Rochester Family Newsletter July 22, 2010 | Kids Out and About

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Rochester Family Newsletter July 22, 2010

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Rochester Family Newsletter 7/22/10

Dear KOA readers:

Last week's newsletter generated a whole bunch of feedback. Remember that I, Rochester's head cheerleader for getting "out and about" with kids, advocated that you take some time to actively do NOTHING. Thank you so much for all of your nice notes!

Ella, Elliott, and the rope swing
I took my own advice..... sort of... this past weekend. My high school friend Candace came up from Pennsylvania to visit with her three kids. It was their first time in Rochester, so they were expecting a True Rochester Experience from the ultimate tour guide. But it is certain that the most memorable part of the trip for Candace's kids was the walk in Corbett's Glen Nature Center. There is a rope tied to a tree branch that hangs over Allen's Creek, and the kids spent about an hour swinging themselves into the water before deciding to climb the shallow waterfall just upstream. It was a classic simple summer memory-maker that I'm sure they'll never forget. The photo to the right is Elliott catching Ella as she took her first turn on the rope. Doesn't it totally say "summer" to you?

Of course, we had to give our guests at least a little bit of what makes Rochester great, so we brought them to Strong National Museum of Play on Saturday afternoon (remember, there are extended hours, until 8pm, on Friday and Saturdays). My kids had been bugging me to bring them to the Mindbender Mansion exhibit, which will be at Strong through September 6. I have posted a review and photos of Mindbender Mansion so you can see more about it for yourself before you bring the kids. If you've been reading this newsletter for any length of time, you know I always have commentary.

2) Yesterday I started a four-day orchestra camp for adults, SCOR at Roberts Wesleyan College. I discovered that playing the cello is like riding a bike, at least in the sense that I used to play the cello and I used to ride a bike. I'm having a great and very intense time (though last night I learned to play the blues, and blues on the cello is not at all intense), so if you email me in the next few days, I may not respond. Those who need immediate assistance should email June Santini at

3) Giveaways: We have several new giveaways on the giveaway page.

First, a short-term giveaway that is drawing AT MIDNIGHT TONIGHT: A family pass (2 adults + up to 4 kids) to Ganondagan's Native American Dance and Music Festival. The Festival is this Saturday and Sunday; click the link for more details, and then enter to win on our giveaway page!

Second: Sailorbags, a company based in Victor, is giving away a nautical lunch bag.

Third: Win four tickets to one of George Eastman House's Garden Vibes concerts in August. Garden Vibes concerts are held at 6pm on Thursdays (there is one tonight, the Josie Waverly Band. Kids 12 and under are always free, and there is even a bounce house to entertain them--they can wander around the gardens and play safely while you all listen to some great music. There are two more concerts after tonight's, and you can win tickets on our giveaway page.

Fourth: RAPA's show for kids this summer is Willy Wonka Jr. It's August 5 and 6, and they're offering a ticket giveaway; two winners will each win a pair of tickets.

Fifth: Remember last week I published my new review of StarFish's new kids rock-and-roll album, Enter Sandbox? Well, the StarFish folks were so pleased at my commentary that they're sending me some CDs of Enter Sandbox to give away to readers! So enter and sign in please, on our giveaway page.

4) Would your organization like to be visible to over 40,000 readers each month? It's easy to get an organization account on, and here's my handy new video to show you how. Those who posted their events to our former site need only get an account and then "claim" their organization that is already listed, and those who have never posted events need to get an account and then create a new organization. The 5-minute video explains all.

5) Those of you who are fans of on Facebook get to find out about activities, new articles, and new giveaways, more frequently than just once per week. We also sometimes have very-short-term Facebook-only giveaways and alerts. So if you're on Facebook, please "LIKE" us! Thanks! We like you, too!

6) This weekend is the Blueberry Celebration at Brown's Berry Patch in Albion, and they uploaded a special coupon for Saturday: Half off the Brown's Berry Patch Barnyard Adventure. Make sure to click on the small coupon to get to the printable coupon.

7) Our great coupon page also has coupons for places such as Roseland Water Park, Cascades Indoor Water Park, Wickham Farms, Long Acre Farms, some pottery painting places such as Bisque & Brush and Glaze & Glass, and more! If your organization would like to offer coupons through KOA, please contact our business manager, June Santini, at Coupons are coming for Minnehan's at the north end of Conesus Lake and Mud About You, the pottery painting store in Penfield. >

8) We have a new page that lists our Reviews of Water Parks and Amusement Parks: What to Know Before you Go. Our two newest articles, just posted last week, are: A review of Enchanted Forest / Water Safari in Old Forge, NY and a review of the famous Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio.  We have several other reviews linked on that main review page, including Roseland Water Park, Splash Lagoon, Does Everyone Really Love MarineLand? and Cascades at Greek Peak. Coming soon will be an article about how to make the most of a day at Seabreeze. (And if you're planning a trip to Seabreeze or Roseland, make sure you check out our coupon page for additional savings.)

9) Festivals and fairs this weekend:

Ganondagan's Native American Dance and Music Festival

See all of the upcoming fairs and festivals that have been posted to the calendar.

10) Some stuff costs money, but often the best summer memories are completely free. You want to do stuff that's FREE, don't you? Just click on the Everything That's FREE button on the left-hand side of any KOA page and feast your eyes on stuff you won't pay for, but that are part of what make summertime in Rochester memorable for kids of all ages.

11) Speaking of FREE, did you know there are all kinds of free daily summer activities at all of the city of Rochester Department of Recreation Centers? They're free for city residents! Here is a link to how you can find out more.

