My Top Five Outside Activities with the Kids

Jun 4, 2012

WHQR has a terrific art show up in the MC Erny Gallery called OUTSIDE and I started thinking about all the fantastic ways to spend time outside in Wilmington. Mostly, it is so easy to have outside family fun. My husband Frank and I have six-year-old twin daughters, Maggie and Kate, who love playing outdoors so we've found lots of easy ways to get out and have a great time for very little money. Here are my top five things to do OUTSIDE with kids.

The Arboretum

  • We were at the New Hanover County Arboretum this weekend and the place looks spectacular (it seemed to have been dolled up a bit for the Water Garden Tours) - lots of flowers blooming and no bugs (not sure how that happened). The best part is that there are great things for adults and kids. The gardens are terrific and my kids love pretending they live in Japan in the little house in the Japanese garden or having a tea party in the fairy cottage and garden – complete with a mini ceramic tea set to serve with and giant mushrooms to climb on. Plus, it’s free every day from sun up to sun down.

Fort Fisher Ferry Day

  • As non-boat owners in a world of boating, this is our boat of choice. For $5 the family and the car take a beautiful ride to Southport. We support the Aquarium as members, so often our day starts with a quick visit to our favorite octopus and eels, then a beautiful ferry ride, followed by a visit to Southport. Sometimes we run around bugging the too-many seagulls, get ice cream, hang out at the Provision Company or wander around the town, but always we stop to visit Grandpa, a Southport resident, before driving home.

Friday Night Summer Concerts

  • The girls love dancing and music, so the concerts at Downtown Sundown on the river and out at Mayfaire’s Music on the Town are perfect ways for us to start the weekend. They get to run around, look for new or old friends and generally have a crazy time while we can take it easy with a picnic and grown-up beverages.

Greenfield Lake paddle boats

  • We finally decided to take a ride this year and know now we have been missing out. It is great to paddle out into this swampy atmospheric southern lake and explore the hidden grottos while searching for turtles and alligators. Super fun for the kids and only $10 an hour for a nice boat with a sunroof that will fit four.

Finally, The Beach

  • You can not beat our beaches. Wrightsville and Oak Island are our favorites. Whether swimming during a hot day or after a dinner picnic, the beach is the best place to be. After 20 years on the West Coast in Los Angeles, it’s great to live by an ocean you can actually swim in. We love it here!


Do you have any favorite local activities to do on a budget? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!