It is no secret that summer has arrived in full force! As fun as summer is, the Texas heat and humidity can make it pretty unpleasant to be outside. Luckily, there are plenty of fun things to do inside, if you know where to look.
Indoor playgrounds are perfect when the mercury is nearing 100! Wonderwild at 767 Shepherd is great for younger kids. It can get quite crowded, so going around lunch time when everybody else is clearing out to eat is a good idea. Wonderwild caters to the under 8 crowd, so if you have bigger kids, it is not your best bet.
If you are willing to leave the Loop (Quelle horreur!) We Rock the Spectrum is another fun indoor playground, with the added benefit of being special-needs friendly. In addition to free play, respite care for special needs kids, and private parties, We Rock the Spectrum offers classes of various types for those who want a little more guidance for their kiddos. Check online for upcoming class selections.
If paying for an indoor playground seems like a drag (at around $10 per child, it can get pricey!) you cannot go wrong with good old Chick-Fil-A! Their play places are always clean and well-maintained, and you can watch the kids from the relative quiet of the dining room, if they are old enough to play solo.
Arts and Crafts
Air conditioning, alcohol, and art- what could be better? If you have never been, Painting with a Twist is an art studio that hosts group classes where everyone paints the same painting, led by an instructor, and enjoys a glass or two of vino along the way. It is a lot of fun for girl’s nights, date nights, or just a few hours of me time. Painting With a Twist is located at 728 W 19th Street. You have to book your space in advance, so click the link to reserve a spot.
A good book transports you anywhere you could want to go. Maybe a big vacation is not in the cards this year, but you can still travel the world in your imagination via the local library! The Heights Library at 1302 Heights Boulevard offers a wide selection of books, dvds, and music CDs, as well as wi-fi and public computers. There are also a ton of activities offered daily, from adult movie time to baby story time to computer skills classes. Toddler yoga? Job seeker workshops? Craft hour? Why not! It is all free and air conditioned. Public libraries are hugely underutilized and you would probably be shocked to see how many diverse programs and services are offered at ours.
It is a bit of a drive from the Heights, but Johnson Space Center is a must-see for anyone living in the Houston area. Learn about space travel, the construction of the shuttles, and what it takes to become an astronaut. There is plenty available for kids and adults alike.
Heights Sports Academy is part retail store, part indoor baseball facility. Practice your swing in the batting cages, or hire a trainer for one-on-one instruction. Perfect for kids who want to go out for their school team and need to increase their skill level before tryouts, or adults who want to relive their glory days on the diamond.
Tumbling and cheer more your speed than baseball? H-Town Elite Gymnastics offers recreational and competitive classes for kids 6+, and a preschool program for kids 2 and up. The gym is currently enrolling for the fall and summer programs. Whether your kids are trying out for cheerleading, have Olympic aspirations, or just like doing cartwheels and need something to do, you will find something right up your alley.
Del Mar Lanes
Who does not love bowling? Del Mar Lanes is a smaller, retro-style bowling alley hidden in Garden Oaks at 3020 Mangum Rd. It is not quite as flashy as some of the big chains, but it is clean, well-maintained, and very reasonably priced. They also serve food and are home to league bowling, if that is your cup of tea.
Houston has a wide variety of top-notch museums. If you have not visited them, get to it! The Children’s Museum is always a hit with kids, with tons of activities, interactive displays, and a toddler play area. The Museum of Natural History is full of dinosaur fossils and models, the beautiful Cockrell Butterfly Center, priceless gemstones, and dioramas depicted life in many different climates and countries. The Museum of Fine Arts has a fantastic permanent collection (which is free on Thursdays!) as well as traveling special exhibits that change periodically. There are museums dedicated to modern art, health and physiology, contemporary craft, the Holocaust, photography, black history…pretty much any discipline you could hope to learn more about, we have got a museum for that. Buy memberships for your favorite if you plan to go more than twice in a year, as the savings is considerable.
There you go! If that is not enough to keep you and your kids busy and cool throughout the summer, we are very jealous of your boundless free time. Here is hoping you manage to stay cool, sane, and entertained throughout the summer break.