Houston’s climate means you can get outdoors all year long! We have plenty of ways to get outside, from local running trails to full-feature public parks. We’ve looked for the best parks and playgrounds for kids and toddlers in the Houston area so no matter where you are, a great park is near, and a trip to the playground is always one of the best free things to do with kids in Houston.
Best Parks and Playgrounds for Kids and Toddlers in Houston:
What: Discovery Green is an 11.78-acre public urban park in Downtown Houston, Texas, bounded by La Branch Street to the west, McKinney Street to the north, Avenida de las Americas to the east, and Lamar Street to the south. The park is adjacent to the George R. Brown Convention Center and Avenida Houston entertainment district. Discovery Green features a lake, bandstands and venues for public performances, two dog runs, a playground, and multiple recreational lawns.
History: In the early 2000s, a public–private partnership between the City of Houston and a group of local philanthropic organizations, including the Kinder Foundation, was formed with the goal of constructing a new public green space in Downtown. This partnership financed the purchase of a series of surface parking lots on the east side of Downtown. Following the completion of land purchases in 2004, the Discovery Green Conservancy and the City jointly raised $125 million to construct the park. The design of the park, led by landscape architecture firm Hargreaves Associates, began in 2005.
Where: 1500 McKinney St, Houston, TX 77010, United States
Hours: 6:00 am to 11:00 pm
What: – Levy Park is a vibrant urban space located in the heart of the Upper Kirby District of Houston.
The park’s thoughtful design features activity areas, a dog park, a community garden, the Children’s Park, and beautiful landscaping. Accenting the grounds are free, year-round passive and active programming in wellness, the arts, education, and recreation. Whether visiting the park for a special event, program, picnic, play date, or to enjoy the outdoors, Levy Park is an inclusive, space to connect, experience, do, and play.
Where: – 3801 Eastside St, Houston, TX 77098, United States
Hours: – 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
What: – Nestled on five acres of green space in Bellaire, Texas, Evelyn’s Park offers our community a place to relax, reset, and rekindle connections with the outdoors and each other. With its beautifully designed spaces and engaging programming, the new park appeals to audiences of all ages and interests—it is at once a quiet refuge and a flourishing place for community, a fresh destination and a perennial part of our city’s history. Today, Evelyn’s Park is grounds for new memories—a safe and charming place to enrich your every day, whether trying a family fitness class, savoring brunch at our new café, or getting lost in a book or a butterfly garden. The park is also a popular event space, with room to accommodate a diverse array of groups and gatherings.
History: Evelyn’s Park was founded to celebrate the joy in everyday moments, and we are grateful for the generous support of our city, our neighbors, and our Conservancy in welcoming us into the heart and history of Bellaire. Our park will be part of the Bellaire Parks and Recreation system.
Where: – 4400 Bellaire Boulevard Bellaire, Texas 77401
Hours: – 5:00AM to 11:00PM Sunday – Thursday; 5:00AM to Midnight Friday and Saturday.
What: – Park with a railroad-themed playground
Where: – 700 Heights Blvd, Houston, TX 77007, United States
When: – Donovan Park is closed until further notice
What: – City park that has a gazebo & fountain, plus a butterfly garden & walking trails, over 15 acres.
Where: – 1800 Eldridge Parkway, Houston, Texas 77077
When: – 7:00 am – 10:00 pm
What: – Playground equipment; Picnic tables; Two lit tennis courts; Basketball court
Where: – 3012 Nottingham St, Houston, TX 77005
When: – 7:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
What: – Exploration Park is an immersive public playground alongside the north side of Willow Fork Drainage District’s Diversion Channel, just south of Creech Elementary. Opened in 2015, the park appeals to a wide range of ages and is unlike any other in the area. Since opening, the District added an adjacent 48-space parking lot in 2016 and a restroom building with two family areas in 2020. The design of Exploration Park is rooted in children’s play, environmental stewardship, educational principles, and an overall theme inspired by water. It offers visitors a multipurpose play area, an open lawn for unstructured play, and a covered pavilion with picnic tables. Play features include a sensory garden, swings, a musical bridge, a raindrop berm lawn, and a slide tower and bridge connecting to a hill slide. An interactive water cycle wall creates a hands-on experience that demonstrates the water cycle and educational signage encourages water conservation. Exploration Park is open during daylight hours, with the pavilion available on a first come, first served basis. Reservations are not accepted for private use of the park or pavilion.
