things to do in houston with kids and toddlers

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

1. Hang out with the butterflies

Visit the Cockrell 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!

 

2. Go on a mural tour

east end murals

credit: @streetartlibrary Instagram

Take selfies at some of Houston’s best murals, like the Biscuit Paint Wall, Michael Rodrigues Fox Mural, and more!

 

3. Have outdoor fun in The Woodlands

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.

 

4. Spend a day at the Zoo

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.

 

5. Explore everything Hermann Park has to offer

Visit the scenic Hermann Park for Japanese Gardens, Art in the Park, and more fun.

 

6. Enjoy nature at Brazos Bend State Park

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.

 

7. Spend some time at the farm

 

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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!

 

8. Take a journey to outer space

space center houston

Get your science on at Space Center Houston which reopened earlier this summer. Get a CityPass to see five of Houston’s major attractions for the price of three!

 

9. Feed the horses

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.

 

10. Enjoy a picnic at your favorite local park

Have a picnic in the park at Discovery GreenMarket Square Park, Memorial Park, or any of Houston’s great parks!

 

11. Visit Houston’s best public skatepark


Bring drinks and a snack to get your skate on or watch the skateboarders and rollerbladers at the Lee and Joe Jamail Skatepark.

 

12. Go under the sea at the Houston Downtown Aquarium

houston aquarium deals

Visit the Stingray Reef at Houston’s Downtown Aquarium, also included with CityPASS options.

 

13. Head away from the city for stargazing

perseid meteor shower

Take a long nap during the day, then camp out at the George Observatory during a meteor shower.

 

14. Go underneath the city into the tunnels

downtown houston tunnels

Get lost in the Downtown Tunnels. Get some shopping done, have a quick lunch, and take photos while you’re there!

 

15. Enjoy free outdoor fun at City Centre

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.

 

16. Get wet at a local splash pad

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!

 

17. Learn and have fun at the Children’s Museum

childrens museum houston

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.

 

18. Take your dog along for some fun at the park

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!

 

19. Stop and smell the roses at this garden in the city

Enjoy the beautiful Rienzi Gardens where beautiful seasonal plants and flowers bloom throughout the year. Tour the amazing gardens for free! Advanced timed tickets are recommended.

 

20. Experience a drive-in movie

best little drive in htx

Check out a drive-in movie at the Showboat Drive In or new drive-in theaters from Rooftop Cinema in Houston and Spring.

 

21. Visit this beautiful cemetery

Experience the unique and gorgeous Glenwood Cemetery. Leave flowers and pebbles on the graves or talk about the circle of life with the kids.

 

22. Enjoy the beauty and magic of aviation

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.

 

23. See some larger than life art at Cullen Sculpture Garden

Get a dose of art, culture, and nature at the Cullen Sculpture Garden and visit Houston’s own “bean” sculpture, Cloud Gate.

 

24. Watch the bats fly at dusk

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.

 

25. Push the big red button


Park near the Preston Street Bridge, wander near the Sesquicentennial Park, and dare the kids to push the Big Red Button on Buffalo Bayou.

 

26. Take in a story

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.

 

27. Taste something new at this market

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.

 

28. Hang out at Market Square Park

 

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Go people-watching, get in a workout, visit the dog park, and cool off at Niko Niko’s in Market Square Park.

 

29. Take a picture at the Water Wall

houston waterwall

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.

 

30. Support local businesses at a farmers market

Shop local and get your fix of handmade goods at local farmers marketsCheck out our full guide to farmers markets in Houston, too!

 

31. Make a splash at Quillian Rec Center

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.

 

32. See how many local parks you can visit this year

Play and jog at all the best parks in the Houston area– bring your sunscreen, bug spray, and a camera!

 

33. Enjoy a free outdoor show at Miller

Miller Outdoor Theatre

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!

 

34. Keep it weird at these unique local attractions

 

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“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” Pablo Picasso. #smitherpark #smitherparkhoutx

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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!

 

35. Visit the city’s best museums for free

museum of fine arts houston coupons

Check out Free Museum Family Days on Thursdays and get free admission to the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and several other museums!

 

36. Let the kids run wild at this indoor playspace

wonderwild

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.

 

37. Pick fresh fruit at local farms

Head down to our local farms to pick berries, enjoy locally made products, and more!

 

38. Go on a bike ride

houston bike trails

Take a ride on any of the great bike trails in the greater Houston area! It’s a great way to explore the city while being active and getting some exercise. 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.  

 

39. Shop this monthly arts market

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.

 

40. Take a ride around town to see these amazing roadside attractions

houston roadside attractions

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Houston has a number of impressive attractions you can see from the comfort of your car or get out and see up close. Highlights include the President Heads sculptures, Beer Can House, We Heart Houston sculpture, and more. Check out our full guide to the best Houston roadside attractions for more info.

 

41. Escape to an African safari down in Alvin

bayou wildlife zoo

Just 30 minutes south of Houston, tucked behind some trees off a busy road, an 80-acre African-style safari thrives with over 500 exotic animals from nearly 20 different countries. The Bayou Wildlife Zoo in Alvin is one of the Houston area’s true hidden gems and the perfect destination for a day full of family fun.

 

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.