Summer Family Fun Found

Article excerpt

Before you know it, summer will be here and gone, but in the meantime, kids will be shouting out that familiar refrain -- "We're bored!"

After you've been to Kennywood, Sandcastle, the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium and made more picnic rounds than you can count, what's next?

We dug up fun activities that are close to home or no more than a day trip away that will keep the children interested until it's time to head back to school.

A longtime popular event is BMX bike racing at South Park, where hundreds of participants practice on a track on Mondays and race on Wednesdays in a registered league that is part of a national network. Those interested can join at any time, and the practices and races draw dozens of spectators.

"We ride bikes in the summer all the time. This is our first time at the South Park BMX. We really like it and will definitely come again," said Jason Simpson of Kittanning, who was at the track with his son, Acra, 6.

After you've left there, cool off in one of Allegheny County's two spray parks, at the one in Round Hill Park in Elizabeth or in Deer Lakes Park in West Deer. Both opened June 5 and are "wildly popular," said county spokesman Kevin Evanto.

If bike racing or water isn't your thing, perhaps you'd like to relax with a movie. Classic movies will be shown all summer long at the nine county parks.

If the children are glued to the television and electronic games, take a step back in time and enjoy old-fashioned games, activities, scavenger hunts, fishing and churning ice cream at the Monroeville Historical Society Children's Old Fashioned Fun Day from 1 to 4 p.m. June 26 at the McGinley and McCully historical log houses.

The event will include prizes and historical re-enactors and demonstrations, said Marilyn Wempa, one of the organizers.

The same day, another old-fashioned event will be offered in Hampton for the municipality's 150th anniversary. The Country Ice Cream Social will be from 1 to 4 p.m. in the Depreciation Lands Museum. Visitors can see residents of Talley Cavey, the first village in Hampton. The "school marm" will be holding classes, and the blacksmith shop will be open for business.

Demonstrations and hands-on activities will be held for all ages, organizers said.

If you've seen your fill of the animals at the Pittsburgh Zoo, head to the Big Butler Fair, off Route 422 in Prospect from July 1- 9. The annual event promises rides, plenty of animals, games and crowd-pleasing carnival food.

The weekend of July 22 and 23 is Summer in Ligonier, with arts and crafts, entertainment, food, sidewalk sales, children's activities and buggy rides on Saturday, said Carrie Blough, director of the Ligonier Chamber of Commerce. …