12) Here are some links to 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

13) Congratulations to KOA readers Rebecca and Emily, the winners of the drawing from the Greater Rochester Health Foundation. Those of you who participated in their recent survey were eligible to win annual memberships either to the Seneca Park Zoo, Strong National Museum of Play, or Rochester Museum & Science Center. Congratulations also to the three winners of a family four-pack of tickets on the Colonial Belle, whose Erie Canal Tours are legendary: Carolyn from Rochester, Linda from Fairport, and Judy from Spencerport.

14) Summertime is a great time for kids to get into the habit of running around, jumping, sliding, and generally raised activity level. But what happens when it's so hot outside that it's dangerous? You go INSIDE, because we have lots Indoor Play Centers.

15) Are you planning a birthday party for your child? Don't do so without consulting our extensive (and we do mean extensive!) list of birthday party venues and resources for our area.

16) If you just decided your child could benefit from going to camp this summer, there are still lots of openings. Check out our week-by-week guide to summer camps in greater Rochester. Here are especially the camps for next week (July 26-30).

17) Are you helping your child work on the multiplication tables this summer? I found a really cool trick for multiplying by 11, from author Eugenia Francis. I have appreciated her book Teach Your Child the Multiplication Tables, which also received an unofficial Mathematician Stamp of Approval from David Ross.

18) I decided at the beginning of this summer that now, as Madison is about to turn 11, is the time to make sure she starts a lifelong habit of being physically fit. To that end, we have been getting up early every morning and running--and she's been beating the pants off me! I was regretting having missed the Bay View Y's Kids Marathon earlier this summer, but then the Southeast Y just posted their own Kids Modified Marathon, which starts this week! What a great motivator: Kids have 5 weeks to run their marathon, culminating in a 1-mile Fun Run on September 11. I think she's going to do it!

19) The Bravo Family, the Wall Family, the Woods Family, the Smart Family, and the Walker Family are as active as ever. Here is what they are up to this weekend:

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

Friday: The Friday night Cool Kids in the Park at Sagawa Park in Brockport is Capoiera Mandinga--We all dance!. It's always free! And this week it's perfect for the Walker Family.
Saturday: Blueberries are great for you, so the Walker family is heading to the Blueberry Celebration at Brown's Berry Patch. They'll use their coupon for half-off the Barnyard Adventure.
Sunday: They'll all get active at Ganondagan's Native American Dance and Music Festival.

The BravoFamilyThe Bravo Family loves the arts. They are going to try to do lots of great stuff this weekend:
Friday: MusicFest 2010 from the City of Rochester presents the 50th Anniversary of Motown
Saturday: The Bravo family is heading out to CMAC in Canandaigua to see the RPO and lots of wonderful performers present Cirque at CMAC.
Sunday:  The Bravo family will see the outdoor show from the Rochester Children's Theatre, Androcles and the Lion.

The Woods FamilyThis is the Woods Family. They love nature and the great outdoors.
Friday: Friday evening, the Woods family will visit Penfield's Outdoor Amphitheater for a free movie, Astro Boy.
Saturday: At 10am, the Woods family will join that Rochester Orienteering Club for their Durand Eastman Park Event.
Sunday: Grandma Linda wants to visit the Garage Sales, which are Sundays at the Rochester Public Market through 8/22.

The Smart FamilyThe Smart family focuses on educational and cultural activities.
Friday: They'll play Bingo on Friday afternoon at the East Rochester Public Library. Great prizes and fun for kids aged 3-12.
Saturday: Saturday night, the Smart family is doing the Family Overnight at Seneca Park Zoo! They're so excited!
Sunday: The Smart family has read my review of the Mindbender Mansion exhibit at Strong Museum and so that's where they're headed on Sunday.

The Wall FamilyThe Wall Family prefers indoor activities. Here is their weekend itinerary:
Friday: The Wall kids will take a cooking class at Tops Cooking School on Friday evening. The theme is Hawaiian Luau.
Saturday: Saturday morning the Wall family will head to the new drumming store / arts education center in Fairport, called Rhythm Connect, for a free family rhythm/drumming event.
Sunday: Trolley and track car rides at the New York Museum of Transportation in Rush.

19) If your organization would like to offer a giveaway on our giveaway page, please contact me at Compose a paragraph that you'd like me to put up on the page, and we'll go from there.

20) I sometimes feel guilty choosing just five events per day, because there are literally dozens from which to choose. So, here is a handy set of links to day-by-day activities for the upcoming several days.

   Friday, July 23

   Saturday, July 24

   Sunday, July 25

Recently, the New Yorker had a front-page piece about a study that purported to show that having children does not, on average, increase happiness. There has been a lot of debate about this since that article was published. Last night, I came across this true gem of a blog post from a writer named Jennifer Lawler. Here's part of what she has to say:

Only an academic would undertake a study like this, defining happiness as something along the lines of “satisfaction with life” and “feeling rewarded by your work.” If there’s an occupation more likely to make you feel incompetent and unrewarded than being a parent, I have never heard of it...If you weren’t an academic, you might define happiness as the experience of being fully alive. To know grace, and despair, and the kind of hardness you have to learn to stand against; to watch your family fail you when you need them the most, and have your ex-husband look around, shrug his shoulders, and hold out his hand to help you up again.

The essay is simply beautiful, and made me look at the entire question a new way. Read the whole thing here.

Plan ahead! You can see upcoming events for any day...just click on the little calendar on the top of any KOA page.

Debra Ross

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