April 11, 2013

School's Out: Find your fun with kids

School vacation week is here – and here’s what you can do with the kids.

By Ray Routhier rrouthier@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

School’s out for…

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The Gustafer Yellowgold show at Space should please young and old.

Courtesy photo

Additional Photos Below

Only a week, never you mind what Alice Cooper says.

But school vacation can seem a lot longer if you have a house full of bored children chanting, “We’ve got nothing to do, we’ve got nothing to do.”

Luckily, Greater Portland seems to gear up for school vacation weeks, so there’s usually a lot of innovative and thought-provoking stuff for families to do.

This means you have no excuse. Don’t just turn on the TV or the video games. Check out all the school vacation activities around southern Maine – from laser shows and bird shows to live theater and dancing – and pick one.

School vacation week is technically next week, April 15-19. But a lot of school systems have Friday off too, so you might want to get an early start with your planning.

To help you find something suitable, we’ve hand-picked the following to give you an idea of what’s going on. But after reading this, do a little exploring on your own, and you’re bound to find even more things to make the vacation week fly by.

LASER MANIA 2013

If you’re a laser show fan, you don’t want to miss Laser Mania 2013 at the University of Southern Maine’s Southworth Planetarium in Portland.

And don’t worry, it’s not easy to miss. Laser Mania consists of 10 days of laser shows, sometimes up to five shows a day. These laser light extravaganzas range from shows about the constellations to rollicking music-based shows.

The latter include “Fright Light,” which includes Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”; “Hypnotica,” a show set to techno tunes; “Laser Magic,” based on a selection of music ranging from Yanni to Weird Al Yankovic; “Laseropolis,” featuring high-energy music from the B-52s and others; “Laser Retro,” with a focus on ’80s pop bands such as Duran Duran and The Police; and “Laser Vinyl,” with a focus on harder-edged retro-rock bands such as AC/DC, Aerosmith and Van Halen.

For a complete list of shows and times, go to the planetarium’s website below.

Laser Mania 2013. Various times, Friday through April 21. Southworth Planetarium, University of Southern Maine, 70 Falmouth St., Portland. $5.50, plus $1 for 3-D glasses. usm.maine.edu/planet/laser-mania-2013-1

GUSTAFER YELLOWGOLD

Aimed at youngters, but cool for grown-ups too. That’s the lowdown on Gustafer Yellowgold, a storybook character who comes to life in a variety of groovy ways during live performances.

Illustrator and musician Morgan Taylor developed the character to be the focal point of a “musical moving book.” The show is a cross between a rock concert and an animated story following Gustafer, who hails from the sun, as he explores the Minnesota woods. But this week, he’ll be doing it before a Saturday-morning crowd at Space Gallery.

Gustafer Yellowgold’s Rock Melon Tour. 11 a.m. Saturday. Space Gallery, 538 Congress St., Portland. $8. space538.org

BOOK YOUR FUN

Libraries are always crucial parts of the community, but during a school vacation week, they become even more so. Many libraries schedule free, fun activities to keep kids busy.

The thing about libraries is, there’s one in just about every town, so you can find one near you. And again, they’re free. So check out your local library’s website to see what it may be planning.

For an example of what a library might do during school vacation week, check out these events at Baxter Memorial Library in Gorham: An assortment of board games will be on hand for “Game Day” on Wednesday afternoon; “Pet Rock Day” on Thursday afternoon invites people to decorate their own pet rocks; and the Lego Club on Saturday morning is for anyone who loves Legos. And of course, who doesn’t?

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Additional Photos

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Laser Mania 2013 extravaganza includes 10 days of laser shows.

Courtesy photo

  


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