It’s a familiar refrain, one we hear far too often in this community — there’s nothing here to do.
Our community doesn’t suffer from a lack of activities, it suffers from a lack of imagination.
We’re willing to bet a lot of kids have been spending the bulk of their summer vacation indoors looking at screens — whether that screen is on a cellphone, computer, tablet or a television — and off on virtual adventures. And perhaps worst of all, parents are allowing them to do this.
Given the heat and humidity of summer, some screen time is understandable. But many members of this editorial board remember long days spent outdoors on our bikes, exploring the neighborhood, jumping on trampolines, climbing trees, finding pick-up games, playing in creeks and just staying out of our parents’ hair in general until the street lights came on.
That’s why we encourage everyone to get them outside to soak up some sun and engage in some form of physical activity, whether that be swimming, riding bikes or taking a walk.
There are a number of educational and recreational opportunities in Angelina County that afford East Texans the opportunities to allow their imaginations to run wild instead of being limited by the size of the digital screen they’re staring at.
The Museum of East Texas, the Naranjo Museum of Natural History, and the Texas Forestry Museum all fit that bill, while Kurth Memorial Library, the T.L.L. Temple Library in Diboll and the McMullen Memorial Library in Huntington offer summer crafts, programs and an almost endless supply of books.
There are a number of summer camps (check listings at visitlufkin.com) going on for the rest of this month and multiple swimming pools or splash pads in the community, as well as a trampoline park, a skate park at Kiwanis Park, golf courses and disc golf courses.
And let’s not forget that Lufkin is nestled between four national forests in Deep East Texas. The nearby rivers and reservoirs provide endless opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts, specifically swimming, boating and fishing.
Heading north, Splash Kingdom and Zip Nac are just up the road in Nacogdoches.
Going farther north, there’s Six Flags Over Texas, the Dallas World Aquarium, Hurricane Harbor, Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden and Rangers games in the final season at Globe Life Park, although you would be wise to avoid day games without an ample supple of sunscreen.
Just a couple of hours down south, there’s the Children’s Museum of Houston, the Houston Museum of Natural Science, Astros games at Minute Maid Park and Space Center Houston. If the beach is more your speed, load up the family and hit the road for Galveston, Bolivar or Crystal Beach.
The new school year will be here before you know it. Students, parents and teachers should make the most of their remaining days of summer.