Rochester Family Newsletter July 1, 2010 | Kids Out and About

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Rochester Family Newsletter July 1, 2010

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Rochester Family Newsletter 7/1/10

Dear KOA readers:

It's the 4th of July weekend, and long-time KOA newsletter readers know what the Ross family does on the 4th of July: We head out west to Brown's Berry Patch in Albion for a red-white-and-blue day of strawberry, raspberry, cherry, and blueberry picking -- and a FREE afternoon in the Barnyard Adventure. Why free? I'm glad you asked. For the third year in a row, Brown's Berry Patch has provided a special Fourth of July coupon for KOA readers to enjoy their Brown's Berry Patch Barnyard Adventure for free. It takes 50 minutes for us to get out there from our Brighton-border-of-Penfield house, and it's well worth the trip. All you're paying for is the fruit you pick and take home, or the goodies you purchase in their country store--so an inexpensive, wholesome day of family fun is awaiting you. I love seeing stacks of KOA coupons fluttering in the breeze, and happy KOA readers on the grownups-and-kids-together giant slide or reaching for handfuls of ripe cherries in the orchard. You need to print out one copy of the coupon per person before you head out to the Berry Patch, so make sure you do that with the link above. And remember: The bluest blueberries have the best flavor!

2) Speaking of the Fourth of July, the City of Rochester is having their annual Independence Day celebration on Sunday, which of course includes fireworks and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. Click here for all of the details. There are also Independence Day celebrations in places around our area, such as Penfield (Fri-Sat), Perinton (Sat), Irondequoit (Sat-Sun), and Henrietta and Mumford (Genesee Country Village) (Sun). Let me know if you know of others in more towns than we have listed, and I'll get the info right up. Most of these (not the GCV, of course) are FREE, and so are all 187 of these other upcoming free activities.

3) In last week's newsletter, I had included a note about the special Horizon Fun FX offer: The first 200 people to email them would receive a certificate for 10 free roller skating passes. Well, Heidi received an avalanche of requests, and ended up mailing close to 300 certificates! Wow! Thanks, Heidi! My kids heading over to Horizon Fun FX in Greece for an active afternoon of fun...there is skating, laser tag, climbing wall, jumping pillow, and more. I'm so pleased Heidi was so generous; I think it will will pay her back in the end as more families are introduced to the fun. (Moms, get ready, if you skate for an hour as I did last time, you may get a little sore...but it's a satisfying kind of sore.)

4) Speaking of indoor recreation centers, Kango Play Center on Jefferson Road in Henrietta is having another Facebook special tomorrow for Facebook members: Not only free admission to Kango, but free pizza too! If you go to their Facebook Fan Page and join, you'll see directions. Basically, you'll be posting as your Facebook status "I can go to Kango for summer fun." Print that out, bring it with you, and get free admission and free pizza. As I said, the details are at their Facebook Fan Page.

5)'s new COUPON PAGE is going full force. We've added a couple of new coupons since last week. Keep checking back, because I'm about to put up a coupon from the Jump Club indoor play center sometime today, I think, and several more organizations have expressed interest. If your organization is interested in offering a coupon on the coupon page, please email June Santini at

6) This summer, can you get away closer to home and on a budget, and still have fun? You bet! We have some wonderful resources to help you:

The Central Finger Lakes is Packed with Family Fun in New York State

Summer Family Fun in Wayne County, NY

Does everyone REALLY love MarineLand?

Review of Roseland Water Park

Review of Splash Lagoon Indoor Water Park

Review of Cascades Indoor Water Park at Greek Peak

Review of the Buffalo Zoo

Review of Sesame Place in Langhorne, Pennsylvania

Coming soon, we'll have a review of Water Safari, at Old Forge in the Adirondacks.

And here are a couple of places that are great for getaways right here in Rochester:

Here is our list of BEACHES in our area

List of places and swim clubs with outdoor pools

List of Amusement Parks in central and western New York

It's Their Vacation and You're The Tour Guide: How to Organize Camp Mom

7) I keep a first-aid kit in the car. But until I read this new article from Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, I had never really given it much thought. Do I even know what's in there? No, not really. Stuff. You know. But the article illustrated how important it is not only to know what's in the kit, but to stock it specifically for seasonal needs. Seriously, I never thought about this before, but it's important to do so before the emergency happens. Dress Your First-Aid Kit for Summer is definitely worth reading.

