Another Great Urban Green Space for Houston: Midtown Park

Address: 2811 Travis St, Houston, TX 77006

During the Super Bowl, this park opened as a big green event space. Then, after the event, fences went up and major construction started.

I was curious in what Midtown Park might become… but I was not in much of a hurry for it to be ready… BUT when I saw the play area go up, I could not wait for the project to be done.

AND now Midtown Park is open!

This park has a small, fenced in, partially shaded play area with a very cool climbing sphere, sound tubes, misters, swings, rock play area and swings (with the swings are just outside the fence).

The rest of the big urban park has a reflecting pool and waterfall, big lawn, stage and dog park… plus a bayou landscape waterway and interactive water feature.

At the “Bayou”, the recirculating water mimics the bayous in Houston… including the birds and butterflies.  At “Rain”, jets and a thin sheet of water cools you off and water droplets pop up and fall like a rain storm.

We visited just as the fences were coming down, so we skipped the water area… but will be back to get pictures soon!

This park is right along the METRORail tracks on Main Street, just south of McGowen.  You can take the train or drive.  There is a paid lot under the park, metered parking on Travis (except for during rush hours) and free parking on side streets (which is what I did).

Take a look at the pictures and go enjoy this new urban green space!

 

 

Find more Houston area parks:


Give Away: Membership to the Children’s Museum of Houston!

Now through October 31, 2017, celebrate Halloween with Monster Mayhem at the Children’s Museum of Houston!

You can participate in daily spine-tingling experiments, spirit-lifting activities and slime-filled fun during the “Target Halloween Monster Mayhem”!  Then on October 31, 2017, attend the ultimate Halloween party for kids.

All activities are included with museum admission or with memberships… AND we have a year long membership to give away!

On person will win a Family Plus Membership for annual admission for six individuals and free admission to more than 300 participating museums nationwide.

To win, register below (or HERE)!

Contest Ends: Friday, October 20, 2017
Official Rules: https://goo.gl/etsciQ


Right by the Water… Rainbow Park in Texas City

Address: 800 Bay St N, Texas City, TX 77590

Someone told me there was nothing to do in Texas City and so I went there to prove them wrong.  And then I went back again and again to be sure I’d seen it all.

We’ve now written about the Texas City Museum (which I really liked), the Texas City Dike (which had some huge waves because of the passing container ships) and some parks and pools.  We also found Rainbow Park…  right at the entrance of the Dike!

Rainbow Park has a great playground, walking trails and ball fields.  There is also a splashpad, but it was closed when we visited.

The whole park is nicely done, but the playground is the star.  There is a lot of unique equipment that my kids approved.  There is an all abilities play structure, an all abilities swing, lots of monkey bars, teeter totter, climbing walls and so much more.

We played like crazy before heading over to the Texas City Dike.  Parking is free in the lot and there was a little foot traffic in the area.  I’d have preferred more traffic in the area… so as always, do your own safety check before getting out of the car.

Check out the pictures below and swing by the next time you are at the Texas City Museum or the Dike!

(And thanks to Nancy for recommending this park!)

 

 

 

 

Find more Houston area parks:


Check Out the Baseball Splashpad at Godard Park in Texas City

Address: Loop 197 North (25th Avenue North) and 23rd Street North, Texas City, Texas 77590

We love baseball and we love the Astros playing in the post season… and this week’s park has a baseball themed splashpad!  It’s Godard Park in Texas City!

This park has baseball fields, basketball court, a cool playground and great baseball splashpad.  (It’s all in the sun… so bring the sunscreen.)

As much as we loved the splashpad, the playground really had some great ninja features… curved climbing walls, wheel monkey bars, broken bridges and more!

Google has this park listed ask Goddard Park, but I’m pretty certain it’s Godard Park… but if you know, you can tell us.

Also, we went just before Harvey… so if anything has changed, please also tell us.  (As far as I see online, it’s open and okay.)

Check out the pictures and check out the park next time you are around Texas City!

 

 

 

 

Find more Houston area parks:


Give Away: Tickets to the Houston Egypt Festival on Saturday, October 28, 2017 at Discovery Green

The Houston Egypt Festival will be at Discovery Green on October 28, 2017, 11:00am-9:00pm. Here you can try Egyptian dishes, desserts, beers and wines, ride and pet camels, learn about Egyptian history and pick up your own Papyrus art with Hieroglyphics.

Adult tickets are $10 and kids 12 and under are free… AND I have 5 sets of 2 tickets to give away!

If you want to take the whole family for free, register to win below!

Contest Ends: October 6, 2017
Official Rules: http://www.bigkidsmallcity.com/official-contest-rules-150/

Register below or HERE:

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There is so much to do at Jaycee Park!

Address: 1300 Seamist Dr, Houston, TX 77008

Jaycee Park has long been one of our favorite parks… but looking at our past post, I see my kids were teeny tiny and it was time to write another. So off we went to this Heights-area park.

