Little Matt’s – Our Search for Houston’s Best Restaurants for Kids

Location: 6203 Edloe St 77005
Age Appropriate: All ages!
Price: $-$$

Hi, I’m Juliette! My husband, my 6-year-old and I love going out to eat and we are sharing our restaurant finds with you.

This might be the most kid-friendly restaurant we have ever reviewed: Little Matt’s on Edloe in West University. My friend told me it was great and once again they were right. Do you feel like spoiling your little ones? If the answer is yes then Little Matt’s is great.

Little Matts on Edloe
Don’ t be fooled by the nondescript gray outside, the fun is inside! On your left, as soon as you enter, there is a wall with iPads attached and chairs for the kids to play as your order. On your right is the candy shop side of the restaurant with all the goodies you can expect, then there is the icee bar and if you keep going to the back of the restaurant is the arcade room! I told you, it has everything!

Candy at Little Matts
And even a lovely shaded patio if you want to eat outside on red wooden picnic tables. The main dining room has big inviting tables and their bathroom has a real changing table. They even have fun magazines to browse through.

Patio at Little Matts
Their menu is great comfort food: salads, sandwiches, tex-mex and a good kid menu. I ordered the Classic California Cobb salad. My son went for his classic mac and cheese (I have to say that every restaurant has a different version of this all-time classic!) You pay as you order and they bring the dinner to you.

Chicken Salad at Little Matts
The salad was lovely in a cute little tin basket and it was very satisfying. All the ingredients: avocado, chicken, egg, tomato, cucumber, walnuts… were fresh, crispy and the dressing was really good. The kid platter came with delicious mac and cheese and fries and fruits. My son loved their fruit options: blueberries, orange slice and grapes.

Mac and Cheese at Little Matts
I was at Little Matt’s with my friend and her two children and they played at the ipad station while we waited for the food and after they ate! It was great for us to be able to chat and to take our time eating. Our kids were so happy with the games that they didn’t even make it to the arcade room!! With all the temptations Little Matt’s has to offer, we had to choose and we decided that the iPads were already a good treat.

Little Matt’s is more than a kid-friendly place it is a restaurant with a soul and a purpose. The owners’ son survived two bouts of cancer and this place is for him. There is a wish wall where you can slide a little piece of paper with your wish on it. They are giving their profits to Texas Children Hospital to raise money for children and their families affected by cancer. They have been opened for five years and have helped a lot of families.

I really recommend this neighborly restaurant – right across from West University elementary school, you and your children will have a lot of fun, great food and entertainment and you will help a worthy cause.

See you next week for another culinary adventure!

Little Matt's on Urbanspoon



Beyond the Beltway: Old Mac Donald’s Farm

Sheep at Old Mac Donalds Farm
Address:  3203 FM 1960 East, Humble, TX 77338

Many of our Beyond the Beltway adventures this summer have been educational, or at least informative, but this one was just plain fun!

Sand Mountain at Old Mac Donalds Farm
Old Mac Donald’s Farm is located north of Houston, not far from George Bush Intercontinental Airport. It is located on 15 acres of land and has lots of different activities for the kids to do. All activities are included in the entry fee, with only the animal feed and concessions costing extra.

Cavy from Old Mac Donalds Farm
One of the main attractions is the many different kinds of animals at the farm. Some of the ones the kids were able to look at were ducks, an emu, llamas, a Jersey cow and calf, donkeys, and a Patagonian cavy (a rabbit-like animal). If these animals were close enough to the side of the pen the kids were even able to pet them.

Feeding More Animals at Old Mac Donalds Farm
Other animals we were able to feed. When we arrived at the farm we bought a couple of feed bags for $1 each and these actually lasted for quite a while. We were able to go inside the pens with potbellied pigs, rabbits, goats, sheep, and chickens to feed them by hand. Watch out for those baby goats though. When we didn’t get food out fast enough for them they decided to taste my daughter’s skirt, my shoe laces, and my camera case instead!

Indian Village at Old Mac Donalds Farm
There are also peacocks and Axis Deer roaming the grounds. We didn’t get close to the peacocks, but the deer came right up when offered food. My kids quickly grouped them into two categories: greedy and lazy. The greedy ones pushed others out of the way to get more food while the lazy ones just lay in the shade and waited for us to go to them!

