Summer 2015: Things to Do in Houston, with Kids!

Feet and Slide at Evergreen Pool
What should we do in Houston during Summer Break?  Look below for all the resources you need!

A list of Houston Events is published each week, HERE.  To get it delivered to your email inbox each Thursday, so you know what is happening over the weekend for families, go HERE.  For daily reminders, be sure to “like” BigKidSmallCity on Facebook, HERE.

To help you plan ahead, here are lots of things to do!

Stay Cool:

Stay Entertained:

Stay Full:

Stay Sane:


For 2015, Summer Break Dates are:
May 28-August 24: Houston ISD
June 3-August 24: AlvinISD
June 4-August 24:  Cy-FairISD
(If your school district is missing, tell us your dates!)

Plan your no mess, fun for mom & kids, YUMMY! Mother’s Day Weekend at MKT BAR+ $100 Giftcard Giveaway for Houston Moms!

MKT BAR Yum for Mum Pizza with gold potatoes, roasted garlic, brie, bacon and fresh parsley 6
For Mother’s Day, I want something that is leaves absolutely no mess for me to clean up.

I love to share my special day with the little people that made me a mom, but the very best gift would be no dirty dishes, no sticky art supplies and no need to tiptoe across family room full of toys and treasure.

So for this year, I’m making the plans for a great day with my favorite (and often messy) people.  And if you follow BigKidSmallCity, you know that one of my favorite ways to spend a day is in Downtown Houston.

Play at Discovery Green, watch the trains, look for art… and for a special Mother’s Day… Brunch or dinner at one of our favorite Houston restaurants!

MKT BAR, inside the cool Phoenicia Specialty Foods, is on our Top 10 Kid-Friendly Restaurants list.  It’s hip but casual, has a kids menu… and even offers kid’s cooking classes… so you know they like families!  It’s a place that mom and kids can both enjoy.

What I like even better is that on May 8, 9 and 10, moms are being celebrated.  You can bring the kids, not worry about the “dirty looks” at some “fancy” restaurants, enjoy brunch, dinner and even live music on Sunday!

Parking in Downtown can be tough… but it’s free and easy when you eat at MKT Bar.  Complimentary parking is available in the One Park Place garage. Garage entrance is located on McKinney St. between Austin and La Branch.

AND, MKT Bar is giving a BigKidSmallCity family a $100 MKT BAR gift card!  Look below to register for the giveaway!

Make your plans for your no mess, fun for mom and fun for kids, Mother’s Day in Downtown Houston:

Friday, May 8 – Dinner 2:00pm-11:00pm
Saturday, May 9 – Brunch 10:00am-3:00pm, Dinner 2:00pm-11:00pm
Sunday, May 10 – Brunch 10:00am-3:00pm, Dinner 2:00pm-8:00pm, Live Music by Idol Gossip jazz band 12:00pm-3:00pm

UPDATE:  Congratulations to Elizabeth G!  She is the winner of the $100 gift card!!

Giveaway closes on May 8, 2015 at 6:00pm.
Gift card has no expiration date.
Official Rules:

{Little} Kids Rule at Discovery Green – Toddler Tuesdays through May 26, 2015!

Mist Tree at Discovery Green
Toddler Tuesdays is at Discovery Green through May 26, 2015.  Every Tuesday at 10:30am, parents and kids enjoy a free story time and activities with their favorite characters.

If your little kids want to rule the park, this is what you need to know:

1.  Every Tuesday through May 26, 2014, be at Discovery Green at 10:30am.  The themes, character visits and activities change each week!

April 28 – Paw Patrol Team Colors
May 5 – Handy Manny “Sinko” de Mayo
May 12 – Spongebob: For the Love of Bubbles Foam Party
May 19 – Daniel Visits the Doctor
May 26 – Cinderella

2.  Want to skip the line and be first to meet the characters?  All you need to do is volunteer for the event!  You can bring your kids and help Discovery Green with the event.  This gets you a fast pass to meet the characters.

On average, four volunteers will be selected for each event and Discovery Green will coordinate the activities.  If you are interested this, email me at Jill @ BigKidSmallCity .com!

3.  Want to be a VIP?  Each week, one person will win a Discovery Green Tshirt and a VIP Meet-and-Greet pass!  No waiting in line!  You must enter to win the VIP prize for each Toddler Tuesday.  Just click the links below!

April 28 – Paw Patrol Team Colors
May 5 – Handy Manny “Sinko” de Mayo
May 12 – Spongebob: For the Love of Bubbles Foam Party
May 19 – Daniel Visits the Doctor
May 26 – Cinderella

Raising Readers: Robinson-Westchase Branch of the Houston Public Library

Curious George at Robinson Westchase Houston Public Library
Address:  3223 Wilcrest, Houston, Texas 77042

The Robinson-Westchase Branch of the Houston Public Library is just outside the beltway, in Westchase, close to the Quillian Center and (summer’s favorite) Noah’s Ark.

Nearly half of the library is devoted to the Children’s Library, with books, DVDs, tables and computer.  It has fewer computers than many libraries, but the book selection has a little bit extra.

Computers at Robinson Westchase Houston Public Library
This library is near Chinatown and the Chinese Community Center and has books in Chinese (and perhaps other languages as well). The FlipKits they had in stock were English, Spanish and Vietnamese.

Chinese Books at Robinson-Westchase Houston Public Library
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Your Kid’s Art Masterpiece Could Get You Lunch with Famous Author Jon Scieszka!

Houston Public Library Art Contest
The Good, The Mad and the Nerdy: a contest open to children in grades K – 6
6th Annual Children’s Book Celebration Contest
Deadline to Enter: Friday, May 1, 2015 Now Thursday, May 7, 2015!

