School is almost out, and that means thousands of school-aged kids will soon be added to the daily population for the next three months. What to do with all the extra restless bodies?
We thought you’d never ask.
Since we know – from experience – that kids are just bundles of endless energy, we thought we’d do all the parents out there a solid by pulling together a big package of fun stuff for the kids to get into this summer. While this isn’t exactly a statewide roundup, it isn’t limited to just Concord, either –we got the go-ahead to tell you about some stuff in Pembroke and Chichester as well, since many of you live closer to those towns than to downtown Concord.
Most of these options are things you can do any time, any day. There are also a few things that are schedule-related, so there’s something here for everyone – from educational to artistic to athletic to just plain fun.
Starting Friday, the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week through Sept. 2. The Discovery Center’s newest interactive exhibition, Math Moves!, has arrived just in time for summer family STEM adventures.
Daily summer planetarium shows include From Dream to Discovery: Inside NASA and Wildest Weather in the Solar System, as well as favorites such as Tonight’s Sky, The Little Star that Could and Take Flight.
The Discovery Center offers six week-long day camps, in which kids ages 5 to 14 can explore science and engineering topics including space exploration, rocketry, aeronautical design and robotics Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 25 through Aug. 10.
The first camp, which runs June 25 to 29, is Destination: Earth, for ages 10 to 14. Next is Coding, and Programming, and Robots. … Oh Yes! for ages 10 to 14 from July 9 to 13. Then it’s Junior Flyers on Earth and Beyond! for ages 5 to 7 from July 16 to 20. Engineering and Expedition is for ages 10 and 14 and runs July 23 to 27. Astronomy 101 is for ages 8 to 12 and runs July 30 to Aug. 3. The final camp is Blast Off! for ages 8 to 12 from Aug. 6 to 10.
The cost for camps is $345 for the first child and $320 for each additional child of the same immediate family. Members can get 10 percent off registration fees. To book a summer camp, contact Elizabeth Pappas at firstname.lastname@example.org or 271-7827, ext. 104. You can also fill out the registration form online and mail it in or drop it off in person.
In addition, the Discovery Center will be open the first Friday night of each month this summer from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. for special programs and a look at stars, planets and more in the night sky through telescopes courtesy of the New Hampshire Astronomical Society.
There are also overnight adventures available for kids who want the chance to sleep over at an aerospace museum. Overnights include two planetarium shows, snacks, breakfast and exploration of the entire museum. The cost is $50 per attendee and requires a 45-participant minimum (or $2,250 minimum charge) to book an overnight experience.
General admission to the Discovery Center is $11.50 for adults, $8.50 for kids ages 3 to 12, $10.50 for seniors age 62 and up and students age 13 through college, $8.50 per person for groups of 15 or more, and free for kids 2 and under and members. Planetarium shows are $5 extra for everyone except the kids 2 and under, who get in free.
For more info, go to starhop.com or call 271-7827.
Concord Public Library
Concord Public Library always has a ton of programming geared toward kids, and this summer is no different.
The summer reading program – the theme of which is “Libraries Rock!” – for kids starts Monday. The first real kickoff event will be June 26, with a concert from Mr. Aaron.
The first week in July will feature a percussion petting zoo. For this program, Pam Stauffacher, children’s services manager, will bring in some oddball instruments she has around the house.
Making crazy kazoos will be the program for the second week of July. This one is fairly self-explanitory – they’ll be making some crazy kazoos.
For the third week in July, CactusHead Puppets, a traveling puppet show, will be in the house. The puppet troupe is known for its playful performance style and endless creativity.
In the fourth week of July, they will show the kid- and family-friendly movie Sing, the animated musical starring the voices of Scarlett Johansson, Matthew McConaughey and Seth MacFarlane.
The first week of August will feature rock painting as a family event in relation to the theme of Libraries Rock!
For the second week of August, the library along with the new community center are going to sponsor a Taiko drumming group, a Japanese style of drumming.
Apart from these features, the library will have plenty of its regular programming going on, such as Family Storytime, Paws for Pages, Code Camp and Lego Club.
For more info, go to concordpubliclibrary.net.
