Houston Playgrounds for Little Ninja Warriors

My kids love to watch America Ninja Warrior.  And when we go to parks, they race through the monkey bars and zip lines like a Ninja Warrior obstacle course.

My kids tell me that the best parks for ninjas have lots of ladders, zip lines and several kinds of monkey bars.  If you also have a ninja, here are just some good Houston area ninja parks.  (And if you want an official Ninja Warrior gym, check out Iron Sports!)

I know there are more… so tell us what to add!

 

Wheel Monkey Bars Nottingham Park Houston
1.  Nottingham Park – 14205 Kimberley Ln, Houston, TX 77079

Oh, this one is good!  Wheel monkey bars, loop monkey bars, zip lines… plus a whole kid fit playground with rock wall and equipment for exercise.

 

Wood Bend Park Zip Line

2. Bendwood Park – 12700 Kimberley Ln, Houston, TX 77024

Bendwood Park has two parks right next door.  Here there are bridges, zip lines and monkey bars.  Ninjas can race the clock on this playground.

 

Nobb Hill Park Playground Fish and Treehouse

3.  Nob Hill – 10300 Timberoak Dr, Houston, TX 77043

Ninjas will have to do some running at this park because the equipment is a little spaced out… but there is a lot of it.  Bars, tree house, bridges and more.

 

 

Evergreen Park in Bellaire

4.  Evergreen Park – 4500 Evergreen Street, Bellaire, Texas 77401

The equipment is squeezed together… but you can climb and swing through this Bellaire park.

 

Jerry Matheson Park Swinging Ropes

5.  Matheson Park – 1240 Ulrich Road, Tomball TX, 77375

This wooden park is full of giant tires, big zip lines and lots of equipment.  If you built an amazing obstacle course in your back yard, it would look something like Matheson Park in Tomball.

 

Seawolf Park Galveston Playground

6.  Seawolf Park – 100 Seawolf Pkwy, Galveston, TX 77551

So apparently little ninjas can start on one edge of this playground… and scale their way across to the other without touching the ground.  There is less swinging and more climbing across this really cool Galveston playground.

 

Clear Lake Park Play Structure

7.  Clear Lake Park – 5001 E NASA Pkwy, Seabrook, TX 77586

I mean, just look at this place.  Rope ladders, walls to scale, monkey bars… and this is just some of the equipment at Clear Lake Park!

 

Foote Park Baytown Bars

8.  NC Foote Park – 2428 West Main, Baytown, TX 77520

Circles or monkey bars and ladders.  This Baytown park is good for ninjas!


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

Oh!  I have a BIG give away for one Houston family!

No matter how old your kids are, you can certainly enjoy a ONE YEAR MEMBERSHIP to the Children’s Museum of Houston!  Tiny kids can crawl around the Tot Spot, little ones can explore this giant museum and even the bigger kids can be SECRET spies and do science experiments and race Lego cars in the labs.

Flow Works Childrens Museum of Houston
One family will a Family Plus membership, valued at $140! The Family Plus Membership includes free admission for up to six individuals living in the same household ages 1 and older (this can include up to 3 named adults, including a caregiver), plus other benefits! (This also includes the Fort Bend Children’s Discovery Center.) Get all the membership details HERE!

To win, register below!

Childrens Museum Secret Mission USB Stick
AND, whether or not you are the big winner, you will want to check out all the activities at the Children’s Museum for Spring Break in March.  Get the preview here:

Update: Congratulations to Fawn G!

Contest Ends: 2/19/17
Official Rules: https://goo.gl/xdLSTE


Give Away: Blessington Farm Strawberry Picking & Farm Fun

Spring means berry picking and fun on the farm at Blessington Farms! AND we have tickets to give away!

giant-slide-at-blessington-farms
U-pick strawberries and ALL things FUN on the Farm including hay rides, pedal cars, barrel trains, animal encounters with goats, chickens, camels and many more.

There are also giant slides, Sand Mountain, “Rat Race”… a tube racing experience and many new activities have been added to Farm Funland.

Blessington Farms Picking Strawberries
The opening of the new reptile grotto with “Tank” the turtle, the Jump Pad, Tire Mountain and the new Aviary where you will be able to feed and interact with the birds.

Bring the kids for a fun filled time on the Farm and make some great memories. (And check the website for more details and for weather and berry production updates.)

blessington-farms-hay-play-in-the-hay
Opening day is March 4, 2017. U-Pick strawberries $5/pound (no admission fee), Farm Funland $15 per person (18 mos. and under are free)… And one family will win free admission for 4 people! Just register to win below.

Update: Congratulations to Chayla!