Where: – 3200 Southwest Freeway, Suite 2600, Houston, TX 77027
When: – Open during daylight hours
What: -A fun green space in memory of John H. Smither. Celebrating the artist in everyone. Smither Park is on a half-acre of land adjacent to the Orange Show Monument. Designed by visionary artist and builder Dan Phillips, the park is in memory of John H. Smither, a long-time supporter and collector of folk art and former board member of the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art. Inspired by the aesthetics and philosophy of the Orange Show, Smither Park is a testimony to the vibrancy and creativity of the city of Houston.
Where: – 2441 Munger St 77023 Houston, TX, US
When: – Always open
What: – The Houston Arboretum and Nature Center is a non-profit arboretum and nature center located in Memorial Park at 4501 Woodway Drive, Houston, Texas. It is open daily with free admission. The arboretum contains over five miles of nature trails, with forest, pond, wetland, and meadow habitats. Specialty gardens include a Hummingbird & Butterfly Island, Sensory Garden, and Wildlife Garden. It is a favorite date spot for Houstonians.
History: The arboretum was first conceived by Robert A. Vines, and in 1951 park land was set aside by the City Council for the Houston Botanical Society. The children’s botanical hall was funded in 1966, and nature center begun in 1967. The Houston Arboretum is managed by the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center Board of Directors and staff under an agreement with the City of Houston Parks and Recreation Department. The organization was renamed in the 1980s; donations in the 1990s provided for major renovations and expansions.
Where: – 4501 Woodway Dr, Houston, TX 77024, United States
When: – 7 am/ 9 am – 5 pm, Monday – Friday
What: – Hermann Park is a 445-acre urban park in Houston, Texas, situated at the southern end of the Museum District. The park is located immediately north of the Texas Medical Center and Brays Bayou, east of Rice University, and slightly west of the Third Ward. Hermann Park is home to numerous cultural institutions including the Houston Zoo, Miller Outdoor Theatre, the Houston Museum of Natural Science, and the Hermann Park Golf Course, which became one of the first desegregated public golf courses in the United States in 1954. The park also features the Mary Gibbs and Jesse H. Jones Reflection Pool, numerous gardens, picnic areas, and McGovern Lake, an 8-acre recreational lake.
History: One of Houston’s oldest public parks, Hermann Park was first envisioned as part of a comprehensive urban planning effort by the city of Houston in the early 1910s. Following the recommendation of a 1913 report which identified the then-rural area between Main Street and Brays Bayou as ideal for a large urban park, real estate investor and entrepreneur George H. Hermann, who owned most of the area and served on the city’s parks board, bequeathed his estate to Houston for use as a public green space in 1914.
Where: – 6001 Fannin St, Houston, TX 77030, United States
When: – 6 am – 11 pm
What: – Amusement park in Waller County, Texas
Where: – 7705 FM 362, Brookshire, TX 77423, United States
When: – 10am – 6pm (Expected to reopen in May 2021)
What: – Market Square Park is a public park in Downtown Houston, Texas, United States. It is bounded by Travis, Milam, Congress and Preston streets. It has remained a geographic centerpiece of Downtown Houston since the arrival of the city’s founders, John Kirby and Augustus Chapman Allen in 1836. The historic square is surrounded by 19th century architecture, housing a variety of businesses, entertainment venues, nightclubs and dining establishments. Market Square is located directly between Allen’s Landing and the Theater District. It is a central feature of the Main Street/Market Square Historic District, a historic district listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
History: The square was donated to the city in 1854 by Augustus Allen and used as an open air produce market. Very near Allen’s Landing, the original port of Houston, the downtown business district grew around the square. Early city landmarks included the briefly used Texas Capitol and White House. In addition, several City Halls rose and fell at Market Square, each destroyed by fire.
Where: – 301 Milam St, Houston, TX 77002, United States
When: – 6am–11pm
What: – Memorial Park, a municipal park in Houston, Texas, is one of the largest urban parks in the United States. Opened 97 years ago in 1924, the park covers approximately 1,466 acres inside the 610 Loop, across from the neighborhood of Memorial. Memorial Drive runs through the park, heading east to downtown Houston and west to the 610 Loop. I-10/U.S. 90 borders the park to the north. The park is adjacent to the Camp Logan, Crestwood, and Rice Military neighborhoods. The park includes the 18-hole Memorial Park Golf Course, Texas’s top-rated municipal golf course.
