People & Places

Kids recommend places to visit, things to do for summer fun

Including recommendations for a quintessential summer ice cream run

Claire and Adelyn Kucharski at Greene Square in southeast Cedar Rapids on March 2. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Claire and Adelyn Kucharski at Greene Square in southeast Cedar Rapids on March 2. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

Can adults ever really know what kids think is cool?

For this special feature, several Gazette staffers handed the reins over to their kids — ranging from age 5 to 14 — so they could tell us what to do, where to go and what to eat this summer.

Places to have fun

Gazette Executive Editor Zack Kucharski’s daughters Adelyn, 5, and Claire, 7, (pictured top) have lots of recommendations for kids looking for either sunny or rainy day activities. Claire is a second-grader at St. Pius X Elementary in Cedar Rapids, where Adelyn attends the Early Learning Center. Here are some of their favorite places:

Terry Trueblood Recreation Area, 579 McCollister Blvd., Iowa City

Adelyn said she likes paddle boating at Terry Trueblood park. “I like doing the pedals and steering the wheel,” she said, with her favorite being the magenta boat. She likes being able to move to different seats within the boat while on the water. “You get to put your feet in the water in the back.”

Pinicon Ridge Park, 4729 Horseshoe Falls Rd., Central City

Adelyn said the tower at Pinicon Ridge Park is a great place to climb and get a view of the clouds. “I like climbing up because it’s so tall,” she said.

The Play Station, 200 Collins Rd. NE, Cedar Rapids

If it’s a rainy day, Adelyn loves playing arcade games or climbing around at The Play Station. “The play set is as big as a house,” she said. “You can slide down the slides or play hide and seek.”

Cedar Rapids Ice Arena, 1100 Rockford Rd. SW, Cedar Rapids

Claire likes going to public skate at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena all year long. “It’s kind of hard, but lots of other kids are always learning too,” she said.

Iowa Ceramics Center and Glass Studio, 329 10th Ave. SE, Suite 117, Cedar Rapids

Claire also recommends taking a class at The Ceramics Center. She said the teachers are nice, and you get to work with the clay and paint your own creations. “I made a bowl and a little puppy,” she said.


Cedar Rapids Public Library, 405 Fifth Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids

The Cedar Rapids Public Library is always a hit, Claire said. There are a lot of games to try or books about every topic you can imagine: “I don’t know that I can ever read them all,” she admitted.

Eating out


Gazette photographer Jim Slosiarek’s daughter, Katie, 11, loves eating out and trying cuisine from around the world. She’s a fifth-grader at Prairie Creek Intermediate School in Cedar Rapids. Here are her picks for local restaurants.

El Super Burrito & Lupita’s Bakery, 3300 Johnson Ave. NW, Cedar Rapids

My mom loves this place and always gets the burrito ahogada. They have a bakery section, which is my favorite part. They have churros, cookies, doughnuts and cakes.

Haveli Indian Cuisine, 943 25th Ave., Coralville

This is my favorite place in the Iowa City area. They have a buffet, and the people there are really nice. I would recommend the chicken tikka masala because it has great flavor. It is chicken with Indian-spiced tomato and butter sauce. The samosas are really good, too.

The Lucky Penny, 1705 Boyson Rd., Hiawatha

I really like their BLT with a fried egg. They have a big variety of beers and other drinks, too. They have cool artwork on the walls that is fun to look at while you are waiting for your food.

Sushi House, 2665 Edgewood Parkway SW #100, Cedar Rapids

This place has Japanese and Chinese food. I would recommend the inari, which are sweet tofu pockets stuffed with sushi rice. They come in the kid’s bento box, or you can order them separately. I would also recommend the happy eel roll, which has deep fried eel, crab, fish roe and cucumber with eel sauce over the top. They also have all the Chinese food you can think of.

Jon’s Ice Cream, 231 W. Marengo Rd., Tiffin

I love to go to this place in the summer because it has great dipped ice cream. It is fun to watch them make it.

American Skillet, 4820 Johnson Ave. NW, Cedar Rapids

I always love to go and have breakfast with my dad at this place. My favorite thing there is the fruit and fiber cake. It is as big as a plate and has blueberries, strawberries and whipped cream and granola on a pancake.


Thank you for signing up for our e-newsletter!

You should start receiving the e-newsletters within a couple days.

Lina’s Thai Bistro, 2055 Holliday Dr., Dubuque

My family has been to this restaurant several times. My mom and I will order several sushi rolls to share. My favorite is the Volcano Roll. It has tempura shrimp and Philadelphia cream cheese topped with baked crab meat and crunchy tempura flakes. On our last visit we ordered the French Kiss Roll. It has shrimp tempura, spicy tuna and cucumber topped with salmon and avocado. We also ordered a Sundown Mountain roll with shrimp tempura, spicy crab meat and tempura flakes with sauce drizzled on top.

