The brainchild of two passionate teachers, RoboCamp is dedicated to increasing the presence of math, science, and technical skills in contemporary education. To that end, RoboCamp participants meet each summer at five Texas locations to actively engage in hands-on activities rooted in each of those disciplines.
The activities are more than your run-of-the-mill science experiments, too. As educational activities, campers may craft LEGO replicas of national landmarks, stir up volcanic eruptions, or build edible experiments.
Using vibrant colors to dress human flesh, artists transform people into works of art at ABC Bodyart. A peek into the gallery shows images of people wearing clothes, patterns, and fur where there is none, their skin covered in expertly applied paint, temporary tattoos, and henna. The body-art outlet offers up models to paint during classes and private events and also caters to kids with face-painting packages.
The Houston-Galveston area is train country. Multiple railroad-related museums call the community home, as do approximately 20 model railroad clubs. So, how does a person gain entry into this not-so-secret club of train enthusiasts? Simply walk into the Big Texas Train Show, where 100,000 square feet of convention space immerses visitors in a train-filled world.
Here, various displays capture the train-enthusiast's imagination. Model trains?ranging from tiny Z scale locomotives to full-size garden trains?weave around meticulously constructed tracks. And vendors sell the supplies that people need to build their own routes at home, including the one secret ingredient needed to create steam. In addition, a wide variety of kid-friendly activities await little ones.
Art can foster a sense of community and inspire social change. It is this belief that drives artists Reginald and Rhonda Adams, who founded Museum of Cultural Arts, Houston in 1999 when they noticed a lack of community participation in the arts. Using their vibrant center as a springboard, the couple and their staff have brought art programs to more than 30 public schools and 15,000 underserved youth, helping the youngsters unleash their innate creativity and heighten their social awareness. Within the museum, rotating exhibits, such as May’s Queens of Creativity Mother Earth Exhibition, carry pertinent social messages such as the importance of calling Earth’s core on Mother’s Day. Community projects such as a recent mural painting for a school and collaborations with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society help carry out the museum’s mission as a vehicle for expression.
At each of its 31 area locations, the YMCA of Greater Houston pursues a mission to bring health, wellness, and personal growth to communities. Kids leap into activities ranging from swim lessons and youth sports to a teen Youth & Government program that stirs up confidence and leadership abilities in students, preparing them for mudslinging student-council campaigns.
Zumba, ballroom dance, and Les Mills group exercise classes shake up adult workout routines, as complimentary childcare frees up parents to pursue fitness goals. Meanwhile, adult sport leagues such as basketball and racquetball result in friendly competition and hyper-literate team names inspired by obscure philosophers.
As daylight hours wane and temperatures drop, Discovery Green transforms Kinder Lake’s model-boat basin into a 7,200-square-foot open-air ice rink, beckoning visitors and locals alike to embrace the winter season. The cheerful sounds of Christmas carols, upbeat world music, and swing tunes emanate from the sound system as skaters gracefully glide past the site's colorful glass railings and mural-bedecked kiosks. In a separate children's area beside the main rink, toddlers and their parents can play on their own section of ice while safely avoiding faster-paced skating traffic. Special events also lend their own festive air to the attraction, where guests can watch live jazz bands or skate alongside Santa Claus.
To keep the ice at a constant and chilly 22 degrees, the rink conceals more than 17 miles of cooling pipes beneath its friction-defying surface. Recycled water from Kinder Lake helps create a cool, even skating surface, and the entire attraction siphons its power from renewable energy sources instead of coal buttons stolen from snowmen. Additionally, an onsite snack shop keeps bellies warm and cheeks ruddy with cups of coffee and hot cocoa, as well as hearty snacks including roasted peanuts, cookies, and belgian waffles.