Lake Benson Park

20180817_164853We love spending time in Garner! Okay, so a lot of that has to do with some awesome friends and family who live there, but also, we love the parks! Lake Benson Park is one of our Garner favorites, with lovely walking trails, a great multi-age level SHADED playground, and, of course, the lake.  The town of Garner was brilliant for installing the shades over the playground equipment here, and it makes the whole experience so much more friendly for little bare hands, legs and feet in the summer!  Also, we could spend hours hanging by the tranquil lake catching tadpoles and skipping stones.  With large open fields, an exercise path and covered picnic shelters, this park has a lot to offer a family like ours, with lots of ages to entertain.  I hope your family gets to spend some time here soon, and be sure to check out White Deer Park, just across the street, when you do!

With Love,

Turtle Dove

Know Before You Go: Bathrooms are located at the playground area.

There are 2 playground areas at this park, the shaded equipment is at the playground to the left as you enter.

No food is for sale, or in walking distance from this park.  There are water fountains in the picnic area near the bathroom.

There is no swimming at Lake Benson Park.



Crowder County Park

DSC_8962-02We always hit Crowder Park whenever we need a relaxing place to play safely and to take a short walk with a lot of natural reward. Just off of Ten-Ten Road in Apex, Crowder offers a great main playground with high, fun slides, some excellent climbing apparatus, and a lot of fun, twirly things to ride.  There is also a wonderful birdwatching deck and a fun walk with bridges around a pond.  We always bring our binoculars with us as we always see awesome wildlife at this park.  In addtion, there are two other playgrounds located at other picnic shelters. It’s a great little park to spend time in, with the perfect mix of wild and fun.  I hope you get to check it out with your family soon!

With Love,

Turtle Dove

Know Before You Go:  Restrooms are located at the office and near the playground at the wooded deck.

There are several awesome picnic shelters to choose from at this park.  Each has its own playground, which makes birthday party rentals extra fun!

The playground slides on the older children’s play equipment are really high, and younger children may require adult help, especially if you have one of those determined- to-climb-everything-big-sister can type kids like mine!



Fred G. Bond Metro Park

DSC_5948-02If you live in or frequent the triangle, chances are you’ll end up in Fred G. Bond Metro Park in Cary for either Kite Festival, Winter (man-made) snow sledding, a sporting or running event, or one of the great concerts the town has in the park’s small amphitheater.  At 350 acres, Bond park is one of the largest municipal parks in this area.  In addition to the aforementioned fun, the park also has several baseball fields, fishing lake with boat rentals, picnic shelters, and miles of paved greenways and running trails.  Our favorite part of this park is  the Compost Education Center, a series of outdoor exhibits and landscaped garden areas exploring the different aspects of composting, complete with a worm bed! The kids also love the “Lazy Days” playground here, especially the large sandbox and shaded swings.  The park is fronted by Cary’s Community and Senior Centers, and has a ropes course area that can be booked for classes and team building activities.  Whether you visit for an event or a fun outing with the family, I hope you get to spend some time at Bond Park soon!

With Love,

Turtle Dove


Know Before You Go:  Bond park has several restroom areas, but they are all a few minute walk from the playground.  (We first visited with a toilet-training toddler and that was tough for us!)  You can find bathrooms near the boat house and across Bond Park Drive from the playground in the direction of the amphitheater, as well as near the Compost Education Center and Ropes Course.

There is no swimming at the Bond Park Lake.

Admission is free to the park, however, certain events require a fee.

There are snacks and drinks for sale at the boathouse during the summer months.