8) Congratulations to Lorrie from Pittsford, who won the giveaway for a free week at Science Camp from the Rochester Museum & Science Center. For other live giveaways, check out the Giveaway Page! (By the way, today is the LAST DAY you can enter to win tickets to the Yo Gabba Gabba show on September 21, so ENTER NOW.

9) wants to celebrate Rochester's most family-friendly restaurant, and we want your nominations! What is your favorite place to take your family out to eat in greater Rochester? It can be a locally-owned spot OR a chain, it doesn't matter. Please email me the name and general location of your favorite restaurant, to I'll collect nominations for a little while, then we'll be putting together a survey so you can vote for your favorite!

10) If you're looking for a fun local history camp this summer, check out the summer camps from the Landmark Society! They're held at the Stone-Tolan House (Monroe County's oldest extant house), which is on East Ave right near the 490-590 interchange. There are two Pioneer Days camps, and two camps on Arc-Kid-Tecture.

11) Pick-your-own-strawberries usually finishes up on July 4 so you have the last few days. I need to take advantage of those days, because Madison and I were gone for the 8 days in which strawberries were in peak season. The strawberry picking link is still at the top of every KOA page, for a little while longer. Then, that will switch to cherries and blueberries, plus raspberries and peaches. Mmmm, can't you just taste it all now?

12) My CSAs (community-supported agriculture farms) have already begun to deliver cherries. This is exciting for me, because I've devised a new recipe for them: Several weeks ago, I picked up some balsamic cherries from Wegmans -- it's sort of a sweet-tart compote that went awesomely on soft cheese like brie. Well, it's a bit expensive, so I experimented this week when I got my piles of cherries. And it's even easier than cherry pie! You just pit a bunch of cherries (a cherry pitter is a great investment, it's about $10-$15) and place them in a saucepan until they cover the bottom. Then, add enough balsamic vinegar to almost, but not quite, cover the cherries. Then, boil/stew the cherries in the vinegar on medium-high heat until the vinegar is a medium-thick syrup -- you have to keep stirring the mixture (but don't break up the cherries too much) to make sure it doesn't get too thick, which it does suddenly. I needed to add a tablespoon of sugar to get the right taste, but then...heavenly! I don't know how well it freezes, but I'm going to make lots, freeze some, and try it out after cherry season. I'm tempted to add carmelized onions to the mixture, but then I could add carmelized onions to just about anything and enjoy the taste. I plan to try this stuff on chicken and pork. Am I making you hungry? Bon appetit!

13) Here are our most popular individual quick links:

FREE family events coming up (212 of them, as of this writing!)

Birthday party venues and resources for our area

Indoor Recreation and Play Centers

14) If you just decided your child could benefit from going to camp this summer, there are still lots of openings -- I think the economy has affected enrollment a bit. But I've seen Rochester prices compared with those in other regions, and camp prices here are among the least expensive in the East. You get a great bargain for your money!

Summer Camp Organizations (filter these by topic, there are a LOT!)

Week-by-week guide to summer camps in greater Rochester (new ones added each week)

Camps for next week only (July 5-9)

15) I dropped in to the Enchanted Rose Garden at Four Corners in Penfield the other day, and noticed (as did my kids) that they're having a Webkinz clearance sale: Plush pets are 50% off and accessories are 60% off. It got me quickly thinking about upcoming birthday parties that my kids are attending, and what I could get accomplished in one fell swoop.

16) In the past week, Roseland Water Park posted their $4 off coupon on our coupon page... don't head out to Roseland without printing it to save yourself some money! Plus, the Monroe County Fair is coming up in just two weeks, and they posted a $5 off coupon on that same coupon page! And I hear there's a coupon in the works for Seabreeze... Make sure you check back frequently for great deals!

17) In honor of our nation's armed forces, Adventure Landing has declared Saturday, July 3rd and Sunday, July 4th, as “Military Appreciation Weekend.” All active and retired military personnel will receive a free Freedom Fun Pass during this timeframe.  A Freedom Fun Pass, an $8 value, is valid for 2 hours of unlimited mini golf plus 10 arcade tokens.  The military honoree can purchase additional Freedom Fun Passes for their family for only $7 during Military Appreciation Weekend.

