Summer in Houston means hot times. But the heat never stops Houstonians from planning unusual outdoor activities. Sweat with us as we attempt everything from drag racing to hot-air balloon racing.
- Rock the Dock
Thursday evening Rock the Dock concerts at the Kemah Boardwalk make for laid-back summer evenings on the bay. Call 281-334-9880 to get a list of bands or directions.
- Hot Air
Grab some altitude with a day of ballooning or skydiving. Head to SkyDive Houston (281-550-8070) for a tandem jump, or celebrate the state’s largest ballooning festival, the Ballunar Liftoff, at the Johnson Space Center, August 25-27.
- Martha Style
Gear up for fall gardening with a class or tour of the Houston area gardens. Contact the nonprofit Urban Harvest (713-880-5540 ), for weekend gardening classes, then head to the Mercer Arboretum (281-443-8731) for inspirational tours through the extensive gardens, including ginger, tropical, water, and butterfly gardens.
Harness your bravado and attempt a Texan adventure race. August hosts two coed Sprint Adventure Races (one in Fort Worth and one in Austin) which include 2-3 miles on foot, 7-15 miles on wheels, an hour in a canoe, and the infamous mystery events. Contact Terra Firma Adventure Racing (713-532-5572) for registration info.
- Moonlight Wonders
Explore the woods by moonlight. Armand Bayou Nature Center offers night hikes in August to hear and see Houston’s nocturnal wonders. Call 281-474-2551 for details.
- Piney Woods Picnic
Munch on a blanket in East Texas’ piney woods. Try the Big Thicket National Preserve or if you’re interested in joining a good cause, head to the Piney Woods Wildlife Society’s annual potluck picnic (281-345-4151) on August 25.
- Pedal to the Medal
No need to burn rubber on the back streets. Grudge race at the Houston Raceway Park during the AAA Texas Friday Safe Street Nights (281-383-7223). Cars enhanced by nitrous oxide, superchargers, or turbochargers can race the speedway or go it alone. Spectators are also welcome.
- Early Bird
Rise early for the great morning birdwatching or pontoon cruising on the Armand Bayou (281-474-2551). For urban birding inside loop 610, join the Ornithology Group’s August field trip. Call Grant Olsen at 281-345-4151.
- Old Growth Explorer
Hike through Sam Houston National Forest old-growth bottomland hardwood. Hit the trails on your own to see it at your own pace or join a Sierra Club guide on Saturday, August 18 to scout for rare forest plants. Call 713-640-4313 for hike information.
- To the Ballgame
It just isn’t summer without baseball. Head to the recently-opened Enron Field (713-259-8000) for quality time with the Houston Astros. August games include battles with the Cubs, Pirates, and Mets, to name a few.