History: The park was originally designed by landscape architects Hare & Hare of Kansas City, Missouri. From 1917 to 1923, the land where the park currently exists was the site of Camp Logan, a U.S. Army training camp. During World War I, the training camp was located on the far west boundaries of Houston. After the war in early 1924, Will and Mike Hogg, purchased 1,503 acres of former Camp Logan land and sold the area to the city at cost. In May 1924, the City of Houston took ownership of the land to be used as a “memorial” park, dedicated to the memory of soldiers who lost their lives in the war.
Where: – 6501 Memorial Dr, Houston, TX 77007, United States
When: – 6am–11pm
What: – Bear Creek Pioneers Park is a 2,154-acre park located in the U.S. city of Houston, Texas at 3535 War Memorial Drive. It is sometimes called “Harris County Bear Creek Park”, or simply “Bear Creek Park.”
Where: – 3535 War Memorial Drive, Houston, TX 77084, United States
What: – Terry Hershey Park is a county park that runs parallel to a roughly 6-mile stretch of the Buffalo Bayou in western Houston, Texas. The park is named after Terry Hershey, a conservationist who campaigned to keep the banks of Buffalo Bayou from being paved. The park hosts a network of trails that run along the bayou from State Highway 6 to the Sam Houston Tollway and is a popular destination for local residents, runners, bicyclists and Geocachers.
Where: – 15200 Memorial Dr, Houston, TX 77079, United States
When: – 7am–10pm
What: – Wooded scenic area with a nature center
Where: – 20634 Kenswick Dr, Humble, TX 77338, United States
When: – 8am–6pm
What: – Wooded scenic area with a nature center
Where: – 1000 Bagby St, Houston, TX 77002, United States
When: – 7am–7pm
What: – Waterside park with a fishing pier
Where: – 636 N Bayshore Dr, La Porte, TX 77571, United States
When: – 7am–10pm
How Much: –
What: – Eleanor Tinsley Park is a section of Buffalo Bayou Park in Houston, Texas. It was designated on April 20, 1998 in honor of Eleanor Tinsley, who served as a member of the Houston City Council At-Large for 16 years. The park houses the Lee and Joe Jamail Skatepark, the Shady Grove Victim Memorial, a Henry Moore sculpture entitled “Large Spindle Piece”, the Houston Police Officers’ Memorial, Glenwood Cemetery, the San Felipe playground, jogging trails, and a sand pit which can be used for volleyball. Because the park straddles three ZIP codes and has a nebulous shape, its street address is difficult to define. The City of Houston may list the address as 1800-3600 Allen Parkway/Memorial Drive, 77019. Alternatively, the City may list the address as 500 Allen Parkway, 77002. The City lists the park’s San Felipe playground as 1717 Allen Pkwy, 77019. The City lists the park’s Lee and Joe Jamail Skatepark as 103 Sabine Street, 77007. The western border of the park is Taft Street. Its eastern border is Sabine Street. The northern border is Memorial Drive. Its southern border, Allen Parkway, is frequently closed due to parades, road running, and racewalking.
Where: – 18-3600 Allen Pkwy, Houston, TX 77019, United States
When: – Open 24 hours
What: – Scenic park overlooking Lake Houston
Where: – 12303 Sonnier St, Houston, TX 77044, United States
When: – 6am–9pm
What: – Space shuttle disaster memorial
Where: – 2301 W Nasa Blvd, Webster, TX 77598, United States
When: – 7am–7pm
What: – Vast preserve with lakes & bird habitats.The Cullinan Park Conservancy was founded as a non-profit, tax-exempt corporation in late 2010 as a project of the tax-exempt Houston Parks Board. The Conservancy seeks to enhance and protect the natural beauty of Joseph S. and Lucie H. Cullinan Park at Oyster Creek, a 750- acre park in Sugar Land, Fort Bend Country on Hwy 6, just north of Hwy. 90A.
Where: – 12414 Hwy 6, Sugar Land, TX 77498, United States
When: Open daily from dawn to dusk
What: – Trails, sports courts & a playground
Where: – 401 S Heights Blvd, Houston, TX 77007, United States
When: – 6am–7pm
Did we miss one? Leave a comment below and tell us your favorite kid-friendly playgrounds in Houston: