(585) Kids Summer 2024

Page 1

Sailing through summer





Become a Y Member today and receive discounts on Camp along with access to swim centers and Y programming!


Hello, (585) families

I was tickled to read about making time to write lunch box notes in Sarah Mead’s parenting hacks article (see page 24). It brought back fond memories of my mom leaving little notes and unexpected treats in my lunch back in the 1980s. My favorite was a post-Halloween Tootsie pop wrapped in a tissue, so it looked like a ghost. It was simple, but it absolutely thrilled me at the time.

I hope Sarah’s article helps you prepare for the school year and beyond, but before the kiddos hop on the bus there is still lots of summer to enjoy. I hope you can revel in these warm summer days and soak up the sun before getting too tangled up in the ins

Publisher Jane F. Milliman

Creative Director Cathy Monrad

Managing Editor Christine Green

Production Manager Caroline Kunze

Staff Photographer Michael Hanlon


Writers Emily DiCesare, Terri Ercole, Audrey Mead, Sarah Mead, Anu Sco eld, Sarah Skibickyj, Carolyn Sperry, Jinelle Vaiana, Deena Viviani

Editorial Interns Anu Sco eld, Sarah Skibickyj Alex Weiss

Vice President, Sales Caroline Kunze

Sales & Marketing Michaela Neer

and outs of school. Terri Ercole’s mindfulness calendar (see page 16) will help bring a little peace to your family’s life as you navigate beach days, summer camp, and sprinkler time.

My wish for you is a lovely end of summer and an easy transition back to school. (585) Kids will help everyone in the family be ready for anything that comes their way!


We’d love to hear what you think! Write to jmilliman@585kids.com or (585) Kids, 1501 East Avenue, STE201, Rochester, NY , 14610.


Calendar listing deadlines for our upcoming issues are as follows:

For Fall 2024 issue: Aug. 10

For Winter 2025 issue: Nov. 10

For Spring 2025 issue: Feb. 10

For Summer 2025 issue: May 10


If you’d like to learn about advertising in an upcoming issue of (585) Kids or on our website, please call (585) 413-0040.


Photo of Christine Green by Cathy Monrad

Emily DiCesare is an E.R. doc by trade, salad blogger by passion, who lives in Brighton with her family.

Terri Ercole is an elementary school teacher and volunteer with the Center for Youth in Rochester.

Audrey Mead is a curious h grader with a passion for reading. She loves Legos, performing in musicals, and writing stories.

Sarah Mead is a writer who loves children’s books and dance parties

in the kitchen. She lives with her family in Victor.

Anna Overmoyer a traditional and dimensional illustrator who grew up in the forest of Upstate New York. anna-overmoyer.square.site.

Anu Scofield is a lifelong reader and writer studying English and Communications & Media at Nazareth University.

Sarah Skibickyj is a SUNY Oswego graduate with a degree in journalism.

Carolyn Sperry is a freelance writer based in Rochester. She has published articles in news outlets across the US.

Jinelle Vaiana is a freelance writer and copy editor, and a selfproclaimed “word nerd.” She’s been writing for local publications for more than ten years.

Deena Viviani is the young adult services librarian at Brighton Memorial Library.

Sarah and Chris Mead
Photo by Renée Veniskey

Sunday, July 21 | 2-6PM




Ages twelve and older can enjoy a roundtrip live theater train experience featuring a murder mystery theme and a delicious dinner at the train’s halfway point. Arcade & Attica Railroad Also on July 27 & 28

4:30–7:30 p.m. and 3–6 p.m. on July 28

278 Main St., Arcade 492-3100 aarailroad.com



Disney’s Moana JR. features grades K–8 and is a sixty-minute musical adaptation of the 2016 Disney animated lm. Through July 13

7 p.m. showings on all days and 3 p.m. on July 13

P Ken Dennis Theatre at the Norman Howard School

275 Pinnacle Rd., Rochester 455-5050 tfsdartsmsp.com



Family Fest is a way of creating a fun- lled opportunity for parents and children to connect to one another while simultaneously learning about the many wonderful family-related businesses and services that the community has to o er. 2–6 p.m.

Rothfuss Park, Pen eld

Contact: nicole@parentingvillage.org parentingvillage.org



Come watch the kids of Rydell High (Grades 6–young adult) dance and sing their hearts out to the 1950s themed class musical.

Also August 3

7 p.m. on both days and 2 p.m. on August 3

P Ken Dennis Theatre at the Norman Howard School

275 Pinnacle Rd., Rochester 455-5050 tfsdartsmsp.com



This celebration of Park Avenue in Rochester with have children’s activities at the corner of Park and Barrington, artist vendors will be on the Rochester Museum & Science Center grounds, and live music will play throughout the day.

10 a.m.–6 p.m.

Park Ave., Rochester park-avenue.org



Enjoy an invigorating meditative yoga experience in the cathedral pines with Lynne Boucher of Yoga Revolution. No yoga experience necessary, just purchase a ticket and bring your own mat!

