Things to See and Do in Durham this Summer & LivingSocial Deal Bucks for You! {Giveaway Closed}

Sunday was the first official day of summer so to kick things off I’m partnering with LivingSocial to bring you a list of local experiences that can make this the best summer yet. To help one lucky reader make the most of this summer, LivingSocial is giving away $50 in LivingSocial Deal Bucks that he or she can use for family fun, adventure and spontaneous delight this summer.  Browse the deals and experiences below and click on the Rafflecopter link below to enter or if you don’t want to use the Rafflecopter option, you can leave a comment on this post letting sharing which LivingSocial experience you’d like.

In the spirit of loving where you live and exploring your hometown, I’m also giving away a copy of Day Trips from Raleigh-Durham: Getaway Ideas For The Local Traveler and Food Lovers’ Guide to Raleigh, Durham & Chapel Hill: The Best Restaurants, Markets & Local Culinary Offerings.

The winners will be chosen randomly on July 2 at 12am EST and will be notified via email.  The winners first name, (unless you ask me to use initials) will be listed in this post on July 3rd. This contest is open to everyone in the U.S. and if you win you must sign up for a LivingSocial account to receive the Deal Bucks (all this requires is an email account.)  The Deal Bucks aren’t transferable to cash and are only good for use at LivingSocial.

Update giveaway is closed and the winner is Kelly! Thanks to everyone who entered and Happy Fourth of July weekend!!

Now for my Durham must-dos this summer including some great LivingSocial deals!

1. One of our favorite places that’s an easy drive from Durham in Pittsboro is Carolina Tiger Rescue, a nonprofit organization that rescues wildcats and provides them with a lifelong sanctuary.  It’s an amazing place where you can stand less than three feet away from a tiger, lion, leopard, cougar, caracal, ocelot, bobcat and on and on.  The staff is dedicated to providing the best quality of life possible to the rescued cats and you’ll learn all about their mission on the volunteer-led educational tour. A tip for your visit: wear comfortable shoes, hats and carry water if its a hot day as the tour lasts two hours and is outside on a bumpy trail.  Adults are $18, kids 4-12 are $10 and under three are free.  Strollers are welcome;  tigers are awesome.

2.  If  you want to see more animals you can visit the NC Zoo in Asheboro.  We haven’t taken William yet but I’m hoping to make the trip in August or September.  Tickets prices: Adult — $21.00, Child (ages 2-12) — $17.00, Senior (age 62+)– $19.00.  On July 25 the NC Zoo hosts the Nu-Blu Bluegrass Band for a family fun event that will include music, food, animal encounters, activities for kids and a special visitor from Dino World. Tickets start at $5.


3.  The Duke Lemur Center is the world’s largest and most diverse collection of lemurs – Earth’s most threatened group of mammals – outside of Madagascar. Tour options and ticket prices vary.

4. If all your child wants is a pony, make her summer with horseback riding lessons at Winslow Stables in Elfland,NC.  With the LivingSocial deal you pay $125 ($250 value) for a five-day horseback riding camp OR $35 ($70 value) for two 30-minute private horseback riding lessons (ages 2+) OR $75 ($150 value) for a 60-minute horseback riding party for up to ten kids (ages 2+), including saddling, riding, and grooming.

5. Stroll, picnic, get married (we did!) in the Sarah P. Duke Gardens. Pay to park, admission is free.

6. When it is this hot outside, sometime the only thing to do is get on the water! Triangle Glides in Raleigh offers 90-Minute Stand-Up Paddleboarding Lesson on Lake Wheeler for $36 with LivingSocial.

7.  Last summer Joe and I went on a walking food tour of Durham with Taste Carolina and had a great time visiting local restaurants and shops.  Taste Carolina now offers tours in six NC cities for around $50/person.  img_1460

8. Minutes from Durham, Hillsborough, and Chapel Hill the Eno River State Park offers clamping, hiking, canoeing, picnicking and fishing. Prices vary by activity; lazy dogs welcome.    IMG_1146

9. We love going to baseball games at the Durham Bulls park and I highly recommend taking your dog to one of the Bark in the Park nights! img_2031

10. If you’re looking for indoor fun, check out Sky Zone, an  indoor trampoline park in Durham with an open jump facility, a SkySlam court, SkyRobics fitness classes and Ultimate Dodgeball.  With the LivingSocial deal, it’s only $16 for 2 one-hour Jump Passes or 10 one-hour SkyRobics Classes They’re also offering a camp for ages 6 to 14, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m for $115.

11. If you love to cook or want to learn to love to cook, you’ve got to check out this cooking class at Revolution where you’ll learn how to cook a themed menu alongside the restaurant’s chef and staff.  Classes are up to 14 students and themes include brunches, seafood, Cajun, Thai, French provincial, and more.  It’s $100 for the class with the LivingSocial deal which includes tools, materials, dinner and wine.1433352312347

12. Or learn to cook from the comfort of your kitchen with this LivingSocial deal from Zacki’s Culinary Creations. Zacki Murphy, former food stylist for Martha Stewart and a former NYC restaurateur, will teach you her recipes with a private 3-hour in-home class for up to six

13. Starrlight Mead A Beloved Honey Winery in Pittsboro offers a Mead Tasting for Four with Souvenir Glasses for only $12 with your LIvingSocial deal. 48878e77-a128-41e9-9f6b-189a150fa5dd_600_q60

14. The Brothers Vilgalys Spirits Company in Durham hosts Saturday tours and tastings.   Your LivingSocial deal gets you tickets to the tour, a flask and souvenir glass for $12

15. Top of the Hill Distillery in Chapel Hills welcomes you to a Distillery Tour and Tasting for one or two for $10 with your LivingSocial deal.

16. Last Summer, Joe and I had a great time painting our fur babies at HappyMess Paint Studios in Durham.  The teachers provide as much guidance as you want and it is a relaxing way to spend an afternoon or evening with a date or friends.  If you feel like flexing your artistic muscles you can use this LivingSocial deal from Artistic Abandon in Raleigh.  $19 buys a 2-Hour BYOB painting class with expert instruction and all supplies.a38a3948-fda7-42af-8c04-f647d1e8d224_600_q60

17.  My latest favorite LivingSocial local Deal is from Papa Spuds.  They’re a farm to fork delivery service, that brings the entire NC food landscape to your front door, with many products delivered to you within 48 hours of harvest!  They’re currently offering over 200 food products a week, and the list is growing.  Outside of the Farmer’s Market, you won’t  find a greater variety of NC produce anywhere else, including all the seasonal staples such as strawberries, blueberries, sweet corn, peaches, summer squashes, etc. as well as lots and lots of specialty produce grown by small local growers.  I’ve been using Papa Spuds for the last 3 months and I’m impressed with their prices, quality, flavor, variety and customer service.  To make your experience even sweeter, they’re offering a LivingSocial Daily Deal where you can try the service for a week for only $17 for a box of produce you can select.

This post is sponsored by LivingSocial but as usual, all opinions are my own.  Happy Summer!