If you build it: Family Picks

If you build it: Family Picks

What child doesn’t love an opportunity to use a hammer – with permission?

The Orpheum Children’s Science Museum will host its 18th annual Kids Building Fair from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, a free event with activities for the whole family.

Kids will get a chance to build, paint, learn about green building and more at 16 “cities” related to building trades.

In Carpenter City, they can build to their heart’s content with wood, nails and paint. In Tile City they can make a masterpiece out of tile and grout. (We still have the creation – a trivet? – my son made when he was 3.)

“My City” will test your local architectural knowledge. “Go Green City” explores alternative energy and building materials that conserve resources. And in Brick and Mortar City, you’ll learn why the smartest pig built his house out of bricks.

Events are held both inside the museum, 346 N. Neil St., C, and in the parking lot out front.

Here are some other events you and your family may enjoy this weekend:

Just keep swimming: It’s not quite that warm, but you can get ready for summer pool fun at the Urbana Indoor Aquatic Center, 102 E. Michigan Ave., U. There’s no school Friday for Urbana schools, and that means extended public swim hours, from 1:30 to 9 p.m. (rather than 6 to 9 p.m.).

Admission to the aquatic center is $6 per person, or you can buy a five-visit punchcard for $23.

For information: Call 384-7665 or visit www.urbanaparks.org

Row your boat: Speaking of water, this might be a good weekend to check out Crystal Lake Park in Urbana. The Lake House opened for boating on May 1. You can rent a paddleboat, canoe or rowboat starting at $6 per half-hour.

Payment must be made by cash or checks (with ID); no credit or debit cards accepted. Prices include life jackets for infants through adults. A valid driver’s license or major credit card is required as a deposit on all rentals.

Here are the hours:

May 1-23: Saturday and Sunday, noon to 7 p.m. (open Memorial Day)
May 27-August 15: Thursday through Sunday, noon to -7 p.m.
August 21-September 19: Saturday and Sunday, noon to 7 p.m. (open Labor Day)

For information: Call 328-1069 or visit www.urbanaparks.org

Rocket man: The Central Illinois Aerospace model rocket club will host a model rocket workshop for kids ages 8 to 12 from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday at Leonard Recreation Center, 2112 W. Sangamon Drive, C.

Participants will build and launch a model rocket kit. The cost is $20, which includes supplies.

For information: Call 359-8225 or visit www.CIARocketry.org/build_fly.html

Looking ahead:

The Urbana Park District will host auditions next weekend for the Youth Summer Theatre’s production of “Once Upon a Mattress,” a humorous take on the “Princess and the Pea.” (Apparently, Princess Winnifred actually swam the moat to reach Prince Dauntless the Drab.)

Chorus auditions will be held from 10 a.m. to noon May 22-23, with solo auditions from 1 to 5 p.m. each day. Children who are chosen will rehearse up to several times a week for most of the summer, depending on their roles. This year’s shows are scheduled for July 28-31 at Foellinger Auditorium on campus.

We saw the “Sound of Music” last summer, which was impressive given the ages of the performers.

For information, visit www.urbanaparks.org

Check the Are We There Yet? blog every Thursday afternoon for upcoming family friendly events, pulled from our News-Gazette online calendar, e3 magazine and other sources. I’ll also do a quick radio update of our “Family Picks” at 4:50 p.m. every Thursday on WDWS-AM 1400.

Do you have an item you'd like to submit? Email me at jwurth@news-gazette.com, or use the N-G online calendar. Look for it on the upper right-hand side of the News-Gazette home page, www.news-gazette.com.

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