Jerry Matheson Park in Tomball – Visiting Houston Area Parks, One Week at a Time

Jerry Matheson Park Memorial Playground
Address:  1240 Ulrich Road, Tomball TX, 77375

Oh friends, I cannot describe how excited we were to drive to this dot on the map and realize we had stumbled on an amazing Houston-area playground.  And when I say amazing, I mean rambling wooden playground with giant tires, rock walls, zip lines, swinging ropes and more.  Jerry Matheson Park in Tomball is like the popular Donovan Park (in the Heights), but even more adventurous.

Jerry Matheson Park is directly across from Juergens Park (so it’s really like one giant park) and has the awesome playground, swimming pool, tennis courts, baseball field, restrooms and picnic tables.

Jerry Matheson Toddler Playground
The wood playground a toddler play area, with smaller equipment, swings and sandbox.  There is also a giant play area for big (and little) kids.

Jerry Matheson Park Zip Line
Our very very favorite part was the zipline. This is not the kind you find at most playgrounds, that is too high off the ground and hard to move. This is a long rope (or tube) for kids to hang on to and then slide from tire island to tire island.

Jerry Matheson Park Swinging Ropes
Our next favorite thing was pretending this was a ninja warrior training course. From tire to bridge to monkey bars to rock wall to zip line to tire tower to swings… without touching the ground!

Jerry Matheson Park Memorial Playground Tractor
This playground is a little worn in places… but you can tell that it is well loved and well used.  If you are looking for something that is out-of-the-ordinary, you really need to check out the Memorial Playground at Jerry Matheson Park!

Jerry Matheson Park Tire Bridge

Find more Houston parks:

Half Day in Houston: Learn about Maritime history, about one of the busiest seaports in the world, play dress up and grab lunch!

Having fun with the family and exploring Houston can be easy! If you have a few 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 post!

Houston Maritime Museum
In this adventure, learn about Maritime history, about one of the busiest seaports in the world, play dress up and grab lunch!  Visit the Maritime Museum and Candelari’s Pizzeria!

Bonus: As of 1/6/16, there is Groupon for the Maritime museum!  affiliate:


Free parking is available at the museum, on the street and at the restaurant. You will need to move your car once, but everything is close!


Playing Navy Officer at Houston Maritime Museum
1. Houston Maritime Museum – 2204 Dorrington Street, Houston, TX 77030 – Tuesday – Saturday: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m – $3-$5/person

Start the day at a museum where there are no crowds to fight, there is a guided tour customized just for you and a play room for the kids.  Visit the Houston Maritime Museum!

The museum is currently in a remodeled house, near Holcombe and Greenbriar. There are over 150 model ships and the history that goes with them. The self-guided, audio, or guided tours take you from Columbus to modern times, military vessels and the Port of Houston.

If you get the right tour guide, all ages can really learn a lot about Maritime history.  And once you take the tour, kids can play in the kid’s room!

Read all about it HERE.


Proscuitto E arugula at Candelaris Pizzeria
2. Candelari’s Pizzeria – 2617 W Holcombe Blvd, Houston, TX 77030

After the museum visit, make the short drive to Candelari’s Pizzeria!  See our review of the Heights location HERE!


Take the Family to a Show, for Half the Price: 16 Discount Tickets to Houston Shows & Activities

Downtown Houston Theater District Bayou Place
As I told you before, my mom was always sending me these deals… and I was always deleting the emails.  But when I wanted to take 3 kids and 2 adults to holiday shows, I decided that maybe the half-price tickets were worth a double look.  So, I’ve pulled the emails out of the recycle bin and put together 16 Discount Tickets to Houston Shows!

The Blue Man Group tickets sold out… and just had some more added.  If you want these, or tickets to the upcoming events including Brick Fest, Harlem Globetrotters and Seasame Street Live… act fast!

The full list of 16 shows and activities is below.
affiliate links included

1. Goldstar: Blue Man Group –  Jones Hall – January 15-17, 2016 – Full Price is $50.00 – $83.75, Goldstar Tickets are $33.00-$56.00.

The entertainment phenomenon known as the Blue Man Group returns to Houston to thrill audiences once again with a high-octane theatrical experience that you’ll never forget. This oddball performance troupe of bald, totally blue-colored men combines music, comedy and multimedia theatrics to create a totally unique form of entertainment. There’s lots of audience interaction, an original music score and a grand finale that pulls out all the stops. Audiences worldwide have experienced and loved this wildly imaginative, family-friendly stage show with its exuberant combination of comedy, art and science, not to mention its fabulous visual effects and Grammy-nominated music. * Additional fees apply. No coupon or promo codes necessary to enjoy the displayed discount price.

2.  Goldstar: Brick Fest Live –  George R Brown – January 23, 24, 2016 – Full Price is $29.00, Goldstar Tickets are $15.00 – $19.00.

If you’re a fan, you’ll be in LEGO heaven when Brick Fest Live comes to Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center. Get inspired, educated and entertained as you participate in hands-on building attractions and shop the largest variety of LEGO-themed merchandise under one roof. You can build a derby car and test its aerodynamics against other cars on a timed track, put on your hard hat and add to a growing LEGO city, challenge fellow gamers in a themed video game arena, shop for rare and custom sets from the many vendors participating in this exciting event, and much more. Plus, your ticket includes an e-book download, which compiles all the custom LEGO instructions produced for the Brick Builders Club to date and gets updated each month. There’s something for all ages here — all you need to bring is your creativity.

