Most parents will agree that it can be hard to stave off their kids’ mid-summertime cries of “I’m bored!” and “There’s nothing to do!” An even bigger challenge can be trying to pry your kids off the couch and away from the television and video games—particularly when it’s over 100 degrees outside.
Fortunately for all of you frustrated parents, Austin has a number of indoor, air-conditioned activities that will keep your kids busy, active, and having fun this summer—and will hopefully keep YOU from losing your sanity before school is back in session.
If your kids are already bouncing off the walls, why not replace the walls with a trampoline? Located in Cedar Park next to Lakeline Mall, Jumpstreet is the one place where bouncing off the walls is actually encouraged (although climbing them is forbidden). From trampolines to dodge ball courts to a gigantic pit of foam blocks, Jumpstreet has no end of activities to keep your kids occupied for hours. For parents concerned about their little ones sharing a trampoline with the big kids, there are special inflatables houses and a trampoline area called “Earthquake” that are exclusively for children ages seven and younger. Jumpstreet is open seven days a week and prices are by the hour, with discounts and deals on certain days. There is also a punch-card option good for ten visits (one-person use only).
Let your kids channel their inner Fred and Ginger or kick off their rise to Broadway fame by taking them to a dance class or workshop at the Butler Community School (BCS; part of Ballet Austin). Located in downtown Austin, BCS encourages the community to stay active year round by offering a large variety of classes for children and adults.
For kids age eight to 12, BCS offers ballet, modern dance, and musical theatre workshops. Children 12 and over may also participate in a variety of 60 dance and fitness classes offered each week (including hula, hip hop, Pilates, jazz, and West African dance, to name just a few). There are even half-day classes for kids throughout August. Adults are welcome, too.
Pricing for drop-in classes ranges from $17 to $11.25 per class, depending on whether they are purchased individually or in bulk. There is a 10 percent discount for students, seniors, and government employees.
You may recall your own glory days at the rink: skating hand-in-hand with your first love, dancing the hokey pokey, and chomping on giant dill pickles from the snack bar. Although there’s something to be said for the simplicity of skating in a circle to pop music under disco lights, these days kids who want to kick things up a notch have a lot of options to choose from.
Speed demons can check out Friday night speed skating at Playland Skate Center (playlandskatecenter.com) from 6 to 7 p.m. This class is for both adults and children and focuses on technique (skate rentals available and helmets required).
Aspiring inline and ice hockey stars can check out youth leagues at the Austin Sports Arena (austinsportsarena.com) and Chaparral Ice Rink (chaparralice.com), respectively.
Girls who want to channel their inner tough girl can sign up for one of the Austin Derby Brats summer roller derby boot camps (texasrollergirls.org/jr-derby).
Need an energetic outlet for your little monkeys at home? Look no further than the Austin Rock Gym, an indoor rock climbing facility. With locations in North and South Austin, no minimum or maximum height required to climb, and activities for children as young as four, this is one outing that the whole family can get involved in. The rock gym offers four-week progressive classes for children as well as summer camp sessions. Kids learn everything they need to know about rock climbing in a safe environment with a small teacher-to-student ratio (8:1).
Whatever you choose to do with your family this summer, don’t allow the Texas heat to turn you and your kids into seasonal couch potatoes! There is no shortage of kid- and family-friendly indoor activities to be found in Austin. And who knows? You may just discover a new active hobby for yourself.