Category Archives: Been There, Done That

Videri Chocolate Factory Tour

We went on a sweet field trip with our homeschool group a few weeks ago…literally!

About a year ago we read a Curious George book about a chocolate factory and my kids have been asking to go to one ever since. I thought it would make a great indoor summertime field trip so I started my google searching.

Lucky me, I found the perfect place in downtown Raleigh called Videri Chocolate Factory, Have you heard of it? Definitely worth checking out. Their delicious treats are organic and made from the bean!

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They offer tours to groups or you can just stop by and get a great view of the process. Their factory is set-up with viewing windows and the process is explained with step-by-step signs.

We decided to set up a tour for our group. The staff was welcoming and very patient with the excitement of our little ones. I will never forget the delicious smell that came wafting out as soon as they opened the doors for us! And the inside was so cool. I could have hung out their all afternoon eating chocolate and having delicious coffee drinks from their bar.

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The tour was fairly short, but informative. It was actually just long enough for our crowds attention span. At the end they gave all of us samples and some extras to take home! How awesome is that?

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Wondering what our homeschoolers thought?
Homeschool Dude Says: “That was neat. There was a lot of chocolate there!”
Homeschool Dudette Says: “That was so yummy!! The samples were the best part!”

The Details
Videri Chocolate Factory
327 W Davie St
Sweet 100
Raleigh, NC 27601
919-755-5053
$5/Child (They waived the fee for parents and kids under 2 for our group.)
Max Group Size 25

Junior Ranger Program

We went to the Sweep Netting Safari program at William B. Umstead State Park last week and had a blast catching all sorts of bugs.  We’ve been hiking, camping and fishing there many times, but it was our first experience with a class.  So glad we headed out early and did it.

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Both of my little ones enjoyed it and were fully attentive the entire time – woohoo!  The perfect morning weather probably helped.  It was so great to have a ranger along to identify all of the things we were catching and tell us a little about them right then instead of me saying, “I don’t know, we’ll have to google that”.  And again, it was a free class!  I’m always amazed at the amount of quality educational programs offered in this area for free.

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While we were there we found out about the Junior Ranger program offered through the state parks.  You can earn a patch at each park by completing a couple of classes, a stewardship program and doing a few written activities.  Simple, educational and fun!  This is something we will definitely be working towards.  When my little dude saw the patch, he was sold. It’s the little things, ya know.

Even if you don’t want to go for Junior Ranger status, I would recommend checking out one of the programs offered at Umstead.  We will definitely be heading back for more!

UNC-TV Station Tour

Recently, we went on a pretty cool field trip to tour the UNC-TV station with our homeschool group.  I’d say it was probably one of our little ones favorite field trips so far.

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My older one loved seeing all of the behind the scenes equipment/control rooms as well as the huge studios and cameras.  The beginning storytime and meeting Curious George and Read-A-Roo were my younger ones favorite parts.  She did get a little bored on some of the tour because of her age, but hung in there and was very happy to meet George at the end.  It was a good experience for both ages.  I also really enjoyed it and learned a few new things.  I was surprised that they actually took us inside some of the control rooms and the studios.  The amount of equipment and buttons that were within reach of many little fingers was quite amazing.  The kids were awesome, of course, and I think also felt quite special that they were there.

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My homeschool dudette also REALLY loved seeing the makeup room and just had to try out the chair and pretend she was a star.

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The tour was very organized and the staff was welcoming, patient and helpful.  Always a plus!  We did the Silver Package Tour for $5 per child participant.  Our tour was about an hour long and included a fun storytime, character meet-and-greet and each child took home a polaroid of themselves with the characters.  They offer a few different tour options and one is free!  You can check out all of the tour options and details here.  This would be a really great summer field trip to get away from our HOT (and lately super rainy) weather here in Raleigh.

Wondering what our homeschoolers thought?
Homeschool Dude Says:  ”That was so cool!  There were a lot of controls and computers.”
Homeschool Dudette Says:  ”I can’t believe I hugged Curious George!”

They also thought this street sign was totally cool!  I kinda did too.

