The end of summer is a bittersweet time of the year. Everyone is excited to start school, but also sad to see summer vacation come to a close.

This back-to-school season, there are plenty of opportunities for family activities in Jacksonville. Whether you’re looking for a celebration, an outdoor event, or a way to give back to the community, Jacksonville has it all. Here are three ways you and your kids can spend quality time together before school officially starts.

1. Back-to-School Splash at the Splash Zone

With two slides, three pools, and plenty of splash pads, the Back-to-School Splash is an event you don’t want to miss. You and your kids are invited to slip, slide and dive into the night at Splash Zone, voted one of Little Rock Family Magazine’s top 10 best water parks in Arkansas. Kids can dance and swim to music by a live DJ while parents relax and hang out by the pool. The fun happens Friday night on August 18 from 6 to 9 p.m. For more information about the event, visit our events calendar.

2. Cookout at the Park

Nothing brings a family together like a cookout. Before school starts, take your family and grilling tools to one of Jacksonville’s 16 parks and enjoy the last cookout of the summer. Grills and picnic tables are available at Dupree, Galloway, Johnson, Paradise and Pleasure parks. You’ll find that a meal outside is a relaxing way to spend quality time with your kids before they head to school.

If you love grilling, you should also check out Grill in the Ville, a grilling competition held in the fall at FestiVille. Whether you consider yourself a BBQ master or an amateur backyard griller, you’ll love competing in this event, which draws thousands of visitors each year. Visit the City of Jacksonville website to register and to learn more information about Grill in the Ville.

3. Back-to-School Brigade at the Air Force Base

If you’re looking for a place to volunteer with your kids, look no further. The Back-to-School Brigade is a school supplies distribution event sponsored by Operation Homefront. On August 4, military families in Central Arkansas will be at the Air Force Base to pick up a free backpack full of school supplies for their kids, and they need volunteers over the age of 12 to help!

This back-to-school event is a great way to spend time with your family while teaching your kids the power of community service. For more information about volunteering and donating, you can find the organizer’s contact on Operation Homefront’s list of events – just click “More” under the Back-to-School Brigade on August 4 at the Little Rock Air Force Base.

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