1. Make time for art at Anniston’s Still Mid-Town Ceramics. Painting pottery can be a great way to express your creativity and spend some quality time together. Located at the corner of 13th and Noble streets. 256-236-3136, stillmtc.com.
2. Nothing quite says summer like a minor-league baseball game. Drive to Birmingham to watch the Birmingham Barons play ball. At 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, the Barons play the Chattanooga Lookouts in the annual Rickwood Classic, a tribute to WWII baseball. General admission tickets are $7. Be sure to check out the website for promotions like 50-cent hot dog night. 205-988-3200, barons.com.
3. Six Flags Over Georgia in Atlanta offers nine thrilling roller coasters that will have your kids screaming for more. If your kids aren’t quite tall enough to ride the coasters (or maybe just enjoy a less intense experience), there are more than 15 kiddie rides and several family rides. The park also offers several concerts over the summer. If you buy your tickets at the park, general admission is $54.99, children under 48 inches is $39.99 and children 2 and under are free. However, you can save yourself some time and money by ordering tickets online for $39.99. 770-948-9290, sixflags.com/overGeorgia.
4. When the summer months get too hot to handle, head to Alabama Adventure and experience the Splash Adventure Waterpark, with a wave pool, lazy river and waterslides for all ages. Adult tickets are $25.99, children under 42 inches are $19.99. Parking is $25. 205-481-4750, alabamaadventure.com.
5. If you’re in the mood to escape town for a day or two, Chattanooga’s Point Park on Lookout Mountain is a place to find tranquility. On a clear day, the mountain peak offers a view of seven states. Other popular activities on the mountain include Ruby Falls, Rock City and Incline Railway. A package deal is $45.90 for adults and $23.90 for children 3-12. 800-825-8366, lookoutmountain.com
6. Go to the drive-in. Pack a blanket and some snacks, then pile in the car and head to the Starlite Drive-in Theater in Anniston. Showtime is at 7:30 p.m. Friday-Sunday. $5 for adults, $2 for children. Call the movie line to see what’s showing: 256-741-1411, starliteanniston.com
7. McWane Science Center in Birmingham offers four floors of hands-on exhibits to keep your child’s brain from turning to mush this summer. Experience an anti-gravity mirror, a bed of nails, a giant piano you can play with their feet and much more. $12 for adults, $9 for kids 2-12. The McWane Center also offers an IMAX films ($5 with museum ticket, $8.50 for just the IMAX ticket). This summer’s films are “The Last Reef,” “Tornado Alley,” and “Rescue.” 205-714-8300, mcwane.org.
8. Visit the Birmingham Zoo, where the lion cubs just celebrated their first birthday. Don’t miss a chance to feed the birds at the daily lorikeet feeding. $14 for adults, $9 for children 2-12. If you can make it on a Tuesday, admission is half price. 205-879-0409, birminghamzoo.com.
9. If your family is in the mood for “wacky” day, head to Desoto Caverns Family Fun Park in Childersburg. The park has over 25 “wacky” attractions including panning for gemstones, a lost trail maze, and wacky water golf. And you really should tour the caverns while you’re there. Cavern tours are $19.99 for adults, $17.99 for children ages 3-11. Attraction tickets are $5.99 each. 800-933-2283, desotocavernspark.com.
10. Visit the Alabama-shaped reflecting pool in Centennial Memorial Park in Anniston. Leave the water wings at home, though. This is a pool to remember those from Alabama who died in war. Spend the day talking about famous people and things from Alabama, and honor those who have died with a visit to this unique landmark. 17th Street at Quintard Avenue.
11. Hunt for treasures at local thrift stores. This can be great activity to get the kids out of the house on a rainy day. Give your kids $5 and the challenge to find the ugliest sweater, biggest necklace or oldest book.
12. If you enjoy thrift store shopping, then you will love the Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro. UBC buys lost or unclaimed airline luggage and offers it for sale. Roughly 7,000 new items are added daily. It’s an easy pit stop on your way to Chattanooga. Check out the website for stories of shopping adventures and treasure hunting tips. 256-259-1525, unclaimedbaggage.com
13. Visit Shark Tooth Creek in Aliceville and find out what shark teeth are doing 300 miles from the beach. All visitors are guaranteed to find a shark tooth, and are allowed to take home up to 15 teeth. Fishing, canoeing and camping are also available. $20. Visits are by appointment only. 205-373-2605, sharktoothcreek.com.
14. Go camping at Cheaha State Park. Rates vary from $16 to $22 depending on the type of location. This park offers both mountains and Cheaha Lake for a full day of outdoor activities. 256-488-5111, alapark.com/cheaharesort.
15. Or you can pitch a tent in the backyard. For rainy days, make forts inside out of old quilts and sheets.
16. Dollywood in Pigeon Force, Tenn., has added a new wing coaster, the first of its kind, for summer 2012. Passengers ride the Wild Eagle with nothing but air above and below them. Dollywood also offers tons of other rides and live entertainment. $54 for adults, $42 for children. 800-365-5996, dollywood.com.
17. Bowling is a great way to spend summer nights or rainy days. Visit your local alley to find out if they have any summer specials.
18. The Georgia Aquarium is one of many fun things to do in Atlanta. Watch whale sharks, manta rays, beluga whales, dolphins, otters, penguins and thousands of other fish swim in the largest aquarium habitat in the world. $34.95 for adults, $28.95 for children ages 3-12. 404-581-4000, georgiaaquarium.org.
