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The incentive is tacos but the real point is getting children outside.

Next week the Roanoke Rapids Parks and Recreation joins in celebrating Take a Child Outside Week at the Roanoke Canal Museum and Trail.

Ryan Newsome, cultural resources leader for the museum, said, "When I saw Take a Child Outside spelled taco I said 'we're going to have tacos.' It's a statewide effort and this is the first time we are participating. The idea is to get kids to do something outside."

The recreation department is having two events to celebrate TACO Week.

The first is Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. where there will be about a 45-minute hike of the Canal Trail and then tacos cooked over an open fire.

Museum staff has already made a trial taste test of the open fire tacos. The method involves putting the ground beef in a dutch oven and setting it into the coals. Soft taco shells will be used and depending on the amount of participants, the children will be able to toast their shells roasted marshmallow style or the shells will be wrapped in foil to become crispy, Newsome said. "Our tests have shown they are really good. It'll be a fun experience."

Newsome is hopeful the hike "will expose children to the trail who have never been there before."

For Parks and Recreation Director John Simeon, he expects the city's participation next week to become an annual event. "I really like this program. Anything you can involve children in the outdoors and get them removed from video games and social media is a good program. I'm really proud of our staff for the innovative programs that our facilities offer."

To wind up the celebration of TACO Week, the museum will host a Canal Festival next Friday from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

That day will include food, music, games, a bounce house, loaner bikes, scavenger hunts, prizes and raffles.

A passport, which is available at the museum, will allow children a chance to win a new bicycle if it is completed.

To be eligible for the bike raffle, participants must complete at least four outdoor activities during the week. Attending Tuesday's TACO Hike means an additional entry in the bike drawing.

On your own activities should be dated and initialed by an adult and should be at least 30 minutes each.

Some of the ideas for on your own activities include biking, fishing, gardening, outdoor sports, swimming and exercise.

The Friday bike drawing will be held at 7 p.m. and you must be present to win.

Subway will be one of the Friday sponsors along with the Roanoke Valley Community Health Initiative which will be providing, drinks, popcorn and other healthy food options.

Friends of the Canal are also sponsors as well as the parks and recreation department.

"I'm really looking forward to it," Newsome said. "It will be a great opportunity to get the kids out. It's an activity for children as well as families. We're anticipating this program will be a family event."

For more information call the museum, located at 15 Jackson Street Extension, at 252-533-2847 or drop by.