Rochester Family Newsletter May 20, 2010 | Kids Out and About

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Rochester Family Newsletter May 20, 2010

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Rochester Family Newsletter 5/20/10

Dear KOA readers:

Have you ever pictured yourself and your kids in a giant hamster ball running across the top of Seneca Lake? If you answered "no," or "only in really strange dreams after eating too much pizza," then you must read the new article we just published, The Central Finger Lakes is Packed with Family Fun in New York State! The Aqua Ball is only one of dozens of family-friendly activities and places to visit in the central Finger Lakes region this summer. I showed the article to my husband last night, and when he saw the photo of the Aqua Ball, he deemed the whole concept "So cool I can't believe I haven't heard of it before." Last summer, we Rosses had our big trip to Yellowstone, so we were thinking we'd just lie low this summer...but this article has us planning little getaways with the kids to Seneca County. The article is by Carol Fingar, the tourism marketing director for the Seneca County Chamber of Commerce. In a conversation with Carol recently, she had me looking at the Finger Lakes in a whole new way, so I asked her to write this information- and link-rich article on Finger Lakes getaways for families. The woman is good at her job! Even keeping in mind that this isn't an independent review, I'm sold, so check out the article and see why.

2) The weather has brightened up just in time for the closing weekend of the Lilac Festival. We're going out there tomorrow, when the forecast calls for 80 degrees and sunny. Can it get better than that? I don't think so! We're going to take lots of photos, as we do every year (the photo on the link is from Madison's first Lilac Festival!). There are lots of other great places to take spring photos in our area, though, and photographer Honey DeLapa has provided a nice list here. And look at our home page: You can almost smell the lilacs.

3) It's almost Memorial Day, and as usual, we've provided our big list of Memorial Day Parades -- dates and times -- in greater Rochester. If you're a Henrietta resident, be forewarned that this Sunday is YOUR Memorial Day parade. They started this in Henrietta a year or two back, holding the parade the weekend before Memorial Day weekend. But the rest of the parades and ceremonies will be the following weekend, as far as we have been able to ascertain. I still have to call a couple of towns to verify the time... so you'll want to check that page again before you head out just to make certain. There's always one or two towns that change the time from year to year. When is your town's parade?

4) Did you know the celebration of Memorial Day started right in our area? That's right, Waterloo, NY (just an hour east on the Thruway) bills itself as the originator of the whole Memorial Day celebration, and each year from Friday through Monday of Memorial Day weekend, the whole town throws a big festival. Check out the details for the Waterloo Memorial Day Festival right here, or you can click through from the Parade List page.

5) 13, the new musical which is, yes, about being 13, made its western New York debut last weekend at the Upstage3 Theatre at the Auditorium Center in downtown Rochester. I will admit that I was skeptical about whether one might possibly create a contemporary, upbeat, witty musical about being age 13--an age which, over 25 years later, I'm still glad not to be. I thought they might as well have made a musical about postpartum depression or something. Anyway, you can read my review here of the production from A Magical Journey Thru Stages. Keep in mind that I have a special soft spot for Stages, as I was very pleased with the experience they gave Madison when she participated in their Schoolhouse Rock Live production earlier this year.
Linda Sue Park, Storm Warning
6) I also have a soft spot for books and series that excite my kids' adventurous souls at the same time as teaching them interesting facts about the world. The 39 Clues is such a series. Mostly for ages 8-12, it is a set of 10 books that follow the adventures of siblings Amy and Dan around the globe as they find find clues that will save the world from evildoers. This popular series from Scholastic has a unique feature: Each book is written by a different famous author. Book 9 is about to be Tuesday, May 25, as a matter of fact. But it gets better: The author of Book 9, Storm Warning, is none other than Rochester's own Linda Sue Park! So of course, Barnes & Noble in Pittsford is rolling out the red carpet for a big 39 Clues Book Release Party on Tuesday. Linda Sue, of course, will be there to sign books and give a presentation, and there will be prizes and paraphernalia. Click here for details about the Book Release Party. If you or your child is a fan of Linda Sue Park and would like to join her fan page on Facebook, click here for the link.

7) And speaking of The 39 Clues, when I took Madison and Ella to New York City in April to meet three of the authors at a book signing party, I met John Yoo, the coordinator of the 39 Clues online game. This game is actually one I approve of my kids playing a lot--they get engrossed, but in a mindful, alert way, not in that obsessive way that I find can happen with reflex-oriented games. I asked Mr. Yoo for an interview about what it's like to run an extremely popular online game for kids, and we just published it. Here is the interview, a behind-the-scenes look at the 39 Clues online experience. The game is free for kids to play online, and I find that the books enhance the game, and the game enhances the books.

8) Speaking of Linda Sue Park, you can join her Facebook Fan Page here.

9) Of course, has its own Facebook Fan Page; I post every day or so to highlight events and activities. Please "like" us! (Gosh, I suddenly felt 13 again.)

10) And one more Facebook link: KOA reader Amanda Allen just started a page on Facebook to follow the goings-on of a robins' nest in their garage. She snuck up and put a webcam where it could take video and snapshots of Mr. and Mrs. Robin and see their eggs... my kids and I have been having a great time following them day by day. Can't wait until the babies hatch! Check it out here!

11) The Week-By-Week Summer Camp Calendar is very busy. It can also be a little overwhelming, I know. Just search on, say, the week of July 26 and you'll see 101 camp sessions from which to choose. Wow! So I wanted to give you a little clue about this: You can filter any list by subject. So, if you decide that you just want to see camps that offer Performance Arts that week, just click on the week, and on the right side you'll see a set of filters. Filter for Subject = Arts, Performance, and you'll carve that list down to 32 camps. A little easier to manage, right? You can do that with any list that seems long to you... events, organizations, etc. Have fun! And get all the info you need!

