Beating the Heat

mvoorhis@sierrastar.comJuly 15, 2014 

Okay, it's hot. Real hot. In an effort to keep the children entertained, while throwing in a little education for good measure, most families are looking for quick, inexpensive ways to cool down and beat the heat — and Oakhurst has plenty to offer during these sizzling, sometimes scorching temperatures.

Oakhurst Library

Falconer Cat Krosschell (Birds of Prey for Environmental Education) had the attention of an enraptured young and inquisitive audience as she spoke on birds of prey, also known as raptors. Krosschell had help with her presentation from six-year-old Peregrine Falcon (Chang), who was initially hooded to keep him calm; four-year-old Red Tailed Hawk (Billy), mellow compared to Chang; and her 22-year-old Great Horned Owl (Sammy), who was not having a good day.

According to Krosschell, because most birds of prey have to hunt every day all day for enough food to survive, they only live seven years out in the wild. Her birds, however, like Chang, could live to be 27.

The 2014 Summer Reading Program, sponsored by the Oakhurst Library, has been in full-swing since mid-June.

"Because of this year's theme — Paws to Read — we have offered a lot of animal or animal-related programs," Library Manager Dale Rushing said, "and we are growing. Last year, we had 57 families registered and this year, we already have 93 families and counting. As for numbers of children, last year we had 119 and this year so far, we have 191."

Grades 5-12 is held 11:30 a.m., Wednesdays at the Oakhurst Library.

July 23 — Cat Haven: Cheetah

July 30 — Finale party at 10 a.m.

The Paws to Read program for children 4 years to grade 4, is held 10 a.m., Wednesdays, at the Oakhurst Community Center.

July 23 — Cat Haven: Cheetah

July 30 — Finale party

Details: (559) 683-4838.

Children's Museum

Some came specifically to attend fun and educational science classes, or (for pre-schoolers) to learn the basics of opposites and senses. Others did their own thing — donning a lab coat to play doctor to a willing "patient," like Natalie Walsh, 8, using a stethoscope to examine her cousin, one-year-old Charlotte Ridlon; or future shopper, 10-month-old Zadie Ramz latching on to a miniature plastic shopping cart — perhaps more for balance than pushing.

In a continual effort to stave off summer boredom, upcoming classes at the Children's Museum include:

For kindergarten through third grades, hands-on science classes are held Wednesdays at 11 a.m.:

July 23 — Solar energy, pizza box oven

July 30 — Simple machines, pulleys

For pre-schoolers, aged 2-5, and their parent, classes are held Wednesdays 1-2 p.m., or Fridays 10:30-11:30 a.m.; the same curriculum is offered both days, and parents are asked to pick the day and time most convenient to their schedule. Classes include movement and coordination, science, art, circle time and much more, with some of the themes being based on museum exhibits.

July 23, 25 — Plants and flowers

July 30, Aug. 1 — My senses

Aug. 6, 8 — Frogs and bugs

Aug. 13, 15 — Nature

Aug. 20, 22 — Ocean and pirates

Aug. 27, 29 — Solar system

The classes are free with membership or paid admission. Class size is limited so reservations are requested, (559) 658-5656.

Boys & Girls Club

Oakhurst Elementary School students, Kylie Trinca, Hailey Espinoza and Paige Bartlett were focused on adding their names, using glittery glue and Pup paint, to a Boys & Girls Club art flag, which will be hung once completed. Bartlett's cousin, Aiden McCarty was busy on the computer. Another boy kept himself entertained shooting hoops, while others enjoyed table games. No matter what activity occupied their young minds, all agreed the Boys & Girls Club was a fun place to hang-out and play with friends.

"During the summer, we average 15-30 children per day," Unit Director Peggy Decker said. "During the school year, it's more like 50-75. It's a place where the kids can feel safe, are off the streets, and can have a good time."

Summer months also means field trips — up to three per week — to places like the Chaffee Zoo, Blackbeard's, Wild Water Adventures and Reimer's Candies.

The club is open noon-6 p.m. Monday through Friday during the summer; and from 2-6 p.m., (earlier on minimum days) during the school year. The dues for the entire summer are $100; during the school year, for low-income families, $10 per month per child; and for others, $40 per month per child (up to a maximum of $100 per month).

Details: bgcoakhurst.com; or Peggy Decker, (559) 642-4600.

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