We’ve gone off schedule, off the grid, and off the map this summer. But these days are loooong — and a little bit hot, right? So, in the interest of saving you a few Google searches, we’ve compiled a list of 10 family-friendly spots or activities we’ve discovered (or re-discoverd) across the valley.
Family-Friendly Summer Finds:
1. Rolling with Cream Ice Cream Truck: McAllen Food Park • 7 – 10 pm (Tues -Fri) & 6 – 10 pm (Sat- Sun)
This artisanal ice cream truck recently rolled into the Food Truck Park downtown on Broadway (near Archer Park). We have to wait till the evenings, but it makes for a nice reward at the end of hot day.
Note to parents: Every dish is handmade to order, so it does take a bit to get your ice cream — especially if there are a few orders in from of yours!
2. Nature Tots Class • Quinta Mazatlan; Saturdays 9:30 10:30 am; best for ages 1 -3
Quinta Mazatlan introduced a new tot-centric nature class for the month of July. Every Saturday morning, there’s a simple nature theme with tons of hands-on exploration for little walkers and toddlers. Siblings are always welcome, but this class is designed for the little ones to have fun!
Note to parents: The activities and themes vary, but be prepared for your tot to get messy! Last week was “Nature’s Kitchen” and there were mud pies for days! We always pack water, snacks, bug spray and a change of clothes!
3. Will & Jack’s Burger Shack • Port Isabel (by the lighthouse!) 11 am – 8:30 pm daily
We hit this awesome burger spot for lunch on our way to SPI a few weeks ago. The burgers are great, and the laid-back atmosphere is perfect for kids. There are several shady patio tables and an air-conditioned dining room in the back. There was a small market next door that we browsed while waiting for our food.
4. EarthBorn Farmer’s Market Snow Cone Truck • 4508 N. Taylor Rd, McAllen; Mon – Sat 8 am – 6pm
EarthBorn doesn’t re-open their indoor market until late fall, but their snow cone trailer is open (same location) all summer long. Raspas, fresh-p
ressed juices and local honey are all for sale. There are a few picnic tables and plenty of shade on their lot!
5. All the Awesome Splash Pads!
A good way to cool down without going full-on pool, splash pads can be a parent’s best friend. Check our guide to find one close to you. Several of these are attached to regular playgrounds as well, which always a nice bonus.
Note to parents: Don’t forget hats and water shoes! Pack a picnic lunch and make a day of it.
6. …And the Amazing Parks!
We also have a park & playground guide for the valley area. Did we miss your favorite spot? Leave us a note in the comment section!
Note to parents: Roadtripping north with littles? There’s a cute playground in George West (across from the Sonic) that makes a good rest stop on your way to San Antonio
7. Joe’s Ice Cream Parlor • 2602 N. 10th Street, McAllen; Mon – Sun 12 pm – 9pm
With average temps at 100 degrees, we though it’d be ok to do two ice cream spots… Joe’s has been 10th Street’s long-standing ice cream spot. And, yes, they really do have 52 flavors! They also serve raspas and have nice seating area with a large TV playing kid-friendly movies.
Note to parents: Explore McAllen did a round up of four hot ice cream spots in the area. Date night, anyone?
8. Sea Turtle, Inc. • 6617 Padre Blvd, SPI; Tues – Sun 10 am – 5pm
We stop by Sea Turtle, Inc. every time we visit the island. It’s super informal — walk in, give a donation if you choose, and wander around the giant sea turtle tanks! Staff is on hand to answer questions about the resume turtles and their rehabilitation. If you follow them on twitter, you can catch special events like feedings and hatching.
9. Code RGV Workshops • Classes & Events valley-wide all summer!
Use summer break to get your kids ahead of the curve! Code RGV promotes coding and technology education with workshops and event acrosss the valley. After you visit their site, head to their Facebook page for a list of upcoming events (drone workshop on July 31st in Weslaco!).
10. Museums, museums, museums!
When it’s too hot to be outside, museums are our #1 choice of places to go and cool off! Many of our wonderful RGV museums are offering extended summer hours and special events or classes. Here’s a comprehensive list of valley museums with a link to each one’s website.