By Luke Smith
El Paso is a wonderful city, but let's face it; summertime can be a bit harsh here. Between the scorching temperatures in June and the rainy season in July, El Pasoans never know what to do with their kids over the summer. Well, if you would like some ideas, keep on reading!
Water Parks (DUH!!)
When it is unpleasantly hot outside, sometimes all we want to do is cool down and take a dip in the pool. We may be over 700 miles away from the beach, but that doesn't mean there is no way to have some water fun! El Paso hosts several thrilling water parks! Wet N' Wild is pretty well known, and there is also El Paso Water Parks who hosts 4 exciting locations with season passes as low as $49:
Located at the foothills of the majestic Franklin Mountains in Northeast El Paso, Camp Cohen is your base camp for an adrenaline packed adventure.
With exciting interactive water activities around every corner, guests experience a camp like no other. Thrill seekers can take a dip in Rapid Waters, climb the Warrior Wall or ride high-octane Thunder Run, Lighting Bolt or Monsoon Plunge slides. Little ones will enjoy their own aquatic adventure at the Poppy Island water playground within the Wild Lagoon. Guests looking for something more relaxing can take a dip in the flowing Rain Roamer lazy river or the Shallow Waters leisure pool. Stay cool near the attractions by renting a cabana, or enjoy a quick bite from the Tin Mine café at the starlight plaza.
Life is party at Chapoteo, a fiesta-themed water park. Designed with brilliant colors and festive designs, guests are instantly immersed in a dynamic space filled with light, music, and celebration.
Zooming slides at the Calavera Plunge will send guests twisting and turning while the calm Rio Sereno will offer a soothing lazy river experience. El Valiente climbing wall, the Chalupa Springs leisure pool and the Lago Azul pool will add some flare to your aquatics escapade. Young guests will enjoy splashing around at the Sirenita Reef play area in the Lagarto Lagoon. Looking to chill out? Las Casitas cabanas and the Marigold Plaza are great places to unwind while you savor a snack from La Olla café.
Immerse yourself in the ancient ruins of the lost Mayan Kingdom. This Mayan getaway will fuel the imagination while offering exhilaration and rejuvenation for visitors.
Adventure chasers will enjoy zipping and twisting water slide thrills at the Temple Drop, home to the Sun Temple and Moon Temple water slides. Challenge yourself on The Ruins climbing wall or splash around in the Macaw Lagoon surrounding the Jaguar Jungle outfitted with interactive water features for endless hours of playtime. Those seeking to relax can journey to the cabanas in the Jade Villas, coast along the Turtle Tides lazy river, or wade in the Forgotten Cenote leisure pool. Guests can order ever-popular meals from the Tres Milpas Terrace café at the P0K-A-TOK Plaza.
Located at Eastside Regional Park, El Paso’s newest park, the Oasis is your summer retreat for family fun and water park staycation.
Featuring El Paso’s only surfing machine, Oasis is one of the best places to beat the summer heat. You can hang ten on the Flashflood Rush, which is sure to get you stoked. Kick back and cool off in our Driftwood Channel, a meandering lazy river current channel. For a bit more excitement and adventure, you can scale the Gravity Challenge climbing wall or drop in on the spiraling Tumbleweed slides. Take a break at the cabanas in the Hueco Dwellings, after enjoying the Sunset Lagoon leisure pool and the Adventure Pointe water play area at the Rain Puddle kiddie pool. You can also feed the entire family without leaving the water park at the Wanderlust Café in the Desert Haven Plaza.
El Paso hosts several incredible museums! Kids can have fun seeing all kinds of new things (that are actually really old) for the first time. There are dozens of museums and historical sites in El Paso so I can't list them all here, but some of the really exciting ones:
The El Paso Museum of History boasts the only interactive digital wall in the United States and one of only four in the world. Students can learn about the history of El Paso, the U.S, and social movements that have changed the world and admission is free!
Kids can see stunning paintings, sculptures, and other wonderful pieces of art. The El Paso Museum of Art also hosts tons of fun art classes for kids and adults where they can learn to paint, work with clay, ceramics, and much more. There are dozens of art classes and lectures. Admission to walk through the museum is free and classes start at $75.
The preservation and recreation of living spaces and tools from thousands of years ago is incredible! Kids and adults can both learn about the history of humans from the Ice Age to the 20th century and see the tools they used to survive. The El Paso Museum of Archeology even offers free guided tours!
A plethora of military history is available here in El Paso! Admission is free but non-military families will need to get a visitors pass at the Buffalo Soldier Gate to enter the base (and thus the museum).
The 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss Museum is located on Marshall Road, just north of the Freedom Crossing shopping complex. It is an old Post Exchange building, with 50,000 square feet of exhibit space. The museum includes the combined arms heritage park in front and many exhibits about the history of Fort Bliss and the 1st Armored Division inside. The museum also includes a 180-seat theater, 400-seat ceremonial area, and a reception room available for use. The museum preserves and exhibits artifacts pertaining to the 1st Armored Division's 76-year history through World War II, the Cold War, Vietnam, the Bosnia and Kosovo conflicts in the Balkan states, Operation Desert Storm, and Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. The museum also presents the 167-year history of Fort Bliss, including its six locations in and around El Paso, the post's role in the exploration and mapping of the western states, the Civil War in the Southwest, the various American Indian conflicts, the Mexican Revolution and World Wars I and II, and the role of the post in Army air defense artillery during and after World War II.
Family Themed Parks
I wish I was a kid again so I could play laser tag, go on rides, and play in the arcade without judgement! El Paso has tons of family fun centers where kids can let loose and have a good time.
Technically, Western Playland is in New Mexico, but its right off Sunland Park and we basically consider that El Paso anyways! Western Playland offers an all-day pass (POP Bracelet) for $27.65 so kids can go on as many rides as many times as they want! This location features several exciting rides like the Tsunami, Bandido, Hurricane, Rockstar, El Loco, and the Fireball.
Your children will sleep deep after a day at the Urban Air Adventure Park. There are tons of fun activities for them to do with the Platinum Pass at $31. There is the Adventure Hub, Battle Beam, Climbing Hill, Climbing Wall, Dodgeball, Trampolines, Tumble Track, Spin Zone Bumper Cars, Warrior Course, a Wipeout Zone, and so much more!
The Adventure Zone is the place to be for families looking for mini-golf, splash zones, go-kart racing, and a giant arcade. The Adventure Zone now also hosts a pirate themed Escape Room! Pricing varies for this location so make sure you check their hours and prices before you go!
A day at Bob-O's is an incredible day of family fun! Bob-O's hosts laser tag, batting cages, go-karts, bumper boats, an arcade, mini-golf, and so much more. For $40, you get the "3 Hour Ultimate Fun Card includes Unlimited Outside Attractions* AND Unlimited Laser Missions". Check their website before you go because they have great specials like "Half of Wednesdays!"
You knew it was coming, we are a school after all, but yes Summer Learning is crucial for your child's brain development and overall education. Studies show that kids lose between 25 - 30% of their school-year learning over the summer. Further studies show that middle and upper income class families spend more money on their family's summer education which significantly contributes to the educational gap in students. Students who attend summer learning programs achieve better grades, get into better schools, and earn significantly more money in their lifetime opposed to those students who do not.