10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.

RMSC Cumming Nature Center 6473 Gulick Rd., Naples 374-6160 rmsc.org


Starring Blake McIver Ewing and Marcia Mitzman Gaven, The Boy from Oz tells the story of singer songwriter Peter Allen and his mentor Judy Garland. See website for show times.

OFC Creations Theatre Center 3450 Winton Place, Rochester 667-0954 ofccreations.com



Visit the RMSC and browse and bid on silent auction items and network while enjoying RMSC’s exhibits and interactives. Tickets will be on sale soon, but support can also be shown through sponsorships, donating, and volunteering.

5–10 p.m


657 East Ave., Rochester 271-4320 rmsc.org



A “next-to-new” sale organized by Rochester Museum and Science Center Council, Fantastic Findings features treasures and collectibles from jewelry to toys. Donations can be made and will be displayed during the sale at the RMSC campus. Through September 21 Wednesday (Preview Sale) 5–7 p.m, Thursday: 10 a.m.–7 p.m., Friday: 11 a.m.–5 p.m., Saturday: 11a.m–2 p.m.


657 East Avenue, Rochester 271-4320 rmsc.org

Terry Fyke’s Mainstreet Players: Grease The Musical
Murder Mystery Dinner Theater






(607) 594-2095

4970 County Route 14 Odessa, NY 14869


Getting out and about with local wildlife

Whether your ideal animal encounter would take place on a farm, on a lake, or behind doors, we’ve got plenty of ideas to help you make contact with the creatures of your choice.

Only in Odessa will visitors nd the experience o ered by the friendly cattle at Sunset View Creamery. If you’ve ever wanted to snuggle up next to a gentle giant, sign up for a thirty-minute appointment to cuddle a cow. Cowcuddlers can also hang out in the barn with some members of the Ho man family farm. If visitors want to get even more personal with the cow, they can take a milking lesson. The hour-long class will teach the process of extracting and cleaning the milk by hand and with a machine. If you’re even more committed to the dairy farming life, you can invest in a discovery camp for kids between the ages of eight and thirteen. Learn farm chores, train and care for a calf, and participate in a calf show at the end of the week. A er you’re done playing with the cows, head over to the retail store to get some cheese, fresh raw milk, or ice cream, produced on-site from the very friends you just made. Remember to dress appropriately in closedtoed shoes for an authentic farm day!


(585) 535-4100

2887 Royce Road

Varysburg, NY 14167


Always wanted to go on a safari? Hidden Valley Animal Adventure in Varysburg has just what you need, with more than 350 animals to visit. Bus tours or self-drive tours are available to navigate the two-mile sanctuary. There are bison, sheep, camels, emu, kangaroos, zebras, swans, and many more that visitors can feed and interact with up close. A small animal adventure is o ered to those who’d like to walk around among smaller and young animals. Three dining options can fuel you on your trek, featuring grilled food, dairy products, snacks, and beverages. Spend the day (or the night) in the beautiful valley to enjoy the experience Hidden Valley has been building to share since 2005.

From left, photos provided by Sunset View Creamery; Hdiden Valley Animal Adventure


(585) 455-1203 (Mark, Owner) 8830 Baker Road Bloom eld, NY 14469 lazyacrealpacas.com

Huge, u y alpacas like Greta and Napoleon await visitors at Lazy Acre Alpaca farm. You can take an extensive walking tour of the 200-year-old farm that has historically housed cattle and horses but now is exclusively home to alpacas. If you’re feeling a bit uptight, get loose and participate in an hour-long yoga session surrounded by the many alpacas that live there. Alpacas’ lush fur provides a dense thermal ber that you can learn to weave in either a beginner or intermediate felting class to make an adorable gnome as a souvenir from your day at Lazy Acre. Supplies of needles and wool are included for the project and available for purchase if you’ve discovered this is a new passion. If your birthday is coming up, they can come to you with two alpacas, or you can book a private party there that you’ll leave with a gi bag and awesome alpaca memories.


(585) 797-3735 (Captain Kip Mammano)

105 East Manitou Rd. Dock C, Rochester, NY 14612 rochestersport shing.com

If furry friends are not your thing, and you’re bold enough to nd some sea legs, look no further than Captain Kip Mammamo and Captain Brendan White to lead you on a shing trip. For a shallow water trip, you could be on Honeoye Lake, Conesus Lake, Irondequoit Bay, or Canandaigua Lake casting for Pike, Bass, Walleye, Tiger Muskies, and more. For a deep-water trip, Lake Ontario is sure to send you home with some monster salmon. Your catches can be cleaned and packaged at no extra cost, and success is guaranteed, or the trip is free. All ages are accommodated (over sixteen must have valid shing licenses) and there is a private, clean bathroom on board. They say you should be prepared to leave with stories you’ll tell forever!


