A day in the life: Kitty Hawk Kites Kids Day

Written by: Emma Turnbull, Marketing Intern

One of my biggest jobs as an events crew member is helping run Kids Days each week at our various locations. This aspect of the job is particularly fun for a couple reasons. First, I have some degree of freedom to shape these events into what I want them to be. Also, once the grunt work of set-up is done, I get to spend the day playing with toys, making crafts, and talking to children about everything from their vacations to their families, their pets, superheroes, and other childhood randomness. Basically I get to be a kid again for a few hours. While there’s honestly no “typical” day on the job, here’s a taste of what a Kids Day could look like.

Wednesday is the middle of the week, hump day, and most importantly Nags Head Kids Day! Kids Day at our flagship store in Jockey’s Ridge Crossing is typically the most crowded, highest energy event of the week, and in my humble opinion, a big bundle of fun. It’s an early day, but totally worth it to bring joy of a Kitty Hawk Kites Experience to so many kiddos.

KidsDayTOYS

Toy Demos with Chip

I’ll usually start my day at the office, finishing up some last second preparations. Depending on the day and the week, this could mean anything from printing flyers for upcoming events, restocking crafts that have been used up, or loading the van with any and all toys and games to entertain the masses.

Next comes set-up. Not surprisingly, this is the least exciting aspect of the day, but that’s not to say it isn’t completely essential to the success of Kids Day. First, the tent canopies and tables go up, followed by the smaller objects like pamphlets, flyers, crafting materials, and toys. The final step is making our set up look spiffy. We go for a “family friendly and lots of fun” feel. It features display kites hanging up, numerous games spread across the lawn, stations for face painting by the members of The Lost Colony cast and tie dying by Life on a Sandbar, and a table filled with enough toys and bubbles to entertain a bus full of rowdy school children.

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Scaling the Rock Wall in Kitty Hawk Kites

After set-up, it’s not long until the real fun begins. By 10:00am on the dot (sometimes even earlier), our tables are surrounded by families eagerly anticipating whatever fun in the sun (or shade) we can offer them. One of the coolest and most unique things about the Kids Days is that I’ve found they really do appeal to kids of all ages. The littlest ones get endless delight from having their faces painted, chasing around edible bubbles (yes, you read that correctly… candy bubbles do exist… and we sell them!), and coloring and assembling their very own kites. The slightly older crowd enjoy trying their hand at the skill toys and games like Kan Jam, and every adventurous teenager finds it hard to resist the chance to ride the mechanical shark. Plus, the appeal of tie dying, wax hands, an indoor rock wall, and a splash blaster (think of a reverse dunk tank, where the water sprays up at you) transcends age.

As an outdoor event, Kids Days are heavily dependent on weather. Rain or shine, the show will go on, but even in the few short weeks I’ve been here, I’ve seen how the weather refuses to be ignored. Kite flying in particular can be challenging in anything besides a perfect breeze. That being said, no matter what the conditions, barring a hurricane-level squall, we will find a way to have fun for Kids Day; it just becomes a question of what type of fun the weather will allow. If it’s overcast, sprinkling rain, and 70 degrees, the Splash Blaster probably looks a lot less appealing. But learning how to use juggling sticks under the shelter of a canopy, or designing and coloring your very own kite to take out on the next nice day are just as fun as ever.

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Wax Hands have been a Kids Day favorite this year!

Just like all the other new experiences Kitty Hawk Kites has provided, Kids Days have brought a combination of fun and learning. And while there can be some stressful moments when a rush of 15 children and their families all show up at the same time wanting to try 10 different activities, I have just as much fun with Kids Days as the kids do. How could you not have a great time with a job that involves 4 hours of crafts, demoing toys, and playing games with a bunch of happy, excited vacationers?

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Stanley the bucking Shark in Kitty Hawk Surf Company is always a huge laugh

After a few hours of socializing, entertaining, and teaching, we wrap up Kids Day. Everything gets broken down and packed back up into the van, and I return to the office for a few more hours of work before the day officially ends. Tiredness from a day out in the heat sets in, as does pride about a successful event, and excitement to do it all again next week. Kitty Hawk Kites Kids Days are offered weekly at select locations along the beach.

You can come play with us on Tuesdays at the Kitty Hawk Kites in Avon from 10am – 12pm, Waves Village Watersports Resort from 3pm – 5pm, and Kitty Hawk Kites in Monteray Plaza in Corolla from 2pm – 4pm and on Wednesdays at Jockey’s Ridge Crossing from 10am – 2pm, and Kitty Hawk Kites in Hatteras Landing from 2pm – 4pm. Information on all of our events including kids day can be found at kittyhawk.com/events.

Kayaking Outer Banks-All Season Beauty

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Enjoying a Currituck Sound sunset by kayak.

The northeast wind off the ocean is a chilly reminder that winter is coming. Out on the sounds, the duck, geese and swans are carpeting the water, migrating to the bays and estuaries in a cycle of life that as constant as the change of the seasons.

Yet even this time of the year, as the days get shorter and the the Outer Banks goes back to its small town roots, there are still some great opportunities to enjoy the beauty that surrounds us.

One of the best ways to explore the natural world of the Outer Banks is by kayak, and the fall and winter are great times to get on the water. There are a number of reasons for that.

Wind is the bane of many kayakers existence, and yes there usually a northeast wind at this time of the year, but the waters of Outer Banks sounds are to the west and are well-protected from the wind.

Because there are so few visitors at this time of the year, renting kayaks at almost any time should not be a problem.

