Summer is here and your kids might be looking for something to do. We often say take a walk or a bike ride, but there comes a time when even the most easily entertained children need something special for a change. It’s easy to spend a lot of money on activities, so today we are looking at some inexpensive ways to keep your kids busy this summer that might be enjoyed by the adults in the family as well.
Pioneer Park is a great way to spend a day. Museums are dotted throughout the grounds and are free or have only a small fee for admission. Take the train for a trip around the park; it’s just a $1 for kids and $2 for adults. Polish up your golf swing with 18 holes of mini golf for $4.50 for adults and $3 for kids. Or just spend a few hours on a great playground with all kinds of swings, climbers and slides for free.
Take the kids on a trip around Fairbanks and explore the city parks. There are 61 parks listed on the borough website and all are equipped differently. Do a park-hopping expedition and find out what is offered.
Take a walk on the wild side by visiting Creamer’s Field. Go for a two-mile hike through the refuge or go on a volunteer-guided nature walk, offered daily at 10 a.m. and on Wednesday nights at 7 p.m. There is also a special program called Babes in the Woods for children under three years of age on the second Tuesday of the month and a Nature Discovery program for 3- to 6-year-olds on the second Thursday of the month.
Enjoy the river by renting a canoe and going on a paddle down the Chena. Boats can be rented by the river at Pioneer Park, from Beaver Sports, the UAF Student Recreation Center, Independent Rentals and other businesses throughout the area. Be sure to get lifejackets when you rent for safety on the water.
The Georgeson Botanical Garden at the university is a great place for a daytime ramble. Take a look at the flowerbeds, particularly the peonies, which are beautiful during June and July. The beds put in by the Herb Bunch volunteers are a great place for a lesson on herbs. Music in the Garden begins June 4, with free concerts on Thursday nights featuring a wide variety of performances throughout the summer. Check the UAF Summer Sessions website for information on performers.
Magical Mondays at UAF begin June 8 with weekly hands-on family science activities at 7 p.m. Activities take place in the Murie Building auditorium and atrium and involve dinosaurs, a GPS treasure hunt, cool math, humans on mars, robotics, the solar system and more. You can find a list of all the scheduled Magical Monday presentations on the UAF Weekly Science Calendar or on the UAF Summer Sessions website.
Are your kids movie buffs? Regal Cinemas offers movies at 10 a.m. on Tuesday and Wednesdays all summer and tickets are just $1 each. Check the website for a list of offerings at the Summer Movie Express.
For a special treat, take your children to the Fairbanks Children’s Museum on Cushman Street. The museum is full of interactive exhibits designed to spark children’s imaginations. It’s a great way to play and learn at the same time. The admission is $8 per person.
For arts and crafts, check out the offerings from organizations such as the Folk School of Fairbanks and the Weavers and Spinners Guild.
And of course, there’s the summer reading program at the Noel Wien Library. Kids read books and if they meet their goal, they get a book to keep at the end of the summer.
If you have older kids, you might want to buy them a membership at the Boys and Girls club for $10. Then they can go hang out there with their friends whenever they want.
No matter what your plans are for the coming months, get out and enjoy the summer with some of these fun activities.
Roxie Rodgers Dinstel is associate director of Cooperative Extension Service, a part of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, working in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Questions or column requests can be e-mailed to her at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 907-474-7201.