Keeping children entertained can be a major challenge, especially on weekends, holiday breaks, and long summer months. It’s tempting to let kids sit in front of the ultimate babysitter all day (the television), but you don’t want their brains turning to mush. And, let’s face it, as much as you love kids you can only spend so much time trapped in the house with them.
Lucky for you, Lubbock is home to a TON of great family-friendly and kid-centered venues. We’re talking local spots where you can engage your children AND support the local community. Check out our list:
Where Learning is Tons of Fun
How much do you or your kids know about ranching? At the National Ranching Heritage Center you’ll learn everything there is to learn about the fascinating history of ranching. This 27-acre museum and park will have you feeling like an authentic rancher. Check out their website for fun events happening year-round.
The Museum of Texas Tech University has tons of exhibits from features on the ice age to 20th century art. In addition to informative exhibits, you can also sign up the kids for the museum’s kid-friendly summer camps. Your kids will have a blast participating in arts and crafts, exploring space galaxies, and much more.
If you know anything about Lubbock, you know that agriculture is a big part of what made (and still makes) Lubbock the city it is today. The Bayer Museum of Agriculture serves as a living memorial to the thousands of farm families that were pioneers in agriculture. Bring your kids for an experience that is both educational and fun.
Instill in your children an appreciation for the brave men and women who have fought for America at the Silent Wings Museum. A visit to this museum will teach your kids everything there is to know about the World War II military glider program and the legacy of those courageous pilots.
Lubbock’s windmills are an amazing sight to behold. Kids, especially, are entranced by their size and power, and will love a visit to the American Windmill Museum – the largest windmill museum in the world. Children will also have a blast learning fun facts about the history and operation of the windmills.
The Lubbock Memorial Arboretum is 93 acres of botanical gardens and walking paths. That’s 93 acres of beauty and nature just waiting for a kid to explore. You can go on a walk among beautiful flowers and trees, or sign up for a guided tour. You’ll also want to check out their special events such as the butterfly release and an annual plant sale.
What’s cute, wild, and entertaining just like your kids? Lubbock’s famous, furry animal friend– the prairie dog. At Prairie Dog Town you can watch these comedic creatures play and burrow about in and out of their intricate tunnels. It’s totally free and open year-round!
Today’s kids have more access to science and technology than ever before. Places like the Science Spectrum & Omnimax Theatre make learning fun with more than 250 interactive science exhibits, a fascinating aquarium, a children’s museum, and the giant domed screen showing educational films. Bring your kids for a day of education or check out one of the many summer camp offerings.
Who says kids these days don’t enjoy the outdoors? Noble Farms Orchard is pleasant spot for kids to learn all about growing and harvesting apples and other fruits. Tours are available year-round, but you’ll definitely want to stop by during apple harvest season from September to mid-October.
Dive Into the Arts
A little music and dancing is a great way to engage and entertain children. On summer evenings, you can take the family to the Amphitheater in Mackenzie Park for Lubbock Moonlight Musicals and Moonlight Broadway productions in the spring and fall. Colorful and fun productions include classics like “The Music Man,” “Singin’ In the Rain,” and kid-geared shows like “Shrek, Jr.,” and “Into the Woods, Jr.”
What kid isn’t enthralled by the magic of the theatre? The Children and Adults Theatrical Studio has produced shows with and for children, as well as, fun, mysterious, and stellar performances by many different actors.
“Every day it’s a gettin’ closer, going faster than a roller coaster….” Sound familiar? Whether or not your kids are familiar with Buddy Holly’s music, they’ll enjoy a trip to the Buddy Holly Center to learn about Lubbock’s own Buddy Holly and to explore exhibits on contemporary visual arts and music.
You’re always warning your kids not to make a mess, but at Clay Cafe Pottery Studio you can let loose and let them get a bit messy. At Clay Cafe you pick out a piece of pottery, choose your colors, and get painting. They also offer a summer kids’ camp and kids' birthday parties.
You never know what artistic gifts and talents are ready to blossom in each child. At Miss Megan’s Make Room your little artist can take classes like drawing, DIY projects, fiber arts, fabric dyeing, and so much more! You can sign up for a monthly class, weekend workshop, or book a group painting party.
Music is a powerful way to engage kids both mentally and emotionally. It’s also just a great way to keep them entertained! Joyful Noise Music Studio offers music classes and events for newborns and children of all ages. They can also attend summer music camps that include piano, guitar, drumming, and song writing.
We’ll bet at least one of your favorite childhood memories took place at an amusement park. Fun rides, good food, water, and sun are the perfect recipe for the ultimate childhood highlight. Joyland Amusement Park has all of this and more. Younger kids will have a great time, too, with tons of kiddie rides to choose from.
Before long, your kids will be old enough to drive and begging for the car keys. For now, they’ll have to be satisfied with Go-Karts. Visit Thunder Zone Family Fun (previously Dave’s Need 4 Speed) for a speedway style Go-Kart track, Cosmic Golf, laser tag, and arcade games. You can also find Thunder Zone on the Towny app!
For a full day of fun, or even a full weekend, pack up the family car and head to Buffalo Springs Lake for camping, fishing, boating, and relaxing on the beach. You’ll also have the opportunity to attend various events throughout the year like craft shows and concerts.
If anything lights us up at Towny, it’s places created BY the community FOR the community. Legacy Play Village is Lubbock's community-funded and built playground with fun wooden structures for kids to climb on and crawl through. Stay tuned – this park is being updated with new materials, colors, and play features in the near future!
Kids have So. Much. Energy. A little too much, sometimes. If there was a way to get your kids to let off some of that steam while in a safe, air-conditioned space, would you jump for joy? Well get to jumping at Altitude Trampoline Park. You can jump by the hour or come out for a group event. There are also toddler hours for the under-six crowd on weekdays at 10am.
You’ll score a strike in your kids’ book if you take them bowling. Whitewood Lanes not only has bowling specials, but they’ve got delicious grill food and FREE beginning bowling classes.
When the weather is nice and you’ve got kids that need to let out a little energy, a bike ride can be the perfect activity. If you’re looking to ride somewhere other than your usual neighborhood sidewalks, consider the MLK Jr. Bike Trail. The trails are well-maintained and clean, and there is plenty of parking.
Keep kids entertained and keep them cool with a wave pool, lazy river, kiddie pool, water slides, and more at Lubbock Water Rampage. Both you and your kids are bound to have a wet n’ wild time. They also have monthly, family-friendly movie nights in the summer!