Bugs are the great irritant of summer kayaking—yes, bug repellant does work, but it is nice to be on the water without a swarm of insects overhead.

Guided tours are still offered at this time of the year, but availability is very restricted so be sure to call ahead if plans include a guided tour. But for more experienced kayakers, the offseason is a golden opportunity to get on the water.

We’re including a list of kayak put-in sites with a couple of notes about some of the sites. We may have missed a few sites, but this is a good starting point.

Corolla

Whalehead Club

Offers a wonderful and different view of the storied art nouveau mansion. Paddling north leads to classic estuarine waters.

Duck

Duck town boardwalk

There are a number of docks designed for easy kayak access.

Southern Shores

No public put-in. However, civic associations maintain docks and parks along the Currituck Sound.

Kitty Hawk

Dock of the Bay, Bob Perry Rd.

A great access point to Kitty Hawk Bay and Albemarle Sound. Located on a wide creek. Great fishing too.

Sandy Run Park, The Woods Road

Beautiful setting. A little difficult to get out of the pond.

Kill Devil Hills

Dock Street boat ramp Between W. Durham and Avalon Dr.,

Access immediately to the sound.

Second Bridge leading to Colington, Colington Road

Protected area leading to wide expanse of Kitty Hawk Bay.

Nags Head

Jockey’s Ridge State Park/Soundside Road

A little more remote and harder to find, but interesting paddle.

Oregon Inlet Fishing Center

Almost at the foot of Bonner Bridge

Manteo

Bridge leading to Roanoke Island Festival Park

Very protected setting. A great paddle around Ice Plant Island that is the home of Roanoke Island Festival Park.

Washington Baum Bridge Boat Ramp

Across from Pirate’s Cove entrance. Maintained by NC Fish & Wildlife

Hatteras Island

New Inlet

Nature abounds. A real favorite. Part of Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge.

Mainland

Milltail Creek, Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge

One of the most popular kayak paddles around and for good reason. Beautiful and relatively protected.

Most NC Fish & Wildlife ramps have provisions for kayaks.

Outer Banks October Looking Great

KHKbrewtagThe sun is finally out and the weather is fantastic—it’s a great reminder of why there is so much entertainment the next few weekends on the Outer Banks.

We’ve already mentioned the Mustang Music Festival coming up Friday and Saturday at the Whalehead Club in Corolla. With three stages there’s always music happening and the music is going to be fantastic with national acts Rusted Root, Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Keller Williams as well as some outstanding local and regional bands.

It’s a kid friendly event, perfect for the whole family. Check out the Kitty Hawk Kites Kidszone while you’re there.

Proceeds benefit the Corolla Wild Horse fund and the Mustang Music Foundation.

It’s a weekend of musical entertainment with the Duck Jazz Festival Sunday at the Duck Town Green. The weather is looking perfect and the setting is as good as it gets—grass field surrounded by trees and pathways.  Maceo Parker who was James Brown’s sax player and band director is the headliner this years so look for a little bit of funk and some a fantastic sound.

The following Saturday, October 17, look for the Outer Banks Seafood Festival at the Event Site in Nags Head. This is the fourth year for the annual event and it keeps getting better and better. Lots of great fresh local seafood, prepared to perfection by local chefs, the best of local bands and a beautiful setting on Roanoke Sound.

We had to move the date of our BrewTag to Saturday October 24—the weather was just too iffy on it’s original date of September 26, but the event is still on. For anyone who wants to see if a beer keg can truly fly, come to the Nags Head Event Site and see for yourself.

Local and regional beers, fantastic food and a lot of fun. And it benefits the Rogallo Foundation preserving the legacy of Francis Rogallo whose invention of a flexible wing led to the hang glider.

Laughter and entertainment guaranteed.

The Beaches of the Outer Banks

Here it is halfway through summer, the beaches are full and the one thing we have not written about are the Outer Banks award winning beaches. With 120 miles of shoreline there’s a lot to discuss, so we’re not even going to try to cover all of the beaches at one setting.

Kitty Hawk beach by Black Pelican restaurant.

Kitty Hawk beach by Black Pelican restaurant.

We’ll start with the northern beaches, Corolla south to Oregon Inlet and later we’ll talk about the beaches on Hatteras Island.

Outer Banks beaches vary in so many ways that it’s hard to give a specific description that covers all of them.

The beach in Corolla, as an example, tends to be wide with wonderfully soft sand, and those conditions extend all the way to Carova on the Virginia state line. There is a small section of the Carova where the retreat of the shoreline has left exposed tree trunks in the surf and beach, so avoid that area, but otherwise, these are beautiful beaches just calling out for a day by the sea.

The same conditions exist in Duck and Southern Shores, although in those two towns, access is restricted to homeowners and their guests (renters) and there is no public access.

If there is a disadvantage to the beaches on the northern end, it is that facilities, especially for families, tend to be far away from the beach.

Families with children may find that the advantage of having stores, restaurants and hamburger stands close by make Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head a better choice.

The type of sand really varies in this area. Kitty Hawk tends to have a more narrow beach with courser sand than either Kill Devil Hills or Nags Head.

Farther south in Nags Head, especially around Jennette’s Pier, the beach has been nourished and it’s wide with a fine grained sand.

Jennette’s Pier is a great site for families with a lot of parking and what may be the largest bathhouse of any of the towns. There are also a lot of places to get a snack or pick up a bottle of sunscreen close by. A good second choice for convenience is in Kitty Hawk around East Eckner Street next to Art’s Place.