Thursday 24

SENIORS AFTERNOON PICNIC, bring a dish to share, entree and drinks provided, live jazz by Harmony of the Sol, activities include bike riding and boating, sponsored by the Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks, Harmony of the Sol, the Howard County Arts Council and the Howard County government, 11 a.m., Centennial Park, Route 108, Ellicott City. $6; preregistration required. 410-313-7860.

Friday 25

ELLICOTT CITY BRIDGE PROGRAM, play and improve skills, bring a bag lunch, coffee and tea available, sponsored by the Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Fridays, Kiwanis-Wallas Recreation Center, 10481 Frederick Rd., Ellicott City. Free. 410-313-7279.

CHILDREN'S ROYALTY PROGRAM, for ages 4-6, listen to stories with a royal theme, pretend to be a knight or a lady, learn how to bow and curtsey and dance the minuet, 10 and 11:30 a.m., East Columbia Branch Library, 6600 Cradlerock Way, Columbia. Free; preregistration required. 410-313-7730.

SIGNING STORY TIME, for adults and children, Kathy MacMillan of the Maryland School for the Deaf will sign stories about castles, dragons, kings and queens in the magical land of "Eyeth," 11 a.m. Friday, Miller Branch Library, 9421 Frederick Rd., Ellicott City, 410-313-1955; 11 a.m. Saturday, Elkridge Branch Library, 6540 Washington Blvd., Elkridge, preregistration required, 410-313-5085; 2 p.m. Saturday, Howard County Central Library, 10375 Little Patuxent Pkwy., Columbia, preregistration required, 410-313-7880. Free.

ARTHRITIS EXERCISE CLASS, ongoing, exercises and activities designed to increase mobility and function and decrease pain and stiffness, taught by Arthritis Foundation instructors, sponsored by the Columbia Association Athletic Club, 11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Fridays and Mondays, 5435 Beaverkill Rd., Columbia. $3; members, free. 410-730-6744.

Saturday 26

FLAG PONDS NATURE PARK HIKE, a four-mile hike on a Chesapeake Bay beach in Calvert County to hunt for shark teeth and other fossils eroded from Calvert Cliffs, bring lunch and eat on the beach or take an optional trip to Solomons Island for lunch at a restaurant, followed by a visit to the Calvert Marine Museum, sponsored by the Sierra Club, Howard County Group, carpool departure, 8 a.m., from Route 32 and Broken Land Parkway, west side Park and Ride lot, Columbia. 301-725-3306.

LAUREL BIRDING PROGRAM, for ages 16 and older, a discussion and a walk, learn about bird identification, habitats and birding equipment, a two-part program, 9-11:30 a.m. Saturday and 8:15-10:30 a.m. Sunday, Patuxent Research Refuge, National Wildlife Visitor Center, off Powder Mill Rd., between Baltimore-Washington Parkway and Route 197, Laurel. Free; preregistration required. 301-497-5887.

GIRLS FASHION PROGRAM, for ages 11-17, learn about self-esteem, how to find your own style, how to dress with dignity, body shapes and more, sponsored by the Columbia Association Teen Center, 10 a.m-1 p.m., the Barn, Oakland Mills Village Center, 5851 Robert Oliver Pl., Columbia. $48; Columbia residents, $40; preregistration required. 410-992-3726.

STARGAZING PARTY, for all ages, telescope viewing of planets, galaxies and nebulae, the moon and satellites, weather permitting, sponsored by the Howard Astronomical League, 8-11 p.m. Saturday and July 24, Aug. 21, Sept. 25 and Oct.16, Alpha Ridge Community Park, Route 99, west of Marriottsville Road, Marriottsville. Free. 410-531-3899 or www.howardastro.org.

Sunday 27

GUNPOWDER STATE PARK NATURE WALK, search three one-mile paths for ferns along the Gunpowder River in Kingsville, Md., paths are flat and easy to walk, bring lunch and water, sponsored by the Maryland Native Plant Society, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., meet at the park's parking lot on the east side of Route 1 (Belair Road) at Big Gunpowder River, 5.4 miles north of Interstate 695, Exit 32, Baltimore. Free; preregistration required. 410-366-7239.

