Even though the main attractions of Galveston are wildly successful and fun, many parents have no doubt already reached the bottom of their well of ideas to entertain the whole family. A day at the beach? Check. A walking tour of The Strand? Check. A museum visit? Check.
If you’re running low on ideas that will make everyone happy this summer, here are our suggestions for some must-do family experiences on the island.
Ride the World’s Tallest Water Coaster (Schlitterbahn.com/Galveston)
Just in time to celebrate the 12th anniversary of Schlitterbahn Galveston, the park unveils its most impressive and daunting ride to date with this summer’s introduction of the MASSIV waterslide, billed as the world’s tallest water coaster. Gear up to climb the 123 steps to the top of the nearly 82 foot high, record-breaking water coaster. The twists, turns, drops and splashes of this new ride span 926 feet! That's three football fields. The impressive engineering called Master Blaster technology propels riders on a harrowing,adrenaline-fueled thrill ride that will certainly make it onto a few bucket lists.
Take a Dolphin Tour (Galveston.com/water/)
Utilizing a 40-foot pontoon boat, the folks at Galveston Water Adventures will take you out into the bay for a one-hour “Eco Dolphin Tour,” during which you’ll learn a little about the island and the ship channel and ride right next to dolphin pods for some amazing photo opportunities with the always photogenic creatures.
Take a Ride on the ELISSA (Galveston.com/TexasSeaportMuseum)
The famed three-masted, iron-hulled sailing ship that dates back to 1877 is far from a museum piece: it’s a functioning vessel that’s available for tours and seasonal sailings that will take you back to the time of the majestic elegance of the tall ships. Located at the Texas Seaport Museum at Pier 21, a ride on the ELISSA leaves an indelible imprint on even that most difficult to please teenager in the family.
Have an Encounter with a Penguin (Galveston.com/MoodyGardens)
For most of us, watching the “March of the Penguins” movie was the closest we’ve ever been to a penguin, but Moody Gardens’ Penguin Encounters, a 45-minute program that allows you to get up close to penguins from the Aquarium Pyramid, takes you into the chilly world of these tough and resourceful birds. The good news is you don’t have to travel to Antarctica to experience it!
Watch Taffy Being Made at La King’s Confectionary (Galveston.com/LaKing)
This old-school candy store is an absolute wonderland for anyone with a sweet tooth, but if you happen to be there when the guy who makes the salt water taffy is plying his trade, you’ll be in for a real treat. Not only do you get to sample the fruits of his labor thanks to the practice of tossing taffy treats to onlookers, you’ll also get see how the fascinating old world practice of making taffy actually works.
Take an Artist’s Boat Kayak Tour (Galveston.com/ArtistBoat)
For the past 16 years, Artist Boat has presented leisurely kayak tours of the bay system in which participants armed with a painter’s palette use watercolors to depict the breathtaking images from their afternoon on the water. They supply the kayaks and the art supplies; you supply the creativity and love of the natural world.
Go Horseback Riding on the Beach (Galveston.com/Horses)
Sitting high in the saddle as you tour the beach on horseback offers a unique perspective that can’t be duplicated. The folks at Galveston Island Horse & Pony Rides, founded by people who are passionate about horses and the beautiful coastal landscape, carefully select and train their horses to ensure that you have an enjoyable riding experience even if you don’t possess superior equine skills.