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The Greensboro Science Center
The Greensboro Science Center is probably one of the top family attractions in Greensboro. It has several components, which are all included with your admission. The museum is indoors, where kids can learn about dinosaurs, fossils, weather, the human body, and more. Kids Alley is a separate space within the museum for kids to play and explore their imagination. The Carolina SciQuarium has penguins, otters, stingrays, a fishing cat, snakes and fish, turtles, and a shark tank. The Animal Discovery Zoo outside has a petting area at the Friendly Farm, and a touch area in Discovery House, plus an assortment of animals like crocodiles, tigers, wolves, anteaters, gibbons, lemurs, a red panda, wallabys, giant tortoises, and (my personal favorite) the meerkats. Finally, the OmniSphere has a 40' dome ceiling and shows incredible 3D movies (there is an extra fee for the movies).
Tip: You can read a few reviews by local families of the Greensboro Science Center on our Local Outings page http://www.gsofamilies.com/p/local.html
Greensboro has several farmer's markets. You may have heard or read about the growing trend of Eating Local and Buying Local, or Farm to Table. The Piedmont Triad Farmer's Market is open year round, has a booming outdoor/seasonal selection of produce from local farms, and also is home to the Moose Cafe and A.B. Seed Co. This is what we call the "big" farmer's market, but that doesn't mean it's the only one. The Greensboro Farmer's Curb Market is open on Saturdays year-round, and Wednesdays during the warmer months. It is a more intimate location, and can get quite crowded, but also boasts special events like Strawberry Pancake Day, Blueberry Day, Farmer's Appreciation Day, and other events with live music, all for free (of course you pay for the food you eat or buy, but there's no admission charge). There are several other farmer's markets that pop up during the spring, summer, and fall, but these two are the main ones. If you can't make it to the market on a regular basis, many of the farms offer CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) where you can buy a share each week and it will either be delivered to you or to a specific location for pick-up. It is an affordable option for many families, as the prices are extremely good for the quantity of product.
Greensboro has a really incredible park system. Greensboro Parks and Recreation manages 170 parks, gardens, and special facilities within the city. These parks offer everything from summer camps and sports, to environmental programs and outdoor adventures. The parks have recreation centers and shelters for rent for picnics and parties. We have public gardens, the greenway trails, and city lakes to boat, fish, and enjoy. Greensboro even has two free spraygrounds, one at Barber Park and one at Keeley Park that are great summer spots to take the kids. Many neighborhoods in Greensboro have their own park, which helps facilitate neighborhood camaraderie. Furthermore, Guilford County also maintains several parks in the area, offering a variety of activities like swimming, sports, fishing, boating, picnicking, and hiking. The Guilford Courthouse National Military Park is maintained by the National Park Service and is full of history and trails to enjoy.
And not just the weather, either! Between the end of November and beginning of February, an area of downtown Greensboro is turned into a winter wonderland at Winterfest, and features an outdoor ice skating rink with a 100 ft. ice slide, a light bridge for night time skating, snack shack, music, seating for spectators and the opportunity for birthday parties or private party rentals. The Festival of Lights happens in downtown Greensboro at the beginning of December, and is one of my personal favorite family activities in Greensboro. It features carolers, live musicians and entertainment, food trucks, local crafters and businesses, and of course the tree lighting! The Greensboro Holiday Parade is incredible and features floats, marching bands, and the giant Macy's style balloons. Check out our photos from the 2013 parade. You also don't want to miss the balls in the trees in the Sunset Hills neighborhood. The homeowners put up hundreds of lighted balls high in the trees and take collections for local food pantries. It is such at attraction now that they even have a night 5k run/walk!
Greensboro is home to dozens upon dozens of locally owned, incredible restaurants. Sure, we have our fair share of chain restaurants (who doesn't?) but there are just as many, if not more, local restaurants to get your grub on. There's no way I can cover all of our great eateries in one paragraph, so please feel free to comment on this post with your favorites too! Read the recommendations on our website, too. Some of the notables to Greensboro are Yum Yum Better Ice Cream and Hot Dogs, Natty Greene's Brew Pub, M'Coul's Public House, Sushi Republic, Smith Street Diner, Iron Hen Cafe, Cheesecakes by Alex, and Crafted: The Art of the Taco. Plus, if you're at Friendly Center, don't forget to stop by Great Harvest Bread Company for a slice of bread, and The Juice Shop for a smoothie!
I took a tour of downtown Greensboro through Carolina History and Haunts and thoroughly enjoyed myself while learning more about the history of this town. Greensboro has a LOT of history, from Civil War battles to the Woolworth's Sit-In to protest segregation, the city has been a central location for significant historical dates and movements. The Greensboro Historical Museum has free admission and provides an opportunity to learn about the city. The International Civil Rights Center and Museum is housed in Greensboro, and numerous parks and markers around the city detail specific events and locations marked in history. Just outside of Greensboro is the Old Mill of Guilford, a fully operational, water-powered 18th century grist mill.
If you're looking for music, dance, or creative arts, the Greensboro Cultural Center is your destination. Just around the corner is Greenhill, the home for art in NC and home to ArtQuest, an inspiring hands-on art space for exploration and creativity. ArtQuest offers classes, camps, and parties for children. Of course, don't forget the Greensboro Symphony, the Carolina Theatre, and the upcoming Greensboro Performing Arts Center.
Festivals and Entertainment
Greensboro has so many festivals each year that it is hard to remember them all. We already mentioned the Festival of Lights above, and the Holiday Parade. There's also the Fun Fourth, which includes the Freedom Run, Block Party, Parade, Street Festival, and of course music and fireworks. New this year is Juggleboro. Then there's the regular events like First Friday and Around We Go Indie Market, Music for a Sunday Evening in the Park (MUSEP), Beach Music in the Park, and all the fun that happens at Center City Park like Fitness by the Fountain, Center City Cinema, and Tunes at Noon. The Greensboro Arboretum hosts Summer Solstice, and Bicentennial Garden hosts Parisian Promenade and Art in the Park. One of the cutest events is the Mad Hatter Tea at the O'Henry Hotel - travel through the rabbit hole and enjoy the magical world of Alice in Wonderland. Don't forget about the minor league baseball team, the Greensboro Grasshoppers! This is by no means an all-inclusive list - so please comment on this post with any other festivals and information!
What did we miss? Please comment or email firstname.lastname@example.org with your additions!