Where to find Bluebonnets, around Houston, in 2017!

Baby in Bluebonnets Houston Brays Bayou
Bluebonnets at Brays Bayou 2017
 

Spring is here and bluebonnets are popping up around Houston.  If you’ve seen bluebonnets this year… please tell us where!

A;so, if you head out for photos, watch out for ants and keep it as nice as you found it.  So… no picking, trampling or littering please!

Bluebonnet patches that have been confirmed for 2017 are:

  1.  Brays Bayou at Almeda and South MacGregor, behind Hermann Park – Fudruckers and Luby’s are right across the street.  There is a flat wildflower site, plus lots of bluebonnets on the steeper banks of the bayou.
  2. Bayou Parkland at Hermann Park on Almeda, south of South MacGregor – Free public parking in the parking lot.  This is a quiet (and mostly unknown!) part of Hermann Park.  Right on the banks of Brays Bayou, you will find tons of bluebonnets… plus you might be able to get the Bill Coats Bridge in the background.  (See the picture below)
  3. White Oak Bayou at TC Jester and Cindy Lane – Teresa found 3 patches of bluebonnets here.  There are more big spots along banks of the bayou (but are difficult to access with little kids).
  4. TMC Transit Center – Right in the Medical Center there are yellow wildflowers and a small patch of bluebonnets.  Find them right at the TMC Transit Center METRORail stop, between the train and MD Anderson.  Take the train or bus because there isn’t much parking!
  5. Blessington Farms – This is a farm with strawberry picking and fun farm activities.  You pay to get in, but if you are there, there is a small hill with bluebonnets and wildflowers that is good for photos.  It’s very small (but good for close ups)… so no stomping on flowers!
  6. Rob Fleming Park Wildflower Meadow – Kerry found this park in The Woodlands has a meadow with bluebonnets.  It’s not huge, but good for photos!
  7. On Chatham by Cornerstone Elementary in Sugar Land – Michell spotted them by the water off Chatham!

See the map and pictures below.  Also, for more bluebonnets in Texas, check out Texas Bluebonnet Sightings and Visit Brenham!

People usually see bluebonnets in Memorial Park, TC Jester Park and Buffalo Bayou Park… and we’ll add them to the map when we get confirmation.

 

 

Bluebonnets in Houston Brays Bayou
Brays Bayou at Almeda and South MacGregor
 

Bluebonnets at Brays bayou from Bayou Parklands at Hermann Park
Bayou Parklands at Hermann Park
 

Bluebonnets at Brays Bayou from Bayou Parklands at Hermann Park with Bill Coats Bridge
Bayou Parklands at Hermann Park, at Bill Coats Bridge
 

White Oak Bayou Bluebonnets
White Oak Bayou at TC Jester and Cindy Lane
 

Bluebonnets at MD Anderson at TMC Transit Center
TMC Transit Center, between MetroRail and MD Anderson
 

Wild Flowers at TMC Transit Center Houston
TMC Transit Center, between MetroRail and MD Anderson
 

Bluebonnets at Blessington Farms
Blessington Farms. Everyone look here! No? Everyone do what you want! Perfect!
 

Bluebonnets in Sugar Land across Cornerstone Elementary
On Chatham by Cornerstone Elementary in Sugar Land
 


Video: Tips & Tricks for Visiting Rodeo Houston, with Kids!

Rodeo Houston is here!

If you are planning to take kids, here are our tips and tricks…. including how to get there, how to beat the crowds and how to save money.

See the video HERE or below… and get even more tips HERE!

Also, note that some people have had trouble taking food on the grounds. Food and drinks are not allowed in the stadium (for the concert) but are allowed on the grounds.

This is from the rodeo staff… “You can bring food and drink onto the grounds but not into the stadium. There is no food or drink permitted into the stadium including anything you purchase on the grounds.”.

I’m guessing the guards were confused with stadium rules and general admission rules… but am still asking questions!


