I come from up North in the great state of JerZ, so naturally I was shocked at the mention of year-round schools. But I am open minded. OK mind your tongue, JerZ folks can be! Some of us anyway. I am now the loudest cheerleader for year-round schools and with both boys now in school, we love the schedule. Track-outs tend to be a nice even pace of fun, relaxing and catch-up. You know, we get those dentist and well-checks in, I re-explain the fine art of folding towels and add in some chores for the boys that I know once classes resume they will be strong with early on and slowly fade just about at that 9-week mark. Nod away parents, you know what I mean.
But we do have fun. I swear! The Raleigh area is chock full of awesome track-out activities and opportunities to explore. Some of our favorite things to do are our coffee-shop chats in the mornings. The boys love muffins and I love coffee. Win win! We always pair it with different parks each time. This track-out we’ve done Thanks-A-Latte with Jones Park in Holly Springs, Common Grounds with the caboose and firehouse in Apex, Lucky Tree with Pullen Park in Raleigh and Java Jive with Ritter Park in Cary.
A little gem I discovered a couple years ago was the Prairie Ridge Ecostation. Have you been? What a find! It’s an extension of the North Carolina Museum of Natural History but it sits in the outskirts of Raleigh, not downtown. There you can explore 45 acres of natural environments with outdoor learning. We enjoy the Nature Playspace for hours and then stroll through the trails. It’s all free and prominent on every track-out to-do list.
Other free excursions are the other museums in downtown Raleigh; Natural History and American History. We didn’t head there this time, but we almost always do. Not a high cost and certainly worth it are Marbles and Museum of Life + Science. Check out my review of that here.
If you’ve got a history buff at home, don’t miss out on the local political visits you can enjoy. Last year we toured the Capitol building and were greeted with the historian who lead us past the velvet rope, allowing my boys sit where the Governor sits! We also wrote our Senator and snagged us a tour of the legislative offices and chambers. It was star treatment and fabulous information. My own little historian was pleased as pie as he listened and asked pretty cool questions throughout.
And let’s not forget the energy my boys have. Nonstop. So, relief of that is in order. This track-out we enjoyed Sky Zone since we had a coupon for a free ½ hour. What a treat, we absolutely loved the attention the staff gave and the focus on smaller numbers of participants in the different areas. But we are huge fans of Bounce U, Devy Gravity and Jump Street too!
There have been copious amounts of TV time since I’m a stickler when school is in session. And the boys like to remind us every time off that they want sushi. Two growing boys in this house means slapping down too much cash on food not even cooked, so we’ve limited their culinary favorite to once a track-out. Mind you, they never forget. I’ve been known to search the couch cushions and dryer vent before the feast. Those boys can pack it in!
And for the win of most fun we’ve had on track-out ever…the boys ran a fierce Spartan race the same weekend my husband and I earned our coveted Trifecta. They ran, climbed, pulled, pushed, thrusted and crawled in dirt, mud and water. They earned a medal and our family had an absolute exhilarating weekend of achievement and family fun. It was one for the memory books!
I’m exhausted and spent…money and mind…but they return to school soon enough. This Mama can’t wait, but also knows my two little munchkins will be sorely missed for the next nine weeks. The miles driven, pavement pounded and places visited was worth it because the hours I clocked with them was priceless.