Don’t be fooled by the fact that the “back-to-school” promotions started appearing in local stores around July 4. There is still plenty of summer to enjoy!
For the past few weeks of summer, I have some ideas to really mix it up with something loud and action-packed, something calm and peaceful, and something in between.• For some excitement and noise, head east on 322 about an hour, just beyond Mifflintown, to the Port Royal Speedway. They have races every Saturday night. I have to confess, this is one outing that I chose to skip in favor of encouraging a little father-son bonding, so I don’t have a first-hand description, and I honestly don’t know what the difference is between pro stocks, late models, or 410 and 305 sprints. But I know that it is loud enough that you will need to take some sort of ear protection, especially for the kids. Each Saturday features a different theme; on Aug. 10, there will be a “Kids Candy Scramble.” For more information, visit portroyalspeedway.com.
• Balance the noisy excitement with a hike in the serene setting of Millbrook Marsh Nature Center on Puddintown Road in State College. My kids have participated in wonderful educational programs here through Centre Region Parks & Recreation and Cub Scouts, but it is also a nice place to visit independently. As you walk along the grassy paths or the boardwalk covering 62 acres along Spring Creek, you will come across all sorts of flora and fauna that one might expect to find in a marsh setting, including cattails and thistle. You’ll also see wildlife, including many species of birds, frogs or toads, and other slithering reptiles. The facilities, including the barn and picnic pavilion, can be rented out for birthday parties and private functions. Visit crpr.org for more information.
• Finally, Pennsylvania’s largest outdoor agricultural exhibition, Ag Progress Days, takes place Aug. 13-15 at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center in Pennsylvania Furnace. While it does feature the latest agricultural technology and research exhibits, it is not just for those interested in farming. This annual event offers many activities of interest to kids and families, including a corn maze, go-karts, horses, turtles, mini golf, talking robots, scavenger hunts, and a chance for kids to climb 40-foot trees with ropes and a harness. Find out more at www.agsci.psu.edu/apd.