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North Carolina family date night ideas

Kathy M. Newbern and J.S. Fletcher are award-winning travel writers and photographers who have visited every continent. Their home base is Raleigh, NC. When not traveling, they operate the personalized romance novel company they started ...

Make a date for fun

Like families, family fun comes in all shapes and sizes. Besides popular local venues such as miniature golf courses, cinemas and bowling alleys for family date nights, here are some one-of-a-kind outings in North Carolina around which a family can plan a whole fun-filled evening.

Make a date for fun

1The Lost Colony Outdoor Drama

Since The Lost Colony outdoor symphonic drama was first staged in 1937, millions have seen the story of English explorer Sir Walter Raleigh's failed settlement on the shores of Roanoke Island. Created by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paul Green, it is performed at Manteo's Waterside Theatre and is the nation's first and longest-running outdoor drama.

1409 National Park Drive (off U.S. 64)
Manteo, North Carolina 27954
Phone: 252-473-3414
Performances: May 27 through August 20, 2011 -- Monday through Saturday, 8:30 p.m.
Admission: Adults -- $20 lower level, $24 upper; seniors -- $18 lower level, $21 upper; children 12 and under -- $10

2Take me out to the ballpark

A family evening of home runs, fastballs, hot dogs, mascots and fireworks at one of North Carolina's 10 minor-league ballparks costs about the same as attending a movie. Visit your favorite club's website (listed below) or call for schedules and ticket prices.

Asheville Tourists (Single A, Colorado Rockies)
30 Buchanan Place

Asheville, North Carolina 28801

Phone: 828-258-0428

Burlington Royals (Rookie, Kansas City Royals)
1450 Graham Street

Burlington, North Carolina 27217

Phone: 336-222-0223

Carolina Mudcats (Double A, Cincinnati Reds)
1501 North Carolina Highway 39
Zebulon, North Carolina 27597
Phone: 919-269-2287

Charlotte Knights (Triple A, Chicago White Sox)
2280 Deerfield Drive

Fort Mill, South Carolina 29715

Phone: 704-357-8071

Durham Bulls (Triple A, Tampa Bay Rays)
409 Blackwell Street
Durham, North Carolina 27701
Phone: 919-687-6500

Greensboro Grasshoppers (Single A, Florida Marlins)
408 Bellemeade Street

Greensboro, North Carolina 27401

Phone: 336-268-2255

Hickory Crawdads (Single A, Texas Rangers)
2500 Clement Boulevard Northwest

Hickory, North Carolina 28601

Phone: 828-322-3000

Kannapolis Intimidators (Single A, Chicago White Sox)
2888 Moose Road
Kannapolis, North Carolina 28083
Phone: 704-932-3267

Kinston Indians (Single A, Cleveland Indians)
400 East Grainger Avenue
Kinston, North Carolina 28501
Phone: 252-527-9111

Winston-Salem Dash (Single A, Chicago White Sox)
926 Brookstown Avenue
Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27101
Phone: 336-714-2287

3The Crystal Coast Lady

North Carolina's Crystal Coast is all about the water, from ocean to sound to marsh to inlet to Intracoastal Waterway. If you vacation near Beaufort, a sunset dinner cruise aboard the Crystal Coast Lady is a fun way to learn about the area, have a meal and see a dolphin or two along the way.

617 Front Street (across from BB&T Bank)
Beaufort, North Carolina 28516
Phone: 252-728-8687
Hours: Dinner cruises Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday departing at 7 p.m. and returning at 9 p.m.
Admission: Adults, $25 to $34; children under 12, $12 to $20; children under 5, $6

Make a date for fun4The Raleigh Road Outdoor Theater

Harkening to a bygone era of family entertainment, the Raleigh Road Outdoor Theatre in Henderson is North Carolina's oldest operating drive-in movie. Originally named The Moon-glo, it opened on July 15, 1949, and still shows two first-run movies under the stars each night that you watch in the comfort of your own car.

3336 Raleigh Road (U.S. Business Route 1)
Henderson, North Carolina 27536
Phone: 252-438-6959
Hours: Open year 'round; two movies nightly; check website for hours, which change seasonally
Admission (includes both movies): Adults, $6; Children 5 through 12, $3; under 5, free

5The Morehead Planetarium & Science Center

Take the family on a planetary journey at the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center on the campus of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Two different evening programs are offered monthly: a 90-minute Starry Nights program shown inside the dome designed for teens and adults, and an outdoor skywatching session for all ages.

250 East Franklin Street
Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599
Phone: 919-962-1236
General hours: Monday through Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.; Sunday, 12:30 to 5 p.m.

  • Starry Nights, monthly in the dome at 7:30 p.m., is suggested for teens and older.
    General admission: $12; Morehead members, $8
  • Star Families, monthly in the dome at 9:30 a.m., is a science program that focuses on the same content but is designed for the learning styles of children ages 7 through 12 and their families.
    General admission: $20/family; Morehead members, $15/family; $2 for each additional family member after the first four
  • Free Skywatching Sessions, monthly outdoors, are weather dependent, so visit the website or call for updates.
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