It's summertime in Waco. It can be boiling outside. The "cook an egg on the sidewalk" thing turned out not to be true but they didn't try it on our foreheads now did they?
We're so glad for less rigidity with the morning routine and some of those lessons have ended...we love our kids, right? It's just a bit terrifying to think of them being with you. All the time. For the next many, many weeks.
WHAT can I do to keep my kids entertained all summer?
We've got you covered. Here are some of our BEST ideas (and high-five, some of them are free!). We hope to keep you going and your kids happy 'til the end of days (or at least until early August).
Golden's Book Exchange. Yaaaaaas. Take your kiddos on a voyage through time – through reading!
Their website declares something like, whatever your taste (romance, horror, westerns, mysteries, history, biographies, cookbooks, or science fiction), Golden’s has a massive selection of books for every person and taste. Your children! This place has an area specifically for kiddies.
Cozy, with a vintage kids' table + chairs - just got goosebumps writing that. You'll definitely be making memories for your little readers. AND you can browse around for your next can't-put-it-down find.
This place is special because it offers an economical way to book-buy. You get credit back when you turn in used books in good condition. Then, you can buy more books to read!
Exciting times for parents of book people: The Half-Off Sale kicks off on the first Thursday of every other month (Protip for your calendar: it’s only on the even-numbered months). EVEN rhymes with Steven rhymes with Golden (kinda). Good luck.
The sale runs Thursday through Saturday 10:00am – 6:00pm and everything in the store, except for comic books and records, is an additional 50% off, making them 75% off from the original cover price. Heads up: The sale price doesn’t apply if you decide to use book credit to pay for your purchase, but you can return those books for credit when you're finished!
Book up your week, page-turners. Monday – Saturday, 10am – 6pm.
Why stop when you’re ahead, mama? GREEN LIGHT: Waco-McLennan County Library. Lettuce visit. First thing’s first: here’s all the info answering, "How do I get a library card?" You will need to click on that. And read it. Before you go. To avoid that horrible “Oh, we needed a proof of this and a copy of that before we came here today and now we have to go home empty-handed and people are now crying and it's because that blog post I read didn't tell me to gather the few things I need to get a library card” feeling. Help me help you.
Texas residents age 5 and older can get their very. own. card. How cute is that?! (Really cute unless they lose all of the books. Make a plan, peoples.)
Next question. Where is the location + what are the hours of each library? We got you.
Libraries are for reading but tbh, the Waco Library is just so, so, much more. Por ejemplo: you can check out a Museum Pass with your library card. You heard me. You, my friend, may zip by the library and check out access to the following museums in town. For free.
Mayborn Museum (2 adults/4 children)
Texas Rangers Hall of Fame (2 adults/2 children)
Texas Sports Hall of Fame (2 adults/2 children)
Dr. Pepper Museum (6 admissions)
Waco Mammoth Site (2 adults/2 children)
Cameron Park Zoo (2 adults/2 children)
(Moment of silence for awesomeness. We understand.)
Back to books, though. Hop onto the calendar to view all that the Waco Library’s four branches offer during summertime. I will give you a hint: Camp CODE, Sensory-friendly matinees, Improv classes for kids, Romp & Read, Kids Minecraft Club, Teen Summer Reading Club, Art Afternoons for children, Art Life for teens, Chapter Book Chats, LEGO labs, Family Fort Fun!, STEAM Team (science, technology, engineering, art, and math), Game On!, Baby Playtime, Make Some Noise!, Yoga for Kids, Paw Patrol Party, and Family Nights, can you BELIEVE THIS!?! Why don’t we live there?!
Ps. eBooks + eMagazines available for checkout, too!
Okay, let’s be honest. You (and they) will not remain sane if they can’t play outside. It’s so dang hot, though! The city hath heard our cry. Splash pads, y’all. Waco holds out its ever-lovin’ arms to you in the form of FREE splash pads.
They’re in various parks around Waco and they shoot water in every direction. Your kids just fell in love? Mmhm. Happens to everybody. These joy-makers are open during their respective park's hours from June to September. Let thy children run free. And wet, for that matter.
Did you know Lake Waco offers two parks with swimming beaches? Airport Beach and Twin Bridges. And you thought we were landlocked... just five bucks per vehicle per day at the beach. (That was a joke. We are landlocked. But, two sandy shores!)
Want to take your Aquaman game up a notch, do you? Well, even if you don’t: Blake and Erin Ward started Pura Vida Paddle to bring more water rec to the Waco area.
Evvven now you might be thinking, “Ehhh, is this for me? really for my kid?”
Look at all of these creatures – moms, dads, (young) kids, teens, yogis, ducks, and pups – in these photographs living a super-unique experience. An experience that is totally available to you and your family. (We think it can be "for you.")
Any age can join the fun! Younger children can sit in the kayak or on the paddleboard with the adult. Depending upon size and strength, children around nine years-old can usually paddle alone. PVP provides life jackets but if you have one that’s a good fit – bring it. Under 18s must have a parent/guardian sign for them.
I’m just gonna let you have a little moment rn with their words to you:
There is nothing more relaxing than connecting with the water, slowing down and taking a moment (ope!) to breath in life, and observe the beauty around you. Too many times we get tied up in our day-to-day routine and stress can overwhelm our lives. We have found pure joy and relaxation by getting on the water and enjoying the nature around us. Our goal is to help others connect to nature and find a way to find peace in their lives. It's time to live Pura Vida!
We’ve thought about you, so here are some deets: PVP offers 2 kids camps to cover ALL AGES in the summer. Closed Wednesdays in summer. Can book online (but don’t have to) for SUP Yoga and SUP Tone classes, paddleboards/kayak/pedal boat rentals, and kayak tours. Walk-ins welcome for rentals.
