Program 'makes families want to go outdoors'

Explore nature at Whitewater State Park's Nature Time at the Beach. Every weekday families are invited to make their way down to the park's beach to participate in a variety of free activities.

"It's really geared more for families with younger kids, but we get a mix," says Sara Grover, Whitewater interpretive naturalist. "We do water stuff, like catching tadpoles. We go on nature hunts and take bird hikes and do arts and crafts."

Now in its second year, the program is facilitated by four of the park's naturalists. Although each day's program is not listed online, families can find details about today's program posted at the park's office.

"There's always going to be something new," Grover says. "We are really lucky to have four naturalists on staff this summer. These four will be working on the programs. It's going to be a lot of work, but at the most we'll run the same program only twice a month."

Every year, more than 300,000 people visit Whitewater State Park, with more than 20,000 participating in naturalist-led programs and activities. In addition to the Nature Time at the Beach program, families will find fun with the park's swimming beach, camp sites and hiking trails.


"A lot of parents say, 'I don't know much about nature,'" Grover says. "We hope this programming helps parents feel more comfortable out in nature. That it makes families want to go outdoors. To get outside and go exploring."

No fee for Nature Time at the Beach programs. State park vehicle permits ($5/daily or $25/annual) required.


1.2 to go

Run, run as fast as you can to register for Saturday's Med-City Kids' Marathon. Kids in grades kindergarten through eighth are invited to participate. Online registration ended earlier this week, so kids still looking to register must sign up in person at the Running Room on Friday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. There is no fee to register and no registration on race day.

Prior to race day kids must log 25 miles. On race day, participants will run the final 1.2 miles, completing a marathon distance of 26.2 miles. Everyone receives a celebratory medal. Registration information and marathon information available online at . Email questions to .

Just you and me

Have fun with your little one during PAIIR's Baby & Me class. Parents and children (ages birth to 12 months) will enjoy some together time while parents learn more about the importance of promoting healthy development during their child's first few years.


Class is held Wednesdays, June 6 through 27, 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Northrop Education Center (201 Eighth St., N.W.). Cost for the four-week class is $32, $26 for a second child. Call 328-4020 or visit for more information.

In the middle

There's still time to sign up for the Middle School Prep program. Offered through Community Education, the half-day (8 a.m. to noon), one-week program (June 25 through 29) will be held at each of Rochester's four public middle schools. Students participate in classes including Not so Elective Electives, 6th Grade Survival Skills, and the CLASSics 101 — all designed to make the transition to middle school an easier and more enjoyable one. Middle School Prep also provides a great opportunity for your student to get to know future teachers and classmates. Cost is $75. Register online at .

Fun addition

Now there's even more fun to be found at ABC & Toy Zone. In addition to regularly scheduled storytimes (Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 10:30 a.m.), the store is adding a variety of special events. Geared toward kids of most ages, upcoming events include Beekeeping & Honey Talk with Russ Young of Young Honey (June 26, 11 a.m.), Paws & Claws animal meet and greet (June 2, 10 a.m. to noon), and a speed stacking cups demonstration (June 13, 11 a.m.). Call 286-8440 or visit for details on these and the other upcoming special events.

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