Summer officially starts today, but chances are your kids, who have been out a school for a couple of weeks, are already bored.
Beating the boredom doesn't have to mean traveling far or spending a fortune. Parents can find activities in Lexington or nearby areas to mix up a child's summer days. Here are a few local summertime activities for kids and families:
1. Train Rides: The Bluegrass Railroad Museum in Versailles and the Kentucky Railway Museum in New Haven both offer scenic train rides and exhibits about railroad history. The Bluegrass Railroad Museum runs at 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for children. The Kentucky Railway Museum runs at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, and 1 p.m. Tuesday and Friday. Tickets are $16 for adults, $11 for children. Call the Bluegrass Railroad Museum at (859) 873-2476 or go to bgrm.org. Contact the Kentucky Railway Museum at (502) 549-5470 or go to kyrail.org/.
2. The Arboretum: The Children's Garden at The Arboretum is geared toward ages 2 to 10 and aims to inspire a connection with nature and gardening. Hours vary Wednesday through Sunday, and admission is $3 a person. Admission to The Arboretum itself is free, and older nature lovers can take in rose gardens, sculpture fountains and more. For info, call (859) 257-6955 or go to www.ca.uky.edu/Arboretum.
3. Lexington Legends: Parents who want to take the kids to a baseball game but avoid a rowdy crowd can buy tickets in the ballpark's family section, where alcohol and smoking are prohibited. A children's play area is nearby. Box seats are $8 during the week, $9 on Fridays and Saturdays. For info, call (859) 422-7867 or go to web.minorleaguebaseball.com/index.jsp?sid=t495.
4. The Mad Potter: Kids can be creative at this paint-your-own-pottery studio, which hosts live music, family nights and even a "Diva Night" for those itching to don a feather boa and tiara. For information, call (859) 269-4591 or go to www.themadpotter.biz/.
5. Green Sprouts Kids Club: This kids group offers cooking lessons and sustainability classes, and participants get a free piece of organic produce with each visit. Goodfoods.coop or (859) 278-1813.
6. Hummel Planetarium: Experience a rocket-ship ride at Eastern Kentucky University's planetarium in Richmond. The planetarium projectors simulate the sun, the moon, planets and more than 10,000 stars. Family and children's programs run Friday evenings or Saturday afternoons. Admission is $4 for adults and $3 for children 12 and younger. For more info, call (859) 622-1547 or go to www.Planetarium.eku.edu.
7. Yuko-En on the Elkhorn: Families can feed fish in the koi pond, stroll past waterfalls and see a Zen rock garden at the Kentucky-Japan Friendship Garden in Georgetown. This pet-friendly garden is open daily from dawn to dusk. For info, go to Yuko-en.com.
8. Evans Orchard: Admission to the child's play area is $5, but when they are done playing, kids can tour the orchards to pick their own apples and blueberries. The Sweet Corn Festival is scheduled for July 16, with pony rides, music and corn-eating contests. For info, call (502) 863-2255 or go to Evansorchard.com.
9. Movie Day: When the heat is too much to bear, Cinemark Lexington Green and Regal Theatre at Hamburg both show children's movies for $1 during the summer. Titles include Kung Fu Panda and Megamind.
For Cinemark Lexington Green, call (859) 271-2147 or see more information on the films at www.cinemark.com/images/smc2011/SMC2011_122.jpg. For Regal Cinemas Hamburg, call (859) 264-8341 or see more information at regmovies.com/summermovieexpress.
10. Headley-Whitney Museum: Children's craft workshops scheduled throughout the summer include tie-dyeing, pottery and seashell art, and kids get to take home what they make. Workshops are $15 each or 2 for $10. For more info, call (859) 255-6653 or go to Headley-whitney.org.
Berea Craft Festival: In addition to the artists, musicians and food, there are kids art activities and demonstrations of doll making, puzzle making, pottery firing and more. The festival, at the Historic Indian Fort Theatre, is 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 8 to 10. Admission is free. Go to New.bereacraftfestival.com/newest.