By Elisa Huot
Former educator and toddler parent
Heading out for a weekend adventure with Dad? Like it or not, dads find themselves at local home improvement stores each spring to tackle those “to-do” lists that never seem to end. These stores also provide a fun learning environment. Take time to intentionally walk through the store with your little ones — the lighting department, the paint department, or nursery area. Inevitably, your child’s curiosity will come out, spurring questions and requests to see how a tool or appliance works. Many store employees are happy to make your child’s experience memorable by obliging! Stores such as Home Depot offer wooden building kits for kids and on-site workshops to assist children with project-based skills.
Opportunities for enjoying spring weather are abundant in our area. A resurgence in golf over the past three years has more children being introduced to the game. Unfortunately, a full round of golf isn’t by nature kid-friendly — including the amount of time it takes to play and the cost. If you and your little are up to it, play some holes at Chalk Mountain Golf Course or try the driving range, where a bucket of balls starts at $5. No walking is required, as golf carts are available. It’s the perfect place to learn to play or practice … whatever fits your child’s attention span and your budget. The staff is committed to growing the game of golf, and it is the perfect course for an hour or two of fun.
The Charles Paddock Zoo is a favorite place to make memories with little ones. Start by heading to see the resident Malayan tiger, Mederu. He just celebrated his 15th birthday in May, so be sure to give him a belated birthday wish. After saying hello to Mederu, say hello to the red pandas and feel like you’re in another country. The zoo is a great place to stroll and again bring out your child’s curiosity.
To round out a fun spring day, head over to Atascadero Lake Park for some fishing and playground time. Start by taking a walk around the small lake. The tranquil lake provides the perfect setting to play with remote control boats, fish, or watch wildlife. For children under 16 years, no fishing license is necessary. Any kid’s rod and reel will do the job. A bobber with a small hook and a small worm setup works just fine in the late spring and early summer. At the park, you can also enjoy the playground, horseshoe pits, or the paddle boats at Mr. Putters Boathouse. With plenty of shade and group picnic areas, this is the perfect place for a family barbecue celebrating Dad. The boathouse is open Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.
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