School is almost out and the thought of long summer days stretched out doing nothing lurk in the backs of many kids’ minds. However, the reality is that about a week into vacation many begin to complain, “I’m bored.”
The Kenai Peninsula offers a variety of indoor and outdoor activities that should satisfy most kids’ tastes and most parents’ pocketbooks.
The following is a list of places families may want to try out over summer break:
■ Fishing — Combat fishing is not for the faint of heart or those without protective head gear. The high-tension environment doesn’t always provide the best fishing opportunities for novice anglers, especially kids. However there are many stocked lakes on the Kenai Peninsula that may be perfect for those looking for a relaxed experience or who are just learning how to wet a line. For a complete list of stocked lakes on the peninsula, visit the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s Web site at www.adfg.state.ak.us/. It also has current license requirements.
■ Hiking — Hiking and biking trails traverse much of the peninsula. Here are a few examples: Russian Lakes Trail — the trail head is one mile down Russian River Campground Road, at Mile 52 of the Sterling Highway near Cooper Landing. This moderate trail leads to lower Russian Lake and Russian River Falls. Resurrection Trail — the trail head is at Mile 53 of the Sterling Highway. This moderate trail noted as “a serious challenge for bikers” is a 38-mile stretch from its trail head on the Sterling Highway to the town of Hope. Tsalteshi Trails in Soldotna behind Skyview High School are for hikers or mountain bikers who’d like to stay closer to town. Visit www.tsalteshi.org.
■ Wildlife viewing — There is no one best place to go for this easy and cheap activity, because the peninsula’s abundant wildlife is always on the move. The best bet is to keep your eyes peeled. The Kenai River flats offer a chance to see birds, moose and caribou, while Captain Cook State Recreation Area in Nikiski is home to everything from birds and fish to moose and bears.
Anyone tired of seeing yet another moose or who needs a respite from slapping mosquitoes can take part in the some of the following activities that may appeal to kids.
■ Bowling — Alaskalanes Family Bowling Center, Kenai, 907-283-3314.
■ Boys and Girls Clubs of the Kenai Peninsula — Boys and Girls Club, Homer, 907-235-2772; Boys and Girls Club, Soldotna, 260-7085; Boys and Girls Club, Kenai, 283-2682.
■ Museums and art centers — Kenai Fine Arts Center, Kenai, 283-7040; Alaska SeaLife Center, Seward 907-224-6300; and Pratt Museum, Homer, 907-235-8635.
■ Theaters — Kambe Theater, Kenai, 907-283-4554 and Orca Theater, Soldotna, 907-262-7003.
■ Indoor inflatable playground — Jumpin’ Junction on Kalifornsky Beach Road, 907-420-0566.
Visitor centers and chambers of commerce have brochures, pamphlets and books for activities in their areas.
Kenai — Chamber of Commerce and Visitors and Cultural Center, 907-283-1991, 11471 Kenai Spur Highway
Soldotna — Chamber of Commerce, 907-262-9814; Visitor Information Center, 907-262-1337. Both located at 44790 Sterling Highway
Homer — Chamber of Commerce, 907-235-7740; and Visitor Information Center, 907-235-7740. Both at 135 Sterling Highway
Ninilchik — Chamber of Commerce, 907-576-3571, located at 16785 Sterling Highway
Readers of all ages will explore all things science this summer as the Soldotna Public Library presents “Fizz, Boom, Read!” during our summer library program. Activities may include science experiments, crafts, nature explorations and more.
The program is open to young people, preschool through young adult, with programs, prize drawings, story times, and more.
For more information and to find out about special events, call the library at 262-4227, email us at email@example.com, or visit us on Facebook!
All programs are free of charge.
The Sterling Community Center is open! We have lots of Open Gym times, snacks, a library, public computers, foosball, ping pong, and other games. Toddler Time is Wednesdays from noon-1 p.m., and Zumba is available to all ages on Mondays and Wednesdays from 5:30-6:30 p.m. For teens, we have volleyball on Monday evenings, 7-9 p.m., and basketball on Thursday evenings, 7-9 p.m.
The Sterling Community Center will also be hosting the SCC Triathlon on Saturday, Aug. 2. Teams are 2 people and the race includes running, biking, and canoeing.
