Beat the Heat!

1996 Summer Guide

Moody Gardens New exhibits, a new IMAX-3D feature and beach parties, beach parties, beach parties -- all added attractions to Moody Gardens' already spectacular array of offerings. See the kids section for more info on Palm Beach ($6), IMAX-3D ($6), the Rainforest Pyramid, paddleboat cruises and more. 1 Hope Blvd., Galveston, (800) 582-4673.

Alfresco Dining

Sure it's hot. Sure it's muggy. But in Houston, when we can eat outside, we do. And catering to our need to gnaw out in the open, the city's restaurants, from the cheapest to the most haute, fling wide their doors, crank up the AC and go alfresco. All the restaurants listed below offer fine food and outside dining; for more details on them, check out the Press' weekly Cafe Capsules.

Antone's 807 Taft, 526-1046.
Becks Prime 2615 Augusta, 266-9901; 2902 Kirby, 524-7085; 11000 Westheimer, 952-2325; and 1202 Dairy-Ashford, 493-3806.

Berryhill Hot Tamales 2639 Revere, 526-8080.
Bistrot Aventure 1811 S. Shepherd, 527-9800.
Cafe Express 1800 Post Oak, 963-0222; 3200 Kirby, 522-3994; and 1422 W. Gray, 522-3100.

Cafe Noche 2409 Montrose, 529-2409.
Collina's 3933 Richmond, 621-8844.
Daily Review Cafe 3412 W. Lamar, 520-9217.
Empire Cafe 1732 Westheimer, 528-JAVA.
Floyd's Cajun Shack 1200 Durham, 862-3326.
Goode Company Barbecue 5109 Kirby, 522-2530.
Goode Company Hamburgers & Taqueria 4902 Kirby, 520-9153.
Green's Barbecue 5404 Almeda, 528-5501.
The Houston Brewery 6224 Richmond, 953-0101.
Jax Grill 1613 Shepherd, 861-5529; and 6510 S. Rice, 668-3606.
Kahn's Deli 2429 Rice Blvd., 529-2891.
Kaldi Cafe 250 W. 19th St., 802-2246.
La Griglia 2002 W. Gray, 526-4700.

La Madeleine 6205 Kirby, 942-7081; Highland Village, 623-0645; Carillon Center, 266-7674; and 6500 Woodway (at Voss) 722-8766.

Last Concert Cafe 1403 Nance, 226-8563.
La Quebradita Taqueria 631 W. 24th, 861-0800.
Melange at the Heritage Society 1100 Bagby, 655-8514.
Medina's Spanish Village 4811 Lillian, 802-2921.
Nielsen's Delicatessen 4500 Richmond, 963-8005.
Pat and Pete's Blues Burgers 311 Travis, 222-7337.
Patrenella's 813 Jackson Hill, 863-8223.
River Cafe 3615 Montrose Blvd., 529-0088.
Savages 2610 Bissonnet, 942-0580.
Sierra 4704 Montrose, 942-7757.
Spanish Village 4720 Almeda, 523-2861.
Toopees 1830 W. Alabama, 52-AROMA.
Zuzu 2320 S. Shepherd, 521-3736.

4th of July

Sam Houston Race Park Race Park planners, who know there's more to celebrate today than live racing, have scheduled the typical family attractions -- a petting zoo, face painting and other children's activities -- and fireworks. Gates open at 5:30; first race is at 7 p.m. Sam Houston Race Park, 7575 North Sam Houston Tollway (Fallbrook-Windfern exit), 807-8700. Regular admission, $3; children under 12, free; parking, $2.

Miller Outdoor Theatre New year; same deal. The city's Independence Day celebration at Hermann Park draws more people to Miller Outdoor Theatre than any other event of the year. A sea of people crashes over the hill and down the hill, spilling throughout the park. The patrons -- their faces washed over in waves of red, of blue, of whatever color the pyrotechnic expert who packed the explosive fancied at the time -- stare wide-eyed into the sky as fireworks burst to the sounds of the Houston Symphony Orchestra. There are perhaps flashier fireworks shows in town, but none affords such an opportunity to get so blanket-to-blanket and cooler-to-cooler with your fellow Americans. Free.

Six Flags AstroWorld Gosh almighty, as if any more incentive is needed to spark people's interest in spending a day with the family at AstroWorld. Yet, here, on the Fourth of July, they supply us with a fireworks extravaganza that's bigger and brighter than their usual satisfying fare. Kirby at Loop 610, 799-1234. One-day ticket, $29.95; under 48 inches tall, $18.95; senior citizens age 55 and older, $14.98; children two and under, free.

George Ranch Historical Park Enjoy Independence Day the way folks did in the 1890s, with watermelon seed spitting, three-legged races, egg and spoon runs, stilt walking and checkers. Back then, the womenfolk prepared elaborate picnic lunches and each potential suitor bid on those lunches for the privilege of sharing the picnic with the lady of his choice. Today, the menfolk can help themselves to the Ranch Snack Bar, though there will be a Box Social, where box lunches made in the traditional way will be auctioned off. Only 30 minutes from the Galleria. Take Highway 59 south to Crabb River Road, go south and follow the signs. 545-9212. $5.

Galveston The festivities begin at noon at Stewart Beach Park, where SUNNY 99.1 FM will be giving away free goodies until 3 p.m. When the sun settles, say around 9:15 p.m., a 25-minute fireworks display will begin. For the best view, you'll have to pack the sunburned and sticky kids in the car and look for a spot to park along Seawall Boulevard between 25th and 81st streets. Parking at Stewart Beach, $5; fireworks, free. (In case of inclement weather, the fireworks will be rescheduled for July 7.)

Clear Lake Fireworks Spectacular The city of Clear Lake has been at this for 21 years now, so they've got the details down pat. Near dusk, the Texas Air National Guard will do a flyover of Clear Lake, then at 9:20 p.m., the fireworks will be set off from a barge in the middle of the lake. The folks in Clear Lake say Clear Lake Park on the north side of the lake is a choice spot for viewing the display, which will last for about 20 minutes. Free.

Summer Sports

May 27
More than Memorial Day It's not only Memorial Day; it's Oshman's Family Day at the Sam Houston Race Park, and the first 7,500 race fans through the gate will get a free Sam Houston Race Park sports bag. Aside from a day of Thoroughbred racing fun, there'll be basketball, a putting green, a football toss -- and members of the Russian Junior National Tennis Team will take to the court to volley a bit with anyone bold enough to take the challenge. Gates open at 11:30 a.m.; post time is at 1 p.m. Regular admission, $3; children under 12, free; parking, $2. Sam Houston Race Park, 7575 North Sam Houston Tollway (Fallbrook-Windfern exit), 807-8700.

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