Next to Nothing
Practically Free Summer Activities
Written by Jessica Pilkins
Kids Bowl Free
Area children have the opportunity to enjoy a free summer activity. The Kids Bowl Free program provides a safe, secure and fun way for kids to spend their time this summer. Select bowling centers from around the country are participating by giving back to their communities through this program. Kids Bowl Free offers kids 15 years old and under the ability to bowl two games per day for free. Treasure Lanes and Bowland in Port Charlotte are both participating this year. Free bowling will be available during select hours throughout the week and the only cost is for shoe rentals. For some extra family time or for children too young to go to the bowling alley alone, a family pass is available for adults to also participate. The Family Pass costs just $24.95 and allows parents and adult family members the opportunity to enjoy unlimited summer bowling with their children. The pass covers up to four adults for the one-time cost. Times, dates and contact information for local participating bowling alleys are listed. For more information about the Kids Bowl Free program or to register, visit www.kidsbowlfree.com.
1059 Tamiami Trail
April 16 – August 19
Times: Open – 5:00PM (Monday, Wednesday & Friday)
Open – 7:00 PM (Tuesday & Thursday)
4:00 PM – 7:00 PM (Saturday & Sunday)
Bowland Port Charlotte
3192 NE Harbor Boulevard
May 15 – August 31
Times: 9:00 AM – Midnight (Sunday – Thursday)
9:00 AM – 6:00 PM (Friday & Saturday)
Summer Movie Express 2012
Think going to the movies is too expensive? This summer, the return of the Summer Movie Express will offer children and their families an opportunity to enjoy family-friendly films at almost no cost. During this 9-week festival, participating Regal Cinemas, United Artists and Edwards Theatres will offer selected G or PG-rated movies for only a dollar on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings at 10:00 AM. A portion of proceeds from the Summer Movie Express will be donated to the Will Rogers Institute for medical research and health education. For more information, call one of the participating theatres listed.
Local Participating Theatres:
Town Center Stadium 16
1441 Tamiami Trail, Port Charlotte
Starting June 5
Hollywood Stadium 20
1993 Main Street, Sarasota
Starting June 12
Summer running series:
The Zoomers Southwest Florida Running and Triathlon Club, along with the City of North Port Recreation Department and the North Port YMCA, will be sponsoring a summer racing series for children. The series will offer children an outdoor activity while getting some exercise and promoting good health. The Summer Running Series was started last year and was a great success, with 30 of the runners going on to participate in the Firecracker 5K. Participating children can meet every Wednesday during this five-week series that will feature 1-mile fun runs that will be located within Dallas White Park and led by YMCA and Zoomers members. Runs will take place on May 30, June 6, 13, 20 and 27 at 7:00 PM. Special activities will follow the weekly runs, including a swim party at the YMCA on June 27. Refreshments will be provided for runners each week and children will receive a special completion ribbon after each run. The registration fee is just $5 per runner for the series. A parent or guardian must stay with their child for events. Spectators can volunteer along the route or cheer on the runners. Participating runners will be encouraged to continue their skills and run in the Firecracker 5K on June 30. Dallas White Park is located at 5900 Greenwood Avenue. For more information or to register your child, visit www.zoomersrun.com.
Geocaching – A Modern Day Scavenger Hunt
Adults are constantly bemoaning technology and the youth’s attachment to it. During the summer when children should be outdoors enjoying their free time, many spend it indoors in front of a television, computer screen or other application. One activity allows kids and their families the opportunity to engage in a fun outdoor activity while taking advantage of modern technology.
Geocaching is a treasure hunting game that uses GPS devices to help participants navigate clues and coordinates to find hidden items and locations. This is not a brand new concept though. Similar to a scavenger hunt, geocaching has been around since 2000 when more satellites were placed around the earth, allowing GPS signals to be more accurate and detailed. People began testing the strength of these signals and hiding caches of items and posting their locations online. From here, the activity increased in popularity with multitudes of people interested in participating in finding these hidden treasures. Geocaching challenges and events take place all over the world, with all different types of participants. Challenges are typically listed online and anyone can participate. Some caches are difficult to find, others are left fairly out in the open. The main goal of the challenge is to find something and then to do something, by taking a picture at a certain location, completing an activity or by signing the cache’s logbook. Some challenges require trading out items within a cache or to find a series of coordinates and clues that lead to the cache. There are a number of different types of challenges, from the traditional to the puzzle or mystery caches. The only tools needed to play are a GPS device or GPS-enabled mobile phone to navigate. Geocaching is a great new way to get out and do something. To learn more about this activity, rules and locations of local geocache challenges, visit www.geocaching.com.