Riding Horses at Old Mac Donalds Farm
One of the other activities at the farm is the pony rides. All of the horses and ponies were very gentle and they were led around the arena at a walk. During our Saturday morning visit there were no lines so the kids did this at least 5 times!

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Monkeys, Birds, Horses, Ice Cream & More! Thanks to Gallery Furniture for a great Meet-Up!

Mack, Jill and Sara
A big thank you to Houston Mother’s Blog and Gallery Furniture for organizing a giant meet-up!  The BigKidSmallCity community had the great opportunity live big with Gallery Furniture today.  We held exotic birds, had monkeys steal our popcorn, rode a buggy behind a horse named Franze, ate 70 pizzas and gallons of Blue Bell ice cream, made crowns, race down slides AND met Mattress Mack!

Check out the video below and look at the Houston Mother’s Blog for more pictures!

To be notified about the next Meet-Ups, via email, go HERE.

 

 

Gallery Furniture Horse Ride
 

Birds and babies at Gallery Furniture
 

Bird at Gallery Furniture6
 

Fun at Gallery Furniture
 

Cake at Gallery Furniture
 

Monster at Gallery Furniture
 

Visit the Houston Mother’s Blog for more pictures!



Celebrate at Hermann Park with $1.71 Kid’s Train Rides, Ice Cream & Fun + Family Day Giveaway! Wednesday, August 6, 2014, 10:00am-2:00pm

Hermann Park Train
 

Grab your little engineers and come celebrate George Hermann’s 171st birthday with $1.71 train rides for kids, $1.71 ice cream for everyone, free birthday cake and lots of fun!  The party will be on Wednesday, August 6, 2014 from 10:00am to 2:00pm at the Hermann Park Kinder Train Station.

Reserve your spot by filling out the form below and be entered to win a Hermann Park Family Fun Pack, worth over $50!  It includes 4 train tickets, 1 pedal boat ticket (good for 4 people) and $25 to Pinewood Cafe in Hermann Park!

Here is what you need to know:

  • The Birthday Party will include free face painting and crafts at the Hermann Park Train Station, from 10:00-2:00pm.
  • Kids can get $1.71 train tickets all day.  (Adults are still $3.25.)
  • Everyone can get $1.71 Soft Serve Ice Cream, all day long.
  • Free Birthday Cake is available while supplies last.
  • BigKidSmallCity will have a table at the party.  Come see me!
  • Fill out the form below to win train tickets, a pedal boat ticket and gift card to Pinewood Cafe!  The winner can pick them up at the party!

Giveaway closes on August 5, 2014 at 9:01pm.
Official Rules:  http://wp.me/P2efXF-5tD



Houston Zoo Splashpad: Kathrine McGovern Water Play Park – Visiting Houston’s Parks, One Week at a Time!

Houston Zoo Splash Pad Buckets
Address: 6200 Hermann Park Drive, Houston, Texas 77030 (Located next to giraffes & carousel.)
Cost: Free with Zoo Admission

This week’s playground of the week is a wet one! Visit the Houston Zoo’s Kathrine McGovern Water Play Park to cool off this summer!  This splashpad is free with zoo admission and is located near the giraffes and Wildlife Carousel.

Houston Zoo Splash Pad
The splash pad is good for all ages and the littlest of the non-swimmers can play in the jets.  There are buckets, a water tree, jets, a sea serpent and changing rooms.  There is shaded seating for parents and a lifeguard on duty to keep kids from running, pushing or being too crazy.  The area is also closed off from the rest of the zoo, with just one entrance, so kids are mostly contained to the area.

The splashpad is open all summer and turns on when the touch sensor is activated.  It is not too crowded because the tour groups don’t usually bring swim suits and the visitors are eager to see the animals.

Cool Off at the Houston Zoo Splash Pad
Zoo members can easily drop by from just a splash.  If you are buying tickets for the zoo, get your money’s worth by visiting the animals in between splashes.  Outside food is allowed into the zoo, so you can make a day of watching animals, splashing and setting up a picnic.

Houston Zoo Carousel
You can’t get to the splashpad without seeing the Hermann Park Train or the Zoo’s Wildlife Carousel, so bring some extra money or be prepared to say, “not today!”.

Whether you add in the extras or not, the Houston Zoo’s splashpad is a great place to cool off!



