A No Bummer Summer: Kids in Johnstown

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

As the summer stretches before us with beautiful sunshine, blue skies, and a persistent hum of crickets - suddenly, a voice calls out from the other room..."Mum, I'm bored!"  It's day three of summer vacation #Lawdhelpme.

I'm all about boredom being a catalyst to creativity, so we spend plenty of time around here doing what I like to call "free range independent play" or possibly more recognizable as, "find something to do, or I will give you a chore to do."  But I also know and appreciate the wide variety of things that we can do as a family all summer long right here in our community.  We try to live a healthy balance of summer boredom in our own backyard mixed up with a love to hop in and out of activities and visits to keep our summer fun and memory filled.

If you're a local Flood City family, you are in luck - for I have painstakingly copied&pasted links throughout this whole list of over 21 different ideas for A No Bummer Summer:  kids in Johnstown.  (you're welcome...actually, you can thank my parents as I had the time to do this while they took the kids to Idlewild for the day!  Insiders tip:  Set a reminder to buy Idlewild season passes for the kids and grandparents on Black Friday this fall for basically the cost of one visit!! It's a great holiday gift!)

I'm not a robot, so I'm certain I missed a few great local ideas, so please share in the comments so we can all take advantage of this awesome area we live in!  Happy Summering all!  We'll see you out there! xxoxo tab

A No Bummer Summer:  Kids in Johnstown

Check out books at the library.  The Cambria County library offers free lunch for kids in the summer months (our kids love having Lunch at the Library once a week) and while you're at it; check out the calendar of fun events or their facebook feed that the library hosts all summer long - including Tales with Tails (read with therapy dogs!), kid book club, afternoon family movies, and weekly Storytime hours for kids from babies to school-aged.

Relax with an outdoor movie.  Our very own Johnstown has one of only 348 movie theaters that remain in operation in all of the United States!  The Silver Drive In shows movies every weekend (Friday-Sunday) and posts their schedule earlier in the week on Facebook.  Discover Downtown Johnstown Partnership has set up an Outdoor theater in Central Park for the summer with five dates scheduled for free admission movies playing at dusk including Toy Story on July 15; Field of Dreams on August 6, (and just in time for football season!) Remember the Titans on August 19, 2017.

Participate in a summer class or camp. Bottleworks has week long themed summer camps or single classes including 'Paint along with a grownup' and Kid Yoga.  The Community Arts Center in Westmont offers three day session Summer Art Camps for ages 3-12 and newly added Teen classes for 13+.  You can do some self-guided learning at the Johnstown Children's Museum while you check out their rooftop garden, water room and coal mine slide.  The Learning Lamp offers summer camps for pre-school aged and school-aged kids - and even a performing arts camp for ages 6-12 culminating in two live performances! As well as, many local churches hold summer Vacation Bible School.

Quemahoming Family Recreation Park
Find your new Favorite Spot.  Spend the day at the Quemahoming Dam or Laurel Hill State Park.  Both places have great sand beaches leading into swim areas, playgrounds, water equipment rentals, pavilions, picnic tables, and spots for fishing!  You can easily spend a whole day at either spot and come home tired, sun-kissed, and deliriously happy - tuck those kids into bed with the knowledge they had a great, old-fashioned, screen free (!), summertime day.

Float. A summertime must: Coal Tubin on the Stonycreek River!  If you have a kayak or canoe check out the Benscreek Canoe Club website for places to paddle (also see their full moon paddles on the Que this summer!).  Quemahoming Dam and Laurel Highlands Parks both rent canoes, kayaks, and paddle boards.  Hinckstown Run Dam is a great, quiet spot to do some boating (and fishing!) And Raystown Lake is the place to go if you can get your hands on a motor boat to do some water skiing!

Bike ride. Some great paths for the non-mountain bikers and kids include:  the Staple Bend Tunnel (2 miles to the tunnel), the Ghost Town Trail (various lengths), The Coal & Coke Trail (6 miles one way) in Mount Pleasant or the Westmoreland Heritage Trail in Delmont (5.9 miles one way).  Head on out to Ohiopyle to bike (lots of rental places available) and watch the white water rafters and kayakers float by. In the late afternoons, we sometimes just head over to our local school parking lots in the summer to give the kids wide open paved space to bike ride (scooter or roller blade) too.

Take a Hike. Explore our local parks and trails on foot:  Stackhouse Park, Jim Mayer Trail, Coy/McCombie Trail (on the other side of the Staple Bend Tunnel and part of the Path of the Flood trail).  And while you're out there - consider doing a little Geocaching!

Hitch a ride on a horse.  Oak Street Stables offers guided trail rides in Carrolltown (they also have pygmy therapy goats to snuggle!) or check out the Laurel Highlands Horseback Riding suggestions.

Ebensburg Swimming Pool 
SWIM: take a dip in any of these local swimming pools for a small fee (or buy a season pass!): Windber Rec, Nanty Glo pool, Ligonier Beach, Ebensburg Pool

CAMP:  Gallitzin State Forest, Quemahoming DamShawnee State Park, Laurel Highlands (multiple parks listed!), or right in your own backyard!

Watch a race.  Johnstown BMX hosts races most Thursday nights in the summer months. Check out Jennerstown Speedway if cars are more your speed.  And if you prefer motorcross, head on out to Pleasure Valley Racing.

