An idle mind is the devil’s playground, some mother of a school-aged child wrote one summer. And when it comes to summer, there’s probably a little bit of child in all of us – even those whose summers are filled more with routine than the extended summer vacation of our youth.

The good news for neighborhood residents is that there are enough summer activities right around the corner to at least keep the body – if not the mind – busy.

Without leaving our neighborhoods, and in most cases without spending mall-sized amounts of money, individuals or families of any size or type can enjoy dozens of recreational activities, from sports to camps to picnics.

Free Fun

Check the schedule for no-charge activities at the City-operated Lake Highlands North Recreation Center, such as basketball, volleyball, fencing, gym games and (by appointment only) nature-trail tours (9940 White Rock Trail, 670-7793, open every day).

Walk in beauty (or picnic on one of the shaded tables) at the Dallas Arboretum, which charges no admission on Fridays from 3-6 p.m.

Instead of sitting home with the Rangers on TV, spend an evening at the local ballpark, playing or watching softball. Games are played almost every night at Norbuck Park, Winfrey Point and Lake Highlands North Park (formerly called Skyline Park).

Go fish. You might not catch enough for supper, but there are plenty of anglers who relax over their poles in the shallows below the White Rock Lake spillway. Buy bait at Jimmy’s Wheel In, 7524 E. Grand at Gaston Road (open at 7 a.m. every day), or at the boat house concession, 3240 W. Lawther (10 a.m. until sunset).

Picnic at one of the prettiest spots in town, Flagpole Hill (overlooking Northwest Highway at Buckner): plenty of tables, trees and toilets, plus a great view. It’s also a super place to fly a kite. (There’s a pavilion that may be rented for large groups, 620-8243, but it’s $75 for six hours.)

Visit one of a series of exhibits at the Bath House Cultural Center, 521 E. Lawther, open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (670-8749).

Wave a flag at the annual Lake Highlands Fourth of July parade, which starts at 8:30 a.m. at the Lake Highlands North Recreation Center, 8840 White Rock Trail. The parade is sponsored by the Exchange Club of Lake Highlands. For more details, see story on page 3A.

Run, jog, walk or bike the trails that completely encircle White Rock Lake. For information on City bicycle trail maps, call 670-4272.

Not Quite Free, But Still A Pretty Good Deal

OK, most neighborhood recreation requires a fee, but at least the choices range from miniature golf to Tai Chi. Here’s a rundown:

Running/Jogging

The 9.1-mile trail around White Rock Lake never goes unused. There’s a race of some kind on the first Saturday of each month (Cross Country Club of Dallas, 855-1511), plus one on the Fourth of July and the Summer Bath 15K on Aug. 14.

Biking

The 10-mile lake trail connects to a 7.5-mile trail that runs westward along White Rock Creek. Rent bikes of all types at Jack Johnston Bicycles, 7820 Garland (328-5238, $7 per hour or $20 all day) or at the boat house concession, 3240 W. Lawther ($7.50 hour).

Paddle Boats

Boat house concession, 3240 W. Lawther ($5 per half hour).

Arboretum

This favorite features spacious grounds full of gardens, flowers, picnic tables and a new nature trail with a garden hunt for kids (8617 Garland, 327-8263, admission $6 adults, $5 senior citizens, $3 ages 6-12, free for under-6; $2 parking fee for special events only; free admission at all times to members, free to all on Fridays 3-6 p.m.).

Bath House Cultural Center

Check out the summer classes for children in visual arts, photography classes for adults, theater productions, free exhibits, picnic area (521 E. Lawther Drive, 670-8749).

Sailing

The Corinthian Sailing Club (579-8845) and the White Rock Sailing Club (328-7361) on the northeast side of White Rock Lake welcome experienced and beginning sailors’ participation. Th clubs race boats as small as 15 feet and offer instruction. White Rock members give informal instruction at the club at 1 p.m. each Sunday, and races are held on Sunday afternoons at 1:30.

Swimming

City pools at Tietze and Samuell-Grand parks opened on Splash Day, May 29. Pools will be open from 1-8 p.m. five days per week (under 11, 50 cents, 12 and over, $1, family swim $3, lessons $10 for 10 sessions; swim teams will be formed, Fourth of July is special Family Day; call 670-8847).

Other pools will open at the White Rock/Lake Highlands YMCA (11221 Lochwood, 328-4621) and Central YWCA (indoor pool, 4621 Ross Ave., 827-5600).

Most Y pool activities are for members only, but the YWCA has open afternoon swim periods for all, $4 per person (call for times).

Tennis

Samuell-Grand Tennis Center has 20 lighted courts ($2 to $4 per court for 90 minutes), league play, lessons and pro shop (6200 E. Grand, 670-1374, open 9-9 weekdays, 8-6 weekends).

Tennis instruction is also available at Lake Highlands North Recreation Center.

Golf

Tenison Golf Course has two 18-hole courses, lessons, youth clinics, and a summer youth pass that costs $30 and allows holder to play for 50 cents per round all summer at all five city courses (3501 Samuell, call 670-1402 for reservations; green fees $11 weekdays, $14 weekends, club rental $10.83).

Also, Northwest Golf Range and Par-3 Course (10726 Northwest Highway, 348-3693, open 9 a.m.-10 p.m.); Galaxie Park miniature golf and batting cages (10808 Northwest Highway, open 3:30-9:30 p.m. weekdays, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. weekends); and Scotty’s Golf Park, par-3 course and driving range (8787 Park Lane, 341-9600).

Running The Gamut

Each of the following has dozens of summer rec activities:

  • Lake Highlands North Recreation Center – Summer fee activities include Aikido, karate GoJuRyu, Tae Kwon Do, tennis instruction, tumbling and gymnastics for kids, aerobics, fitness center and dance, plus camps for performing arts, dance, soccer, basketball, outdoor adventures, judo, individual sports, cheerleading and drill team (9940 White Rock Trail, 670-7794, open every day, all programs open to all).
  • White Rock/Lake Highlands YMCA – Swimming, life guarding, fitness center, open gym, karate and self defense, youth baseball, T-ball, girls’ softball, discovery camp for preschoolers, youth camp, teen camp (11221 Lochwood, 328-4621, most events require membership).
  • Central YWCA – Volleyball leagues and tournaments, softball leagues, basketball camps and leagues, women’s Hoop-It-Up tournament, softball, fitness center, Tai Chi, Tae Kwon Do, dance, gymnastics, indoor swimming and water exercise, scuba lessons, yoga, aerobics, summer day camp for youths ages 6-15 (4621 Ross Ave., 827-5600, most programs for members only and many for adults only; child care is available).