NC Museum of Art Park
The North Carolina Museum of Art Park has over 2 miles of trails, both paved and unpaved, where you can enjoy nature and art simultaneously. This park is open from dawn to dusk everyday and is free for anyone and everyone to enjoy including dogs and cyclists.
We headed to the park around midday on a very hot day. This is was mistake number one. Mornings or evenings would be the best for this park in the summer months as quite a bit of the trail does not have shade. Since we took the kids with us we packed juice boxes for when we got back to the car. This was mistake number two. Definitely treat this like you would any other hiking trail by bringing water for everyone and making sure everyone has comfy walking shoes. There were a few water fountains by the parking lot that we were very grateful for by the time we left the park!
Some of the trails are paved and some are not but I highly encourage you to walk both trails because the unpaved trails definitely have a fun or two surprise hidden away for you. The picture below shows a little hut that you can go in, shut the door and once your eyes adjust, you will look down to see the trees and up to see the ground. I will admit I was a little skeptical but you can watch the wind blowing the trees by looking down. Seriously.
There is something for everyone no matter the age. There is a small slide for younger kids, or for older kids (and adults too) you can spend a good 20 minutes trying to find all the chairs in the trees. There are quite a few! The picture below shows one of the chairs.
If you are in Raleigh, definitely check out this park. There are tables and chairs for lunches and snacks or just enjoying the view. Plan on spending at least an hour, but more likely two, meandering through the park. We didn’t come prepared so we spent about 45 minutes there before the kids started complaining and we left. Next time we go, we will be ready.