I’ve gotten this question more times than I can count.
Don’t sweat it, I’ve got you.
Let’s break down the best of the best family friendly things to do in Houston.
Family Friendly Fun in Houston
Hermann Park: Located on over 400 acres in the middle of the city with plenty of places to explore, play, and relax. Fun ideas for kids include the train ride, pedal boats, watching the ducks, and playing on the playground (which is currently under construction but the plans look DREAMY). A few more favorite family friendly (and more relaxing) spots in Hermann Park are the dozens of picnic tables, the centennial gardens, Japanese gardens, and the garden pavilion. There is a small restaurant located near the train and pedal boats called Ginger Kale along with a gift shop for some quick souvenirs and AC! Let’s not forget to mention that Hermann Park is also a golf course—a true win all around. Lastly, experience a free concert or just a run down the hill at Miller Outdoor Theater! No ticket required except for the train ride and pedal boats, purchased on the grounds.
Houston Zoo: Located within Hermann Park is our amazing Houston Zoo. You can plan to budget anywhere from 2-4 hours here, depending on your stamina and other plans. Pack snacks, a lunch, and lots of water! There are wagons and strollers available to rent, but if you have one, bring your own! With the new exhibit at the zoo opened, the Galápagos Islands kind of give you everything you would need for an aquarium feel, so I like to recommend this over any other place in Houston to see the most animals for the best price! If you’re coming during Halloween or Christmas, the decorations make the experience even more exciting! Tickets required.
Children’s Museum: With a few options to choose from, the central downtown museum is definitely larger with more to do. However, the size can be a bit overwhelming. There are numerous interactive things little ones from birth to about 12 years old, with a designated baby/young toddler area. If you’re parenting solo, I would recommend the Fort Bend Discovery Museum, if nothing else for the smaller size and ability to keep eyes on multiple kids much easier. I would consider FBDM to be more friendly to preschool ages compared to the main campus is geared to a little older aged kids. Both are a fantastic experience, depending on your family age ranges and needs. Tickets required.
Museum of Natural Science: Located not far from the Children’s Museum and Hermann Park is a top pick for inside activities. I would plan for about 2 hours here, but could easily make it shorter or longer. There are four floors to the museum each with its own unique experience. From marine life to rocks and minerals, from Texas wildlife to African wildlife, and from dinosaurs to an oil drilling rig this museum really has something for everyone! An add on to your ticket that is a “must do” is the Cockrell Butterfly Center. You cant help but smile and enjoy being surrounded by thousands of butterflies. Tickets required.
Color Factory: If pretty pictures are your thing, the Color Factory is a must. The Color Factory is filled with interactive art, bright colors, and fun for the whole family! Digital pictures are included in the ticket price, along with a sweet snack at just about every exhibit, concluding with ice cream! This typically takes about an hour to complete, so there is plenty of time to schedule other things throughout your day. Tickets required.
Levy Park: Located near the Color Factory is one of the most interactive outdoor (FREE) playgrounds in Houston. At Levy Park you will find a large splash pad area, arts and crafts, puzzles, often times live music, a small putt-putt area, foosball, ping pong, and more. This isn’t your typical playground equipment, but if you’re looking for outside fun for multiple ages, this is a safe bet! No tickets required.
Memorial Park: Another gem located in the middle of the city is Memorial Park. I typically steer the more outdoorsy families here because the hiking here really is a surprisingly great experience. I promise you wont remember you’re in the middle of Houston. Plenty of spots to picnic (food trucks), play, and let’s not forget this is also a golf course. Here you will find more traditional playground equipment for little ones to burn some energy. And, for those feeling outdoorsy but not TOO outdoorsy, a great spot located within the park is the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center. More interactive playing and learning with small hikes around. No ticket required.
Palace Social: An indoor outing that I feel certain is fit for a family of any ages and stages. Located in Bellaire, Palace Social offers bowling, arcade, a xd ride motion simulator, virtual reality, and a sports simulator! There is also a full service bar and food menu! Plan to stay at least a couple hours, but there are so many things to do it could be a half day experience! There are eight upscale bowling lanes, however, reservations are not accepted right now so keep that in mind if your family is in a rush to the next place.
Astros: There’s not much better than an Astros game with the family (unless you’ve got really little ones—might be a bit stressful). Though you won’t get out of the game without paying a pretty penny, the memories and experience far outweigh the cost if your family is into sports. It’s an exciting and fun experience all around. Looking to save on family fun at the Astros game? Check this out!
Space Center Houston: If you want to plan a little drive out of the city, Space Center (official NASA visitor center) could be a fun experience! The tram tour takes you around the entire property and provides some history facts during the experience. Things to make sure to not miss are rocket park, the historic Mission Control room, and independence plaza! Tickets required.
Department of Wonder: A drive to the suburbs (Sugarland), will take you to this magical experience for the entire family. Be prepared for a whimsical experience filled with fantasy and light. Plan for this to take about 1.5 hours total and then take a stroll through Sugarland town center for some great spots to eat and drink (Fort Bend Discovery Center is also in Sugarland!)
Family Friendly Restaurants in Houston
See, plenty of fun in Houston to be had for the whole family!! Let’s wrap up with a quick list of family friendly places to eat!
Betsys at Evelyns Park located in Bellaire (often live music and a playground)
El Tiempo located all over Houston and some suburbs (who doesn’t love chips and salsa and margs?!)
Mendocino Farms, specifically the location in Rice Village (for the play area outside)
The Rustic located Downtown and Post Oak (often live music, loud, group friendly)
Preslee’s located in the Heights (playground, patio, fire pits)
Wakefield Crowbar located in the Heights (volleyball, playground, corn hole)
Memorial Trail Ice House located in Memorial (spacious, often life music, indoor games)
East River 9 located Downtown (live music and spacious place to play–also a golf course)
St Arnolds Brewery located Downtown
Pitch 25 located Downtown
Time to have some fun in Houston!