NOW FULL: BigKidSmallCity Meet Up: Bayou Wildlife Park, August 1, 2014, 10:00am

Bayou Wildlife Park
**UPDATE: NOW FULL.  To get an email announcing future Meet-Ups, go HERE.***

Take a safari ride, right outside Houston! BigKidSmallCity will meet-up at the Bayou Wildlife Park for an exotic animal tram ride, a petting zoo and pony ride! You can see (and feed!) Banteng Cattle, White Rhinoceroses, Gaur Cattle, Barasingha Deer, Ring-Tailed Lemurs, Bactrian Camels, Pere David’s Deer, Addaxes, Scimitar-Horned Oryx, Hog Deer and Nile Lechwe!

We will meet on Friday, August 1, 2014, at 10:00am. Everyone will get a discounted price of $7 plus tax, which must be paid by cash or check (no credit cards!) on arrival. (Kids under 2 are free.)  Bayou Wildlife Park is located at  5050 FM 517 Road, Alvin, TX 77511-1828.

If you want to join us on Friday, August 1, 2014, you must:

1. Fill out the form below.
2. Be one of the first 45 to respond. Spaces are limited! You will receive an email saying you have a spot or you are on the waiting list.
3. If you get a spot, bring your kids to Bayou Wildlife Park (5050 FM 517 Road, Alvin, TX 77511-1828) on Friday, August 1 by 10:00am.
4.  You will need to pay your own way once you arrive.  BRING CASH or CHECK!  (No credit cards!) Tickets are $7+tax per person.  Kids under 2 are free. It includes the tram ride, petting zoo and pony rides (for kids under 90 pounds).
5.  We will need to arrive at the same time.  Before the event I will send out a reminder with details of where to park.
6. Make every effort to attend. Since spaces are limited and we want as many kids to get a chance as possible. If you need to cancel, email me at Jill @ BigKidSmallCity.com.
7.  You can stay for a picnic in the picnic area.  Bring your own lunch, just no watermelon!



BigKidSmallCity Meet Up: Pippi Longstocking, The Family Musical – July 26, 2014 – 1:35pm (Kids 3 and Older)

Pippi of Pippi at Main Street Theater
Grab your Pippi Longstocking tickets and meet us on Saturday, July 26, 2014, for the 2:00pm show. The BigKidSmallCity group will have the opportunity for a special meet and greet session with the actors before the performance!  (Kids must be 3 or older to enter the theater!)

We’ll meet at 1:35pm outside the main entrance to Main Street Theater (4617 Montrose Blvd, Houston, TX 77006). Instead of entering the main doors, we’ll slip in the back entrance to meet Pippi and friends!

After taking pictures with the actors, we’ll go find our seats in the theater.

This show is great for kids and their parents.   We saw the production on opening day and my kids were bent over, heads on their knees, laughing.

Pippi is about 1.5 hours, including a 15 minute intermission.  After the show, all the kids can line up for autographs.

If you want to join us on July 26, 2014 at 1:35pm, you must:
1. First go HERE to purchase tickets at Main Street Theater. They start at $13 each and kids must be 3 or older.  Pick whatever seats you want.  (We will not sit in a block of seats, but rather, all over the theater.)
2. Next, fill out the form below to be part of the VIP meet & greet!  This session does not cost extra.  You just need to be on the list!
3. Be one of the first 40 to respond. You will receive a confirmation email.
4. If you get tickets and a spot on the tour, bring your kids to Main Street Theater, at 1:35pm. Main Street Theater is located at:  4617 Montrose Blvd, Houston, TX 77006.  We’ll meet outside the main entry but slip in the back entrance.



Dolce Vita – Our Search for Houston’s Best Restaurants for Kids

Location: 500 Westheimer Rd, Houston TX 77006
Age Appropriate: All ages!
Price: $-$$

Hi, I’m Juliette! My husband, my 6-year-old and I love going out to eat and we are sharing our restaurant finds with you.

This week’s pick is a good symbol of what our summer feels like: the Sweet Life or as they say in Italian: Dolce Vita – Authentic Neapolitan Pizzeria Enoteca. It is located on Westheimer just east of Montrose.

I remember when it opened a few years ago now, one of my friend fell in love with their pizza and mostly with their oven! It is an actual wood-burning oven imported from Italia. What it means is that your pizza is going to be delicious, thin crusted and it will come quickly! Always a plus with children or if you want to enjoy a first-class meal in a short time. And since we wanted to catch the Frozen sing-along at Miller Outdoor theater, (with a few other thousands people!) it was perfect for us!

