No-registration activities allow days to happen naturally
While summer calendars can fill up quickly with scheduled camps, vacations and play dates, there may be many days in between that are blank – free to write your day as you go.
With 20 miles of trails and more than 50 parks and natural areas throughout the St. Charles Park District, there’s always an opportunity to explore something new with your children, but for something structured to “do” there are many drop-in and no-registration activities to fill the days.
Stop by Primrose Farm and Hickory Knolls Discovery Center to pet and feed animals. At various times Monday-Thursday and Saturday, Primrose offers drop-in programs to feed the chickens and goats, milk one of the Jersey cows, collect eggs from the Columbian Wyandotte chickens or groom the Belgian draft horses. All programs are lead by a Primrose staff member to educate participants about the animals and their care. For a schedule and fees visit: www.primrosefarmpark.com/drop-in-programs
If you’re children are fascinated with turtles, head over to Hickory Knolls. From 1-2pm every Thursday until August 8, children can assist with food preparation for its box, aquatic and Blanding turtles. While there, say hello and/or pet the various reptiles and amphibians, Peter the rabbit and Petunia the guinea pig; hike a trail; or let your child’s imagination go wild in the outdoor nature play area, the Hideout. Feed the Turtles fee is $5 per resident/$8 per nonresident. For more information, visit: www.stcnature.org
Families who enjoy mini-golf will love Putt-n-Save Days at River View Miniature Golf Course along the Fox River at Pottawatomie Park. Every Monday and Tuesday patrons receive a wooden nickel redeemable for prizes with each round purchased. On Thursdays Grandparents play for free with each round purchased for a grandchild, and on Friday nights families receive a frozen treat for each round purchased. For more information, visit https://riverviewminigolf.org/
After mini-golf, rent a kayak or pedal boat and see the river from a new perspective. Save $5 on Wednesdays, as rentals are only $12 per hour from 11am-6pm.
Or cruise the river via an 1800s era paddlewheel riverboat. Public cruises are available all summer at 1:30pm Monday-Friday, and 2pm, 3pm and 4pm Saturdays and Sundays. Sundays also has an additional cruise at 5pm. For 50 minutes the riverboat travels 4-miles from Pottawatomie Park, north to the Q Center and back again. Along the way, you’ll learn about the landmarks and unique history as well as flora and fauna native to the area. Each cruise has sailor hats to decorate for children, kettle corn, cotton candy and water available for purchase. For more information, visit: www.stcriverboats.com
Of course there may be no better way to beat the heat than splashing and swimming at Otter Cove Aquatic Park or Swanson Pool. Inside the pool or out on deck, extra special, free activities will keep children entertained all day long throughout the week. Conga lines, cannonball and hula hoop contests, story time with a lifeguard and pool bingo are some activities at Swanson Pool. Otter Cove gives tours behind the pool deck, a chance to play volleyball with a lifeguard, as well as cannonball contests and photo opportunities with mascots Ollie and June.
For more information about these and other pool events, visit www.ottercove.org or www.swansonpool.org