Despite a long, wet spring, there's little doubt summer will come to the Rogue Valley. And almost as soon as the first hot afternoon has arrived, Rogue Valley families will begin hearing pleas from bored children needing places to go, things to do and ways to keep cool.
Phoenix resident Mandy Clark, with five kids between ages 3 and 16, says her kids are never short on things to do during the Rogue Valley's summer.
"We're lucky that we live somewhere that we can find stuff to do. There are always events going on, and there's also plenty to do that doesn't have to be scheduled," says Clark.
While Clark admits her kids aren't immune from complaining about boredom, "at least they have a list of things we can pick from to go and do," she says.
Here are some local options:
Most cities and towns offer respite from summer heat with zero-depth, water-play features. Seasons usually run Memorial Day through Labor Day, with hours from dawn to dusk.
For a faster pace, Emigrant Lake Water Slides, south of Ashland off Highway 66, offers two water slides, a spray park-style playground and picnic areas. For details, call Jackson County Parks at 541-776-7001.
Summer reading fun
Keeping kids reading over the summer is important and, with help from Jackson County Library Services, it can be fun, too. Summer reading programs kick off when school lets out, with activities geared for preschoolers through teenage readers. Details can be found at www.jcls.org/summer.html
Medford's Railroad Park features seven developed acres of full-size train cars, a working telegraph system and miniature train rides. The park is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. the second and fourth Sundays, April through October. Find details by calling City of Medford Parks and Recreation at 541-774-2400.
Movies in the Park
Movies in the Park will be held in Central Point and Medford this year.
City of Central Point Parks and Recreation will offer movies in Pfaff Park (behind the old post office) on second and fourth Fridays from July 15 to Aug. 19. Find a movie list at www.centralpointoregon.gov/parks
Medford's summer lineup runs from Tuesday, June 21, to Tuesday, Aug. 9. Movies start at dusk at the Bear Creek Park amphitheater. For details, call 541-774-2400.
Kids can help rescued animals and enjoy the scenic Applegate Valley at Sanctuary One at Double Oak Farm, which offers tours and insight into caring for animals and nature. Farm residents range from goats and horses to sheep and a pair of larger-than-life pigs named Lisa and Lulu. Tours take 90 minutes, and a donation of $5 is requested. For details, call 541-899-8627.
The annual Children's Festival, sponsored by Storytelling Guild of Jackson County, is set for July 10, 11 and 12 on the Britt Festival grounds in Jacksonville.
The three-day event, designed for children of all ages, features kid-friendly entertainment and craft booths ranging from leatherworks and pottery to beading and candle making. Admission costs $2, which gives children access to more than 30 hands-on activities. Sessions are set for 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Sunday, July 10; 9 a.m. to noon and 6 to 8:30 p.m. Monday, July 11; and 9 a.m. to noon July 12.
For more details, see www.storytellingguild.org/childrens-festival.html
Blades or wheels?
Two indoor skating rinks offer a choice of skating styles and range of schedule options.
The RRRink, Southern Oregon Ice Arena, offers ice-skating sessions and lessons almost daily. For information, call 541-770-1177 or see www.therrrink.com.
Roller Odyssey, 2425 S. Pacific Highway in Medford, offers reduced summer rates on roller skating. For details, call 541-772-1400 or see www.sk8info.com.
Family Fun Center
Rogue Valley Family Fun Center in Central Point is a hit with kids in any weather. Next door to the Jackson County Fairgrounds, the center — open daily — offers bumper boats, mini golf and batting cages (outside) and an oversized playhouse, skee ball and video games (inside). For information, call 541-664-4263 or see www.rvfamilyfuncenter.com.
A hands-on discovery museum, Kid Time! Discovery Experience moved this year to a new location at 106 N. Central Ave., in downtown Medford. The facility offers hands-on "play" exhibits ranging from a miniature bank, café and grocery store to a doctor's office, construction zone and, under partnership with Southern Oregon Historical Society, historical exhibits.
Admission is $6 for kids, $3 for adults. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. For details, call 541-772-9922 or see www.kid-time.org
Fun with science
Offering an educational approach to fun, ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum is brimming with exhibits — from a bubble room and large-scale kaleidoscope to special exhibits. Located at 1500 E. Main St., Ashland, the museum is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday during the summer.
Admission is $5 for kids ages 2 to 12, $7.50 for teens and adults and $5 for seniors. For details, call 541-482-6767 or see www.scienceworksmuseum.org.