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 LISTINGS: Theater, outdoor activities, nearby escapes and more.

Miller Outdoor Theatre, 100 Concert Dr., Hermann Park, 281-373-3386 www.milleroutdoortheatre.com

Miller Outdoor Theatre will be presenting this event, featuring many of Houston's most talented vocalists and dancers, accompanied by the 23-piece BACEMENT Orchestra. 8:15 to 11 p.m.; free tickets are available at the Miller Outdoor Theatre box office the day of the performance between the hours of 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. As always, there will be open seating on the hill.

The Pleasure Pier in Galveston.
Shelby E. Scott
The Pleasure Pier in Galveston.

May 27

Under The Volcano Cajun Cook-off

2349 Bissonnet Street, 713-526-5282

Under the Volcano is inviting all Cajun cooks to its annual Cajun Cook-Off from 4 to 9 p.m. All proceeds from the event will go to Wellsprings, Inc., a home for abused women and their children run by Sisters Justin and Rita Marie. The sign-up sheets are located at the bar.

May 31 — Swing, Jive and Pop! Into Dance

Miller Outdoor Theatre, 100 Concert Dr., Hermann Park, 281-373-3386 www.milleroutdoortheatre.com

Houston Metropolitan Dance Company's "Swing, Jive and Pop! Into Dance" incorporates history, fashion, music and the arts into one event. 11 a.m. to noon.

June 1 — Sizzling Summer Dance

Miller Outdoor Theatre, 100 Concert Dr., Hermann Park, 281-373-3386 www.milleroutdoortheatre.com

From 8:30 to 10 p.m., head to Miller Outdoor Theater to enjoy an evening of sizzling summer dance with the Houston Metropolitan Dance Company. Included are pieces from recent works: Before all this by Joe Celej and Stand Back by Kate Skarpetowska and a balletic work by Caleb Mitchell, Stirring Simple Gifts in a Shade of Blue. It will also include a special guest performance by Houston Met Too Youth Company. Free tickets are available at the Miller Outdoor Theatre box office the day of the performance between the hours of 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.; open seating on the hill.

June 2 — The Ima Hogg Competition Finals

Stude Concert Hall, campus of Rice University, 6100 Main

www.houstonsymphony.org

The Ima Hogg Competition provides an opportunity for musicians between the ages of 16 and 29 to advance their careers by competing for prizes and performance opportunities. The semifinal round of performances (May 31) is open to the public. In the final round, four contestants will perform with the Houston Symphony. Tickets are $25 general admission.

June 3-August 31 — Bayou Bend

6003 Memorial Dr. at Westcott St., 713-639-7759,

www.mfah.org/bayoubend

For a kid-friendly event, look to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston's Bayou Bend, which will be holding a mystery event for detectives ages six and up both outdoors and inside the historic house. The mystery will feature educational themes ranging from plants and trees to sculpture and architecture, in such cases as: "The Case of the Missing Trees," "On the Trail of the Evolving Plant" and "Mysterious Messages." Every participant will receive an Investigator's Kit as well as a bottle of water for keeping cool during the hunt. Hours for the events are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. The admission is discounted from the usual rates. Children aged 12 and below are free to enter; entry for all other participants is $5.

June 4-August 17 — Xploration Summer Camps

The Houston Museum of Natural Science, One Hermann Circle Dr., 713-639-4629

www.hmns.org

Send your kids to Xplorations Summer Science Adventures, weeklong science summer camps featuring science activities for children ages 6 to 12. Camps are held Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For an additional weekly fee, care is available before camp begins each day, from 8 to 10 a.m., and after camp ends, from 3 to 5:30 p.m. This year brings with it the addition of a new wing of classrooms in the museum.

June 15-16, 29-30 — ExxonMobil Summer Symphony Nights

Miller Outdoor Theatre, 100 Concert Dr., Hermann Park, 281-373-3386 www.milleroutdoortheatre.com

Houston Symphony performs from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. Free tickets are available at the Miller Outdoor Theatre box office the day of the performance between the hours of 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.; open seating on the hill.

June 20-24 — Houston International Boat, Sport and Travel Show, Reliant Park

Reliant Center, One Reliant Park, 713-526-6361

www.btamh.com

The latest brands in boats, yachts, jet skis and other marine-themed vehicles will be showcased in all five halls of Reliant Center. The five-day show will present more than 200 exhibits with boats of all makes and models for fishing, skiing/wakeboarding and pleasure cruising. There'll also be exhibits filled with accessories, fishing gear, clothing, art and more. Most of the exhibiting dealers will offer special Summer Show discounts. Show hours are Wednesday through Friday, June 15 to 17, from 1 to 9 p.m., Saturday, June 18, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday, June 19, from noon to 6 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults and $4 for children under 12. Tickets can be purchased at the Reliant Center ticket office.

