If you are visiting the Outer Banks with young children and are looking for things to do with kids on Outer Banks, you will love one of the OBX newest attractions for kids – Outer Banks Kids Museum “Children at Play.” The museum was founded a couple years ago and began as a collection of cardboard boxes and pretend play toys turned into pretend play exhibits. Alyssa, a creative young woman with a vision of bringing a fun place for learning and play to the Outer Banks, and a group of volunteers worked hard arranging for temporary exhibit locations at Outer Banks churches, YMCA, and other places that offered to host the museum start-up for a few days. In 2010, Outer Banks Kids Museum ”Children at Play” opened up at a storefront in a shopping center in Kitty Hawk. In 2012, flooding from Hurricane Sandy destroyed most of the exhibits donated by local businesses or built by the museum founders from scratch. In a way, Sandy was a curse and a blessing. The damaged caused by the flooding was devastating. But in early 2013, the museum reopened at a new location (almost directly across the street from the old location) in a larger space at Buccaneer’s Walk Shopping Center in Kitty Hawk, at Milepost 4.5. Here’s the link to more information about the location, fees, and hours of operation for Outer Banks Kids Museum “Children at Play.” For Outer Banks locals, it’s been amazing to watch the Children’s Museum transform from temporarily exhibits into a small storefront operation and then into this great place for kids to engage in creative play and put imagination to work. A visit to “Children at Play” is a great rainy day activity. The museum’s popular exhibits, including “OBX Wellness Center”, “Open Air Market Exhibit”, “Gone Fishing”, and “Wonder Wall”, will keep a toddler or a preschooler busy for hours. If you visit the museum on a Wednesday or Thursday afternoon, be sure to check the museum’s calendar for activities scheduled for Art Wednesdays and Science Thursdays. And if you are up for watching a movie outdoors on the sound, ”Children at Play” offers the family-friendly activity off-site, in Nags Head, at a very affordable cost: Movies on the Sound. “Children at Play” is a member of the Association of Children’s Museums, so if you are already a member of the association, your will be eligible for discounted admission. You can view the details of the ACM Reciprocal Program here: Family Reciprocal Membership. Need more ideas for things to do on the Outer Banks with kids? Visit Outer Banks Aquarium, the Island Farm in Manteo, Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills NC, or Outer Banks Paradise Fun Park. Go strawberry picking in April and May or take a hay ride to a pumpkin patch in late September and October. Enjoy your OBX visit and please feel free to comment on the post if you have any questions or would like to leave feedback. Your comments are greatly appreciated.
Outer Banks Aquarium is one of the OBX’ most fun, educational, and very affordable family attractions. The Aquarium is located on Roanoke Island, in Manteo, NC, within 30-40 minute drive from Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills, in close proximity to the Island Farm attraction.
Outer Banks Aquarium on Roanoke Island boasts some great exhibits, including “Coastal Freshwaters”, “Wetlands on the Edge”, “Operation: Sea Turtle Rescue”, “Marine Communities”, “Close Encounters”, “Open Ocean”, and “Oceans Revealed: Power of the Planet”.
Start your visit at the “Coastal Freshwaters” Exhibit and learn about the freshwater fish, reptiles and amphibians, native to the waters of coastal ponds, lakes and rivers of North Carolina. Then enjoy watching the playful otters, observe turtles (snapping turtles, box turtles, and aquatic turtles) and alligators, and participate in the operation “Turtle Rescue” – a pretend play exhibit that gives you a hands-on experience of diagnosing and treating a replica of an injured sea turtle – very educational experience for kids and adults alike. As you continue your exploration of the Outer Banks Aquarium, you will also see seahorses, eels, lobsters and saltwater fish and have an opportunity to experience close marine animal encounters (at Aquarium’s touch tanks with stingrays, sharks, sea stars, crabs, starfish, etc.). The highlight of any trip to the Outer Banks Aquarium is the 285,000 gallon Graveyard of the Atlantic Tank with Sand tiger, sandbar, and nurse sharks swimming by the Replica of USS Monitor shipwreck. If you time your visit right, you will also have an opportunity to interact with divers who will answer just about any question you might have about sharks.
After your Aquarium visit, be sure to stop by the Aquarium Gift Shop that offers great souvenirs and very educational toys for kids of all ages.
OBX Aquarium in Manteo is open daily, 9 am to 5 pm, and closed only on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. General Admission prices range from $6.00 to $8.00, with discounts for seniors and kids. Children under 2 years old are admitted free of charge. If you already have an NC Aquarium membership, admission is free. Outer Banks Aquarium has partnered with 150 zoos and aquariums around the country to offer more benefits to Aquarium Society members, based on their reciprocal agreement. If you are visiting from a different state and you are have a Zoo or Aquarium Membership in your state, be sure to check if you qualify for free or discounted admission.
For a fun and educational experience for your entire family, be sure to visit The Island Farm in Manteo, NC. The Island Farm is located at 1140 US Highway 64, North of Manteo. If you are vacationing in Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk, or Nags Head, the Island Farm is within a short 15-30 minute drive, in close proximity to other popular Outer Banks attractions, such as the Outer Banks Aquarium, The Elizabethan Gardens, and Roanoke Island Festival Park. Although The Island Farm in Manteo, NC is a new Outer Banks attraction that recently opened up to visitors. Island Farm’s history dates back to 1757, when Adam Etheridge leased 1500 acres of land to farm and range livestock. According to the Island Farm Visitor Guide, Etheridge Farm house, built around 1847 is the oldest restored house on Roanoke Island. Visitors have an opportunity to explore the Farm House, Slave Cabin, Cookhouse, Smokehouse, Blacksmith Shop, Dairy, and talk to “interpreters” about the island life 150 years ago. The Farm is a fun place to visit for family with kids. Children will enjoy dressing up in period attire (vests, hats, aprons), playing 19th centrury games (tug-of-war, the Hoop, La Grace), interacting with farm animals, and learning about gardening. The Island Farm also offers ox-drawn wagon rides, but it is a good idea to call them at 252-473-6500 and check on the time the wagon rides are offered.
The Island Farm Admission Cost is $6 per person and children 5 and under are admitted free.
The Island Farm Operating Schedule: The Island Farm is open April 21 through November 26 (2011), 10 am to 4 pm (Thursday, Friday, Saturday in April, May, and November and Wednesday – Saturday in June through October)
Outer Banks Paradise Fun Park is a fun place to visit while on your Outer Banks vacation. It boasts two brand new pirate-themed miniature golf courses (18 holes), Fast Electric Go-Karts, Spin-Zone Bumper Cars, plus fun Arcade, Snack Bar, and Ice-Cream. Outer Banks Paradise Fun Park is located at Milepost 5.5 on the Bypass in Kill Devil Hills (on the main highway), right between Dunkin Donuts and Henry’s Restaurant. In 2011, the owners of the Family fun park added bumper cars and go-karts right next to the existing golf course, and in 2012, the mini-golf course was completely re-built and a giant pirate ship was added to the golf course – a hit with kids and a great place to take pictures too! The most recent addition to Outer Banks Paradise Fun park in 2013 is a kids bungee jumping - a popular attraction for children.
Take a look at this boy go karting at Paradise Fun park. How fun!
One thing we would suggest is to save the golf course visit for later in the day, when it’s not so hot, although arriving at the Park before 5pm does have some advantages – the park is less crowded and you can use Paradise Fun Park Coupons and save some $ on your visit. Make sure to add the Outer Banks Paradise Fun Park to your “must do” list – for hours of fun and entertainment for kids and adults alike!