As an increasing number of families considers "staycations" during tough economic times, the Hilliard Recreation and Parks Department has announced an expanded series of events and programs for the summer.

As an increasing number of families considers "staycations" during tough economic times, the Hilliard Recreation and Parks Department has announced an expanded series of events and programs for the summer.

"With the economy the way it is and with many residents deciding to stay close to home this summer, we have many new special events, program and activities planned," said Beth Simon, recreation supervisor.

Adult programming will include cooking classes to provide tips on preparing healthy meals, along with a free seminar on installing a rain garden, or how to make money or find bargains on eBay.

Children can enjoy playing gym games, learn to golf, make a variety of creations in art camp or attend drama camp.

These offerings and more are available online in the new Spring/Summer brochure and pool brochure available at www.cityofhilliard.com. Patrons can also pick up a brochure at the Recreation and Parks Department.

Residents who have verified their residency can register for swimming lessons and other activities online or can stop in the Community Center during business hours. Pool passes, however, must be purchased in person or by mail.

For the first time, the Recreation and Parks Department is offering a 10 percent military discount for active duty military personnel and their immediate family members.

Also new this year are membership add-ons for the swimming pools. As a bonus for pool members, each household may add up to two additional guests to their membership package. Add-on guests are attached to the primary household for which the membership was purchased. Only city and school district residents have the add-on opportunity. The primary household member(s) must meet the residency requirements to receive Hilliard City or Hilliard School District rates.

A list of special events for the summer includes:

Splash Into Summer-Saturday, June 13, from 4 to 11 p.m. Hilliard celebrates the first anniversary of the opening of the Hilliard Family Aquatic Center with a day of family fun. The festivities begin with the second annual Duckie Derby in the lazy river to benefit the Parade of Light; from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., activities include inflatables, a dunk tank, water tag, climbing wall and entertainment by Mrs. Sparkles as well as the kick-off of the R U Fit? program and kayaking in the competition pool. From 7:30 to 11 p.m., the movie "The Wizard of Oz," sponsored by the Hilliard Youth and Family Council, begins at dusk on a giant inflatable screen. The event also includes a "Wizard of Oz" costume contest, games, crafts, food and more.

July 4 activities will include entertainment by "The British Invasion" at 5:30 and 9:30 p.m. Inflatables by SuperGames will be featured from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Parade award winners will be announced at 7 p.m.

Splash Back Into School is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 1. Pool admission for non-members will be $5 and a $3 pancake breakfast will take place at 10 a.m. The Mousetrap band will perform from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Children can play games in the Game Truck and the wrap-up of the R U Fit? program will take pace.

For more information on Hilliard Recreation and Parks programming and special events, activities and camps, call Heather Ernst or Beth Simon at 876-5200.