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28 Family-Friendly Activities In Houston

Planning a family trip to Houston? Here are 28 terrific things to do including outdoor and indoor fun, kid-friendly museums, amusement parks, and more! We also include recommendations for family-friendly Houston restaurants.

Feb 27, 202317 min read

Anecia Ascalon
Anecia Ascalon
Team Building Expert

If you are planning a trip to Houston for some family fun, you’ve picked a great place since there are so many attractions for kids and even toddlers! With kid-friendly museums, great outdoor spaces, amusement parks, and more!

Here are 28 terrific family things to do in Houston including outdoor and indoor fun and also where to take the kids to eat!

1. Space Center Houston

Space Center Houston

A visit to the Space Center Houston is one of the most popular things for families to do. Kids who are interested in space travel will go crazy for the NASA Tram Tour which gives a behind-the-scenes look at space exploration. On the tour, guests tour astronaut training facilities Mission Control, and more. Plus the Space Center has interactive exhibits, space artifacts, and high-tech multimedia displays that will keep your whole family engaged.

2. The Escape Game Houston

Escape Game Houston

If you are looking for something fun and stimulating to do with your kids then head to The Escape Game Houston. You and your family will find themselves in a ‘locked’ room with 60 minutes to escape by cracking clues and solving riddles. The Escape Game Houston has two locations, one at The Galleria and the other at CityCentre. Between them, you have the choice of seven escape rooms with unique themes. Time travel to save the world. Investigate an abandoned laboratory at the bottom of the ocean. Break out of a 1950s prison cell. Whatever room you choose your family will have a blast!

3. Houston Astros Baseball

Houston Astros

One of the best family activities in Houston from April to October is to see the Astros play baseball. Minute Maid Park is right in the heart of downtown so you’ll have an easy time bringing the gang there. About two and half hours before game time, the Astros hold batting practice so bring a glove and try to catch a ball if it's a homer into the stands. Afterward, players often interact with fans and sign autographs. Families who follow baseball closely should take advantage of this unique opportunity. FYI, if you are planning a work party or corporate event in Houston that includes family and friends, going to an Astros game is a great idea!

4. Geronimo Adventure Park

a family ziplining

This awesome aerial park in northwest Houston is a fun place to take the kids to swing in the trees. The adventure park has three zipline skytrail with different levels of difficulty. For newbies, the Go Fly Skytrail, with five ziplines and three rope bridges, is ideal, while the advanced Go Long Skytrail has six ziplines, three rope bridges, and nine optional aerial challenges. The minimum age to zip is six years old, but there is other fun stuff to do with little kids.

5. Kemah Boardwalk

Kemah Boardwalk

Kemah Boardwalk, about 50 miles from Houston, is where to take kids for some serious fun! This amusement park on Galveston Bay has rides for all ages and the scenery is gorgeous! Your teens will love to free-fall 140 feet on the Drop Zone ride and take the Boardwalk Bullet wooden coaster that reaches speeds of more than 50 miles per hour. Younger kids can ride the small ferris wheel and the double-decker carousel. The Century Wheel takes riders 65 feet up for spectacular views.

6. Stewart Beach

a family at the beach

For a day of sand, sun, and fun take the family to one of Galveston’s beaches. About an hour or so from downtown Houston, you'll find 32 miles of coastline along the Gulf of Mexico. Stewart Beach is a family-friendly beach with lifeguards and calm waters. Plus there are amenities like concessions stands, showers, and beach chair rentals. Another option that’s a bit closer to Houston is Sylvan Beach with white sand, a playground, and an air-conditioned pavilion when the midday heat becomes a bit too much.

7. Houston Zoo

family at the zoo

Zoos are great places to bring young kids and toddlers so make a beeline for the Houston Zoo! See animals are in their own habitats in different areas. Visit the African Forest, the Elephant Habitat Area, the Reptile and Amphibian House, the Texas Wetlands, and more. For an extra fee, your family can take part in Animal Encounters and get close to elephants, gorillas, and giant tortoises. At the John P. McGovern Children’s Zoo, kids can explore a realistic bat cave, see a North American river otter play underwater, and feed Nubian goats.

8. Downtown Aquarium

family at an aquarium

Part attraction, part restaurant, this six-acre entertainment complex is an excellent thing to do in Houston for families with children for maximum entertainment and convenience. The 500,000-gallon complex has all you'd expect from an aquarium and more. There are over 300 species of aquatic life from around the world and a wall-to-wall aquarium in the restaurant that serves a surf-and-turf menu. While dining, keep an eye out for scuba divers feeding fish in the tank!

