Carol Adams and her family started up Carol's Country Place 21 years ago with two acres and a modest menagerie of animals. At age 60, Adams now owns 25 acres of land with rides, picnic tables, and a slew of critters including hedgehogs, prairie dogs, llamas and a pet deer. Carol's Country Place is also educational, focusing on ecology. "There are lessons in everything we do," says Adams, "[Kids] don't realize they're learning because they're having hands-on fun." Alas, the days of fun are numbered. Adams will soon sell off her land and animals and retire. In November, the site will become the property of a church community center. Until then the fun continues and culminates this fall. "October's presentation-celebration of the harvest is always big, but this year will be the biggest since it's the last," says Adams. Open daily, Monday through Saturday, by reservation only. 1923 Trammel-Fresno Rd. (Fresno). For information, call 281-431-2664 or visit www.carolscountryplace.com. $6 - $9. -- Eric A.T. Dieckman
Sweaty kids driving you crazy? Let 'em cool off at the H-E-B Water Playground. Kids (and probably adults) can beat the heat with the Curvy Cool, Silly Shower, Huddle Spray, and Under Bella -- brightly colored playground equipment designed to spray, squirt, mist, and shoot water. The park is open every day, dawn until dusk. Hidalgo Park, 7000 Avenue Q. For information, visit www.hpbinc.org. Free. -- Noelle Heinze
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Summer reading a flop? Maybe kids can learn through osmosis. Drop them off at the library. Houston Public Library branches will show films geared toward children and teens (rated G and PG-13). With school starting, it may be their last chance for leisure. Movies run through August 30. For movie times and branch locations, call 832-393-1313 or visit www.houstonlibrary.com. Free. -- Noelle Heinze