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Family valued

Corning Museum of Glass

Glassmaking is the perfect topic of inquiry for families. It has it all. It's an art. It's a science. What's more, glass itself is cool. It's a solid. It's a liquid. Take your pick.

            A day trip to the Corning Museum of Glass is the best way to learn about, see, touch, and even make glass objects. The museum, located about 90 minutes south of the city, is so extraordinary --- beautiful, contemporary, varied, smart --- that I put it in the same league as San Francisco's Exploratorium. Seriously.

            When we visit CMOG, about once a year, we are lured in several different directions. There are glassblowing demonstrations, hands-on science activities, and astonishing art glass. As the children get older, we find we spend more time in the sweeping --- some might say exhaustive --- history of glass exhibit. Even the shops on the ground floor tempt me, and I'm no shopper. In a workshop behind the museum you and the kids can make simple, attractive glass objects for an extra fee.

            Thanks to CMOG, on our recent trip to Venice we couldn't wait to get to Murano, the tiny island famous for centuries of glassmaking. What a disappointment. Touristy. Cheesy demos. Stick with Corning Glass Museum and save yourself the airfare.

            Corning Museum of Glass: 800-732-6845, www.cmog.org. Kids 17 and under free. Can't make it to Corning? Keep an eye out for classes and open studio events at More Fire, Rochester's own glassmaking studio: 242-0450, www.morefireglass.com.

--- Jennifer Loviglio

This week for families:

Brighton Memorial Library Story times: toddlers, Mondays, 10:30 a.m.; preschoolers, Mondays, 11:30 a.m.; PJ stories, Tuesdays, 7 p.m.; toddlers and preschoolers, Fridays, 10 a.m.; families, Thursdays, 7 p.m. 2300 Elmwood Ave. 784-5300

Henrietta Public Library Preschool storytime, Tues, May 25, ages 3-5, 10:30-11 a.m. 455 Calkins Rd. 359-7092

Hochstein School Full scholarships available for low-income kids ages 4-12, summer Arts in Action Program. 454-4596, www.hochstein.org.

Preschool Family Workshop Thurs, May 20. Art project, story, tour, for ages 2.5-5, Memorial Art Gallery, 500 University Ave, 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. Tix: $15. 473-7720 ext 3056

Seneca Park Zoo Hug a Bug, Fri, May 21, for ages 3 and 4, 10:15 or 11:30 a.m. Tix: $18. | 2222 St. Paul St. 467-9453

Strong Museum Tuesdays for Tots, Tues, May 25, puppets and music, 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. Tix: $7, $5 kids. | One Manhattan Square, 263-2700, www.strongmuseum.org.

Information on museum exhibits can be found in the calendar's Museum section.

Bicycle built for three

Sending our children out on bicycles on busy city or suburban streets may be a risk that many parents are unwilling to take. But we are a family of cyclists. Showing our children the joy of cycling and how to go about it safely has been a priority.

            Our children started riding as babies in child seats on the backs of our bicycles. Later, they rode in a tandem Trail-a-Bike, a contraption with two seats, two handlebars, and a set of peddles for each of them. It attached to an adult's seat stem and was towed along behind so essentially, my husband and two daughters rode on one vehicle. We modeled bicycle safety by always wearing our helmets and following the rules of the road.

            We took rides on the canal, around our neighborhood, to the library, to church, to friends' houses, and sometimes, to the ice cream store. By the time they graduated to their own bikes, they were already experienced cyclists familiar with the rules of the road and how to ride safely.

            Now their bicycles give them independence, allowing them to ride to a friend's house or the library. They get exercise and our car stays in the garage.

            With the warm weather, we've resumed our family bicycle rides. And we'll make the ice cream store our destination as often as possible.

--- Marjorie Sangster Rolleston