Whether you’re just passing through town, visiting for a few days, or if you’re a full-time, full-fledged family of Happy Valley – I think many of you might agree that summer in State College is amazing. The students have gone home, leaving our peaceful town to the locals for three-and-half glorious months of sunshine and fun. Don’t get me wrong, my husband and I chose to grow our roots here in part because of the academic community provided by the University… But it’s always a nice change of pace when the 40k large mass exodus of students occurs every May – especially now that we have a toddler in our lives.
Speaking of reasons why we chose to settle down in State College… My husband and I agreed early on that we wanted to live and raise our children in a family-friendly community where affordable activities and fun opportunities are easy to come by. This is true of State College year-round, but “cheap (FREE in a lot of cases) stuff to do with youngins’ during the summer” could easily be State’s claim to fame – if it weren’t for that Nittany Lion and his world-renown academic institution.
So what kinds of fun things, you ask, does the Stager family get into during the summer here in the Valley? Some activities occur every week, while others are special events scheduled on certain dates throughout the season. And of course there’re always the public community pools – Welch and Park Forest. When we first moved here, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the purchase of a season pool pass includes access to both facilities. This is factoring in HUGE for us this summer, as each pool features a unique and super fun childrens’ area. The toddler pool at Park Forest is proving to be slightly more do-able for Nora than the in-water playground at Welch. It’s not that mommy doesn’t love to go up and down the toddler tunnel waterslide twenty-six times per Welch Pool visit (I kept track last time…), but sometimes it’s nice to have another option.
State College families, here are some other local activities and events to Google Calendarize:
Movies on the Mountain, Tussey Mountain, Fridays @ dusk – Tussey Mountain invites families to bring a blanket and some lawn chairs over to the slopes to enjoy a $2 movie, drive-in style. Food and beverages are available for purchase at each movie, but you can also save some dinero by packing a picnic of your own. http://tusseymountain.com/moviesonmountain.php
Summer Read-it, Watch-it FREE Movie Series, State Theatre, Wednesdays @ noon – Sponsored by Weis Markets and Schlow Library, children of all ages are invited to the State Theatre downtown for a FREE movie every Wednesday as part of Schlow Library’s Read-It, Watch-It movie series. Bring a nonperishable for the local Food Bank, and enjoy a free healthy snack from Weis Markets after the show. Also, check out Schlow Library’s summer schedule for fun daily activities.
Wing Fest, Tussey Mountain Amphitheater, Thursdays 5:30-10pm – If you like live music, gorgeous views with spectacular sunsets, and chicken wings, then this festival is for you. Wing Fest is a competition where area restaurants bring their favorite wing sauces to compete for your vote. The winner of each week moves on to the final round, held at the end of the summer. Admission is $5 (children12 and under are free!). http://tusseymountain.com/wingfest.php
State College Spikes Baseball, Medlar Field @ Lumbrano Park – If you haven’t checked out our single A baseball team yet, you should! Check out the 2014 Promotion Schedule and make it a fun game night for the whole family. http://www.milb.com/promotions/index.jsp?sid=t1174
Central PA Festival of the Arts – Children & Youth Day, Downtown State College, Wednesday, 7/9/14, 10am-3pm Local artists ages 8-18 showcase and sell their own personal expressions of art on the downtown streets of State College. The day also features performances for and by young people, arts and crafts workshops and demonstrations, and a Grand Procession through the Festival. http://arts-festival.com/children-and-youth
Ag Progress Days at Penn State, Pennsylvania Furnace, PA, 8/12-8/14 – Pennsylvania’s largest outdoor agricultural exposition offers families the opportunity to learn more about local, national, and international agricultural and sustainability issues. There are about a gazillion cool tractors and lots of farm equipment for little ones to check out, a corn maze, and also fun informational presentations for kids on turtles, snakes, birds of prey and amphibians. http://agsci.psu.edu/apd/events/kids-family
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