If you and your children didn’t head out of town for the break, the homestretch of Spring Break can be a little daunting. Are your kids bugging you yet? Are they saying there’s nothing to do? This conversation came up during a planning meeting the other day and we thought, wouldn’t a go-to list be great?! So we asked a few of our “local experts” (aka, parents just like you) what they like to do to get outdoors with the kids and have fun on the cheap. Here are ten ways to add zest to the final days of Spring Break (or add these activities to your “must do” weekend list).
Do you have another, or better, idea? We’d love to know about it. Add it in the comments below.
1- Local parks.
- Visit Harrisonburg’s newest park at the corner of Liberty and Wolfe St: Liberty Park. Bonus: see if anything edible is growing and (before looking at the labels) try to identify what’s there.
- Visit EMU’s Peace Park to check in on the Koi.
- *Crowd Pleaser* Just about everyone we asked recommended biking the easy Rocktown Trails at Hillandale Park. There’s even an exercise course for all skill levels.
- Kids’ castle playground at Purcell Park.
- “Any park is always a hit like Ralph Sampson, Westover, Hillendale including the trails and pump track, Purcell, Dream Come True, and Riven Rock out Rt. 33 W.” – Julie Jenkins, Harrisonburg
2- Animal Farm.
- “Take a trip to the livestock auction where your kids can see the animals and experience part of the Valley’s agricultural heritage. While this may not appeal to everyone, my kids really love it.” -Christine Stephan, Harrisonburg
- Go for a horse trail ride in Keezletown. Try Keezlenutten Farm.
- Give your child a few dollars to purchase her/his favorite tasting (or funniest looking!) fruit or vegetable at the Harrisonburg Farmers’ Market. Find a recipe together and incorporate it into lunch or dinner.
3- Tour the alleys.
- “Harrisonburg’s Old Town and Waterman neighborhoods have lots of alleys to poke around in both by bike or by foot.” -Ben Sandel, Harrisonburg
4- Hiking for everyone.
- For little legs or little time, check out these short hikes in the National Forest: www.vawilderness.org/hikes
- For a beautiful nearby spot, head out to Fridley’s Gap and throw rocks in the pools.
- Drive Skyline and stop for a short hike.
5- Explore JMU’s Arboretum.
- Take a quarter to buy food for the ducks.
- Have a picnic.
- Look for wildflowers.
- “We spent a few hours there today – turtles and catfish galore!” -Carol Lena Miller, Harrisonburg
6- Let the kids play in the creek.
- Even the creek running through Westover Park has wildlife. “We’ve already spotted crayfish and minnows and frogs.” -Carol Lena Miller, Harrisonburg
7- Catch a game.
- “My son, Ethan, loves JMU sports, so softball, baseball, or lacrosse games are always fun.” -Julie Jenkins, Harrisonburg (schedule)
8- Sensory experiences.
- Visit the creatures at White Oak Lavender Farm.
9- Rainy day go-to activities.
- Check out a Local Fry Viewing. The friendly folks at Route 11 Potato Chips (Mt. Jackson) are happy to talk to you about the potatoes, the process, and the daily realities of chipland for free! Call first to make sure they’re frying (540-477-9664; Mon-Sat 9am-5pm).
- Bring the theater to you. Make popcorn, get cozy, and enjoy a matinee at home. Massanutten Regional Library has lots of good kid-friendly DVDs. “Old movies are great. Our kids like Beatles and Marx Bros movies and other old comedies are fun too.” -Ben Sandel, Harrisonburg
- Saturday matinée at JMU’s Planetarium. Schedule of events here.
- Westover pool is open under the dome.
- Funky’s Skate Center (roller rink) is a hit for all ages.
10- Check out the Kids Community Guide.
- Compiled by the parents of Woodland Montessori School, this is a wonderful resource for tons of activities your kids will enjoy.
Share your own experience or add to this list by leaving a comment below or posting on the Greenway’s Facebook page.
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