Back to School Doesn't Mean the End of Outdoor Extravaganzas...

Today we're excited to introduce you to From Stem to Stern contributor Alexandra West Alexandra has been spending summers in Newport since she was a child and transported herself back here permanently when it was time to start her own family. She is the founder & editor of Newport Connext, the City's go-to guide connecting savvy moms to their local community, and providing useful information personally dedicated to families enjoying their local 401.

I have to admit, the most exciting part of being a local parent in Newport is how many wonderful activities there are for families every month, every season. In fact, local and traveling parents alike can easily fill up their family calendar--weekly--with educational, active, and just plain old fun activities happening about our little island.

So, to make life a bit simpler (you deserve it), and to help out all those busy families looking for fun in our 401, we have compiled a great list of special events that should not be missed all about town! School may have begun, but there are still some mighty good weekday family fun choices happening with our warm weather sun. Oh my goodness, how we love our City-by-the-Sea!

THIS WEEK: FESTIVALS, FAIRS & FAMILY FUN

09.08-Hula Dancing at Rough Point, 5:00-7:30pm Calling all little hula girls out there! Drag your moms and dads on over to Doris Duke’s breathtaking estate, Rough Point, and enjoy a demonstration from the Napua O' Polynesiadance troupe as they sway their hips back and forth to great music that will have parents craving a coconut cocktail. Enjoy lessons for the kids (and adults)! $5/adult, kids under age 12 are free, cash bar for adults. Rough Point, Newport, (401) 846-4152. www.newportrestoration.org

09.10-Norman Bird Sanctuary’s First Annual Family Art Day, 10:00am-2:00pm NBS is hosting their first annual “Something of That Nature” family art day on Saturday. This is a family-friendly event full of artistic activities from dancing, to art, to a picnic with a performance. The best part of this event is kids may enter their art work! (Register by the 8th.) Whether in the show or viewing, bring the kids down for a great day of art viewing, delighting in activities, and spending the perfect day on the beach with fellow budding artists, and our local community.For those who wish to register you kiddos art, please call (401) 846-2577 before the 8th. Third Beach Education Center, Third Beach Rd., Middletown. www.normanbirdsanctuary.org

09.10-09.11: Audubon Raptor Weekend 2011, 10:00am-4:00pm daily It’s raptor weekend at Bristol’s Audubon Society! Oh boy, oh boy, for all those kiddos who love to watch the hawks soar in the sky, make the hooting sound of the owl at night, or are just enthralled with beautiful, powerful birds…this is the activity for them! There will be great exhibits and hands-on activities, revolving around a variety of owls and talons from 10:00am to 4:00pm daily. $10 adult/$5 child. Audubon Environmental Educational Center, 1401 Hope Street (RT. 114), Bristol. www.asri.org/general-eec-info/raptor-weekend.html

09.10-Farm Fest at Mount Hope Farm, 10:00-2:00pm Mount Hope Farm in Bristol is a breathtaking property with a wooded path that takes you all the way down to the bay. This weekend, the farm opens its doors to the public for a family day called Farm Fest. Mount Hope Farm wants families to come on down for a day of hayrides, a scavenger hunt, and to explore the property on a nice big family walk down to the cove for music. This is not a working farm; it is more of a beautiful estate with great outdoor walks and water views. (401) 254-1745, www.mounthopefarm.org

Stay tuned! Alexandra has a line-up of fantastic events happening the latter half of the month that she'll be posting next week. 'Til then, visit Newport Connext to stay up-to-date on family fun in the 401!