Summer staycation guide

Summertime means family vacations, and if getting out of town is not an option, Houston is home to lots of fun things to do. Here are some ideas for planning the family’s best staycation yet.

Moody Gardens Moody Gardens[/caption]

1. Moody Gardens 

Moody Gardens has plenty of attractions to keep families busy for the entire day or weekend. The three main pyramids contain the aquarium, a rainforest exhibit and 3-D theater. There is also a ropes course and zip line on-site as well as the Palm Beach water park where separate ticketing fees apply. 1 Hope Blvd., Galveston 800-582-4673 Cost: $59.95 (one-day pass), additional prices are available for individual attractions Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

2. Pleasure Pier on Galveston Island

Galveston has more to offer than its numerous beaches. At Pleasure Pier, guests will find an old-fashioned boardwalk experience with amusement park rides, arcade games, shopping opportunities and plenty of food. 2501 Seawall Blvd., Galveston 855-789-7437 Cost:  $26.99 (guests taller than 48 inches), $19.99 (guests under 48 inches tall) Hours: See website for details

3. Typhoon Texas

The Greater Houston area’s newest water park is home to a large wave pool, lazy river and several waterslides for riders 42 inches tall as well as 48 inches tall, like The Gully Washer and Duelin’ Daltons water chutes. 555 S. Katy Fort Bend Road, Katy 832-426-7071 Cost: $44.99 (adults, weekend and holiday), $39.99 (adults, weekday), $32.99 (under 48 inches tall), free (children age 2 and younger) Hours: Sun.-Wed. 10:30 a.m.-8 p.m., Thu.    10:30 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m.

4. Wet ‘n’ Wild SplashTown

New this year at SplashTown is the Alien Chaser, a 429-foot-long waterslide that stands 60 feet tall. It joins the existing variety of thrill rides, family rides and rides for children like the relaxing lazy river. SplashTown also offers rentable cabanas for groups, parties and families. 21300 I-45 N., Spring 281-355-3300 Cost: Online and gate prices vary, $10 (parking) Hours: See website for details

The Woodlands Resort The Woodlands Resort[/caption]

5. The Woodlands Resort

The resort and hotel features a swimming pool with waterslides, underwater music, waterfalls and a lazy river that winds through the surrounding forest area. Amenities include a lagoon-style relaxation pool, hot tub and cafe as well as weekend activities, such as live music and family-friendly dive-in movies. 2301 N. Millbend Drive, The Woodlands 281-367-1100 Hours: Summer hours vary, activities begin after May 29 and continue through Sept. 4 

6. San Jacinto Battleground State Park

Spend the day touring Battleship Texas, a 20th century battleship permanently docked at the Houston Ship Channel. Guests can picnic and play at the historic site, and the San Jacinto Museum of History is at the base of the massive monument and documents the state’s early history. 3523 Independence Parkway, La Porte 281-479-2431 Cost: free, fees apply for battleship tours Hours: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily

7. Oil Ranch

The Oil Ranch sits on 50 acres and offers activities, such as hayrides, pony rides and train rides, an educational dairy barn, 2,800-square-foot jumping pillow for children, the Indian Village, play structures and a swimming pool. There is also an on-site paintball field. 23501 Macedonia Road, Hockley 281-859-1616 Cost: $19.95 (children age 2 and older) Hours: Thu.-Fri. 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 

Lone Star Jellystone Park Lone Star Jellystone Park[/caption]

8. Lone Star Jellystone Park

Although Lone Star Jellystone is a full-service campground with camping sites, cabins and a lodge, guests can play for the day at the miniature water park, fishing lake, miniature golf course and swimming pool. There is also entertainment at the Yogi Bear Outdoor Stage and Outdoor Theater. However, day-use passes are not administered on Saturdays during the summer. 34843 Betka Road, Waller 979-826-4111 Cost: $25 (weekends), $19 (weekdays), free (children age 3 and younger) Hours: Mon.-Thu., Sun. 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; Fri. 8 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sat. 8 a.m.-8 p.m.