June 28-July 22 — Beehive

The Texas Repertory Theatre, 14243 Stuebner Airline Rd., 281-583-7573

www.texreptheatre.org

This year brings a sizzling summer musical featuring four women in 40-plus costumes and wigs singing 40-plus greatest hits in the style of '60s girl groups. The music includes The Chiffons, The Supremes, Aretha Franklin, Connie Francis, Lesley Gore, Petula Clark and many more. Tickets are $35 for adults, but will increase.

July 4 — Kemah Boardwalk Fourth of July Celebration

www.kemahboardwalk.com

Enjoy the usual amenities and dining of Kemah Boardwalk, and then at 9:30 p.m. there will be a fireworks display launched from a barge in Galveston Bay as part of the Star-Spangled Sky Fireworks Celebration.

July 4 — Chevy's Freedom Over Texas. Houston's Official July 4th Celebration

Eleanor Tinsley Park, 713-247-3500 www.houstontx.gov/july4

Mayor Annise Parker will be throwing the annual Fourth of July event, Freedom Over Texas, complete with fireworks and music, in Eleanor Tinsley Park.

July 4 — ExxonMobil Star-Spangled Salute

Miller Outdoor Theatre, 100 Concert D., Hermann Park, 281-373-3386 www.milleroutdoortheatre.com

Celebrate the Fourth with the 1812 Overture, complete with booming cannons and fireworks. The evening will feature Michael Krajewski and the Houston Symphony and Simon and Garfunkel tribute artists Jonathan Beedle and AJ Swearingen. 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. Free tickets are available at the Miller Outdoor Theatre box office the day of the performance between the hours of 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.; open seating on the hill.

July 6 — The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses

Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana # 101, 713-227-3974

www.houstonfirsttheaters.com/JonesHall.aspx

This show will feature large-screen video accompanied by a live symphony orchestra in an effort to bring the world's most popular video game series to life. Tickets begin at $25, and are likely to sell out quickly. 7:30 p.m.

July 6-August 5 — Agatha Christie's Black Coffee

Alley Theatre, 615 Texas, 713-220-5700

www.alleytheatre.org

This year's ExxonMobil Summer Chills event will feature Black Coffee, Agatha Christie's first play, initially produced in 1930. The famous Hercule Poirot tries to solve the murder of Sir Claude Amory, an eccentric inventor of a new weapons formula. Performances will begin at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights, and at 7:30 p.m. the rest of the week. There will be additional matinee performances every Saturday and Sunday from July 13 until the end of the run at 2:30 p.m. Tickets range from $25 to $59.

July 12-29 — Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus

Reliant Stadium, One Reliant Park, 713-629-3700

www.ringling.com

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is The Greatest Show on Earth®. The Fully Charged tour features Tabayara, a dynamic animal trainer who is able to ride rearing stallions at a fully charged gallop and orchestrate four-ton Asian Elephants in a symphony of dance; the Fearless Fernandez Brothers, who perform extreme jumps and twists inside moving wheels; and The Human Fuse, Brian Miser, who rockets through the air from his self-made human crossbow. Tickets range from $18 to $125. Shows begin at 7:30 p.m. during the week, 11:30 a.m. on Saturdays and 1:30 p.m. on Sundays, with multiple shows on the weekends.

July 13 — Three Dog Night

Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana # 101, 713-227-3974

www.houstonfirsttheaters.com/JonesHall.aspx

Legendary music icons and Grammy-nominated band Three Dog Night will celebrate their fourth decade in popular music. Visitors can hear founding members Cory Wells and Danny Hutton on lead vocals, as well as original keyboardist Jimmy Greenspoon and guitarist Michael Allsup perform their greatest hits like "Mama Told Me (Not To Come)," "Joy to the World," "Black and White," "Shambala" and "One." Tickets begin at $25. 7:30 p.m.

July 18-22 — Reliant Park World Series of Dog Shows

Reliant Park, One Reliant Park, 1-800-884-2443

www.reliantdogshows.com

Visit the World Series of Dog Shows in Houston's Reliant Center. Along with breed judging and obedience, you'll also find agility dogs, fly ball teams and dogs dancing to music. Attend practical clinics on dog health, grooming and training or attend a Meet the Breed seminar.

