Editor’s note: With the COVID-19 pandemic greatly changing our daily lives and the way we have fun in public, we’ve updated this guide to reflect current ways families with kids can have fun while staying safe.
In a city as big as Houston, there’s a plethora of great attractions, events, and things to do for families. In fact, the city is routinely ranked among the most family-friendly in all of the country. But with so many things to do in Houston with kids, how can you know which ones are really worth your time and money?
We’ve put together a comprehensive guide of the best things to do in Houston with kids and toddlers in 2020. Being a great parent, you’ve likely already done some of these, but hopefully, there are a few surprises on this list that will give you something new and exciting to do with your little ones!
The Best Year-Round Things to Do with Kids & Toddlers in Houston
- Visit the Butterfly Center at the Houston Museum of Natural Science! The museum is currently limiting crowd sizes to encourage social distancing and is recommending face coverings for visitors 10 years and older. You’ll have a full day of adventure plus a chance to view dozens of butterflies at once. Get nearly 50% off admission to the center with your Houston on the Cheap reader discount! It’s one of the best things to do in Houston with kids!
- Take selfies at some of Houston’s best murals, like the Biscuit Paint Wall, Michael Rodrigues Fox Mural, and more!
- Walk the Woodlands Waterway or ride along it by renting a water bike or kayak. Make sure to check out the colored and choreographed light and fountain show in the evening.
- Visit every exhibit at the Houston Zoo and save big on this and 4 other top destinations with CityPASS. The zoo has many new safety guidelines in place, like encouraging visitors to wear face coverings, using one-way walking paths, closing certain exhibits, and more.
- Visit the scenic Hermann Park for Japanese Gardens, Art in the Park, and more fun.
- Spot the gators at Brazos Bend State Park. Go geocaching, fishing, and hiking, then check out the nature center before you leave! Advanced day pass reservations are required right now, and face coverings are recommended.
- Pet the farm animals, take a train ride and play at the “children’s paradise” on Old MacDonald Farm. The farm is currently open 10-5 weekdays, 10-6 weekend, pool, ponies, and trains close one hour before the park. The pool reopens on Saturday, June 6th!
- Get your science on at Space Center Houston when it reopens on July 1. Get a CityPass to see five of Houston’s major attractions for the price of three!
- Bring your own apples, carrots, and/or peppermints to feed the horses in the barn at Houston’s Mounted Patrol Station. Check their visitor’s page for hours and information.
- Have a picnic in the park at Discovery Green, Market Square Park, and more!
- Bring drinks and a snack to get your skate on or watch the skateboarders at the Lee and Joe Jamail Skatepark.
- Visit the Stingray Reef at Houston’s Downtown Aquarium, also included with CityPASS options.
- Take a long nap during the day, then camp out at the George Observatory during a meteor shower.
- Get lost in the Downtown Tunnels. Get some shopping done, have a quick lunch, and take photos while you’re there!
- Check out the great free events in the Plaza at City Centre. The plaza has seating, green space, water features, and plenty of restaurants to grab a quick bite.
- Get soaked at one of the local neighborhood spraygardens. Many are closed right now, so be sure to check before you go. Be sure to read the rules and hours before you go- and bring towels!
- Tinker, dabble and play with the exhibits at Children’s Museum Houston. The museum reopens June 5th with some new rules in place for safe social distancing. You can also use CityPASS to get 48% off of admission to Houston’s best attractions.
- Let Fido loose at any of the other great dog parks in Houston. If you don’t have a dog, bring the kids to play with someone else’s!
- Enjoy the beautiful Rienzi. Tour the amazing gardens for free! Advanced timed tickets are recommended.
- Check out a drive-in movie at the Showboat Drive In or new drive-in theaters from Rooftop Cinema in Houston and Spring.
- Experience the unique and gorgeous Glenwood Cemetery. Leave flowers and pebbles on the graves or talk about the circle of life with the kids.
- Go planespotting at Hobby Airport and stop by the 1940 Air Terminal Museum (get discounted tickets with Groupon). The museum has “suspended events due to COVID-19 but are busily preparing events for reopening.” Admission is cheap and you can not only visit photo and video galleries but see vintage and restored planes in the hangar.
- Get a dose of art, culture, and nature at the Cullen Sculpture Garden and visit Houston’s own “bean” sculpture, Cloud Gate.
- Go during dusk to visit the Waugh Bridge Bat Colony and watch the bats make their daily venture out from the bridge for their nighttime feeding.
- Park near the Preston Street Bridge, wander near the Sesquicentennial Park and dare the kids to push the Big Red Button on Buffalo Bayou.
- Settle in for storytime at Houston Public Libraries. Many libraries are offering virtual story times during these uncertain times, and hopefully, in the near future, in-person story times will return.
- Explore Phoenicia Specialty Foods and let them pick their own meal then eat it there! You can also bring the kids to their MKT bar for live music and drink specials.
- Go people-watching, get in a workout, visit the dog park, and cool off at Niko Niko’s in Market Square Park.
- Get ready for your close up at the Gerald D. Hines Water Wall. The water feature is great for photo ops and you can also bring your own picnic and play Frisbee in the park.
- Shop local and get your fix of handmade goods at local farmers markets. Check out our full guide to farmers markets in Houston, too!
- Hop aboard Noah’s Ark at the Quillian Recreation Center at First United Methodist Church on Richmond. The center has a huge pool area with water features and a Noah’s Ark replica with slides, all for a nominal fee. Camp Quillian reopened June 1 with new rules in place.
- Play and jog at all the best parks in the Houston area– bring your sunscreen, bug spray, and a camera!
- Catch a free play or show on the hill at Miller Outdoor Theater. All performances are canceled through July at the moment, but hopefully, the free outdoor theater returns after that. Be sure to bring your blankets, bug spray, and a picnic to enjoy a totally free event with the kids! It’s always one of the best free things to do in Houston on the weekend!
- Dive into the world of the fun and the funky at Smither Park, home of the Orange Show, the Beer Can House, and the Art Car Museum. Some of these spaces are temporarily closed, but did reopen for Memorial Day weekend, so we’re hopeful they’ll be full reopen soon. It’s the weirdest and best thing to do with kids and toddlers!
- Check out Free Museum Family Days on Thursdays and get free admission to the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and several other museums!
- Stroll through the Project Row Houses and see their art exhibits or one of their demonstrations. Get a tour to find out more about the history of the area and the installations.
- Burn off some energy at Wonderwild, Houston’s best indoor playspace for kids with jumping pillows, 3-story playscapes, giant slides, and more! Play sessions must now be reserved online.
- Head down to our local farms to pick berries, enjoy locally made products, and more!
- Take a ride on any of the great bike trails in the greater Houston area!
- Don’t have a bike? Rent one at any of the local BCycle stands around the city and cruise Houston from a whole new perspective. They currently have a huge promotion with Groupon with up to 49% off a one-month membership for singles or couples.
- Check out First Saturday Arts Market in the Heights every month to shop locally made goods. The popular event is officially reopened as of June 6, 2020 with socially distanced booths and other safety procedures in place. As the name indicates, the event takes place the first Saturday of each month.
What are some of your favorite things to do in Houston with kids? Comment below and let us know! And don’t forget to visit Houston On The Cheap daily for more great ideas for fun activities all year long.