Houston is such a big city that it’s easy to live here for years without ever seeing everything it has to offer. From parks to hiking trails, indoor and outdoor activities, there’s something for everyone in the family to enjoy. Whether you’re new to Clear Lake or Bay Area Houston, or just looking for somewhere new to explore, here are some of my family’s favorite places!
Challenger 7 Memorial Park is named in honor of the seven NASA astronauts who lost their lives on the Challenger 7 Space Shuttle. It boasts two walking trails, as well as several playgrounds, picnic tables, gazebos, a bird sanctuary, and a learning center.
Both trails are easy enough for the whole family to enjoy, including bikes and strollers. The Park Loop, at 2.4 miles, is estimated to take about 59 minutes, and the Northern Loop, at 1.4 miles, is estimated to take about 34 minutes.
Exploration Green is a 200-acre urban green space, provides the Clear Lake community with a natural solution for catastrophic seasonal flooding by holding up to 500-million-gallons of storm water. It also serves as a nature preserve and recreational area with wetlands, permanent detention lakes, and over 1000 natives species.
As it is being constructed in phases, be sure to check the website to find out which areas are currently open to the public. At this time, Phase 1 Hike & Bike Loop (1.1 miles), Phase 2 Hike & Bike Loop (1.2 miles) and Phase 3A Hike & Bike Loop (0.7 miles) are complete and open to the public.
Approximately one mile long, the Friendswood Fairy Trail is a shady walking trail around Friendswood’s Stevenson Park. Fairies and Trolls are hidden throughout a whimsical treasure hunt of custom built homes and other hidden places. Both wheelchair accessible and environmentally conscious, this “enchanting nature-based educational activity,” as described on its website, is sure to delight the whole family.
If you’re looking for a place for you and your family to reconnect with nature, Armand Bayou Nature Center (ABNC) is a must-visit. ABNC offers 5 miles of well-maintained walking trails, a discovery loop boardwalk, bison viewing platform, kayak tours, pontoon boat cruises, and night hikes. This is real deal nature, so don’t forget to pack your sunscreen and bug spray!
ABNC also offers EcoEducation Programs from toddler to high school age, including spring break and summer camps. It’s a great way to learn about nature as a family, or drop your kid off to explore and learn in a small group led by biologists, certified teachers, and trained naturalists.
Looking for an indoor activity to beat the Houston heat/rain/cold? You can’t get a more fun and engaging educational experience than Space Center Houston. Check out the more than 400 space artifacts, traveling exhibits, and theaters to learn all about the future and past of America’s human space flight program.
Check out their many educational programs, explorer camps and overnight experiences, to engage in age-appropriate STEM activities related to space exploration. There’s plenty of buttons to push, lights, space shuttles and rockets to see for even the littlest of family members to enjoy (admission is free for space explorers 3 and under!).
Kids of all ages will find something new to learn and explore at the Lone Star Flight Museum, located at the corner of Aerospace and Challenger at the Ellington Airport. With plenty of space to run around for even the littlest in your family (admission for ages 3 and under are free!), visitors of all ages can engage with one of four interactive sections of the museum: Design & Engineering Lab, Science of Flight, Briefing Room, and Ground Training. Check out three ADA accessible replica cockpits, two hang glider live action simulators, a briefing room, and rotating special exhibits. You can even book a flight on a vintage Warbird aircraft!
Harris County Public Libraries (HCPL) have no shortage of public events at all of their locations, but there are a few in the Clear Lake and Bay Area Houston Area that my family loves.
The first is Clear Lake City-County Freeman Branch, which offers both indoor and outdoor story times, as well as an indoor family play area, and public events like a Lion Dance to celebrate Lunar new year.
Evelyn Meador Branch, located in Seabrook, offers both baby and toddler story time, as well as writing workshops for teens and adults, and public events like Happy Feet Walking Club.
Helen Hall Library, located in League City, is not affiliated with HCPL, but still offers plenty of events for families in the area, including teen writing workshops, adult education classes, and story times ranging from babies to preschool age. My toddler’s favorite is a Pop-up storytime they offer the first Friday of every month at different EMS and Fire Stations in League City!