Our usual summer concert-going has been interrupted this year by my busier work schedule, a month-long visit from my parents (whom I dearly love, but my father was NOT impressed by the weather, and he was NOT going to sit around in the heat to listen to music!!) and various other commitments with the kids.

But coming up is one you won’t want to miss: Benton Park is doing a back-to-school concert on Saturday (Aug. 7) with three musical acts plus a scooter show, back-to-school food drive, live art, children’s art, carnival games, a food tent, a beer tent, free yoga, free massage … With all that, I hardly need to mention the bands, but I will do so anyway, because they rock:

  • The Saint Elizabeth (school) Percussion Group
  • Celia (a local kids’ performer who needs no introduction and no last name)
  • Big Bamou (New Orleans-style jazz and funk)

The concert runs a very family-friendly 4:15 to 9 p.m.  The only quirk to concerts at Benton Park is that, if the weather is hot (which this year is almost a guarantee!) the fans tend to stick to the shade along the edges of the basic where the stage is, leaving the bands to play to 50 yards’ worth of empty lawn. The upside is that the playground is close by, should the little ones get antsy.

The World Bird Sanctuary is a cool place — OK, maybe not cool in terms of August heat but definitely cool in terms of a unique place for kids to see raptors close up. This month the Valley Park facility is having free music concerts every Thursday at 7 p.m., featuring its “Raptor Project” performing songs from its kid-friendly environmental CD as well as special guest performers.  Some of the tunes will be accompanied by live birds and free-flight demonstrations. Guests are welcome to bring a snack to the outdoor amphitheater while they enjoy the show.

And if you like the concerts, check out the ongoing Sunrise with the Songbirds at 7:30 a.m.  To make reservations for the three-hour hike, call 636.225.4390.  Cost is $5 per adult and $3 each for children under 12.