Lakewood Crossing Park in Cypress – Visiting Houston’s Parks, One Week at a Time

Kids at Lakewood Crossing Park
Location: 11502 Cypresswood, Houston, TX 77070
Appropriate Age: Any age!

Each week we review a new Houston park. Although most of our reviews are in the middle of the city, this one takes us out to Cypresswood Road in Northwest Houston. Lakewood Crossing Park is located near grandma’s house and is must-do when we visit.

This park is a little forest, sunk down from the busy road. Under tall trees there are trails, a couple play structures, fitness stations and a little skate park.

[Read more...]

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!

Where do preschoolers rule? Toddler Tuesdays at Discovery Green! March 25 – May 27, 2014

Toddler Tuesday Foam Party for Button5
Toddler Tuesdays, presented by Amerigroup RealSolutions, is at Discovery Green through May 27, 2014.  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.  From March 25 through May 27, 2014, be at Discovery Green at 10:30am.  The themes, character visits and activities change each week!

  • March 25Curious George Saves His Pennies – Meet Curious George and make your own coin bank!
  • April 1Mr. Potato head’s Missing Sock – Meet Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head and also wear your craziest socks.  There will be a sock contest!
  • April 8 – Egg Hunt – There will be 20,000 eggs for kids to find!  Parking is going to be a problem, so arrive early.  You can get your picture taken with Peter Cotton Tail from 9:00-10:15am and after 10:45am.
  • April 15 – Great Big Monster Truck – There will be a real monster truck!  Kids 30″ and taller can ride down the center of the park!!
  • April 22 – Thank You, Pooh – Meet Pooh and Tigger!
  • April 29 - Playground Heros – Meet Milli and Geo and help decorate the sidewalk with chalk and stencils!
  • May 6 – Jake Saves Bucky –  Meet Jake and Izzy and try out the pirate obstacle course!
  • May 13 – Fast Train, Slow Train – Meet Thomas and ride on the trackless train!
  • May 20 – What Does the Fox Say? – Wear animal masks and sing and dance with fox!
  • May 27 – Once Upon a Princess (and Knight) – Be a princess or a knight!

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!

4. Look for the BigKidSmallCity Booth! On select Tuesdays, I will be out snapping pictures and hosting giveaways. Julie of Nhem Photo will be taking professional pictures and Stormy will be facepainting!

What You Don’t Know about Discovery Green! 5 Things that May Surprise You!

Flowers and Hill at Discovery Green
Location:  1500 McKinney, Houston, Texas 77010
Appropriate Age: All Ages!

Each week we review a new Houston park.  You’ve probably visited Downtown’s Discovery Green, but here are 5 things you may not have known!

1.  Not only is there a playground, but there is a splashpad, misting tree, putting green, shuffleboard, reading room and library, listening vessels, stages, model boats, kayaks, ice skating, restaurants and lots of art!  Go HERE to see what you may have missed!

Splashpad at Discovery Green
2.  There is a lot, I mean A LOT, to do.  If you head to Discovery Green, chances are, there is an event going on.  I monitor calendars for many Houston venues, and this one might just be the best.  And almost everything going on at Discovery Green is free!  Take a look at the calendar HERE!

Sculpture at Discovery Green
3.  You can be on the Discovery Green team!  You can volunteer at many of Discovery Green’s events.  AND if you volunteer for Toddler Tuesdays, you can bring your preschoolers and get VIP access to the character or craft!  Contact me (Jill @ BigKidSmallCity .com) for details!

4.  Discovery Green is, in fact, “Green”!  The roofs are fitted with solar panels, the groundwater is recycled to fill Kinder Lake, a dozen mature trees were planted during construction and the buildings were designed to maximize the daylight.  To learn all about the design, go HERE.

5.  Just 5 years ago, Discovery Green was a parking lot.  Redeveloping this land made Downtown Houston a place for families and not just business men and women.  Read more about the history HERE!

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!)

[Read more...]

Architects of Air returns to Discovery Green March 15-23, 2014 – Visit Over Spring Break!

AoA Miracoco  Photo ALLAN RINGAARD 530
Discovery Green (Update: See our 2014 review HERE)
March 15-23, 2014 – Open daily from 10:00-6:00pm.
$10/person, Kids 3 and under are free. Discount tickets on March 17.

