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As North Carolina’s first public park, Raleigh’s Pullen Park offers a variety options for recreation and entertainment on its 66 acres. Most Raleigh residents know that the park is home to softball fields and tennis courts, but there are plenty of other indoor and outdoor activities at the multi-purpose park.

Arts Center
Pullen Park is home to the highly regarded Pullen Arts Center, which will host multiple public events this fall and winter. On November 9, 10 and 11, visiting artist Alan Bennett will teach a special pottery workshop. The “Clay on Canvas” seminar will focus on glazing techniques. Space for the event is limited.

The Scarecrow Festival arrives on November 3, allowing participants to build scarecrows during the event, which will feature music and other fall activities. Completed scarecrows will remain on display in the Arts Center’s front lawn for as long as the weather permits.

The Arts Center continues to offer specialty classes in jewelry, painting, pottery and other fine arts. Upon completion of a course, students can continue to use Arts Center studios and equipment.


Equipped with an Olympic-sized pool, Pullen Park Aquatic Center hosts many of the area’s competitive races. The Aquatic Center also offers lap and recreational swimming, a warm water therapy pool, water exercise programs, lifeguard training and more.

Public open swim is available Monday through Thursday from 9am – 5pm, on Fridays from 9am – 8pm, and on weekend afternoons. In addition to offering American Red Cross Learn-to-Swim lessons, the facility features diving boards and a large baby pool.

Amusement Center
Pullen Park is home to the fifth oldest operating amusement park in the country. The amusement park features a historic carousel, kiddie boats and an impressive miniature train. Tickets for the kiddie boats, carousel and train are required for those 12 years of age and older, and children under 12 must ride with an adult. The amusement center also features a children’s amphitheater and playground.

Park goers can rent pedal boats for use on Lake Howell or enjoy lunch in one of the many picnic shelters. The park accepts picnic shelter reservations, with rental rates ranging from $12 to $30 per hour.

The park’s playground consists of four distinct play areas designed for various age groups and activities. The three themes of History, Art and Nature guided the playground’s overall design, creating a unique experience in a setting reminiscent of a lush garden.

Children can swing, climb, slide and see saw at the park. The large playground also features sand digging areas, playhouses and water misters. In addition, children can experiment with music on the playground’s music stage, which is stocked with equipment for their enjoyment. ~ Laura Bastian

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