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Big dig, yummy sorbet and wild animals, all this weekend

Mother Nature hasn't exactly been cooperating this spring. With that in mind - here are some fun things to do, both inside and outside. All great for families and kids - some good for the family pet, too.

Hidden Valley Adventure Park

Yep, it's open for the season, and its wild.  Off you'll go on a 55-minute guided trolley tour through the adventure park where you'll see over 40 different animal species and 300 animals. You can get up close and personal with camels, zebras, emus and more.

When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fridays and Sundays; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays (hours and days extend in June, July and August)

Where: 2887 Royce Road, Varysburg

Cost: Safari Rides: Adults: $18.75; Children 3-10: $14.75; 2 and under: free

Why you should check this out: Emus... need I say more? Obviously, it's pretty wild to have zebras come up to the trolley you're riding in. Kids love checking out animals and they even give you a cup of grain to feed the smaller animals in the Small Animal Adventure. My girls and I can't wait to check it out very soon.

You can get up close and personal with wild animals. (Photo credit: Michael Powers/Hidden Valley Adventure)

You can get up close and personal with wild animals. (Photo credit: Michael Powers/Hidden Valley Adventure)

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Spring Carnival at Maple Ridge Plaza

You'll find rides for all ages, plenty of games, food and fun. Hopefully the weather will cooperate for this big to-d0.

When: 6 to 9 p.m. May 20, noon to 10 p.m. May 21, and noon to 7 p.m. May 22

Where: Maple Road and Sweet Home in Amherst

Why you should check it out: It’s a good time for the entire family. Obviously kids love the rides and games, but there will be plenty of food vendors – serving tradition fair fare including; burgers, hot dogs, cotton candy, funnel cakes, and fried dough. You're welcome.

Note: May 20 – wristbands are only $9 from 6 to 10 p.m.

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Paws for Patriots

It is a celebration of our veterans and our family pets. You can get your pup's picture taken with an American hero. This is good for the entire family.

When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 21

Where: Lakeview Volunteer Fire Company, 2985 Lakeview Road, Lakeview

Why you should check it out: It is sure to be a hit with the kids – I mean, cute pups AND bounce houses. Not to mention it’s a great opportunity to teach your kids about patriotism and why we are the home of the free.

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Model Rocket Children’s Workshop

It's hands on fun for kids ages 3 to 16. Your little ones can get creative as they color, draw, paint and more.

When: 1 to 2:30 p.m. May 21

Where: Niagara Hobby and Craft Mart, 3366 Union Road, Cheektowaga

Cost: free

Why you should check it out: Getting your kids to think, and create is always good. Of course, the fact that it is free is a bonus. Kids love to learn new things and create something they can keep forever.

Note: Registration is required by calling 681-1666

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Family Cooking Class with Chef Krista – Super Sorbets

The class consists of fresh made fruit sorbet served in a crispy cookie with fresh berries.

When: 10 to 11:30 a.m. May 21

Where: Complete Wellness Arts & Science Center, 1515 Kensington Ave., Buffalo

Cost: $49 – includes tax and gratuity.

Why you should check this out: Teaching kids to love cooking at a young age will help them throughout life. And who knows, maybe they'll start cooking for you.

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Saturday Children’s Classes at Burchfield Penney Art Center

Join artist-author Wende Essrow as she reads "If You Listen to the Trees." You and your children can ask questions and then explore watercolors with the wildlife artist.

When: 10 to 11:30 a.m. May 21

Where: 1300 Elmwood Ave.

Cost: $25

Why you should check it out: Give your kids a dose of culture while they have fun at the same time.

Note: Registration is required – call 878-3215

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Penn Dixie’s Dig with the Experts

Penn Dixie supplies everything needed to dig for something neat and the experts will help you determine exactly what it is.

When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 21

Where: Penn Dixie, 4050 North St., Blasdell

Cost: $30

Why you should check it out: Your kids will dig this event, no doubt about it. And, get this - you are guaranteed to find something cool and interesting.

Note: Registration is required by calling 627-4560

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Pet Expo

The event includes pet blessings, treats, dog training demonstrations, and more.

When: 2 to 4 p.m. May 21

Where: Elderwood Nursing Home, 100 Crestwood Court, Wheatfield

Cost: Free

Why you should check it out: It's always fun to get the pet out and about. Parents – be forewarned – there will be adorable little pets there looking to be adopted. You can also meet the Niagara County Sheriff Department’s K-9 division.

Note: Hot dogs, chips and a drink will be available for $3, proceeds benefit Alzheimer’s Association.

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Family Nature Walk

The family-friendly nature walks are guided by a naturalist and offer a real learning experience.

Where: Beaver Meadow Audubon Center, 1610 Welch Road, North Java

When: 2 to 3:30 p.m. May 22 (and every Sunday)

Cost: free

Why you should check it out: The walk through the preserve is gorgeous and let’s face it – there’s something fabulous about being so close to nature. The event is free but donations are gladly accepted. More information at www.buffaloaudubon.org.

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