Play on Trains at Noble Park in Texas City!

Address: 1100 9th Avenue North, Texas City, TX 77590

Trains! We were not planning at stopping at a park in Texas City, but as we drove down 9th Avenue North the kids spotted trains and we did a quick turn into Noble Park!

This park has a a big train playground, a small train playground, depot, train tracks, basketball court and lots of room to run.

We love trains so we found a spot in the small lot and ran from the play structure to the depot and to the tracks. We did not know that this park used to have a big caboose, so we were perfectly happy being train engineers with what we found at Noble Park.

Now that I look on the Texas City website, I see the cool caboose… but also that the play structure has since been made much nicer with the new play structure.

See the pictures below!





Find more Houston Parks:

Things to Do in Houston, with Kids… Posts on BigKidSmallCity, Published July 15-21, 2017!

There are a lot of things to do in Houston, with kids, each week… and it can be hard to keep track of it all!

To help you find all the weekend events, Houston parks, kid friendly restaurants and things to do… here are the updates from this week, July 15-21, 2017!

Weekend Events:

And you can always find the “Weekend Events” category HERE.

Things to Do in Houston:

Parent Resources:


Have Fun & Save Money at Schlitterbahn Galveston!

This is why I like Schlitterbahn Galveston:

  • You can bring in coolers and parking is free.  Admission is expensive enough… no need to buy lunch or pay for parking.
  • The staff is very friendly.  As we walked through, several employees stopped to say hello and give us tips on where to set up for the day.
  • There are pools for little kids and slides for big kids in every section of the park.  There is plenty to do for everyone!
  • Many of the big slides have spiral ramps rather than steps.  This is good for my 5 year old because he hates the gaps between stair treads.

Schlitterbahn invited us out last week and we headed down to Galveston.  My kids have asked to visit this big waterpark each time we see the slides at the entrance of Moody Gardens, but this was our first time going!

We arrived to Schlitterbahn at opening and figured out how it all worked.  We parked for free, rolled in our cooler and asked the staff what to do next.  Apparently you can just grab one of the many many picnic tables and leave your cooler for the day.  (But put valuables in the lockers!)

Since we were all exploring together and there would be no poolside lounging, we grabbed a table by the lockers in the middle of the park.  As we ran through the park we’d stop for water, snacks and sunscreen.  (Also, I’m happy to report that my concerns about leaving coolers out were unfounded.  No one messed with our stuff.)

We did see other big groups that would take turns relaxing at tables by pools while some ran off to slides.  So… the best table just depends on what kind of waterpark trip you have planned!

We ran around the park and found plenty of slides for my 42″ and 48″ kids to do together. For the slides for just the big kids, my little boy and I were able to splash at a little pool while they came down.

Wait times were relatively short on a weekday (except Massiv!) and the kids were usually just waiting for about 5 minutes.

One thing to know is that there are 3 rivers and they all connect up. On the map they look like they are separate, but I once sent my big boy around… and then he did not return to the same spot. Fortunately we had a meeting spot agreed upon (the picnic table) and found each other without major panic.

Also, another thing to know is that the Torrent River is a very cool river with big waves. BUT be ready! I did not know it was more than a lazy river… and when the big waves come I was terrified I would drop the baby. I am a very strong swimmer, but I did not know this was coming. You really need life vests (for non-swimmers) and to be on your tube and ready for big waves because there is nothing to grab or a way to get out until you reach the beach.

Other than this 3 seconds of uncertainty, we had a great day Schlitterbahn.  We did everything and left happy and tired after 8 hours of fun.  The kids declared that this was their favorite waterpark around Houston (but keep in mind that it was also the most recent visit!).

If you want to go this summer, more tips are below:

  • Arrive at opening… and do your favorite rides first.  Massiv has a massive line… so if you want to do the tallest slide, try it early (or late) in the day.
  • Parking is FREE!
  • You can bring in COOLERS!  Food is also for sale, but bringing in our own lunch saved us at least $10 each.
  • Bring a cooler on wheels or a little cart.  The park is big and you could pick a picnic table far away!
  • There a picnic tables all over the park and people just claim tables with their coolers… and come back when they are hungry.  I wasn’t sure how well this would go… but we had no problems!
  • We grabbed a table by the lockers so we had a central spot.  If you have a favorite pool or slide, you can grab a table next to it so you can let the kids play while you hang out.
  • Lockers are available for $10-$20.  I’m not sure how to get around renting the locker if everyone plans to swim and you have keys and a phone.  The good thing is that you can open and close all day for one price.
  • Consider wearing water shoes.  The sidewalks are rough and hot!
  • Lifeguards are everywhere.  But, of course, you have to watch your kids!
  • The 3 rivers connect!  On the map it looks like there are 3 rivers… but they actually connect.  So if you were to send your oldest around the river and expect him to come back to the same spot… well, you might be surprised.
  • Have a meet up spot planned in advance… just in case you get separated!
  • This is a lot of walking and climbing!  The stairs and ramps to the top of the slides can take you several stories in the air.
  • With all the water, I locked away my phone and was offline all day…. but I saw lots of people with affiliate waterproof phone cases.
  • Tubes are available for all the slides that require tubes and for the lazy river.  I really liked that there were double tubes with one side that was meant for little kids under 50lbs.  It had a closed bottom so they did not fall though the hole.
  • Life vests are available for free, all over the park.  You can also bring in your own devices.  My youngest wore his Puddle Jumper, even though he can swim.  (It made his mom feel better.)
  • Strollers are allowed in the park.