July 21 — Wizard of Oz — Film with Live Orchestra

Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana St # 101, 713-227-3974

www.houstonfirsttheaters.com/JonesHall.aspx

Visitors will have the pleasure of seeing The Wizard of Oz on a giant screen above the orchestra, in its remastered format and with a full symphony orchestra playing Harold Arlen's original scores. Tickets begin at $25. 7:30 p.m.

July 21-22 — Bridal Extravaganza 2012

George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas, 281-340-7777 www.bridalextravaganzashow.com

Thousands of wedding dresses will be on display at the largest bridal/wedding show in the city. Even men and women with no immediate plans are encouraged to come in and check out the 700 displays; there's always a chance you'll meet someone in the same situation. The first day starts at 10 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m. The second day begins at 11 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m. Admission is $15.

July 28 — Orbit — An HD Odyssey Plus Star Wars and More

Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana # 101, 713-227-3974

www.houstonfirsttheaters.com/JonesHall.aspx

Images from NASA missions to Earth's orbit are paired with John Adams's "Short Ride in a Fast Machine," Strauss's epic tone poem "Also sprach Zarathustra" and the music from the scores to Star Wars and other celestially inspired sci-fi hits. Tickets begin at $25. 7:30 p.m.

August 3-5 and 7-12 — Houston Shakespeare Festival

Miller Outdoor Theatre, 100 Concert Dr., Hermann Park 281-373-3386 www.milleroutdoortheatre.com

The Houston Shakespeare Festival will be in full swing from 8:30 to 11 p.m. with alternating performances of the tragic Hamlet and the slightly less depressing Comedy of Errors.

ONGOING:

Galveston

Explore the miles of public beaches, like East Beach, and the fun-loving, crowd-filled Stewart Beach; or take a pleasant ferry ride over to Crystal Beach — pleasant if there's no wait, of course. If saltwater isn't your deal, Schlitterbahn Galveston (2026 Lockheed, Galveston, 409-770-9283, www.schlitterbahn.com/gal) has more than enough freshwater fun.

If you don't want to touch water, period, there's still plenty to do. The Gulf Coast Volleyball Association is having its "Hot as Hell Classic" Tournament on Stewart Beach on August 5 (832-928-4120, www.galveston.com). On East Beach, the American Institute of Architects holds its annual AIA Sandcastle Competition (East Beach, 1923 Boddeker Dr., Galveston, 713-520-0155) on June 2. East Beach will be home to the Texas Beach Ultimate Frisbee Fest on June 16, and come and see more than 50 boats race from Galveston during Texas Youth Race Week, July 7 to 13.

Moody Gardens/IMAX Theater, 1 Hope Blvd., Galveston, 800-582-4673, www.moodygardens.com

See an aquarium from the inside out in the Aquarium Pyramid, or maybe check out cutting-edge film experiences like Ridefilm or the 4D Special FX Theater.

Greyhound Park, 1000 FM 2004 Rd., LaMarque, 409-986-9500, www.gulfgreyhound.com

Follow your internal electric bunny to the world's largest racing operation of its kind. Don't forget 50 Cent Thursdays — the rapper won't be racing, but after 6 p.m. hot dogs, beer, popcorn and soda will be two for a buck, plus dollar margaritas.

Kemah Boardwalk, Bradford Ave. and Second St., Kemah, www.kemahboardwalk.com

This Houston-area attraction features nearly a dozen restaurants, an amusement park and plenty of boardwalk strolling and shopping. Also visit the Rock the Dock concerts, which start in May and continue each Thursday evening through August. The free concerts will feature a wide variety of rock and roll sound and are held on the Plaza from 6:30 p.m. to 10:15 p.m. each week. And, starting in June, feel free to check out the Boardwalk FantaSea Yacht Friday Night Fireworks Cruises, which promise the best view of the "Star Spangled Sky" fireworks display at the Kemah Boardwalk. The cruises will occur every Friday night in June and July, and will include dinner and entertainment by a professional DJ on Galveston Bay's premier luxury yacht. Cash bar available for drinks.

Houston Astros, Minute Maid Park, 501 Crawford, www.houstonastros.com

Houston Dynamo, BBVA Compass Stadium, 2200 Texas, 713-276-7500,

houston.mlsnet.com

Houston Roller Derby, Bayou Music Center, 520 Texas, 713-230-1600,

www.houstonrollerderby.com

Watch six teams of the toughest ladies around knock each other around and off the track in some of the wildest athletic action our city has to offer.

