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Durham Places To Let Your Kids Run Wild

Youthful exuberance is a joyful thing, but not in the wrong place. Thankfully, Durham has plenty of the right places for kids to run, jump, scream and play to their hearts' content.

Posted By Discover Durham Staff

You can search the full listings of kids things to do, but here's a curated list of some of Durham's popular outdoor places to let your kids run wild (most of which are free of charge):

1. Durham Central Park Skate Park

If your little one is the adventurous sort, the skate park in Durham Central Park is the place to go. Come equipped with your skateboard and safety gear, and they can try out the quarter pipe, launch boxes, handrails, street clam, and eight-foot bowl. (If you don't know quite what those things are, you can also watch the skaters while you check out number two on the list!)

As a bonus, the Central Park District is home to a farmers' market and art market with food trucks on Saturday mornings, which makes it the perfect place to fuel up before an afternoon activity.

2. Mount Merrill

Kid Friendly Mt Merrill

Just down the hill from the skate park is an interactive play area featuring two slides, a climbing net, a boulder climb, and other areas that kids can't help but get excited about. The playground is situated within the larger Durham Central Park, which includes large green areas where you can picnic, relax, or run around.

3. Spraygrounds

Kid Friendly Spraygrounds

Durham Parks and Recreation maintains five special public parks called spraygrounds, which, in addition to more typical playground equipment, have water features. Perfect for a hot summer day, you can press a button to spray your kids with water as they play. Head to the City of Durham website to find the sprayground nearest you.

4. West Point on the Eno and Eno River State Park

Kid Friendly Eno

Two of Durham's public parks along the Eno River, West Point and Eno River State Park, feature miles of trails that wind through the trees along the waterway, ripe for exploring.

There are also a number of places fit for swimming on a hot summer day, fishing opportunities, and canoe and kayak rentals. (There are no life guards, though, so it's best for experienced swimmers and a watchful chaperone.) West Point also features three historic buildings you can tour.

5. Museum of Life + Science

Kid Friendly MLS 

The Museum of Life + Science is one of the top family-friendly museums in the Southeast because it has beloved, interactive science exhibits where kids can, well, act like kids – and still learn at the same time.

There are a number of popular outdoor exhibits, like Hideaway Woods, Dinosaur Trail, Into the Mist, and Catch the Wind, that are known as places where kids can let loose. The exhibits allow kids to run, dig, build, climb, and explore all day long, both indoors and out. You'll leave the Museum of Life + Science with an exhausted youngster, who might just say, "This was the best day ever!"

Bonus: Durham Parks and Recreation maintains dozens of parks throughout Durham. Head to their website to use their park locator tool, which lets you search all Durham's parks by amenities, including athletic fields, picnic areas, dog parks, and more.

About the Author

Discover Durham Staff