Gold Buckle Foodie Awards for Rodeo Houston 2017

Have you ever been to a market with way too many good things? You are looking for one perfect gift, but there are so many adorable hats or bows or necklaces or whatever that you leave with nothing. If there was one perfect gift, you’d grab it…. but with too many great things, it’s just too overwhelming.

Well, this is how I feel about the dining at Rodeo Houston!

Rodeo Houston Sills Funnel Cake
The good news is that the Rodeo teams have done a lot of work for you. The 2017 Gold Buckle winners were just announced!

2017 WINNERS:

  • Best Breakfast Food: Stubby’s Cinnamon Rolls (L259) – “The Works Cinnamon Roll”
  • Classic Fair Food: Stubby’s Cinnamon Rolls (L259) – “Cinnamon Roll with Icing”
  • Best Value Food: Stubby’s (AR 903) – “Loaded Baked Potato”
  • Best Food-on-a-Stick: Berryhill (RP85) – “Shrimp Diablo”
  • Best Fried Food: Berryhill (RP85) – “Crispy Shrimp Taco”
  • Most Creative Food: Cowboy Kettle Corn (Carnival) – “Nitro Pop”
  • Best New Flavor: Mad Hatter Funnel Cake #2 (Carnival) – “Chocolate Dipped Oatmeal Cream Pie”
  • Best Dessert: Fried What (J203) – “Buckeyes”

Find more Rodeo Houston dining tips HERE!


Video: Houston Spring Break Recommendations from a 5-Year-Old

Spring Break is here in Houston!

I was putting together a video of the things to do for March 10-19, 2017… and my 5 year old was determined to have his turn.  Well, it turns out his video was better than mine… so here you have it!

See the video HERE or below… And go HERE for the full list of Houston Spring Break Activities!


Not a Laundry List of Things to Do in Houston, with Kids!

Today I’m giving a talk about the things to do in Houston, with kids!  To follow along, here are the highlights!

On BigKidSmallCity, we provide weekly events, a Houston area park review, a family friendly restaurant review and lots of things to do with kids.

It’s not just a laundry list of things to do… but actual parent reviews and recommendations.

Here’s what I mean…

Last Christmas I was at Target, looking for a Bingo game.  I was standing in front of a hundred games and did not see Bingo… but I did see Zingo.

I asked my mom, “If Bingo is good, Zingo must be better, right?”.

Just then, a dad came over and told me that Zingo means there are 10,000 plastic pieces on your rug that won’t fit back into the dispenser and makes everyone angry.

That is not what the box said, but that is a good parent review.

When we provide reviews and recommendations on BigKidSmallCity, we’ve pushed a stroller through the giant crowds, found restrooms in the worst of locations and pleaded with three tired kids to get from the very back of the zoo to the parking lot.

And the recommendations are not just from me… but from Houston parents.  I am lucky to get feedback from parents daily!

So what is there to do?  Well, our very favorite things to do are a little quirky and unique.  (And for Spring Break events, scroll to the very bottom.)

 

Looking at Airplanes at Black Walnut at Conroe Airport
Black Walnut at Conroe North Houston Regional Airport – This is the restaurant where you can watch planes and helicopters land… right next to your table!  See the pictures HERE!

 

Niko Nikos Patio
Niko Nikos at Market Square Park –  This is a Greek café where you order at the window and take your food to the patio.  You can order breakfast, lunch or dinner, coffee and alcohol.  There is a kid menu and a giant park for kids to run through.  Market Square Park is an open space and it is easy to watch your kids from the pergola covered patio!

 

Button on Preston Street Bridge from Wortham Theater
Mysterious Red Button on Buffalo Bayou – Have you heard about the Big Bubble in the Buffalo Bayou? Have you seen the mysterious red button on the Preston Street Bridge? A friend told us that their 5 year old’s favorite thing to do in Houston was to, “burp the bayou”, and we just had to know what this meant.

