Is Tweetsie Railroad Worth the Cost?

The number one question I continue to see in regards to Tweetsie Railroad and visiting the High Country with kids, “Is Tweetsie worth it?”. I recently visited, June 2022, with an 8 and 2.5 year old, here’s my honest review of Tweetsie Railroad in Blowing Rock, North Carolina.

*Tweetsie Railroad is a wild west themed amusement park in Blowing Rock, North Carolina.

The short answer: Yes! I think Tweetsie is worth the cost if you visit with younger kids, spend the whole day, and enjoy the shows.

The top things to consider when deciding if a trip to Tweetsie is worth it for your family…

-Tweetsie is best for kids 10 years old and under

You can find a list of height requirements per ride HERE (there are quite a few rides the under 5 years old crowd can do)

-Not an activity I would do EVERY time we visit the Blowing Rock area, maybe every couple years

-If you’re only visiting the area for a weekend trip I wouldn’t choose Tweetsie as an activity, I would prioritize Grandfather Mountain and other adventure activities over a trip to Tweetsie (100% my opinion, others may strongly disagree)

-To really get your money’s worth you need to spend more than half a day, sit and watch the shows, visit the Deer Park Zoo, ride ALL the rides, and ride the train (Tweetsie recommends 5-6 hours to enjoy the whole park and I agree)

*You can leave for nap time and re-enter*

-2 and under are free, we visited right before my 2 year old turned 3 so only having to pay for one kid helped make the cost seem more “worth it”

Tips for visiting Tweetsie Railroad with Kids:

-You ARE allowed to bring in your own food and coolers (this is a great way to save money and time)

-Strollers are available for rent but guests are encouraged to bring their own as the stroller rental supply is limited

-There’s not a ton of walking but there are hills so a stroller for younger kids is a good idea

-Ghost Train tickets go on sale in August and Tweetsie Christmas tickets go on sale in early September

-If you’re visiting on a hot day The Tweetsie Palace has live shows, air conditioning, and plenty of tables

-Paying for animal feed in the Deer Park is worth the extra couple dollars

If you have any other questions about visiting Tweetsie with kids feel free to DM me on Instagram – @trianglefamiliesexplore

Talking Tree Trail at Jordan Lake Educational State Forest

Jordan Lake Educational State Forest is a hidden gem near Jordan Lake in Chapel Hill, NC. With over 600 acres to explore

Address: 2832 Big Woods Rd, Chapel Hill, NC 27517

*This is at Jordan Lake Educational State Forest NOT Jordan Lake Recreation Area

The Talking Tree Trail is currently under renovation (the trees don’t talk), but it’s still a wonderful hike for families with young children and there’s signs to read and learn about the trees.

Jordan Lake Educational State Forest has 4 hikes ranging from .5-2 miles so you can easily explore multiple trails during your visit and all of them are great hikes with kids.

For the Talking Tree Trail drive past the office, bathrooms, and helicopter and park in the big gravel lot in front of the Training Center. The Talking Tree trailhead, if you’re facing the Training Center, is on the right.

Trail Map of Jordan Lake Educational State Forest:

This parking lot also provides easy access to the helicopter and bulldozer and although you can’t climb in them it’s still awesome to see these machines up close.

Find more information about Jordan Lake Educational State Forest HERE.

Visiting the Sunflower Field at Dorothea Dix Park with Kids

The yearly sunflower field at Dorothea Dix Park in Raleigh is a triangle summer tradition! Many families have photos over the years at the sunflower field, it’s a fun way to document your families growth, experience nature, and a great day activity for kids.

The sunflower field is currently in bloom (7/11) and the blooms typically last 2 weeks. The sunflower field is located in Dorothea Dix Park in Raleigh. There are two places to park to see the sunflowers, either is a good option with kids and BOTH parking lots have port-o-potties.

The sunflower field is open 7 days a week dawn to dusk. High traffic times will be lunch time and sunset (6-8pm).

