One Square Mile: Celebrate Montrose – Saturday, March 29, 2014

One Square Mile: Texas is a PBS series that explores the diversity of Texas cultural life through vignettes about a single square mile from different cities each week. The Houston episode features St. Stephen’s School, Rothko Chapel, Just Dinner, the Menil Collection and BigKidSmallCity!

On Saturday, March 29, from 3:00-5:00pm, join the producer of the series, Carl Crum, for a conversation about the Montrose episode! I hope to see you there!

One Square Mile Texas Montrose Screening
The Montrose episode airs on Sunday, March 30 on Houston PBS. You can also find it HERE!

Things to do in Houston today, this weekend, with kids! March 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, April 1, 2, 2014

Houston City Hall Sky
Happy Spring!  There are plenty of things to do in Houston to celebrate the new season!

Hermann Park has a big Kite Festival on Saturday and the Houston Children’s Festival is Downtown on Saturday and Sunday.  The Tomball German Heritage Festival is all weekend in Old Town Tomball and you can find the Bayou City Art Festival in Memorial Park.

Discovery Green is busy as usual, with an event for your favorite pet on Sunday, Kayaking on Kinder Lake, and a free storytime and activity on Tuesdays.  For these Toddler Tuesdays, look for me at the BigKidSmallCity Photo Booth!

Toddlers should also head to the Children’s Museum on the first Wednesday in April for the Mommy Mingle.  Caregivers enjoy a free breakfast and coffee while the little ones (under 35 months old) play in the tot spot.

And finally, join me at St. Stephan’s Church and School on Saturday, March 29, as we celebrate Houston’s Montrose neighborhood.  We will watch the new One Square Mile: Texas Montrose episode, airing in on Houston PBS the next day, and talk with the producer, Carl Crum.

Look below for the full list of things to do.  Go HERE to get this list delivered to your inbox each week!

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BigKidSmallCity’s Favorite Houston Events for this Weekend: March 20, 2014

Listen to my favorite events for the weekend of March 20, 2014. For the full list of weekend events, go HERE! I hope it helps you plan your weekend!

One Week Only: Architects of Air at Discovery Green March 15-23, 2014!

James at Architects of Air
Discovery Green
March 15-23, 2014 – Open daily from 10:00-6:00pm.
$10/person, Kids 3 and under are free. Discount tickets on March 17.

Architects of Air is at Discovery Green for this week only!  We went, and it was great.

Architects of Air at Discovery Green
Architects of Air is a giant luminarium that is 30 feet tall and covers half a football field. You can learn all about it HERE.

From the outside, it looks like a giant bouncy house.  On the inside, it’s a maze of rooms with soft music and beautiful light.

You can wonder through the rooms or sit in a pod and just enjoy.

Walkway in Architects of Air
It costs $10 for everyone over 3 years old. On March 17, you can pay half price if you sign up for the eNewsletter onsite at Discovery Green.

It was a little expensive for our 20 minute visit, but it was certainly the most unique thing we’ve done all weekend. The kids keep on talking about it.

Relaxing in Architects of Air
We arrived at opening time, in the light rain, and still waited for 10 minutes to go inside. Waits can get much longer than this, so try to arrive right at opening or bring something fun for the kids to do.

Blue Ceiling at Architects of Air
If you visit over this spring break week, send me a note or leave a comment with what you thought!

BigKidSmallCity’s Favorite Houston Events for this Weekend: March 13, 2014

Listen to my favorite events for the weekend of March 13, 2014. For the full list of weekend events, go HERE! I hope it helps you plan your weekend!

Tips for Visiting the Houston Rodeo, from a Rodeo Insider: Where to park, where to find the least busy attractions, where to find the best deals and where to find the best restrooms!

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is underway and I want to know how to rodeo like an insider. Lucky for me, Margaret is here to tell us how to do just that!

Margaret has been volunteering a a Gate Keeper for 10 years and has a few tricks up her sleeve! She also lives walking distance from Reliant, and is a Texans season ticket holder, so she basically lives at Reliant in the Fall/Winter/Spring!

Here are her tips!

If you are going to drive, especially if you are taking little ones and have strollers, juices, lunch bags, etc, I recommend parking in the Yellow Lot that is located off of S. Main between Murworth and Kirby (near Super Target).

There is a little traffic, but not as congested as Kirby/610. It’s $12 and the nice thing is that there is a tram that is in the Yellow Lot that takes you and drops you off at the McNee Street which is near the entrance of the Reliant Stadium and Reliant Center.

You can fold up umbrella strollers. If you take a heavy/large stroller or a Radio Flyer type wagon, no worries… there are locations on the tram for that. I’ve even seen people wheeling in coolers before.

