School is getting out and that can mean only one thing: Summer is right around the corner.
So, now what?
This is a great time of the year for a staycation — taking a vacation in your hometown or taking a day trip or two. Last week on a cool night, I just sat in a field at my home and looked up at the moon. I remember as a child catching lightning bugs with friends, flying kites, going to the playground and, because I lived in the Northeast, taking day trips to the ocean.
My memories are not of expensive trips to Disney World or to some exotic location, but of simple inexpensive times with my family and friends that were great fun.
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Those memories motivated me to create a childhood summer bucket list. This list includes summer adventures you could have as a family. Maybe it would be fun to check off the activities as you do them.
▪ Run through a sprinkler on a hot day.
▪ Camp in the backyard. It is fun to set up a tent in the yard and then equip it with flashlights, snacks and ghost stories. Or, get a tent and make a move to a campground. On Father’s Day weekend, June 16 to 18, kids camp free at participating KOA campgrounds.
▪ Toast marshmallows. And make them into s’mores if you like.
▪ Visit an amusement park or a zoo. You can enjoy the Cincinnati Zoo with half-price admission on Aug. 19 and 20 for Visitor Appreciation Day.
▪ Attend an outdoor concert. Moon Dance Amphitheater in Beaumont Center is a great place to see an outdoor concert under the stars. Bring a chair and treats and enjoy the music. Check out their Facebook page for upcoming events.
▪ Go bowling. Check out Collins Bowling Center upgraded its summer family bowling pass program to give you more value. For $9.95, you can get 24 free games and $10 to spend on shoe rental, food or drinks.
▪ Catch lightning bugs.
▪ Tie-dye a shirt.
▪ Watch a thunderstorm.
▪ Visit the public library. Many offer summer reading challenges. Each library will have a different day for their kickoff party.
▪ Climb a tree. And/or check out the children’s garden at University Kentucky Arboretum. It’s free from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 20. Check the website for special events throughout the summer.
▪ Watch a baseball game. Kids ages12 and younger may sign up for one year of free membership to Jif Kids Club at the Lexington Legends. Membership benefits include a free box seat ticket to each Jif Kids Club Sunday game and a chance to run the bases after the game. Members also receive a membership punch card and get to attend other club events.
▪ See a movie. Take the kids to Friday Night Flicks at Jacobson Park, 4001 Athens-Boonesboro Road, where there are pre-movie activities including children’s games and a petting zoo. Activities start at 7 p.m., and the movie start at dark on June 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30. Specific movies to be shown have not be selected.
Also, on Man o’ War movie night at the Kentucky Horse Park, go see “The Mostest Horse That Ever Was” exhibit and watch two Thoroughbred racing-themed movies in the park’s theaters at 5 p.m. June 24. Other events and activities are planned that evening for kids and families.
▪ Have a picnic. From 1 to 4 p.m. May 20, there’s a free community event, Picnic with the Police, in Douglass Park, 726 Georgetown Street. There will be food, face painting and balloon animals, and you’ll get a chance to get to meet local police officers.
▪ Go fishing. Free fishing days are a perfect opportunity for beginners. Kentucky’s free days are June 3 and 4. Check out Takemefishing.org for places to fish.
▪ Have a scavenger hunt. Stop by the Lexington Visitors Center, 401 West Main Street, before you start to get a flat Big Lex (the blue horse) to use in your photos. Find the 10 sites related to the horse behind the legend, and they will reward you with a prize.
▪ Play at a playground.
▪ Go swimming.
▪ Gaze at the stars. Raven Run offers stargazing nights. Local astronomers bring out telescopes for visitors to use. Stargazing begins at 9 p.m. May 27; 9:15 p.m. June 24; 9 p.m July 22, Aug. 5 and Aug. 12; and 8:30 p.m. Aug. 19. (On Aug. 5 and 12, it’s the Perseids meteor shower watch.)
▪ Fly a kite.
▪ Watch fireworks.
▪ Attend a free event. Toys R Us is having a pre-Memorial Day event from 1 to 3 p.m. May 21. Attendees can receive a free Radio Flyer collectible mini wagon, try the Nerf Zombie Strike Outbreaker Bow and enter to win a Nerf Alien Menace Ravager Blaster and a collectible bike blinker. This event is intended for children 5 and older. Limit one per child.
▪ Make an arts and craft project. Register now for a free kids workshop from 9 a.m. to noon June 3 at Home Depot. Kids will build a tic-tac-toe game. You can attend if you don’t register, but a bonus to registering is that if you opt in to receive Home Depot emails you’ll get an emailed coupon for $5 off a $50 purchase.
▪ Watch a parade. Lexington’s July 4 parade is part of a two-day holiday celebration that includes many family-friendly events including a pie contest, the Bluegrass 10,000, live music, a street festival and fireworks.
▪ Through May 30, sign up for a new one year Sam’s Club membership for $45 and receive a free $20 gift card, free rotisserie chicken, free rolls and free apple pie.
▪ Through May 30, you get free access to 100 channels on your SiriusXM Radio, including commercial-free music, plus sports, news, talk and entertainment.
▪ Beginning May 29, more than 2,000 museums across America will offer free admission to all active-duty military personnel, including National Guard and Reserve and their families (maximum five people). These include children’s museums, fine art museums, history and science museums, and nature centers. Offer ends Sept. 4.
Deborah Morris’ every-other-week column, The Fru-Gal, can help you get more for less. Go to her website, Fru-gal-friends.com.