Kids’ Almanac (May 15-22)

Slabsides Day in West Park

The John Burroughs retreat Slabsides, with its surrounding nature sanctuary, is such a special spot. Visitors are welcome to hike the trails for free; you can gaze at the gorgeous Sanctuary Pond; and it’s all located just moments from Route 9, yet feels worlds away. Got Scout troops, 4-H Clubs or other groups that you’d like to take on interesting-yet-very-manageable woods walks? The land around Slabsides is a terrific location for that, too.

But how can you get inside the Slabsides cabin? You can always arrange to reserve a volunteer docent to give your group a tour – or you can come to this Saturday’s Open House. On Saturday, May 17, Slabsides will be open for guided tours from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., with a presentation at 12 noon. If it has been a while since you’ve visited Slabsides, make a stop this Saturday and see what they’re doing with the entranceway!

Slabsides and the Nature Sanctuary are located at 261 Floyd Ackert Road in West Park. For more information about Burroughs, the organization, membership or the trails, call (845) 384-6320 or visit the newly updated website at



Rondout Valley Holistic Health Community festival at Marbletown Park

This weekend, have some family fun while supporting community holistic health care! On Saturday, May 17 from 12 noon to 4 p.m., Julie Novak emcees at the Rondout Valley Holistic Health Community (RVHHC) “funraiser” festival at Marbletown Park, which includes music, games for kids and adults, organic Mexican food, dancing, a raffle, mini-classes such as hula-hoop tutorials and more.

Admission to the festival includes lunch and activities and is charged on a $15-to-$25 sliding scale for individuals, $40 for families and free for children under 5 years.

RVHHC operates free holistic self-care classes, free film nights and a monthly clinic on the third Tuesday of the month from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Marbletown Community Center in Stone Ridge, where services are not exchanged for money or insurance, but patients are invited to give a donation or volunteer an hour of community service.

Marbletown Park is located on Tongore Road in Stone Ridge. For more information, visit



4-H Goat Fun Day at Orange County Fairgrounds

What’s not to love about goats? The cool slit in their eyes? The way they act like your best friend when you feed them – like Ernie, Mario, Venus and Aphrodite at the Forsyth Nature Center? They way they play around?

If you love goats, then you’ll love 4-H Goat Fun Day. On Sunday, May 18 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Orange County Fairgrounds, you can see a variety of live goat breeds, get some hands-on goat education, play interactive games, sample goat cheeses, lotions, soaps, leathers and more. Admission costs $2 per child, $5 per family.

The Orange County Fairgrounds are located on Carpenter Avenue in Middletown. For more information, call (845) 344-1234.


Bat Awareness Day at Huguenot Street in New Paltz

Prefer your wildlife to have wings and eat bugs? Then you must love bats! On Sunday, May 18, head over to Historic Huguenot Street’s Bat Awareness Day, in partnership with the Hudson Highlands Nature Museum, where you can learn about Archie the Archives Bat (who has his own Facebook page at, do some crafting and see a presentation by Barbara Bash, author of the children’s book Shadows of the Night: The Hidden World of a Little Brown Bat.

Admission to Bat Awareness Day costs $20 for adults, $15 for children 12 and under and $5 for members. Admission includes access to tours of the historic Huguenot Street homes throughout the day. Preregistration and additional payment of $25 are required to build a bathouse. For more information or to register, contact Kara Gaffken at or visit


Civic Center in Poughkeepsie hosts Reptile Expo

Or perhaps you prefer your wildlife to be in the frog and lizard family. On Sunday, May 18 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., join the legions of families who have embarked on the reptile pet journey at the Hudson Valley Reptile Expo.

Despite what you may think about the amphibian-and-reptile world, it’s not all glamour. Angi Williams, wife of Hudson Valley Terrariums owner Eric Cline, recently shared this hilarious tidbit: “I love that my husband raises fish and frogs, but what I do not love is mistakenly drinking a glass of water on the kitchen counter that contained mosquito larvae!”

The Expo takes place at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center, located at 14 Civic Center Plaza in Poughkeepsie. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children 7 to 12 years and free for children under 7 with an adult. For more information about the Expo, call (845) 616-5838 or visit To learn more about Hudson Valley Terrariums, visit


Renegades Family Fest at Dutchess Stadium in Wappingers Falls

Check out the free Hudson Valley Renegades Family Fest this Sunday, May 18 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Dutchess Stadium. Vendors have free activities for children of all ages, and you can learn about services and activities in our area, all while experiencing the stadium’s cool new turf field!

Dutchess Stadium is located at 1500 Route 9D in Wappingers Falls. For more information, call (845) 838-0094 or visit



Sign language learning event at Red Hook High School

Lolli Edinger’s baby sign language class blew my mind years ago with my infant son. Here was my baby, communicating that he wanted more food by signing it with his chubby fists. I was hooked! Signing before he could speak. It helped me to see him as a whole person, just having that shared language component.

On Wednesday, May 21 from 6 to 8 p.m., Red Hook High School students are preparing to teach your family sign language during their special event, Deaf/Deaf World. You can go around to various tables and learn sign language pertaining to specific community stores and services. This event is free and open to the public of all ages, and takes place in the school cafeteria.

Red Hook High School is located at 103 West Market Street in Red Hook. For more information, contact Diane Barkstrom at or call (845) 758-2241, extension 3129.


Kids’ Almanac writes!

Kids’ Almanac thanks Alice Hawkins for supplying writing prompts for the month of May! Here is her prompt for this week. Remember to post your piece on the Almanac Weekly Facebook page:


Prompt: The dandelions…

Bio: Alice Hawkins lives in Gardiner with her husband, son, beagle, two cats, fish and a lizard. She has liked to write since winning a hatbox for her essay in the third grade.


This week’s Kids’ Almanac column is dedicated to the memory of Mary and George Chandler. Erica Chase-Salerno lives in New Paltz with her husband Mike and their two children: the inspirations behind She can be reached at