There are shows starting as early as 8am. The kids area usually starts kicking off at 9am. If you go with little kids (and to avoid crowds and traffic) – early is the way to go; I like to get there when things open.

Keep in mind that the kiddie carnival opens an hour or 2 after the attractions open. The adult carnival opens even later than that. Check the schedule before you go since weekday/weekend schedules are different.

Since the carnival opens later, I like to do everything inside (petting zoo, pony ride, checking out livestock, looking at the chicks, etc) and then head outside.

A little tip: If the petting zoo and the pony rides (extra cost for pony ride) is busy, there is another petting zoo and another pony ride outside near the kiddie carnival rides. Go to HERE to check out their daily schedule.

As mentioned above, the kiddie carnival opens a little after the attractions. The adult carnival opens after the kiddie carnival opens.  If you are lucky, you have pre-purchased half price tickets (available only before rodeo starts in March), but if not, there are little stations throughout the carnival that sells tickets.

If it’s busy and you don’t want to wait in long lines, you can purchase a fast pass which gets to basically the front of the line, but you still have to purchase ride tickets in addition to the fast pass.

The hours are extended during the 2 weeks of Spring Break, so again, check the schedule. Kiddie rides typically open at 11am on weekdays and 10am on weekends.

If you have purchased a 50% coupon book, be sure to look through your book. There are coupons for buy 1 get 1 free game, free ferris wheel ride, free refills, etc.

4.  FOOD
This is Texas. Texans like to eat!

You can’t leave without trying the chicken fried bacon at Yoakum Meat Packing Company. They have a location outside the food tent and inside Reliant Center food court.

Another favorite of mine (and I’ve tried them all) are the fried Oreos. Imagine a beignet filled with chocolate. Uh-mazing. These can be found at the food trailers located throughout the carnival.

Corn in a cup is another favorite if you want to stay somewhat healthy. Under the food tent, you will see many familiar names like Pappasitos, Pappas Steak House, Saltgrass, Berry Hill, etc. Go for something unique and try the small independent vendors. There is a burrito there that can feed a family of 4.

For those Starbucks diehard, don’t worry, there is a “real” Starbucks located inside the Reliant Center near the food courts.

If you have little picky eaters, like mine, bring “emergency” snacks and food, just in case they don’t eat rodeo food.  Know that they do sell pizza and chicken strips (staple in our home away from home).

The rodeo DOES allow you to bring in your own food, water, juices, etc. I have seen people pull coolers, or smaller versions in their wagons. Hey, if you are going with a large group, this is the economical way to go.

If you haven’t seen “Mutton Bustin’”, this is a must. This is located outside near the kiddie carnival area. Children between 5-6 years old ride bareback on a sheep. Yes, a sheep.

It is the funniest thing you’ve ever seen. If your child is between 5-6, and they are willing, it sure is something to experience. Make sure your camera/phone battery is super charged.

There are also pig races (also outside) that everyone enjoys. If your child is lucky, they may be picked to announce the start of the race. Check the schedule for times.

You don’t see a lot of camels in TX, but you can ride one at the rodeo! $8 per ride. We did it, of course.

This is the best kept secret – a secret that women keep from men that is! If you can ditch your male counterpart (and the kids) for an hour – this is where you want to be.

There are high priced items and very affordable items. Many of the vendors are those that come to the Nutcracker market. There are also very unique items to buy as well. Every year, I make a girls only trip – and, if I can, I even make a trip by myself so I can have 1 focus. Shopping!

Cash is golden, as some vendors (mostly the food) only takes cash. Most places, especially the shopping, take major credit cards. There are ATM machines everywhere.

This gets forgotten a lot. The horse arena is located in a separate building all by itself. If you are a horse lover, there are shows that take place throughout the day, and lots of animals to see. There is also SHOPPING inside. Since this area doesn’t get as much foot traffic, bargain and good deals are meant to be made here.

There are, of course, port-a-potties everywhere. BUT, real restrooms (and baby changing stations) are located all over the inside of the Reliant Center. Another little secret, if you go up the escalators, there are restrooms upstairs as well. Less traffic and usually a lot cleaner!

The Rodeo office, committee offices, and Corral Clubs are located upstairs, so mostly committemen go into these facilities. If you need a quiet place to relax, you can do that upstairs too.

Where to have fun in Houston, without the Spring Break crowds! March 2014 Spring Break!

Sesquicentenial Park Houston Texas
Yesterday we made the mistake of driving into the museum district… with every other family in Houston.  We quickly turned the car around and set out to find things to do, over Spring Break, without all the crowds!

