Waco activities relieve summer doldrums

By Bonnie Berger

For those students who choose to enroll in summer classes or those that simply choose to remain in Waco for the summer, several overlooked activities can fill the void of free time.

Cameron Park

Cameron Park, located on North Fourth Street, offers patrons both young and old an opportunity to stroll along the river or utilize one of the many open spaces for a game of Frisbee.

Packing a lunch and bringing along a comfy blanket provides an alternative to traditional dates, as well as a fun way to take advantage of cooler summer afternoons.

Students in the mood for spending the day with some cuddly and bizarre creatures should mosey across the street to the Cameron Park Zoo. This activity is a viable source of entertainment for youngsters and adults.

“I actually took my girlfriend to the zoo on one of our first dates,” said Baylor alumnus and Houston resident Armon Bakhtiari. “There were a lot of animals to see and, in combination with the informative signs, we were entertained for hours.”

Tickets for children, seniors and adults run from $6 to $9. Children 3 years old and under are free.

Dr Pepper Museum

As a devoted Baylor Bear, it’s your drink of choice, but do you know where it originated or what process it undergoes before transforming into that beverage you love to love? A rarely noticed downtown gem, the Dr Pepper Museum documents the history and production of Waco’s native soda.

Adult tickets are $7 and students and children’s tickets are $4.

Mayborn Museum

Located a brisk walk across University Parks Drive, the Mayborn Museum Complex inspires and educates inquisitive minds. Exhibits range from exploring Texas history to focusing on curiosities of the natural world with a permanent special exhibit documenting the history of Baylor from its inception in 1845.

“All the fossils they had along the walls were especially impressive,” said Fort Worth junior Benjamin Veitenheimer. “It was a great combination of interesting artifacts and informative displays.”

Waco nonprofits

For an unconventional yet rewarding pastime, volunteer with a local nonprofit organization. The Art Center Waco holds summer art camps for ages 6-12, which is an excellent way to cultivate artistic skills while giving back to the community. Mission Waco also hosts activities for children living in lower-income neighborhoods through music and after-school programs.

Day trips

If students have explored all of the above and are aching to venture beyond the city limits, take a day trip into Austin or Dallas. Both cities offer thriving downtown scenes with numerous art galleries, parks and fine restaurants. A comfortable drive from Baylor, there is plenty to see and do without warranting an overnight stay.

Stuffing friends in a car and listening to catchy tunes ensures a memorable journey.

“My friend Will and I play this game where we make play lists around a theme like ‘summer’ or ‘love,’” said The Woodlands junior Sara Lemister. “We play it until the other people in the car figure out what the theme is. It’s a fun way to pass time and keep everyone guessing.”

And, finally, students shouldn’t forget to take advantage of Sonic Drive-In’s happy hour, from 2 to 4 p.m. every day, when all drinks are half price. The Sonic on South Sixth Street near campus is the most convenient location for students. Summer is simply sweeter with a refreshing and inexpensive beverage in hand.