Summer is quickly winding down and the window of opportunity to get away with the family for a few days before the next school year is getting smaller.

If your budget is tight and you don’t have the luxury of spending a king’s ransom at Disneyland or Fiesta Texas, taking time off from work and staying in town can still be fun.

Think about it, when you go on vacation what are the Top 3 touristy things you try to do? You check out the sights, go shopping, and do whatever fun stuff the city has to offer, right? Well, you can do all those things on an El Paso stay-cation too.

  • Spend an afternoon at one of the family fun parks

    Like Western Playland, which features 20 + rides including the Hurricane, its newest roller coaster. For water rides and slides, there’s Wet n Wild Water World. If its indoor/outdoor fun you have in mind then take the kids to Bobo’s or Adventure Zone. Both have an arcade, miniature golf course and go-karts.

    City spray parks are a low-cost option. The 8 relatively new spray parks have quickly become a destination place for family picnics and outings. In addition to numerous water features, all city spray parks have a shaded area and picnic tables -- and best of all, they're all free to use.

  • Get close to nature

    When's the last time you visited the El Paso Zoo? It’s bigger and better than ever now with the fairly recent additions of the state-of-the-art Wildlife Amphitheater, and the Hunt Family Endangered Species Carousel. Home to 220 species of animals including endangered species, the zoo is a great place to run around and learn about the wild animals you see on TV.

    The Licon Dairy in San Eli and Cattleman’s Steakhouse in Fabens are also good places to get close to the wildlife. Lincon Dairy’s petting zoo is made up of farm and exotic animals including buffalo and ostrich. Cattleman’s is way more than just one of the best steakhouses in the area, it’s an actual working ranch with breathtaking scenery that includes a man-made lake, a children’s zoo, and a snake pit.

  • Take In a baseball game

    By all accounts Southwest University Park is a jewel in the desert. If the family friendly fun of baseball isn’t enough to hold their attention, the Kids Zone is a nice distraction while you raise a beverage and a foam finger and cheer the C-dogs on to victory.

  • Get high

    The scenery doesn't get much more breathtaking than from high atop the Franklin Mountains. That’s where you’ll find the Wyler Aerial Tramway, and one of the most magnificent views of our city. For a truly memorable experience, take the family on a ride in one of the gondolas that soar above the vast canyon.

  • Spend a day visiting the Museum District

  • Kick back for a night or two at a hotel

    Two in particular come to mind. The Wyndham Airport Hotel, which features a four-story water slide, kiddy waterfall pool and “the largest hotel swimming pool in El Paso,” and the Doubletree Downtown. The Doubletree's rooftop pool is cool enough, but if you time your stay with an El Paso Chihuahuas home stance, you can get a view of the action -- and Saturday's fireworks show -- from their terrace as well.