Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz recently offered a list of the top 10 things for kids to do this summer, like taking a dip at the Goodman Pool. But our favorite suggestion is at the top of his to-do list: Visit the mayor's office. There's no guarantee you'll actually be able to meet the mayor, according to mayoral aide George Twigg, but it doesn't hurt to try. "Anyone can drop in any time to get a tour of the mayor's office," Twigg says. Once at 210 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., you'll receive a mayor's-office pencil and bookmark, and if the mayor is around, adds Twigg, "he'll say 'hi' and you can meet him."
The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art and Madison School & Community Recreation are taking art to area playgrounds, community centers and beaches via their popular (and free) Art Cart and Art Cart EXTRA! programs. The Art Cart, which makes over 90 stops throughout the city and Dane County, will introduce kids to origami, puppets, watercolor painting and printmaking - "valuable activities that allow kids to be creative in an open-ended atmosphere, use materials in new ways and learn new approaches to making art," says Sheri Castelnuovo, MMoCA's curator of education. Both Art Cart programs are appropriate for kids ages 6-11; children under 5 are welcome but must be accompanied by an adult. Art Cart activities run through Aug. 23; Art Cart EXTRA! sessions end on July 28. For complete schedule of stops, visit MMoCA.org.
With Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the final book in the series that made reading cool for a whole generation of kids, scheduled to land in bookstores July 21, Pottermania will soon reach Quidditch World Cup intensity. Several Madison-area booksellers plan to celebrate the 784-page finale's release with special late-evening events on July 20 before the book goes on sale at midnight: Barnes & Noble East and West will host "Midnight Magic" parties, complete with a potions lab and live-action Wizard Chess; Borders East and West will present a "Grand Hallows Ball" that also will include a spelling bee, the "Great Snape Debate" and the crowning of a king and queen of the ball; and A Room of One's Own Feminist Bookstore, which donated approximately $700 from presales of The Deathly Hallows to the libraries at Lapham and O'Keeffe/Marquette schools, also plans a late-night celebration. Contact individual stores for specifics.