9. Houston Arboretum & Nature Center

Houston Arboretum

Let your kids experience the natural world without leaving Houston. This 155-acre nature sanctuary has five miles of easy nature trails and a Nature Center building with a Discovery Room filled with activities and interactive exhibits. The center’s Habitat Hikes take visitors through different landscapes each with native animals and plants. Plus, the Tyke Hikes make the nature center one of Houston’s top fun places to take toddlers.

10. Buffalo Bayou Park

Buffalo Bayou Park

Buffalo Bayou Park is a 160-acre greenspace that lies along a 2.3-mile stretch of the Buffalo Bayou that runs right through the center of Houston. It’s a popular destination for families due to the many activities for kids of all ages. The park has both lovely gardens and natural landscaping. There are hiking and biking trails to enjoy and kayaking and canoeing are allowed in some parts of the park. The Barbara Fish Daniel Nature Play Area and Picnic Pavilion is designed for younger children, with a rolling lawn, a stream, climbing logs, a 33-foot slide, and a tri-level tree house with a climbing net.

11. Houston Funplex

This massive indoor entertainment center has so many activities, it’s hard to keep track! There is something here for everyone in your family including more than 200 games, activities, and attractions including a bowling center, go-karts, several arcades, virtual reality games, skating, trampolines, and much more! Kids can go wild at the two-story PlayPort while grown-ups can pop into the sports bar to catch a few minutes of a game. A day at Funplex is great back-up activity if you get stuck with a rainy day in Houston.

12. Houston Museum of Natural Science

Egyptian sarcophagus

This is one of the best museums in Houston with things to do and see for kids of all ages as well as adults. Over four floors of permanent exhibits have interactive elements and the museum has designed age-appropriate activities in several exhibits. The Cabinet of Curiosities is perfect for children and toddlers ages 5 and under. Visitors can touch and examine the oddities on display. At the Morian Hall of Paleontology, children ages 6-12 can watch real paleontology volunteers unearth bones from fossil jackets in the Fossil Prep Lab. Ages 12 and up will appreciate the Hall of Ancient Egypt with ancient artifacts and three complete human mummies.

13. The Midtown Arts & Theater Center Houston

MATCH is one-stop-shopping for performances of every kind. Most of the programming is for adults and young adults. The in-house Main Street Theater is always kid-friendly. Some past shows have included Cinderella, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Charlotte's Web, and The Cat in the Hat.

14. Houston's Theater District

Houston has an impressive cultural arts scene and the Theater District is a place to go with the family for some entertainment. The district spans 17 blocks in downtown Houston with several performing arts centers and theaters. In fact, Houston is among the very best cities in the US to catch a Broadway show. The Alley Theatre, Wortham Theater Center, Jones Hall, and Memorial Hermann Broadway at the Hobby Center are top venues to see family-friendly Broadway shows like Wicked, Les Miserables, and The Lion King. Read more about things to do at night in Houston.

15. Discovery Green Park

Discovery Green Houston

This beautiful 12-acre family-friendly park in downtown Houston has loads of fun outdoor activities for kids and grown-ups. There are tidy green lawns to picnic on, a restaurant, and family-friendly events, some of which are free! Families can play shuffleboard and hit balls on the putting green. There’s the colorful John P. McGovern playground and a splash pad in the summer that’s perfect for toddlers and young children. In the warm months, you can head out on the shallow and safe Kinder Lake for a leisurely kayak paddle.

16. Burke Baker Planetarium

Part of the Houston Museum of Natural Science, the Planetarium offers guests an opportunity to learn about the solar system through an incredible high-definition video system projecting special films onto the full-domed theater. Their Digistar 6 system simulates the experience of navigating asteroid fields and roaming planet surfaces. The educational shows include Black Holes, Death of the Dinosaurs, Forward to the Moon, Passport to the Universe, and Starry Night Express.

17. George Observatory

Milky Way

This satellite facility of the Houston Museum of Natural Science has three domed telescopes, including one of the largest in the United States, the 36-inch Gueymard Research Telescope. Depending on the season and time of the month, one can see amazing space phenomena like the Milky Way, cloud belts on Jupiter, and meteors to Saturn’s rings. A visit to Houston’s George Observatory at night is one of the very best things to do with kids who are aspiring astronomers!

18. Children’s Museum of Houston

Houston Childrens Museum

A trip to the Children’s Museum of Houston is one of the most fun activities for toddlers, young children, and even infants! The more than a dozen exhibits at this superb children’s museum are organized by age with groupings of Infants/toddlers, preschoolers, lower elementary, upper elementary, and all ages. The museum draws out children’s curiosity and creativity in engaging ways. Some exhibits include the Scavenger Hunt, FlowWorks, which educates kids about water through giant waves, and Kidtropolis, which teaches the workings of a city. Plus there are inventor labs for different age groups.

19. Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Splashtown

family at waterpark

If you find yourself with a hot day in Houston, going to a waterpark is a terrific activity to keep your kids cool. The park has multiple towering water slides, like the Banzai Pipeline, which is seven stories tall! Young children can play in Coconut Bay, a pint-size version of water rides. Parents must accompany children under 50″. The three-story Tree House has no height minimum so the whole family can play together. Slippery slides, net ladders, and 1,000-gallon bucket blasts will surely keep everyone cool and having fun.

20. McGovern Lake at Hermann Park

McGovern Lake

Though no swimming is allowed, the family can cool off any time of the year on McGovern Lake in Hermann Park, a 450-acre urban green space in the heart of Houston. Located in the middle of the park, this 8-acre lake has beautiful features and surroundings including two small islands for migratory birds. Pedal boats can be rented from the boathouse for up to four people and children must be able to sit on their own so this activity is not suited to toddlers and under. A fun thing to do with your little ones is to take a 14-minute trip around the park on an open-air mini-train. You can get on and off the train at designated spots to enjoy the park.

21. Waugh Bat Colony

Bring the family to see Houston’s Mexican free-tailed bat colony estimated at 250,000! They reside under the Waugh Drive Bridge in Buffalo Bayou Park. At dusk, the bats fly out from underneath the bridge and head off to look for food. It’s quite a sight as the little black-winged creatures fly across the beautiful skies of Houston. The colony is largest between summer and early fall, though there are still plenty of bats to see during the winter months. Note that the bats do not emerge when sunset temperatures are at 50 degrees or below or when it is raining.

22. Houston Kayak and Paddleboard Tours

family kayaking

Bayou City Adventures offers several tours for all ages including a Houston Skyline Tour where guides talk about the city’s history, and landmarks along the stunning skyline visible from the water. They also have a paddleboarding tour that is best suited to older children and up since excellent balance is required. After a brief lesson, you’ll be paddleboarding and learning about the wildlife and natural surroundings on the Buffalo Bayou. If you are planning on seeing the Waugh Bat Colony, take their 90-minute boat tour that runs on weekends. Children must be at least four years old.

23. Houston Bus Tours

When those little legs have had enough of walking, take a hop-on-hop-off bus tour of Houston. Get off the bus at attractions and landmarks that interest you, then get back on any bus along that route when you are ready to move on to the following sights. For an overview of Houston, take a sightseeing bus tour without stops. Plus, bus tours are a perfect way to get out of the Houston heat when the temperature is a bit too hot for seeing the city on foot.

Family-Friendly Restaurants

24. Conroe's Incredible Pizza

Combine an all-you-can-eat buffet of pizza, pasta, homestyle entrees, and yummy desserts. With an indoor entertainment center, how can families go wrong? Kids can play go-karts, laser tag, bumper cars, mini golf, and more than 150 video and arcade games!

25. Crisp

Italian food with large sharable hand-tossed pizzas, salads, and more. The very affordable “Critters” menu for kids 12 and under has kids’ favorites like grilled cheese, chicken nuggets, peanut butter and jelly, and other options. Parents will be able to relax as kids can release all that energy on Crisp’s 5,000-square-foot garden patio, which features swings and a ping-pong table.

26. Dish Society

With multiple locations in Houston serving brunch, lunch, and dinner daily, Dish Society is a no-brainer restaurant for families. Its $7 “Littles” menu features quesadillas, chicken tenders, buttered pasta, popcorn shrimp, and grilled chicken strips.

27. Jimmy Changas

Kids can monkey around at the jungle playground at all of the Jimmy Changas locations before or after gobbling up Little Jimmy’s Tex-Mex. Everyone should save room for the complimentary soft-serve ice cream.

28. Dessert Gallery

Bring the family to Houston’s Dessert Gallery for an incredible selection of homemade cakes, pies, cupcakes, cookies, and ice cream. Just a few of the delectables they make are Rocky Road Texas Sheet Cake, Apple Brown Betty a la mode, Banana Pudding, Brownie Batter Blowout Sundae, Carrot Cake, Chocolate-Dipped Chocolate Chunk Cookies and so much more to die for!

Explore more of Houston with our article, 30 Fun and Interesting Things To Do In Houston.

For suggestions on how to organize your time in Houston, see our Houston 2-day itinerary!

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