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By: Ashley Griffin, Director of Admissions // MDS Musings Blog

Are you flustered about how to fill your kid’s seven week summer vacation? Does a tight budget have you wondering how to keep your little ones occupied and happy during the hottest days in Middle Georgia? Why not plan a vacation…right in your own community! Exploring downtown Macon, taking a day trip to nearby attractions, and getting creative with affordable vacation options will ensure a happy child, a happy parent, and a fun-filled summer.

Want to be near the water but don’t have access to a pool on those hot summer days? Spend a day on the Ocmulgee River. Amerson River Park has two river access points, one on the north end of the park, and one on the south end. Use your own float, kayak, or canoe on a trip through the park, which takes about an hour and a half, or venture another hour or two down to Spring Street Park, in downtown Macon.

If you do not have your own gear, call on the wonderful river rats at Ocmulgee Outdoor Expeditions. This experienced outfit offers boat rentals and will provide transportation to/from the park. Plan to pack a picnic lunch, pull off and play on one of the sandy beaches along the route, and, for the young and brave, splash into the river using one of several rope swings. Experience a beautiful and picturesque side of Macon very few venture to see.

Do you have a history buff in your family? Explore Macon’s 17,000 year old national monument. Not many cities can boast areas part of the National Park Service, but the Ocmulgee National Monument is one of Middle Georgia’s best kept secrets. This prehistoric American Indian site is home to six miles of trails and over 2,000 artifacts in the park’s museum. Guests can also go inside and view the 1,000 year old Earth Lodge or stand on top of the Great Temple Mound, which offers spectacular views of downtown Macon. The Park also offers several free summer programming opportunities for kids to learn, explore, and discover the historical significance of this very special place.

Need to get out of the heat? Get in touch with your artistic side at The Museum of Arts and Sciences (MAS). For over 60 years, the MAS has been an important part of the Macon community. The Museum offers educational opportunities for school-aged children, a state-of-the-art planetarium, and an outlet for emerging artists to showcase their talents. The summers are packed with activities to enrich, enlighten, and entertain your children. Try their summer camps, Sky Over Macon planetarium shows, hands-on art and building projects in the Discovery House, mini zoo exhibit with over 70 live animals, and more. New this year: a three-day anime manga art course in June for students in grades 6-12. It’s an exciting time to explore the MAS!

Don’t forget to check out all the camp opportunities in Macon this summer, including Mount de Sales Academy’s SPLASH and athletic and writing camps. SPLASH camp is offered for two weeks in June, and allows students to choose their classes each day – exploring with Lego Robotics, iPad movie making, woodworking, arena football, soccer, 3D wall art, cheerleading, and more.

Enjoy your summer!