7 Free Things to Do in Houston January 19-23

There’s never a dull moment in Houston. Here are 7 options for free fun in Houston January 19-23 before planning your free and cheap weekend!

We Love Houston sign

Tuesday (1/20) — Grab your boots and take free Line Dancing lessons at Discovery Green Tuesday, 7 pm – 8 pm. It’s all part of Two-Step Tuesdays, where 100.3 The Bull plays country music for the ice skaters and line dancers. Located at 1500 McKinney.

Tuesday (1/20) — Attend a free lecture and book signing Tuesday at The Menil Collection for The Red Handkerchief, a Holocaust memoir. Yvonne Ward-Hughes will share her mother’s experiences and her moral right to do the right thing while she was arrested and sent to a Nazi prison at age 22. The event is 7 pm – 9 pm. Located at 1515 Sul Ross.

Tuesday (1/20) — Catch a free Open Mic Comedy Night every Tuesday at Warehouse Live. Doors open at 8 pm. Located at 813 Saint Emanuel.

Wednesday (1/21) — Snag a free game of bowling and shoe rental at Lucky Strike downtown in January when you order any food item between 11 am – 2 pm Monday through Friday. Located at 1201 San Jacinto.

Wednesday (1/21) — Alamo Drafthouse Vintage Park is offering a free screening for educators and students Wednesday, 7:30 pm, to Swedish film Force Majeure. It’s a comical film set among the French Alps that challenges social norms. The theater’s founder believes strongly in the mission of helping support the next generation of theater lovers. Proof of ID is required. {This unrated movie includes adult language and mild nudity, so this promotion is probably geared more to high school and college students.}

Wednesday (1/21) — Not free but cheap! It’s Family Rewind at Studio Movie Grill. This month’s $3 movie is The Goonies (PG), 7 pm. Located at CityCentre and Copperfield locations.

Thursday (1/22) — Enjoy six museums for free each Thursday in Houston’s Museum District. {The Weather Museum is relocating and temporarily closed, but is usually a 7th free museum on Thursdays.}

  • Houston Museum of Natural Science — free Thursday 2 pm – 5 pm
  • Children’s Museum — free Thursday 5 pm – 8 pm
  • The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston — free Thursday 10 am – 9 pm
  • The Health Museum — free Thursday 2 pm – 5 pm
  • Holocaust Museum Houston — free Thursday 2 pm – 5 pm
  • The John C. Freeman Weather Museum — temporarily closed to relocate
  • Buffalo Soldiers National Museum — free Thursday 1 pm – 5 pm

Free Educators Event @HMNS January 24

Houston Museum of Natural ScienceThe Houston Museum of Natural Science is offering a free The Educators Event @HMNS Saturday, January 24, 8 am – 1 pm. This special day is geared to teachers, school district administrators, student teachers, home school educators, and education undergraduate and graduate students. Educators can do the following:

  • receive free admission to Houston Museum of Natural Science
  • hear presentations and visit booths from cultural organizations and local museums
  • learn about educational opportunities provided by museums
  • earn 3 hours CPE credit

The free special event kicks off with keynote speaker Dr. Robert Bakker, Curator of Paleontology at HMNS.  Presentations then begin at 9:30 am in 15 different classrooms on a variety of topics from local museums. Find the complete list of topics online here.

Educators must register online to attend. Complete the free registration online. The Houston Museum of Natural Science is located at 5555 Hermann Park Drive.

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The Book of Mormon Lottery for $26 Houston Seats

The Book of MormonThe Book of Mormon National Tour opens January 20 in Houston for a three-week engagement through February 8. This production, with nine Tony Awards, is offering $26 front-row seats during its pre-show lottery at the Hobby Center box office, just like its wildly popular version for the Broadway show.

What does that mean? Houstonians can arrive early and have a chance to pay just $26 for a seat at that evening’s show. Limited tickets are available to each show in lottery fashion in every city on the National Tour.

What to do? Folks interested in a $26 front-row seat can arrive at the Hobby Center box office beginning 2½ hours before each performance. Each person will write their name and the number of tickets they wish to purchase (1 or 2) for that evening’s show. Names will be randomly drawn two hours before curtain for a limited number of $26 tickets, cash only.

Here is the show schedule January 20 – February 8:

  • Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday evenings, 7:30 pm
  • Friday and Saturday evenings, 8 pm
  • Saturday and Sunday matinees, 2 pm

One entry per person and up to 2 tickets per winner. Winners must be present at the time of the drawing and show valid ID to buy tickets. Tickets are subject to availability. The Hobby Center is located at 800 Bagby.

