School's out and the thermometer reads 93 degrees. Time to plan beyond the usual options. Here are some ways to get them cooled down, and some options don't even involve water. And do you have your own ideas for staying cool? Share your thoughts with other readers on what you do in the summer to beat the heat.
The indoor sport of bowling blends active requires being indoors with air conditioning, and the bowling lanes at the nearby pueblos have other fun indoor activities as well. Two Albuquerque bowling alleys offer kids a chance to bowl free for the 2011 summer. Both Holiday Bowl and Leisure Bowl participate in the Kids Bowl Free summer program.
Find one of Albuquerque's squirt plazas to beat the heat without going swimming. Albuquerque Uptown has a squirt plaza where kids cool out on hot summer days. Sometimes there's even a musician.
There is also a squirt plaza at the Rio Grande Zoo, located across from the giraffes. There are also climbing structures, tunnels for burrowing and a magical tower for climbing.
The Manzano Mesa Sprayground offers kids a place to splash out in the far northeast heights.
Or spend the day at Cliff's Amusement Park, where kids can stand beneath a bucket and get a full dunk.
Find out about all of Albuquerque's water parks.
In the evenings there are Movies in the Park and Movies Under the Stars. Or take the kids for a movie matinee, some of which are free, and many of which are discounted.
Find out about free and discounted movies for kids.
We all do it. We get into the routine of visiting one library again and again. But if you're looking for the best collection of CD books for kids, did you know you should head to the Erna Fergusson branch? Or that the North Valley Library has a great kid's book section? Get out of your comfort zone, and pick a new library to visit. They're air conditioned and cool, and they offer a variety of activities for the kids all summer long.
You only have to say the words butter pecan, mint chocolate chip, and cherry vanilla, to get a kid's attention. Albuquerque has ice cream parlors, gelato spots and counters to set your root beer float. Discover a new favorite, like I Scream Ice Cream, 2839 Carlisle, where you can play Rock 'em Sock Robots or Operation with the kids.
DaKine Hawaiian Ice is another treat the kids will love, and they have ice cream for those who prefer it to ices. Or taste the best of both worlds and get both in one cup.
Itsa Italian Ices are the real deal. Try the lemon or watermelon for a real summer cooler.
Feed the Ducks at UNM and visit UNM Museums
It's shady at the UNM duck pond. Take some scraps of bread for the ducks and a picnic lunch for yourself. Bring towels so the kids can take off their shoes (or not) and splash along the waterfall. Then stroll over to the Geology Museum, or the Meteorite Museum, located just south of the duck pond. Both museums are free. Or visit the Maxwell Museum to the west. Be sure to park at metered spaces.
Fishing requires being around cool water, and the shade of trees. Try out one of these local fishing holes.
The lake is stocked with trout and there are grills and tables for cooking and eating what you've caught.
Spend the day at Isleta Lakes, and take home a trophy or two.
The two ponds are well shaded and well stocked. Kids are almost guaranteed to catch a fish in the kid's pond. Catch one, clean it and take it home for dinner.
With three fishing ponds, chances are you'll catch something. Cool off by renting a paddleboat, or take a bike ride along the Bosque under the shady trees. There's also a pond for model boats.
Hike the Mountains
Take a hike along a mountain trail. The higher up you go, the cooler it gets. In the Sandia Mountains, hike Travertine Falls with the younger kids, and pick a trail at Doc Long picnic area with older ones. Or begin in Tijeras, taking the Sandia Crest Climb.
Don't forget the Manzano Mountains, south of Albuquerque, where you can find trails in the Cibola National Forest. Every fall, we head down to Fourth of July canyon to see the spectacular leaves, but it's fresh and cool in summer. The John F. Kennedy picnic area near Belen also has some great hiking trails the kids will enjoy. Head south on 47 and look for the brown signs.
Ice skating isn't just for the winter months; in fact, it's ideal for cooling off in summer. There are two local rinks where you can get some exercise, have fun and beat the heat. The Outpost Ice Arena, 9530 Tramway NE, has several links. On weekends, the rinks open up to each other, making one huge rink.
Blades Multiplex on the west side can win a family's heart, with ice skating, bowling, and indoor soccer. Both ice rinks have food, skate rentals, and training props for the very young.