19. Make s’mores over the grill in the backyard.
20. Make homemade popsicles with fruit juice and ice cube trays.
21. Start a garden.
22. Spend a day tie-dying T-shirts or old bed sheets. Make your own dye or pick up a tie-dye kit from a local craft store.
23. Write letters to a pen-pal.
24. Visit a local farmers’ market. The Jacksonville Farmers Market is open 7-11 a.m. Saturday – plus 4-8 p.m. Monday starting June 4 – in the pocket park behind Roma’s on the Jacksonville square. The market at Zinn Park in Anniston will be open 8 a.m.-noon Saturdays starting June 16.
25. The Anniston Museum of Natural History is a great place to learn about the world, with exhibits on Alabama to Africa to ancient Egypt. The museum hosts several kids’ events throughout the summer, including Kids Night at the Museum on July 12. $6 for adults, $5 for children 4-17. 256-237-6766, annistonmuseum.org.
26. Practice your marksmanship at the Civilian Marksmanship Program in Anniston. The CMP is dedicated to promoting firearm safety and marksmanship training, particularly for youth. The center hosts open public shooting on its indoor air gun ranges from 4-7 p.m. Tuesday. $5 for adults, $2 for juniors (high-school aged). Air rifles available to rent for $5; pellets available for sale for $7.50 per pack. 1401 Commerce Blvd., Anniston. For more info, call James Hall, 256-835-8455, or visit odcmp.com.
27. Make homemade play dough. You can find tons of recipes online.
28. Feed the birds with a homemade bird feeder.
29. Catch lightning bugs.
30. Organize a neighborhood kickball game.
31. Have a lemonade stand in the front yard.
32. Attend a local Vacation Bible School. There’s a VBS calendar in the Faith section of the Anniston Star every Saturday.
33. Read books! The public libraries in Oxford, Anniston, Jacksonville and Hobson City are each holding summer reading programs, with prizes for reading books plus lots of programs for kids. Oxford will have theater and magic shows. Anniston will have events for little kids, teens – including Zombie Awareness Day on Thursday – and adults. Hobson City will have a family campfire and zumba for kids. Jacksonville will throw a slumber party. And that’s just the beginning!
34. Create a masterpiece with sidewalk chalk.
35. Play in the sprinkler.
36. Celebrate Terrific Kid Tuesday at Quintard Mall every Tuesday in June and July, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. There will be a moon bounce, face painting and a live show at noon with Anniston Museum of Natural History. The event is free.
37. The AmStar movie theater at Quintard Mall will show Summer Kids Flicks at 10 a.m. every Tuesday and Wednesday. This deal runs May 29-August 1. A ticket is $3 and includes popcorn and a drink. For a movie schedule, check the website at thegrandtheatre.com.
38. Paddle down the Coosa River at the Gadsden First Friday Paddle Weekend, June 1-3. For more information and to register online, visit alabamascenicrivertrail.com/events.
39. Go on a scavenger hunt for geocaches around town. Check out geocaching.com to get started.
40. Go on a nature hike. Whether it’s down your street or on a trail through the mountains, get out and get moving this summer.
41. Build a valet organizer June 2 at Home Depot’s kids’ workshop, 9 a.m.-noon. (This could make a great Father’s Day gift.) Kids’ workshops, for ages 5-12, will take place the first Saturday of every month. Kids who participate receive an apron, certificate of achievement and commemorative pin. The workshops are free.
42. At Stone Mountain Georgia, you can hike or ride to the top of the mountain, visit the Great Barn or take a ride on the Scenic Railroad. And don’t forget to stay for the Lasershow Spectacular in Mountainvision, shown nightly at 9:30. Free with $10 parking. 800-401-2407, stonemountainpark.com.
43. The U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville is a place to relive your childhood dreams of going to Space Camp. Consider the Space Shot and the G-Force Accelerator, or The Challenge and Force! exhibits. There’s a special summer exhibit on “Mammoths and Mastodons: Titans of the Ice Age.” IMAX movies showing this summer include “To the Arctic” and “Space Junk.” “Air Racers” will be showing in 3-D. Admission plus a movie is $25 for adults, $20 for children. 800-63-SPACE, ussrc.com.
44. The summer season at Birmingham Children’s Theatre includes “The Three Billy Boats Gruff,” June 5-16, and “The Frog Prince,” July 24-Aug. 4. Performances are at the BJCC. $10 for adults, $8 for children. 205-458-8181, bct123.org.
45. Spend a day on the lake. Crystal Springs, Guntersville and Logan Martin are all beautiful this time of year.
46. Have a picnic in the park.
47. Take a ride on the brand-new mountain bike trail at Coldwater Mountain in Anniston, which will have its grand opening June 1-2. Coldwater Mountain will open with a one-mile loop and a 10-mile loop, the first trails in a planned multi-year project. For more info on Coldwater, visit sorba.org/node/440
48. Pan for gold – yep, real gold – at Alabama Gold Camp in Lineville, where there are miles of creek to pan, sluice and dredge. You might also find gemstones, fossils and Native American artifacts. $5, free for children 11 and under (cash or check only). 256-396-0389, alabamagoldcamp.com.
49. Fly kites on a windy day. You can make your own kite or buy one from the store.
50. Lowes’ Build and Grow kids’ workshops offer kids an opportunity to build wooden projects for free on Saturdays at 10 a.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Upcoming projects include an ice cream truck and a monkey-powered plane. Kids receive a free apron, goggles, patch and more when they participate. Register online at lowesbuildandgrow.com.