Check out more pictures below and decide if Schlitterbahn is right for you!








Where in Houston? Art Bench Project in The Woodlands!

Yesterday I asked where around Houston this picture was taken. It’s part of the Art Bench Project along The Woodlands Waterway!

Video: Favorite Things to Do in Houston, with Kids, July 20-26, 2017!

Here are my favorite things to do in Houston, with kids, for July 20-26!  Watch the clip below, or go HERE.

To help you navigate, here are some links mentioned in the video:

That Escape Place: Intense Family Friendly Team Building

No way we are going to an escape room. These are scary, not for kids and a little bit strange. Right?

Well, two things changed my mind. First, I met up with my cousins for the first time in years… and they were talking about how much fun they had at an ESCAPE ROOM. And days after this, That Escape Place invited us out to try their escape room!

That Escape Place assured me that their rooms were family friendly (with NO scary stories and NO zombies trying to get you…).

And friends, going to That Escape Place was one of the MOST FUN things we’ve done this summer.

My kids really like secret agent books and MacGyver shows. So when we found out we were completing “Raiders of the Lost Art”, a secret spy mission to find stolen art, we were very excited.

AND we COMPLETED THE MISSION with just 1:22 left and in dramatic fashion.

The hour in the room was intense, entertaining and required a whole lot of team work between siblings and problem solving.

We had a 10 year old, 8 year old, 5 year old, 10 month old, grandpa and me. The puzzles are challenging, but each of the kids were able to help solve them… and when we got stuck, we did get clues sent over from mission control. (We also had the chance to practice some puzzles in the lobby, so we had some idea what to do.)

The staff tells me that we probably had the minimum number of adults and big kids to get through (because we were all solving puzzles simultaneously for an hour) but that both of their escape rooms are family friendly.

Not only was this fun for us, but it would be a great birthday party (according to my 10 year old) and a fun team building event (for kids sports teams or for corporate groups).

I couldn’t take pictures in the room (because I’d give away too many clues!) but below are some security camera pictures of us searching for the stolen art.  There was serious team work and problem solving going on… and there was no time for bickering between siblings!

If you have secret agents that like to solve problems, you should check out That Escape Place.  We had a private room but there are also single tickets available.

AND for a limited time, you can solve this Morse code puzzle and find the discount code that will save you 20%!  The code to solve is:

Solve it, find the code and enter it when you book your room!

Also, a couple more cost saving tips are… Thursday during the day is the slowest time.  You *might* get a private room even if you just buy a few tickets.  (It’s not guaranteed… but it could happen!)  Also, That Escape Place offers a offers a military, police and fire discount.





Where in Houston?

Where in Houston was this picture taken?

Cooking with the Kids: Potato and Spring Leek Soup

Hello BigKidSmallCity readers! I have missed cooking and blogging with you. It’s been a long while, and I am happy to be back; my girls are too. They were incredibly excited to be doing a post again. Hope you enjoy this one!

This past winter, I purchased a recipe book for a friend. It was a beautiful and vibrant recipe book with excellent reviews. It seemed well-written and a great gift for someone who cooks. My friend LOVED it and raved about it (affiliate The Love & Lemons Cookbook).

She cooked for many days from it, and even bought one for another friend. Her ringing endorsement convinced me to buy one for myself as well. I also liked that the author was from Texas and liked to support local farm shares.

So when I got the book a few months ago, I flipped through it and loved looking at the pictures. Such gorgeous pictures of food…and then I shelved the book.

Yes, I am admitting it.  Sound familiar?

I finally opened the book again this past weekend. I asked my younger daughter to flip through it with me and help me pick a recipe for dinner. I remembered that all the recipes were sorted in chapters by fruit and vegetable and that the recipes were vegetarian. Since we had to go to the grocery store that afternoon, it was perfect timing.