Houston Aquarium: 2-for-1 January Saturdays

downtown aquarium HoustonTake advantage of half-price tickets to Houston’s Downtown Aquarium with buy-one-get-one free All-Day Adventure Pass coupon available online. The $18.99 pass includes unlimited access to Aquarium Adventure Exhibit, Stingray Reef, Ferris Wheel, Carousel and Lighthouse Dive.

The coupon is valid Saturdays in January. The Adventure Pass retails for $18.99, so the deal makes it about $9.50 per person. Print the coupon here. Find the Houston Aquarium downtown at 410 Bagby at Memorial.

Discount Houston Auto Show Tickets

Houston Auto Show2015 Houston Auto Show returns to Houston January 21-25. Just like last year, the Show takes over NRG Center with 34 manufacturers under one roof! Explore 500 of the newest model vehicles, concept cars, and Texas innovations. The Houston Auto Show is always a family favorite in my home.

Here are a couple ways to save on this year’s show:

  • $9 admission (save $3) with Groupon valid all 5 days.
  • $10 admission with $2 off coupon for weekdays only, Wednesday through Friday. Print coupon here.

Take advantage of free test drives while you’re there with 15 different auto makers — including Camp Jeep and Ram Test Track. Professional drivers take passengers through the obstacles on rough terrain to exhibit these vehicles’ capabilities. Kid-sized versions are available right next door to both exhibits for the younger set. Get the test drive info here. Must be 21 to participate.

Don’t miss the Kids Fun Zone–a free supervised play area for kids 12 and under that provides plenty of kid-friendly distractions. Kids will love the towering 30-ft. slide, arts and crafts, an obstacle course, Disney’s Pixar Cars dual lane slide, and Space Shuttle bounce house. The Kids Fun Zone is only open Saturday and Sunday. An adult must accompany children in the Fun Zone.

Admission is $12 adults and $5 for kids age 6-12 (cash only). Kids 5 and under are free. The Houston Auto Show is located at NRG Center with $10 parking. Hours are noon to 9:30 pm Wednesday – Friday, 10 am – 9:30 pm Saturday, and 10 am – 7 pm Sunday.

Free Weekend Fun in Houston January 16-19

What to do in Houston this weekend? Check out these 15 Free Things to Do in Houston January 16-19.

discovery green sculpture

FRIDAY

Get healthy at the EXPO — This free, two-day EXPO downtown January 16-17 sponsored by Ironman Sports Medicine Institute at Memorial Hermann is actually packet pick up for marathon/half-marathon folks. The public can attend the free information sessions and browse more than 125 health and running related booths. Check out the online schedule for running-related and health sessions. EXPO hours are 11 am – 6 pm Friday at George R. Brown Convention Center.

Watch penguins on the big screen — It’s another Friday Night Flick at Discovery Green featuring March of the Penguins. Movie begins at 6:30 pm on the giant outdoor screen oriented towards the hill. Bring blanket or lawn chairs. Located at 1500 McKinney downtown at Discovery Green.

SATURDAY

Celebrate trees — Celebrate Arbor Day this weekend and the next one! Jesse H. Jones Park and Nature Center in Humble is celebrating Texas Arbor Day, January 17-18. Activities and events from 10 am – 4 pm highlight local forest plants and include information on tree planting and care. Adopt a tree and take home a free sapling.  Check out my Arbor Day 2015 post on how to volunteer to plant trees or find Arbor Day events.

Marvel at the puppets — Don’t miss this free family event, Pinocchio, by Carranza Puppets Saturday, 10 am. The production with Marrionette Puppets features beautiful costumes, lighting, fully orchestrated original music, props and more. Located at The Centrum, 6823 Cypresswood.

Buffalo Bayou Dog ParkPlay with dogsCelebrate the new two-acre dog park, Johnny Steele Dog Park, along Buffalo Bayou and Studemont! Lots of free fun  at the Grand Opening celebration Saturday, 1 pm – 4 pm: dog/owner “Look Alike” contest, Strut Your Mutt fashion show, pet adoptions. doggie lounge, and more. Located at 2929 Allen Parkway.

See WWII planes — Tour the WWII Museum and visit the Hangar of the Houston Wing of the Commemorative Air Force 10 am – 3 pm. It’s a great chance to get up close to the Wing’s five flyable WWII military aircraft: climb into a cockpit of a WWII trainer or go inside a WWII Paratroop aircraft. Located at West Houston Airport, 2 miles north of I-10 east off Barker Cypress on Groschke Rd.

