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Looking for extra special things to do in Houston with kids? Here are 11 must-have experiences for your Houston family vacation.
I’m not gonna lie – before our vacation, I had no idea how many killer things there are to do in Houston with kids.
Sometimes city travel can feel a little overwhelming with kids – sooo many museums, right? You might worry that your kiddos will be completely bored! The solution? I focus on the most kid-friendly details that they will actually love.
That’s why I put together my list of the 11 coolest things to do in Houston with kids.
One more quick tip before you read on: grab the Houston City Pass before your vacation. It will save you almost 50% on admission to 5 of the city’s best spots!
1. Feed The Giraffes At The Houston Zoo
6200 Hermann Park Dr, Houston, TX 77030
Head to the giraffe habitat at 11 am or 2 pm. For only $7 you can get up close and personal with the giraffes while feeding them lettuce leaves!
Looking for something extra special? The Houston Zoo offers special giraffe encounters on Thursdays at 1 pm for all ages. The price is $125 per person for Zoo members and $150 per person for non-members. These are popular and spots are extremely limited, so make sure to reserve well in advance!
2. Catch A Ride On The Hermann Park Train
6102 Hermann Park Drive, Houston, TX 77030
This is my favorite way to experience Hermann Park! Take a 20-minute round-trip ride from Kinder Station (right across from the main entrance of The Houston Zoo on Lake Plaza). You’ll pass by grassy fields and fountains, with plenty of scenery to keep kids enthralled.
Are you trying to fit The Houston Zoo and The Houston Museum of Natural Science into one day? The train is the easiest way to get between the two without loading everyone back in the car! And round-trip tickets are only $3.50 for ages 1+.
3. Eat At The Houston Downtown Aquarium Restaurant
410 Bagby St @ Memorial Dr. Houston, TX 77002
Of course you will want to visit all the exhibits at the Aquarium, but make time to eat in the restaurant too! The dining room at the Houston Downtown Aquarium surrounds their 150,000 gallon tank full of marine life. If you have been to the Coral Reef Restaurant at Disney World, this is a similar idea, but with larger glass windows and better views.
Your kids will love watching the fish swim by while Mom and Dad relax and enjoy dinner! The children’s menu has all of the regular kid favorites, from burgers to chicken fingers to mac and cheese. And I highly recommend a trip around the Ferris wheel before you leave!
4. Play In The Water At FlowWorks At The Children’s Museum Of Houston
1500 Binz St, Houston, TX 77004
The Children’s Museum of Houston has a jaw-dropping outdoor water play area called FlowWorks. This isn’t just any old water table though. The features here (some as tall as 18 ft!) are actually teaching kids about the physics of water while they play. Talk about cool!
Plan on spending a large part of your museum visit here because your kids will love it. Bring sunscreen or hats for the older ones that will be running around independently. There is also a fantastic covered area for moms and babies. Admission is $12 per person for ages 1+ and the museum is closed on Mondays.
5. Examine Mummies Close-Up At The Houston Museum of Natural Science
5555 Hermann Park Dr. Houston, TX 77030
The way the Houston Museum of Natural Science displays their collection of mummies is genius. Their cases let you walk 360° around each specimen and get a super up-close view. Such an engaging way for young kids to enjoy a museum exhibit. And as an adult, it’s downright breathtaking.
This museum is one of the most all-around captivating for kids that we’ve ever visited. While you’re there, don’t miss walking through the Butterfly Center and the Morian Hall of Paleontology. And little rock collectors will love the Cullen Hall of Gems and Minerals.
Admission is $25 for adults and $15 for children.
6. See eye to eye with Cotton-Top Tamarins at Moody Gardens
One Hope Boulevard Galveston, TX 77554
In Moody Gardens’ Rainforest Pyramid, kids can learn about conservation from the canopy all the way down to the forest floor. The pyramid walkways meander through the treetops. So you get to walk right alongside free-roaming wildlife!
A pair of adorable Cotton-Top Tamarins makes their home here. Not only are they super cute, staff say the male, Victor, gave his new love, Gracie, her favorite type of flower when they met. Seriously! You can read more about it on the Moody Gardens blog.
Tickets are $24.95 for adults and $18.95 for kids 4-12 (age 3 and under are free).
7. Ride An Alligator On A Double-Decker Carousel At The Kemah Boardwalk
215 Kipp Ave Kemah, TX 77565
The Kemah Boardwalk has rides for the whole family, but our favorite for young kids is the old-fashioned double-decker carousel. This is the only opportunity we’ve ever had to ride one, so of course, we headed right for the second level! There are many animals to choose from (I love the zebra and dolphin!) but our son’s favorite was the alligator.
Individual tickets to ride the carousel are just $4. All day ride passes which include most attractions are $24.99 for kids 48”+ and $18.99 for kids under 48”.
If you are looking for a place to eat after a day of fun at the Kemah Boardwalk, we had a fantastic kid-friendly dinner at the Saltgrass Steakhouse.
8. See Fireworks At Minute Maid Park
501 Crawford St, Houston, TX 77002
Definitely try to go to an Astros game while you’re in Houston. They shoot off fireworks for every Astros home run! But if you can make it on a Friday, it will be even better. After every Friday home game, the Astros put on a full fireworks show right at Minute Maid Park!
And if you have a little baseball fan that would love a Minute Maid Park tour, spring for the $14.25 paid version. These tours run Monday-Saturday at 10 am and noon and get you more than the free version (like a visit to the dugout!).
9. Go Inside A Space Shuttle And Carrier Aircraft at the Johnson Space Center
Hands down this has got to be one of the coolest exhibits for future little astronauts. You actually get to go inside a real Boeing 747 shuttle carrier aircraft and the space shuttle replica named Independence. If your kids have ever wanted to see where astronauts sleep or what the flight deck looks like they are going to love this experience.
While you’re at the Space Center make time for the tram tour. It’s a breezy, comfortable ride on the covered tram and you definitely don’t want to miss the sights on this tour. Mom and Dad will love visiting the original Mission Control (yup, the exact room where NASA oversaw all the Apollo missions!).
And kids will be excited to walk through the Space Vehicle Mockup Center, where NASA works on all kinds of future prototypes. My favorite stop was Rocket Park, where you can see one of only three Saturn V rockets on display in the world. It is huge!
10. Hike Through Houston at the Houston Arboretum
4501 Woodway Drive Houston, TX 77024-7708 (current parking address is 183 West Loop South Houston, TX – check the Arboretum website for updates!)
The Houston Arboretum feels like another world inside the city hustle. There are loads of trail choices and chances to see Texas wildlife. The Arboretum also puts on fantastic young children’s programming (the entire schedule of nature walks and classes is available on their website).
I love that there is no biking or jogging here. I know that sounds crazy! But you can feel comfortable exploring with your kids without worrying about them wandering from one side of the trail to the other when they see an intriguing plant.
11. Go To A Real Life Bat Cave At The Waugh Bridge
Waugh Drive, Houston, TX 77002
The Waugh Bridge is home to a large colony of bats. Every night at dusk they leave their home under the bridge and you can see the massive cloud take flight. The City of Houston even has a page on their website devoted to guidelines and the best viewing spots.
Most Texas bats migrate South to Mexico, but the Waugh Bridge bats make their home in Houston year-round.
Are you planning a trip to Houston? I would love to hear about your favorite attraction! And if you’re looking for meaningful souvenir ideas for your vacation, read my post The Perfect Travel Souvenir Ideas For Families.
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