In a very Houston-like way, Jaycee Park is surrounded by industrial warehouses on one side and a nice residential neighborhood on the other. The park that connects them is big, green, and full of things to do… and free parallel parking is available.

The are swings, a playground, jogging trail, tennis court, basketball court, baseball field and small splashpad. Many of the features are very unique and can keep you busy for a long time. And since Houston is still super hot, the splashpad looked to be the most favorite.

Over at the playground, there are the usual slides and ladders… but there are also loops for scaling across the play structure, music stations, a rope bridge, curving rock wall, spring-loaded seesaws, a bumpy slide, a fireman pole, a stand-up swing that you go around and around on… and that’s just the start of it.

The stand up seesaw is a little wild… and as my friend was telling me her son was thrown off… my 6 year old also hit the ground. It looks harmless… but if you are on top and someone jumps off, you can squish your legs or loose your grip. My big kids loved it… but consider yourself warned!

If you are looking for a big park with lots to do… and equipment you don’t see everywhere… check out Jaycee Park!

 

 

Find more Houston area parks:


Give Away: Signed “Halley Harper; Science Girl Extraordinaire” Book

​When I was in college, there were four male engineering students for everyone one female student. Then as an electrical engineer, I was usually the only female in the conference room or the lab.​

When I give talks to girls interested in earning a STEM degree, the parents often ask if I think that the toys and books available to kids have an impact on what career they later pursue. More specifically, is it bad that boys build with blocks and girls play with dolls?

​Well, I don’t think so.

I think it’s okay for any kid to play with dolls and any toy we consider to be “girly”. But why can’t girls be both “girly” and engineers? ​

Maybe they just don’t know they have the option.

This is why I love Tracy Borgmeyer’s new book, affiliate “Halley Harper; Science Girl Extraordinaire“.

She gives us the science girl heroine that we’ve been waiting for!

The book is clever, quick and fun for girls to read. I read it along with my daughter and we were both giggling and inspired to try Halley Harper’s experiments.

Get it for your girls and let them know that they can be whatever they want to be!  AND I also have 3 signed copies to give away!  Just register below!  And everyone can also follow along with SheLovesScience.com for easy experiments you can do with your kids!

Update: Congratulations to Shaden N, Eve H and Janine M!

Contest Ends: Monday, October 2, 2017
Official Rules: https://goo.gl/PSWZ7i

Register below or HERE.


Birthday Party Venues in Houston… Where to Have Your Next Kid’s Party!

One of our most popular pages is this list of parent recommended party venues!  It was first created 4 years ago… and the latest updates are here.

If you want to recommend a spot, just leave a comment.

For help planning a party, check out Crowning Details and see an example of her beautiful (and affordable) party HERE.

Birthday Parties
BigKidSmallCity is not responsible for bad birthday party experiences.  This page is a resource to help Houston parents.  Please work directly with the business to coordinate your party and fix issues.  Thank you!

Any venue with a “*” was recommended by the business and not by a parent.  If you are a Houston parent and want to endorse the “*” venue, tell us!

Planners/Themes:

Crowning Details
Party concepts and ideas, DIY party projects, party printables, unique gift ideas, party favor ideas and more.

Traveling Tea Party
They bring the party to you in the Houston and Katy Area.  Includes afternoon tea catering, themed decoration and ‘take home’ craft activity.

Theaters:

Edwards Cinema – Wesleyan

 

Farms/Ranches/Parks/Outdoors:

Hermann Park – Museum District
Private party room with patio with dedicated party host. Includes gift pack of train tickets or a private train ride.

Discovery Green – Downtown

Houston ArboretumMemorial Park
Two hour parties every day of the week.

Nature Discovery Center – Bellaire
Parties on Tuesday through Sunday.  Includes options of guided tour of Russ Pitman Park, live animal or puppet program or a picnic.

Local Houston Park 

Oil RanchHockley
Admission includes all activities. Bring your own cake, decorations, and party favors.

Dewberry FarmBrookshire
Reserve a spot in the pavilion or rent a tent.

Blessington FarmSimonton
Parties include all regular Farm Funland activities.  Reserve picnic tables for 2 hours.

Old MacDonald’s Farm Humble
Includes train rides, pony rides, petting zoo and pool.

Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary –  Houston Audubon, 440 Wilchester Blvd, 77079
2 hour program with a guided walk in the woods, pond dip-netting, nature games, live animal encounter, and a nature craft. Weekdays & weekends, 10:00am-5:00pm.  16-child maximum, ages 4-10 years old.  Parents furnish all food, supplies.

Crocodile Encounter – Angelton, or Comes to You
See the crocodiles, feed tortoises and meet lots of other animals.