18) The Developmental Neuropsychology Lab, at the University of Rochester’s Department of Clinical and Social Sciences in Psychology, is inviting the following groups to participate in exciting new research projects: 1) Children and adolescents diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder; 2) Children and adolescents with no autism diagnosis. The Developmental Neuropsychology Lab’s research focuses on improving the understanding, diagnosis, and treatment of autism and other developmental disabilities. They are interested in understanding how children learn to think, communicate, move, and even use senses such as vision, hearing, taste, and smell. In addition to contributing to the research, participants will receive payment for their time. If you would like to find out more about participating in the Developmental Neuropsychology Lab’s research, please visit their web site at or call (585) 273-4622.

19) A reader was hoping that we could compile a list of Places to Fish in greater Rochester. I think this is a great idea. I only got one or two ideas last week, so I'm asking again: If you fish with your kids, or if you KNOW where to fish with kids, can you email me the location? Thanks.

20) The Bravo Family, the Wall Family, the Woods Family, the Smart Family, and the Walker Family are as active as ever. And it's summer, so the logos have changed! Here is what they are up to this weekend:

The Walker Family in the Summer

The Walker family focuses on health and physical fitness. Here are their plans this weekend:

Friday: There is almost no more active way to spend the day than an afternoon at a water park! The Walker Family is going to Roseland Water Park in Canandaigua, where they're having a Cartoon Caricatures Day on Friday.

Saturday: The Walker family really loves soccer, so they're going to the Rhinos Soccer Game on Saturday night for the second week in a row.

Sunday: Victory Baptist Church is hosting a free Super Sunday Sports Spectacular starting at 11am.

Bravo Family in the SummerThe Bravo Family loves the arts. They are going to try to do lots of great stuff this weekend:

Friday: They'll head to Brockport's Sagawa Park for their free Friday evening Cool Kids series. This week: Catskill Puppet Theater!

Saturday: The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra is busy this weekend! On Saturday evening, they are playing a Red, White, and BOOM! concert at CMAC in Canandaigua.

Sunday: All kinds of artsy things away the Bravo family at the City of Rochester's Independence Day Blowout on Sunday. More RPO, for one thing!

Woods Family in the SummerThis is the Woods Family. They love nature and the great outdoors.
Friday: They'll go to the first of two days of the Town of Penfield Independence Day celebration.

Saturday: Grandma Linda is really into Independence Day because Grandpa Dennis had been in the military. So on Saturday, they'll go to the Irondequoit Independence Day Celebration.

Sunday: The Woods grandkids might be tired of the Fourth of July celebrations, but Grandma Linda isn't! They'll go to Brown's Berry Patch taking their coupon for free admission to the Barnyard Adventure.

The Smart Family in the SummerThe Smart family focuses on educational and cultural activities.

Friday: Friday evening, the Smart family will go on the Phantoms of Fairport Ghost Walk and learn some fascinating local history at the same time.

Saturday: If it's clear on Saturday night, the Smart family will head to the Strasenburgh Planetarium at the RMSC for free telescope viewing. They'll have to stay up late, but the kids don't mind.

Sunday: The Smart family loves a good garage sale (they spend their money smartly, too), so they'll go to Henrietta's Independence Day Celebration, which includes a garage sale!

The Wall Family in the SummerThe Wall Family prefers indoor activities. Here is their weekend itinerary:

Friday: They're heading to Kango Play Center for free indoor fun and pizza...all they have to do is post a certain code phrase to their Facebook page and print it out! Click for directions!

Saturday: Saturday morning, the Wall family will go to Glaze and Glass in Greece for a morning story time and pottery painting.

Sunday: The Bravo family will go to Strasenburgh Planetarium for an indoor movie double-feature: Walking with Dinosaurs and Mysteries of the Great Lakes.

Link to: Everything happening on Friday

Link to: Everything happening on Saturday

Link to: Everything happening on Sunday

As you think about the Fourth of July and what it means to be free, consider sharing with your (older) kids Frederick Douglass's Independence Day Speech at Rochester, which he gave on July 4, 1852. Keep in mind that this was 11 or 13 years (depending on your perspective) before slavery was ended. Sometimes living in the here-and-now is difficult, of course, but it always pays to be mindful of how different life could be in the there-and-then. Douglass's eloquence never fails to inspire me. When I think of what that great man did to help bring about freedom, I remember how powerful words can be, and I take heart.

Debra Ross

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