Entertainment

9 ways to keep your kids (and yourself) entertained this summer in SLO County

Orion Heinemann, 4, of Atascadero takes a ride on the roller coaster at the California Mid-State Fair in Paso Robles. The fair runs July 19 through 30 at the Paso Robles Event Center.
Orion Heinemann, 4, of Atascadero takes a ride on the roller coaster at the California Mid-State Fair in Paso Robles. The fair runs July 19 through 30 at the Paso Robles Event Center. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

Are we bored yet?

School’s out for summer, which means your kids and grandkids have already run out of things to do. If you’ve already exhausted your imagination, and theirs, don’t fear. San Luis Obispo County offers plenty of events and activities that are perfect for the entire family.

Here are nine ways to keep the kids (and grownups) entertained during the dog days of summer.

1. Run away to the circus. Circus Vargas goes steampunk in a new show that combines Cirque du Soleil-style entertainment — contortionists, trapeze artists, motorcycle daredevils and more — with a goggles-and-gears aesthetic straight out of a Jules Verne novel. “Steam Cirque” runs Friday through July 10 at Madonna Inn Meadows in San Luis Obispo. Tickets are $12 to $72; kids under 2 are free. 877-468-3861 or www.circusvargas.com.

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Circus Vargas
Circus Vargas presents its steampunk-themed show, “Steam Cirque,” Friday through July 10 at Madonna Inn Meadows in San Luis Obispo. Mike Rollerson Circus Vargas

2. See a show under the stars. San Luis Obispo County’s only outdoor theater company, the Central Coast Shakespeare Festival, presents the comedies “Much Ado About Nothing” and “Almost, Maine,” July 14 through Aug. 5 at Filipponi Ranch in San Luis Obispo. Tickets cost $12 to $20. www.centralcoastshakespeare.org.

Shakespeare Festival 1
The Central Coast Shakespeare Festival runs July 12 through Aug. 4 at Filipponi Ranch in San Luis Obispo. Courtesy photo

3. Go on safari. Atascadero’s Charles Paddock Zoo is the place to chill on July 15. The Ice Cream Zoofari features all-you-can-eat ice cream, root beer floats and plenty of hang time with exotic critters. Admission is $8 to $12, or free for kids under 2. 805-461-5080 or charlespaddockzoo.org.

Ice Cream Zoofari
Elijah Ecret, 3, from Santa Margaritia, enjoys a melting ice cream cone at the Ice Cream Zoofari at the Charles Paddock Zoo in Atascadero. The event returns to the zoo on July 15. Jayson Mellom The Tribune

4. Play ball. San Luis Obispo Blues baseball gets in a Mardi Gras mood at Bluesapalooza, July 15 at Sinsheimer Stadium in San Luis Obispo. In addition to a baseball game, there’s a bounce house, face painting, balloon animals, a musical petting zoo and New Orleans-style music, plus barbecue and Cajun food. Admission is $5 to $15. 805-512-9996 or clarkcenter.org/slo-blues-baseball.

SLO Blues
The San Luis Obispo Blues baseball team plays July 15 at Sinsheimer Stadium in San Luis Obispo as part of Bluesapalooza. Joe Johnston jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

5. Go back in time. Archery, juggling and giant turkey legs await at the Central Coast Renaissance Festival. England’s Queen Elizabeth holds court July 15 and 16 to Laguna Lake Park in San Luis Obispo. (On June 16, kids can climb aboard a 25-foot pirate ship, hunt for treasure or participate in a Buccaneer Boot Camp.) Admission is $15 to $20; kids under 6 are free. ccrenfaire.com.

Renaissance Fest068
Queen Elizabeth I, played by Thena MacArthur, visits with fans at the Central Coast Renaissance Festival. The festival returns to Laguna Lake Park in San Luis Obispo on July 15 and 16. Laura Dickinson ldickinson@thetribunenews.com

6. Play fair. Carnival rides, cuddly animals, concerts – the California Mid-State Fair has it all. The fair runs July 19 through 30 at the Paso Robles Event Center. Season passes cost $30 to $60. Daily admission is $5.50 to $8.50; ages 5 and under are free. Children 12 and under get in free on Kids Day, July 24. 805-238-3565 or http://www.midstatefair.com.

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Children ages 5 to 7 show off their skills with sheep and pigs during the Pee Wee Showmanship at the California Mid-State Fair in 2013. The fair runs July 19 through 30 at the Paso Robles Event Center. Laura Dickinson ldickinson@thetribunenews.com

7. Hit cruise control. Classic cars cruise the streets of downtown Atascadero during Hot El Camino Cruise Night on Aug. 18. Check out more vintage vehicles at the Atascadero Lake Car Show, Aug. 19 at Atascadero Lake Park. Both events are free. www.midstatecruizers.com.

Hot El Camino Cruise
Classic cars will cruise through downtown Atascadero during Hot El Camino Cruise Night on Aug. 18. Joe Johnston jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

8. Go west. Experience “A Day at the Old West” on Aug. 19 at the Pioneer Museum in Paso Robles, featuring live music, games, an old-fashioned barbecue and plenty of photo opportunities. Tickets are $15 to $50; kids under 10 are free. 805-239-4556 or www.pasoroblespioneermuseum.org.

9. Get your groove on. Hard rock band Great White headlines the concert lineup at the Stone Soup Music Festival and Street Faire, Aug. 26 and Aug. 27 at Ramona Garden Park in Grover Beach. In addition to arts, crafts, children’s activities and live music on two stages, highlights include the Mardi Paws dog parade and the Dune Run-Run race. Free. 805-489-1488 or www.aggbchamber.com/stone-soup.

Stone Soup058
Tanya Freitas of Grover Beach springs her daughter Sierra, 2, into the air on the bungee jump ride at the Stone Soup Music Festival and Street Faire in Grover Beach. The festival returns Aug. 26 and 27. Joe Johnston jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

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