Often children are apprehensive about visiting the dentist. Even though the office of Dr. Max Lingo will treat your child with the utmost care and compassion, the anticipation of going to have their teeth cleaned can cause anxiety in some children.

Parents Magazine offers these tips for helping your child relax before and during dental checkup visits

• Start early, taking your child to the dentist at one year of age or whenever their first tooth erupts, so that going to the dentist becomes a routine part of their life.
• Keep your explanation of what’s going to happen at the dentist’s office simple so you don’t cause unnecessary anxiety.
• Don’t say that it’s going to hurt — instead emphasize that the dentist is going to make their teeth “clean” and “healthy.” Allow the dental professionals to introduce their own specialized vocabulary to your child.
• Play pretend with your child before the visit, letting them be the “dentist” as well as the patient. Give them a toothbrush and let them role play with a doll or stuffed animal.
• Get a library picture book about going to the dentist.
• Resist taking them with you while you have your teeth cleaned or telling stories about dental experiences you’ve had.
• Stay calm when your young child cries or resists an exam. Follow the guidance of the dental professionals, who will recommend coping strategies.
• Teach your child that oral health is important and regular maintenance, including regular visits to the dentist, are part of the process.
• Avoid bribing your child by promising a special treat afterwards, which might send the message that they’re in for something unpleasant before they get their reward.

Although bribing your child to behave is not recommended, following the dental visit with a same-day trip to a destination you know your child enjoys, without making it an “if you behave, you can go” proposition, might build positive feelings. And Evansville, Indiana offers a lot of wonderful attractions that your child can get excited about.

One popular destination for families in Evansville is the Mesker Park Zoo and Botanic Garden. Situated 45 acres of rolling hills on Evansville’s northwest side, the zoo is home to more than 700 animals. Animals are grouped geographically in areas including South America, North America, Africa, Asia, and Australia.

Popular exhibits feature such animals as tigers, zebras and wolves, and a Children’s Enchanted Forest provides opportunities for kids to interact with and pretend to be animals. There are giraffe feedings scheduled throughout the day, and don’t miss the more exotic animals like the red panda and komodo dragon.

Special events include Boo at the Zoo, where children are encouraged to come to the zoo in costume. Check the special events calendar for more information.

Another enjoyable place to spend a day is the Koch Family Children’s Museum of Evansville, located in the former Downtown Central Library building. The museum has more than 18,000 square feet of exhibits in four main galleries, plus a multimedia theater.

Work Smart focuses on engineering skill development and the freedom to build and create. Quack Factory encourages explorers to try a 28-foot climbing structure and water activities in the Wet Deck.

Speak Loud encourages children to express their feelings through music, drama, and the visual arts.

Older children might be interested in visiting the LST Ship Memorial. The USS LST-325 is a decommissioned tank landing ship of the United States Navy, now docked on the Ohio River in Evansville, Indiana.

Guided tours of the fully-operational ship include the main deck, troop sleeping quarters, tank deck, mess deck (dining area), galley (kitchen), stern of ship (guns and anchor), wheel house, officers’ area and captain’s cabin.

The tour winds through the ship up and down three sets of stairs, so comfortable walking shoes without heels are advised. It’s also recommended that visitors carry water and dress for the weather. Tours run on the hour with the first at 10 a.m. and the last one starting at 3 p.m., and take about an hour.

Children who enjoy outdoor adventures will appreciate a visit to Burdette Park.

Burdette Park is a municipally-owned and operated park with 170 acres of rolling hills that provide a recreational and educational environment for patrons of all ages. The park is open from 7 a.m. to midnight 365 days a year.

A paved, 6-mile round trip trail that connects the Park to the University of Southern Indiana is the ideal place for a walk or bike ride. Several more primitive hiking trails also traverse the park.

Rental chalets and campsites are also available within the park, as well as pavilions for group gatherings.

Other activities available at Burdette include tennis, fishing and miniature golf, as well as the Burdette Park Aquatic Center, which is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

The aquatics center is one of the largest in the Midwest, with a large Olympic pool with two diving boards, a family pool with two slides, and a children’s pool with a floating alligator and snake. There’s also an interactive spray park for younger children and a large deck area.

Lockers, showers and a concession area are available, as well as a gift shop and Float Stand where you can rent rafts, tubes and flotation devices.

Another location of historical interest in Evansville is Angel Mounds State Historic Site, the location of a large Native American settlement that was the social, political and religious center of what is now known as Indiana from as early as 1000 AD to 1450 AD.

The site one of the best-preserved prehistoric Native American sites in the country. An on-site museum recreates the story of the Native American people known as Middle Mississippians.

Twelve earth mounds, built for ceremonial and residential purposes, are scattered throughout 100 acres that also feature several walking, jogging and biking trails.

In 1938, the Indiana Historical Society bought the 412 acres that comprise the park with money from pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly. In 1946, the Historical Society gave the property to the State of Indiana and in 1965 granted the excavation rights to Indiana University, which also has the responsibility to house any artifacts that are found.