The Houston Public Library is inviting Houston kids to make an art masterpiece inspired by one of author Jon Scieszka‘s many books, which include The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, Science Verse , Squids will be Squids, and his latest series, Frank Einstein… and many many more!

Submit your work to any Houston Public Library or mail it in.  Fifty kids will win a catered lunch for the winner and 1 adult guest with author Jon Scieszka!  AND, they will get an autographed copy of Frank Einstein and the Anti-Matter Motor, and other goodies!

More info and entry forms HERE.  Good luck and have fun!!

Hermann Park Marvin Taylor Trail – Visiting Houston’s Parks, One Week at a Time

Hermann Park Golf Course Trail Bridge
Address:  6100 Hermann Park Drive, Houston, TX 77030

This week’s park is one for parents, behind a stroller.  It’s the Marvin Taylor Trail in Hermann Park!

This trail is on the same side of the street as the Centennial Garden and runs through the golf course.

Hermann Park Golf Course Trail
Unlike the sunny trail around the main part of Hermann Park (with the zoo, train, pedal boats and Japanese Garden), this trail is under the shade of giant trees.  It weaves through the golf course and over bridges.

Hermann Park Exercise Station 6
A new fitness station has been installed along the trail, very close to the parking lot attached to the Centennial Garden.  This isn’t a kid playground, but you can roll up your stroller and do a few sit ups and pull ups while your kids cheer you on.

Hermann Park Golf Course Trail Squirel
This trail is away from the street and pretty secluded… making it peaceful but not super safe. When we’ve gone, there have been several other runners and walkers… but I would recommend taking a friend and going during daylight hours.

Hermann Park Golf Course Ducks
After a run or walk, we head over to the zoo (and splashpad), McGovern Lake, train and pedal boats!

Raising Readers: West University Harris County Public Library

West University Library Courtyard
Address:  6108 Auden St, Houston, TX 77005

This Houston Library is right in the middle of the city… but requires a Harris County Public Library Card rather than a Houston Public Library Card.  It’s also in one of Houston’s most family friendly neighborhoods… but it is it’s own city within our city.  It’s the West University Library!

West University Library Childrens Section Upstairs
The West University Library is located in the middle of West University, near the school and Little Matt’s.  The sunny 2 story library is usually busy and the staff is helpful.

The first floor is for adults and the entire second floor is for kids!

West University Library Upstairs Kid Area
The section is good and there are little kid-sized tables, chairs, pillows, book baskets and toys. The upstairs area has a few computers and lots of places to read.

West University Libary Chairs
Check the website for free events, including storytimes and computer classes.  At the time of this post, the library is open on every day except Sunday.

Friends Park at West University by Library
Once you find your books, walk across the street to the simple “Friends Park”, with benches for reading!

The Playground Without Limits at the Metropolitan Multi-Service Center – Visiting Houston’s Parks, One Week at a Time

Playground at The Playground Without Limits at the Metropolitan Multi-Service Center West Gray
Address:  1475 West Gray, Houston, TX 77019

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.

I’ve reviewed this playground before, but it’s been years, so here it goes again!

Drums The Playground Without Limits at the Metropolitan Multi-Service Center West Gray
This is one of my favorite Houston playgrounds… and I’ve been trying to pinpoint exactly why.  It’s off a busy street, at the West Gray Rec Center, and doesn’t have trees or a beautiful view.  The part shade is only from canopies and there is no splashpad for the summer.

Ramps on Playground at The Playground Without Limits at the Metropolitan Multi-Service Center West Gray
But on our last visit, as I watched James crawl up the ramps with his little Matchbox cars… I figured it out.  It’s the sides.

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What are the best Texas roadtrips to take from Houston, with kids?

Omni San Antonio Aquatica Brooke Sea Turtle
Want to get away, enjoy a vacation with the family, but not have to work so hard to have fun? Here are the Texas roadtrips recommended by Houston parents!

Read on to see spots near Houston, towards Austin, Corpus Christi, San Antonio and Dallas.  Drive a short distance, or drive for a few hours… either way, there is a great adventure waiting!

Do you have a Texas getaway spot to recommend? Tell us so we can add it to the list.

Close to Houston:

  • The Woodlands Resort – 31 Miles from Downtown Houston – 2301 N Millbend Dr, The Woodlands, TX 77380
    • Water slide, underwater music, sprayground, toddler pool, lazy river, dive-in movies and family activities.
    • 200 miles of hiking and biking trails that meander through the southern reaches of the East Texas Piney Woods.


Head Towards Austin:


Head Towards Corpus Christi:


Head Towards San Antonio:


Head Towards Dallas:

Loco Family Fun Day at El Pollo Loco – Saturday, April 18, 2015 – Sugar Land

Pollo Loco Sugarland
I’ve always known this place had a funny name… but I never realized it served good food. These restaurants were all over San Diego when I was a Navy wife and lived there. Now I live in Houston, have a Vegetarian son and never thought I’d go to a crazy chicken restaurant.

Well, guess what… El Pollo Loco now has 3 locations in Houston and actually has more options for my little Vegetarian than most fast food restaurants… Bowls (minus chicken), salads, corn, beans, potatoes, broccoli, macaroni and cheese and more. And now I’m writing a blog post for them. Crazy.

What’s better, the Sugar Land location is hosting a free family fun day on Saturday, April 18, 2015 AND giving the first 100 people free chicken for a year. Come out for face painting, music and more!

Pollo Loco Sugarland free chicken
Come from 12:00-3:00pm to register for free chicken for a year… or come at 3:00pm for the fun!

El Pollo Loco
4528 Hwy 6 South, Sugar Land, Texas 77484
Saturday, April 18, 2015
Fun is 3:00-5:00pm.  Register for the free chicken from 12:00-3:00pm.