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Making the most of what's left of summer

A barred owl takes wing from its perch in a tree at Piney Run Park in Eldersburg on April 16, 2015. The park features a range of activities during the summer.
A barred owl takes wing from its perch in a tree at Piney Run Park in Eldersburg on April 16, 2015. The park features a range of activities during the summer.(DYLAN SLAGLE/Carroll County Times)

It can be easy to let the summer months fly by without doing everything you intended to do during the break from school. Now that the first half of the season has passed by, are you making headway on your summer bucket list? To make sure the kids don't go back to school in September complaining about everything they didn't get a chance to do, the Times has gathered a selection of fun Carroll County activities for the rest of July and August.

Amusement parks

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An unsung feature of the Carroll County Department of Recreation and Parks is their selection of discounted tickets to area amusement parks. Carroll County residents can save between $10 and $35 on tickets for the biggest amusement parks in driving distance, including Hershey Park, Busch Gardens, King's Dominion, Six Flags and more. Tickets can be purchased in person from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Recreation and Parks office, 300 South Center St., Westminster, or can be mailed to you by ordering online at ccgovernment.carr.org. Tickets can also be ordered by phone for in-person pick-up at 410-386-2103.

Matthew Croco, 4, of Westminster, holds a tagged Monarch butterfly just prior to releasing it as sister Lily, 6, looks on during the Monarch Madness Festival at Bear Branch Nature Center in Westminster on Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016.
Matthew Croco, 4, of Westminster, holds a tagged Monarch butterfly just prior to releasing it as sister Lily, 6, looks on during the Monarch Madness Festival at Bear Branch Nature Center in Westminster on Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016.(Alan White/for Carroll County Times)

Bear Branch

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The Bear Branch Nature Center is a great local resource for families looking for an educational outing that's both fun and outdoorsy. Hashawha's trails are open to the public from dawn until dusk every day, while the Nature Center is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The center features both live and taxidermied animals as well as educational resources and special events throughout the summer. Future events include a Firefly Fiesta Campfire on Saturday, July 22; Stream Search on Saturday, Aug, 5; Planetarium Show on Saturday, Aug. 12; and a Monarch Magic butterfly search on Saturday, Aug. 19. Programs are $5 per person and require pre-registration. For more information, email bearbranch@ccg.carr.org or call 410-386-3580.

Piney Run

Piney Run Park and Nature Center also features a number of activities, both scheduled and unstructured throughout the summer. Entrance to the park is $5 per vehicle for Carroll County residents and the gates are open from 7 a.m. to sunset every day. In addition to the park's facilities, there are still a number of events open to the public throughout the summer. Saturday, Aug. 5, they will host a campfire and owl prowl for $10 per person, where guests can meet with one of the park's owls and then search for wild owls during a night hike. Saturday, Aug. 19, they will host "Once Upon a Seed, There Was a Pumpkin," an event dedicated to learning about pumpkins and gourds. Attendees from the ages of 3 to 10 will create a dried gourd craft and then plant a pumpkin seed themselves. Registration is $10. Those who want to explore the area, should check out the park's Hike to the Dam from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 26. Attendees will explore the underdeveloped side of Piney Run Lake and check out the dam. A light snack is included in the $7 fee.

The Carroll Arts Center will host a screening of The Lego Batman Movie on Tuesday, Aug. 8. - Original Credit:
The Carroll Arts Center will host a screening of The Lego Batman Movie on Tuesday, Aug. 8. - Original Credit:(HANDOUT)

Bowling

It can be most satisfying on an otherwise dull summer night to hit the lanes and knock down some pins at your local bowling alley. Each of Carroll's three alleys feature both tenpin and duckpin lanes, as well as food and drink options. They are each open throughout the week, but a trip is most cost-effective by hitting up their weekly Glow Bowl or Rock and Roll specials. Taneytown's Thunderhead Bowl and Grill, 4337 Old Taneytown Road, Taneytown, hosts a Saturday Glow Bowl family event which runs between 5 and 8 p.m. and features an hour of bowling, a cheese pizza and a pitcher of soda for up to five people for $44.97. The session can be extended to two hours for $15 more and extra bowlers are $5 a piece. Starting at 8:30 p.m. and running to 11 p.m. is the alley's Jukebox Glow Bowl which includes two-and-a-half hours of bowling for $55 per lane with $5 per extra bowler. Greenmount Bowl, 1625 N. Main St., Hampstead, hosts a Rock and Bowl every Friday and Saturday night from 9 to 11 p.m. The deal features 2 hours of unlimited bowling and free shoe rental for $13 per person. Mt. Airy Lanes, 304 Center St., Mount Airy, also features a Rock and Bowl every Saturday from 9 to 11 p.m. for $14 per person.

Makenzie Bowersox, 5, of Westminster, runs along a path in search of butterflies during the Monarch Madness Festival at Bear Branch Nature Center in Westminster on Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016.
Makenzie Bowersox, 5, of Westminster, runs along a path in search of butterflies during the Monarch Madness Festival at Bear Branch Nature Center in Westminster on Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016.(Alan White / Carroll County Times)

Free movies

There are few better ways to beat the summer heat than by cooling down in an air-conditioned theater. Throughout the summer, the Carroll Arts Center, 91 W. Main St., Westminster, is hosting a number of free family movies as well as screenings of some modern and classic films. Each Tuesday, they are hosting free family movies at 7 p.m. "Sing" will be screened Tuesday, July 25, followed by "The Secret of Nimh" on Aug. 1 and concluding with "The Lego Batman Movie" Aug. 8. In addition to this series, the Therapeutic Recreation Council and Adaptive Recreation with the Department of Recreation and Parks is hosting a sensory friendly screening of "Moana" at 10:30 a.m. Monday, Aug. 7. Tickets are free, but seats must be reserved by emailing dgemmill@ccg.carr.org. For those looking for an adult evening out, the Film Lovers in Carroll County are hosting a screening of "Captain Fantastic" written and directed by Matt Ross and starring Viggo Mortensen.

410-857-7890



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