She stopped on a page that showed soup. I wasn’t sure the girls would eat leeks, but was willing to try. We wrote down the ingredients along with our weekly grocery list and headed out. I did forget the sage because I lost my grocery list while shopping, but I decided to substitute with complex and deep herbs like an Italian spice mix and fennel seeds.

My younger daughter helped me prep and the older one helped cook. The recipe was surprisingly quick, but very flavorful for the short cooking time! It was not difficult at all to prep or cook and the kids had loads of fun helping. We would definitely make this recipe again. If you absolutely must have meat, you could add shredded rotisserie chicken at the end to each bowl. This recipe serves a family of 4-5 people.

We will definitely be cooking from the Love & Lemons cookbook again. If you don’t buy cookbooks, you can check out Jeanine Donofrio’s blog at, or her Facebook page called Love and Lemons.


[Read more…]

Things to do in Houston today, and this weekend, with kids! July 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 2017

It’s going to be another great week in Houston, with kids!

Cool off with Snow at the Houston Zoo.  There will be two snow fields, for big and little kids… just go early before the Houston summer melts the snow!

Head inside to see Harry Potter in Concert at Jones Hall and The Wizard of Oz at Main Street Theater.  (For the Wizard of Oz, look for discount tickets on affiliate Goldstar!)  You can also go to the Express Theatre’s Hilltop Festival for Children at Miller Outdoor Theatre.

Next week get buy one get one free admission with Two for Tuesday at Downtown Aquarium!

For the full list of things to do, look below. And to plan you summer, go HERE for all the events scheduled in Houston!

Also, go HERE to get this list delivered to your inbox each week and HERE to get daily event updates on Facebook!

Things to Do Any Day:
Stay Cool this Summer… FREE Houston Splashpads, Pools & Air Conditioned Venues!
Free Summer Camps & Classes for Houston Kids for 2017
$1 Move Theater Movies, all over Houston, all summer long.
FREE Houston Area Summer Reading Programs (and earn really good rewards)
Explore Houston like an Insider
Visit a new Houston Park
Find Kid Friendly Restaurants in Houston

Thursday, July 20, 2017:
Free Museum Entry
Children’s Museum of Houston FREE 5:00pm-8:00pm
The Health Museum FREE 2:00pm-7:00pm
Houston Museum of Natural Science FREE 3:00pm-5:00pm
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston FREE 10:00am-9:00pm
Find a museum district restaurant HERE.
Express Theatre’s Hilltop Festival for Children: Let’s Make a Play Today – 11:00am – Miller Outdoor Theatre

Friday, July 21, 2017:
Children’s Story Hour – 10:00am-11:00am – Hermann Park
Our Youngest Artists – 10:30am & 11:30am – Museum of Fine Arts
Express Theatre’s Hilltop Festival for Children: The Adventures of Santa Claus – Christmas in July! – 11:00am – Miller Outdoor Theatre
Nature Discovery Center – 1:00pm – Houston Library Express at Discovery Green
Cool Nights – 5:00pm-8:00pm – Houston Zoo
Harry Potter in Concert – 7:30pm – Jones Hall

Saturday, July 22, 2017:
[Click HERE… for things to do Saturday through Wednesday!]

Top 10 Things to Do this Week & Weekend, in Houston, with Kids – July 17-23, 2017

Make plans for another great week in Houston, with kids!

So you can look forward to the events, posted prior to the full list going live, here are the top things to do for Monday through Sunday, July 17-23, 2017!

1.  Monday through Wednesday, go see the Skeeters vs Barnstormers at Constellation Field. (You might find some discount tickets on affiliate Goldstar!)

2.  On Tuesday, print the coupon for the Two for Tuesday (Buy One Get One Free) at the Downtown Aquarium.  This gets you into the aquarium and on all the rides… including the stark tank train.

3.  Tuesday through Friday, go to Miller Outdoor Theatre for the Express Theatre’s Hilltop Festival for Children!

4.  On Thursday, head to the Museum District for free admission.

5.  On Friday or Saturday, head inside to see Harry Potter in Concert at Jones Hall

6.  On Saturday, go see the Dash play the Breakers at BBVA Compass Stadium.

7.  On Saturday or Sunday, cool off with Snow at the Houston Zoo.  There will be two snow fields, for big and little kids… just go early before the Houston summer melts the snow!

8.  On Saturday or Sunday, watch  The Wizard of Oz at Main Street Theater.  (Look for discount tickets on affiliate Goldstar!)

9.  All week, be sure to also check out the MANY free classes at your local Houston Public Library location.

10.  Any day of the week, stay cool with these free Houston Splashpads, Pools & Air Conditioned Venues!

A "Houston Parents Magazine" Blog ---- For the Best Summer Break Ever, Click HERE
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