Kids’ Almanac: Fly in a balloon, ogle an owl, hear big drums in a cave or learn to fish

(Photo by Dion Ogust)

(Photo by Dion Ogust)

“Summer afternoon – summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”
– Henry James


Bio-Blast at Kingston Point

If you feel like nature walks would be a lot more interesting if you actually knew what you were looking at, then you’ll want to attend Mark DeDea’s free Bio-Blast event at Kingston Point on Sunday, July 12. A Bio-Blast is a chance to identify and observe the animals and plants encountered in a given area. With Mark at the helm, and a team of volunteers sharing binoculars, guidebooks and experience, this is a terrific and engaging event for the entire family to become better acquainted with our environment. At last year’s Bio-Blast, I was absolutely fascinated to learn how different bird species peacefully share the same resources on the same tree. It makes me feel like it’s possible that humans could eventually live this way.

Bio-Blast takes place from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Kingston Point on Delaware Avenue in Kingston. Please register with Mark and let him know that you’re coming, at (845) 339-1277. For more information about this and other free field trips organized by the John Burroughs Natural History Society, visit


Young people get discounted outdoor theater tickets

Love live theater? How about saving money? Here are two local discounts you should know about!

  • Theater buffs under 30 years old can get $20 tickets for Mainstage and Workshop performances at the Powerhouse Theater at Vassar College, using the code “20under30.” Tickets usually cost $30 to $40! Limit of two tickets per production, per order. Vassar College is located at 124 Raymond Avenue in Poughkeepsie. For more information, call (845) 437-7000 or visit
  • Teens between 16 to 19 years of age can register for the free Teen Revelers club at the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival at Boscobel. Teen Revelers receive perqs, such as $10 theater tickets and store discounts. Boscobel is located at 1601 Route 9D in Garrison. For more information, call (845) 265-9575 or visit


Fun writing workshop for teens in New Paltz

Does your teen claim that she hates writing, but suddenly types plenty when it involves a #hashtag? Or does your teen love to craft his own stories…as long as they’re not for school? Here’s a writing workshop that I think will hold wide appeal for teens because it’s about helping them tell their own story. Finding Your Story: How to Turn Your Idea into a Concept” is a free workshop at the Elting Memorial Library on Monday, August 24 from 7 to 9 p.m. Led by Young Adult author K. C. Tansley (a/k/a Kourtney Heintz for her adult fiction), participants will identify their own story that they wish to write about and take it from an initial idea to an actual concept with characters, stakes and conflict. By the end of the workshop, participants will have a one-sentence summary of their concept: the hook for their story!

Interested youth are encouraged to sign up now; registrants can enter to win a copy of Tansley’s The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts in an August 8 book raffle, and also have a chance to win a gift certificate to Inquiring Minds during the workshop itself. For more information or to register for “Finding Your Story,” call the Elting Memorial Library at (845) 255-5030 or visit it at 93 Main Street in New Paltz; or call the Inquiring Minds Bookstore at (845) 255-8300 or visit 6 Church Street in New Paltz. To learn more about the author and instructor, visit



Live raptors at Tivoli Library

If your kid’s knowledge about birds of prey is limited to Bloodwing from the Borderlands video game, or Hedwig from the Harry Potter series, then you will want to attend this Friday’s live presentation, “Talons: A Birds of Prey Experience”! On Friday, July 10 from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Tivoli Free Library, families will get an up-close-and-personal look at raptors such as owls and hawks. This program is free and open to the public of all ages.

The Tivoli Library is located at 86 Broadway in Tivoli. For more information, call (845) 757-3771 or visit


Dutchess County Balloon Festival

Does your bucket list include a hot-air balloon ride? Because you can make that happen this weekend at the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce’s annual Balloon Festival! From Friday through Sunday, July 10 to 12, the community can watch 100 colorful balloon launches, participate in children’s activities and even take a tethered balloon ride! Launches take place on Friday and Saturday evenings at 6 p.m. along the shoreline near Shadows, off Route 9 in Poughkeepsie, and a smaller launch at Migliorelli Farm at 46 Freeborn Lane in Tivoli; and Saturday and Sunday mornings at 6 a.m. at the Dutchess County Airport at 263 New Hackensack Road in Wappingers Falls.

