The sun is blazing and mosquitoes are rampaging, but don’t listen to the call of the couch, area experts say.
When it’s too hot to trot outside, buff up with box aerobics, tinker with toys at the new Galveston Children’s Museum or risk dodge ball on a massive trampoline. Your heart and head will profit.
“The healthier you are, the happier you are,” said John Armstrong, longtime recreation superintendent for the city of Galveston.
He oversees a summer mix of activities ranging from ping-pong to pickleball.
“There’s interaction and social skills in this,” he said.
“When you’re playing games with other people, you have to socially interact. On a computer or video game, you build a wall around yourself.”
Pat Jokobi of the Galveston Art League is among a group of women who meet regularly to play pickleball and badminton, out of the sun, at McGuire-Dent Recreation Center.
“It’s good exercise and the demands are on your body for good eye-hand coordination,” she said.
Carl Robbins works out on a trampoline to boost his coordination in the summer. As general manager of Jumping World, a trampoline center in League City, he regularly joins in dodge ball games.
“It’s really good for exercise and physical activity,” he said. “It keeps kids out of trouble.”
The center’s busiest sessions are Friday Teen Nights featuring party music, pizza and an indoor laser light show.
“On hot summer days, it’s really good here,” he said. “It’s air-conditioned and there’s a very good family atmosphere.”
Nancy Schultz focuses on a creative family atmosphere at the new Galveston Children’s Museum. The museum, on the first floor of the Moody Mansion, features exhibits grouped in zones, including a Make It! Studio with real tools and projects.
“The Children’s Museum will offer children and their families a place to come and direct their own play,” said Schultz, a veteran science teacher and now museum executive director. “Many of our exhibits are very open ended so that children and their families can approach it from their personal direction.”
The museum is designed for repeat customers, with family memberships offered.
“Our goal is that people will come and have an experience they will want to expand and grow on — that it’s not the kind of thing that we’ve been there, done that,” she said.
Off-the-couch summer activity is worth the effort, she said.
“To stay healthy physically, mentally, emotionally and cognitively, adults and children alike need to be able to do activities that are stimulating creatively, imaginatively and physically,” she said.
Television and video games just don’t provide that kind of action, Armstrong said.
“It is the computer and video game age,” he said. “But the healthier you are — you’re just going to be happier.”
Looking for ideas?
Here are a few of the many options for cool recreation in Galveston County:
- Galveston Children’s Museum, 2618 Broadway on the first floor of the Moody Mansion at 26th Street and Broadway. Admission is $6 for ages 2 plus. Family memberships (four family members, ages 2 plus) are $75. Open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sundays noon to 4 p.m. Closed on Mondays. Visit www.galvestoncm.org.
- Galveston’s McGuire-Dent Recreation Center, 2222 28th St., and Wright Cuney Recreation Center, 718 41st St., are open Mondays through Fridays, with free programs and activities for adults and children, including a game room, Ping-Pong, arts and crafts, board games, basketball, kickboxing and box aerobics, and even Latin dance classes. Contact the city’s Parks and Recreation Department at 409-621-3177 or visit www.cityofgalveston.org/169/Parks-Recreation.
- Jumping World, 100 Gulf Freeway N., League City, is open daily, with weekly specials including toddler and family time. Call 281-724- 0760 or visit www.jumpingworldusa.com/leaguecity/index.html.
- Nessler Park Family Aquatic Center, 1700 5th Ave. N., in Texas City, open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the summer with lazy river, flume slides, cool water spa, children’s play area, lounge chairs for parents and on-site concession area. Admission ranges from $4 to $6; season passes are available. Call 409-948-3111 or visit www.texas-city-tx.org/RecTour/aquatic_center.html.
- Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark, 2026 Lockheed Road, in Galveston, offers more than 32 rides and attractions, including uphill water coasters, speed slides, kid’s water playgrounds, white water rapids, hot tubs, family raft rides and the Boogie Bahn surf ride. New this summer is the Screaming Serpents body slide with music, fog and lighting effects. Visit www.schlitterbahn.com/galveston
- Galveston beach events are listed on the new website, www.galvestonbeachinfo.com. Regular summer events include the Evening Turtle Patrol and Beach Hike from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. most Fridays. Meet at the day use picnic area of Galveston Island State Park to begin a short hike down the beach and through the dunes, patrolling for turtles. The program includes small group instruction and a guide, as well as games and activities. Families, groups, and pets on a leash are welcome. The cost for admission to the park is $5 per adult; anyone under 13 years is free. (All children must be accompanied by an adult.)
Library summer programs
Area libraries hosting summer programs include:
- Dickinson Public Library, www.dickinsonpubliclibrary.org, 281-534-3812
- Friendswood Public Library, www.friendswood.lib.tx.us, 281-482-7135
- Genevieve Miller Public Library in Hitchcock, www.hitchcockpubliclibrary.org, 409-986-7814
- Helen Hall Library in League City, www.leaguecitylibrary.org, 281-554-1113
- La Marque Public Library, www.ci.la-marque.tx.us, 409-938-9270
- Mae S. Bruce Library in Santa Fe, www.maebrucelibrary.org, 409-925-5540
- Moore Memorial Public Library in Texas City, www.texascity-library.org, 409-643-5979
- Rosenberg Library in Galveston, www.rosenberg-library.org, 409-763-8854