Listen to live music. There are free summer concerts at Roxbury Bandshell every Sunday night. The Community Arts Center in Westmont hosts Concert on the Greens in their lawn on Wednesday nights at 7p beginning on June 28.   J-town Jam Fest at PNG Park will be held on July 15, 2017 and benefits the Johnstown Children's Museum & Paw's House! The Flood City Music Fest is being held on August 4-5, 2017.  And every Friday in August, Penn Eben Park in Ebensburg has free concerts in the park.

Play a round or two of mini golf: there's a course at The Ranger near Forrest Hills, Jake's Mini Golf in Somerset, and when it's raining - you can do some Glo Golfing in the mall.

Greenhouse Park playground
Playground hop.  We have lots of great playgrounds in each of the different communities of our area.  The Greenhouse Park playground tends to be our favorite because it's close and also boosts the Stoneycreek River which gives our kids a chance to skip rocks and watch the kayakers and tubers float by.  Sometimes it takes word of mouth to find a new playground, or just ya happen on it kind of scenario as you're driving through - so keep your eyes peeled!  There's a great playground for all different aged kids up on Luray Ave (volleyball courts too!) and obviously Roxbury Park boasts one of the biggest playgrounds in the area.  ACRP Play Center in Cambria City has both outdoor and indoor playgrounds and Hogue's Fun Factory in the mall has a ton of bounce houses for those rainy summer days...and, don't forget - now that's school's out - all the local public school playgrounds are open during daylight hours!

Grab some local produce at the Farmer's Markets:  Downtown Johnstown Farmer's Market on Friday afternoons from 2-5p in Central Park, St Francis Sharing & Caring  on Thursdays from 2-5p in Hollsopple, Ebensburg Farmer's Market in Penn Eben Park from 9-noon every Saturday beginning July 8th, and at the Somerset's Farmer's Market at the Georgian Place on Saturday mornings from 9-noon. The Green Grower Grown Organic Produce folks pop up throughout the week locally like on Luray Ave on Tuesdays!  Or Pick your own Blueberries at Stutzman Farms near Indiana or Pick your own Cherries at Ridgetop Orchards in Fishertown (they have peaches available in late summer too!)

Enjoy the local festival season:  Thunder in the Valley is June 23-25, 2017 and has it's own designated children's section near the library downtown with bounce houses and face painting. The 3rd Avenue Arts Fest will be held on July 1-2, 2017; it's free and family friendly showcasing local artists from noon-10p both days.  The Jackson Heritage Festival will be held July 14-16, 2017 rain or shine and features live music, vendor booths, a petting zoo, and a model train display. The Ferndale Jubilee will be held July 17-22, 2017 of this year. Ebensburg Downtown Shutdown is scheduled for Friday night, July 28, 2017.  Richland Community Days are scheduled for August 18-20, 2017 this year and will feature a 5K run, live music, local food vendors, lots of kids' activities, and craft vendors.

Take a ride on a train. You can visit Horseshoe Curve in Altoona, or if you have friends or family living along the Pennsylvanian Amtrak line, you can visit them the slow paced way and watch our beautiful PA scenery go by.  The Pennsylvanian runs daily from Pittsburgh to NYC, NY - with a stop right downtown at our Johnstown train station.

Altoona Curve game
Eat some Cracker Jacks and root for the home team.  What's more of an American Summer than taking in a baseball game?  Our very own city is the host of the national AAABA tournament (scheduled for August 7-13, 2017).  Our next door neighbor, Altoona boasts the minor league Curve baseball team, and all summer long you can stumble upon local baseball tourneys.

Scream for Ice Cream!  So many delicious ice cream joints to visit in our community.  It might even be fun to make an Ice Cream Passport for the summer and check off of the spots and rate your favorite flavors.  You can check out: Shaffer's Frosty Freeze, Roxberry Creamery, The Meadows, The Silver Bell, Oshea's on Scalp, and The Ranger

Be a local tourist.  You live here, I know - but do you know the rich history of our community?  There are lots of local and nearby spots that have interesting historical details that you can be proud of.  Take a ride on the World's (!!) steepest Incline Plane, learn in the Johnstown Flood Museum, Leave a note of hope in our Little Red Mailbox at Point Park and if you visit near dusk, you'll bask in the lights of the Stone Bridge. Hike the Path of the Flood trail, stop by the Heritage Discovery Center, visit Fort Ligonier, relive the joy of the 9 for 9 at the Quecreek Mine Rescue Site, remember the brave at the Flight 93 Memorial, or take in the beauty at Frank Lloyd Wright's Falling Water.

Idlewild & Soak Zone
Make a day of it.  If you're willing to drive a little bit for some fun:  Idlewild & SoakZoneDelgrosso's amusement parkLiving Treasures wild animal parkPenn's CaveLincoln Caverns, and Seven Springs are all within an hour or so drive from Flood City.


So, what are you waiting for!  Get out there and remind your kids (and yourself!) how much fun we can have right here in our own neighborhood!  #floodcitysummer

Please share any other suggestions and fun things to do to in the comments!

1 comment:

  1. Okay. Now please move to Washington and compile a beautiful little post like this for me, mmmk?