180 Reservoir Ave, Rochester, NY 14620 monroecounty.gov/parks-conservatory

If you’re not up for such an extreme excursion and want to stick close to home, Rochester’s own Lamberton Conservatory o ers a relaxing environment to observe small critters. Though it is known for its botanical gardens, plenty of birds, mice, sh, and turtles are there to enjoy the peaceful greenhouse with you. Keep your eyes on the ground to see tiny mice scurrying out of the bricks to eat o the birds’ fruit trays. Also roaming the ground is a special turtle named Minivan who will most de nitely put a smile on your face. The koi pond outside is a lovely garden to bask in the sun with huge orange and red sh swimming beside you.

Supporting local families for twenty years Spotlight on AutismUp

he work of AustimUp is more important than ever. According to the CDC, one in thirty-six children now have autism spectrum disorder (ASD), so it’s very likely you know someone who has bene tted from AU’s programs. Founded by a small group of parents in 2004, AU has grown into the largest autism organization in our area and is celebrating twenty years of “growing by leaps and bounds,” says program and marketing assistant Maria DiMartin. To date, the organization has served around 3,700 families. AU’s goal is to provide highquality support programs and services for individuals of all ages, from toddlers to adults. “There is a Toddler Time,” DiMartin says, and AU’s oldest current program participant is in their ies.

Something for everyone

No two people on the spectrum are the same, and AU’s programming is amazingly varied, encompassing sensory regulation programs, tness programs, and sports such as bowling, basketball and personal training, as well as cooking, STEM programming, social skills groups, music lessons, art classes, mindfulness, and more. Most programs take place at the Golisano Autism Center, a 6,000-square-foot multi-sensory learning environment.

AU also provides programming for parents and grandparents, including meetups covering various educational topics and parent training. AU can also connect parents with community resources around things like behavior support. If you’re wondering what program might be right for your child, or whether your child will be able to fully participate, contact AU to talk to one of its parent navigators. Sometimes, the goal is to

just get through the door and build from there, DiMartin says.

Looking toward the future

The transition to adulthood can be daunting for individuals and parents. A pivotal time in an person’s life o en occurs when they age out of school. Many families are uncertain how to help their young adult “when the bus stops coming,” and this drop in support is sometimes referred to as “the cli .” For individuals who will need signi cant support with daily living, there are not enough resources available. AU is currently conducting a housing analysis and hosting focus groups to assess the local need around future housing. Its goal is to foster a lifelong, supportive community.

Full Life Academy

Another unique program is the Full Life Academy (FLA). Piloted in the summer of 2021, and fully launched in the fall, thanks to a generous grant from the Tom Golisano Foundation, FLA is an innovative, individualized program for young adults eighteen and older. The idea behind this program is to o er a wide variety of classes, not unlike a college experience. FLA uses an online platform that helps students create and set goals. The student is then advised, based on these goals, about what classes to take in order to achieve them, so individuals are in charge of their future. Classes might work on executive functioning skills, “teachable moments,” and real-life scenarios, as well as career exploration, technology, tness, independent living, navigating relationships, and more. AU is actively working on forming more community partnerships to provide both work and recreation

Photos provided by Autism Up

opportunities to program participants.

I Can Bike

AU also o ers the I Can Bike Camp every summer, which teaches participants to ride without training wheels and boasts an almost 100% success rate. This year’s event will take place July 15 through July 19 at the Golisano Training Center at Nazareth College. Volunteers for this program are needed. Anyone interested in helping improve someone’s quality of life by helping to teach this valuable skill can contact mdimartin@autismup.org. Volunteers will receive credits for service hours at the completion of their volunteer work, by request.

Kite Flight

The annual Kite Flight event will take place in midAugust. It is a family event at Seabreeze amusement park that celebrates an annual fundraising e ort by parents.

How to get started

Call AU and you can come in for a tour. Sometimes a perspective participant can sit in on a class to see if it’s a right t. A family navigator can discuss your child’s needs with you and help you choose programs. Find out more at autismup.org or call (585) 248-9011.


The Conesus Golf Club will celebrate the beginning of summer with their rstannual Kick O to Summer Fest on July 7 at 10 a.m.

“It is important for us as a business to be a family-oriented company. Since taking over in 2021, we have organized many family-friendly events, including Kids Easter Egg Hunt and Breakfast with Santa,” said co-owner Erica Schuster, who owns the golf club with her husband, Bill.

Entry to the festival is free for all, and burgers, hot dogs, chips, and soda will be available for purchase. Members of the Conesus Fire Department will be donating their time to provide activities for children —and visits with a re truck!

The festival will also feature a bounce house, a dunk tank, face painting, a reptile petting zoo, and yard games. conesusgolfclub.com


Every summer, as the sun dips below the city skyline, locals gather on blankets and chairs in downtown Rochester parks to view movies on a big screen, under the stars.

This season of Movies with a Downtown View starts with Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom on July 19 at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park. The live-action version of The Little Mermaid will play on August 6, and Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire plays on September 6, both at Parcel 5.

