Looking for an opportunity to play volleyball or basketball? Want to learn how to play Mahjong, or join a card playing group? Want to try your hand at painting or playing the dulcimer?

These and many other activities are offered to residents in Aurora and surrounding communities, according to Parks-Recreation Director James Kraus.

Whether it is summer camps and year-round activities for children, sports and workshops for adults, or lunches and trips for seniors, Kraus said there is something for everyone.


Parents looking to keep their children and teens occupied can find a variety of programs and classes offered through the city's parks and recreation department.

"After School Art is pretty popular," Kraus said. "The driver's education class is, of course, popular."

Classes include instruction on roller skating, Taekwondo, sewing and crafts. Parents wanting their children to polish their manners could consider sessions on etiquette.

Budding scientists can sign up for workshops like Secret Agent Lab and Camp Eureka, to name a couple of examples. Is your child interested in technology? Then perhaps he or she would be interested in learning how to make an iPhone game or take classes on 3D video game design.

The city also offers a variety of classes for youths in the summer, Kraus said. "We don't have an ongoing week-to-week summer camp," he said. "But in one particular week, we'll have themes, like soccer."


Sports aficionados -- or those just looking for a fun way to stay fit and active -- can check out the open gyms and sports offerings, Kraus said.

For youths, Aurora Parks and Recreation offers several summer camps and classes in sports -- from baseball and basketball to volleyball and track.

The city also sponsors open gyms for sports like basketball and volleyball, and offers adult softball.


One of the newest offerings through Aurora parks and rec is the opportunity to learn and play Majjong. Instructor Barbara Fredrix said the first class was Jan. 16.

"We had 24 people come," Fredrix said. "Since then, we average about 20 people per class." She said she teaches Mahjong on Fridays from 1 to 4 p.m., along with Lynn Adams, Barb Tausch and Mary Salvini.

"Mahjong really has had a resurgence of interest," Fredrix said. "Many communities have groups."

Mahjong uses marked tiles, and the object of the game is to get a set of tiles that matches one of the patterns identified on a common card. "There's some luck, but it takes a while to learn to play," she said.

Another interesting activity is a dulcimer group which meets at 11 a.m. Thursdays. Sue Levan of Aurora, who has played with the group for about eight years, said she had never played a musical instrument until she learned the dulcimer.

"My dad could hear music and play it," Levan said. "But I never caught on until I learned the dulcimer."

Seniors coordinator Patty Harrington said the city offers many trips for its senior residents. "They are probably the most popular," she said.

Destinations include area theaters, Cleveland Botanical Gardens, Packard Music Hall, restaurants for lunch, Severance Hall, Progressive Field, the Meadows Casino and National Aviary Museum in Pittsburgh.

However, for those who prefer to stay closer to home, the senior center offers many other programs and classes, Harrington said.

Tai Chi, yoga and chair volleyball are offered for those looking for exercise, while Bingo, canasta and regular luncheons offer a chance to socialize. Seniors also can take advantage of health screenings such as blood pressure checks and glucose screenings.

Kraus said if a resident cannot find a class offering or workshop through Aurora, then the city provides contact information for other parks and recreation departments.

"We try to cooperate with other departments, too, such as Hudson and Orange," Kraus said.

Occasionally, Aurora will work with another city to offer a class so the communities can combine their resources.

"We don't do it a lot -- maybe for one or two classes here and there," he said. "We've been talking with Solon to do sports together. Most of the soccer leagues at the younger ages have plenty of kids. But with fourth grade and up, they've gone into travel soccer."

Improvements, future plans

Kraus said the city has been working on improvements to the parks. For example, there are plans to add a concession stand and expand the parking lot and boathouse at Sunny Lake Park. As of press time, those upgrades are slated to be finished in May.

Another project in the works is a disc golf course, Kraus said, which is scheduled to be completed sometime in the spring. There will be 18 "holes" -- baskets where players try to get their flying discs.

The course will be designed with baskets for beginners and more advanced players, Kraus said.


The parks-rec offices are in the Walker Building at 129 W. Pioneer Trail. For details about programs, call

330-562-4333 or visit