I’m boooored! 46 things to do with the kids this summer,
besides go to the pool
by Lisa Davis
Jun 13, 2010 | 6355 views |  1 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
1. For boys of a certain age, it’s the event of the summer. Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination, a huge exhibit with props from all six movies, interactive exhibits and hands-on laboratories, will be at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, June 25-Sept. 6. 256-721-5411, www.spacecamp.com.

2. Build a periscope ( July 3) or a school bus pencil organizer (Aug. 7) at Home Depot’s kids’ workshops, 9 a.m. the first Saturday of every month. FREE.

3. Terrific Kid Tuesdays at Quintard Mall features a moon bounce, face painting and an animal show by the Anniston Museum of Natural History. Wonder if they’ll bring the alligator? 11 a.m. Tuesdays in June and July. FREE.

4. Summer Kids Flicks at Amstar Cinemas at Quintard Mall features kids movies, a small drink and popcorn for $3. 10 a.m. Tuesday and Wednesday.

The lineup is Monsters vs. Aliens ( June 15-16); Shrek the Third ( June 22-23); Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs ( June 29-30); Alvin and the Chipmunks ( July 6-7); Planet 51 ( July 1314); Kung Fu Panda ( July 20-21); Alvin and the Chipmunks the Squeakel ( July 27-28); Over the Hedge (Aug. 3-4).

5. Sign up for a summer reading program at your local public library. FREE.

6. The “Hot Ribs and Cool Blues” festival is a barbecue cookoff (sanctioned by the Florida BBQ Association) accompanied by blues bands, July 16-17 in Anniston’s Zinn Park. www.downtownanniston.com.

7. Sample the fresh fruit and veggies — plus arts and crafts, music and cooking demonstrations — at the Downtown Farmers Market in Anniston’s Zinn Park, 8 a.m.-noon Saturdays. FREE.

8. Start training for the Woodstock 5K, the biggest 5K in town. If you’ve never run a race, check out the “Couch to Woodstock” training program, which gets newbies ready for the Aug. 7 race in nine weeks. 256-239-9001, www.woodstock5k.com. FREE.

9. New at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., is Adventure Mountain, featuring four outdoor mountain adventure courses over two acres, including rope trails, swinging bridges, flying islands and moving beams. 800-DOLLYWOOD, www.dollywood.com.

10. See the play The Miracle Worker in Helen Keller’s real-life backyard at Ivy Green in Tuscumbia. Fridays and Saturdays through July 10, 256-3830783, www.themiracleworker.org.

11. Things will be just peachy at the Chilton County Peach Festival, June 19-26 in Clanton, the city with a giant peach for a water tower. 205-7552400, www.chiltoncountychamber.com. FREE.

12. W.C. Handy Music Festival, featuring lots of music in tribute to the “Father of the Blues” and the music of the Shoals, plus a parade, exhibits and more, July 23-31 in Florence. 256766-9719, www.wchandymusicfestival.org.

13. Visit the Birds of Prey trail at the Anniston Museum of Natural History, an outdoor trail that winds between cages holding hawks and owls that have been injured and can’t be released into the wild.

14. Ever seen a waterfall from behind? You can at Noccalula Falls Park in Gadsden. In addition to the 90-foot waterfall, there are hiking trails, a one-mile train ride, a pioneer village and botanic gardens. 256-549-4663, www. noccfalls.homestead.com.

15. The Atlanta CityPass includes tickets to the Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola, Zoo Atlanta, Inside CNN, the Fernbank Museum of Natural History (or the Atlanta Botanic Garden) and the High Museum of Art (or the Atlanta History Center), for $ 74 for an adult, $54 for a kid — about half of what you’d pay separately. 888-330-5008, www.citypass.com.

16. Make a different kind of art every day at the Berman Museum of World History’s “Exploring Art for Children” day camp, for students entering 4th-6th grades, July 19-23. 256-237-6766, ext. 114.

17. Pick up a pair of needles for Knit-inPublic Day June 19. Don’t know how to knit? Lessons for beginners are free at Taming of the Ewe in Jacksonville, 256-727-7081. FREE.

18. Visit the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, which includes such kidfriendly areas as a vegetable garden, an easy woodlands hiking trail and the Japanese Garden, featuring an enormous — and ringable — temple bell. 205-414-3900, www.bbgardens.org. FREE.

19. Go blueberry picking. Pick up Wednesday’s Food section for a list of pick-your-own farms in this area.

20. The Alabama Shakespeare Festival in Montgomery presents Cowgirls (decidedly NOT the Bard), a musical comedy about a saloon owner who mistakenly hires an all-girl trio of classical — not country — musicians. Through June 27. 800841-4ASF, www.asf.net

21. New at the McWane Science Center in Birmingham is the traveling exhibit “ The Adventures of Mr. Potato Head.” What does a potato know about science? We don’t know, but he visits outer space, the jungle and an archeological dig. www. mcwane.org.

22. New at the Birmingham Zoo is Predator Zone, featuring two African lions, Kawanza and Akili. Visitors can watch zookeepers conduct training sessions with the lions. It’s part of the new and improved Trails of Africa exhibit, which you can tour by train. Also new at the zoo are sea lions Giovanni and Farley, and gorillas Koundu and Cenzoo. 205-879-0409, www.birminghamzoo.com.

23. Dig out the bikes and head to the Ladiga Trail. FREE

24. Go canoeing or kayaking on Terrapin Creek in Piedmont. Rentals and friendly advice available from the Terrapin Outdoor Center, 256-447-6666, www.canoeshop.net.

