Things To Do With Toddlers
The Best Kid-Friendly Activities in Houston
Houston is a kid-friendly city. Yes, we can even accommodate your feistiest “three-nager.” Everywhere you go in H-Town there are families enjoying numerous fun, free and fascinating activities. Moms and dad, if you’re trying to come up with a game plan for your little one, we’ve got a full list below. From museums to restaurants that cater to kids, take a look and breathe a sigh of relief.
Houston makes taking the kids to the park, a walk in the park. We’ve got our favorite parks below and parents please take note that a few of them double as splash pads, so bring your suits in the summer!
Something is always happening in Downtown’s Discovery Green. Complete with both a playground, splash pad and special events, you don’t want to miss wearing your toddler out at this spacious and beautiful park. The Medez Playground, located at Discovery Green, includes nearly 15 pieces of equipment to encourage fitness and creativity, a play hill, as well as a concrete bench that serves as containment and seating for caregivers. For children ages five to 12, a section near the park’s popular interactive Gateway Fountain features a ropes course with innovative and age-appropriate equipment to improve strength and agility.
Courtesy of @levyparkhouston on Instagram
Cool doesn’t even begin to describe the amazing Levy Park in Upper Kirby. This park is truly a sensory experience with interactive activities throughout its six acres. Levy Park’s thoughtful design features activity areas including a putting green and ping pong tables, dog park, community garden, the Children’s Park with splash pad, and beautiful landscaping. Kids love climbing in and out of the hills and tunnels, figuring out the spider-web-like jungle gym and jumping on piano keys to make their own music. If you have bigger kids in tow they’ll love to play on the giant connect four games, visit the library corner or just embrace their kid on the playground.
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From the uber-urban Levy Park to the classic wooden kid’s castle that is Donovan Park, you can’t go wrong. We love Donovan Park in The Heights because of its massive wooden structure and the nostalgia it creates. From the wooden choo-choo train to the seemingly endless spires, this park is always a favorite for kids. One of the best parts of this park is that it is fully enclosed, so sneaky toddlers stay contained. Imagination reigns supreme with kids embracing their inner prince or princess. Plus, Cloud 10 Creamery is right across the street in case good behavior deserves a reward.
Houston is hot, we know! That’s why parents always need an indoor option for playtime. Below are some spots perfect for toddlers and big kids, alike! Have all of the fun while keeping cool.
Courtesy of @gowonderwild on Instagram
WonderWild, also in The Heights, is an awesome indoor play place for those days when Houston is a little too hot or rainy. With two play sections, this family favorite accommodates the smallest of children up to 11-year-olds. The section for small children includes incredible playscapes, soft play sculptures, jumping pillows and a colossal crocodile slide. For bigger kids who want to get in on the fun, there’s the Wonderwild(er) side which allows kids ages five to 11 to go nuts on indoor ropes courses, a go-kart pedal track and other exciting equipment.
Courtesy of @shamrockelvis on Instagram
When people think of Houston, they often think of The Galleria, but give Memorial City Mall a try! Memorial City Mall has Frolic’s Castle. Frolic’s Castle is the world’s largest indoor soft play area in a shopping center and fully ADA-accessible with a three-level, medieval castle complete with drawbridge and catapult surrounded by an Enchanted Forest. Kids can climb all of the wizards, knights and fire-breathing dragons scattered across the playscape. Plus, while you’re at the mall you can shop ‘til you drop, ride the mall’s choo choo train, ice skate and grab some lunch, all in the same location.
Courtesy of @colorfactoryco on Instagram
So technically our next play place isn’t an indoor playground, it’s a museum, but your kids will never know the difference! For families who love sensory play and experiences, we suggest you head to Color Factory. There are only two Color Factory locations in the U.S., New York City and Houston, making this a truly special spot. Color Factory is over 20,000 sq. ft. and features unique participatory installations of colors inspired by Houston. Each experiential room includes hues that invite curiosity, discovery and play, engaging all of your senses in unexpected ways. Tickets are required, so be sure to book ahead of time.
Did you know that Houston has 19 museums? There is truly something for everyone in H-Town, even toddlers! We’ve listed a few spots you should visit, but definitely check out our full list of cultural institutions.
Courtesy of @houstonzoo on Instagram
It's impossible to list off fun things for kids without including the Houston Zoo. Everyone loves the zoo, especially your mobile toddler. With over 6,000 animals on site, there is plenty to see, explore and do. As you move through the 55-acre zoo within Hermann Park, you can have discussions with zookeepers, feed giraffes, ride the carousel, play in the Kathrine McGovern Water Play Park, grab lunch or a snack at the Cypress Circle Café or play at the petting zoo. For family-friendly savings, bring your own stroller, wagon, meals and drinks. What a way to pass the day!
According to the Children’s Museum of Houston, the Houston region has one of the largest child populations in the U.S. and the museum serves an audience of more than one million children and families each year. We definitely encourage you to be a part of the one million families as this museum is perfect for all ages. With over 20 exhibits at the museum, toddlers to teens will certainly find something that aligns with their interests, like the Toddler Trail or Inventor’s Workshop. Experience why this museum is the #1 children’s museum in the U.S.
Courtesy of @hmns on Instagram
Have you met a toddler that knows more about dinosaurs than their parents? Of course you have! Toddlers can be mini paleontologists. For the dinosaur lover in your life, you have to experience the Morian Hall of Paleontology at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. This hall is anything but ordinary, as it’s packed with prehistoric beasts that are chasing, eating and escaping as they struggle to stay alive. Embark on a “prehistoric safari” that also includes the grand saga of human evolution – from tree-climbing australopithecines to courageous mammoth-hunters. Plus, The Cockrell Butterfly Center and Brown Hall of Entomology are always a crowd pleaser with a living butterfly habitat that has preserved specimens like the world’s largest and weirdest arthropods!
Bites for Babes
You’ve had a full day and now mom and dad want to relax and have a meal or drink at a kid-friendly restaurant. We get it! You’ve worked hard, now reward yourselves and your kids.
Courtesy of @littlematt_westu on Instagram
Located in Rice Village, Little Matt’s is a great spot for parents and kids to unwind while giving back! Little Matt’s donates its restaurant proceeds to Texas Children’s Hospital in an effort to support pediatric medical research, which is enough of a reason to visit. However, Little Matt’s also has a full arcade, Icees and iPad station. Your kids will not want to leave! Oh, there’s also delicious food too. Families can chow down on burgers, salads, sandwiches, onion rings and more.
Courtesy of @walkingstickbrewing on Instagram
If you are looking for more of a brews and small bites situation, head to Walking Stick Brewery in the Garden Oaks area. We love Walking Stick Brewery because it’s great for parents and kids alike. This cozy and intimate craft brewery always has lots of live music, rotating food vendors, an old-school merry-go-round and a wooden train. There is also plenty of shade for a hot day with fans to boot. Grab a pint, let the kids play and enjoy your day.
Courtesy of @alisonsings2016 on Instagram
There are lots of Lupe Tortilla restaurants in Houston. However, among kids only one location reigns supreme and it’s the Highway 6 location. This Lupe Tortilla boasts an outdoor playground that’s full of sand, backyard-style roller coasters, playhouse and sand toys. Parents can sit back, relax and drink a margarita while watching their kids play until the food arrives.