STEVENSON GARDEN POTS WORKSHOP, for adults, learn how to hand-paint terra cotta pots for gardens with limited space; materials and one pot will be provided; bring additional pots to decorate, noon-2 p.m., Irvine Nature Center, 8400 Greenspring Ave., Stevenson. $20; members, $15; preregistration required. 410-484-2413, Ext. 10.

LAUREL NATURE PROGRAM, for ages 8-10, "Nature Detectives," an interactive program searching for clues animals leave behind, 1-2 p.m., Patuxent Research Refuge, North Tract, Route 198, between Baltimore-Washington Parkway and Route 32, Laurel. Free; preregistration required. 301-497-5887.

Monday 28

AMERICA'S BIRTHDAY PARTY, for preschoolers and children of early elementary ages, a celebration of America's birthday, stories, songs and more, 10:30 a.m. Monday-Wednesday; 7 p.m. July 1, pajama-wearing optional; 10:30 a.m. July 2, Savage Branch Library, Gorman and Knights Bridge roads, Laurel. Free. 410-880-5978.

CICADAS AND LOCUSTS PRESENTATION, for ages 15 and older, "The Complex Lives of Cicadas and Locusts," learn the difference between the two creatures, includes an outdoor search, 5-7 p.m., Irvine Nature Center, 8400 Greenspring Ave., Stevenson. $8; members, $5; preregistration required. 410-484-2413.

COOKSVILLE BOARD GAMES, for ages 11-17, play provided board games or bring a favorite game, 7-8:30 p.m., Glenwood Branch Library, 2350 Route 97 (Roxbury Mills Road), Cooksville. Free; preregistration required. 410-313-5577.

Tuesday 29

ARTHRITIS AQUATIC CLASS, ongoing, gentle exercises in warm water to aid in decreasing pain and stiffness, taught by certified Arthritis Foundation instructors, sponsored by the Columbia Association Swim Center, 9:30-10:15 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10400 Cross Fox Lane, Columbia. $3; members, free. 410-313-7000.

STEVENSON NATURE STORY TIME, for children ages 2 and older accompanied by an adult, listen to nature stories by a pond, 1:15-2 p.m., Irvine Nature Center, 8400 Greenspring Ave., Stevenson. children, $2; members, $1; adults, free; preregistration required. 410-484-2413.

COLUMBIA BOOK DISCUSSION, for ages 9-11, "Olive's Ocean," a novel by Kevin Henkes, snacks provided, sponsored by the We're Bookin' book group, 7 p.m., Howard County Central Library, 10375 Little Patuxent Pkwy., Columbia. Free; preregistration required. 410-313-7860.

Wednesday 30

COLUMBIA PICTURE BOOK DISCUSSIONS, for ages 5-8, bring and read a picture book on the topic of dragons, Wednesday; giants, July 7; wishes, July 14, all discussions begin at 1:30 p.m., East Columbia Branch Library, 6600 Cradlerock Way. Free; preregistration required. 410-313-7730.

MENTAL ILLNESS SUPPORT GROUP, for friends and family members of those with a mental illness, sponsored by National Alliance for the Mentally Ill-Howard County, 7:30 p.m. the second Tuesday and last Wednesday of each month, Harmony Hall Retirement Community, 6336 Cedar Lane, Columbia. Free. 410-772-9300.

Thursday 1

COOKSVILLE LIBRARY STORY TIME, for ages 4-7, icy and cool stories, music, a game and more, 3 p.m., Glenwood Branch Library, 2350 Route 97 (Roxbury Mills Road), Cooksville. Free; preregistration required. 410-313-5577.

COLUMBIA SUMMER STORIES, for ages 5-9, learn facts about summer and more, 3 p.m., Howard County Central Library, 10375 Little Patuxent Pkwy., Columbia. Free; preregistration required. 410-313-7880.

-- Compiled by LINDA JAMES

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