25. Become a weather expert at the Weather Wiz Kids website, with videos on hurricane season, lessons on weather forecasting and instructions for cool weather experiments like “Tornado in a Jar,” “Suck an Egg into a Bottle” and “Make Lightning in Your Mouth.” www.weatherwizkids.com. FREE

26. Set up a backyard obstacle course. Run through a lane of hula hoops; crawl through a tunnel of cardboard boxes, or underneath a line of lawn chairs; walk a length of rope like a balance beam; use a broom for a limbo stick. FREE

27. Learn what your name means at the website Behind the Name. For instance, “Ethan” comes from the Hebrew word meaning “solid” and “enduring.” www.behindthename.com. FREE

28. The Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta, Ga., features puppets of all kinds, in shows of all kinds. The summer lineup is The Lion, the Mouse and Other Aesop’s Fables (through June 20); Hansel and Gretel ( June 22-July 3); Billy Goats Gruff and Other Stuff ( July 6-18); Everybody Loves Pirates ( July 20-Aug. 1); Rumpelstiltskin (Aug. 6-Sept. 12). 404-8733391, www.puppet.org.

29. Head to the movie theater for these summer kid flicks (we’re not counting Twilight Eclipse): Toy Story 3 on June 18 (Woody, Buzz and the gang wind up in a day care); The Last Airbender on July 2 (directed by M. Night Shyamalan, based on the Nickelodeon cartoon Avatar); Despicable Me on July 9 (goofy villain vs. three orphan girls); The Sorceror’s Apprentice on July 14 (Nicolas Cage stars as a wizard fighting to save New York City); Ramona and Beezus on July 23 (based on the beloved children’s book by Beverly Cleary); Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore on July 30 (starring the voice of Bette Midler as a rogue cat spy).

And remember, Tuesdays are Super Saver days, all tickets $6 ($9 for 3D movies).

30. Learn a magic trick. All you’ll need is a deck of cards and the instructional videos at www. cardtricksite.com. FREE

31. Make a craft. The website for Family Fun magazine includes a database of great crafts searchable by age, type, material or holiday. (Only a week till Father’s Day, hint, hint.) www.familyfun.go.com. FREE

32. Build a house of cards. FREE.

33. Cook up something in the kitchen. The award-winning Spatulatta website is run by sisters Isabella and Olivia Gerasole, ages 13 and 11. There are more than 350 step-bystep videos; the “Cool Foods for Hot Days” menu includes mermaid Jell-O, banana-orange smoothie, gazpacho and tuna salad. www.spatulatta.com. FREE

34. Dig out the boots and head to Cheaha State Park for a hike. Stop at the ranger station and ask about hiking directions to the waterfalls in the Talladega National Forest: Devils Den, Cheaha Falls and High Falls. FREE.

35. Make ice cream in a bag. In a small zip-top bag, mix 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 cup half and half and 1 /2 teaspoon vanilla extract. Seal tightly! Next take a large zip-top bag, fill it half full with ice cubes and add 1/2 cup salt. Put the little bag in the big bag, and shake for about five minutes, until you have ice cream. FREE

36. Visit the huge model railroad at the Mary G. Hardin Center for Cultural Arts in Gadsden. Run by the Coosa Valley Model Railroad Association, the 72-foot-long track runs through a replica of 1940s Gadsden, including the Good Year plant, steel plant, gas stations and houses. 256543-2787, www.culturalarts.com.

37. The new backstage pass at the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga, Tenn., gives you VIP access to get up close, feed and sometimes touch the animals. 800-262-0695. www.tnaqua.org.

38. The Lasershow Spectacular at Stone Mountain Park in Atlanta is an overarching light show set to music, ending in fireworks. New this year are VIP seats on the newly restored lawn terrace. (Otherwise it’s first-come-, first-served seating on the lawn. 800-401-2407. www. stonemountainpark.com.

39. Pan for gold and other gemstones at DeSoto Caverns Park in Childersburg. There are lots of other activities, from a giant maze to an archery course, plus, of course, a big cave to tour. 800-933-2283, desotocavernspark.com

40. You’re guaranteed to find lots of shark teeth when you go hunting for them at Shark Tooth Creek in Aliceville. The outdoor center also features canoeing, camping and fishing. By appointment only. 205-373-2605, www.sharktoothcreek.com.

41. The “Un-Natural Trail Hike” is a family hike at Jacksonville State University’s Little River Canyon Center in Fort Payne. Held the fourth Saturday of every month, the program features hikes, crafts, games and nature talks, plus the kids will be led along a trail to find objects that don’t belong in the woods. 1 p.m. June 26 and July 24. Pre-registration advised. 256-782-8010, www.jsu.edu/epic. FREE.

42. Music at McClellan has changed formats, adding an all-day music festival on June 19. Music includes steel drums, jazz, rock; kids’ activities include arts and crafts, animal shows, moon bounce, parachute waves and food. Evening concerts feature headliners Abbey Road Live on June 18, and John Sebastian on June 19. www.musicatmcclellan.org.

43. Head south for canoeing on the Tallapoosa River. Rentals available from Tallapoosa River Outfitters, 256-239-6399, www.tallapoosariveroutfitters.com.

44. Drag out the sleeping bags for the Great American Backyard Campout on June 26, sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation. Register your campout online and get a coupon for $1 off a box of Hershey bars for making s’mores. www.greatamericanbackyardcampout.org. FREE.

45. Build a maze of dominoes. FREE.

46. Ruby Falls, atop Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, Tenn., has opened ZIPstream Aerial Adventure, an obstacle course in the trees with ladders, nets, bridges, tunnels and zip lines. For a more down-to-earth adventure, the new Outdoor Chattanooga Center in Coolidge Park offers guided kayak trips on the river. www. summer.chattanoogafun.com

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