9 Ways to Get Your Kids Outside in McAllen

Kayaking in McAllen
Kids and adults alike enjoy kayaking at McAllen’s Fireman’s Park.

One of the best ways to fight childhood obesity- or adult obesity, for that matter- is to encourage time outdoors. And now that school’s back in, it’s easier than ever for kids to find excuses not to go outside. There’s homework to do, friends to call, video games to play. And, as schools cut back on physical activity to concentrate more on STEAM subjects, lots of us worry about how kids are going to stay physically fit. Especially here in the Valley, where obesity and diabetes are such major topics, it’s important that we all stay moving- particularly kids who often need a little incentive to get them off the bed or sofa. Here are some ideas for getting them up and out- and for creating wholesome family memories they’ll remember fondly.

1. McAllen Nature Center has a month’s worth of standing programs, and some special ones, too. Every Monday there’s a morning program at 9:30 called nature for Kids, and every Monday evening at 6:30 kids can let off some steam at the Run in the Woods.
2. The Nature Center also offers a Youth Bird & Nature Club Saturday, September 17 at 9 am. This club, lasting 1 ½ hours, is free, and offers opportunities for parents to discover nature’s wonder along with the kids. All ages are welcome, but the program is targeted for ages 6-16. September’s program is all about butterflies. (The Valley is the country’s very best butterfly destination- did you know?) This program free.
3. Don’t forget your pet when planning outdoor activities. McAllen’s Dog Park can offer great exercise for not only your dog but also the kids. Let them play a rousing game of catch at Tamarack Avenue and North 5th Street. The park is divided into large and smaller dog sizes and there’s no charge.
4. Quinta Mazatlan has Saturday programs for children called Discovery Saturdays. Topics vary each week and include dragonflies, frogs, birds, butterflies, and alligator gar, and participants actually get hands-on experience exploring a pond with nets and seines. Cost is $3.
5. Make memories by taking the kids kayaking without leaving town. McAllen’s Fireman’s Park has low-cost kayak rentals every weekend.
6. Here’s a really cool event, targeted to the littlest nature lover. It’s a stroller-friendly nature program called Songbirds, Stories and Strollers. There’s a pause mid-program for a short children’s nature story. Held sporadically from 6:30 to 7:30 pm, it’s cooled off a bit by then and also held at the McAllen Nature Center. It’s open to all ages and free to participate. Check the website for dates.
7. Here’s a good one for staying cool- Swimming at the Municipal Pool. Classes vary depending on the age of the child or youth, so check with the Parks and Recreation Department for details. There is a cost to participate.
8. McAllen also has two splash parks- check with the Parks and Recreation Department for locations and hours.
9. For loads of more ideas, visit http://www.mcallen.net/parks-recreation/home and http://texaschildreninnature.org.

7 projects in the RGV are awarded the McAllen Arts Council-Grant in 2016

The McAllen Chamber of Commerce along with the McAllen Arts Council strongly support and believe that the Arts have a cultural impact to any City’s way of life.  We continue to encourage the development of an Art community in McAllen and the surrounding cities.
One of those programs of support is the McAllen Arts Council Grants Program which is designed to benefit the RGV community.  Grants enable Artists and arts organizations to bring life-changing benefits to their community and carry out their work. Grants are awarded annually.
This year (7) seven projects in McAllen received Grants from the MAC Grant Program.

Latin American Foundation for the Art- The Latin American Foundation for the Arts promotes, creates and develops initiatives’ and projects to improve cultural access and visibility of the literary, visual and performing arts.


Sam Heredia, Viol Consort is an orchestra with no more than 18 musicians, that perform classical period music, for the general public, thru the Chamber Music Concert Nights Series during the year.  The Free-Concert takes place from September thru May at the McAllen Creative Incubator.


Victoria Lopez, Poet-Created and developed a Summer Arts Program that enabled and encouraged the artistic development in 20 youth, through instruments, writing, painting, poetry, theatre, singing and technology this past summer.  This program was celebrated by its attendees and many look forward to participating in it next year.


The Valley Land Fund works to preserve, expand and enhance native wildlife habitat in the Rio Grande Valley and deep South Texas through education, land ownership and the creation of economic incentives.  Since 1994, nature photography has been a trademark education tool of the Valley Land Fund.


The McAllen Creative Arts Incubator supports artist & art activities.  The McA2 is in the heart of the Arts District on Main Street and is uniquely positioned to actively connect the creative sector with the art, business, and creative communities.  Visit the McA2 during the City wide, free-family friendly, Art Walk event every first Friday of the month.  Stop by to visit its friendly talented tenants and discover new art by visiting artists.


STC’s Valley Honor Band will provide high achieving McAllen area band students the opportunity to perform in a fun and challenging environment while experiencing the rigor and quality of instruction expected at the collegiate level.


Thelma Davila, a teacher at Reynaldo G. Garza Elementary & Evenly Rector wish to beautify their school’s patio tables.  Their project, Mosaic Art & Chess boards, will transform some metal playground table tops into Chess boards.  The project will allow the students to engage in this thought provoking game, during recess, while at the same time creating art of the old metal tables.  The tables will also be available to the public during non-school hours.