Watch a parade (or two) — Four parades wind the streets this weekend for Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. Here are the Saturday parades: The Black Heritage Society’s MLK Children’s March is Saturday, 10 am at MLK Jr. Blvd. The 9th annual MLK Youth Parade kicks off in Midtown Saturday, noon, San Jacinto & Elgin, with floats, marching bands, and more.

Enjoy live music — Bring the family out to Katy’s Central Green Park for free live music with David Potts from 4 pm – 6 pm playing his best pop music. Located at 23501 Cinco Ranch Blvd.

Get healthy at the EXPO — This free, two-day EXPO downtown January 16-17 sponsored by Ironman Sports Medicine Institute at Memorial Hermann is actually packet pick up for marathon/half-marathon folks. The public can attend the free information sessions and browse more than 125 health and running related booths. Check out the online schedule for running-related and health sessions. EXPO hours are 8:30 am – 6 pm Saturday at George R. Brown Convention Center.

Celebrate with the runners — Head to Discovery Green this weekend for We Are Houston RunFest to help the marathon and half-marathon folks celebrate their achievements. The free community event is a great opportunity to congratulate runners, browse the vendors and more. Saturday, 7 am – 10:30 am at Discovery Green downtown.

SUNDAY

Learn musical traditions — Don’t miss Bayou Bend Family Day Sunday for fun and entertainment. The afternoon features activities, music, demonstrations, performances, craft workshops, and more throughout the home and gardens. January’s theme focuses on exploring the African-American culture. Enjoy tours of the first floor of the house. 1 pm – 5 pm at 6003 Memorial Drive at Westcott.

Make crafts and moreMini Pops returns Sunday, 11 am – 5 pm, from Pop Shop Houston. The day features live music, DIY crafts, and more. Vintage, art and design goods will be on sale, plus food trucks. Located at Pavement Clothing, 1657 Westheimer.

Celebrate with the runners — Head to Discovery Green this weekend for We Are Houston RunFest to help the marathon and half-marathon folks celebrate their achievements. The free community event is a great opportunity to congratulate runners, browse the vendors and more. Sunday, 7 am – 2 pm at Discovery Green downtown.

Watch a movie under the moon — {This free outdoor movie is rescheduled from earlier due to weather.} Where the Wild Things Are is Bank of America Friday Night Flick at Discovery Green. Movie faces the hill so bring blankets or lawn chairs Located at 1500 McKinney.

MONDAY, MLK Jr. Day

Watch a parade (or two) — The 21th annual MLK Grande Parade is Monday, 10 am beginning in Midtown (San Jacinto & Elgin). This parade expects 300,000 spectators with 15 floats and 30 marching bands. The Black Heritage Society’s 37th annual “Original” MLK Parade is Monday, 10 am, downtown Houston at Minute Maid Park, 501 Crawford.

Browse a national park –Get outdoors and browse a national park for free. More than 100 national parks that charge a free are free January 19 for MLK birthday weekend. Check out the 2015 Fee-Free Schedule here.

Houston Arbor Day: Free Trees, Events, Volunteer

Arbor Day is a national day set aside to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees. Different states celebrate it in different months, but Texas always does in January!

Free Trees

arbor day tree savingsHoustonians have a chance to receive two free trees thanks to a partnership with Arbor Day Foundation and CenterPoint Energy. Qualifying residential customers simply register online for their free 4ft-6ft potted trees and can choose one of seven different types, such as Cedar Oak, Baldcypress, and Live Oak (some are already sold out). In the process, CenterPoint energy recommends the best placement of the tree on your property to conserve energy. My result showed a savings of $6.69 – $28.99/year based on the type of tree I selected to plant. It’s very interesting!

Customers will pick up their free trees February 21 at Rice Stadium’s west parking lot.

Arbor Day Events

Here are a few events this weekend and next celebrating Arbor Day 2015 in Houston:

Jesse H. Jones Park and Nature Center — This nature center in Humble is celebrating Texas Arbor Day, January 17-18. Activities and events from 10 am – 4 pm highlight local forest plants and include information on tree planting and care. Adopt a tree and take home a free sapling.

