My kids have been counting down the days until summer vacation. This morning, when I realized we were no longer in the double digits, I knew it was time to get serious about preparations for our first days of family togetherness. When thinking about kids travel ideas, I like to keep it relaxing and close to home right after school ends. Summers get busy enough without sprinting out of the gates and into cars, planes, and trains.

So I look for ideas nearby that involve minimum planning, don’t cost a lot, and get us outdoors and into the summer mood. Yesterday while attending the Orange, CT Business Expo I learned about the perfect event. It’s designed for families, is free, and takes place the first week the kids get out of school.The Regional Water Authority of New Haven is sponsoring an Explore the Outdoors Free Family Event on Friday, June 26, from noon until 4 p.m. The event takes place at Maltby Lakes Recreation Area, Route 34, on the West Haven/Orange town line. Activities will include fishing, guided walks, nature detectives, sun prints, and more.I don’t know about you but the thought of attaching slimey creatures to pointed metal hooks and yanking fish out of the water has never been on my top list of things to do. But here’s the good news. Event coordinators will be on hand to help the kids out with their fishing experience! I can sit on the sidelines and commune with nature on my own terms.The Regional Water Authority does a lot to bring together families with nature. Their mascot, Opie the Opossum, was on hand at the expo to share the good news about this great upcoming event.  For more information or directions call 203-401-2654.