Get ready to enjoy hot fun in the summertime

By Alan R. Madeleine

Even though summer is only just now officially here, have the kids already started getting underfoot?
Are they making the mopey bored face?

Well, your city Parks and Recreation Dept. is on your side, with plenty of interesting diversions to offer the kiddies – and you as well.

And you may want to save this article – the Rec Dept’s website still only lists their old calendar from Fall 2010 through Winter 2011. However, by now you should have received the print copy of Rec programs for this summer, which was hand-delivered to every home.

The department kicked off summer a week ago tonight, when they showed the Michael Jackson biopic “This Is It” on a big inflatable screen in Pulaski Park to a varying crowd estimated, by Recreation Coordinator Teresa Yorke, at about 100 people. Kids displayed their moonwalking and Thriller stalking under clear skies. The nice weather definitely helped make the event a success, Yorke noted.

The next similar event will be the “Summer Splash,” slated for Friday, July 15, likewise to be held at Pulaski Park. The water-themed fun will go from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., and the 2006 “Karate Kid” remake, starring Will Smith’s son, Jaden, will be shown this time on the big blow-up screen.

In addition, Yorke said, the splash pad will be running, there will be a mechanical surfboard (think a mechanical bull – and yes, they’re insured), splash ball water bombs, blasters, squirt guns, food and a raffle.

Do your kids favor a more worldly sort of fun?

Consider the “Summer Playground Program,” which is now pre-registering. It’s geared toward ages 5-13, and parents can enroll their kids right now at the High School Community Center, 11350 Charest north of Caniff.

Yorke notes that parents will need three things: proof of the child’s age and residency here in the city, and that they (the parents) are in fact the child’s legal guardians.

The Playground Program offers numerous activities, but with more freedom than, for example, a camp. For one thing, the kids can come and go as they please, and participate (or not) in any given activity.

These activities include field trips to Belle Isle, Huckleberry Railroad in Flint, Carousel Acres Farm in South Lyon, Chandler Park Aquatic Park, the Toledo Zoo, a tour of the Parade Company, and a finale at the Michigan Adventure Theme Park in Muskegon.

Also included are the use of the splash pad and the high school’s pool, once per week archery and golf, gardening at the Housing Project and Pulaski Park, and more. The program runs from July 5 to August 24. Non-residents can participate too, for a $100 fee for the first child, and then a $25 fee for any additional children.

August means the Back to School Carnival, with food, rides, and a limited giveaway of backpacks as highlights. There’s no guarantee that this one won’t lead to more mopey faces, though, as the kids realize their summer is drawing once more to a close.

Additionally, there are always the Rec Dept’s class offerings. Try your hand at karate, learn to dance (or learn to do it better), inquire “Tennis, anyone?” or bunt your way to glory at sandlot baseball, just to name some of the other delectable treats that await you on the Rec’s summer menu.

Go, fun!

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