Day Trips for Kids Near Greenville, North Carolina

Happy North Carolina Day! September 28 celebrates our great state and everything it has to offer, so what better way to learn more about our home than to share our top five best day trips for kids near Greenville, North Carolina?

  • NC Zoo in Asheboro
  • Cliffs of the Neuse State Park
  • Marbles Kids Museum
  • New Bern
  • River Park North


NC Zoo in Asheboro

The North Carolina Zoo is just under a three-hour drive from Greenville, NC, and is a perfect place to escape for the day with the kids. We love this zoo because of its expansive habitats, accreditations, and location. At 2,600 acres total and 500 developed acres, the North Carolina Zoo is the world’s largest natural habitat zoo and is home to more than 1,800 animals.

As of September 2021, advanced reservations are no longer required to visit the zoo, but face masks are required indoors and at the Acadia Station Giraffe Deck. Visitors can spend an unlimited amount of time wandering around the Zoo, making it a great day trip to get the kids out of the house. Ticket prices are $15 for ages 13-61, $13 for seniors aged 62 and up, $11 for children ages 2-12, and free for children under two. Beginning in November and lasting until March, the Zoo is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is only closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and for severe weather.


Cliffs of the Neuse State Park

What better way to get outside and burn off some extra energy than with day trips to Seven Springs? Cliffs of the Neuse State Park is in Wayne County, roughly an hour’s drive from Greenville. The Park covers nearly 1,100 acres and includes swimming areas, campsites, fishing, hiking, and more.

Cliffs of the Neuse is a great place to take kids of all ages due to its numerous trails that accommodate every skill level. The 350 Yard Trail is a must-see attraction when visiting. Although it is by far the park’s shortest trail, it offers access to one of its most popular features: a 90-foot overlook above the Neuse River. For those with a bit more energy, you can explore one or several of the park’s half-mile trails. Be sure the check out the hiking trail descriptions here so you have an idea of what type of surface and difficulty hike you’re setting out on.


Marbles Kids Museum

Important note: You must purchase admission tickets online before visiting the museum. Book your tickets online. Per the City of Raleigh mandate, all visitors aged five and above must wear a face mask indoors, regardless of vaccination status. Face masks are strongly encouraged for children under 5.

At Marbles Kids Museum, kids are encouraged to learn in an environment that is fun and educational. Discover hands-on exhibits, larger-than-life movies, and award-winning programs — all focusing on encouraging kids to play. Marbles is located in Raleigh, North Carolina, just under an hour-and-a-half drive from Greenville, making it a perfect choice for shorter day trips.

The Museum covers two floors and includes some incredible exhibits:

  • Around Town: Go behind the scenes to see how people work, live, and play together. Around Town is a kid-sized version of our community and includes everything from a farm, news station, and grocery store to a pet hospital, train tracks, and power lines.
  • Toddlers Hollow: This section is perfect for kids three and under. Let your toddler practice balancing, dress up as a forest animal, and explore the different woodland creatures.
  • Seedlings: Do you know where our food comes from? Kids can pretend to plant their own gardens, care for their seeds, and then head to Sun Sprouts to see the results. This area is one of our favorites for teaching kids about healthy eating and how to take care of our planet so we can get the nourishment we need to grow big and strong.
  • Stemosphere: If your kids are hands-on learners, taking a day trip to Marbles is a must. The Stemosphere exhibit lets them learn with science challenges, math games, engineering, brainteasers, puzzles, and more.


Day Trips to New Bern, North Carolina

If you’re looking for a quick day trip, one of our favorite places to visit is downtown New Bern. Located less than an hour away from Greenville, New Bern has an incredible atmosphere, fun places to visit, and a vibrant waterfront that invites you to sit and relax. For kids of all ages, we can’t recommend Kidsville enough. This unique playground sits within Seth West Parrot Park and mimics the look of a medieval wooden castle complete with slides, towers, swings, and mazes. Enjoy a picnic lunch at the outdoor picnic shelter and take advantage of one of the best perks for kids – public restrooms!

New Bern is also home to the North Carolina History Place, a 60,000 square foot complex that helps bring the community’s history to life. Check out the virtual reality time machine, a hands-on store where kids can help the local shopkeeper, and a ship to sail. Wind down with a visit to the New Bern Fireman’s Museum and then relax with a cold drink at the Birthplace of Pepsi store.


River Park North Day Trips

Take a mini stay-cation in our own backyard with a visit to River Park North. This park is one of the best in eastern North Carolina and offers boating, miles of walking trails, fishing, and several interactive play areas for kids of all ages. Bring a snack and enjoy the view from one of the picnic shelters while the kids play in the fossil pit. Don’t forget to explore the Walter L. Stasavich Science and Nature Center, complete with a 10,000-gallon freshwater aquarium, live snakes and turtles, and other hands-on activities to enjoy.

In addition to being close to home, River Park North offers free admission to everything except the Nature Center, which costs $1 for kids 11 and younger and $2 for anyone over 12. We love the beautiful trails, and the area is perfect for nature walks any time of year.

Whether you don’t leave our backyard or want to adventure a bit further, there are tons of great day trips you can enjoy near Greenville, North Carolina with your kids! Need an activity for a rainy day? Check out the Lending Library at the Partnership’s offices. With a free parent membership, you can borrow books, toys, games, puzzles, and more to entertain your kids while providing educational experiences that will help them learn essential skills for school.

A Bright Future for Every Child in Our Community