- Families enrolled in the Summer Reading Club through Beanstack qualify if their children complete half the reading challenge, amounting to five hours of reading. Bags are offered on a first-come, first-served basis while supplies last at all open library buildings.
- Parents can check www.dcls.org to see what libraries are open and call ahead to request bags. Members receiving curbside pickup of books and other items can also request bags while onsite.
- ABC North Lanes (abcnorth.com): Free games for kids and teens.
- Lake Tobias Wildlife Park (laketobias.com): Free safari ticket with purchase of admission.
- Pennsylvania State Museum (statemuseumpa.org/planetarium/): Free admission to the Planetarium for kids and teens.
- Lykens Valley Children’s Museum (lykensvalleychildrensmuseum.org): Free kid’s ticket.
- Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art (nedsmithcenter.org): Free adult admission with purchase of a child’s admission for Fall Family Fun Day and a Popcorn Hat Players show.
- The Meadows Original Frozen Custard (meadowsfrozencustard.com): Free custard, or free round of miniature golf.
- Barnyard Kingdom, Lancaster (countrybarnmarket.com): Free admission.
Explore Your Community Bags stocked with family fun
Special outings with her kids and family friends create treasured memories for Chandra Burkholder – moments like petting goats at Lake Tobias Wildlife Park or cheering on their favorite in the pig races at Barnyard Kingdom.
It’s all courtesy of The Library’s, “Explore Your Community Bags,’’ stocked with coupons for local attractions and available for members of the Summer Reading Club.
“It’s very nice,” says Burkholder. “Especially having three children, those kinds of things are appreciated because it lessens the costs for our outings.”
The Explore Your Community Bags encourage Dauphin County residents to try new venues. New for 2020: “Teen bags,” offering deals at spots appealing to teenagers.
“We want to highlight local attractions that families might not know about that are fun and a little educational,” says Assistant Marketing and Public Relations Manager Christina Zeiders. “Some families don’t have a lot of extra cash lying around, so this helps them expand their children’s horizons without breaking the budget.”
The Library’s Explore Your Community Bags date back to 2014, offering free and discount deals at area restaurants and attractions.
The 2020 bags offer enticements from these local vendors:
Many of the donating businesses, which are relatively small and locally based, have participated before and didn’t hesitate to stay involved despite the pandemic.
“That’s pretty amazing,” says Zeiders. “Reading is a great way for kids to learn over the summer. They get to guide their own learning and explore new ideas through stories.”
As Dauphin County eases into reopening, Zeiders suggests that families using their coupons check ahead with participating businesses for operating hours and admittance policies.
Chandra Burkholder’s children attended the Library’s preschool programs and now participate every year in the Summer Reading Club. Blake, 12 years old, enjoys reading the old Hardy Boys series. Olivia, 10, likes reading stories about animals. And Maria, at 7, is a fan of anything “Three Little Pigs” related and is already writing and illustrating her own stories and Bible stories.
The Burkholder kids have been read to since before they were born.
For the Burkholder family, of Halifax, excursions with other families using their coupons for Lake Tobias and Barnyard Kingdom have become a family tradition. Plus, the Explore Your Community Bags helps the family “go places where we might not normally go,” says Chandra. “I am an educator by nature,” says Burkholder. “There’s so much importance in reading. I have been reading to my children since they were in my womb.”