Free pre-movie activities begin at 7 p.m., with showtime starting at dusk. Attendance is always free, and there is a limited supply of free snacks, water, and giveaways. Food trucks will be onsite, and popcorn will be available for purchase.

Since 2022, seven movies have been hosted, averaging 650 attendees to each


“This event is enormously popular with families. It o ers a chance for people to gather and enjoy something together in the heart of their city, and that helps build community connection and pride,” says Galin Brooks, president and CEO of Rochester Downtown Development Corporation. The company’s events brand, Downtown De nitely Events, helps organize the movie nights.

The latest addition to these events is the use of a jumbo LED screen for movie screenings, allowing organizers to start the movie even if it’s not completely dark outside. rochesterdowntown.com


The Arcade & Attica Railroad will host a Superhero Train event on August 3.

Visitors will hop aboard a vintage World War ll-era diesel train on this shortline railroad—one of the last “common carriers,” running freight and passenger trains weekly.

Three superheroes (America’s Hero, Spider Hero, and Wonder Hero) will join families for a ride on the train, o ering introductions, story time, and superhero training. Halfway through the ride, the train will stop to allow passengers to stretch their legs and meet/take photos with the superheroes. The superheroes will provide masks to all children aboard and lead them in a superhero oath before the end of the ride.

Recommended for ages three to seven,

but all ages are welcome. aarailroad.com


Back for its second year on September 14, Play Day on the Riverway is a front-row seat to Rochester’s historic waterways. The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. inside and outside of the Rundel Memorial Library, including the North Terrace to the ROC City Skatepark, overlooking the Genesee River.

Last year’s inaugural event attracted 750 attendees, and this year, organizers are expecting an even bigger crowd.

This year, the free event will highlight children’s businesses and young entrepreneurs and feature a walking tour led by a knowledgeable guide who will unveil the rich history of Rochester along its iconic waterways.

Family-friendly activities will include a scavenger hunt, storytelling, live music, and cra s and activities. Food will be available for purchase from local food trucks. rochesterdowntown.com


On September 28 and 29, the historic “Gaslight Village” of Wyoming will celebrate the beginning of autumn with its AppleUmpkin Festival.

The celebration, originated nearly forty years ago by a local resident to celebrate the harvest and local apple orchards and pumpkin patches, features hundreds of cra vendors, lively street entertainers, and food stalls.

The Village Hall will host an antiques show and sale, and the Natural History Museum will be open during the event as well. Just outside the doors of Village Hall, a bluegrass festival will entertain visitors, and the Middlebury Historical Academy will be open with special exhibits and displays.

A chicken barbecue will re up at the Wyoming Fire Hall on Sunday, and food vendors will be onsite both days. appleumpkin.com Photos provided

Arcade & Attica Railroad

278 Main Street, Arcade, NY 14009

Step back in time aboard our vintage diesel train excursions in New York State!


Murder Mystery Dinner Train Ride

July 6, 27, 28 & August 3, 4, 17

Ages 12 and older will enjoy a round-trip excursion with murder and mayhem during this live theatre performance on the rails.

Swifty Train

July 6

Dress up in your favorite Taylor era outfit and receive a free Swifty bracelet. Enjoy songs from our impersonator and sing along.

World War II Weekend Train Ride

July 20 & 21

Includes military displays, live demos and meet and talk with reenactors, Veterans ride FREE with a purchased fare!

The Superhero Train Ride

August 3

Includes a visit from America’s Hero, Spider Hero, and Wonder Hero.

The Great Train Robbery

September 21 & 22

Look out for greedy outlaws!

Academic Excellence Built on a Jewish Foundation

• Full Day Pre-K program

• Kindergarten–1st grade: Free Tuition*

• Scholarships Available for 2nd–8th grade

• Hillel School is a candidate school for International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary years programme

• Inquiry Based Learning

• Jewish Values

• Immersive Hebrew Language

• Small Class Size

• S.T.E.A.M. Art, P.E., Music, Gardening

• Kosher Hot Lunch and Snacks Daily

• After-School Program Until 6pm

*Annual Kosher Lunch & Snack fee-$2,000

191 Fairfield Drive Rochester, NY 14620

585-271-6877 www.hillelschool.org admissions@hillelschool


Mindfulness moments


Need a little direction when it comes to mindfulness? Try these mindful weeks! This handy four-week calendar will help you and your family be more mindful, calm, and peaceful this summer.

Mindful Mondays

❑ Practice deep belly breathing

❑ Take a quiet walk, noticing sounds and smells

❑ Try a new food–notice texture and taste

❑ Teach a friend mindful breathing

Take Care


❑ Ask a neighbor if you can help them out (get your parent’s permission first!)

❑ What can you do for a sibling?

❑ Clean up your room, please

❑ Water a plant or feed your pet

We Do Wednesdays

❑ Play outside with a friend–kickball is always fun!

❑ Grab a friend and make something fun from recycled items

❑ Sidewalk chalk with a neighbor

❑ Read a book aloud with someone

Thanking Thursdays*

❑ Thank the Sun for warming you up!

