Kids’ Almanac (July 2-9)


“To make living itself an art, that is the goal.”
– Henry Miller


BioBlast at Kingston Point

At first, a BioBlast sounded to me like some sort of unlocked achievement in my kids’ video games, but Forsyth Nature Center caretaker/John Burroughs Natural History Society president Mark DeDea patiently explained to me that it’s about discovering nature – the biodiversity – in a particular area. I tagged along on a BioBlast last year, and I loved it because critters, plants and land features were pointed out to me that I didn’t even consciously see, like how certain species of birds grouped together, or what happened to the bark on a particular tree along the trail, or what that sound was from that high branch.

As renowned naturalist John Burroughs, “The Sage of Slabsides,” wrote, “… every place is the center of the world.” The BioBlast connects me with my local surroundings. Taking in these new observations resets my eyes and ears to experience the extraordinary in what I used to consider an ordinary, even boring, landscape.

Bring the whole family to next weekend’s family-friendly BioBlast on Sunday, July 12 from 8 to 11 a.m. at Kingston Point, at the eastern terminus of Delaware Avenue in Kingston. Got Scouts in the family? Scouts can earn badge elements during this nature excursion, too! This outing is free and open to the public of all ages, with parents required to stay with their children during the program.

Planning to attend? Participants are asked to register with Mark DeDea at (845) 339-1277. For more information about this and other free field trips organized by the John Burroughs Natural History Society, visit


Learn the circus arts in Gardiner

To Richard Ferrono, owner of Ultimate Gymnastics, it’s all about play: “It’s human nature to play, and I love that I am getting children playing, using their bodies, getting physical and loving it.” His mission: to instill a healthy lifestyle at a young age. But how does he do it, and how does he get adults hooked on play, too? Circus arts! Richard has been doing gymnastics for 42 years and was searching for a new angle on it, which led to his exploration of circus arts. He became so passionate about it that he’s now offering classes at his Gardiner studio.

According to Ferrono, his instructors rival, or even surpass, those who teach in New York City. Locals used to have to travel to Manhattan and beyond to experience flow arts such as fire performance, hula hoop, poi (swinging weights from the hands), devil sticks and staves, but Ultimate now offers these classes as well as acrobatics, including aerial silks, Chinese rope and lyra (a suspended metal circle), and he’s adding more this fall! This summer’s children’s camps, adult classes and special workout series feature circus arts, so all ages can get a taste.

Both circus arts and parkour draw from gymnastics fundamentals and are avenues to fitness that hold wide appeal for children, youth, teens and adults. Ferrono says that parkour and circus arts keep kids and adults interested because they’re having so much fun that they don’t even realize the workout they’re getting. Ferrono is especially well-versed in fire-breathing and fire-eating, from the spiritual aspects dating back to ancient cultural ceremonies and celebrations to the captivated way that audiences respond to the fire itself.

Summer camp with circus arts for children and youth begins on Monday, July 6, and adult circus arts classes take place on Tuesdays at 6:45 p.m. Free trial classes are available as well. Ultimate Gymnastics is located at 28 Osprey Lane in Gardiner. Look for the studio’s name change to Evolve this fall: a reflection of the evolution of the gymnastics practice to one combined with circus arts! For more information, to register or to see a complete schedule or photos of these skills in action, call (845) 255-5600, visit or check out


Youth vegan cooking classes in Staatsburg

With summer’s slower pace and abundant fresh, local Hudson Valley produce, wouldn’t it be great if kids naturally gravitated toward healthy meals? It’s easy! Simply register your crew, ages 9 to 13 years, for the Healthy Vegan Cooking for Kids Summer Workshop! Kids get hands-on experience learning about delicious vegan cooking with Chef Sauserous, a private vegan chef and holistic health guide, all while making a mess in someone else’s kitchen! Parents are welcome to attend, or you can drop off your kids.

Workshops take place on Sunday, July 12 from 5 to 7 p.m. in Staatsburg; Wednesday, July 22 from 5 to 7 p.m. in Stone Ridge; and Monday, July 27 from 5 to 7 p.m. in Staatsburg. Single sessions cost $35 each, or save by attending all three for $95. For more information or to register, e-mail [email protected]. To learn more about the instructor, visit


Tragedy + Time = Comedy with TMI in Kingston

When I saw the TMI Project: Tragedy + Time = Comedy show performed last month, I couldn’t wait to tell you about here in Kids’ Almanac. TMI shows are such terrific conversational fodder between older teens and parents or aunts or uncles or godparents or grandparents or anyone else looking for ways to connect with young adults. I’d recommend this show for ages 17 and up due to the raw and varied content, as well as the style of presentation, since it consists entirely of monologues. Every person’s sharing is personal, unique, interesting, funny and true, written by the speakers themselves.

Get your tickets now for the shows at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, July 10 and 11 at the TMI performance space, located at 5 Sterling Street in Kingston. Tickets cost $15 in advance, $20 at the door, although I recommend advance purchase due to the risk of selling out (like the show that I attended). For tickets or more information, visit or



Shipwrecked! at Shadowland in Ellenville

This is the final weekend of Shadowland Theatre’s Shipwrecked! An Entertainment: The Amazing Adventures of Louis de Rougemont, as Told by Himself. Last week, Almanac Weekly’s theater critic Fran Platt wrote, “It’s hard to conjure a better way to hook kids on the joy of theater than to bring them to see Shipwrecked! where the real and the imagined freely interplay.” This last run of performances takes place Thursday, Friday and Saturday, July 2 through 4 at 8 p.m., and on Sunday, July 5 at 2 p.m. Fran notes, “Following the performance on Thursday, July 2, there will be a ‘Shadowland Illumination’ talkback with the cast, crew and director.”

Ticket prices range from $34 to $39 for adults, and $15 for children aged 15 and under. The Shadowland Theatre is located at 157 Canal Street in Ellenville. For tickets or more information, call (845) 647-5511 or visit



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