Houston Zoo, 1513 N. MacGregor, 713-533-6500, www.houstonzoo.org

Admission is free on July 4 and Memorial Day.

Pleasure Pier, 2501 Seawall Blvd., Galveston, www.pleasure-pier.com

A new addition to the Landry's Empire, this theme park will soon be open. [See story, page 15.]

Sam Houston Race Park, 7575 N. Sam Houston Pkwy. W., 281-807-8700, www.shrp.com

Come cheer on the racing horses and maybe get lucky when you place a few bets. Stop by the Winner's Circle Restaurant or grab a hot dog trackside. Even when the horses aren't running, they're running – via simulcast racing on dozens of television screens. And don't forget the live concerts throughout the summer.

SplashTown, 21300 IH 45 N, Spring, 281-355-3300, www.splashtownpark.com

Dozens of other rides and slides make our city's largest water park a must-do attraction every year.

Traders Village, 7979 N. Eldridge Rd., 281-890-5500, www.tradersvillage.com

Find a bargain on a neon Elvis sign, a Donovan LP, socks, a puppy and some nachos all within five minutes of each other. No two visits to the city's 100-plus-acre flea market are ever the same.

GOLF COURSES

Bay Forest Golf Club, 201 Bay Forest Dr., La Porte, 281-471-4653, www.bayforestgolf.com

Bayou Golf Club, 2800 Ted Dudley Dr., Texas City, 409-643-5850, www.texas-city-tx.org/GolfCourse.htm

The Battleground at Deer Park, 1600 Georgia Ave., Deer Park, 281-478-4653, www.deerparktx.gov

Bear Creek Golf World, 16001 Clay Rd., 281-859-8188, www.bearcreekgolfworld.com

BlackHorse Golf Club, 12205 Fry Rd., 281-304-1747, www.blackhorsegolfclub.com

Eagle Pointe Golf Club, 12440 Eagle Pointe Dr., Mont Belvieu, 281-385-6666, www.eaglepointeonline.com

Hermann Park Golf Course, 2155 N. MacGregor, 713-526-0077, www.hermannparkgc.com

Memorial Park Golf Course, 1001 E. Memorial Loop Dr., 713-862-4033, www.memorialparkgolf.com

Redstone Golf Club, 5860 Wilson Rd., Humble, 281-459-7800, www.redstonegolfclub.com

Tour 18 Houston, 3102 FM 1960 East, Humble, 281-540-1818, www.tour18golf.com

Wildcat Golf Club, 12000 Almeda, 713-413-3400, www.wildcatgolfclub.com

The Wilderness at Lake Jackson Golf Club, 501 W. Hwy. 332, 979-297-4653, www.thewildernessgc.com

PARKS

Check for all of your favorite parks at www.houstontx.gov/parks:

Buffalo Bayou Park, www.buffalobayou.org/parks.html

Buffalo Bayou Park, which includes Eleanor Tinsley Park, carves a scenic, meandering trail parallel to Allen Parkway. The Waugh Bridge Bat Observation is not to be missed.

Cullen Park, 19008 Saums Rd.

People looking for a decent bicycle trail in a city park frequent Cullen Park, which is more than 10,500 acres.

Donovan Park, 700 Heights Blvd., 713-861-4002

The folks in the Heights put in a little sweat equity to create a wonderland wooden playground with a themed castle.

Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney, www.discoverygreen.com

Discovery Green is a 12-acre public park located in downtown Houston. Although Discovery Green is a public space, it is privately managed by the Discovery Green Conservancy.

Hermann Park, 6201 A Golf Course Dr., www.hermannpark.org

The city's oldest park is home to Houston recreational staples such as the Miller Outdoor Theatre, the Houston Museum of Natural Science, the Houston Zoo and more. Become one with the Japanese Zen garden; it's near the Sam Houston Monument.

Memorial Park, 6501 Memorial, 713-845-1000

Facilities of this well-known park, around since 1925, include a pleasant jogging trail, tennis courts, hiking and biking trails, a premier golf course and plenty of shady spots in the grass.

Sam Houston Park, 110 Bagby, 713-655-1912

This green space calmly juxtaposes some of the oldest structures, such as the St. John Church from 1891, with the shadows of magnificent skyscrapers downtown, some of which are not more than a few minutes' walk away.

White Oak Bayou Park, Houston Avenue Bridge at White Oak

This bayou trail features numerous baseball parks and little league tournaments, miles of paved walking or jogging trails, and fantastic views of the surrounding city.

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