Sports:

The Vault Houston Heights
Circus arts and Aerial skills and Trapeze. The children should be at least 7 years old. The party was $13 per participant.

Discovery Gymnastics – Heights
Parties on Saturday and Sunday.

Westwood Gymnastics – Katy

Connolly Dance Arts – Katy

The Little Gym – Multiple Locations
Parties get the entire space.  Parties for ages 1 -12.  Readers recommend this for the younger kids… maybe 1-5 years old.

The Little Gym Pearland would love to host your child’s next birthday party! The Little Gym was recently named Best Gym Party by Parents Magazine! Your group will have the whole place to yourselves with games, music and fun LEGO® Juniors or LEGO® DUPLO® building activities created especially for your birthday kid.*

JC SportsHumble
Rental of entire facility, 2 hour party for up to 20 kids, 60 minutes of coach led activities.

Iron Sports – Spring 
Ninja Warrior Course!

Wake Nation – Rosharon
Min age is 7 years, learn wakeboarding, there is a ropes course, paintball, and an aqua glide park etc.

Pengu Swim (Close to 610 & Ella Blvd)
Indoor heated pool with large foam toys for the kids. Two hour party. AC controlled party area with play corner, party tables and chairs with decoration. Lifeguards included!

Conroe Aquatic Center – Conroe
Contact Conroe Aquatic Center for rental of the pools. One pool has a beach entry, play structure, mini slides, water curtain and more.

Salle Mauro Fencing Academy – West University
Two hour fencing party.

Sam Houston Equestrian Center Pony Party – Almeda Genoa and 288
Parties for all ages.  Two hour party with access to party room, tours of the barn and pony rides.  Bring carrots to feed the horses!

BowlMor (Formerly 300 Lanes) – Bunker Hill
Bowling Party

Ice at the Galleria – Galleria Mall
Party room for 45 minutes and ice skating for each guest.

 

Play Places:

Wonderwild/Wonderwild(er) – Heights/Woodlands
Parties for kids up to 8 years old at Wonderwild and kids 5-11 at Wonderwilder on Friday, Saturday or Sunday.
The new Wonderwilder has a ropes playscape that is great for the bigger kids.

Crossing Midline Kids Gym – Tomball
Parties for all ages at this sensory gym for kids of all abilities.

Jumpalooza – Humble
Jumpy Houses.  Parties on Saturday and Sunday.

Pump It Up – Central Houston
Jumpy Houses.  Parties all week.

Putt-Putt Fun House – Webster
Party with 1.25 hours of games, balloon art in the party room and then 1.5 hours of attractions (putt-putt golf, laser tag, bumper boats, bumper cars, rock climbing, 3D Motion Theater, Ballocity).

Dave and Busters – Fountain View, Katy Freeway
Video games, bowling, billiards and more.  Family style menu or buffet, drinks and power card for each guest.

Itz – Willowbrook, Pasadena
Choose between a hosted party with a reserved seating area or a bowling party.  Buy party packages, per guest that include food and games.

Chuck E Cheese – Several Houston Locations
Celebrate with Chuck E. and eat pizza and play games.

Houston’s First Baptist Church Fitness & Recreation Center – Memorial Area
Renting their venue includes a 6 lane bowling alley, game room area, indoor playground, and banquet room – all for a reasonable price!

 

Water Parks:

Schlitterbahn Galveston
Parties year road.  Winter is cheaper and less crowded in the heated indoor water park.

Noah’s Ark/Quillian Center Pool Parties – Westchase
Two hour pool parties.  Discount for parties on Monday through Thursday.
Noah’s Ark is a shallow pool with a slide and equipment and is great for young kids.  There is also a full size pool for the bigger kids.

 

Science Centers:

Mad Science – Westpark
Parties for kids 3-12 years old.  Hour long interactive demonstration

Little Beakers – Cypress 
Hands on experiments followed by a party in a private room.

 Idea Lab – Multiple Locations
2 hour party for 14 kids.  Includes 2 activity guides, themed props and decor.  All ages.

 

Girly-Girl/Salons:

Sweet and Sassy – Woodlands, Cypress, Sugar Land, Pearland
Parties designed for girls 4-13.

Snip Its – The Woodlands, Sugar Land, Katy, Pearland, Spring, Voss, Memorial, Rice, Kirkwood

Glamour Avenue Parties – Comes to You
Stylish spa and beauty themed parties for girls ages 6- 14

Princess and Tiaras – Spa Truck Comes to You
Spa Themed Parties on wheels that can be held at home or any venue of your choice.

Traveling Tea Party
They bring the party to you in the Houston and Katy Area.  Includes afternoon tea catering, themed decoration and ‘take home’ craft activity.

 

Painting/Crafts:

McCheek’s Academy – Heights
Parties for ages 6-12.  Limited to 8-12 kids.

Mud Pie Paint Your Own Pottery – Kingwood
Parties for all ages.  $12-20 per child, depending on project.