 

Travis Spark Park Dinosaur Bones1
Travis Spark Park – This Houston park was designed by kids… and has dinosaur bones, a rock wall and very cool play structure.  Travis Spark Park is in the Houston Heights and is open to the public on evenings, weekends and holidays. See the pictures HERE!

 

Donovan Park Toddler Playground
Donovan Park – This wooden fortress is one of Houston’s coolest playgrounds. Train, castles, ropes, bridges and more at Donovan Park!  This is not a Houston public park… and was built by the Houston Heights Association. The sign at the park and the website says it’s for all kids to enjoy.  See the pictures HERE!

 

Fire Truck at Fire Truck Park
Fire Truck Park – 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. The merry-go-round is made from a tire, there are little “flowers” where the kids sit and spin themselves and there is a very unusual rock wall for the biggest kids.

 

River Oaks Pumpkin Park Carraige
River Oaks Park (aka Pumpkin Park) – Southside has the Firetruck… but River Oaks has the Pumpkin Carriage!  You really need to see this public park, just off of Westheimer.  There is a royal pumpkin carriage, big playground, small playground and some of the coolest ladders, monkey bars and more!  The park also has a community center, wishing trees, trail, sand volleyball and many more things to do… all under giant oak trees.

 

Levy Park Houston Splashpad
Levy Park – This remodeled park is AMAZING.  Tunnels, rock wall, spider web, reading carts and so much more.

 

Slide at Fish Family Play Area Buffalo Bayou Park
Fish Family Play Area at Buffalo Bayou Park – This nature play area is along the banks of Buffalo Bayou.  It has a slide, climbing structures, water features and drums build in to the landscape, but this park has an amazing view of the downtown skyline, access to the Buffalo Bayou trails, has free parking, new restrooms at the Water Works  building… and a newly uncovered historic cistern.  It is as cool as it sounds.

 

Waugh Bridge at Dusk
Waugh Bridge Bat Colony – Just down the bayou from the Fish Family play area is a bat colony.  Each night at dusk, watch hundreds of thousands of bats emerge in the middle of the city!

 

Art Car Museum Houston
Art Car Museum – This funky museum is small and free.  Stop by with the kids while you are in the Houston Heights!
 

Beer Can House Houston
Beer Can House – When you drive up, you think you’re in just any residential neighborhood until you see a shiny silver house with beer can chimes blowing in the wind.This house belonged to John Milkovisch who was a retired upholsterer for the Southern Pacific Railroad. He was tired of mowing the grass, so in 1968 he started creating “art” by adding marbles and rocks to concrete and making unique lawn ornaments. When the yard was full, he started to cover the house in beer can siding. Over 18 years, John added over 50,000 cans to his house.

 

Boys at Mounted Patrol Stables
Mounted Patrol Stables – Visiting the Houston Police Departments Mounted Patrol Stables might just be the coolest free thing to do in Houston.  Bring your own carrots, quartered apples and peppermints, and you can stop in to visit the horses, during visiting hours.

Bring a giant bag of carrots… like the ones you get a Costco… because there are nearly 40 hungry horses to feed!

 

Joe Hermann Park Conductor for a Day
Engineer for a Day – My son counted the days until he was 7 years old and could be Engineer for a Day at Hermann Park. Now 8 years old, he asked to drive the train again as his Christmas gift.

Kids arrive in the morning and help open up the train barn, perform safety checks, wash the train and get the railroad ready for the day. After about an hour of preparations, they sit right next to the conductor and help take the train around to Kinder Station.

 

Vending
Eat Bugs – At the Houston Museum of Natural Science, you can find a vending machine full of bugs.  Some are chocolate coated, some are coated in sour cream and onion flavor… and none are something I want to eat.

My kids are much braver and enjoy the black ant chocolate cookies. The ants make them crunchy.  (Yikes!)  If you are bored with the usual Snickers bar, check out the butterfly center!