❑ Thank someone who cares about you in person or write a letter

❑ Say thank you to the mail person or bus driver

❑ Thank the stars for letting you count them

Fired Up Fridays

❑ Use those lungs and yell “Happy Friday!”

❑ Run as fast as you can for 30 seconds, then hop back to where you began

❑ Have a dance party, even if it’s only you

❑ Make your plan for the Warrior Weekend coming up

Warrior Weekends

❑ Plan a cleanup project to make things sparkle

❑ Collect nonperishables for a food shelf

❑ Ask a neighbor if you can help them (again, ask your parent first)

❑ Surprise someone with home baked cookies

* Thanks to first grader Matteo for helping me come up with the phrase “Thanking Thursdays.”

Reflection: Take a moment to remember how you felt during the week. Do you remember any smiles along the way?

provided by Olivia

Audrey Asks...

an environmental leader

Audrey is a curious thirteen-year-old, searching for kids in the Rochester area who are doing big things.

Today she interviews eleven-year-old Olivia Tatar, who organizes an annual Earth Day event. She is also an animal

What gave you the idea to organize a cleanup day for your school grounds?

I have always cared about a lot of things; I value everything. I read a lot of books about extinctions, and I’ve been thinking about ways I can make a positive impact.

What did you have to do to plan for this event?

I had to speak to my principal to get bags and gloves for classrooms and to organize the morning where the school was called together. My teachers and the custodial staff provided some materials, and my best friend, Serenity, was there to help me through the entire thing.

What did you learn doing this event?

lover and feels strongly about preserving their habitats. Olivia is in fifth grade at Pal Mac Intermediate School. She has a nine-year-old sister, Elena, and three cats.

I learned that it’s easy to underestimate people. I thought that no one would be interested in doing something like this, and more people were interested than I thought.

Have you done anything like this in the past?

For the past two years I have hosted a cleanup. In fourth grade I created a mural in my school hallway from bottle caps that were collected by students. It reflects the true beauty of something as simple as cleaning up and preserving.

How did you come up with the idea for the mural?

I wanted to make this cleanup into something that was more noticeable and could be admired by other students. I went to my nana’s house one day and she showed me a bottle cap mural on her computer. I wanted it to become a reality.

What are your future goals or the next event you would plan?

In middle school I know comes more responsibility. Next year, I want to do a fundraiser to get a recycling program for the intermediate school. If that is already

done, I’d like to hold a fundraiser for animal shelters.

What’s your favorite food?

Mac and cheese!

Do you have any hobbies or secret talents?

I really like to bead; I like crafts. I also feel like I have a passion for reading— it’s one of my favorite things—and I feel like I’m pretty good at art.

What’s your favorite book?

The Warriors series by Erin Hunter.

What do you want to be when you grow up? I really like animals; I’ve always wanted to be a vet.

“We only have one earth. We only have it for so long. So we might as well take care of it while we have it.”
—Olivia Tatar
Olivia Tatar

TLions roaR

he Seneca Park Zoo is a fan favorite in the Rochester area for a fun family day. Some of the most popular and beloved animals are the zoo’s three lions. Their names are Chester, Asha, and Zuri, and they are all thirteen years old. All three have been at the Seneca Park Zoo since they were about a year old. Their life at the zoo compared to wild lions in Africa is a bit different, as you could probably guess. The main difference is their exhibit or habitat at the zoo compared to their natural habitat. A lion’s natural habitat is the grasslands and plains of Africa. The zoo does recreate that to the best of its ability with a grassy exhibit and rocks to perch on. There’s also a simulated safari bus, and kids and families can go inside and take a peek at the animals through the windows. The lions like to rest on the hood of the bus, which makes for a perfect view and picture through the bus windows. There’s fencing lining the exhibit and glass windows to protect both the zoo visitors and the lions.

Another difference is their diet. In nature, lions have to hunt and find their meals themselves, which include smaller animals such as gazelles. At the zoo, they’re fed by the people who work there with the animals—Kellie Wollowitz and Sue Rea are two of the amazing people who work at the zoo with these animals. At the zoo their main diet consists

Learn about the Seneca Park Zoo lions

of ground horse meat, but they also will eat chicken or pork.

The lions each have their own strong personalities. They’re each different but still get along well with each other. Zuri is really sweet. She loves people and interacting with them and loves training.

“Chester’s like the typical male lion and just has to be in charge all the time,” Rea says.

He likes to know where the female lions are, and he doesn’t really care to interact with the zoo staff if they don’t have food to give him.

Asha is described as a “sour patch kid.” She’s sweet ... then sour or spicy. When she likes you, though, you’ll know and she shows it, although she doesn’t like very many people. If she doesn’t want to do something, that’s it, she really doesn’t want to do it.

The lions overall are like giant house cats. They do their own thing but can also be loving.

