Last summer was deceivingly temperate, causing many of us with wee ones to forget the blistering heat of a true Texas summer, the need to get inside as soon as possible, and the challenges that come with entertaining kiddos at a pool every day. So if you, too, tire of smelling faintly of chlorine and long for an inside diversion, we have our top five bets for keeping cool in Austin on three-digit days.
If you must bring your children to an indoor playscape, this one does not disappoint. As the name suggests, this place is humongous but well designed to keep kids running, climbing, and sliding safely. Management thought it through with couches, easy chairs, and even automatic massage stations for weary parents. Mt. Playmore also has a panoply of arcade games, mini carnival rides, and old school photo booths for silly faced memories of your day.
Playland Skate Center
No, I never wore rollerblades. I wore skates the way they are meant to be worn, with four Kryptonic wheels and a lace-up front. Stylin'. And my kids will wear the same. Luckily, we found kindred spirits at Playland Skate Center, which has been pumping up the party since 1976. It’s the roller rink from every '80s teen movie that ever was, with a smoke machine, light show, and music from across generations. For kids just starting out, Playland offers free skate lessons every Sunday from 11 to 11:45 am.
Union Underground Bowling Alley
This isn’t any ordinary bowling alley. With its central location (in the UT Student Union Center) and cheap fees, this rec center is normally a hangout for UT students, but is open to the public and relatively slow during summer months. What sets this alley apart is the lovely, glow bowl setting (black lights, lasers, music) featured every day from open to close through Sunday, August 21.
Blanton Museum of Art
The Blanton offers a cool expanse to explore art with your children, and Free Thursdays make this especially easy. What you may not know is that the Blanton offers a special map for a self-guided tour for families with prompts for parents and their kids so you both can take time to understand and question the exhibits on display.
Marmalade Skies Arts and Craft Studio
Marmalade Skies offers classes and camps, but if you don't feel like making a huge commitment but do want to spend the day with your kids making art, this is your place. Take a seat at its unique “art bar” full of everything from paints to beads, collage materials, and clay. For one set price, kids walk away with whatever little masterpiece they create.