You’re Fired on Loudon Road is the perfect place to let your kids turn their creative sides loose. They can spend an hour or two picking out and painting their own little knickknacks to be displayed on kitchen counters or living room mantels for years to come.
If your kids are looking for something a little more structured, they may be interested in Camp Fired.
The camp is designed for ages 5 to 12, though plenty of exceptions are allowed. Camps are held Monday through Friday from 8:30 to 11 a.m. Each camp session includes five different theme-related pottery pieces, one mosaic piece, a take-home craft each day and a Camp Fired T-shirt.
The cost is $115 per week or $105 for two or more sessions. If you are signing up two or more children for a session, registration is $105. Register online at yourefirednh.com/camp-fired-2018. If you are registering more than three children (or for more than four sessions), email Paint@YoureFiredNH.com or call 641-3473.
There are some other specialties besides the camps, too.
Every Monday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. is half off studio fees for children 12 and under for Mini Mondays.
Friday evenings from 5 to 9 p.m. are dedicated to teens, with half off their studio fees for Teen Fridays.
You’re Fired also hosts birthday parties, as well as parties for Boy Scout or Girl Scout troops. Parties are held in the private party area, co-hosted by a trained studio assistant, with exclusive access to Birthday Bisque. Reserved for 90 minutes, the party area can accommodate groups as large as 20. You supply the cake, drinks and paper products, they supply the fun. Partygoers will create cool pottery for the first hour and then enjoy cake, presents or other activity for the remaining half hour.
The birthday boy or girl will also get a complimentary memory plate, personalized by your guests. If you use the party invitations on the company’s website, each guest will receive $2 off their next visit (coupon printed on invitation).
Items painted at the party are packaged, labeled and ready for pickup seven days later.
Although geared toward children 6 and older, younger children can be accommodated during non-busy times.
For more info, go to yourefirednh.com or call 226-3473.
Village Idiotz Party Rentals
Village Idiotz Party Rentals has established itself as a hub of children’s entertainment in the capital city. Nestled in the spacious confines of Steeplegate Mall, the Entertainment Center is always full of inflatable fun structures and a laser tag course – and lots and lots of kids playing with them.
The format is pretty basic every day of the week – you show up, pay a flat fee and let the kids run wild for as long as they (or you) want. If it’s your first time going, you’ll just have to fill out a quick waiver first. That way every time you go back, your kids’ information will already be in there and ready to go.
The bounce house center is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays.
If you’re thinking about having a party, there are a few options.
A bounce house birthday party for 25 kids for two hours is $300. The package includes use of a private party room for 45 minutes with at least one dedicated staff member to assist with the party, three large cheese pizzas, three 2-liter bottles of your choice of soda (Coke or Pepsi products), paper products, cups and utensils. Cake, balloons and/or additional decorations are not included.
A bounce house party for 15, for $225, is the same but comes with two pizzas instead of three, though extra pizzas can be ordered at retail price.
A laser tag birthday party for 15 kids for two hours is $300. A combo laser tag and bounce house party for 15 is $300, which does not include pizza, soda, cake or decorations.
Regular admission is $10 per child for all-day access to the bouncy structures (accompanying adults get in free). Laser tag is $10 for 15 minutes, $15 for 30 minutes and $25 for an hour. Subscription plans are available for one, three or 12 months. You can also rent any of the equipment and bring the party to you if you can’t make it to the mall.
Go to vipartyrentals.com or call 856-8066 for more info.
Krazy Kids is just over the border in Pembroke, but it’s a place no Concord or Bow kid should miss out on. This indoor fun center has all the stuff you need for some safe-from-the-elements entertainment – arcade games, bounce houses, maze-like climbing structures, a ropes course, big slides and more.
Krazy Kids is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday through Tuesday and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Like the bounce house place at the mall, there’s no real structure to the day – you just show up and have fun with whatever you want to play with for as long as you want. The general admission price is $12 for kids 2 and up, $10 for kids younger than 2 but who can walk and free for infants and adults. The ropes course is an additional $3 for kids and adults.
Apart from the daily, all-purpose fun you can have any time Krazy Kids is open, there’s also Glow Night every Friday from 6 to 8 p.m., in which everything glows in the dark and kids are encouraged to wear bright colors so they can glow themselves.
