Kids’ Almanac (May 28-June 4)

(Photo by Dion Ogust)

(Photo by Dion Ogust)

“You will face your greatest opposition when you are closest to your biggest miracle.”
– Shannon Alder



Check out bulbs abloom at Orange County Arboretum

When you are looking for a beautiful, vibrant, colorful outing that’s a manageable size for the youngest and oldest family members, you should consider a visit to the Orange County Arboretum. The pathways are flat, wide and easy to navigate, the gardens are well-groomed and benches abound. One fantastic element is the majestic granite orb, memorializing Orange County residents who perished in the 9/11 tragedy.

This week, bring your camera and make a visit to the Arboretum to see the amazing array of 34,000 blooming bulbs, and when you’re ready for a change of pace, visit the playground on the other side of the park. Check out the Arboretum website to register for terrific upcoming children’s events too, such as “Honeybees for Kids” on June 6, “Intro to Geocaching” on June 20 and “Fairy House[s?] for Kids” on June 27.

The Orange County Arboretum is located in Thomas Bull Memorial Park, on Grove Street in Hamptonburgh. For more information, call (845) 615-3830 or visit



Family Campout at Hudson Highlands Nature Museum in Cornwall

I recommend family camping, because when we sleep outdoors, I believe that important connections with nature are made deep inside of us, while strengthening bonds between parent and child. For those who are not used to camping, events like this weekend’s Family Campout at the Outdoor Discovery Center at the Hudson Highlands Nature Museum are a terrific gateway to try it because of the structure and support that they offer. On Friday, May 29 at 6 p.m., join the Family Campout for fun and s’mores around the campfire and a light breakfast snack the next morning. Bring your family, tent and sleeping bags, and enjoy the adventure together!

The cost is $20 per person, $12 for children under age 5. Prepaid registration is required. The Outdoor Discovery Center is located on Muser Drive, across from 174 Angola Road. For more information or to register, call (845) 534-5506 or visit



Ratboy, Jr. plays Rock & Rye Tavern in New Paltz

If you have children, grandchildren or any young friends between 1 and 8 years old, you should definitely pick up a few copies of Ratboy, Jr.’s new album, Hamster Pants: one for your family and a pile to keep on hand to give as gifts. Clever lyrics mixed with great music mean that your kids will enjoy it, and so will you!

This third release by Ratboy, Jr. reminds me of the conversations that I have with my kids when we share what we see, as we gaze up at the clouds in the sky: lighthearted, random, tender, sweet and funny. The title track is a terrific example of this whimsy: “grab your hamster pants…for the big hamster dance…in the middle of Hamsterdam…” and these amusing lyrics are paired with a terrific groove that has you tapping right along to the beat. It’s this magical chemistry that makes me put the wonderful and nonsensical song, “Sponges,” on repeat while I’m driving: “Even Billy Ocean gets his sponges from the ocean,” or marvel at the number of rhymes needed for “Marian the Barbarian Librarian” (despite pressure for her to become a veterinarian). “Sleep Like One” is an excellent tune that combines a happy, end-of-beach-day exhaustion with natural hard limits to parental knowledge, “You’re gonna sleep like a jellyfish tonight…I don’t know how a jellyfish sleeps at night, but you’re gonna sleep like one tonight.”

The Hamster Pants album’s musicians are the real deal who deliver great fun with irresistible funk: Ratboy, Jr.’s Timmy Sutton and Matty Senzatimore worked with Grammy Award-winning Dean Jones in his recording studio and are joined by Tim’s wife Cat and son Elliott on vocals; Marianne Tasick on vocals; Geoff Gersh on guitar; Jay Brunka on bass; Marco Benevento on piano, keys and synths; Almanac Weekly’s John Burdick on electric guitar; Jason Sarubbi on bass; and Shane Kirsch on saxophone. If you like Dog on Fleas, They Might Be Giants or Gustafer Yellowgold, you’ll dig this album.

Hamster Pants is available for $9.99 as a download or $12 as a CD at Or bring the kids and pick some up in person at the Rock and Rye Tavern this Saturday, May 30 at 12 noon for a live performance by Ratboy, Jr. along with Dean Jones, Geoff Gersh, Jason Brunka and more. Admission costs $5 per person, and this event runs rain or shine.

Rock and Rye Tavern is located at 215 Huguenot Street in New Paltz. For more information, visit and


FamJam at Hasbrouck Park in New Paltz

Listen to some great music this weekend, all while supporting a local charity! On Saturday, May 30 from 1 to 5 p.m., gather up your lawn chairs and blankets and head over to FamJam at Hasbrouck Park in New Paltz. Musical entertainment includes Sean Schenker and members of the Trapps, New Paltz Rock’s Ashes of the Phoenix, Me & My Ex, Cave Talk and Ilk. Cotton candy will be available, as well as face-painting, balloon animals and more.

The suggested donation is $5, and nonperishable foods and clothing donations will be accepted as well. All proceeds benefit Family of New Paltz. Hasbrouck Park is located on Mohonk Avenue in New Paltz. For more information, look for FAM JAM on Facebook or visit


Family Pride Day at Hudson Valley LGBTQ Community Center

Family Pride Day on Saturday, May 30 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Hudson Valley LGBTQ Community Center provides an opportunity to learn how to become a foster parent of an LGBTQ child or to get support if you already are a parent. Children’s activities will be available as well. The workshop “Finding Children Homes in the LGBTQ Community” takes place at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. and explores requirements, myths and facts about becoming a foster or adoptive parent, as well as providing respite for those unable to foster or adopt.

The Hudson Valley LGBTQ Community Center is located at 300 Wall Street in Kingston. For more information, call (845) 331-5300 or visit


Spring Faire at Rhinebeck’s Primrose Hill School

For a simple, lovely seasonal festival for children, visit the second annual Spring Faire at the Primrose Hill School this Saturday, May 30 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Highlights include hayrides, farm animals, puppet shows, music and dancing with the Vanaver Caravan and more. Admission is free to this event.

The Primrose Hill School is located at 23 Spring Brook Park in Rhinebeck. For more information, call (845) 876-1226, e-mail info@primrosehillschool or visit or




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