Circled in red are the two parking lots, one is off HUNT DRIVE and the other is near the swings off UMSTEAD DRIVE.

Kid Friendly Tips:

  • The terrain is bumpy and hilly, a jogging stroller is your best bet if you’re planning on taking a stroller
  • Don’t forget sunscreen, bug spray, water, hats, and snacks (with the swings and hammocks your kids will probably spend more time here than you anticipate)
  • Food Trucks will be at the park July 22nd (5-9pm), July 23rd (11-3 and 5-9), and July 24th (11-3)

*Link to list of Food Trucks and more information

This year Dix Park has added fun art pieces to enhance the experience! Plus the swings and hammocks which are near the sunflower field all year round.

Farm Glamping – The Farm at Piper Hill

45 minutes west of Raleigh is a glamping paradise, The Farm at Piper Hill. Set on 100 acres of the piedmont’s finest you’ll find a welcoming farm for your overnight glamping adventures.

Our group stayed in the Waterfront Peninsula Cottage with Dock and Deluxe Pond View Bell Tent, both were great accommodations for families however we recommend the Deluxe Bell Tent for families with younger kiddos as the Peninsula Cottage is surrounded by water.

During your stay at The Farm at Piper Hill you have free reign to interact with the animals, explore the property, and add on additional activities like fishing, kayaking, and gem mining to enhance your experience.

We opted to do it all and were pleasantly surprised how many fish the kids caught off the dock!

Collecting eggs from the coop for breakfast in the morning was a special treat and a gas grill is included at all the glamping sites.

The Farm at Piper Hill also offers summer camps , weekend camps, birthday parties, group farm visits, and special events. Next up is the Wild West Fest on May 28th, admission includes pony rides, face painting, a mechanical bull, a pie eating contest, square dance lessons, and live music!

Backyard Movie Night Rental in the Triangle

Drive in movie theaters are always a fun family experience and now you can bring the fun to your backyard! NC Patio Cinema is a full service pop up movie night rental company serving the triangle and beyond. We loved their attention to detail and high quality items, the blow up couches really took the experience to the next level. We highly recommend this company for your next birthday, community event, sporting event, etc!

5 Places to see Spring Flowers in the Triangle

Although there are many more gardens and parks with beautiful spring blooms throughout the Triangle here are 5 we love visiting that are currently showing off the start of spring!

Sarah P. Duke Gardens – Durham

Parking is $2 per hour and the Gardens are open everyday 8am to dusk

Coker Arboretum – Chapel Hill

Open dawn to dusk

NC Botanical Garden -Chapel Hill

Open 9am-5pm Tuesday through Saturday / 1-5pm Sunday (closed Monday)

JC Raulston Arboretum – Raleigh

Open Monday through Friday 9am-4:30pm / Sat and Sunday 10am-6pm

Wilson Botanical Gardens – Wilson

Open dawn to dusk / restrooms are only available week days 8am-5pm

Triangle Families Explore Weekend Roundup April 1-3

Friday – April 1st

Partee Shack is offering BOGO mini golf to celebrate their 1 year anniversary

Lazy Hound Farms in Wendell is kicking off their Friday Farm Club for kiddos ages 2-5 (10:30am-12pm)

Bands, Bites and Boats at Bond Park in Cary

One Friday a month, the Bond Park Boathouse hosts musicians, food trucks, and after-hours boat rentals. Spend your Friday evening floating on Bond Lake in the setting sun while you listen to great music and enjoy delicious food. Prefer to stay on land? Bring a lawn chair, friends and family and join us.

Aspiring Engineers at White Deer Park

Visit White Deer Park for an evening of engineering fun with hands-on learning through experiments, crafts, and other activities in the Nature Center classroom. Also, bring a blanket to enjoy outdoor activities and stargazing with Raleigh Astronomy Club on the lawn. This is a self-paced drop-in program.

