By Tyler Waldrep, Allison Preslar, Lee Hedgepeth and Sheniece Chappell
Anniston Star staff
Catch a kids’ movie every Tuesday and Wednesday at the AmStar 12 in Oxford beginning on May 29 with “Trolls” and ending on Aug. 1 with “Sing.” Each ticket costs $4 and includes a free box of popcorn and a kid’s soda. Check out the full schedule at amstarcinemas.com/skf.
What’s better than one movie? Two. Coyote Drive-In at the Outlet Shops of Grand River in Leeds offers double features throughout the summer. This is not your grandpa’s drive-in. There’s a restaurant, playground and mini-golf, and you can bring blankets and lawn chairs if you’d rather not sit in the car.
The Anniston Museum of Natural History will have live animal exhibits from 1-3 p.m. on Thursdays in June and July. The program is free with the price of admission.
The Berman Museum is hosting a family craft day on June 30 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The event is free with paid admission and crafts include osselets (the first versions of jacks) and air-dry clay portraits.
The Imagination Place children’s museum in Gadsden is hosting a family expo and kids’ fair on June 9 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Tracks, 210 Locust St., Gadsden. The event is free, or children can visit the museum itself for $8.
The Escape Zone in Oxford is opening a third room on June 1, “The Forgotten Pharaoh.” Players have an hour to escape a locked room by solving various puzzles. Families are encouraged to play with children at least 10 years old. Tickets are $3 off on Thursdays during the summer.
Pick your own fruits and vegetables at an area U-pick farm. Holmestead Farms in Talladega and C. Watts Farm in Munford have ripe strawberries now, which they expect to be around for another week or two. Both farms will also have tomatoes, peas and other vegetables later this summer.
Bennett Farms in Heflin will host Creekside Market, showcasing local goods including produce, antiques, collectibles, crafts and more, on June 23-24 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Market tickets cost $5, or visitors can purchase a weekend pass for $8.
The Woodstock 5K and Kidstock one-mile run take place Aug. 4. Registration remains open online until Aug. 3, but the cost increases after July 14. Find more info at annistonrunners.com/woodstock5k.
For a cooler run, check out the nighttime Haley’s Team Twilight 5K and kids’ fun run, June 23 at 7 p.m. at McClellan. Runners usually wear lots of glow-in-the-dark accessories. For more info and to register, visit haleysteam.com.
The Jacksonville Public Library kicks off its summer reading programs on May 29. Families can bring lunches on Wednesdays at noon and enjoy movies like “The Aristocats” on June 20 and “Rock Dog” on July 11.
Kids ages 12 and up can participate in a Rock Band 3 battle of the bands competition on June 5 at 4 p.m. at the Jacksonville Public Library, which host events for teens throughout the summer. For more information, check out jacksonvillepubliclibrary.org.
Oxford Public Library’s summer reading programs kick off June 1 at 1 p.m. with a show from Yarbrough Educational Reptile Program. Special programs continue through June and July at 1 p.m. on Fridays, including “Millie’s Manners” etiquette class for kids on June 15. For more events, visit Oxfordpl.org.
The Public Library of Anniston-Calhoun County’s summer reading program includes special events at 10 a.m. most Fridays in June and July, including the Magical Poodles on May 31, Doc Adams’ Science Show on June 7, and Rockin’ Bubbles on June 28. For more events, visit Anniston.lib.al.us.
If you don’t know about the homemade ice cream at Harper’s Store in west Anniston, this is the summer you should find out. Visit the store at 5139 Eulaton Road and pick up a styrofoam cup of Alice Harper’s cold goodness, in flavors like banana pudding, peanut butter cake or chocolate with candy bar mix-ins. Open about 6 a.m.-5 p.m. every day but Sunday. 256-283-3247.
If you or your children like motorcycles, the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum in Birmingham is the place to visit. The museum has 1,600 motorcycles spanning 100 years. Admission is $15 for adults, $10 for children ages 4-12 and free for children 3 and under.