Contest Ends: 2/17/17 at 6am.
Contest Rules:  http://wp.me/P2efXF-aRj


Houston Area Parks for Kids of All Abilities

Houston has hundreds of parks… and if you include the surrounding areas, there are hundreds more. That said, not all parks are great for kids of all abilities.

Around Houston, playgrounds for kids of all abilities are usually called “boundless” or “playgrounds without limits” and have ramps, bars that go all the way to the base of the structure and accessible fun for everyone.

Below are the parks we know about… but if you know of more near Houston, let us know!

The Playground Without Limits at the Metropolitan Multi-Service Center
1. The Vale- Asche Foundation Playground Without Limits at the Metropolitan Multi Service Center – 1475 West Gray, Houston, TX 77019

 

Memorial Park Playground
2. The Vale-Asche Foundation Playground at Memorial Park – 6501 Memorial Drive, Houston, Texas 77007

 

Hermann Park Bigger Playstructure
3. Buddy Carruth Playground for All Children at Hermann Park – 6001 Fannin, Houston, Texas 77030

 

Eastwood Park Tube Slide
4. CVS Boundless Playground at Eastwood Park – 5000 Harrisburg, Houston, Texas 77011

5. The Playground Without Limits at Alief Park – 11903 Bellaire Blvd, Houston, Texas 77072

6. The Playground Without Limits at Tidwell Park – 9720 Spaulding, Houston, Texas 77016

 

Matzke Park Spring Playground BigKidSmallCity
7. Matzke Park – 13110 Jones Rd, Houston, TX 77070

 

League Park Playground
8. League City Boundless Playground – 200 N Park Ave, League City, TX 77573

 

City of Katy Play Station Train Play Structure
9.  Katy Play Station (Train Park) – 5611 Gardenia Ln, Katy, TX 77493

 

Mary Jo Peckham Park Big Playground for All
10.  Mary Jo Peckham Park – 5597 Gardenia Ln, Katy, TX 77493


Houston Area Parks… with No Mulch or Dirt. (For Little Mulch and Dirt Eaters.)

If you love parks but have a little kid that loves to eat mulch, dirt and rocks (and everything)… you might be looking for a playground without mulch, dirt and rocks.

Someone asked me about parks like this… and here is a short list of playgrounds with rubber mats or turf. (And for those with bigger kids… these parks also have less mud and fewer ants.)

If you have more to recommend… tell us!

 

Fire Truck Park Southside
1. Fire Truck Park: Turf!

When Southside’s first fire truck was retired in 1970, it was kept in this park, making it the Fire Truck Park. This truck and the other playground equipment came into disrepair after many years of use, so in 2012, a completely renovated Fire Truck Park was opened. For kids under 5 years old, there is a new fire truck play structure. All around the new fire truck is unique equipment, for big kids, that you do not you see at every Houston park.

 

Wier Park Small Play Structure
2. Wier Park: Turf!

Wier Park is in West University on Nottingham at Sunset. Here you will find play structures for big kids and little kids, picnic tables, tennis courts (reservation required) and a basketball court. This park is really quite great.

 

Playground at The Playground Without Limits at the Metropolitan Multi-Service Center West Gray
3. West Gray Rec Center: Rubber Mat!

Unusual equipment, accessible for all ages and abilities, challenging for big kids and easy for little ones… music stations, no-mud, part shade, free parking and full restroom… It’s The Playground Without Limits at the Metropolitan Multi-Service Center. This one is not fenced in… so it’s not good for runners… but it’s good for little kids with lots of ramps and railings that go all the way to the floors. You just have to follow them so you can see them.

 

Main Street Indoor Park Play Structure and Slide

4. Main Street Indoor Park: Indoor Turf!

The Main Street Indoor Park is part of the First Methodist Downtown Campus and is open to the public, Tuesday through Thursday mornings. It’s a small indoor playground and is designed for kids 5 and under.

 

League Park Small Playground

5. League Park: Rubber Mat (Mostly)!

The playground is large and has a lot of different features: slides, a rock wall, tunnels, monkey bars and an “obstacle course” just to name a few! There is also a smaller playground structure for the little kids that has a fire truck theme.

&nbps;

City of Katy Play Station Train Playground
6.  Katy Play Station (Train Park): Rubber Mat!

“Train Park” is the state’s largest innovative playground for multiple-impaired and profoundly deaf children. The playground is designed to feature Katy’s name sake the MKT Rail line and includes ramps and swings for kids of all abilities.

 

Find lots of Houston Parks:


Liberty Square in The Woodlands

liberty-square-the-woodlands
Address: 66 Liberty Branch Place, The Woodlands, TX 77389

Another week, another park!  This time it’s a picnic park in The Woodlands.

