Ariel-Foundation Park

MOUNT VERNON – Ariel-Foundation Park will celebrate National Kids to Parks day with a special free event at the park on Saturday, May 18, from 10 a.m. to noon. Kids and families can participate in a variety of activities provided by the park and several community partners.

Kids to Parks Day, celebrated annually on the third Saturday of May since 2011, is a national day of play that connects kids and families with their local, state and national parks. By discovering public lands, kids across the country can enjoy outdoor recreation, learn STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and history and embrace their important role as park stewards.

Activities, most of which can be found near the Rastin Tower, include a scavenger hunt, planting milkweed for butterflies, making healthy snacks, exploring local foods, making your own bubbles, citizen science observations, meeting characters from "Wizard of Oz," craft stations, learning about composting and worm bins, browsing book displays, discovering the park museum and more. Families should park near the Schnormeier Event Center or Urton Clock House. Children are encouraged to bring their bicycles and helmets as well. Participants can enter to win prizes like a SPI membership and YCMA membership.

Scheduled activities include a one-mile fun jog, starting at Rastin Tower on the Heart of Ohio bike trail, led by the YMCA at 10:30 a.m. and a bicycle safety course led by a Mount Vernon Police Department bicycle officer at 11:15 a.m. A bicycle obstacle course and tricycle races will happen throughout the event.

Community partners include: Mount Vernon Shade Tree Commission, Yellowbird Foodshed, Knox County Head Start Parent Support Initiative, YMCA of Mount Vernon and its Early Childhood Education program, Knox County Health Department, Get Healthy Knox Coalition, Help Me Grow, Knox County Board of Developmental Disabilities, SPI: Science Playspace Initiative, Eden Juice, Knox Community Hospital, the Public Library of Mount Vernon & Knox County, MTVarts, Mount Vernon Police Department, Knox County Department of Job and Family Services, Recycling and Litter Prevention, the Teen Advisory Committee (TAC), United Way and Tim Workman State Farm Agency.

Families are encouraged to share their adventures on Kids to Parks Day by using #KidstoParks. It's a great opportunity to meet new people and share a fun experience at a local park. National Kids to Parks day is organized by the National Park Trust, which works with towns, teachers, families, park and public lands officials and numerous partners across the country to invite kids of all ages to create their own adventures at their local parks.

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