Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Free Things TO DO With Little Ones in Aurora

As a mom of little ones who are growing bigger every day, I am always looking for something fun and local to do -- that costs little or no money, of course! Here is my quick list of fun things to do with kids in the Aurora area. In no particular order...

1. SciTech. It's a fun and educational place for the kids. You can also make a day of it and do lunch in downtown Aurora. SciTech's Super Saturdays are free with adult admission on the last Saturday of the month.

2. Swimming Stones. Across from SciTech on Benton Street are fabulous swimming stones that are kinetic and wet. Wonderful fun for free.

3. Saturdays in downtown Aurora. They've never been more fun. There's the Farmers Market every Saturday morning with kids crafts and more; there's Louche Puce Market on the Second Saturdays on Water Street Mall; and the last Saturday of August is Alley Art Festival - fun for the whole family.

4. Aurora Public Library. Check out the website and find lots of kids activities including storytime, Lego Club, crafts, and more! If you're looking to meet other parents, the library is the BEST place. I've met great friends there.

5. River's Edge Cafe. They will save your life with their awesome kid-friendly play corner. Grab a latte and rest for a few minutes. They also host storytime once a month. Visit their website for dates.

6. Blackberry Farm. I'm so glad that this place just keeps getting better. It's something that could easily be a thing of the past, but instead the Fox Valley Park District is making it better with more attractions including paddle boats and a great outdoor play area.

7. Biking trails. The Gilman Trail and the Fox River Trail are your friends. Hop on the bike with a picnic packed and you'll have serenity now!

8. Splash pads. During the summer, visit McCarty Park on Aurora's Near East Side, Phillips Park, and the Stuart Sports Complex for wet and free fun.

9. Phillips Park Zoo. Take full advantage of Aurora's free and wonderful zoo. If you go now, you'll see peachicks (the babies of peacocks and peahens) and a bunch of cool raptors and stuff. I love it!

10. Community parks. There's Rocket Ship park on Illinois Avenue and Cool Acres Park and Lincoln Park. One of our favorite's is New Haven Park off of Elmwood & Illinois. We have a ton of parks. Enjoy them!

11. Culture Stock is probably the best place to hang on a rainy day. A kid-friendly book corner will entertain them, and a couch and cup of coffee are calling your name!

Etc. Red Oak Nature Center

Friday, August 17, 2012

15 Free Things To Do Before Summer Is Over

School might have started for some, but there are still warm, sunny days ahead. Use the nice weekends in the next couple of months to get more summer in before the first leaves fall. Aurora and its neighbors have plenty of fun in store.

1. A day at the farm. Visit Dickson-Murst farm on Sunday, Aug. 19 for bluegrass, kids activities and more.
2. Gallery time. Stop by the book release party at the David L. Pierce Art and History Center on Friday, Aug. 24.
3. New season time. Celebrate the start of Paramount Theatre's new season on Friday, Aug. 24.
4. Art, music, spectacle. Spend the day at Alley (ART) Festival in downtown Aurora on Sat., Aug. 25.
5. See PINK fire engines. Walk down Broadway to the Aurora Regional Fire Museum on Sat. Aug. 25.
6. One last summer date night. Walk the riverwalk in downtown after dinner at Chef Amaury at 33 West.
7. Splash in the fountains on Galena across from the Paramount.
8. Check out 5 CDs from the Aurora Public Library that remind you of summertime.
9. Zoo trip. Phillips Park Zoo is open 365 days a year.
10. Take the bikes to a park in the next neighborhood over.
11. Stop in at the Yetee Cave for a peek at how a local t-shirt business is run.
12. Bike the Gilman Trail across the shaky wood bridge to Blackberry Farm and beyond.
13. Shop Louche Puce Market -- Aurora's only outdoor flea market on Sat. Sept. 8.
14. Ride the merry-go-round at McCleary School at Elmwood and Illinois
15. Picnic and play at Millennium Plaza on Stolp Avenue. Bring the food (Subway or Jimmy John's perhaps) and have your children or friends perform a play in the gazebo.