The YMCA of Calhoun County offers a number of sports camps for children ages 7-12 beginning in June, including swim, flag football, soccer, cheer and basketball camps. For more info, visit ymcacalhoun.org.
Not into sports? No worries. The YMCA offers traditional day camp sessions, too. Kinder Camp, for kids ages 4-6, is located at the Anniston YMCA. Kids ages 7-12 will be transported via bus to YMCA Camp Hamilton.
For yet another camp option, check out the Oxford Performing Arts Center’s Spotlight Summer Theatre Camp. It is a half-day camp for students in grades 1-7. Kids can work with arts and theater professionals for a full week in one of three sessions. This year’s plays include “Snow White,” “King Arthur’s Quest” and “Blackbeard the Pirate.” Register at oxfordpac.org.
Is football or cheerleading your thing? Jacksonville State University’s J-Club will host a free football and cheerleading camp June 2. Registration begins at 8 a.m. at JSU stadium. You’ll need to bring your own athletic clothing.
Take your kids golfing at the new Topgolf in Birmingham. Topgolf works a lot like bowling. Each party gets a lane, and a computer tracks each players scores. While reservations aren’t necessary, you can avoid having to wait by making reservations online at topgolf.com/us/birmingham/.
Speaking of things to do in Birmingham, check out some dinosaurs at the McWane Center. The “Dinosaurs in Motion” exhibit will be at the center all summer long. It features interactive, life-size dinosaurs.
Like ninjas? Check out Ted Turgeon’s TKD martial arts school in Jacksonville has a variety of summer camps, including Ninja Turtle Summer Camp, Lego Ninjago Summer Camp, Karate Kid Summer Camp and American Ninja Warrior Summer Camp.
Wanna hear some good music? Head to Zinn Park on June 16 from noon-10 p.m. to attend the annual free Anniston Family Heritage Festival and Concert.
Blueberries are usually ripe for the picking in mid-June, and there are several pick-your-own blueberry farms in the area, including Bennett’s Blueberry Farm in Anniston and Jerry’s Berries in Jacksonville,
True Adventure Sports in Fort Payne, not far from Little River Canyon, offers loads of outdoor adventures including rock climbing, zipline-ing and canoeing.
Speaking of Little River Canyon, the fifth annual “Bluegrass on the Rim” concert is June 9. This year’s lineup includes Phoebe Grace and the Blackrock Station, Foggy Hollow, The Yellow Dandies and Valley Road. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 day of the show.
At Orbix Hot Glass in Fort Payne, you can “blow your own ornament” with the help of one of the studio’s glass artists at workshops on June 9 or July 14. Cost is $38 per ornament, and ages 5 and up are welcome.
New this summer at Six Flags Over Georgia is the Twisted Cyclone, a hybrid wood-and-steel roller coaster that hits 50 mph and drops nearly 10 stories. One-day tickets are only $49.99 now through June 6 and go up to $69.99 after June 6. Season passes are discounted to $67.99 until May 28.
Visit Desoto Caverns any Monday during June and get half-price unlimited attraction wristbands. You can go gemstone panning, do the cave wall climb, ride the go-karts and much more for only $25.
June and July at Cheaha State Park are packed with workshops, hikes and other activities for kids, including a Zombie Survival class July 12 from 9 a.m.-noon. Kids ages 7-15 can learn skills essential to surviving a zombie apocalypse, including camouflage and hiding techniques, shelter building, fire building and basic first aid. $25 for kids, $10 for adults. Call 256-488-5115 or 256-488-5885 to purchase tickets. Visit Cheaha State Park-Alabama on Facebook for details on all summer activities.
Celebrate Independence Day with fireflies instead of fireworks at Cheaha State Park’s Firefly Fiesta, July 3 from 8-11 p.m. Join interpreters and storytellers around a bonfire for an evening of fireflies, frogs, whippoorwills, bats, stars and more. Bring your own marshmallows. Free with park admission of $5 per person.
