In a family way

Is the end of May really too late to start thinking about vacation plans for the summer? I mean, with all the end-of-the-school-year activities happening this month, who has time to think about next month?
Fortunately, the folks at Barnes & Noble have been thinking about warm weather wandering. On May 31, they’re hosting a summer fun celebration just for families called “Kids Love the Virginias” that features a whole day’s worth of activities designed to stir our interest in roaming around our home state.
And who best to start getting us stirred up about Virginia than the state’s unofficial down home storyteller, Kathy Coleman? Coleman tells tales and sings songs of the Appalachian culture of her childhood, bringing it to life with objects like her daddy’s old cane and the quilt her mamaw made from the scraps of an old skirt. She’ll be weaving her magic in the children’s department for kids five and under from 10-10:30am, and for those in grades K-3 from 10:30-11am.
From 4:30-6:30pm, two of our favorite museums team up to show young adventurers what they can find when they venture out into the Virginia countryside. The Virginia Discovery Museum takes kids up, up, and away as they make their own hot air balloon and sail off to a destination of their choice. Those who “send” a postcard back home can enter it in a drawing to win a hot air balloon piñata.
Kids can make tracks with the folks from Virginia Museum of Natural History who will help intrepid explorers learn something about Virginia’s wildlife. Kids can meet some local animals with the museum’s taxidermied specimens and real animal pelts they can pet. Kids can also make a rubbing of animal footprints with models of their tracks.
The day rounds out with an evening presentation at 7pm by George and Michele Zavatsky, authors of Kids Love the Virginias: A Parent’s Guide to Exploring Fun Places in Virginia and West Virginia with Children Year Round. The authors will be hosting a colorful interactive display and giving away bookmarks. Their informative guidebook discusses over 900 places and events specifically designed for families with children between the ages of 2 and 15.
A variety of other Virginia travel guides for families will also be featured, including The Family Field Guide to Charlottesville and Beyond by local author Susan T. Haas and her friends at Free Union Country School.
So finding a summer full of fun things to do won’t be so hard after all.

Kids Love the Virginias Day takes place at Barnes & Noble May 31. Barracks Road Shopping Center. 984-0461