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Continuing education: Keep learning after school and on the weekends

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Lean in to the bounty of activities, both indoors and out, that the Central Coast has to offer this school year to keep your kids' hearts and minds engaged—and off the screens. Here's a short list of some of the places that are waiting for you.

AWE-INSPIRING The Central Coast Aquarium's tanks are full of cool sea creatures, such as this octopus, and ready for a visit. - FILE PHOTO BY KAREN GARCIA
  • File Photo By Karen Garcia
  • AWE-INSPIRING The Central Coast Aquarium's tanks are full of cool sea creatures, such as this octopus, and ready for a visit.

The animal channel

Central Coast Aquarium: Learn about the world below the surface with the Central Coast Aquarium and its immersive exhibits where kids can see, touch, and wonder at the tanks full of sea creatures big and small, including sharks, starfish, jellyfish—and maybe even an octopus. The aquarium also hosts educational programs for kids and teens, including Big Fish & Little Fish for preschool-aged children and their guardians, which includes story time, up-close animal encounters, games, and crafts. Check out centralcoastaquarium.com to learn more.

Visit the aquarium at 50 San Juan St. in Avila Beach Thursday and Friday from noon to 3 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. Tickets are $9 for adults, $7 for kids 3 to 12, and free for those under 2.

Charles Paddock Zoo: With hundreds of species from all over the world, the Charles Paddock Zoo is the only zoo in SLO County. Tigers, pandas, pythons, lemurs, tortoises, flamingos, monkeys, owls, and more live there, some of which are part of globally managed programs to preserve animals and their habitats. Coming up on Aug. 6 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., you can be Wild About Art with arts and crafts workshops throughout the zoo. On Nov. 19 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., you can see what animals do with pumpkins. Check out charlespaddockzoo.com for the full Pumpkin Smash day schedule and more.

The zoo is located at 9100 Morro Road, Atascadero, and open seven days a week. Tickets are $10 for adults 13 and over, $8 for children 5 to 12, $5 for children 3 to 4, and free for children 2 and under.

Be a discovery agent

Now you can explore several California state parks on the Central Coast with the help of the Agents of Discovery app. The augmented reality, geo-triggered app "gets you outside, active, and engaged in the world around you," according to the app's website. Lucky for you, you can simply visit one of our local gems and get started with outings at Pismo State Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove, Morro Bay State Park, the Oceano Lagoon, Oso Flaco Lake, Hearst Castle, and La Pursima State Historic Park Mission! The best part is that most of these places don't charge admission fees, and you can go on an outdoor adventure alongside your kid with the help of everyone's favorite screen. To learn more about state parks' kids programs, visit kids.parks.ca.gov.

CREATE The San Luis Obispo Museum of Art invites families to dive into their artsy side on the Second Saturday of every month with the help of a kit. - FILE PHOTO COURTESY OF SAN LUIS OBISPO MUSEUM OF ART
  • File Photo Courtesy Of San Luis Obispo Museum Of Art
  • CREATE The San Luis Obispo Museum of Art invites families to dive into their artsy side on the Second Saturday of every month with the help of a kit.

Find a kids museum

No matter where you are in SLO County, there's a kids-oriented museum within driving distance with all kinds of hands-on exhibits, programs, and educational activities to explore. Stay updated on what the children-oriented nonprofits have in store to keep those kids engaged, learning, and full of joy and curiosity by visiting their respective websites.

The SLO Children's Museum is located at 1010 Nipomo St., and admission is $10 for adults and children and free for anyone under 2. It's open Thursday through Monday from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 4 p.m. Make a reservation via slocm.org.

Paso's Children's Museum (pasokids.org) is open Friday through Monday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 623 13th St. Fees are $7 for adults, $8 for kids 1 through 13, and $5 for grandparents (65 and up).

The Exploration Discovery Center, which celebrates its first anniversary on Aug. 6, is located at 867 Ramona Ave. in Grover Beach. Admission is $15 for adults, $5 for kids ages 2 to 12, and $10 for seniors. It's open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Learn more at gbdiscoverycenter.org.

Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum is open at 705 S. McClelland St. Find events and more at smvdiscoverymuseum.org.

Get artsy

San Luis Obispo Museum of Art: On the very fun and very free Second Saturdays, the museum invites families out to the museum's lawn to indulge in artistic tendencies that coordinate with the art hanging on SLOMA's walls. Each participant will get a kit—packaged in a cute red box—that coincides with one of the exhibitions. Second Saturdays are coming up on Aug. 13, Sept. 10, Oct. 8, Nov. 12, and Dec. 10 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in front of the double doors that face Mission Plaza.

For more info, visit sloma.org. SLOMA's located at 1010 Broad St. on the west end of Mission Plaza.

Learn about your food

City Farm SLO: With the goal of empowering the next generation to live healthier, more prosperous lives through sustainable agriculture and farm-based education, City Farm SLO offers programs for kids through young adults. The farm invite you to volunteer with your family, attend a seasonal festival, learn about the region's agriculture, or sign your teen up for the 10-week Youth Empowerment Program. Join the City Farm any second or fourth Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon—no experience necessary—for work such as planting, transplanting, harvesting, mulching, feeding and tending to chickens and sheep, and more.

Find the City Farm at 1221 Calle Joaquin in SLO. Find out more about events, volunteering, or scheduling a visit at cityfarmslo.org. Δ

Contact Editor Camillia Lanham at [email protected].

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