North Carolina Museum of Art

DSC_3877-01 I feel so lucky to live in an area so rich in museums! My kids get to spend several days each year contemplating rooms full of  Rodins, cases of ancient cultural artifacts, and galleries of contemporary art at NCMA.  A stroll through the permanent collection can take us an entire day, so we try to divide up our trips by whatever artistic subjects are relevant to our studies at the time, or we may take a few hours and spend them in one of the museum’s amazing temporary exhibits. While the permanent collections are strictly hands-off, the special exhibitions often have interactive pieces, and sometimes a whole gallery for children’s discovery and creation.  Outside of the exhibit halls, visitors are treated to acres of manicured walking trails that wind around and through outdoor exhibits, an amphitheatre, and a discovery garden with a great slide sculpture and sensory garden.  The rolling hills of the park lead down to a wooded area with bridges and an AMAZING ‘cloud house’ built of stone and earth .  DSC_0880-01.jpeg  The wooded trails loop back to the parking areas, amphitheater, and connect to a greenway that crosses the highway.  Pop-up art programs are held regularly out in the small pavilion in the middle of the park, and are a great, free way for kids to connect to the art.  I hope you and your family get to see some of the wonderful pieces this museum has to offer soon.

With Love, Turtle Dove

Know before you go:  There are restrooms in both exhibit halls and outside underneath the amphitheatre.  There are no restrooms out in the art park.

There is no charge for the museum entrance, but special exhibits usually have a fee.  Children under 6 are often discounted or free.

There is food available at the art museum cafe, but you may need a reservation to be seated on busy days.  It is slightly formal, and the arrangement doesn’t lend itself to play, but you can order and take food outdoors. Sip Cafe, also in the main building has great coffee and baked goods.

The museum is closed Monday, but the park is open each day, dawn to dusk.



Lake Crabtree County Park

DSC_3514-01.jpegJust off Airport Boulevard near Raleigh-Durham International, there is a fabulous wilderness park with playgrounds, boating, and an awesome wildlife observation tower.  You can rent boats or bring your own canoes and kayaks to launch off of the accessible and public boat launch for an amazing day on the lake, where you can view heron and all sorts of fish up close.   There is a lovely open play area in a field near the lake, great for frisbee and other sports. A sand Volleyball court is also located near the boat launch. Adobe_20180430_213152-02  The thing that makes Crabtree Park memorable for us, though, is the 4-story observation tower overlooking the lake.  The kids love running up the stairs to the top and gazing out to watch birds or planes fly by.  I hope you and your family get a chance to spend a sunny day there soon!

With Love,

Turtle Dove

Know Before You Go:  There are restrooms at the tower, the manager building, and the public boat ramp area.  There is no food available, but water fountains are located at the tower.

Each of the 2 playgrounds are shaded and near the lake and picnic shelters.

There is a cool old historic home site if you take the trail from the open playspace.  It has some great interpretation about growing tobacco.

Certain trails are closed from time to time. Check the website and look for signs to stay off of unsafe trails. Parts of the greenway are under construction as of May 1, 2018.

Fishing at the park is catch and release.



RDU Observation Park

Screenshot_20180410-232515_DriveThis place is great if you have a little aircraft enthusiast or for anyone who wants to see a few planes take off and land up close. A little jungle gym and a mini  mock runway make great additions, but the real draw is the observation deck overlooking the small aircraft hangars and the western runway near the control tower. My children love leaning against the deck rails watching planes come in, especially when we are waiting for someone traveling or waving goodbye as someone heads out. (They wave goodbye to every plane for good measure). They also love running the little runway, pretending to race the big planes. Hope you get to check it out next time you’re dropping someone off for a flight or just for fun on a clear day!

With Love, Turtle Dove

Know Before you Go:  The Park address is W International Dr, Morrisville, NC 27560. This little park can be hard to find and GPS/maps sometimes doesn’t recognize the address. Just past the terminals, you will take a right on W. International Drive. Follow it past the control tower until you can take a left on Business St.  The park is on your left.

There are restrooms located near the observation deck.

The stairs, monkey bars and lots of the picnic tables are in disrepair lately. Hopefully, this is just because of the high volume of traffic there and they will get those fixed up soon.Screenshot_20180403-092208_Drive