The weather is warmer, the nights are longer and that can mean one thing: Spring break is just around the corner.
As various schools prepare for the annual weeklong break, many parents find themselves asking how they can entertain their children during their week off. Luckily for them, there are several upcoming events — many of them free — to get kids out of the house and active starting this weekend.
CALM Spring Fling
For families looking for something to do together on the cheap next week, California Living Museum is here to help.
Children up to 12 years old can get into CALM (10500 Alfred Harrell Highway) for free from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. from Saturday to April 20. Of course, they do need to be accompanied by an adult.
Regular admission for everyone else is still in effect: $10 for adults, $7 for seniors and free for current military and veterans.
Zoo manager Lana Fain said attendees get to spend time at the museum during "the most beautiful time of the year."
Throughout the day, zoo keepers will hold four Keeper Chats and discuss all the animal areas. Docents will also be walking around the grounds with ambassador animals, which are ones that are recovering from injuries or trained to work with people.
Additionally, the Central California Children's Railroad will be operating from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, and tickets cost $1.
New this year are two Spring Fling baskets that guests can enter to win. Tickets cost $1, and the baskets include stuffed toys, candy and a family membership.
Go to calmzoo.org or call 872-2256 for more information.
Amazing Bounce Fest
If a trip to a theme park out of town isn't possible for spring break, consider taking the kids to the Amazing Bounce Fest, happening Monday through Friday at the Aera Baseball Park (100 Jewetta Ave.) from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
There, kids can bounce on a large variety of inflatables, work their way through an obstacle course, go down a 24-foot tall slide and check out a hungry hippo game. A 26-foot tall rock wall is one activity available for parents, and there is also a "toddlers-only area" so little ones can safely bounce.
Carnival food can be purchased, and face painting and tattoos will also be available.
A single-day pass costs $10, while a family four pack costs $35 per day. Children under 2 are free. Go to 1amazingbounce.com or call 717-2595 for more information.
Kern County Museum
The Kern County Museum (3801 Chester Ave.) is always fun and educational but for spring break it's also offering a special Spring Camp for kids ages 5 to 12.
Held Monday through Friday of next week, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., the camp will have all kinds of messy, creative fun for kids to enjoy.
Each day has a set theme: Move it Monday (focusing on movement and exercise), Tinker Tuesday (engineering projects), Wander Somewhere Wednesday (exploring the museum's vast grounds), Thinking Thursday (messy experiments) and Fun Friday (fun and games).
Registration is $110 for members and $135 for non-members, The camp also offers extended care from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. for $170 for members and $195 for non-members. Families can get $10 off for each additional sibling.
To register, go to kerncountymuseum.org or call 437-3330.
American Kids Sports Center
Kids can spend their spring break with a week of active fun at American Kids Sports Center's Easter break day camp, from Monday to Friday and April 22.
The camp at American Kids (3622 Allen Road) will include games, gym time, team building and arts and crafts. It runs from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. for kids ages 4 and older. Regular hours are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., with extended hours available from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Registration is $56 for a full day and $45 for a half day. Parents can register their child for the full week for $238 or all six days for $283.
Another options at American Kids is its spring break swim lessons. Parents can choose from private lessons and family swim, both Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. to noon and 2 to 4 p.m. Prices vary depending on the program.
For more information on either the camp or the swimming, call American Kids at 589-2100 or go to AKSC.com.
Camelot Park (1251 Oak St.) is getting in on the spring break fun with a weeklong discount and its returning Easter Bunny Trail.
From Saturday until April 22, wristbands will be available for $16.99 online at camelotparkbakersfield.com.
On Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., kids 11 years old and younger can follow along the Easter Bunny Trail, collecting candy from local businesses. (Don't forget your basket!)
The Easter Bunny, Prince Leo the Lion and the Icee Bear will all be there to celebrate the holiday too. DJ Escandalosa will be providing the tunes. Kids will also have the chance to win a giant Easter basket, for which they must be present to win.
Now is a good time to explore the county's colorful wildflowers before the season ends.
If parents want to take their children out for a day trip, they can head to Wind Wolves Preserve (16019 Maricopa Highway, about 30 miles south of Bakersfield) or the Kern River Canyon (about 20 miles east of Bakersfield down Highway 178). Both locations have various trails visitors can go on that will take them through fields of wildflowers. Wild Wolves Preserve is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, while Kern River Canyon is open daily.
For those who do not mind a longer drive, families can head to Carrizo Plain National Monument, which is about 60 miles west of Bakersfield. Goldfields, tidytips and phacelia are found on the valley floor, mountain ranges and around Soda Lake. The Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, about 80 miles southeast of Bakersfield, is full of blooming poppies.
With all locations, visitors are asked to follow a Leave No Trace policy, stay on marked paths, keep eyes open for rattlesnakes and wear comfortable clothing and shoes.
Full Moon Ride
Families hoping to stay active and enjoy the outdoors can hop on their bikes and go for a ride with Bike Bakersfield.
The free family-friendly, all-ages ride will start at 7 p.m. April 18 at Beach Park (3400 21st St.) and head along the Kern River Parkway Trail until it reaches Lengthwise at The Marketplace. Programs manager Asha Chandy said ride is not a race, so parents should feel comfortable bringing their children during the half-hour, 5.5-mile journey.
Bike Bakersfield will pass out bike lights and go over basic safety rules, so Chandy encourages riders to meet at 6:30 p.m.
Participants should wear helmets, bring water and have reflectors on their bikes. Chandy said they should also wear clothing and footwear that will not get caught in chains.
Springtime Egg Hunt
There is no better way to prepare for Easter than with an egg hunt, and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center is anticipating another large turnout on April 20.
Recreation supervisor Linda McVicker said children will be divided into five age groups, and the hunt begins at 10:30 a.m. She recommends families arrive at 10 a.m. to know what group their children will be in.
Around 12,000 eggs will be scattered throughout the grounds, and McVicker is expecting 800 children to participate. Many children will walk away with larger prizes including a bicycle, swim passes and more.
There will also be various photo opportunities available for families with the Easter bunny and face boards placed around the field.
After the hunt, Stay Focused Ministries will provide free lunch, face painting, live music and more.