Back again this year is Architects of Air at Discovery Green.  Over Spring Break, you can see Miracoco, a one-of-a-kind luminarium!  It is 30 feet tall and covers half a football field.

Ceiling of Exxopolis
Inspired by the Lotus Temple in India, this monumental, inflatable structure is a dazzling maze of winding paths and soaring domes designed to generate a sense of wonder at the beauty of light and color.

MIRCOCO Photo John Owens Malta 530
Architects of Air also came to Discovery Green last year. We were confused but intrigued by the pictures, so we were sure to visit. It was really quite amazing and made for an unique afternoon outing.  See that review HERE.

Over Spring Break, Architects of Air will be open 10:00-6:00pm.  Tickets are $10 per person; Free for children 3 and under.  If you go on March 17 and sign up for the Discovery Green email list, you can receive $5 tickets.  Go HERE for more information!

Like storytime? See “A Year with Frog and Toad” come alive at Main Street Theater! Weekday performances added for Spring Break!

A Year with Frog and Toad
A Year with Frog and Toad is now at Main Street Theater. The storybook comes to life at the casual theater for kids.  Usually only schools can visit on weekdays, but for Spring Break, Main Street Theater has added 10 weekday performances, open to the public!

Main Street Theater - Chelsea Market
4617 Montrose Blvd.

Spring Break Performances
Monday – Friday at 1:30pm
March 10 – 14, 2014
March 17 – 21, 2014

Weekend Family Performances
Saturdays at 1pm and 4pm
March 1, 8, 15, 22 & 29
and April 5, 2014

Kids must be 3 to enter the theater and all ages will love A Year with Frog and Toad. You really need to see this show, and why not over Spring Break?

Go HERE to get your tickets!

A Year with Frog and Toad Banner

Market Square Park – Visiting Houston’s Parks, One Week at a Time

Houston Mural
Address: 301 Milam Houston, Texas 77002 (Milam and Preston)
Cost: Free
Appropriate Age: Any age. Dogs and people welcome.

Market Square Park is one of our favorite Houston parks, and we’ve reviewed it many times before. That said, it is missing from the weekly park series so I want to tell you all about it again!

Market Square Park
Market Square Park is in Downtown’s Historic District and original town center.  In 1836 this park was started as Congress Square and was renamed a few years later to Market Square.

Market Square “burned through” 3 City Hall buildings and finally became a parking lot.  In 2010, the renovated park was reopened.  And it is awesome!

[Read more...]

Where can you find free foam parties, bounce houses, rock walls and BigKidSmallCity photo booth? FUNomenal Family Festival, March 8, 2014!

This Saturday is the annual FUNomenal Family Festival at Discovery Green!  Be sure to head Downtown on March 8, from 10:00-6:00pm.  I’ll be there and can’t wait to meet you!

7 Things You Need to Know:

1. This is a FREE event with A LOT going on.  This includes Baby Olympics, character and princess appearances and music.  Amerigroup RealSolutions Zone will host two foam parties for kids (split up by age), water balls and a moonwalk!  Rides provided by Houston Party include QuadJumper, Super Slide, Meltdown, King of the Mountain, Rockwall, Jungle Maze, Amazon Obstacle Course, Houston Rocket, Chair Swing and Tubs of Fun.  Go HERE for details!

2.  BigKidSmallCity’s Booth will on the Andrea and Bill White Promenade, not too far from The Lake House restaurant and the restrooms.  If you walk between the two brick buildings, towards the Hilton, you will find the booth!  We are conveniently located between the coffee cart and cupcake truck, making Saturday the best day ever (for me) at Discovery Green.  See the park map HERE!

3.  I want to meet you!  I love meeting the people of Houston.  Come say “hi” and tell me you follow BigKidSmallCity and your kids can pick a small prize from the super secret treasure box.

4.  In the BigKidSmallCity tent you will also find a free photo booth and a free craft table!  Julie of Nhem Photo will take pictures of the kids and you can download it after the event.  Kids will also get to work on a craft with Artist Kelly Coral of Island of Blue!