Children’s activities will be available at the evening launch sites. Moon glows, which are grounded, illuminated balloons, will be visible on Saturday evening at 8:30 p.m. by the Hudson riverside. For more information, including bios of the balloonists – which were interesting to read, especially how many of them got their start with a balloon ride! – call (845) 454-1700, extension 1006, or visit



Stone House Day in Hurley

Don’t you wish you could see the inside of the beautiful stone houses as you drive through Hurley? Well, once a year you can! Stone House Day takes place on the second Saturday of July, and that’s when a handful of them open their doors to the public for tours. On Saturday, July 11 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., come view some of the oldest stone houses in the US, which are still private residences! Additional activities include a blacksmithing demonstration, period music, a 1777 Ulster Militia encampment, Seneca and Mohawk reenactors and a skit performed by Sojourner Truth, presented by Debra Zuill.

Tour tickets cost $20 for adults and $15 for seniors and students, including a $2 coupon for the cafeteria; $2 for children 6 through 12; and admission is free for children age 5 and under. Stone House Day takes off from 17 Main Street in Hurley. For more information, call (845) 331-4121 or visit or


Birds, tracks & berries at Minnewaska

What can you do if you’d like to pursue something outdoorsy with your crew but don’t have the knowledge or experience, or you’re still familiarizing yourself with our area? You will want to check out the programs offered at Minnewaska State Park Preserve! On Saturday, July 11 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon, bring your binoculars to look for birds with Nick Martin, while learning birdsongs and calls. Later that day, from 1:30 to 2 p.m., as well as twice on Sunday, intern Jessica Leek points out interesting features near the nature center.

On Sunday, July 12 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., children from 7 to 10 years of age, along with siblings assisted by parent support, can mold their own plaster animal track, and go exploring for more signs of animals outside while it dries. Also on Sunday, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., older children with hiking endurance will enjoy the walk to Echo Rock while learning about invasive insects. On Monday, July 13 from 10:30 a.m. to 12 noon, bring your little ones to “Preschoolers in the Park” for some blueberry-picking.

All of these programs are free and open to the public. Children must always accompanied by a parent, and preregistration is required. There is a $10 entry fee per car at the entrance gate (or use your Empire Passport); and unless otherwise indicated, programs meet up at the nature center.

Minnewaska State Park Preserve is located at 5281 Route 44/55 in Kerhonkson. For more information or to register, call (845) 255-0752 or visit


Community Day at Dia:Beacon

Parents, you are going to appreciate Dia:Beacon Community Day because it’s free, and you can invite visiting family and friends to come along, impressing them with your excellent taste in cultural excursions. Kids are going to appreciate the openness of the space and the up-close-and-personal style of the exhibits (also the delicious desserts at the café!). Programming includes an interactive tour for all ages at 11:30 a.m.; an ongoing body movement lab from 12 noon to 4 p.m.; tours of Robert Irwin’s work between 12 noon and 4 p.m.; a public tour of the collection on view at Dia:Beacon at 1 p.m.; and a gallery talk on Fred Sandback at 2 p.m.

Community Day offers free admission to residents of Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester Counties and requires identification for entry. Dia:Beacon is located at 3 Beekman Street in Beacon. For more information, or to reserve a family tour for Robert Irwin’s work, call (845) 440-0100 or visit


Fossils & gems at Red Hook Library

With so much buzz about the movie Jurassic World, wouldn’t it be great to tie in some real science? Well, you can, with London geologist and paleontologist Kirsty Morgan, this Saturday, July 11 at 1 p.m. at the Red Hook Library. Morgan will share rocks, gems, fossils and live and preserved insects. This program is free and open to the public.

The Red Hook Library is located at 7444 South Broadway in Red Hook. For more information, call (845) 758-3241 or visit



Taiko drumming in a cave in Rosendale

If your kids are reluctant to attend live concerts because they think they’re stuffy or boring, then this Taiko Masala concert is really going to surprise them! Not only is the music of this Japanese drumming ensemble intense and mesmerizing, but the concert will be performed at the Widow Jane Mine, a large cave with fascinating acoustics: perfect for a show like this one.

