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New at the Lincoln Children's Zoo

A 1-year-old American alligator, new to Lincoln Children's Zoo, is just 14 inches long.

The Lincoln Children’s Zoo adds color and cuteness to Friday’s Independence Day celebration with Red, White & Zoo from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The first 600 guests through the zoo gates will receive a free frozen treat. In addition, all active and retired military will receive free admission.

Visitors are invited to explore the zoo and learn all about the animals that are native to America, as well as those from far away lands.

At 2 p.m., visitors are invited to stop by the Animal Encounter Stage to meet Baby Liv, the zoo’s new wallaby.

In honor of the July 4 holiday, the Lincoln Children’s Museum will close early Friday. Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Coming up:

* Remember, Wednesdays are wild at the Lincoln Children’s Zoo. Throughout the summer, the zoo stays open until 8 p.m. every Wednesday, with special activities and programs.

* Mr. Kneel headlines Music & Mozzarella Thursday at the Lincoln Children’s Museum, 1420 P St. Gates open at 5 p.m., with Papa John’s pizza and preconcert entertainment by KFRX radio and Mr. Kneel, a hip-hop artist from Boulder, Colo., who promotes social, emotional and cognitive development in children. The free concert starts at 6 p.m. The museum is open until 7:30 p.m.; regular admission rates apply.

* “Shrek: The Musical” opens Thursday at Pinewood Bowl in Pioneers Park, 3201 S. Coddington Ave. The summer community theater production runs July 10-13, and July 17-20. Showtime is 8 p.m. Gates open at 6 p.m. Tickets available at Russ’s Markets and at the gate. Prices are adults $10/$11 in advance or $12 at the gate; $5 for kids ages 6 to 12; and free for ages 5 and under.

* The annual butterfly count takes place 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. July 12. Participants meet at Pioneers Park Nature Center for an introductory slide show and then will be sent to various count areas, including Pioneers Park Nature Center, Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center and Nine-Mile Prairie. No prior experience needed; open to all ages. Children must be accompanied by an adult. The count involves about two hours of walking covering two to three miles. Advance registration required by July 9. Cost $5 per person. Call 402-441-7895.

Other family events

Friday

Celebrate America! -- 9:30 a.m., kids' parade and marching band; 10-11 a.m., patriotic program; 11-11:30 a.m., old-fashioned family games; 11:30 a.m.-noon, hot dog lunch, Cripple Creek Park, Pine Lake Road between 40th and 56th streets, north on Beaver Creek Lane; the park is on the corner of Fir Hollow and Beaver Creek Lane. Everyone welcome.

Fourth of July storytime -- 11 a.m., SouthPointe Barnes & Noble Booksellers. "Corduroy's 4th of July" and "The Star Spangled Banner."

Lincoln City Libraries -- closed today in observance of Independence Day. Lincoln Children's Museum will be open from 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Lincoln Children's Zoo open regular hours.

Saturday

Become a Nature Detective -- "Beginning Birding," 10 a.m.-noon, Homestead National Monument of America, Beatrice. Free.

Bilingual English-Spanish storytime -- 10-11 a.m., Indigo Bridge Books, 701 P St.

Children's storytime -- 11 a.m., Barnes & Noble Booksellers, 5150 O St.

Monday

Children's storytime -- 10-11 a.m., Indigo Bridge Books.

Lincoln City Libraries Summer Reading Programs -- Let's Get Fit, 10:30 a.m., Walt Branch; 2 p.m., Eiseley Branch; 3:15 p.m., Williams Branch.

Nook Storytime -- "Naked," 11 a.m., SouthPointe Barnes & Noble Booksellers. Bring your own device or use one from the store.

Tuesday

Hour at the Museum -- "How We Crossed the West: the Adventures of Lewis & Clark," by R. Schanzer, 10-11 a.m., Nebraska History Museum, 15th and P streets. Story, exhibit and activities. Free.

Children's storytime -- 10-11 a.m., Indigo Bridge Books.

Lincoln City Libraries Summer Reading Program -- Let's Get Fit, 2 p.m., Anderson Branch; 6:30-7:30 p.m., South Branch.

Wednesday

Animal Antics: Summer drop-in program -- "Owls, Hawks and Falcons," 10-11 a.m., Pioneers Park Nature Center, Prairie Building. $3/person. Children must be accompanied by an adult (groups: one adult for every six children).

Lincoln City Libraries Summer Reading Program -- Let's Get Fit, 10:30 a.m., Bennett Martin Public Library; 2 p.m., Gere Branch.

Wild Wednesdays -- 5-8 p.m., Lincoln Children's Zoo. Regular admission.

Thursday

Lincoln City Libraries Summer Reading Program -- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Day, 2-6 p.m., Williams Branch.

Music & Mozzarella -- preconcert, 5 p.m.; show with Mr. Kneel, 6 p.m., Lincoln Children's Museum, museum plaza, east of the building. Free. Pizza packs, $4/person.

Shows and exhibits

"Shrek: The Musical" -- 8 p.m. (gates open at 6 p.m.), July 10-13 and 17-20, Pinewood Bowl, Pioneers Park. Tickets available at all Russ's locations.

Planetarium astronomy shows -- "Dream to Fly," 2 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday; "Into the Deep," 7 p.m. Thursdays; "Firefall," 2 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday, University of Nebraska State Museum of Natural History, Mueller Planetarium, Morrill Hall, south of 14th and Vine streets. 402-472-2641.

Hyde Observatory shows -- 8-11 p.m. Saturdays, Hyde Observatory, Holmes Lake. Free. 402-441-7094.

Register

Kids Nebraska History classes -- for grades fourth-eighth, "Nebraskans in World War II," 1:30-4 p.m. July 9 ($10/nonmembers, $8/members), Nebraska History Museum. nebraskahistory.com or 402-471-4782.

Successful Parenting Class -- 6-8 p.m. Mondays, July 7-Aug. 25, Family Service, 501 S. Seventh St. $120/series, scholarships available. Family Service, 402-441-7949, ext. 1665.

Firefly Picnic II -- 7:30-9:30 p.m. July 11, Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center, 11700 S.W. 100th St., Denton. $6/adult-child team, $2/additional team member. 402-797-2301.

Kids Nebraska History classes -- for grades kindergarten-12, "Victorian Embroidery," 9:30 a.m.-noon July 16; "Block Party: Quilt Projects," 9:30 a.m.-noon July 17, Nebraska History Museum, 15th and P streets. $10/nonmembers, $8/members, per class. 402-471-4782, nebraskahistory.com.

Buffalo Stampede 5K Trail Run and Family Event -- 8 a.m. (5K); 8:30 a.m. (Kids Mile) July 19, Crane Trust Nature & Visitor Center, I-80 Alda, exit 305. Register by July 9 to receive free Buffalo Stampede T-shirt. Information: Karen, 308-382-1820 or kkrullrobart@cranetrust.org. Register: NebraskaNature.org.

Camp Across Lincoln -- 9 a.m.-4 p.m. July 21-25. A different location each day: Lincoln Children's Museum, Morrill Hall, Lux Center for the Arts, Lincoln Children's Zoo and Pioneers Park Nature Center. $210. Register at Lincoln Children's Museum.

Breakfast with the Penguins -- 8-10 a.m. July 26, Lincoln Children's Zoo. Meet Topper the Penguin, feed the penguins and then yourself. $30/members, $40/nonmembers. Space limited. LincolnZoo.org.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7217 or eandersen@journalstar.com. On Twitter @LJSerinandersen.

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