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The Details:
UNC-TV Tour
10 TW Alexander Drive
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709
(919) 549-7072
justforkids@unctv.org
Groups of 10 – 25 Children
Free – $15/Child

Backstage Tour at Chick-Fil-A

Last week we went on a fun field trip.  Somebody in our homeschool group heard that Chick-Fil-A was offering free kitchen tours.  I’m not sure if all locations are offering this, but we went to the Brier Creek location.

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It was a quick tour through the kitchen with a brief historical intro.  The kids thought it was neat to go behind the counter and into the kitchen.  I was impressed to learn that they prepare fresh vegetables and fruits everyday for all of their salads.  The lemonade was being freshly squeezed while we were touring – wow, it was a whole lot of lemons!!  We also learned that they were the first restaurant to open in a mall.    At the end we were surprised with a sample of a sweet treat.  There were a few other interesting tidbits, but I don’t want to spoil everything.

Of course, we stayed for some ice-cream and playtime.  Which also meant some nice adult relax and conversation time for me.  It was a great way to spend a hot summer afternoon.

Looking for a fun, indoor homeschool field trip this summer?  Give your local Chick-Fil-A a call to find out if they are offering tours and schedule one for your group.

Wondering what our little ones thought about the tour?
Homeschool Dude Says:  ”I didn’t know there was a kitchen.  There were a ton of lemons!”
Homeschool Dudette Says:  ”It was fun.  I liked the sample.”

Summer 2013 Wednesday Family Programs at NCMA

What a fabulous day!

We thought it was going to be rainy, so we planned to skip our homeschool group park day and check out the family programs at the North Carolina Museum of Art instead.  So glad that we did.

First, we stopped by the Drop-In Studio for a little craft time.  Our littlest homeschooler was most excited about this part of the plan.  She LOVES “to art” and usually spends a good portion of her day “arting”.  We do a lot of crafting at home and it was extremely nice to spend some craft time together that I didn’t plan, prep or clean up!  We sat at a spacious table set up with materials, tools, instructions and examples so it was completely easy to understand.  Today the project was a sun catcher and they turned out super cute.

NCMA Craft

NCMA Suncatcher

After crafting, we headed to the auditorium to catch the Family Film that afternoon.  Today it was a series of short films about creativity and color.  Each child was given a program as we entered which made them feel pretty important.  They asked me to read them the film descriptions and were sure to keep tabs on what was coming up next.   All of the films kept their interest and had a positive message.

NCMA Program

Since the weather ended up being absolutely beautiful today, we spent our entire afternoon enjoying the rest of the museum.  The little water fountains outside the entrance are always a hit and the gravel turned out to be quite entertaining as well today.  (You know how it goes right…take them to a fancy art museum and they want to play with the water and rocks outside.)

NCMA FountainWe did make it into the West Building for a bit to check out some of the fancy art.  Our homeschool dude was fascinated by the Ancient Egyptian collection and just could not believe that everything was “real”.  He was also quite impressed that some of the paintings we saw were over 400 years old.  I think he may actually finally understand why we can’t run, jump or touch things in an art museum….there are really, really old things and yes, they are all “real”.  Homeschool dudette, not so much.  She spent most of her time trying to do everything I asked her not to do, over and over and over again.

After safely making it outside again, it was definitely time to run and jump and touch!  There was a lot of time spent rolling down the huge grassy hill and we always have to visit the sculpture of the giant legs.  I do enjoy the art inside, but the Museum Park is my favorite.  Every time we visit, we find something new and it is always relaxing.

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If you want to head out on a Wednesday this summer, remember these programs. The Drop-In Studio and Family Films are scheduled all summer long every Wednesday.  If it’s hot or rainy, you can stay inside and be dry, cool and entertained.  Or if it ends up being beautiful, you can stay all day like us.  And I didn’t even mention – it’s completely free and there is no registration required!  Sweet, right?

Wondering what our little ones though about the day?
Homeschool Dude Says:  ”That was fun.  I liked the Art Dog movie the best.  The Egyptian writing was cool.”
Homeschool Dudette Says:  ”I liked all of the movies.  The painting with the ladies was pretty.”

The Details:
NCMA
2110 Blue Ridge Rd, Raleigh, NC
919-839-NCMA
All Ages (Films are listed as 5+, but siblings seemed very welcome.  Check out the film schedule before you go to see if it will be age appropriate.)
Free (Stop by the Box Office for your ticket.)