5.  It’s going to be busy!  Last year 10,000 people came to this event.  You can take METRORail to the Main Street Square station and walk ~5 blocks to the park.  You can also drive and find paid parking on the street or many lots.  There is going to be a crowd, but it will be lots of fun.  If it gets too busy for you, just come hang out in the BKSC booth!  I promise to give out free and heartfelt compliments all day long.  Just use code word I-Really-Need-Some-Encouragement and I’ll tell you how great you look in your blue jeans and what a good job you are doing getting out of the house and having fun with the family.  Really.  Try it!

6.  Win ticket, just by stopping by! Main Street Theater is giving us a family 4 pack to a Spring Break show of A Year with Frog and Toad! Stop by the booth to enter to win!

7. Does your kid want to be featured on BKSC? Stop by the booth for a kid interview, and he or she may be featured on the website! We’ll be asking hard hitting questions, like what is your favorite color and what do you like about Houston!

Be sure to stop by the booth between 10:00-6:00 on Saturday. Stay for 2 minutes or stay all day. I can’t wait to meet you!

“A Year with Frog and Toad” at Main Street Theater, Another Must-See Performance, February 26 – April 5, 2014

A Year with Frog and Toad
A Year with Frog and Toad is at Main Street Theater’s Youth Theater from February 26 to April 5, 2014, with many shows over Spring Break.  It is based on the books by Arnold Lobel and shares the same sweet message of friendship and self-acceptance.

Unlike the books, the show at Main Street Theater is alive, high energy and full of outstanding music.  Songs fills the hour long show, and each time an actor starts to sing, I think I have a new favorite.  But then the next actor outdoes the first, and over and over.  Frog, Toad, Snail, Turtle and the Birds were fabulous and are very entertaining to watch.

A Year with Frog and Toad Main Street Theater Frog and Snail
I was fortunate enough to see the show two times last week.  Once with a school group and once during the weekend performance.  The weekday school performance is shorter with no intermission.  It is perfect for teachers to fit the field trip into the school day.  At the end, the kids get to ask the actors questions, and talking to the actors is clearly the kids favorite part.

Main Street Theater Taking Questions After Show
The weekend performance is a little over an hour, plus a 15 minute intermission.  While the weekday show is really good, this show is fantastic.  It has more scenes and more chances to fall in love with the story.  Which, of course, we did.

I took my own kids to the weekend performance.  One was a princess and one was a cowboy and we were welcomed into the casual theater.  At Main Street, ballgowns, blue jeans and costumes are all okay.  The only requirement is the kids are age 3 or older.

A Year with Frog and Toad Main Street Theater Frog and Joe
We then giggled and danced in our seats for the length of the show.  We saw many familiar actors from previous Main Street Theater youth theater and main stage productions.

The small cast of Scott Gibbs, Zack Varela, Stephanie Dew, Scott Lupton and Beth Lazarou played a lot of parts and I’m not really sure how they changed costumes so fast.  I’d blink my eyes and they would go from bird to mouse to squirrel to frog to mole and back.  In fact, I’m not even sure how a person could convince the audience that they were an animal.  But they did. Without wearing animal costumes.  Repeatedly.

Scott Gibbs, as Frog, and Zack Varela, as Toad, may have been the best possible combination.  Their friendship was funny, sweet and believable.  Stephanie Dew and Beth Lazarou played many parts, including Bird, Squirrel, Mole, Mouse and Turtle, and were perfect as each one.  And you really need to hear them sing.

A Year with Frog and Toad Main Street Theater Snail
Scott Lupton stole the show as Snail.  We have been reenacting his slow motion mail delivery since we saw it.  We’ve now seen Scott in several Main Street Theater shows and can’t wait to see more.

During the show, my son kept whispering to me, “How’d they do that?”.  I bet these people know: Jodi Bobrovsky (Set Design), Lauren Dolk (Choreographer), David Gipson (Lighting Designer), Macy Lyne (Costume Design), Rodney Walsworth (Properties Design), Alex Worthington (Sound Design), Danielle Docwra (Production Stage Manager), Vivienne St. John (Theater for Youth Producing Director), Rebecca Greene Udden (Executive Artistic Director).

A Year with Frog and Toad Main Street Theater Actors Giving Autographs
Afterward, the actors line up for pictures and autographs.  Just like the school children like to the question and answer session, my kids love to meet the actors.  Some day we’d also like to meet the people behind the scenes.

Be sure to go see A Year with Frog and Toad and get your tickets for the next shows:  James and the Giant Peach and Pippi Longstocking!