Michael’s
Make a craft at Michael’s

 

Restaurants/Shops:

Menchies – West University, Heights

Keggs Candy – Westpark Drive
Ages 5 and older.  Private party room, tour, candy crafts, cupcakes, ice cream, drinks and name on the marquee.

Kona Ice – Any metro Houston location
Let the Kona Ice truck come to you!  One hour party that serves up to 75 small servings at any metro Houston location.  Also includes a souvenir cup for the birthday/graduate person. Limited Saturday availability due to contracts.

Snowie Snow Balls & Ice Cream – Vendor comes to you

Space Cadets – The Woodlands
Comic Book Collection Store will organize a 2 hour party with a selection of themes, including Lego, Pokeman, Rainbow Loom, Princess… or you can use the space and organize your own party.

 

Museums/Attractions:

Houston Fire Museum – Midtown
Parties on Tuesday through Saturday last 1.5 hours.  Held in Junior Firehouse area with fire helmets, coats and overalls, truck cab, fireman pole and more.

Houston Museum of Natural Science – Museum District & Sugar Land
Party Smarty is for 11 years and younger. Pick one of 4 themes. Parties last 2 hours (30 minutes crafts, 45 minute tour, 45 minute celebration). A staff member organizes the party and several readers have reported that they were very friendly and professional.

Health Museum – Museum District
Two hour parties on Saturdays and Sundays.  Tour the museum, visit the 4D theater return to private party room.

Children’s Museum of Houston – Museum District
Kids go on a tour of the exhibits and then return to a private room. Food can be ordered from the Fresh Cafe.

Children’s Museum – The Woodlands
Parties on Saturday and Sunday. Suitable for children between 1 and 6 years old.

Houston Zoo – Museum District
Parties for toddlers to 12 years old. Private rental of 1 of 3 zoo pavilions with tables. Food can be purchases. Includes 30 admission tickets.

Orange Show – Telephone and Gulf Freeway
Call to set up party in this unique space.

Rosenberg Train Museum – Rosenberg
Historic rail cars and museum are the place for train lover’s party.  Several packages available.

The Antique Firehouse – Humble
Dress up as firemen, climb around on trucks and play in the fire-themed moonwalk!


Wild! Nature Play Area at the Houston Zoo

Address: 6200 Hermann Park Dr, Houston, TX 77030

I cannot tell you how happy we are about the new Wild! Nature Play Area at the Houston Zoo.

This play area is free with zoo admission or zoo membership and it’s full of messy fun. Instead of playground equipment, kids play with sticks, sand, mud and water… and climb on logs and walk through gardens.

We went after school and my kids could not get enough.  We were going to stay for just a few minutes… but even after the rain started pouring down, they just did not want to leave.

First they went to the water (where kids can splash in the little pond) and then to dig in the mud box (which really is a box of mud for mud pies).  Then they saw the sticks by the sand pit and began to build a shelter (which they called a rain shelter, even though the gazebo was an actual rain shelter!).

They went around and around and around and had a great time.

 

At this nature play area, kids can interact with everything.  They will certainly get wet and muddy!

Also according to the Houston Zoo’s website, each visit may be slightly different. “The mud pit could become a pile of leaves, water may dry up or there might be more pinecones than you would see in a forest.”

Check out the pictures below and check out the Wild! Nature Play Area next time you are at the Zoo!  It’s very close to the entrance behind the Meerkats!

 

 

 

 

 

 

&nbps;

Find more Houston area parks:


Give Away: 4 Tickets to Farm Fun at Blessington Farms!

Blessington Farms will soon be open for the Fall season… and will be open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, September 23 through October 29!

AND BigKidSmallCity has MORE tickets to giveaway!  If you want to win 4 tickets to the farm, good for any day during the 2017 Fall season, sign up below!

Enjoy the Pumpkin Patch and Fall Festivities at Blessington Farms. Fall activities include hay rides, giant slides, barrel train rides, pedal cars and animal encounters with camels, Baby Doll sheep, goats and MANY more.

They have many new fun items debuting this Fall including a new gift shop. The walk-thru aviary where you can feed our new Quaker Parrots is a favorite as well as the recent addition of the Rope Maze and Fossil Dig.

There are lots of PUMPKINS and tons of fantastic photo opportunities!!

All activities are included in the price of admission with the exception of camel and bird feedings which are $3 each.

Admission: $18.48/person +tax (children 18 mos. and under are free) Fishing is $6/person with admission (bring your own pole and bait.) Most pumpkin varieties are $0.50/lb.
Hours: September 23rd-October 29th….every Friday from 9:30-3:30 as well as Saturday AND Sunday from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (weather permitting)

Contest Ends: Friday, September 22, 9:01am.
Official Rules: http://www.bigkidsmallcity.com/official-contest-rules-148/


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