When visiting the lions up close like Wollowitz and Rea do, strong disposable masks are to be worn around them as they are susceptible to COVID-19. This is not something you might think about when being around animals, especially big, strong lions.

by Derek


A fun fact about the lions at the Seneca Park Zoo is that you can hear them roar from outside of the zoo. Chester’s roars can be heard in Irondequoit, and the zoo keeps track of how many local households can hear him. Rea says that her cousin lives on St. Paul Street and says she can hear the lions all the time.

Some more fun facts about these three lions are that the females love to play with soccer balls around the exhibit. And when they’re supposed to be coming in from the zoo exhibit, they wait for Chester to go inside and then play, and they won’t play when he’s out.




HRochester Museum and Science Center’s Strasenburgh Planetarium is extraordinary

ow often do you find yourself stargazing? If you live in or near a city, chances are it might not be frequent. Urban areas have more difficulty observing dark sky features because of light pollution. Artificial night-time light, from things like cars and streetlamps, reduces visibility of stars, affecting how citydwellers see the sky.

Somewhere you can see the stars spectacularly, even in the heart of Rochester, is Strasenburgh Planetarium. There, you’ll find reclining chairs and a massive projection above your head that can show up-close footage of the farthest planet in our solar system and views of our galaxy from the outside.

The weekly show The Sky Tonight is a tour through the constellations and planets in position at local time and location. As the sky darkens, a live presenter will guide you around overhead, identifying our north star, Polaris, and various constellations visible in the season. Monthly, Stars with Carl is hosted, using the original star projector (named Carl) that the planetarium opened with in 1968. This projector has less capabilities than the full dome projector but is a lovely show to highlight our galactic neighbors.

star that is the Sun. The Northern Lights are solar weather that the program teaches a bit about, something that was seen by Western New Yorkers this May.

Like 2024’s total solar eclipse, celestial events that generate excitement are opportunities for people not extensively interested in astronomy to tune into the happenings of space. Planetarium director Jim Bader says the best part of his job is when people become aware and ask questions; sharing “the beauty of the universe” never gets old.

Don’t let the complexity of astronomy scare you away, these shows are recommended for ages five and up, making this the perfect balance of scientific discovery and visual wonder. Bader recalls his first planetarium experience: “I don’t remember the science that I learned, but I remember seeing absolutely incredible things and feeling that I was transported, and that feeling of excitement and interest and immersiveness is a big factor to why I pursued a science degree.”

The Sun: Our Living Star is a new show that presents recent unique footage of the sun’s surface. Produced by the European Southern Observatory, the Chile-based researchers captured stunning visuals with spacecraft satellites that will give you an intense view of the volatile

The mesmerizing beauty of these shows will pull you in and hopefully have you hooked to dive into the explanations. The new interactive exhibition, Same Sky aims to do just that, highlighting the Indigenous North American tradition of sky watching and their origin stories influenced by stars. In the video portion, planetarium visitors can choose the topics they’d enjoy learning about like the Mayan calendar and counting system.

The constellations we know by name are largely of a Western European viewpoint, and but societies all over the world used the stars to navigate and tell stories. The Maya were leaders in celestial observing, they recorded sophisticated predictions that repeated themselves, and were some of the first to use the concept of “zero.”

Haudenosaunee, Diné, and Mayan Knowledge Keepers curated the display to represent their respective cultural understandings of the sky and celestial activities. Rochester Museum and Science Center (RMSC) felt the need to broaden the scope in which we think of astronomy, and this exhibit is the product of looking at the sky from a different angle. Bader says he likes to point out Maui’s Fishhook in the summer and talk about the different global perspectives of the Big Dipper.

In addition to the Haudenosaunee’s featured artwork, local contributions to space research are greatly appreciated in another exhibit. Rochester has been integral to the optic (relating to the eye) industry for decades, Kodak and telescope construction specifically. Gambit Satellite Optic System is a declassified spy satellite that is on display at the planetarium for you to stand beside. The opportunity to be at such a close distance to an object that orbited Earth for four years is not one you get often. Gambit captured the first high-resolution satellite photography in the 1960s, an impressive technological feat, produced right here at home.

Other demonstrations hosted at the planetarium are music laser light shows. Just opened is a Beyoncé laser show featuring fourteen songs over fifty-five minutes where you will be dazzled by the vibrant performance. Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon is another laser show new to the schedule. This “mind-bending light and sound landscape” brings an exciting twist to one of the most iconic rock albums.

Coming to Strasenburgh Planetarium this July is a space

exploration program as well as a laser show featuring the music by The Weeknd.

If any of these presentations caught your attention, be sure to pay RMSC’s StrasenburghPlanetarium a visit this summer to experience an unforgettable day of curiosity and amazement.


The original star projector (named Carl) that the planetarium opened with in 1968.

Are the dog days of summer melting your family down? Then it’s time to head to your local library to see what “adventure begins” with this year’s summer reading program and theme. Kids can prevent the summer slide in their reading skills by reading or listening to books for twenty minutes a day—and score some prizes at their library, too!