Phong Lan Vietnamese Restaurant, 216 Eighth St. SE, Cedar Rapids

I love going to this restaurant after a swim meet. They have a passion fruit slushy that is very refreshing. They also have menu item 7.3, which is rice with charbroiled pork, cucumbers, carrots and tomatoes. They also give you a special sauce that goes on the rice. It’s a little spicy. My family always gets the spring rolls to share.

Things to do:


Gazette human resources manager Holly Adams’ daughter Keara, 10, has suggestions for activities for kids of all ages. She is a fourth-grader at St. Pius X Elementary in Cedar Rapids.

Noelridge Aquatic Center, 1248 42nd St. NE, Cedar Rapids

You can always find something to do at the pool, whether it is finding a friend or swimming. Noelridge is my favorite pool, because my feet can touch the bottom in most places.

Guthridge Park, 704 Emmons St., Hiawatha

There are a lot of swings, a bike trail and a merry-go-round. They also have a big dome with monkey bars you can climb on. There is a volleyball pit, tennis courts and a splash pad.

Meet Me At the Market NewBo City Market, 1100 Third St. SE, Cedar Rapids

On Thursday nights during the summer at NewBo you can do free yoga or zumba. I think some of the poses are really easy and some of them are hard, and you get to see skilled professionals do them. I saw some of them doing a headstand, and I could not see myself doing that! Most of the people there are just like you. They can’t really do the big stuff, but it’s still really cool to see them doing it, because you can’t really do it yourself. It’s good to see other people doing it so you can have a good example.

AirFXTrampoline Park, 1100 N. 18th Ave., Hiawatha, and Sky Zone, 5515 Council St. NE, Cedar Rapids

There’s usually dodge ball, or basketball, so if you get tired of trampolining, there’s almost always something you can find to do. If you’re playing basketball, you can get extra air, or there are pits you can jump into. I like watching people do flips and tricks.

Speedeezz Indoor Karting, 4750 Tama St. SE, Cedar Rapids

I like go karting. I do not go very fast. I think I’m a very careful driver, but this year my dad has taught me how to zoom through the course.


Quarter Barrel Arcade & Brewery, 616 Second Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids

You can eat lunch, and then you can play games. Usually I go on the weekends with my parents.

Ice cream


Cedar Rapids government reporter B.A. Morelli’s daughter Autumn, 14, is an ice cream enthusiast and eighth-grader at Southeast Junior High in Iowa City. She offers her picks for places to enjoy frozen treats.

Heyn’s Ice Cream, 811 S. First Ave., Iowa City

Try the Monster Mash. It has vanilla ice cream, cookie dough, peanut butter and M&M’s. It’s creamy, and I like the peanut butter. I don’t normally like cookie dough in ice cream, but this is good.

Olive That Deli, 210 S. Franklin St., Manchester

I stopped here on the way to Backbone State Park. I like how you can mix any of the flavors. I got a strawberry and Oreo milkshake. It was the best milkshake I have ever had.

Danes Dairy, 1430 Willow Creek Court, Iowa City

I got a vanilla soft serve cone dipped in chocolate, and it was OK. But my brother Ollie got a peanut parfait. It had chunks of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. It smelled and looked really good.

Rollipop Rolled Ice Cream, 1608 Sycamore St., Iowa City

This is a new place, and it is fun to watch them make the ice cream. They pour the batter onto a frozen surface and mix in toppings, and then they roll it up and put it in a dish with more toppings. I’ve heard good things about the Monkey Business (Nutella and banana ice cream). Try it with sprinkles, whipped cream and marshmallow.

Yotopia, 132 S. Clinton St., Iowa City

You get to choose all of your toppings, and you serve yourself so you can take how much you want. I usually get mango or vanilla fro-yo with brownie chunks, gummy frogs and passion fruit. Be careful, because it adds up quickly. Pro tip: go with your parents so they can pay for it.

Great American Popcorn Company, 1121 Third St. SE, Cedar Rapids

They have a lot of ice cream flavors, plus other snacks to choose from like flavored popcorn, fudge and lots of flavors of soda. For ice cream, try the Superman flavor. It’s a blend of black cherry, blue ice cream and vanilla.


Dan and Debbie’s Creamery, 1600 Main St., Ely

They have tons of flavors and a lot of weird, different flavors, like black licorice. I recommend trying the black cherry chip, Dutch chocolate and the mint chocolate chip. This place is also cool because they make it all there, and it comes from cows raised on their farm nearby.

The Freeze, 915 S. 11th St., Marion

I am really excited to try this place because of the neon soft serve and ice cream sandwich with baked chocolate chip cookies.

Deb’s Ice Cream & Deli, 215 Third St. SE, Cedar Rapids

This is one of my dad’s favorite places to go when he’s at work. They have a “naughty hour” special every afternoon from 2 to 3 p.m. He recommends mixing the Zanzibar and Raspberry Rhapsody.

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.


Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.