There will be more summer activities and events planned at the SC Center, so check out our calendar at www.sterlingcommunityclub.com, or Facebook “Sterling Community Center” for updates. For more information, call the Sterling Community Center at 262-7224, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Frontier Community Services 11th annual World Series Baseball event is June 21 at the Kenai Little League fields. Player sign-in begins at 10 a.m.; opening ceremonies at noon. The event includes baseball, crazy hair, face painting, hamburgers and hot dogs, and more. Anyone with a developmental disability is welcome to play. Contact Kathy Kenner at 262-6331 for more information or to sign up.
The Tri the Kenai triathlon, June 8 at Skyview High School, includes a kids triathlon for ages 6-14 (100-yard swim, 4-kilometer trail bike, 3-kilometer run). The kids triathlon is open to individual competitors and relay teams. Youth registration is $25; youth team registration is $70. Registration for all events closes June 1. For more information or to register, go to www.trithekenai.com.
David Thomas, Kenai Middle School’s MathCounts coach, will be presenting recreational and middle-school competitive math topics at the Kenai Community Library again this Summer, each Wednesday from 10 a.m. to noon starting on May 28. This is a free activity for current 5th, 6th, and 7th graders with high mathematical aptitude who enjoy creative, challenging math in topics including probability, logic, geometry, and number theory. Students can be from any school or homeschooled. Email email@example.com for more information.
Pitch Hit Run Baseball & Softball Skills Competition — For boys and girls 7 to 14 years old, May 31 at 1 p.m. at the Nikiski Community Recreation Center. Participation is free. Winners will be compared with other local Alaska event qualifiers for the chance to compete during Major League Baseball’s All Stars Week this fall.
NCRC Open Gym — All ages family gym time, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Mondays and 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. on Wednesdays in June and July. Located at the Nikiski Community Recreation Center. $1/participant; parents must supervise children.
NCRC Teen Center — Open to teens 13 to 18 years old, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday in May, June and July. Located at NCRC. $1/participant. The Teen Center is comprised of two rooms dedicated to teens. There are a variety of recreational activities for the students to participate in including, games, pool table, foosball table, air hockey, table tennis, DDR, Rock Band, video games, computers, and more.
High School Basketball Open Gym — Teens 9th – 12th grade, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays at the Nikiski Community Recreation Center. $1/participant.
NPRSA Skateboard Park — Open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily May through September at the Nikiski Community Recreation Center. Register Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. with NCRC staff. $10/participant summer ID fee. The Skateboard Park is for skateboards only, offering a variety of ramps for participants to practice and showcase their skills. No bikes allowed in park.
Flag Football — Open to boys and girls 4th through 8th grade. Games will be held on Monday and Thursday evenings during August and September. Located at the Nikiski Pool Fields. Registration deadline is August 1. $30/participant. The Youth Football program is a coed league for boys and girls in fourth through eighth grade.
Geocache Tournament — All ages welcome July 18th, noon start at the Nikiski Community Recreation Center. GPS required for participation. Bring the whole family.
For more information about North Peninsula Recreation activities, call 776-8800 or visit www.northpenrec.com.
Visit the Kenai Watershed Forum’s free Kid’s Zone during the Kenai River Festival, June 7-8, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at Centennial Park in Soldotna. With 20-plus activities for all ages, there is something for everyone!
Activities geared toward kids a the Kenai Birding Festival include:
■ PEEPs Art Exhibit on display at the Kenai Fine Arts Center throughout the month of May.
■ Live Bird Show, May 15, 6-8 p.m. at Kenai Visitor Center, free admission. Ages 6 and up.
■ A Sparrow Song, May 16, 6-7:30 p.m. at the Kenai Visitor Center, free admission, ages 10 and up. Enjoy storytelling, dancing and music as we explore the connection between the Kenaitze people and birds.
■ Birding 101 — May 17, 8-9:30 a.m., register for location information. Ages 12 and up. Learn how to sharpen your eagle eyes to find birds in the great outdoors!
■ Children’s Program — May 17, 10 a.m.-noon, register for location information. All ages. The Kenai Peninsula Birding Festival Children’s Program will have your young birder thinking outside of the nest!
■ FILM: “The Big Year” (PG), May 17, 7-8:30 p.m. Free admission. Ages 12 and up. Enjoy the birding comedy starring Jack Black and Steve Martin as they attempt to outcompete Owen Wilson in bird sightings.
■ Backyard Birding BBQ — May 18, noon-2:00 p.m. at Marlow’s on the Kenai, 36370 Stephens Drive, Soldotna, free for all ages. Enjoy birding trivia, children’s activities, riverside birding, a potluck and more at this Kenai Peninsula Birding Festival event.
For more information or to register for events, call 907-260-5449 or visit www.KenaiBirdFest.com.