Houston Arboretum and Nature Center – Celebrate Arbor Day at Houston Arboretum and Nature Center January 24 with plenty of free fun for kids and adults, 10 am – 2 pm. Kids can make recycled paper hats, get a free pine seedling, visit Johnny Appleseed, and enjoy the Nature Playground. Families can enjoy tree tours as well as tree planting demonstrations.  Stick around for the free Bird Safari & Flight Show at 2:30 pm, 3:30 pm, and 4:30 pm with live birds of prey, photo opps, and Q&A. The tree and shrub sale also will take place. Houston Arboretum and Nature Center is located at 4501 Woodway Drive.

arbor day puffy coneRob Fleming Park — Don’t miss the 39th annual Arbor Day Celebration January 24, 10 am – 2 pm, at Rob Fleming Park in The Woodlands. The celebration is giving one of eight varieties of free tree seedlings to guests. Puffy Pine Cone mascot will celebrate his birthday at 1 pm with free birthday cupcakes. Kids will love the giant inflatable rides, rock wall, pony rides, petting zoo, face painting, and more. Puffy’s mascot friends will be at the party! Rob Fleming Park is located at 6055 Creekside Forest Drive in The Woodlands.

Volunteer to Plant Trees

The Arbor Day tree planting is already filled with volunteers. But here is another tree planting opportunity if you want to help the Houston community in this way:

Houston Audubon–Edith Moore Sanctuary
Saturday, March 21, 1 pm – 4 pm
440 Wilchester

Bayou Preservation Association is sponsoring this tree planting and needs 50-100 folks to help. This area was impacted by the 2011 drought. Community volunteers will be planting trees and native wildflowers, mulching, pruning, and removing marine debris at the local creek. Children are welcome to help with a parent onsite. Contact Amanda Brown at abrown@bayoupreservation.org to volunteer.

Free Outdoor Winter Movies in Houston 2015

free outdoor movies in HoustonWinter weather in Houston tends to be mild, but maybe not this year! Venues around Houston love to share free outdoor movies year-round. Here are 10 free outdoor movies in Houston the next couple months:

March of the Penguins (Discovery Green)
January 16, 7:30 pm

Where the Wild Things Are (Discovery Green) 
January 18, 7:30 pm

Guardians of the Galaxy (Burke Crenshaw Park)
January 23, 6:30 pm

Edward Scissorhands (Discovery Green)
January 23, 7:30 pm

Oz the Great and Powerful (Discovery Green)
January 30, 7:30 pm

Labyrinth (Discovery Green) 
February 6, 6:30 pm

Herbie Fully Loaded (2nd Saturday at The Depot)
February 14, 6 pm

Blended (Central Green) 
February 14, 6:30 pm — free date night for Valentine’s!

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs (2nd Saturday at The Depot)
March 14, 6 pm

TBD (Sugar Land Town Square)
March 14, 7 pm

BONUS:

Check out these $3 movie series from Studio Movie Grill this year: Superhero, Girls Night Out, and Family Rewind. Get the calendar online here. It’s a great way to find cheap fun for the family!

Locations:
Discovery Green — 1500 McKinney (Downtown)
Central Green Park — 23501 Cinco Ranch Blvd. (Katy)
2nd Saturday at The Depot — 201 S. Elm (Tomball)
Burke Crenshaw Park — 5500 Burke Road (Pasadena)
Sugar Land Town Square — 15958 City Walk (Sugar Land

Discount Great Wolf Lodge Grapevine Suites

great wolf lodgeLooking for discounts to Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine in the next 8 weeks? Plan a family getaway with this fantastic deal saving $250+ off a 2-night family suite. These deals expire in late March, so check the dates with your schedule.

$179/night Two-Night Stay for 6 in a Family Suite Sunday – Thursday + $25 resort credit ($358 total/$610 value). Available January 14 – March 25, 2015.

$199 for a One-Night Stay for 6 in a KidKamp or Wolf Den suite Sunday – Thursday + $25 resort credit ($345 value) or $239/Friday night. Available February 1 – March 26, 2015.

$289 for One-Night Loft Suite for 8 Sunday – Thursday + $25 resort credit ($455 value) or $339/night Friday night. Available January 14 – March 26, 2015.

This includes up to 6 indoor water park passes for water park fun! Free parking and free Wifi are included with the $19.99 daily resort fee. Go online here to get these Great Wolf Lodge deals!

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Winners: ICE at Discovery Green Skating wk 6

Discovery Green IceThanks to all who participated in the giveaway for 4 skating passes + 2 hot chocolate tickets to The ICE at Discovery Green. Out of 746 entries, we have two winners:

Cristina Contreras
Jennifer Garey

Please respond to my email so we can get your prizes on their way. Congratulations!