Summer for the under-21 set

Think adults get to have all the fun when the temperatures start to rise? Not so. There’s lots of fun stuff to do when you are too young to drink and gamble.

Photo By David Robert

Think slot machines, nightclubs, bars and casinos are all Reno has to offer, leaving little to do when you are under 21 and out of school? Reno is packed with things to do when you are under 21. You just have to look.

Water is the best option.Whether you are swimming in it, drinking it or lounging by it, water is the best way to cool down when the thermometer hits the 90-degree mark.

Watery Adventures

Reno has many options for wet and wild fun, including Wild Island Water Park in Sparks, public swimming pools, Lake Tahoe, Pyramid Lake and the Truckee River.

Wild Island, in Sparks off Sparks Boulevard, has slides and pools for all ages and all fear levels. This summer, two new slides will open. The Eye of the Dragon is for inner-tube riders; the Dragon’s Tail is a body slide. There are two other easy slides for the tiny or timid and two for the more adventurous. If water slides aren’t your thing, but air mattresses are, check out the Lazy River and the Montego Bay Wave Pool. The wave pool has different intensities of waves—some are good for riding and some just for relaxing.

If having a bunch of screaming kids running around makes you crabby, go natural. Lake Tahoe is a beautiful spot to lounge or swim in clean, sparkling water. Zephyr Cove in the south and Sand Harbor in the north are two public beaches that are hot spots for catching rays. If even Tahoe is too crowded for your taste, try heading to Pyramid Lake; it’s about a half-hour north of Sparks.

There are also public pools scattered around the Truckee Meadows. Idlewild Park, near the Truckee River, is one of the best places to cool off. The park has a full-sized pool and a 3-feet-deep kiddie pool. The park’s a good place to picnic and relax by the pool, or bring hot dogs and buns and barbecue. Other pools in the area are the Northeast Pool on Valley Road, the Northwest Pool on Apollo Way, the Moana Pool on Moana Lane and the Deer Park Pool on Prater Way.

For young people looking for water-sports adventures, the Truckee River Water Park, near Arlington Avenue, offers a mile and a half of clean, flowing water and a north and south drop pool to start or end in. Activities are available for all skill levels, including kayaking, canoeing, rafting or floating in an inner tube.

Instructional classes are offered at the water park, and thrill-seekers may rent or buy gear at Kayaks Etc. and Reno Mountain Sports.

“Be patient, get proper instruction and stay within your ability level,” Brien Karlin, a local kayak instructor said. “The hardest part is learning how to roll or how the boat reacts with the current.”

There’s no such thing as too young to have a good time. Reno’s busting with all-ages options.

Photo By David Robert

High and dry

For the adventurous who prefer outdoor fun that doesn’t involve getting wet, there are skate parks, fun centers and amusement rides.

In addition to a water park, Wild Island has a family-fun center with arcade games, miniature golfing, race track and the Wildcat Rollercoaster.

If you’re into extreme sports that require endurance and creativity, skate parks are the legal place to practice your moves. Reno has a variety of skate parks, including Mira Loma, Idlewild, Sliver Lake and Panther Valley. You can skateboard, rollerblade or ride BMX until the sun goes down.

According to at least one expert, Sparks’ Burgess Skate Park is one of the better places to ride or skate.

“It is just better,” BMX rider Steve Rison said. “The other ones suck.”

The skycoaster at the Ultimate Rush Speed and Thrill Park, next to the Reno Hilton, is an exhilarating ride. The swing rises 180 feet and can hold up to three people. When the catch releases, you free-fall and then swoop at 65 mph. There is also the reverse bungee: Two people are strapped in a steel cage and bungeed into the air at 70 mph. Both rides cost $25, will make your mind spin and are not for weak stomachs.

Summer entertainment

Movies and concerts can be fun year-around, but summer brings the hottest new movies and concerts to the Reno area. Every summer, some are of special interest to the people who aren’t old enough for admittance to the casino shows.

In June, movies like Batman Begins starring Katie Holmes, War of the Worlds starring Tom Cruise and Lords of Dog Town starring Heath Ledger will hit the big screens. On July 15, Johnny Depp will star in the much-awaited Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

June is packed full with all-age concerts as well. The KRZQ Ball on June 9, which will feature Social Distortion, Hot Hot Heat, Pepper, The Bravery and I Hate Kate and Maroon 5 on June 12 are two concerts featuring music for younger fans. In July, some dinosaur rock bands like Judas Priest and Billy Idol will take the stage in town.

Underage drinking

It’s not what you think. Of course, if you aren’t 21, cool, refreshing alcoholic beverages are legally off limits. However, my favorite summer drink is a daily Slurpee from 7-Eleven. They have a variety of ever-changing flavors to quench your thirst. For more healthful treats, the smoothie shops around town offer wide selections of fruity flavors and energy boosts.