Liberty Square Park has big trees, a gazebo and lots of picnic tables.  There is no playground equipment, but if you are looking for a beautiful place to relax, this is a good spot.

liberty-square-park-gazebo
Check out the pictures here… and if you want to play, Rockwell Park is very close.  Also, look at the map at the bottom for hundreds of parks!

liberty-square-the-woodlands-picnic-tables
Since this is called an “neighborhood park” by The Woodlands, I did some research to be sure we could visit. According to the park rules, “All parks of the Township shall be open for public use under such reasonable rules, regulations and policies as prescribed by the Township.”. Also, the pavilions and facilities can be reserved by residents and non-residents for a fee.

Free street parking is available and I did not spot any restrooms.

Find more Houston area parks:


Super Bowl Live at Discovery Green… with Kids!

Super Bowl 51 Fox Booth
Super Bowl Live is open!

I was tempted to stay home and avoid the crowds… but my friend reminded me that if we don’t have to fight traffic and parking, the crowds really don’t bother us.  So, we gathered up 6 kids and took METRORail to Discovery Green!

We went on a weekday, right after school… and I’m glad we ventured out to the Super Bowl LI activities!

Super Bowl 51 Virtual Reality Mars
Here are some tips if you head to Discovery Green this week:

  • Super Bowl Live is FREE.
  • No big bags and no outside food is allowed inside.  See the rules HERE.  (Parents have reported that they could take in food for babies and toddlers but not anything else.)
  • Take the train!  If you ride the Red Line to Main Street Station or the Purple/Green line to the Convention District, you are within a few blocks of the park.
  • Riding the train is EASY and only $1.25 for people over 5.  See how to ride  HERE.  (Also, this is free through February 1.)
  • We parked in the museum district and took the red line to Main Street Station.  (On the way back, we also took the purple/green line from the Convention District to the red line at Central Station… but this took longer than just walking back to the red line!)
  • If you drive, a lot of streets are closed.  The best bet is to park on the west side of downtown and walk or take one of the shuttles.
  • Super Bowl Volunteers are everywhere.  They are along the train lines, on the walk to the park and all over the park.
  • Discovery Green is a little hard to recognize!  The splashpad is covered up, there are giant tents, stages and structures everywhere.  It took me a few minutes to get oriented in the park I visit every single week.
  • There is live entertainment, space booths, food trucks, football games, TV stations broadcasting live and more.
  • We spent most of our time in Future Flight… and it is very interactive and very educational.  We launched a rocket, took a bus ride on Mars and even “rode” the space ship through virtual reality goggles.  There are lots of Super Bowl volunteers here, plus employees from NASA, Boeing and Lockheed Martin (and others) to answer questions.  This section was a lot like a museum visit.
  • The Mars ride, that “drops” you from space, is very popular… and even 15 minutes after opening, the line was 1.5 hours long.  BUT, the best tip we got was to just wear the goggles!  Right at the entrance of the ride, there is a spot to just wear the goggles and headphones and take the trip.  There was hardly any line for this… plus my 5 year old could do it (and he was too short for the ride).
  • There are booths that are selling merchandise, but we skipped all that.  In the Future Flight area, after looking at the rovers and building rockets (and more), we got several free items… a little astronaut, a rubberband powered rocket and sunglasses.
  • The playground and ice rink are open.  And my kids were determined to play on the playground that they play on all the time.
  • You could walk all over east Downtown at Discovery Green Live… but we stayed close to the Discovery Green playground and space booths.
  • Food truck prices are set by the Super Bowl and expect to pay about $10 per person.  We just got drinks… and these were $4.
  • I bet Discovery Green will get more and more busy as we get to Sunday.  If you can go right at opening and during the week, you might have the best luck.  On Monday at 3:00pm there were a lot of people, but it was easy to watch the kids.
  • The kids we brought were 5, 7, 9 and 10 (and the baby).
  • We just stayed 2 hours, but we could have stayed all night.  There were concerts and light shows that we missed!

Have you been? Send us your tips!

I am glad we went to experience the Houston Super Bowl celebration… but if it’s not for you, don’t worry!  For more Super Bowl weekend activities… including non-Super-Bowl events, go HERE!

Super Bowl 51 Mars Ride


Rockwell Square Park in The Woodlands

rockwell-park-the-woodlands-pavilion
Address: 243 Rockwell Park, The Woodlands, TX 77389

We found another merry-go-round!  Rockwell Square Park is a new(er) park with an old school, from my childhood, slightly dangerous, lots of fun, merry-go-round.

We don’t see many of these in the Houston area… but right here at this neighborhood park in The Woodlands, we found it next to the toddler playground and pavilion.

rockwell-park-the-woodlands-merry-go-round
We also discovered that the park was inspired by the art of Norman Rockwell and the pavilion is modeled after a one room school house.

