Summer's end: Six ways to get out of the house



Summer in Oklahoma City is at its fever pitch now, with mid-July temperatures and a level of "so the kids are really here all day" that seems unprecedented this year so far.

After Independence Day, the summer seems to fly by, with back-to-school sales and a flurry of activity before we can all go back to a routine that includes bedtimes and non-negotiable homework. I will miss these long, sunny days but we're not there yet.

Keeping everyone fed, cool and busy gets expensive during summer. I don't actually know any families who are bored; boredom seems to be a thing of the past since it's instantly solved with a screen now or another camp or activity. The cost of all those apps and devices, group lessons and events, though, starts to add up when it's every single day you're entertaining multiple children. 

My advice for summer harmony is to brave the heat and get out of the house for a few hours. Take some bottled waters, strap on those sandals and plan your next adventure.

Here are six free outdoor activities so you can still have a good time before summer's out:

  • Movie Night @ the Park in Edmond + other park activities: There are still two Friday night movies left this summer as part of Edmond's park movie nights: "Coco" and "Paddington 2." You can check out the details for this week's showing, which is also our Staff Pick this week. Also, if you haven't seen Hafer Park's playground for younger kids, pack a picnic and go enjoy its synthetic grass, spiderweb obstacle course, extra-tall slide and forest theme complete with decorative plastic animals that make for a fun game of I Spy.   
  • Bricktown Beach: This newly-constructed cityscape is an urban beach located downtown at Third Base Plaza at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. It's open 24/7 through Aug. 31 and is basically a sand park with a small boardwalk with hosted gatherings, concerts and the occasional snowcone truck. Kids can make sandcastles, there are lounge chairs and I hear it's a nice alternative to your regular park experience. Find out about scheduled events and plan your visit.

  • Water fun: MetroFamily's Guide to Splash Pads, Pools & Lakes can help you find where to stay cool. Splash pads are a good alternative to paying for pool admission and there are no awkward changing rooms, goggles to keep track of or concessions to negotiate. 
  • Visit POPS and the Round Barn: Arcadia makes for a nice afternoon trip. Eat at POPS, take a picture in front of its signature bottle, get down at the Round Barn and read its history then go inside to check out that beautiful ceiling with your kids. Our summer just isn't complete until we do and this year, I hear it has a farmers' market we'll have to drive over and see soon. 
  • Farmers' markets and festivals: The colors and tastes of open air events make us frequent visitors to Heard on Hurd and Festival Marketplace. A 25-cent honey stick from a farmers' market might be enough to lure your child out of the house on a Saturday morning. Street festivals are harder to find during the July and August heat but there are still some around.
  • Youth National Arabian & Half-Arabian Championship Horse Show: What I like about this event is that it's a good chance to see horses when families otherwise might not. The event is held across multiple days, July 21 through July 27, so if you can't make it during the week, there's more than once chance to get out to the Fair Grounds. Kids can make stick horses and ride them around the Jim Norick Arena and enjoy equestrian culture. Schedule a tour in advance if you want to pet horses!

Find day trip suggestions with Top Spots on Adventure Road, including the Toy & Action Figure Museum and the Chickasaw Cultural Center. 

Love these last days of summer. I have to remind myself that my sons are only this age once. Never have the days seemed longer than these summer ones but they'll be gone soon enough and childhood too will be over. We have a few weeks left. I plan to get everyone outside and we hope to see you there.

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