Three Places for Lunch with Children and Dad in Raleigh

Years ago when I would pick up my kids for a weekend or day I would have the marvelous problem faced by many dads. I needed to find a place to take the kids that was both pleasant and affordable. I also had to locate a place that could handle a range of ages.

Here are three suggestions for those who have younger children.

One old standby for me was Chuck E. Cheese. This is one of the older restaurants with a child focus. If you just go for the pizza and animatronics, this can be a very affordable place to visit. When you add the extra activities you may need to do a bit of planning as children always want to do more.

In way of planning I would usually limit the number of activities to two or three and then proceed to lunch. Hunger is a good reason for a child to break from there “very favorite thing in the whole world.” It also allows you to leave from a lunch table versus the middle of someone’s “very favorite” activity.

If the kids still need something to do a short walk from Chuck E. Cheese on Capital Blvd. there is a very well laid out fish store (with live pets) that is a good way to prevent pressure for just one more game.

Chuck E. Cheese can be found at:

Chuck E Cheese’s
3501 Capital Boulevard Suite 131
Raleigh, NC 27604
(919) 850-9922

A restaurant that advertises itself as a grand place to bring the kids is Bullwinkle’s. Bullwinkles has a dancing water show that they say uses about 10,000 gallons of water per unique show. The water dances (moves) with the music. For those that enjoy this kind of entertainment it can be very enjoyable.

If you have more energetic young ones, they have several other options. They have a soft play area and a rock climbing wall. These can be very effective in burning off extra energy, like my grandsons now exhibit.
They also have the Bullwinkle stage show that may prove entertaining to the younger ones. I know that when my daughters were in the right age group for these types of shows, they saw the characters as real.

I have heard mixed reviews of this place of late, so it might be best to ask parents with children of your child’s age how they feel about it. My kids are a bit too old these days and my grandkids are not quite old enough yet. Soon though.

If this sounds like the place for you they can be found at:


1040 Buck Jones Road
Raleigh, NC 27606

(919) 319-7575

My third choice is the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Sure the Caf�© is nothing the write home about, but the kids prefer to go places that are fun. If you watch the museum calendar for the days that they have live animals, you are going to be off to a good start.

I have taken nephews, nieces and some of my older grandkids and their parents through this amazing museum. I am very careful not to go on Monday’s as the butterfly house is closed that day.

The food is on the top floor which with some careful planning you can arrive at just as the hunger gets just right. The food is very limited, but it is in line with what the kids like so it works out. (children like plain, recognizable food)

If they are having a live animal showing you might want to time your arrival just a few minutes before the show. The entry fee to the Museum is zero, though you can leave a donation if you feel inclined.

This is a daytime activity which works very well on weekends. The age of the children should determine which displays to visit and which to avoid. Very young children appreciate the live fish, activity room and butterfly house (if you keep it short). Somewhat older children enjoy the dinosaur and whale exhibits.

I have learned from experience that planning too many exhibits just leads to dissention among the ranks, so a realistic plan to visit, say three exhibits, usually lead to a very successful visit and sufficient hunger to enjoy whatever meal is offered.

If this sounds like the place for you the museum is located at:

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
11 W. Jones St.
Raleigh NC 27601
(919) 733-7450

Raleigh has a wealth of places to take children. These three are just a small sample.

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