I do not want to discourage you from trying out the many things to do the week of March 8 and the week of March 15 in Houston, but if you need a little break from the huge crowds, here are my top 7 suggestions:

1.  If you go to the Museum District, Hermann Park or Rodeo, take METRORail!  Parking and traffic is certain to be a problem, so jump on the train for $1.25 (for those over 5 years old), and avoid the headache.  Check the map here.  Jump on where ever is convenient, and jump off at:

Rodeo – Reliant Station
Hermann Park/Museum of Natural Science – Hermann Park/Rice Station
Children’s Museum/Museum of Fine Arts – Museum District Station

Downtown should be less crowded than the Museum District and Reliant, but Discovery Green has a full schedule for the week of March 17.  I still suggest taking METRORail and jumping off at Main Street Station.

Tickets can be purchased at any station.  Go to the self-serve station and use cash or credit card.  METRORail is on the “honor system”, so just hold onto your ticket and show it if the METRORail police ask to see it.

2.  Take advantage of “Weekday Attractions”!  Spring Break is during the work week, so you have a great opportunity to visit venues that are closed on weekends!  This includes the free JP Morgan Chase tower observation deck and the miles of tunnels under the city!  Go here for the full list of things to do Downtown with kids!

3.  Visit Houston’s parks!  There are so many parks in our city that you are sure to find one without a crowd.  Go here for over 40 reviews of local parks!  If it’s warm enough for swimsuits, look here for all the free splashpads around the city!

4.  Enjoy the bayou trail!  There is a lot to see along the bayou trail.  Enjoy a walk or bike ride along the water with ducks, bridges, art and great views.  At dusk, stop by the Waugh Bridge Bat Colony to see hundreds of thousands of bats emerge for the evening!

5.  See a show!  Head to Main Street Theater to see A Year with Frog and Toad!  Buy your ticket ahead of time and you’ll be assured a seat, and no crowd fighting!

6.  Run the bases at Rice!  On March 23, come with me to watch the Owls take on Florida Atlantic.  Before the game, kids can go on the field, with the players, for the National Anthem.  After the game, they get to run the bases!  And, tickets are only $8 with the promo code!

7.  Burp the Bayou!  I know, I know.  I say it all the time.  Our favorite thing to do in Houston is push the mysterious red button on the Preston Street Bridge!  There will be no lines or crowds here, so go do it over Spring Break!  Afterwards, stop by Market Square Park and grab lunch at Niko Nikos!

Looking for more?  Check this list of Free Things to do in Houston, any day of the week!  The full list of things to do in Houston for Spring Break can be found here for the week of March 8 and here for the week of March 15.

Happy Spring Break!

Let the kids run the bases at the Rice baseball game! Tickets are only $8 with BKSC Promo Code!

Join me at the Rice Baseball game on Sunday, March 23! With promo code BKSC, tickets are only $8 AND KIDS GET TO STAND ON THE FIELD for the National Anthem and RUN THE BASES after the game!

Go here to get tickets today –> Promo Code: BKSC

Baseball Game March 23

Things to do with kids during Houston Spring Break: Celebrate with the Museum of Fine Arts! March 17-23, 2014

Mikey Magnifying Glass5
If you ever needed a membership to the Museum of Fine Arts Houston (MFAH), it might be for Spring Break 2014.  Starting Monday, March 17, MFAH has a long list of events for KIDS.

I used to think this museum wasn’t a kid museum, but check out all the events they have planned at the museum’s main campus, Bayou Bend and Rienzi!  (And look HERE for things to do in Houston March 8-14 and HERE for March 15-23!)

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Thank you for visiting the BigKidSmallCity Booth at Discovery Green’s FUNomenal Family Festival!

What Julie Sees Behind the Camera
Thank you for visiting the BigKidSmallCity booth at Discovery Green’s FUNomenal Family Festival!  A special thanks to those that took the time to introduce themselves.  I really enjoyed meeting members of the BKSC community!

Coloring Craft at BigKidSmallCity Booth
The event covered all of Discovery Green and was very well attended.  At the BKSC booth, kids were able to make crowds and color sheets created by artist Kelly Coral.

Julie Nhem of Nhem Photo
I also interviewed kids for a new series on the website while Julie snapped thousands (literally) of pictures in our photo booth.  In the next week, these photos will be edited and uploaded HERE.

And remember that raffle for the Family 4 pack to “A Year with Frog and Toad” at Main Street Theater?  Monica J won it!

BigKidSmallCity Tent
Be sure to check out Nhem Photo and Island of Blue on Facebook.  If you like what you see, like their pages!

To get notified when the photos are posted, sign up for the free newsletter HERE or like the BKSC Facebook page HERE.

Thanks again for stopping by the booth!  If you missed us, don’t worry… we’ll be out around town again soon!

BigKidSmallCity Photo Booth at Discovery Green