Outdoor Fun Without the Heat

These outdoor activities don't have to take place in the Texas heat

It's no secret -- Texas gets hot this time of year. Sitting in front of the television all weekend becomes more tempting as temperatures rise and the summer drags on. Here are some ideas to stay active without getting sunburned or leaving the air conditioning.

As World Cup fever spreads, locals look for more ways to get their own football experience. Unfortunately, players have to fight triple digit temperatures to enjoy playing a match. Yet, there have been indoor soccer facilities in the area long before the World Cup took over the TVs in every sports bar. Sole Roll Indoor Soccer has leagues, tournaments, camps, training, and -- more importantly -- air conditioning. The Blue Sky Sports Center in Keller and the Colony has indoor and outdoor fields as well as locker room with showers, video arcade area, concessions and a specialty store.

Rock Climbing
Few activities push the physical limits like rock climbing. So why suffer in the heat, too? Indoor gyms offer a much cooler and even safer alternative to the elements. Adventurers can push their limits on vertical climbing walls at places like Dino Rock in Arlington, Summit Climbing Gym in Grapevine, and Stone Works Climbing Gym, an old grain silo turn climbing wall, in Carrollton. For a fee, guests can climb all day, rent a harness and optional shoes or chalk bag. The fees vary, but for a day pass, harness and shoes Dino Rock's rates stay under a harness rental and day pass at other gyms. Dino Rock assistant manager Jamie Gowens is head coach for cross fit and has been climbing at Dino Rock since 2006. Gowens said climbing inside gives climbers the advantage of a controlled environment. As safe as the sport can be, climbing at Dino Rock and other indoor gyms comes with padded floors and safe belay devices.
"Indoor climbing is something anybody that's never in their life conceived of doing something like this, can jump in and get started doing," Gowens said. "Come the middle of July and into August, it's too hot for baseball, not into football yet, but indoor climbing is a really good way to -- especially with kids -- to keep them active."
With routs and obstacles constantly changing, Dino Rock offers a challenge to every level of climber, Gowens said.

Indoor Mini Golf
Everything becomes strenuous when it's above 90 degrees outside, even mini golf. Try beating the heat in the dark cool room of the <a href="http:// ">Lunar Mini Golf course at the Grapevine Mills Mall or Collin Creek Mall in Plano.  The glow of the black lights give this golf course an ambiance like no other mini golf has. 

Indoor Sports Leagues and Camps
The Bob Knight Fieldhouse in Duncanville offers youth a chance to burn off some heat in the air conditioning. The facility has everything from summer leagues and camp for all ages, to a student center with computers and fee tutoring. It will even host your party or meeting. Rockwall Indoor Sports Expo also has leagues for all ages as well as basketball, soccer and football camps for kids. It has indoor fields for soccer and football, and gyms for basketball and volleyball.

Sports aren't the only thing you can move indoors to beat the heat. City lights and hot summer nights make any stargazing experience in the Metroplex a challenge. We suggest moving the activity indoors to the planetarium at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. The planetarium has four shows for all ages, $5 for adults and $4 for children and seniors. The University of Texas in Arlington also has several shows at its planetarium playing in the afternoons or evenings six days a week. Planetarium coordinator Tina Poss said the UTA planetarium's 60 foot dome seats 148 people, making it the largest in the Metroplex. She said the Texas stargazing show on Tuesday afternoon will give viewers more than just a viewing experience -- it's educational, too.
"It's a live show and usually the program coordinator or the director get together, they'll pull up the night sky and then go through the night sky," she said. "When they pull up -- for instance, let's take Leo -- there's two planets close to Leo and they can pull up and show you."
Poss said tickets are $6 for adults and $4 for children and seniors. The Texas Stargazing show is Tuesdays at 2 p.m., a list of other shows can be found at the planetarium's website. There's also a $2 movie every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday night. This week is "Fly Me to the Moon."

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