by Kim Jaworski, Homeschool Resource Specialist
There are months of summer fun ahead. This article will be more about making the most of your summer and less about homeschooling. Though, surely, there is something to be learned from every adventure!
Look for Train ride options in your area or in an area you plan to visit. Sometimes these are historic railways or even nature observation outings. Some railways offer “pizza train rides” that include dinner aboard and are very family friendly.
When the July and August temps spike, head for a cave tour. Cave temps are always in the 50s. You will want to take a sweatshirt or jacket! Check your Natural Resources, Parks or Tourism site for the caves near you or near an area you might be visiting this summer.
Brick yards, old quarries and other sites offer fossil hunting classes and opportunities. Check your area for fun in the rocks!
If you haven’t zoomed down an alpine slide, you should schedule a trip! Wild Mountain (www.wildmountain.com) in Taylors Falls has one and so does Lutsen ( www.lutsenresort.com ). And there’s a new Alpine Coaster (more like an individualized roller coaster) at Spirit Mountain near Duluth (www.spiritmt.com ). Other states have these zooming fun rides, too!
Horses and Trail Rides—
Check for a list of places for trail rides or riding lessons. Be sure to check on what is required for riding. Typically you need to be in long pants and shoes with a heel (and closed toes). A good idea to take bug spray, too.
I love go carts in the summer. The indoor tracks just don’t have that same ‘wind in your face’ feel to them. Raceway to Fun in Newport www.racewayproductions.com is my favorite track of all time (they also have a driving range, mini-golf and arcade. But here’s a listing of go cart tracks around the state of MN:
Wild Mountain at Taylors Falls www.wildmountain.com , Big Kahuna Fun Park at Spicer www.spicerfun.com , Casey’s Amusement Park at Alexandria www.caseysamusementpark.com , Skyline Raceway at Rochester www.skylineracewayrochester.com , Summerland Family Fun Park at St Cloud www.summerlandfunpark.com , Stockholm Motorsports Park at Cokato www.stockholmkartingcenter.com , St Croix Mini-golf and Go Carts (no site listed), Raceway to Fun at Newport www.racewayproductions.com . In other states, check your tourism sites for go cart options.
A summer staple in Mn is mini-golf or putt putt golf. There are really too many courses to list, but I will give a plug for a couple of the most intriguing courses I’ve ever played on, and that’s the one at Lark Toys in Wabasha. They have a waterfall and water hazards like no other. Take your time and appreciate the planning that went into their course! Their complex also includes a toy museum, toy store, children’s book store, ice cream shop and hand carved carousel. A great birthday destination! www.larktoys.com
We also really enjoyed the course at Niagara Cave. Much more creative and beautiful course than most. www.niagaracave.com/index.html
Do you like a huge hide and seek game? join the geo caching scene! Here are some sites to get you started.
We have amazing state parks in Minnesota. From hiking trails, to waterfalls, to interpretive centers, we have it all. Go for the day or stay and play (camper cabins are awesome and can be reserved online) at a state park campground. Each park has something unique to discover. Have the kids do the Junior Naturalist activities to earn badges and certificates – ask at the park office for an activity book. You’ll even find classes and guided tour options.
Getting out on your bikes is an easy way to explore and get some fresh air this summer. You never know where a bike trail might lead or what wildlife you’ll see along the way.
www.pedalmn.com for Minnesota trails.
Check your area for kayak rentals, pedal boats, and other water fun. See what’s scheduled at your area parks or libraries. We’ve found summer music, puppet shows and craft programs. It’s also a great time for local festivals and fairs. The explore MN site lists many of them! And if you’re not afraid of heights, you can check out the rock climbing and tree climbing activities in parks and at events.