There are also weekly summer camps, which begin Monday and run through the week of Aug. 20, meant for kids entering kindergarten through sixth grade.
Krazy Kids has doubled the size of the building and added 2 acres of outdoor area for more activities, so campers will get to experience more than ever this year.
Camp hours are 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. with early care available from 7:30 to 9 a.m. Two-day, three-day and five-day options are available for all camps. There is a field trip every week, and each day has a different theme. The cost is $175 for five days, $125 for three days and $90 for two days. For early care, add $25, $15 and $10, respectively. More details are available on the company’s website, just note that field trip destinations are always in flux and what’s listed there right now may not necessarily be accurate when the field trip comes around.
There are birthday parties, too. A two-hour birthday party includes a private party room for the entire two hours and a dedicated Krazy Krew host. Hosts have been trained professionally by the same people that have trained Disney employees, so you can rest assured that this isn’t some two-bit operation.
Party Package 1, for up to 24 people, includes three large cheese pizzas, three pitchers of drinks, a decorated birthday room, balloons, color themed place settings, a personalized T-shirt for the birthday boy or girl and a spin of the prize wheel for the birthday star. The price is $310.
Party Package 2, for up to 12 people, includes two large cheese pizzas, two pitchers of drinks and the rest of the features of Package 1. The price is $255.
You can make any party a glow party for an additional $3 per person. Sleepover parties are also offered.
To book a party or for more info, go to krazykids.com.
Chuckster’s is another place outside of Concord – it’s in Chichester – but it’s close enough to warrant some space here.
Apart from owning the world’s longest mini-golf hole, Chuckster’s also boasts batting cages, go-karts, a rock-climbing wall, Aeroball (a trampoline volleyball/basketball hybrid), Aerial Adventure (an obstacle course among the treetops) and so much more. Unlike Krazy Kids and VI Party Rentals, Chuckster’s is an outdoor fun spot – the way summer fun is meant to be. Another perk? There’s food and ice cream, too.
The hours at Chuckster’s vary greatly by day, and a lot of it is dependent on Mother Nature, as outdoor stuff tends to be. In that case, make sure you call ahead before you head over there to confirm that they’re actually open.
Prices also vary depending on which attractions you’d like to hit up. There are options to pay individually for each thing you want to try, or you could get one of four package deals. If you’re with a big group, there are also group discounts.
Chuckster’s also offers three party packages ranging from $100 for five people to use the Aerial Adventure to $220 for up to 10 people to have unlimited access to everything in the park except Aerial Adventure.
Because many of the activities at Chuckster’s could potentially be dangerous to some, waivers are required, which can be completed online ahead of time to save a little time at the park.
For waivers, hours, prices and more information, go to chuckstersnh.com.
Flipz Gymnastics is a good spot for those kids who just have more energy than they know what to do with. At Flipz, they can let all of that out – and then some.
Flipz is a recreational and semi-competitive gymnastics gym for kids as young as 18 months and as old as 18 years. Apart from all the stuff you’d expect to see at a fully stocked gymnastics facility, Flipz is also home to a complete USA Ninja Challenge obstacle course that all the kids rave about.
Classes work on a monthly basis, so anyone can join at any time. If your kid just wants to play on some of the equipment every now and then, that’s an option. He or she can also choose to focus on tumbling or the ninja challenge if preferred.
If structure is more up your alley, you can join any one of three weeks of summer camp. Camps are for kids ages 4 to 12 and run Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to noon. Camps will be offered the weeks of July 23, July 30 and Aug. 13. The price is $150 per students, which includes a T-shirt.
You can also book a gymnastics party here for any occasion. For $285, your party of up to 15 kids can get the whole gym to itself, with an hour of playing on the equipment and a half hour for refreshments (bring your own) and general revelry.
For more info, go to flipzgymnastics.com.
There’s plenty more for the kids to do this summer, too.
If you’ve got a skater at home, take them to the skate park in the Everett Arena parking lot. While you’re there, head inside and rent a pair of old-school roller skates and roll around for a bit. If it gets hot, just go to any of the city pools for a dip. Pools open this Saturday and will close Aug. 10.