Taiko Masala takes place on Sunday, July 12 at 3 p.m. Admission costs $20, and remember to bring your own chair and a light jacket, since the cave tends to run cool. The Widow Jane Mine is on the property of the Snyder Estate, located at 668 Route 213 in Rosendale. For more information, call (845) 658-9900 or visit To learn more about the musicians, visit


Multiculti break-dance movie at Rosendale Theatre

Do you want to help your kids to appreciate the privilege of the lives that they lead here in the United States? To show them that not everyone in the world gets the same choices that they do? And to see some amazing breakdance moves and hear terrific music at the same time? Then you need to make a plan to see Shake the Dust hip-hop documentary together. This film features youth from Colombia, Cambodia, Uganda and Yemen, all of whom breakdance, which helps to motivate and inspire them to rise above their impoverished, at-risk conditions while feeling part of a larger community. “I may not have what you have, but I can do what you can do,” says one young man in the film.

Shake the Dust takes place at the Rosendale Theatre on Sunday, July 12 at 3 p.m. Tickets cost $10, and $6 for children age 12 and under. The Rosendale Theatre is located at 408 Main Street in Rosendale. For more information, call (845) 658-8989 or visit To learn more about the movie, visit



Oaxacan dance at Poughkeepsie’s Boardman Road Library

I think that giving kids a preview of something new helps them to enjoy and appreciate it more when they attend a production, so when I saw that the Mexican dance troupe Grupo Folklórico is performing, I wanted to spread the word. On Monday, July 13 at 7 p.m. at the Boardman Road Branch Library, Grupo Folklórico will present Mexican dancing, display their colorful costumes, and explain the history of the dances that they perform, as well as some background behind the annual La Guelaguetza in Oaxaca, Mexico. Our own local Guelaguetza festival takes place this August in Poughkeepsie, so the kids who attend Monday’s event will find the music and performances more familiar.

The Boardman Road Branch Library is located at 141 Boardman Road in Poughkeepsie. For more information, call (845) 485-3445 or visit



Learn to fish at Beacon’s Long Dock Park

Are your kids ready to start regaling family and friends with tales about the “one that got away?” Or maybe you’re just looking for a crash course in fishing before shipping the kids to the grandparents’ house for a visit. Then make plans to attend “Learn to Fish,” a free family fishing clinic taking place this Tuesday, July 14 from 5 to 8 p.m. at Scenic Hudson’s Long Dock Park in Beacon. Participants from kindergarten through eighth grade can learn about fish identification, fishing equipment and techniques, fisheries management, aquatic ecology, angling ethics and more. This event takes place rain or shine and all equipment is provided, but supplies and space are limited, so I strongly encourage you to preregister.

Long Dock Park is located at 8 Long Dock Road in Beacon. For reservations or more information, call (845) 473-4440, extension 265, e-mail [email protected] or visit



Kids’ Bluegrass Academy at Grey Fox fest in Oak Hill

Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival is not just a music festival: it has its own Academy for Kids! From Thursday through Sunday, July 16 to 19, this free learning program teaches children ages 8 to 17 to play, sing and perform bluegrass music for banjo, bass, cello, Dobro, fiddle, guitar, mandolin and viola. This year’s featured tunes are “Pig in the Pen” (D), “Christmas Time’s a-Comin’” (A) and “Gold Rush” (A). The experience culminates in a group performance on Sunday afternoon. Children must preregister for the academy and be able to attend classes during all four days.

Grey Fox is held on the Walsh Farm, located at 1 Poultney Road in Oak Hill. For more information about the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival Academy for Kids, the festival itself or to register, call (603) 677-2178 or visit


Erica Chase-Salerno eats cherries and strawberries in New Paltz, where she lives with her husband, Mike, and their two children: the inspirations behind She can be reached at [email protected]. You can hear her Kids’ Almanac spot on Fridays at 8:30 a.m. on WDST, Radio Woodstock 100.1.



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