True to its eponymous mascot, Armadilla Lanes has burrowed itself into the entertainment scenes of both Houston and Pasadena. Both facilities buzz throughout the week with organized league play, which invites bowlers of all ages to rack up strikes and spares and compete in themed competitions. Outside of league play, the alleys also indulge casual competitors with standard pick-up games, special music nights featuring live DJs, and with optional bumpers outfitted on every lane. And for truly casual guests, each alley’s full-service snack bar dishes out burgers, pizzas, and nachos, all of which give fingers a break from having to hold a ball or point with conviction at unblinking pins.
At Skate World, visitors glide atop one of the largest known pieces of Americana: the roller rink. Friends zoom past one another in competition as families take leisurely paths around the edges. During glow parties, neon glow sticks light up the room. Both Skate World locations come with the classic fixings, including skate rental, DJs, pizza, and ice cream?all of which are available in birthday-party and group packages. Private parties can rent out the entire rink by the hour, ensuring that no one disrupts their games or unconventional Civil War reenactments. At the Pasadena rink, a Lazer Runner Battle Station allows for intense rounds of laser tag.
Since 1947, the Crosby Fair and Rodeo has kept the traditions of Texas alive with big BBQ cook-offs, bull riding, and a livestock auctions. What began as the "Crosby Roping Club" has come a long way, with professional cowboys strutting their stuff during the calf-roping competition, bull riding, and the cowboy hat flying competition. At the BBQ cook-off, participants compete against each other to determine who makes the best pork ribs, brisket, and margaritas, all while nightly entertainment lights up the grounds with the sounds of live music.
Malibu Water Park isn’t your average water park. The six-acre outdoor swimming hole tucks neatly into scenic surroundings. Happy shouts echo across sandy beaches and verdant foliage. Three waterslides zig-zag down the banks of the lake, sending riders careening into the water like boring books thrown from a sailboat. For the younger set, there are interactive mushroom-shaped spray features in the shallow water. Colorful kayaks, canoes, and paddle boats slip out onto the 50-acre lake, whose tree-lined shores beg to be explored. On the weekends, guests circle around bonfires and enjoy BYOB picnics at available barbecue pits while bands play. Catering is available upon request.
While many children learn by performing hands-on tasks, school systems have yet to figure out how to incorporate gardens, imagination workshops, and towering aqueduct mazes into their budgets. With 90,000 square feet of hands-on exhibits, the Children's Museum of Houston sparks creativity by allowing kids to explore 14 learning stations. Ranked No. 1 among the 10 best children's museums in the nation by Parents magazine, named one of the 12 best children's museums in the country by Forbes.com and one of the 10 best by USA TODAY, and voted Best Museum in 2010, 2012, 2013, and 2014 by the Houston A-List Poll, the museum has accrued a lot of praise. The Huffington Post has also given a nod to the Children's Museum of Houston, which encourages children to explore their curious nature with a variety of interactive exhibits. Exhibits include the interactive EcoStation, a solar-powered outdoor utopia with activities such as stream creation and leaf rubbing that inspire kids to think about environmental responsibility. At the Invention Convention workshop, kids can explore engineering possibilities with building blocks, propellers, and even basic robotics. The sprawling cityscape of Kidtropolis invites children to participate in a simulated economy. The experience requires them to earn paychecks, budget money on pretend debit cards, vote for political candidates, and learn how to obsessively check milk expiration dates at the onsite grocery store.
Jutting above the street, the modernist lines of Rafael Moneo's Audrey Jones Beck Building echo the eclectic collection found within. Under sky openings that let in natural light and the bitter gazes of pigeons who can’t seem to get their work shown, visitors meander through galleries that span the breadth of human artistry, from ancient sculpture to modern painting. Noteworthy works from the more than 64,000 pieces include Pablo Picasso's colorful cubist Two Women in Front of a Window, Edgar Degas's achingly expressionistic Woman Drying Herself, and an untitled sketch by Jackson Pollock that shows his wild, abstract genius evolving toward his celebrated drip paintings. A treasure trove of cultural artifacts from Africa, Asia, and the Americas expands the museum’s scope and transports visitors back in time as they gaze on a palpably pensive ceramic ballplayer from Mexico's Classic Veracruz culture or a life-size royal head forged from copper for a Nigerian royal court.
**Groupon Celebrates Pride Month** Over the last 50 years, the gay-rights movement in America has overcome tremendous obstacles to become a powerful voice for inclusion and diversity. Even as it has grown, the movement—like Groupon—is local at heart, and we applaud the commitment to real change that improves everyday lives. At Groupon, we are happy to add our voices to those celebrating PRIDE, their achievements as a social movement and a continued march to equality for the LGBT community. Plus, we love a chance to dig that rainbow wig out of storage. This month—and throughout the year—we salute our merchants and customers who support PRIDE and all efforts that promote dignity, respect, and equal opportunity. We're highlighting these merchants' deals with a special badge to show Groupon's pride in working with people who share our values.