 

Magnafying Glass at Swap Shop
Swap Shop – In nature or in a book, find something that interest the kids. Learn about it and bring the item to the Swap Shop at the Houston Zoo. If you don’t have a shell or bone or physical item, you can bring in your “knowledge” or you can bring in a poster, report, diorama… anything to leave at the shop.

The kids earn points and get to swap it for items in the shop!  There are stones, shells, bones and more!

 

For things to do for Spring Break, go HERE.  To get an email with things to do each weekend, go HERE!


Kids Rule at Discovery Green! Toddler Tuesdays, April 4-May 30, 2017, 10:30am

Discovery Green Toddler Tuesday Booth
Toddler Tuesdays will soon be at Discovery Green…  April 4 through May 30, 2017.  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 from April 4 through May 30, 2017, 2017, be at Discovery Green at 10:30am. (The April 4 event starts at 9:30am.) The themes, character visits and activities change each week!

  • April 4 : DIA @ Discovery Green (HPL): Toddler Tuesday will celebrate Diversity In Action through interactive cultural storytimes and activities hosted by the Houston Public Library. Kids can visit Jamaica, England and Mexico without leaving Discovery Green, as we read, sing, and play our way around the world on Tuesday, April 4th from 9:30am-1:00pm. 9:30 One Love (Jamaican) – Song: – Activity: Steel drum player/singer 10:30 The Queen’s Hat (England) – Song: – Activity: Paper Hat 11:30 Off We Go to Mexico (English & Spanish) – Song: – Activity: Trackless train and camera coloring sheet
  • April 11 :EGG-celent Easter Parade: Tons of eggs will be hidden all throughout Discovery Green for kids to hunt and find at the Egg-Cellent Parade, part of Toddler Tuesdays. The park will also offer free pictures with the Easter Bunny from 9 to 10:15am, and again at 10:45am. There will also be Easter crafts with Big Kid Small City, and fun music to bust out your best moves!
  • April 18 : The Goose Fairy and the Golden Egg: The gentle rhyming and gorgeous, tissue-paper collage illustrations in this classic picture book make it a dog-eared favorite on many children’s bookshelves. On each page, we get to meet a new animal who nudges us onward to discover which creature will show up next!
  • April 25: Brown Bear Brown Bear: The gentle rhyming and gorgeous, tissue-paper collage illustrations in this classic picture book make it a dog-eared favorite on many children’s bookshelves. On each page, we get to meet a new animal who nudges us onward to discover which creature will show up next!
  • May 2: Maisy Goes to the City: It’s another first for Maisy! The intrepid mouse is off to the big city with Charley. This book is a perfect story for young children going on an urban adventure.
  • May 9: Guess How Much I Love You: Discover a morning of fun with story time, activities, crafts and a special appearance by our surprise character!
  • May 16 : I Just Forgot ( A Little Critter Book): Discover a morning of fun with story time, activities, crafts and a special appearance by our surprise character!
  • May 23: Corduroy: Have you ever dreamed of being locked in a department store at night? The endearing story of Corduroy paints a picture of the adventures that might unfold (for a teddy bear at least) in such a situation.
  • May 30: Oh, The Places You’ll Go! Inspirational yet honest, and always rhythmically rollicking, Oh, the Places You’ll Go! is a perfect sendoff for children, 1 to 100, entering any new phase of their lives. Kindergartners, graduate students, newlyweds, newly employeds–all will glean shiny pearls of wisdom about the big, bountiful future. The incomparable Dr. Seuss rejoices in the potential everyone has to fulfill their wildest dreams.

2.  Want to be a VIP?  Each week, two families will win VIP Meet-and-Greet Access (for the entire Spring 2017 Season!), Discovery Green shirt and special gifts!  You must enter to win the VIP prize for each Toddler Tuesday.  Just click HERE!

3.  Want to update your home library?  Each week at Discovery Green, we have a book swap.  Bring a lightly used book and swap it for a new one!

