Summer is about halfway over, and the kids may be running out of things to do. Don’t let the summer doldrums set in during the last few weeks of vacation. Because of Houston’s typically sweltering summer temperatures and unpredictable afternoon thunderstorms, summer activities here tend to be focused on indoor, air-conditioned spaces that still offer fun activities. There are many things to do in the Houston area that will keep kids of all ages happy and busy until the first day of school.
Houston Museum of Natural Science
5555 Hermann Park Drive
Houston, TX 77030
The Houston Museum of Natural Science is a staple activity for natives and visitors to Houston, but this summer, your kids will experience something bigger and grander than the museum has had before. The old Egypt hall has expanded into the new Hall of Ancient Egypt and is now open in the museum’s new wing. You can find three mummies as well as a dozen sarcophagi and other features that can amaze and educate your kids about the many aspects of life in ancient Egypt. It’s a great way to keep your kids learning while they are off from school. This is a great indoor activity during those extra hot Houston summer afternoons.
Jesse H. Jones Park and Nature Center
20634 Kenswick Drive
Humble, TX 77338
The Jesse H. Jones Park and Nature Center is one of Harris County’s most beloved natural areas for those on the north and northeast areas of Houston. During the summer, the park offers many programs for children of all ages. Most of the programs are free or have a very low cost, and reservations are usually not required. Even during late July and August, when most other parks have finished with their camp offerings, there are still activities for kids. Find a listing of all the summer programs here. Some of the classes your child can take include Saturday classes that teach about bats or turtles or a homesteading demonstration with free ice cream and watermelon to keep you cool in the late summer heat.
21415 Cypresswood Drive
Humble, TX 77338
If your kids have been begging you for a horse of their own, instead of paying for a pony, give them an hour or two of horseback riding at Cypress Trails. Kids and adults of all ages and horsemanship skills are welcome and the rides are adjusted accordingly. Even for beginners, the horses will take to the trails surrounding Cypress Creek. For kids under age five, the horses are led around the grounds of the stable by an expert for the child’s safety. For the first hour it costs $50 per person, but for two hours, it is $70, and a third hour is only $10 more than that. Riding lessons are also available for $55 per hour on weekdays or $60 for weekend lessons.
Quillian Center Pools
3663 Westcenter Drive
Houston, TX 77042
With a children’s shallow water play area featuring a Noah’s Ark theme and a full-sized pool with two slides and diving boards, the Quillian Center is a first-class recreation for wet and wild fun. You don’t have to be a member to visit, and it only costs $6.50 per person to get in, but you save $2 per admission if you are a member. The pools are only open weekdays and Saturdays during the summer, and from now until August 23, 2013 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The water center closes after Labor Day, so get there while you can during the summer months. The Quillian Center has more than just swimming. There are also softball fields, basketball courts, a rock climbing wall and more.
Miller Outdoor Theatre
6000 Hermann Park Drive
Houston, TX 77030
Summer is the best time for Miller Outdoor Theatre because it is during the warm summer months that the bulk of the shows and presentations are offered. Miller Outdoor Theatre’s shows are all free with open seating on the hillside and ticketed seating under the canopy. During the summer, children’s events are scheduled for the mornings during the third week of July this year. High school and college students may enjoy the annual Shakespeare festival. This year, “As You Like It” and “Antony and Cleopatra” will alternate nightly performances during the last week of July and the first of August. Kids and the young at heart will enjoy rolling down the hill before or after the performance. A full performance and event schedule is available here.
Crystal Hessong ia a freelance writer and a lifelong, fourth generation Houstonian. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.