What’s summer without baseball? Catch a Birmingham Barons game this year. Summer promos include an appearance by Peppa Pig on June 2, Father’s Day Catch with Dad on June 17, Superhero Night on July 20 and Space Jam Night on July 21.
Go floating down the Choccolocco Creek or Tallapoosa River this summer. Floating Fun in Oxford rents tubes for $10, $15 or $20, depending on which exit you plan to float to.
Ever wonder what a museum is like at night? This summer you can find out at “Nocturnal Night at the Museum” at the Anniston Museum of Natural History. For children ages 7-12. Pre-registration is required.
The Anniston Museum of Natural History will have “Shell Dig & Discover” every Tuesday in June and July from 1-3 p.m. Kids 12 and under can dig in the sand and learn more about animals that live in the sandy shore. Free with paid admission to the museum.
Scared of snakes? Face your fear at the annual HerpFest at the Anniston Museum of Natural History on June 2 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. There won’t just be snakes … there will be all sorts of scaly, slimy reptiles and amphibians! HerpFest will feature educational displays and live animals presented by Jacksonville State University, JSU Field Schools from Little River Canyon Center, the Alabama Herpetological Society, The Alabama 4-H Science School’s Herp Journey and the Anniston Museum. Free with paid admission to the museum.
Get out and eat some good food for a good cause. The Church of St Michael and All Angels Church in Anniston will be holding its annual “BBQ and Bluegrass” food and music festival June 2 from 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Feeling artsy? The JC Morgan Art Gallery in Oxford will hold Art Camp June 4-8. The camp costs $200 and is only open to the first 20 who sign up, so get your spot quickly.
Wabi Sabi is a cat from Japan, and he wants to meet you. Head to the Berman Museum in Anniston for its HiStories event June 7 at 10:30 a.m. to hear the story of Wabi Sabi and participate in a special craft. The event is free with paid admission to the museum.
The Calhoun County Extension Office will host a weeklong “Camp Cane Creek” at McClellan July 9-Aug. 3. Kids ages 7-14 can learn about gardening, water quality, conservation and more. 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday. $70. To register, visit the extension office in the county administration building. For info, call 256-237-1621.
Calhoun County’s 4-H program offers a variety of one-day camps for ages 9-18 at Cane Creek Community Garden at McClellan, including archery on June 8, wild birds on June 13, junior naturalist on June 15, rockets and technology on June 20 and farm animals on June 22. Cost is $5 per day. To register, visit the extension office in the county administration building. For info, call 256-237-1621.
If you love the night sky, be sure to check out JSU Field School’s and Little River Canyon National Preserve’s “Star Party” on June 19 from 7:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. The event is free to the public and will be held at the Canyon Center.
Celebrate national Flag Day with the Berman Museum on June 14 starting at 10 a.m. Historic flags will be on display in the museum, and the first 25 groups will receive their own American flags.
Head out to the Talladega National Forest and explore with the new Agents of Discovery“Discover the Forest” game. Download the “Agents of Discovery” game app, then embark on a mission in a nearby forest.
Kids can build a wooden car at a free hands-on workshop at Home Depot in Oxford on June 2 from 9 a.m.-noon. Once the car is build, it can be customized with paint and stickers. Recommended for kids ages 5-12, who must be accompanied by an adult.
The Heflin Parks & Rec department has summer camps for kids including Kayak Paddle Camp on June 7, Glamping Camp on June 29-30, Fort Building Camp from July 16-18 and Archery Camp (TBA). For more info, call 256-463-5434 or visit City of Heflin Parks and Recreation Department on Facebook.
Cool off at Crystal Springs Lake in Wellington, a spring-fed swimming hole that first opened in 1939. The lake has a diving board, a beach with volleyball courts, swings and a cafe. Day passes are $3-$5.
Or go swimming in Cheaha Lake at Cheaha State Park, and visit the newly refurbished lake house (originally built by the CCC). The lake features a playground, beach and diving platform, and is free with park admission.