Many students in Texas return to school in a few weeks, with all back in the classroom by August 26. But that doesn’t mean summer is over yet! (We’re definitely of the glass-half-full outlook here at Empire). Here are some must-do suggestions and helpful tips for you to squeeze the last bit of fun out of summer.
DO IT ALL IN GALVESTON
You can do it all on Galveston — shop, tour historic sites, ride roller coasters, build sandcastles (or check out the professional sandcastle-building event on August 24 at East Beach) and swim in the ocean. Galveston is a hot summer destination for any fun-seeking Texan, and if you’re lucky enough to live nearby (like our Coastal Point, Hidden Lakes and Lago Mar residents do) you should be a regular visitor.
Insider tip: Seawolf Park has some of the best fishing on the island, as well as a pretty cool WWII submarine and Navy destroyer escort warship. Didn’t have any luck fishing? Buy fresh seafood at Katie’s Seafood Market or Sampson & Sons Seafood at Pier 20.
EXPLORE THE HOUSTON ZOO
The Houston Zoo usually boasts more than 6,000 residents (and that’s reason enough to visit), but until September 2nd, there are more than 6,017! TXU Energy presents Dinosaurs, an exhibit of 17 giant animatronic dinosaurs that can move their heads, arms, tails and even spit water.
Insider tip: Plan your visit for after 4p.m. and save $4 per ticket when purchased online. Once at the zoo, be sure to take the Hermann Park mini train that travels 1.8 miles through Hermann Park. The nearby Buddy Carruth Playground is another must with most of its equipment handicap accessible and an interactive water playground.
TUBE THE RIVERS
Because everything is bigger in Texas, you have your choice many rivers that are popular for tubing. The big three are the Guadalupe River (sound like a local and pronounce it “Gwad-a-loop”), Comal River and (much to the delight of our Blanco Vista residents) the San Marcos River. There are dozens of tubing outfitters servicing all three rivers, and they will often provide exit point transportation. You’re welcome to bring food and drinks, but there are some restrictions on alcoholic beverages, so know before you go.
Insider tip: Lost something in the water? It may not be gone forever thanks to diving services.
SPLASH DOWN AT A WATERPARK
Like rivers for tubing, you’ll find plenty of water parks in Texas where you can slide, splash and float. One of the best known — and a right-of-passage for many Texas youth — is Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels. Spring-fed water keeps the water a constant 72 degrees and a canopy of trees in the original park keeps your picnics nice and shady. The park starts limiting their hours beginning August 12, but will remain open — at least on weekends — through to September 15.
Insider tip: Get to the park before it opens. You’ll find easy parking and have the chance to put on sunscreen. Head over to Master Blaster & Wolfpack first before the lines become an hour long.
dO THE Sam Houston BOAT TOUR
Houston is known for its sports teams, culinary scene, oil companies and hospitals, but it is also a major port city facilitating approximately 2.7 million import/export containers per year. Tour the Ship Channel by boat during a free 90-minute round trip ride aboard M/V Sam Houston. You’ll see international cargo vessels and operations at the port’s Turning Basin Terminal.
Insider tip: Most tours are at 10a.m. and either 2p.m. or 2:30p.m., however, there are limited 6p.m. boat tours on Fridays. Always check the website for cancellations before heading to the port.
VISIT SIX FLAGS FIESTA TEXAS
Just as fun-seekers have a choice in rivers to tube and water parks to play, there are also numerous amusement parks offering thrilling rides and events. Six Flags Fiesta Texas is always a big draw and well worth a visit to experience the trio of Batman-themed rides, including The Joker Carnival of Chaos. You’ll also find family rides, kids’ rides, water park rides and live entertainment. The park starts operating on a reduced schedule on August 18 and is only open daily through August 25.
Insider tip: Ride the water rides before lunch. Not only will lines be shorter, but you’ll be cool enough for the rest of the day. Plus, consider eating early or late to avoid those lines.
Luckily for many Empire homeowners, they don’t have to venture too far to make summer fun memories. They have water parks, playgrounds and a host of resident events to enjoy. Check out our exceptional communities throughout Austin, Houston and San Antonio!