12) Our new "Free" page is easily the most trafficked page in the new web site: It has all events coming up that are FREE!

13) Did you know that we have 11 pages of places to have birthday parties in Rochester and birthday party entertainers? Think about having your child's next birthday party in a place where all you have to do is show up and enjoy.

14) Home Page - This is your main navigation area for We have a fantastic new weekly calendar that lets you see at a glance what's coming up both this week and this month, plus quick links to the six most popular pages on the site currently.

15) Giveaways - There are 9 giveaways that are currently live, including: Free weeks of camp from Hochstein, Spotlight Theatre Arts, PUSH Physical Theatre, and Kango Play Center; a family season pass for mini-golf from Adventure Landing (which draws tonight, by the way) a family portrait from Honey DeLapa, family tickets to the Fun Zone in Ontario, and two weeks at Christian Sports Camp from Parkminster Church. Most of these giveaways draw their winners by this coming Sunday, so get your entries in now. Giveaways are now easily accessible from the left-hand navigation bar, or just click here.

16) Congratulations to the following giveaway winners: Debbie from Williamsville won the signed books from Charles Noland's Drew and Ellie chapter book series. Two different women named (totally coincidentally) Laura (one from Rochester, one from Pittsford) won free summer session classes from Hochstein School of Music & Dance. Graceann Frederico, the Mary Kay consultant, was extremely generous and drew the following names as winners: Peggy from West Henrietta won the grand prize of a Creamy Frosted Vanilla Giftset with Personalized Spring Colour Makeover; and Janna, Regina, Kiya, Fiona, Holly, Karen, Keri, Jen, Aimee, and another Regina won eyeshadow and a spring makeover. Susan of Livonia won the gift certificate giveaway from hairstylist Marie Avallone at Salon Hermitage on Monroe Avenue in Pittsford.

17) June Santini's review of Hope Lake Lodge and Cascades Indoor Water Park has continued to be one of our most popular pages this week -- many people don't know about this relatively-close-by indoor water park. By the way, we have reviews of two other water parks as well: My review of Splash Lagoon from last January, and my review of Roseland Water Park from last June.

18) Have you ever wondered how your child learns about the shapes and sounds of objects? Researchers at the University of Rochester Baby Lab investigate the development of visual and auditory learning in infants and young children between the ages of 4 months and 4 years, and they are looking for additional parent-child participants. They expect that their findings will contribute to the knowledge of normal infant development, and ultimately benefit those infants who may be at risk for learning problems. The Baby Lab is located on the University of Rochester's river campus. A typical visit to the lab lasts about 30 minutes, though the actual study lasts only 5 to 10 minutes.  A typical study involves the child watching a display on a monitor while seated on his or her parent's lap. Researchers monitor where the child is looking in order to learn about that child's knowledge and beliefs about the display. If you would like to participate, or would like more information, please call 275-4621. 

19) Do you suffer from Migraines? If you experience migraines around your menstrual cycle, you know how devastating they can be. If you are at least 18, you may qualify for a new investigational research study. Qualified participants receive an investigational drug, study-related physical exams and lab tests at no cost. See if you may qualify by calling Rochester Clinical Research at 585.288.0890.

20) Some highlights from the next several days:

Tonight is the 2nd Positive Youth Development Night at the Rochester Red Wings. Join the Rochester-Monroe County Youth Bureau who have coordinated lots of local organizations that provide all kinds of services for kids; they have tables in the concourse at tonight's 7:05 game.

Brain...The World Inside Your Head is a new exhibit at the Rochester Museum & Science Center that opens this Saturday.

It's Seabreeze opening weekend! Click here for special times and prices.

Singer and Storyteller Tiger Tom Walsh reminds me that he will be at the Lilac Festival on Saturday and Sunday, 3pm and 5pm each day.

There is a Civil War Candlelight Tour at the Genesee Country Village this Friday and Saturday. Evening, of course. (The whole "candlelight" aspect should tip you off.) By the way, all through May, Genesee Country Village & Museum will offer free admission to all volunteer firefighters, emergency response personnel and departmental administrative staff. The complementary admission also applies to up to three family members per volunteer, through Memorial Day, May 31. Valid identification is required at admissions.

The Rochester Philharmonica Orchestra winds up its season with Verdi's Requiem.

WOWEE is hosting a wildlife extravaganza at the Wayne County Fairgrounds in Palmyra N.Y. on May 22 and May 23.

This is the last weekend to see Patience (or Bunthorne's Bride) for free from Rochester's Gilbert & Sullivan Troupe, the Off-Monroe Players.

There will be a Babysitter Training Class on Saturday morning at the Mendon Library.

There will be special Farm Animal Visits at Wickham Farms on Sunday afternoon.

Up-and-coming local teen star Kristina Jewell is performing her debut CD "Grounded" at St. John Fisher College.

See all events for today
See all events for Friday
See all events for Saturday
See all events for Sunday

21) If your organization would like to post an activity, event, class, or camp to the KOA site, the procedure is a little different than it used to be. (In fact, this is an evolving process, and will be made even easier soon.) First, create a user account on the new web site if you haven't already done so. Then, email me with your organization information (including contact info) and user ID. I'll link that user ID to the organization listing, and then you'll be able to enter and manage all of your events yourself.

Get out and about!

Debra Ross

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