Get me outta here! Where to go and what to do with kids<BR>

My family seems to think that I am the head of their Entertainment Committee. Any time my kids are stuck without a suitable social agenda, they slouch into my office, slump in the chair, and sigh deeply. "Mom," they moan, "What are we going to do today?"

Well, I may not know everything about what's happening for kids in Charlottesville at any particular time, but I do know where to find information about it fast. There are two resources to which I invariably run (aside from the Culture section of the Hook and, of course). is the area's on-line source for family events, activities, classes, and entertainment happening around town. In addition to family services listings, discussion boards, and even classified ads, the most valuable section to me is the Kids Events and Activities page.

These directories are full of fun stuff to do, with cross-referenced and linked listings for entertainment, recreation, athletics, arts, and academics, summer programs, teen scene, this week, next week, and a special interest section highlighting seasonal favorites like festivals and holiday events. Look for their free quarterly print magazines, too, available in libraries, shops, and kid-friendly entertainment venues all over town.

I also don't know what I'd do without The Family Field Guide to Charlottesville and Beyond: Great Outings with Children. This book, compiled by families at the Free Union Country School, not only lists but describes a gazillion places and things to do in and around town.

Parents– with their children in tow– visited every one of the venues identified, and returned with candid comments about their experiences, services available, hours of operation, fees, and, most importantly, the "schlep factor": How hard is it really to have a good time here?

The book is about $15 available at local bookstores and children's retailers around town or on the web at

Charlottesville is an easy place to raise children, with dozens of outing options to suit families with kids of all ages. And with resources like these, any parent can be an enlightened entertainment guru.