The park space is big and shaded, but the equipment is pretty small for little kids. The things my bigger kids liked was the climbing boulder and that merry-go-round.

rockwell-park-the-woodlands-playground
Since this is called an “neighborhood park” by The Woodlands, I did some research to be sure we could visit. According to the park rules,  “All parks of the Township shall be open for public use under such reasonable rules, regulations and policies as prescribed by the Township.”.  Also, the pavilions and facilities can be reserved by residents and non-residents for a fee.

Free street parking is available and I did not spot any restrooms.

rockwell-park-the-woodlands-boulder
Find more Houston area parks:


Have a few hours, or a few days in Houston? Here are 5 places to go with kids!

“There is nothing to do in Houston”

I’ve heard this over and over from out-of-town colleagues. And to this, I usually agree. If you fly in to the airport, drive to a corporate office or stop by a shopping mall, you are probably not going to fall in love with the city.

That said, if they have a few hours or a few days to explore the city, they usually see why I like Houston so much.

So, if you are in town, with kids, here are a handful of places to explore (with a map below).

 

discovery-green-shade-spot-and-mist-tree
1. Downtown Houston

If you are just going to one part of Downtown, I’d make it Discovery Green on the east side of Downtown. Play at the playground, splash at the splashpad or mist tree, kayak on the lake or participate in one of the many activities.

Across the street, in the bottom of One Park Place, eat at Phoenicia Specialty Foods… or grab food for your picnic.

(For Super Bowl, this is also the home of Super Bowl LIVE and it will be very very BUSY. Take METRORail to Main Street Station to avoid the parking mess!)

 

Miller Outdoor Theatre and Hermann Park Train
2. Museum District

Not far from Downtown, and connected by the METRORail track, is the Museum District.

You could spend a week exploring all the museums and the zoo, but I would start with Hermann Park. Walk, play, take the train and pedal the boats.

If you really want to fall in love with Houston, walk across the street to Rice University. Secrets are hidden all over the campus in the art and architecture. Take your own tour with the map found HERE.

If there is time, pick one museum to explore. The Children’s Museum is great (and insanely busy at times) and the Houston Museum of Natural Science is one of my favorites.

 

Menil Campus Looking at Red Swing Park
3. Montrose

This hip neighborhood is home to the rest of the the Museum District museums. The Menil Collection is always free to enter. It’s not designed just for kids, but take your aspiring artists in with a clipboard and a pencil to sketch a few works of art. Since there is no charge to visit, feel free to stay for 5 minutes or 5 hours.

Across the street is the Menil Park and The Good Dog restaurant.  For more things within walking distance, look HERE.

 

Climbing at by the Houston Skyline Fish Family Play Area Buffalo Bayou Park
4. Buffalo Bayou Park

Just north of Montrose, and connected to Downtown Houston is Buffalo Bayou and Buffalo Bayou Park.  You have to check out the nature playground, the trails and the giant bat colony.  If the kids are old enough, tour the newly uncovered cistern.

Eat a picnic lunch or check out the beautiful restaurant, The Dunlavy.

 

Travis Spark Park Dinosaur Bones1
5. Something More

If you have a few more hours, we have ideas on how to spend them with the kids. In this Half Day in Houston series, find a place to park, play, explore and eat… all in one spot. Pick what you like or combine with another Half Day itinerary!

Or, if you want to see the quirky side of Houston, you need to see these Top 20 “Not-Your-Usual” Things to Do in Houston, with Kids.  This list does not include usual favorites. Instead, you will find things with fewer crowds, some that are a little unusual, and all that are just as much fun as the well-known spots.

Finally, you if your Look a Little Closer, you will see the beautiful part of our city.

 

If you are in Houston and have a few hours or a few days to explore, I hope the map below helps you explore Houston!


Outdoor Roller Rink at Discovery Green! March 3-25, 2017

DG Roller Rink SmallThis year when the ICE is closed for the season, we get to see something brand new at Discovery Green… a roller rink!

I used to go to a small town roller rink, every Friday night, as a tween… and I am so excited to take the kids to Houston’s first outdoor roller rink.  For more information, go HERE!

When: March 3-March 25, 2017

Opening Night: March 3 from 6-10 pm
Celebrate the opening of Houston’s First outdoor roller rink featuring favorite roller rink tunes from the ‘50s through the ‘90s. Catch performances by The Allen Oldies Band, Light Rock Express, Xanadudes, an energizing Roller Derby Girls skating demo & more!

Prices: $12 per person on-site (Roller skating tickets include skate rental, or you can choose to bring your own four-wheel or in-line skates.)

Where: Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney, Houston, TX 77010


A "Houston Parents Magazine" Resource --- To Get Ready for Rodeo Houston, with Kids, Go HERE
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