Our list of not-to-be-missed kids activities
that the whole family can enjoy
By Matt White | Photo By Andrea & Marcus Anderson
- A great benefit of living in Chatham is the variety of youth sports available for any ability level. Beginners are welcome on all Chatham County Parks & Recreation teams, including softball, T-ball, track and field, volleyball and wrestling (wrestling is open to girls and more advanced grapplers can join the Chatham Wrestling Alliance). For some sports, towns like Siler City, Goldston and Bennett run their own local leagues, so check nearby. Chatham Soccer League runs popular recreation leagues and several levels of travel teams for more competitive players, from preschool to high school ages. The Chatham YMCA also offers soccer and basketball. Baseball players can join East Chatham Baseball, while football players can play for Siler City’s Park & Recreation teams or the East Chatham Chargers (both have cheerleading programs, too). The Chatham Cardinals offer lacrosse for boys and girls.
One of Chatham’s most popular kids sports is the lively recreation basketball league – we are neighbors to the Tobacco Road rivalry, after all – and games bring out folks from towns all over to support these kids.
- Morehead Planetarium and Science Center offers a free summer science camp in Chatham, GSK Science in the Summer, at Central Carolina Community College. Campers learn age-appropriate science lessons with hands-on experiments and cool projects. Registration opens March 2.
- Spark your kiddos’ imaginations and pick up something fun at Pittsboro Toys. On the Pittsboro circle, everything Samantha Birchard sells in her toy store is selected to teach good lessons to young minds. And say hi to Thistle, the store’s cute pup.
When it snows, there’s no better place to sled than the Highway 64 interchange east of Pittsboro (the hill is adjacent to the on-ramp, safely separated from highway traffic). Wide enough for dozens of sledders, the slope is fast and long, with amazing views over all of Chatham!
Chatham County Public Libraries host activities for kids almost every day of the week. The three branches – Chatham Community in Pittsboro, Wren Memorial in Siler City and the Goldston Library – offer story times, family movie nights and weekly Lego clubs. Lego clubs offer sets for all ages, from large, advanced creations to Duplo blocks for the youngest builders. You can also pick up reading lists from any librarian with pre-selected titles that will capture young imaginations.
There are folk stories and picture books for young readers, and lists for older readers that can point them to African-American fiction, Latino authors, female protagonists, fantasy, mysteries and even verse novels. And for those who can’t put down a book, ask a librarian for a Battle of the Books list to see if they’re up to the challenge.
The Siler City Bookmobile also visits neighborhoods for students at Siler City Elementary and Virginia Cross Elementary during the summer months. There are plans to add a second bookmobile, and kids win prizes for each book they finish.
There are so many critters to go see in Chatham. If you haven’t had a tour of the Carolina Tiger Rescue, make plans to visit the big cats with your kiddos. M&M Alpaca Farm is another must-see. If you’re lucky, they’ll have babies in the barn, and the retail store carries hats and sweaters made from alpaca fiber as well as alpaca dolls. The Belted Galloway cows at Fearrington are nearly always out and about – bring the kids to say hi! Tours are available at the Piedmont Farm Animal Refuge, where kids can interact with rescued chickens, turkeys, ducks, sheep and goats.
Chatham has several unique parks. At Rock Ridge Park, south of Pittsboro, you’ll find a treehouse-style fort, modern play equipment, a disc golf course and a zipline. Siler City’s Boling Lane Park is near downtown and has a full set of new play equipment. And Mary Hayes Barber Holmes Park near Northwood High School features a range of “natural” play structures.
Once the weather warms up, check out Chatham’s newest public pool: Siler City’s Bray Park Aquatic Facility. It offers a splash pad, a diving board, swim lessons and even a sand volleyball court nearby. Swim lessons are also available at Pittsboro Community Pool.
Hit the beach! Jordan Lake offers several beautiful, wide beaches and dedicated swimming areas at Parkers Creek Campground, White Oak Recreation Area and Seaforth Recreation Area among others. All have picnic facilities nearby.
Take a moment to stretch and pose with Mindful Kids at the Library, a free class held every third Thursday at the Chatham Community Library in Pittsboro. Open to ages 2 and older, the class is taught by Emily Behr, who started Growga in Pittsboro in 2018 at the Yoga Garden PBO. The class explores yoga, dance, storytelling and art to keep kids engaged.
If you have access to a canoe or a kayak, hit the Haw River for a fun paddle. Nearly the whole length of the river is usually fine for little ones, though check in with the experts at The Haw River Canoe & Kayak Co. in Saxapahaw for river advice and equipment. The area before the Haw River Bridge is a favorite and is usually calm (with river-only access to a hidden rope swing), but if you put in your boat on the north side of Highway 15-501, the dam is a real hazard for kids new to paddling. Farther down at the Robeson Creek access point, the water is calmer as it flows into Jordan Lake. Bring a fishing pole, but keep a lookout for hawks or even a bald eagle swooping down to do some “fishing” of its own! CM
Read the original article from the February/March 2019 Issue:
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Chatham Magazine is a bi-monthly publication that seeks to capture the beauty, charm and unique character within Chatham County.
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