Since moving last month I’ve been excited to explore all of the free fun in Durham. There’s plenty to be found in the Bull City, from parks and rivers to museums and galleries. My older sister has lived down her for almost five years now, and Andrew’s sister and brother-in-law moved down two summers ago, so we’re not necessarily new to the area, but I’ve been trying to branch out and explore more of our surroundings. Durham has a lot to offer, which is great because I’ve got a lot of kids with a lot of energy and not a lot of respect for my sleep requirements.

On Friday last week we went to the Sarah P. Duke Gardens. We visited the Duke Gardens earlier this year when we were in town to scope out houses and visit my older sister, but that was in the spring and there wasn’t a lot in bloom in the early spring.

There’s some beautiful clematis climbing the main gate, and gorgeous roses blooming in the Rose Garden that’s situated at the main entrance. The trellis over some benches in the Rose Garden isn’t blooming yet, but I can’t wait until it does. I’ll have to resist visiting every day for a nap under a canopy of roses.


The kids love this crane fountain in the middle of the Rose Garden, or maybe it’s a heron? I should probably brush up on my ornithology.




We trekked through all of the paths in the Asiatic Arboretum when we visited in March, so this time we took a left after the aforementioned mysterious bird fountain and headed for the Blomquist Garden. There were so many beautiful native wildflowers and perennials, as well as some interesting structures. The kids loved this oversized birdhouse that had several bird feeders all around. There weren’t many birds around, except a duck who seemed rather disappointed by the offerings.



We stopped at the Terrace Cafe before making our way back out of the gardens. It had gotten very hot and humid, as evidenced by everyone’s hair, so we hung out on the patio for a bit enjoying our turkey wraps, fruit, and Arnold Palmers. And then the rain started. We suspected it’d come down, with the ridiculous humidity and encroaching storm clouds, but it definitely came a lot faster than anyone expected.


I braved the rain to get a few pictures of the fountains and plants on the terrace before we headed back to the van. I hope this Fuji cherry tree in the center blooms soon, they’re gorgeous. And I really want to find out what kind of hosta this was, I didn’t have a lot of time to read the placard what with the downpour. We had a great time, and I’m sure we’ll go again to not only visit the Doris Duke Center but to also see the Asiatic Arboretum in bloom.

What kind of free fun activities do you like to do around your city?

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  • The gardens look so beautiful. I would love to visit! Your kids are adorable :)

    • Thanks so much! Duke Gardens is beautiful and definitely worth a few visits.