By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Mar 08, 2010 at 3:14 PM

I'd call Milwaukee Recreation's Friday Night Tales for Tots series at Hawthorne Glen, 1130 N. 60th St., one of the city's best-kept secrets, but considering MPS' recreation department does great promotional work, it's hard to use the word "secret."

But when I attended last week with my kindergartner, we accounted for 50 percent of the turnout (although we made up just 33.33 percent of those registered).

Still, two great Hawthorne Glen staffers didn't bat an eye or threaten to cancel.

Nope, they laced up their shoes and led us on an evening hike around Hawthorne Glen, pointing out constellations like Orion and stars like Sirius. We also saw fox tracks, woodpeckers' work and more before returning to check out the animals in the wildlife center.

There, one of them read Melanie Watt's fun "Scaredy Squirrel" picture book. After that we did a little art project and then continued our nature talk, examining pine cones, acorns and other stuff found out on the trails.

"The children who attend our story sessions get to spend quality time with their parents / guardians, learn something about their natural surroundings, complete a fun craft project," says MPS assistant recreation supervisor Kevin Reed.

That was exactly our experience. Both of us had a great time and at $4 a head, the 90-minute program, which runs from 6:30 to 8 p.m. through May 16, is a steal. The series is aimed at kids ages 3-5.

Pre-registration is required. To see the list of books to be read and to register online, visit For more information, call (414) 647-6050.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.