9. Kemah Boardwalk

The boardwalk has more than typical arcade games and amusement rides; there is the Stingray Reef attraction and a rainforest exhibit, dancing water fountains, speedboat rides and tours, and two roller coasters—the Flare and Boardwalk Bullet. There are numerous on-site restaurants as well. 215 Kipp Ave., Kemah 877-285-3624 Cost: varies Hours (for the amusement rides): Mon.-Wed. 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m., Thu. 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 10:30 a.m.-11 p.m., Sun. 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m. 

Sugar Land Skeeters Sugar Land Skeeters[/caption]

10. Sugar Land Skeeters

Watch the Sugar Land Skeeters, southwest Houston’s biggest minor league team, play at Constellation Field, which has several amenities such as the Memorial Hermann Play Land for children, concession stands, grass seating and plenty of tables for dining. The team’s 2017 season runs throughout the summer. 1 Stadium Drive, Sugar Land 281-240-4487 Cost: $9-$38 Hours: See website for details

11. Blue Lagoon 

The Blue Lagoon in Huntsville is a premier destination for scuba diving and swimming. The facility not only trains scuba divers but also offers a place for other scuba instructors to train students and allows certified divers to practice their diving skills. Nondivers are also permitted at Blue Lagoon and get in on a first-come, first-served basis due to space availability. 649 Pinedale Road, Huntsville 936-438-8888 Cost: free Hours: Mon., Thu.-Fri. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat.-Sun. 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays

12. Old Town Spring 

Old Town Spring is a historic shopping district 1 mile east of I-45 at the end of Spring Cypress Road. The shopping center is home to restaurants, museums, art galleries and a variety of shops. Old Town Spring emerged with the steady growth of merchants through the ‘70s and ‘80s into a popular destination for customers and visitors. It also produces several popular events, such as the Texas Crawfish & Music Festival, held each year in April. Other events include PetFest, Ladies Expo and Fashion Walk, and Old Town Spring Market Days, which features a variety of vendors. 403 Main St., Spring 281-353-9310 Cost: free Hours: varies

Things to do inside Loop 610

Marriott Marquis Houston Marriott Marquis Houston[/caption]

13. Marriott Marquis Houston

Spend a weekend downtown and stay the night at one of Houston’s newest hotels. The Marquis boasts a temperature-controlled lazy river and infinity pool with scenic views of downtown Houston, and the rooftop terrace also has covered cabanas and lounge chairs. 1777 Walker St., Houston 713-654-1777 Cost: varies Hours: all day  

14. Museum District

There are 19 museums within Houston’s Museum District, including the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum, the Contemporary Arts Museum, Children’s Museum of Houston and Houston Museum of Natural Science. There are four walking zones where individuals can walk to and from the four zones of museums.

15. Hermann Park

Hermann Park is one of Houston’s two largest parks, and it has multiple amenities and points of interest. There is the McGovern Centennial Gardens, Japanese Garden, the railroad, Pinewood Cafe, art exhibits, playgrounds, reflection pool and plenty of room for children to run and play. 6001 Fannin St., Houston 713-524-5876 Cost: free Hours: varies

16. Houston Zoo

Visit the Houston Zoo as a complement to a trip to Hermann Park. The zoo houses more than 6,000 animals, including its newest addition, a baby giraffe born on April 10. There are events held throughout the summer, such as feedings, talks and other educational activities. 6200 Hermann Park Drive, Houston 713-533-6500 Cost: $18 (adults), $14 (children ages 2-11), $11.50 (seniors), free (zoo members and children age 1 and younger) Hours: 9 a.m.-7 p.m.

17. Downtown Aquarium

The Downtown Aquarium is home to both a full-scale animal exhibit and a restaurant. The exhibit houses more than 200 species in tanks with more than 500,000 gallons of water. There are also rides, like the Ferris wheel, and a stingray exhibit where children can feed the animals. 410 Bagby St., Houston 713-223-3474 Cost: $12.99 (adults), $9.99 (children under 42 inches tall), free (children age 2 and younger), additional fees for rides Hours: varies

18. Houston Arboretum and Nature Center

From hiking to enjoying activities in the Discovery Room, there is a lot for families to do at the arboretum. There are events held periodically throughout the year for different age groups, so check online before planning a visit. 4501 Woodway Drive, Houston 713-681-8433 Cost: free Hours: varies