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BEAT THE HEAT

Fun Spots Abound to Make Staying Cool a Breeze
By Shirley Barr

As one of the most air-conditioned cities, Houston sanely has a big variety of things to do inside. I’m not suggesting ordinary summertime activities like cooling your heels at the movie theaters or libraries. I’m talking action! Think of it this way: If you have active visitors from a small town and you want to show them the big city lights, where would you start? Here are a few spots you can beat the heat.

ATHENA GUN CLUB
10814 Katy Freeway
713-461-5900
www.athenagunclub.com
Open daily from 9 a.m.-9 p.m.
Have fun while learning a form of self-defense at this 40,000-square-foot indoor facility that welcomes youngsters beginning at age 10 accompanied by parents. On Women’s Appreciation Day, urban and suburban Annie Oakleys’ get
50 percent off and the use of one free handgun.

HOUSTON MUSEUM OF NATURAL SCIENCE
5555 Herman Park Drive
713-639-4629
www.mns.org
Open daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
The museum is offering “Faces From the Southern Ocean,” a movie featuring wildlife photography of icy regions including reindeer, seals, penguins and everyone’s favorite, roly-poly polar bears. Promise you will be shivering when you leave!  And you will get plenty of walking when you tour the irresistible museum.

HOUSTON ZOO’S “CHILL OUT”
6200 Hermann Park Drive
713-533-6500
www.houstonzoo.org
Open daily, but times vary
Chilling out at the world-famous Houston Zoo is easier than you may think, as TXU Energy and the zoo join in “Chill Out.” Just look for the “Chill Zone” signs at 13 indoor air-conditioned buildings, from the Tropical Bird House to The Great Ape Gallery. “Cool Nights” this month include “Jungle Jammin’” on Aug. 4 and a block party on Aug. 11. A portion of each zoo ticket purchase helps save animals in the wild.

iFLY
9540 Katy Freeway & 26860 Interstate 45
281-942-4359
www.iflyworld.com
Open daily, but times vary
The creator of modern indoor skydiving promises “wings” for ages 3 to 103 in a safe, reliable environment solo or for events and birthday parties, too. They provide the helmet, jumpsuit and harness, but bring your courage and your wallet. Insider tips: Get the best price if you book the day you fly, and paying extra for the “high fly” is well worth it.

ICE SKATE USA
303 Memorial City Way
713-463-9296
www.iceskatememorialcity.com
Open daily 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
Nothing like getting close to ice to stay cool. This family facility in the mall offers public skating, figure skating lessons and birthday parties. Also check out The Aerodrome Ice Skating Complex and Bellerive Ice for adult ice hockey and more.

SCHLITTERBAHN GALVESTON ISLAND WATERPARK
2026 Lockheed St., Galveston
409-770-9283
www.schiltterbahn.com
Seasonally open daily, but check website
Texas-born in New Braunfels, the multiple Schiltterbahn Waterparks and Resorts now claim to be the nation’s most popular. The 26-acre Galveston oasis of thrilling water adventures includes 30 attractions, the world’s tallest water coaster, white water rapids and multiple kids’ activity areas.

TOPGOLF
Several locations
www.topgolf.comus/Houston
Open daily, but times vary
Teeing off from 102 bays spread over three floors and electronic chips in balls to give you a reading for accuracy isn’t enough. You also have a rooftop terrace and lively bars, catering and meeting rooms for corporate events, date nights and birthday parties. Hourly rates vary with times of day.

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF FUNERAL HISTORY
415 Barren Springs Drive
281-876-3063
www.nmfh.org
Open daily, but times vary
If all this action makes you want to do something calm, like visit the many richly appointed Houston museums, at least we dare you to branch out and end your tour with (gasp!) a museum no other city has. Following the slogan, “Any Day Above the Ground is a Good One,” this museum includes funeral memorabilia from Willie Wonka to Batman’s Adam West to the Papal exhibit.

MORE CHILLIN’ SPOTS
The Aerodrome Ice Skating Complex
8220 Willow Place Drive North
281-847-5283
www.aerodromes.com

Bellerive Ice
7300 Bellerive Drive
713-360-6946
www.belleriveice.com

Children’s Museum of Houston
1500 Binz St.
713-522-1138
www.cmhouston.org

Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
5216 Montrose Blvd.
713-284-8250
www.camh.org  

Ice at The Galleria
5015 Westheimer Road
713-621-1500
www.iceatthegalleria.com

The Menil Collection
1533 Sul Ross St.
713-525-9400
www.menil.org

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
1001 Bissonnet St.
713-639-7300
www.mfah.org

MORE MFAH COLLECTIONS:
Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens
6003 Memorial Drive
713-639-7750

Rienzi
1406 Kirby Drive
713-639-7800

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