Dolce Vita Houston
They offer valet parking so you don’t have to worry about where to park on busy Westheimer. The decor is old world charming with wooden floors and earthy color scheme and a nice covered patio that makes eating al fresco ideal in the summer and winter. We appreciated the effort of the staff who wore soccer jerseys of countries playing in the World Cup. Their bathroom was clean and spacious.

Salsiccia E Friarielli at Dolce Vita
The chef has created a wonderful menu of specialty pizzas but you might want to check out their antipasti. They have cured meats and cheeses that are delicious. We went straight to the pizza menu though: my husband picked the pizza Salsiccia E Friarielli (sausage, rapini and pecorino cheese). It was everything he wished for!

[Read more...]



Beyond the Beltway: Sea Center Texas and Surfside Beach

Crab at Sea Center Texas
Sea Center Texas: 300 Medical Drive, Lake Jackson, Texas
Surfside Beach: 3312 Bluewater Hwy, Surfside, Texas

This week we traveled south down 288 to visit Sea Center Texas. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department operates three fish hatcheries, but Sea Center Texas is the only one visitors are allowed to tour! We reserved our tour spot by calling the number on this page.

We arrived at the Sea Center about 45 minutes before our tour and were able to go through the visitor center during that time. The first things that grabbed our attention were the large stuffed fish hanging on the walls. Those things are huge! Each has a nameplate beside it, so we were able to identify them. I didn’t need to read the plate to know what the hammerhead shark was, but I didn’t know how massive they were!

Sea Center Texas
Immediately after that the kids had to go check out the touch tank. Here they were able to touch live hermit crabs, anemones, and a few other kinds of crabs! There were even small fish flitting around in the water and a volunteer was available to answer any questions we had about the animals in the tank. This was definitely our favorite part of the visitor center.

Across the room from the touch tank was an area where the kids could make rubbings of eight different sea creatures. The plastic forms had raised ridges, so the kids were able to place sheets of paper over them and rub crayons along the paper to create the impression.

[Read more...]



Playground, Monkeys, Birds & Lunch at Gallery Furniture – Visiting Houston’s Playgrounds, One Week at a Time

Brooke at Gallery Furniture Playground
Address: 6006 North Fwy, Houston, TX 77076
Cost: Free

Once again this week, the “park” of the week is a little different. Since it’s hot in Houston and we haven’t gotten our days started early enough, we are reviewing a very unique (and free) indoor playground.

Not only does Gallery Furniture‘s I45 location have a giant indoor playground, but it also has exotic birds, monkeys and free lunch, cookies and ice cream.

And guess what? You don’t even have to pretend like you are shopping. Gallery Furniture is happy to have you bring the kids, play, eat and go home!

Monkeys at Gallery Furniture
The kids and I went to do just this. In fact, we walked in, and immediately ran in to Mattress Mack who told the kids that he was the head monkey at Gallery Furniture and we should go see the other monkeys! (Apparently he’s seen the moms-and-kids-just-coming-to-play-and-eat types before!)

So, that is what we did. We went to watch the monkeys jumping and swinging in the middle of the store. We all giggled as they dribbled basketballs and put on a show for their audience. And did you know they wear diapers? (This may have been my 5 year old’s favorite part.)

Gallery Furniture
From here we could spot the huge slides in a corner of the store. In the play area there are beds (I guess for jumping?), a wall sized chalk board, mini rock wall, personal trampolines, 2 twisty slides and an extra wide slide meant for 3 kids to race to the bottom.

Right in the play area is a small restroom for the kids and it was clean and well maintained. The playground area was just a little damp, but not much different than most fast food playplaces.

The playground is closed off from the rest of the store, so I was able to sit and relax while the kids went crazy.

Birds at Gallery Furniture
I eventually had to bribe my baby with ice cream to get him to leave the play area. We still had the birds and cafe to see, and he was determined to race down the slide for the 5,000th time.

We finally did go see the exotic birds and made our way to the cafe. Here we were able to grab drinks, all the food we wanted from the buffet line and ice cream.

Ice Cream at Gallery Furniture
It was really great (free) fun. Not once did we get pitched on buying furniture…. and I didn’t feel at all bad about using their store for our fun. Next time I need furniture, guess of the first place I’m going to visit? (Pretty smart, huh?  Everyone wins!)