By Angela Cisneros 

Happy birthday, America! The United States will be turning 248 years old this month, and I am grateful to call it home, specifically, Atascadero. We have a great community and small-town vibe that no other city has. And, we have the only AZA accredited zoo on the Central Coast! More on that coming up. 

So, let’s celebrate this birthday in style with the Atascadero 4th of July Music Festival at the Atascadero Lake Park from 4 to 8 p.m. There will be boating, bounce houses, games, food, and, of course, music. Bring your chair, blanket, and dancing shoes as we sit under the beautiful oaks and celebrate Independence Day.  


Summer and the Charles Paddock Zoo go hand-in-hand, especially when they include ice cream. Ice Cream Zoofari at the Charles Paddock Zoo on July 13 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. includes a wide variety of all-you-can-eat sweets and great family memories. Stroll through the zoo with your family, eating ice cream and marveling at the over 200 animals our zoo has. Instead of going to Madagascar this summer, come to the zoo and see the largest carnivore on the island of Madagascar, the fossa, who is new to our zoo because the previous fossa passed away from old age. Of course, Menderu, the endangered Malayan tiger, is always a crowd favorite.

This month, there are three Summers in the Park Saturday Concerts from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on July 6, 20, and 27. Come relax, eat some food, and maybe do some dancing. This is the perfect place to meet your friends and have a party without actually having a party at your house. I say it is a win-win! 

Summer is a time to be a bit adventurous, too. A-Town Chop Shop is an axe-throwing lounge and social club with music, funky vibes, and rustic décor. Whether it is a date night, friends night, or a random night, downtown Atascadero axe throwing is so much fun. Are you up for a little friendly competition?

Many of you love to get outside during the summer, and with the long daylight hours, Atascadero has some great trails to hike. Just outside of downtown is Stadium Park, and I’m not going to sugarcoat it: this one is tough if you plan on going to the top. The views are amazing, though, and it has a local history attached to it. Stadium Park was where the early settlers of Tent City went for community events, including church. The Three Bridges Trail is another hike with beautiful views, but if you are like me, I prefer the walk around the lake park, or the Jim Green Trail, if I feel energetic. I am not much of a hiker, but I do appreciate the beauty of Atascadero. 

Another great July celebrating Independence Day and this wonderful city we live in. While it may be a little warm this time of year, I am grateful my parents chose to live in Atascadero 40 years ago.


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