Features

2001 Kids' Summer Fun Guide

Seguin Wave Pool
Seguin Wave Pool (Photo By Gerald E. McLeod)

Captain Day Trips' Favorite Family Outings

Seguin Wave Pool

Max Starcke Park, South Austin Street, Seguin, 800/580-PECAN

Ride big inner tubes atop the wild waves that swell nearly five feet high every 15 minutes at this small-town swimming pool. Park also has wading pools for toddlers and snack bar. Open Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Neal's Lodge

Rio Frio, Real County, 830/232-6118

One of the oldest camps on the river above Uvalde, Neal's is a kid's paradise, with riverside cabins, float trips, even a video arcade. Parents love the convienent grocery store and cafe in the campground and the big front porches on the cabins with kitchenettes and lots of beds. Make reservations early.

Blue Bell Ice Cream Tour

Loop 577, Brenham, 800/327-8135

The 45-minute tours of the ice cream plant are weekdays between 10am and 2:30pm with admission beginning at $2.50, and include a scoop of Blue Bell. The country store and ice cream store are open on most Saturdays. www.bluebell.com.

St. Clare Monastery

TX 105 north of Brenham, 979/836-9652

For years the Franciscan Poor Clare Nuns have supported themselves by raising minature horses and selling handmade ceramic items in "The Art Barn" gift shop. Visitors are welcome 2-4pm daily to pet the horses, browse the gift shop, or take a guided tour.

Moody Gardens

One Hope Blvd., Galveston, 409/744-4674 or 800/582-4673

What started as an animal-assisted treatment center for head injury patients in 1982 has become the Pyrmaids of the Gulf Coast. The world-class educational/recreational resort includes three glass pyramids housing an aquarium, rainforest, and science museum. Add to that a luxury hotel, a beach area, and riverboat rides and you have a vacation destination. www.moodygardens.com.

Natural Bridge Caverns

26515 Natural Bridge Caverns Rd., between New Braunfels and San Antonio, 210/651-6101

Cool off more than 200 feet below the Earth's surface or watch animals from six continents at the Wildlife Ranch next door. The cave is one of the most active and beautiful in Texas. www.naturalbridgecaverns.com or nbwildliferanchtx.com.

Kiddie Park

3501 Broadway, San Antonio, 210/824-4351

The oldest continously operated kiddie amusement park in the U.S. is a great place to take under-12-year-old day trippers. The little ones won't notice they're on rare antique rides; only that everything is just the right size. Open daily until dark.

Witte Museum's H.E.B Science Treehouse

3801 Broadway, San Antonio, 210/357-1900

This is one museum with no "don't touch" signs. Learn the basics of science while having fun shooting tennis balls, playing with magnets, or acting like a pirate in the treehouse ship overlooking the San Antonio River. www.wittemuseum.org.

Fossil Rim Wildlife Center and Drive-Thru Park
Fossil Rim Wildlife Center and Drive-Thru Park (Photo By Gerald E. McLeod)

The Jersey Barnyard

3117 TX 159 north of TX 71, La Grange, 979/249-3406

Belle, the singing cow of the ice cream commericals, makes her home at the dairy farm along with a herd of Jersey cows and a menagerie of other animals. If you can't visit grandma's farm, then this is the next best thing. Take a tour or just wander around the petting zoo, boutique, and ice cream shop. Find out if milk comes out of a Jersey cow's nose if it laughs really hard. (See this week's "Day Trips" for more on the Jersey Barnyard.) www.texasjersey.com.

Texas Zoo

Riverside Park, Victoria, 361/573-7681

Texas is home to more than 700 species of animals, and this zoo houses more than 200 of them. Named the "National Zoo of Texas" by the Legislature in 1984. Most of the habitats are open, without wire cages. www.viptx.net/texaszoo/.

Corral Movie Theater

FM 3237 at Flite Acres Rd., Wimberley, 512/847-2513

Memorial Day through Labor Day the movies begin at sunset with the colorful sky behind the outdoor screen. Bring a blanket or lawn chair or use their plastic chairs, but don't miss the famous popcorn.

Dallas Aquarium at Fair Park

Dallas, 214/670-8443

Arrive at feeding time for the piranhas at 2:30pm Tuesday-Sunday or just wander the aisles of tanks holding colorful and some extremely rare fish. This is also a conservation research facility for endangered species.

Texas State Aquarium

Corpus Christi, 800/477-GULF

Take a close look at the incredible life in the Gulf of Mexico, pet a fish, and walk across the street to an aircraft carrier. www.texasstateaquarium.org.

Texas Sports Hall of Fame

1108 S. University Park, Waco, 254/756-1633

Nearly every sport and nationality is represented in the five galleries, but all the sports greats have one thing in common -- they were Texans. Lots of interactive displays along with the glass cases full of sports memorbilia.

Dr Pepper Museum

300 S. Fifth & Mary, Waco, 254/757-1024

Dr Pepper was invented by a Waco pharmacist; now the original bottling plant is dedicated to telling the story of the soft drink. www.drpeppermuseum.com.

Dr Pepper Bottling Plant

One block south of Blackjack and Patrick streets, Dublin, 888/398-1024

The oldest continuously operated Dr Pepper Bottling Plant in the world still makes the soda the old fashioned way -- with pure cane sugar. They will be celebrating their anniversary June 4-9. www.drpep.com.

Fossil Rim Wildlife Center and Drive-Thru Park

U.S. 67 west of Glen Rose, 254/897-2960

If you can't make it to the Serengeti this summer, this is the next best thing. From the comfort of your automobile, see more than 60 species of exotic and endangered wildlife on a 9.5-mile drive through near-natural settings. www.fossilrim.com.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More by Gerald E. McLeod
Day Trips: Dining in Bastrop
Day Trips: Dining in Bastrop
Three downtown Bastrop cafes that will wow you

June 14, 2024

Day Trips: Houston Temple, Houston
Day Trips: Houston Temple, Houston
Intricate wooden temple goes up in smoke in November

June 7, 2024

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle