A variety of water slides can be found at Splashway Waterpark, a seasonal outdoor playground that boasts water-fueled attractions for toddlers, older kids, and adults. Sometimes the rides relax, as when visitors drift down the lazy river on waterproof water beds, but sometimes they raise pulses instead, as on the nearly straight drop of Pirate's Plunge.
From May to September visitors can enjoy the park's attractions, which were designed to entertain families with kids of any age. When energy wanes, two onsite caf?s pile plates with all-American fare such as burgers, pizza, and nachos. The truly exhausted can lounge in the new lagoon pool or turn in for the night at the park's RV and tent camp, or the new cabins.
What was once a jumbled catch-all for the hunting trophies of Dr. E. A. Weinheimer, and a generous donation from Steve McManus, has been streamlined into a collection of well-organized exhibits at the El Campo Museum of Natural History. They feature these trophies along with others in realistic replicas of their original habitats.
It's easy to picture what life was like in centuries past at Matagorda County Museum. That's because the museum highlights the county's most memorable events with both detailed recreations and actual artifacts. Guests can absorb the county's nautical history by viewing a cannon and other artifacts recovered from a shipwreck at the bottom of Matagorda Bay. They can also learn about indigenous family life or discover the charms and hardships of life in a covered wagon thanks to exhibits on those topics.
For an even more immersive experience, families need only step in to the award-winning children's section of the museum. There, kids can discover what life was really like more than 100 years ago in a recreation of a late 19th-century town. Newly minted citizens can swing by the town's O.K. Corral to drop off their horses, stop into the barber shop for a shave and a haircut, or head to the one-room schoolhouse to look over education primers. Other places of interest include an opera house, a post office, and, in case anyone at the post office gets caught opening letters not addressed to them, a jail.
Bron Doyle’s brightly painted fleet of E-Z-Go four-wheelers prowls the sands of Port Aransas, ferrying groups, snacks, and drinks to and from the beach. From within each four- or six-person cart, passengers feast their eyes on sweeping views of the surrounding landscape while taking refuge from the sun under the cart’s roof. Bron’s Beach Carts is stationed a short trip to the beach and in close proximity to local hotels, making for a more convenient mode of ground transportation than standing on a surfboard and waiting for a super strong gust of wind.
Funtrackers summons fun-seekers with a mother lode of scintillating attractions for guests of all ages. Drivers in tiny cars vanquish fellow racers with expert passing maneuvers and cloying drive-time radio jams across four different go-kart tracks, which range from a kiddie track built for drivers 3 aged and older to a pro track reserved for motorists with a valid driver’s license or permit. Floating in a 3-foot-deep pool, guests can douse each other with water from a squirt-gun turret built in to bumper boats, engaging comrades in a friendly rivalry to be continued at the 18-hole, tropical-themed miniature-golf course. Inside, buzzing sounds and whirring lights emanate from more than 50 arcade games, including skee-ball and air hockey, many of which reward success with tickets that can be redeemed for an assortment of fun prizes.
Ear-splitting shrieks quicken the pulses of passersby as they approach the Nightmare Factory, a forsaken complex comprised of two distinct, hair-raising attractions. Once they’ve crossed the threshold into the blood-splattered corridors of Insanity51, voyagers tiptoe cautiously past hostile denizens as a narrative begins to emerge. The tormented spirits that haunt these hallways are insane captives subjected to top-secret government experiments that have rendered them even more fearsome and better informed on tax policy. In Nightmare 3D, foolhardy explorers walk through a carnival funhouse that looks more like the scene of a mass murder. Distorted mirrors and shifting floorboards create a skewed, sinister sense of reality, forcing guests to ponder if they have passed into another dimension populated by their worst nightmares.