ALTON – Looking for something fun to do with your kids before they head back to school for the year? Take part in Kid’Cation July 27 through Aug. 5 throughout Madison, Jersey, Calhoun and Macoupin Counties for free and low cost activities, deals and events designed to delight and entertain families of all sizes.

The Great Rivers and Routes Tourism Bureau is once again hosting Kid‘Cation, a family-friendly getaway designed to bring families together for a last summer adventure that includes trains, planes and a birthday celebration for Alton’s Gentle Giant, Robert Wadlow. More than 19 different event and activities and 45 businesses are participating in Kid’Cation this year.

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“We know families are looking for ways to celebrate the last few weeks of summer before school starts up and Kid’Cation gives them family-friendly vacation options,” Brett Stawar, President and CEO of the Great Rivers and Routes Tourism Bureau said. “Kid’Cation is designed to give families vacation or stay-cation options in the region. It also attracts visitors who are looking for day trips or inexpensive overnight getaways.”

Kid‘Cation kicks off on Friday, July 27 with a celebration of the world’s tallest man, Robert Wadlow. A free birthday party, commemorating the Gentle Giant’s 100th birthday will be held at the Liberty Bank Alton Amphitheater starting at 6:30 p.m. Free cupcakes will be distributed to the first 300 children in attendance. A Robert Wadlow re-enactor will be on hand to greet children. There will also be games including sack races, jump rope, hula hoops, yoga and chalk art activities. Hayner Library will be on hand with a special make and take craft for children. Capping off the party will be a special outdoor movie, “The BFG” (The Big Friendly Giant), sponsored by the Alton Park and Rec Department. The movie will be shown on the outdoor screen at approximately 8:30 p.m. Movie snacks and drinks will be available for sale. Bring blankets and lawn chairs to enjoy the movie.

New this year to Kid’Cation is the “Sweet Treat Trail” where kids and their parents can visit participating candy, popcorn, bakeries and ice cream shops throughout the region and have the chance to win prizes donated by local businesses. Sweet Treat Trail maps will be available at the Alton Visitor Center, 200 Piasa St., Alton. A downloadable map will be available at Children who visit six out of the 12 participating Sweet Treat businesses and make a small purchase will receive a map stamp. Once six stamps are collected, the maps can be turned in to the Visitor Center and participants will be entered to win one of four grand prizes. Prizes include a Bowling Party at Bowl Haven Lanes, 3003 Washington Ave., Alton; a $25 gift certificate to Eckert’s Orchards in Grafton; six tickets to the Godfrey Corn Maze; and four tickets for a tour of McPike Mansion in Alton. Participating Sweet Treat Trail businesses include: Poputopia, 231 E. Delmar Rd., Alton; 1904 General Store, 322 E. Broadway, Alton; Sherry’s Snacks, 2500 College Ave., Alton; Elsah General Store, 22 La Salle St., Elsah; My Just Desserts, 31 E. Broadway, Alton; LuciAnna’s Pastries, 607 E. Broadway; Duke Bakery, 819 Henry St., Alton; The Whole Scoop, 222 E. Main St., Grafton; Grafton Fudge & Ice Cream, 321 E. Main St., Grafton; The Cookie Factory Bakery and Cookie Factory Express, at Alton Square Mall; and Shiver’s Frozen Custard, 3318 Godfrey Rd., Godfrey.

But that’s not all that’s available this year for Kid’Cation. Activities include free kids’ admission to Raging Rivers Water Park with an adult admission, origami art, goat yoga, history detective activities, a moonlight hike, outdoor movies and more. And don’t forget pirate cruises on the Mississippi River through Grafton River Adventures. Three cruises are scheduled for Saturdays during Kid’Cation. Adults can sail for $18 per person, seniors, $16, $9 for children ages 3 to 17 and $4.50 for children 2 and younger. Families who stay overnight can also receive great lodging incentives at the Best Western Premier Alton – St. Louis Area Hotel in Alton to sweeten the deal.

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The ever-popular Train Day will once again be a highlight of Kid’Cation. On Tuesday, July 31, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the new Alton Regional Multimodal Transportation Center will be the gathering place for train enthusiasts of all ages. An Abraham Lincoln re-enactor will be on hand for a meet-and-greet. Representatives from Looking for Lincoln, Union Pacific Railroad and local train club members will be on hand. Kids can get a look at model trains, receive a free train conductor hat, have a free cookie and take home a coloring book while supplies last. Party on Broadway will provide a make and take craft project for children.

Also returning to Kid’Cation is “Pizza, Planes and Pilots” at St. Louis Regional Airport in East Alton. On Saturday, Aug. 4 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., children and their parents can see the inside of a plane and talk to pilots about what it’s like to fly in the sky. Afterwards head to High Flyers Grille at the airport where kids can enjoy a free, one topping pizza with purchase of an adult entrée.

Free Goat Yoga will be available on Saturday, July 28 at the Alton Farmers’ & Artisans’ Market or enjoy a free Origami demo with artist Taeko Wogi at the market on Aug. 4. Seven days of Kid’Cation fun events will be held at the Cookie Factory Bakery & Café in Alton. Collinsville will have Movies on Main for Kid’Cation. And don’t forget to take part in a Moonlight Hike at The Nature Institute in Godfrey and Lucy Haskell’s Birthday Celebration in Alton.

Special deals are also available during Kid’Cation. Beat the summer heat and cool off at Raging Rivers Water Park in Grafton, IL with free kids’ admission when purchasing an adult ticket. Or drift back in time to the carefree days of pirates on the Hakuna Matata which sails out of Grafton Harbor on July 28 and Aug. 4 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Jump for two hours at Altitude Trampoline Park in Glen Carbon for the price of one hour of jumping. Play Footgolf at Rolling Hills Golf Course in Godfrey or take advantage of Edison’s Entertainment Center in Edwardsville’s $5 after 5 p.m. specials.

To ensure Kid’Cation isn’t a strain on the wallet, a variety of dining deals, free treats and attraction discounts are included. Bring the kids to meet Spongebob Squarepants at the Cookie Factory Bakery & Café located inside the Alton Square Mall, Monday, July 30 from 11 a.m. to Noon and 2 - 3 p.m. The Cookie Factory also invites children to enter a drawing for a case of Pepsi soda, Gateway Grizzlies baseball game tickets or Raging Rivers Water Park tickets. For full details on how to enter visit Enjoy great food discounts during Kid’Cation at Olga’s Kitchen in Alton Square Mall. Nine days of Kid’Cation food specials and gift card drawings are available at Olga’s. Kids dine for free with an adult purchase during Kid’Cation at Great Rivers Tap & Grill located inside the Best Western Premier Hotel. Or enjoy a free sundae with purchase at the Fin Inn in Grafton and a free appetizer with purchase at Bluff City Grill in Alton.

Kid ‘Cation is sponsored by Looking for Lincoln, Phillips 66, OSF Healthcare Saint Anthony’s, Liberty Bank, CNB Bank and Trust and Alton Memorial Hospital. Go to or call the Alton Visitor’s Center at 618-465-6676 for information on all events, deals and specials.

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