From Illinois Business Journal news services
ALTON — Ten days of fun, kid-oriented activities and deals await families from July 31 to Aug. 9 as the Alton Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau unveils a new promotion, Kid’Cation, designed to bring families together for a last summer vacation adventure.
Pirate cruises, scavenger hunts, haunted tours, cookie eating contests, free admission to Raging Rivers Water Park, boat races and more are featured throughout the 10-day promotion. Families who stay overnight can also receive lodging incentives to sweeten the deal.
“We know families are looking for ways to spend the last few weeks of summer before school starts up and Kid’Cation gives them unique options,” Brett Stawar, president and CEO of the Alton Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau said. “Kid’Cation is designed to give families with children a great way to explore the region that is also affordable.”
Kid’Cation kicks off Friday, July 31 with Family Night at McPike Mansion, billed as one of Alton’s most haunted houses. The family-friendly evening includes games for all ages and tours of the mansion grounds under the light of the full moon.
Add mystery and adventure to Kid’Cation by taking part in the #ExploreGreatRivers Scavenger Hunt which also begins July 31. All children who successfully solve riddles and unscramble clues about local attractions and history can earn a free back-to-school backpack. Download the scavenger hunt form at: VisitAlton.com/Kidcation. Back packs are available at the Alton Visitors Center, 200 Piasa St., Alton.
Visit the National Great Rivers Museum and Melvin Price Locks and Dam for some swashbuckling pirate fun throughout Kid’Cation. Pirate scavenger hunts will be held daily and special events are planned for the weekends. There will be boat races with children crafting their own pirate vessel and letting it set sail in the museum’s water feature. There will also be Mississippi Mud tie dying activities and special pirate-themed tours of the Locks and Dam.
Be a pirate for a day with the captain and crew of Grafton Harbor’s Hakuna Matata excursion boat Saturday, Aug. 1 starting at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are available at Grafton Harbor and are $9 for children and $18 for adults.
All aboard Alton Amtrak On Tuesday, Aug. 4, to celebrate Amtrak Train Days. Journey to the Alton Amtrak Train Station for a unique look at trains, train safety, and maybe even some scale models of trains. There will be free conductors hats and coloring books for children and cookies for all. Amtrak Train Days will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The next adventure awaits at Lewis & Clark Community College with a Wednesday, Aug. 5 tour of the amazing “Garden of Eatin” which showcases edible and drinkable plants. Horticulture Manager Kara Mayfield will provide a tour of the gardens and families can then enjoy a free wood-fired pizza created in the newly created wood fired outdoor oven. This is a free event.
Head down to Liberty Bank Amphitheater on Friday, Aug. 7 and enjoy Alton’s National Night Out. There will be bounce houses, a K 9 demonstration, music performances and booths from local organizations.
Saturday, Aug. 8, the Lewis & Clark Confluence Tower in Hartford will help visitors cool off with a visit from the “Frozen” princesses Elsa and Anna who will be on hand for a meet and greet with young admirers. There will also be face painting and a “Frozen” themed bounce house.
The Cookie Factory Bakery at Alton Square Mall brings every child’s fantasy to life with a “Cookie Eating Contest” from 11 a.m. to Noon Saturday, Aug. 8. This contest is open to children 7 to 12.
A variety of dining deals, free treats and attraction discounts are also included in Kid’Cation to ease the strain on parents’ wallets. Raging Rivers Water Park in Grafton is offering free kids admission with a paid adult admission throughout the 10 day promotion. Amtrak is offering $3 roundtrip tickets for children traveling from St. Louis to Alton with their parents. Go to: VisitAlton.com/Kidcation for all events, deals and activities.