Carolina Children’s Theater Presents Peter Pan Jr

Junnie B Jones is Not a Crook – Showtimes Fri, Sat, and Sun

Saturday – April 2nd

Easter Bunny Hay Ride Adventure at Millstone Creek Orchards

Storytime & Craft at Quail Ridge Books (10:30-11:30am)

Old Mill Farm Durham – Spring Fling (12-6pm)

Saturdays on Salem and Apex Farmers Market

Kinly Pregnancy Baby & Child Expo at Marbles (10am – 4pm)

Naylor Family Farm Easter Egg Hunt and Celebration (9am – 3pm)

Phillips Farms of Cary – Grand Opening and Food Truck Rodeo

Sensory Friendly Easter Egg Hunt at Soapstone Methodist Church (10am – 12pm)

Spring Fling at Ting Stadium (10am – 12pm)

Wetland Sensory Walk for Autism Day (10am – 11am)

Wild Beginnings Nature School Free Monthly Play Date (10am)

Easter Egg Hunt at Parkside Commons

The Market at NCMA

Community Easter Celebration for Kids with Special Needs (12-1:30pm)

Midtown Square Spring Festival – (dedicated Kid Zone 12-4pm)

Sunday – April 3rd

Historic House and Garden Tour – Isabelle Bowen Henderson House and Gardens (1-4pm)

Easter Bunny Hay Ride Adventure at Millstone Creek Orchards

Carrboro Open Streets (12-4pm)

The community is invited to dance, do yoga, ride their bikes, climb a rock wall, make smoothies on a bike blender, and participate in many other activities in a public space that not many ever thought of as a place to partake in recreation.

4th Annual Festival of Nations Hosted by Sister Cities of Durham (11am-5pm)

Art n Soul Market at Amberly Amphitheater in Cary (11am-3pm)

Wake Forest Veg Fest (10am-3pm)

10 Family Friendly Day Trips from the Triangle

When asked what’s the best part about living in the Triangle 9 times out of 10 one of the first responses you’ll get is, “being 2 hours from the beach and 3 to the mountains”. We all know the Triangle is located close to amazing adventures but we don’t always know where to actually visit when the time comes. Enter, our list of 10 family friendly day trips from the Triangle….

*All of these destinations are 1-2 hours away from Raleigh/Durham*

Saxapahaw

Saxapahaw Island Park, Saxapahaw General Store, Haw River Farmhouse Ales, The Eddy, The Haw River Canoe & Kayak Company are all great options for a day trip to Saxapahaw

Carolina Tiger Rescue – Pittsboro

All visits require advance ticket purchase and registration

Raven Rock State Park – Lillington

Raven Rock Loop Trail – 2.6 miles

American Beech Trail (Kids TRACK Trail) – .5 miles

North Carolina Zoo – Asheboro

Greensboro Science Center

Hanging Rock State Park – Danbury

Hanging Rock Trail – 2.6 miles

Indian Creek Trails – Hike to Hidden Falls & Window Falls – .6 miles

Lake Trail – 1 mile

Lower Cascades Trail – .8 miles

Wilmington

The Children’s Museum of Wilmington and Wilmington Riverwalk make for a wonderful non beach day trip to the coast!

Washington

We have a full blog post on exploring Washington, NC with kids! You can find it HERE.

Carolina Beach/Pleasure Island

Carolina Beach State Park, Britt’s Donuts, and Fort Fischer Aquarium is the trifecta of a perfect day trip only 2.5 hours from the Triangle

Lazy 5 Ranch – Mooresville

Local Gift Guide for Easter Gifts & Goodies

We’ve rounded up some of our favorite boutiques and small shops in the North Carolina Triangle that currently have amazing selections of spring and Easter themed gift!

Raleigh

Deco Raleigh

Alara + Zane

Lamb’s Ear

MAEDesignsNC

Zest Cafe and Home Art

Holly Springs

Peek-A-Boo Grins

Cary

Pattywhacks

Science Safari

Durham

Tiny

Chapel Hill

Glee Kids