Last-Minute Family Activities to Try Before Summer Ends

Consider this your abbreviated, time-crunched Houston summer bucket list.

By Alexia Partouche and Shelby Stewart

Visit Corpus Christi before the summer ends. 

Image: Courtesy 

Ah, summer. The season when we let our hair down and embrace a sit-back-and-relax mentality always seems to flash by before we know it—though in Houston’s sweltering heat, we’re not complaining too much. 

We still have a few weeks left in summer, but as the academic year is about to commence, it’s time to prioritize how we can have the most fun before we get back to the school-year routine. If you’re looking to squeeze in a few last bits of family fun time, you’ve come to the right place. As you cross items off your summer bucket list, we have a few ideas that will round out the season’s best offerings in Space City.  

Below, find six family-friendly activities to experience before summer ends. 

AIA Sandcastle Competition and Lessons

August 20–21

A summer day trip to Galveston is always in the cards, but coordinate yours with the AIA Sandcastle Competition to add some extra fun into the mix. The annual event brings the best of Houston’s architecture firms out to the beachfront to build complex sand structures in hopes of winning the Gold Bucket award. Be there on August 20 to watch the sandcastle building happen live and cast your vote for the winners, or make your way on August 21 to tour the sandcastles still standing and participate in sandcastle building lessons from a sandcastle expert.

Texas State Aquarium Exclusive Encounters

Through August 31

Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi has the best answer to that dreaded “What did you do over the summer?” question awaiting kids on their return to school: “I swam with sharks!” Along with their extensive list of exhibits and regular presentations, the aquarium offers the chance for your whole family to take a dive with their six sandbar sharks. Not a fan of sharks? Keep some extra distance between you and their teeth by participating in the fish-feeding encounter instead, in which your family will get to interact with and feed some of the aquarium’s best-behaved animal ambassadors. 

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Kids Camp

Through August 31

For something closer to home, head to Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, where the final week of their summer Kids Camp is in full swing. Watch the best kids’ movies around for a reduced price of $5, and enjoy the theater’s full menu selection. Plus, a few of the showings feature the iconic children’s movies of prior generations, so you can bask in nostalgia as you introduce your kids to your childhood favorites.

Children’s Museum Houston Farewell Summer WonderWeek

August 30–September 3

Who said the end of summer had to be sad? At Children’s Museum Houston, their Farewell Summer WonderWeek is making the most of the return to school. The week is chock-full of all sorts of activities, from making Matisse-inspired art and designing ice cream–themed décor to creating thermoplastic dinosaurs and coding a Lego robot. Whether your kiddos are young or old, they’ll find something they’ll love at the museum. And with all that science-y fun, your kids will be hyped for their return to the classroom.

Kemah Boardwalk Labor Day Weekend 

September 2–5

No young Texan’s summer is complete without a trip to Kemah, and as summer comes to a close, the boardwalk is doing everything it can to remind you of that fact. Make your way to the Kemah Boardwalk for one final summer celebration, from a Labor Day Weekend adventure pass deal of $49.99 for four days to an incredible fireworks show the evening of September 4. 

Undersea Discovery at the Houston Zoo

Through September 5

Too late for a trip to the beach? No worries: the Houston Zoo has you covered. Take a tour through TXU Energy’s Undersea Discovery exhibit, which brings you into the ocean’s depths right here in Houston. Giant animatronic sea creatures like the oceanic manta ray and the Japanese spider crab will guide you through this educational exhibit on the importance of coral reefs, how they’re being threatened, and how you can help protect them. Plus, get to know more about the beasts that haunt the deep, like the rarely seen angler fish.

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