Fitz and Cleo: Put a Party on It

By Jonathan Stutzman & Heather Fox

Henry Holt, 2023

Ages 4–6

Ghost siblings Fitz and Cleo decide to li their spirits by throwing a party! Will it be an epic celebration or leave them bored to death?

P.I. Butter y: Disappearing Daisy

By Karen Kilpatrick & Germán Blanco

Genius Cat, 2023

Ages 6–8

It is kid investigator P.I. Butter y’s job to solve mysteries, so when an actor is missing before her school’s production of Little Red Riding Hood, she is on the case!


By Johnnie Christmas HarperAlley, 2024

Ages 8–12

Max is ready to compete at Gamerville and win the video game championship until his mom sends him to Camp Reset. He’s stuck with no screens, just fresh air . . . and a camp escape plan.

Unhappy Camper

By Lily LaMotte, Ann Xu, & Sunmi

HarperAlley, 2024

Ages 8–12

Even though only one sister wants to go, Claire and Michelle are sent to a Taiwanese American summer camp where they’ll learn more about their culture, friendships, and own sibling relationship.

Cooking with Monsters: The Beginner’s Guide to Culinary Combat

By Jordan Alsaqa & Vivian Truong IDW, 2023

Ages 12–18

Hana is excited to start her warrior chef training at Gourmand Academy of Culinary Combat. She will not only learn how to slay monsters and turn them into tasty meals, but also how to navigate high school crushes and friendships.




Levine Querido, 2023

A er humans destroyed the earth 400 years ago, pockets of survivors live on, trying to make a life, including Leandro and his sister Gabi. When they are in danger, the pair decides to escape the settlement of Pocatel.

Eagle Drums

By Nasug˙raq Rainey Hopson

Roaring Brook, 2023

Pina climbs the same mountain where his brothers disappeared to gather obsidian, running into Savik, the eagle god, who sends him on a journey in this retelling of the Iñupiat story of the rst Messenger Feast.

The Liars Society

By Alyson Gerber Scholastic, 2024

Weatherby is excited to get a crew scholarship to the same Boston school that her mysterious father attended. She gets involved in a secret society and immersed in a scandal that is bigger than she could have imagined.

The Mis ts: A Royal Conundrum

By Lisa Yee & Dan Santat

Random House, 2024

Olive’s parents drop her o at a remote boarding school called RASCH, where she learns she is a recruit for a student group of crime ghters.

Race for the Ruby Turtle

By Stephen Bramucci Bloomsbury, 2023

Jake must spend the week with his great aunt who he barely knows in a remote, swampy area of Oregon. He doesn’t expect to learn about a ruby-backed turtle or to be part of a race to nd it.


Blood Debts

By Terry J. Benton–Walker Tor Teen, 2023

Twins Clem and Cris are the grandchildren of a murdered magic queen. When they learn their ailing mother has been cursed, they try to discover the truth about their ancestor.


By K. Ancrum HarperTeen, 2024

Art thief Icarus Gallagher gets tangled up in a family feud when he is caught by Helios, the son of one of Icarus’s victims. But his father’s desire for vengeance may negate any future Icarus and Helios could have together.

If Tomorrow Doesn’t Come

Jen St. Jude

When the news leaks that an asteroid will hit North America in nine days, severely depressed Avery decides not to kill herself. Instead, she reconnects with her family and best girl friend, who she is secretly in love with, while waiting for the apocalypse.

The Rosewood Hunt

By Mackenzie Reed HarperTeen, 2023

A er Lily’s father died and her mother abandons her, she moves in with her wealthy grandmother, poised to take over the family fashion business. But when Gram dies and leaves behind clues to her fortune, Lily must work with her peers to nd the truth.


By Daniel Kraus MTV Books, 2023

Jay sets out to recover the bones of his father, who died a few years ago by suicide, from the ocean in the hopes of healing his family. He is swallowed by a sperm whale and through memories of his father, he wonders if he can escape alive.

Get organized! Back to school hacks for busy parents

It’s that time of year again, and you’ve got a long list of things to do. Student forms, lunch accounts, a er school care and sports, not to mention school supplies! If this is the year you made a vow to get more organized, here are nine tips to make the struggle easier and the kids happier.


Homework can ruin the evening for everyone. My best tips are to give your child as much choice as possible, like which subject to work on rst. Serve a snack to avoid the hangries and build in plenty of breaks for every twenty minutes of homework. Mini dance party! If your child is really struggling, break their work and chores into smaller pieces. Bonus tip: Keep a homework station nearby. Whether it’s a rolling cart or a drawer, having a designated spot for supplies will make life easier for everyone.


If you just sang that out loud, I think we need to be friends. Oh, the unending madness of washing, drying, sorting, folding and ironing. Who am I kidding? We only use the iron for melting cra beads. But I have eliminated all the sorting by giving each person their own laundry day. Try keeping socks where the kids keep their shoes, not in the bedrooms. It only took years of my kids running back upstairs at the last minute and making us late for me to gure this one out.