4.  Need a lunch spot for after Toddler Tuesday?  Check out these kid friendly restaurants within walking distance of the downtown park, HERE.

 


Houston’s First Street Car Park… Woodland Park!

Woodland Park Houston Street Car
Address: 212 Parkview, Houston, TX 77009

Houston’s second ever park was on the Woodland Street Car Line.  To increase weekend ridership, the Houston Electric Company build this grand park (originally Highland Park) with a restaurant, dance pavilion and a dam across Little White Oak Bayou which created a large artificial lake to accommodate small motor boats.  The park was home to music concerts, concessions, rides, and boating.

Today this park is call Woodland Park and is home to a community center, playground, basketball court, tennis court, sports field… and a streetcar!

Woodland Park Houston Streetcar Park
A reader recommended this park… and when we pulled up and found the streetcar, we were pretty glad they did.

We like trains and anything that goes… so playing on the streetcar would have been enough to make us happy.  BUT, we also found the playground, swings and teeter totter!

Woodland Park Houston Teeter Totter
The equipment is in good condition and is partly shaded by the big trees.

We played along side a few other families and saw lots of traffic heading into the community center on a weekday afternoon.

Woodland Park Houston Swings
The park has a free parking lot and is next to a row of nice bungalows.  There was not much pedestrian traffic on the street, but the community center was busy.

The park does run along I45 but you cannot see it from the playground.  That said, when we were driving we missed the park and found ourselves along the access roads.  The highway isn’t very pretty… but the park is nicer.

Take a look at the pictures… and is you know someone that would like a streetcar, check it out!

Woodland Park Basketball Courts
 

Find more Housotn parks:

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Woodland Park Tennis Courts


Where to Watch the Rodeo Houston Trail Riders, Friday, March 3, 2017

The Trail Riders are on their way to Houston!  By Friday, they will be on our local city streets and headed to Memorial Park!

Rodeo Houston Trail Riders
Last year got antsy waiting on Newcastle and headed out to find the Southwestern Trail Riders, and headed down along the route.  We drove aimlessly, without the real map, and really saved no time…

So, for this year, we have a better plan.  We have the official map, the routes AND their break locations (where you might just be able to say hello to the riders!

If you want to do, here’s the plan:

  1.  Find the official map HERE.
  2.  On the map, look for the Trail Riders in your part of town.
  3. On the left of the map, click on the name of the Trail Riders near you.
  4. Then click on “Daily Schedule” or “Map”.  Here you can see the route and the break locations!
  5. Or, skip #1-#4 and scroll down for the routes.

If you want a quick look at the routes, below are the routes of all the Trail Riders!  (To see the breaks, each map has a square in the top left corner.)

[Read more…]


Give Away: Blessington Farm Strawberry Picking & Farm Fun Admission

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

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.

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

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.)

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 Ana H!

Contest Ends: 3/4/17 at 6am.
Contest Rules: https://goo.gl/kwJ453


Give Away: Ramona Quimby & How I Became a Pirate at Main Street Theater!

Spend your Spring Break at Main Street Theater!

One March 13 or 14, you can see How I Became a Pirate and on March 15, 16, 17, you can see Ramona Quimby!  And we have family 4 packs to give away!!

Lyle the Crocodile at Main Street Theater
To win tickets to the shows, register below.  The winner can select any available Spring Break date for their show.

UPDATE:  Congratulations to Nora O and Liz M!

Kids Must be 3 to Enter Theater
Performance Location: MATCH, Midtown Arts & Theater Center Houston, 3400 Main Street, Houston, TX 77002
Contest Ends: Friday, Friday, March 3, 6am.
Tickets: 4 Tickets for March 13, 14, 15, 16 or 17, 2017.
Official Rules:  https://goo.gl/jIUpiI


A "Houston Parents Magazine" Resource --- For Spring Break & Rodeo Houston Events, Tips and Tricks, go HERE
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