You can rent a dry bag for your phone w/ or w/o a Bluetooth speaker. They also offer private lessons, parties, + events. Ask about group, student, military, and senior discounts. And here’s their Q&A with the waiver to sign in advance to save you time at check-in (if you’re that kind of person).
“I was super nervous at first but ended up loving every minute! The staff was so helpful and patient with me."
“So relaxing and awesome. Lived in Waco my whole life and always wanted to find a way to get on the water, this gave me that opportunity - with yoga!”
See ya out there.
Another option is to let allllll of their energy out at Jump-N-Place while you regain yours!
Take your kids where it’s all about FUN! Play in their huge 8,500 square foot jump arena! Think inflatable slides and a bounce house gone wild. It’s eight bucks per child and adults are always FREE! Family-owned and operated entertainment center. They’ve been in biz for the past 9 years!
Socks are required to jump. Signed waivers are required for ALL guests! Can’t jump if you’re preggers. Free WiFi is available to you if you want to connect while your kids jump around! Jump around! Jump up, jump up, and get down!
There is allllllso a spacious toddler area for wee ones under 32 inches. Babies and toddlers have their own bounce house and toys, where children 4+ are not permitted.
Violate any of their rules?
A verbal warning will be given, then a five-minute "time-out," then non-participation.
Nobody puts Baby in the corner. (Make good choices, everyone.) Coupons on website, along with general info, group and membership info, and party packages. (Family members of military personnel get 10% off of party packages. That’s kind.)
KATIE'S Frozen Custard is a gourmet ice cream made fresh, every hour. They say it’s creamier, smoother, and denser than regular ice cream. Swing by Katie’s for a bite of a hot and savory or a cold and sweet treat + enjoy your picks at picnic tables in the outdoors (but not too outdoors, the picnic table area is covered)! Chomp on a hot dog, a burger, or a Frito Chili Pie. Sundaes, banana splitssss (so plural because there are various kinds!). Shakes, floats, and malts. Sweet tea and a party menu. Your kids will love you for it.
Health-conscious, despite irony. The Dr. Pepper Museum is hosting an exhibit out of Portland called Eat Well, Play Well, free with regular admission to the museum for the summer of 2018. (And remember, you can go to the museum for free if you check out a pass from the library!)
Eat Well, Play Well is a new, English/Spanish hands-on science exhibit. It examines healthy living strategies by teaching the science of making healthy food choices annnnd helping you and your mini-people discover that there are MANY fun and interesting ways to stay active. You can engage with nine highly interactive areas which encourage the discovery that healthy choices are within your reach!
The exhibit is located on the second floor of the AMBC Building.
Several events are already scheduled in conjunction with Eat Well, Play Well, with more sure to come.
If you need someone to full-on care for your six-week-old to five-year-old, This Little Piggy Academy, y’all. This is where you, your kids, and their teachers are part of a family. (And it just so happens to be a family that will watch your kids. Amen.)
This Little Piggy is committed to hiring those who have made child development and early childhood education their career(lifers). There’s a low student-teacher ratio (yay!) so you can expect a program of the highest quality. The teachers want to know each student individually and provide a warm, safe and loving environment where kiddos can be themselves and reach their fullest potential – physically, mentally and socially.
Take a look at their clean, organized, happy website to see if it’s a fit for you and yours.
If A/C is you or your kids’ thing, then the 5,000 square feet of indoor fun Nexus eSports has to offer might be the next, best hangout for members of your pod.
At Nexus, one could join a team of [video] gamers or attend Magic the Gathering, Pokemon TCG, DC Deck-Building, Virtual Reality, Console Gaming, or PC Gaming events.
Nexus Gaming had some important things to say, according to the company’s Facebook page:
“The mission of this business is to create a fun and safe environment for people to play computer and console games, while promoting respect and education,” the page states.
“Of primary interest to us is to create a unique gaming experience and to utilize as many green technologies as we can,” the site says, adding, “Another area of interest to us is to offer a wholesome, challenging, fair gaming social environment,” and to change the perception by some that gamers engage in disrespectful and anti-social behavior.
The center has the capacity for more than 100 gamers AND includes a snack bar to feed the patrons craving computer-based competition.
Hop on the Nexus website to view their full calendar and sign up for updates of your choice.
LANsharx is a state of the art gaming center located in the heart of Waco. (eSports, unite!) The store opened in January 2005 with 20 gaming computer and 4 original Xboxs. A few years ago, they moved into the current 6,000 square foot facility, growing to 22 computers, 15 Xbox Ones, 9 Xbox 360s, 3 Wii Us, 5 PS4s, a pool table, an air hockey table, and a Rock Band 4 station.
I *think* your kid would be entertained here? Pretty sure.
Any time that is purchased and not used will STAY on your account for the user to come back and use whenever they want. Hours can be used anytime LANsharx is open. Hours can only be used for console and PC games. Air Hockey is $0.50 per game and pool is $1.00 per game. Both are coin operated.
They’ve got a fiber Internet connection directly to the store for low pings. Now the largest network gaming center in Texas. Hosting 250 a year, LANsharx is definitely party proficient. These guys are serious: open seven days a week, noon until midnight. Only exception to their hours is Christmas Eve and Day.
Memberships available. LANsharx hosts events, lock-ins and tournaments, year-round.
The store is located at 3126 Franklin Ave in the Franklin Center, about a half mile from Valley Mills Drive as you head towards downtown.
We know you’re going to make it! We hope you perked at some ideas about how to enjoy and spend the summer with kids on board! Download Towny to keep in touch with local (+ more perks inside the link for you + yours!)