out to explore all that the Eno has to offer soon!

With Love, Turtle Dove


Know Before You Go:  The Eno has a few access point in the Triangle.  West Point on the Eno is great for exploring and wading, but the State Park access at Fews Ford is really great for swimming. We park on Cole Mill Road, near the old homesite, and access the water and waterfall there.

There are plenty of snakes in this wild, beautiful wonderland!

There is a lot of glass in the river access at West Point, we always wear shoes there

Fishing is permitted near the swimming areas, look out for hooks

There are restrooms near the Fews Ford access.  At West Point, there are restrooms at near the old barn, and a portable restroom near the trail Screenshot_20180415-114728_Instagram