Back To School Bucket List

Ah, the days of 14-hours-of-sunlight are winding down, and that can only mean one thing: summer is almost over. Okay, okay, the heat will stick around in Central Texas until well into what the calendar designates as “Fall”, but we say summer is over when the kids go back to school. So, what should you do with your remaining days of (theoretically) unstructured bliss? Make an end-of-summer-2012 bucket list, of course!

Shore Club Volente Beach Waterpark

Boasting a recent facelift, SCVB is a great family getaway on the shores of Lake Travis. Start off with a picnic (no uncooked foods, please) on their sandy beachfront and follow it up with a game of water volleyball or rent a wave runner. There are four waterslides of varying intensities, plus the Lazy Lagoon and Pirate Ship for little ones. Gator’s Crossing is a mini-ropes course and looks like a kid’s version of the TV show, Wipeout. Tickets start at $16. Open weekends, late- August to late-September.


  • Go to any local Randalls store to purchase your tickets and get $5 off regular admission 42″ & over tickets!
  • You get a refund on parking if you eat in the Shore Club restaurant, but it’s a bit fancy and they don’t allow wet people inside.
  • Oh, and don’t forget sunscreen!

Austin Zoo and Animal Sanctuary

The Austin Zoo began as a goat ranch! It slowly expanded to pigs, deer, donkeys, and ponies. Today they have a wide variety of exotic animals, including lions, lemurs, and something called a Binturong. The zoo’s mission is to provide sanctuary to animals in need through rescue, rehabilitation and education. That leads to a somewhat older animal population than you might be used to at a traditional zoo. Be ready to share with your children the importance of caring and responsibility, instead of merely ooooo-ing and awww-ing at exotic animals. The Austin Zoo has daily, regular hours from 9:30-6 and winter hours from 10-5:30. Admission is cheaper than going to see a movie, starting at $5.


  • Call ahead to find out when feeding time is; that’s when the animals will be most active.
  • Skip the stroller, Mama, unless it is equipped with larger wheels.
  • Bring a picnic lunch!

Big Bounce and JumpoLine Park

For all your bouncing needs, Austin has Big Bounce, an inflatable playground, and JumpoLine Park, a building full of trampolines! You can find JumpoLine in Wells Branch and South Austin. They allow all-ages to jump, so, Parents, you get to have fun too! If you want a more structured activity, they offer basketball, dodgeball, and BangBang courts. Big Bounce, in Cedar Park, is like a really big, blow-up fort for kids 10 and under. They have really, really inexpensive admission and allow your child all-day access.


  • Check their websites for current specials.

For additional ideas, check out Zilker Botanical Gardens, Hamilton Pool, and the Mayfied Park Peacocks.

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