As summer wears on, the weary mom’s thoughts turn to long afternoons on the beach or cool walks in the mountains. Maybe even some shopping in little specialty shops ….
Then reality sets in. In today’s economy, a long, luxurious vacation is often only wishful thinking. However, there are many fun, inexpensive or free activities that families can enjoy locally.
Try planning a free (or almost free) day in Wichita Falls. Start the day with a visit to the falls followed by a picnic and bike ride through Lucy Park. Walk along the swinging bridge that crosses the Wichita River. For a small charge, the kids can cool off in the large pool or visit River Bend Nature Center. Admission charge for River Bend is 3.00 per person. Children 2 and under are free.
If your kids are interested in trains, visit the Wichita Falls Railroad Museum. It is located at 500 9th Street and is open on Saturdays from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Admission is only 1.00. After your tour, drive by the world’s smallest skyscraper, which is actually the McMahon Building located on the corner of Seventh and LaSalle Streets. The building was built during the 1920’s oil boom by a con man/promoter. No one noticed that the plans had tiny decimal points in all the crucial details. Therefore, the building is 4 stories tall rather than 40 stories. It is an interesting conversation point.
If your kids love the waterpark, try visiting Castaway Cove on a Monday. Every Monday through August 1, moms only pay 9.29 rather than the usual admission price. You can also go to the park after 4:00 p.m. every day for 12.99 instead of the regular 21.99 admission price. Before you go, stop by an area McDonald’s Restaurant. They have discount tickets for 5.00 off admission Monday through Friday or 3.00 off admission on Saturday and Sunday.
For less expensive water activities, drive out to Lake Wichita or Lake Arrowhead for a day of swimming, fishing, hiking or picknicking.
Several fun family events are available between now and the end of September. The Hotter ‘N Hell bike race is held annually in August. This year, this race is on August 27. It’s fun to watch the beginning of the race, visit the finish line village and walk through the Consumer Show. The only costs at these events are food and drinks or purchases made at the various vendors.
On September 10, ten Wichita Falls museums will be open to the public free of charge at the annual Museum Day Stroll ‘n Roll. ! Families can enjoy the Museum of North Texas History, Wichita Falls Railroad Museum, Wichita Falls Fire & Police Museum, Kemp Center for the Arts, Kell House Museum, Riverside Cemetery, Wichita Falls Museum of Art at MSU, Call Field Aviation Museum, River Bend Nature Center and Sheppard AFB Heritage Center. Free bus and trolley transportation will run from MPEC to tour sites from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
For an air-conditioned musical experience, attend the 6th Annual Blue Grass Festival on August 12 and 13 at the Multi-Purpse Event Center. Admission is 10.00 for Friday and Saturday or 8.00 per day. There will be concessions, vendors and free drawings throughout the night.
Regardless of the activity or price, the time that families spend together builds priceless memories. Kids may quickly forget admission prices, but will always remember the special times spent with family.