HOUSTON - The kids are out school and that means there’s an entire summer of fun(?) ahead.
Never fear, parents. There are plenty of activities in and around the Houston area for you to do with your kids.
Here are our top picks:
1. Waterpark/amusement park
Though we’ll always miss AstroWorld, the Houston area of today sports an impressive number of water parks and small amusement parks. There’s always a place to cool off in a lazy river or get your hair blown back on a roller coaster. And did we mention, the area's many beaches? Check out our list with links.
2. Go to an Astros game
Whether the roof is on at Minute Maid or not, the experience is a great one with your family. Tickets start at $15. We recommend everyone in your family bring their own sealed water bottle to cut down on costs. To cut costs further, attend Dollar Dog Night. Your kids will love meeting Orbit if you get tickets a little closer to the field.
3. Go to a movie
Whether you want to go to a multiplex or go to a smaller or specialty theater like the Rooftop Cinema, 14 Pews or The Landmark, there are plenty of options in Houston. Be sure to join the rewards programs to earn a couple bucks off (eventually) if you’re bringing a whole crew with you: AMC has AMC Stubs, Regal has Regal Crown Club, Studio Movie Grill has SMG Access, Alamo Drafthouse has Victory.
4. Go to a museum
Houston has an impressive number of stellar museums families can enjoy. The Children’s Museum is the obvious choice, but kids of any age will find something they like at the Museum of Natural Science. For a history lesson this summer, check out the revamped Holocaust Museum reopening this summer in a new building with expanded and refreshed installations.
5. Take in a show at Miller Outdoor Theatre
There are kid-specific performances at Miller Outdoor Theatre. Take in a show for free in the grassy area or make arrangements for the covered seating here. While you’re there, be sure to roll down the hill. It’s a Houston thang.
6. Visit the Cistern
The Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern is a Houston gem tucked away under the city. The place is the size of one-and-a-half football fields and echoes like nothing we’ve ever heard before. The tour is $5 per person and no children under the age of 9 permitted. The tour is free on Thursdays, but reservations are still required. Tickets can be reserved up to 60 days in advance. Get the details here.
7. Visit Space Center Houston
Houston wouldn’t be Space City if not for its ties to NASA. If you’re looking for ways to keep kids from losing everything they learned in science class over the summer, check out Space Center Houston. The center also has a number of camps for kids in STEM activities.
8. Visit Waterwall Park
The Water Wall is a relaxing place to enjoy thousands of gallons of water hurtling down the side of a wall. Kids may stand in awe at this…or just beg to go to the nearby Galleria for something cool to drink.
9. Go to the Galleria
From shopping to ice skating and dining, the Galleria is a day trip for the family that will keep everyone cool and entertained. A lot of walking in the mall is great exercise, too, particularly if this is a rare jaunt away from the TV for your kids.
10. Sign up for a library program
If you're afraid your kid's brain is going to turn to mush this summer, get them reading with some good ol' competition.
Check out your local library’s events. The Houston Public Library has an impressive summer reading program with the theme Explore the Unknown. There are opportunities to win prizes at select events.
The Fort Bend County Libraries have a Summer Reading Challenge for children from birth through fifth grade. Kids receive rewards based on the number of books read, or the number of books read to them. Get the details here.
11. Pack a lunch and eat at Rice University campus or another park
Make the most of the beautiful outdoor spaces in Houston. Summertime is all about enjoying the outdoors and one of the prettiest campuses in our area is Rice. The tree-lined walkways and fields are perfect for a picnic. Just be sure to leave the place like you found it. Plan your visit here.
12. Take a trip to Hong-Kong City Mall
Whether you’ve been here countless times before or have never visited, the Hong-Kong City Mall is a great place to go with your children. The mall is in the heart of Chinatown and has an incredible selection of restaurants, cafes and stores. If you have kids that eat nothing but chicken nuggets and ranch, this could be a great way to bring them out of their comfort zone.
13. Go to the zoo
The Houston Zoo is your parenting friend. There are animals to look at. The entertainment is already there. Just be sure to keep your little beasts fed and hydrated with a stop at one of the zoo’s restaurants or bring a bag lunch. The zoo also has a camp you might want to look into if you’re still looking for fun places for them to go this summer.
14. Watch the bats
Did you know Houston has its own bat colony? We do. The Waugh Bridge Bat Colony consists of Mexican free-tailed bats that emerge nightly to stretch their wings and feed on area insects. Get the details here. And if you love bats, listen to this.
15. Ride the Metro to the Downtown Library
Make a trip out of going to the library. Your kids may not know that the Metro exists, particularly if you don’t live along one of the public transportation lines. Park along one of Metro’s rail lines and take them on an adventure to the Central Library where you can grab some books and then ride the Metro back. Explain how people use public transportation every day and how it differs from other forms of transport.
16. Go to a Houston park
Houston parks have a number of free recreation programs that you might expect, but also some interesting programs that you might not. Teens, for instance, can take part in a program called the Opening Doors Teen Workshop. The program gives teens an opportunity to provide community service during the summer and prepares them for future job interviews. A mock interview and suggestions on resume preparation are part of the program. Find out more about that program and a slew of other options -- including those for interacting with nature -- here.
What would you add to our list? Leave it in the comments.
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