If the kids insist on packing lunches, preparation is key. Next to your shopping list, post a list of lunch ideas to avoid the dreaded, “There’s nothing to eat.” We use clear bins marked “school snacks” where they can easily nd what they need. My kids know that if they add to the grocery list, they have a much better chance of their food being replenished. We keep a dedicated drawer full of lunch containers. Bonus tip: Pack up some of dinner (before serving it) and save for tomorrow’s lunch.


If your kids are packing their own lunches, you’ll have time to do the fun stu like write them notes! If you keep packs of stickers and index cards in the kitchen, you can grab a sticker, google a joke, and put them on the card together. Add in a compliment or reminder about viola lessons and the note is complete. My kids look forward to sharing their joke of the day with their lunch table. And yes, the teenagers still love them!


Our kids do chores without being asked, because screens are o until they do. Each child uses magnets to mark their progress. Chores can be daily (homework, practice instrument, clean room, and empty lunchbox) or weekly like laundry. Our kids have even added their own optional chores when they have a personal goal like language learning or a second instrument. Bonus tip: Let them pick out their own fun timers to use for instruments, screen time, and homework breaks.


Are you in the stage of life where there’s a party every weekend? It hit a point for us where it was becoming excessive, and the birthday box was born. On birthdays, our kids are encouraged to keep their favorite gi s and add the rest to the box. Shop sales and add to the box. When it’s time to go to another party, just shop in the box and add a treat and a handmade card. Bonus tip: Tape a note to each gi with the name of the giver to avoid an awkward regi ing mistake.


Try laying out two complete out ts the night before and have them choose one in the morning. It’s a win-win because you both got to choose. To give them more independence, but still avoid the early morning screams of “I don’t have any clean underwear!” try labeling cardstock with the days of the week. Let your kids decorate them and punch a hole in each one. Every Sunday, have them put ve out ts on hangers, underwear and all. Pop the days of the week on each one.


Let your kids help you build a routine based on their needs. Some kids love to come right home and get all the work done and others need to relax and play rst. Consider starting the school sleep routine a week early to get used to the schedule. Younger children love to follow a morning routine checklist. You’ll love not having to nag them to brush their teeth or grab their instrument. Bonus tip: Start your morning routine earlier than you think you’ll need to.


So o en a meltdown can be avoided just by making sure no one in the family is blindsided by an event. Create a family calendar that they can refer to, color coded for each person, and add special days to look forward to! Create a landing station like a bulletin board near your calendar where kids can pin eld trip slips and nal exam schedules. Bonus tip: Add the dinner plan to your calendar and you’ll never hear those three dreaded words. You know what they are.

If I have given you even one morning without tears, then my work here is done.

Happy back to school!

You are never too young to visit us at the farm! Book a tour today: LazyAcreAlpacas.com

TIP: Keep a dedicated drawer full of lunch containers to make packing lunches quicker.


Nothing makes me think of summer more than ring up the grill for dinner or inviting friends over for a barbeque. Planning for the main dish can be easy. Hot dogs and hamburgers are an easy go to. Sausages, grilled chicken, or a steak are other great ideas.

One of my favorite dinners is shish kabob. While we o en see them made with the meat and veggies mixed together, this o en results in overcooked meat or undercooked veggies. I like to put the veggies and the meat on separate skewers. Keep in mind that di erent vegetables will also cook at di erent rates. I o en put bell peppers and onions on the same skewers and then grapes tomatoes on their own. This allows for better control of the cooking times for each item. Some di erent ideas for veggies include: peppers, red onion, grape tomatoes, canned white potatoes (or par boiled small potatoes), zucchini, mushrooms, and pineapple.

Tofu is easy to grill, and works well on skewers. The key is to freeze the block, then defrost and press with paper towels to get all the water out. Then you can marinate as desired.

Don’t forget about fruit!

Slices of watermelon can be put directly on the grill. Eat as is, or place on a platter and top with crumbled feta, torn mint leaves

and a drizzle of balsamic.

Stone fruits, like peaches and nectarines, grill particularly well. Cut in half and grill on each side for two to three minutes. Again, these can be served as is, or sliced in quarters and served as a salad. Quarter fruit and tomatoes to the same size pieces. Place on a platter with fresh mozzarella or burrata and basil. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Finish with aky sea salt and freshly cracked pepper.

Avocados can also be grilled, then scooped out and added to a salad. This is a great use for avocados that aren’t quite ripe enough.

Grilled vegetables are simple and delicious. Be careful to not over marinate! Brush on olive oil instead of pouring it over vegetables. No one likes limp vegetables—slightly undercook them to keep that fresh crunch. Remember that veggies like asparagus and zucchini will cook in just a few minutes- add them with your bread at the very end, a er your main dish is cooked. Season with salt and pepper a er you have cooked vegetables.

I believe that every meal is better with bread. A hot, crusty piece of bread pairs perfectly with salad and grilled meats. Add your bread to the grill just before sitting down to eat. Grilling bread gives new life to day-old bread, as well.

Photos by author
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