3. Goldstar: Harlem Globetrotters: 90th Anniversary World Tour – NRG Arena – January 30, 31, 2016 – Full Price is $52.00 – $62.00, Goldstar Tickets are $28.00 – $33.00.

For almost a century, the iconic Harlem Globetrotters have been showcasing some of the greatest athletes on the planet with their unrivaled family show. Now, for their 90th Anniversary World Tour, the Globetrotters are assembling a rotating roster of their best-loved players and bringing you all the ball-handling wizardry, rim-rattling dunks, side-splitting comedy and on-court fan interaction that have made them legends.

You might catch female stars TNT and Sweet J’s dazzling dribbling, two-time Guinness World Record holder Thunder’s monster dunks, or showmen Big Easy, Ant and Hi-Lite’s hilarious antics. See for yourself why the Globetrotters have won hundreds of millions of fans worldwide when they hit the court at NRG Arena in Houston.

4.  Groupon: Sesame Street Live “Make a New Friend” on Friday, February 12, at 6:30 p.m.

Grover, Elmo, Abby Cadabby, and Cookie Monster learn that friendship is universal when a foreign visitor arrives at Sesame Street

  • $10 for one G–Pass for seating in sections 105–112 and 205–211 (rows 19–21) (up to $17.55 value)
  • $17 for one G–Pass for seating in sections 105–112 and 205–211 (rows 13–18) (up to $28.29 value)
  • $27 for one G–Pass for seating in sections 105–112 and 205–211 (rows 1–12) (up to $41.06 value)
  • $42 for one G–Pass for seating in floor sections A, B, and C (rows 3–12) (up to $53.88 value)

5.  Goldstar: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater – Jones Hall – April 23, 24, 2016 – Full Price is $35.00 – $118.00, Goldstar Tickets are $17.50 – $57.50.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, one of the world’s most beloved dance companies and a favorite with Houston audiences, returns for another exciting performance. The company is celebrated not just for their exquisite performance of beloved classics, but also for their commitment to bold, new dance styles, offering something for every taste. Artistic director Robert Battle has created a program that spans pulse-racing contemporary favorites to spirit-lifting beloved classics.

6.  Groupon:  90-Minute Rink Admission and Skate Rental for Two or Four at The ICE at Discovery Green

  • $16 for a 90-minute admission and skate rentals for two: valid Monday–Thursday ($28 value)
  • $20 for a 90-minute admission and skate rentals for two: valid any day ($28 value)
  • $32 for a 90-minute admission and skate rentals for four: Valid Monday–Thursday ($56 value)
  • $40 for a 90-minute admission and skate rentals for four: Valid any day ($56 value)

7. Groupon: Rosenberg Railroad Museum

Visit the Rosenberg Railroad Museum!  (See our review HERE!)

  • $6.50 for admission for two (up to $10 value)
  • $12 for admission for four (up to $20 value)
  • $17 for admission for six (up to $30 value)

8.  Groupon: Houston Maritime Museum Visit for Two, Four, or Six 

  • $5 for two full-day admissions (up to a $10 value)
  • $10 for four full-day admission (up to a $20 value)
  • $15 for six full-day admissions (up to a $30 value)

9.  Groupon:  Houston Fire Museum

  • $6 for general admission for two ($10 value)
  • $12 for general admission for four ($20 value)
  • $17 for general admission for six ($30 value)
  • $34 for annual family membership package ($60 value)

10.  Groupon: George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station

Visit the Presidential Library, learn a little US History and see a segment of the Berlin Wall.

  • For $10, you get admission for two adults ($18 value)
  • For $20, you get admission for four adults ($36 value)

11.  Groupon: 1940 Air Terminal Museum

Visit this small (but mighty) museum by Hobby Airport!  (See our review of it HERE.)

  • $5 for admission for two (up to a $10 value)
  • $10 for admission for four (up to a $20 value)
  • $15 for admission for six (up to a $30 value)

Children 12 and younger are normally admitted for $2 each.

12.  Groupon: 7 Acre Wood

  • $10 for a family-fun outing for two people ($18 total value)
  • $20 for a family-fun outing for four people ($36 value)
  • $30 for a family-fun outing for six people ($54 total value)

13.  Groupon:  Painting at The Mad Potter: Paint-Your-Own-Pottery Studios 

  • $28 for $40 toward painting experiences
  • $55 for $80 toward painting experiences

14.  Groupon: Indoor Trampoline Jump Sessions at Sky Zone Houston

  • $17 for two 60-minute jump sessions, valid any day ($28 value)

15.  Groupon: 10-Punch Pass, Two “Parent’s Night Out” Passes, or Weekday Birthday for 15 at Pump It Up 

  • $33 for a 10-punch pass for open jump or family jump ($65 value)
  • $23 for two parent’s night out passes ($40 value)
  • $116 for a weekday Classic Birthday Party for up to 15, valid Monday–Thursday ($189 value)

16.  Groupon: Go-Karts, Mini Golf, and Arcade Tokens for Two or Four at Zuma Fun Centers

  • $20 for one go kart ride and mini golf for two, plus 20 tokens (a $35 value)
  • $37 for one go kart ride and mini golf for four, plus 40 tokens (a $70 value)

Super Saturdays in January 2016, Buy One Get One Free Admission to Downtown Aquarium

Downtown Aquarium from JP Morgan Chase Tower
Super Saturdays are back at the Downtown Aquarium in January! You can print a coupon to get Buy-One-Get-One-Free Admission on Saturdays in the month of January!

This gets you into the aquarium, the stingray touch tank and on all the rides (including my favorite, the shark train)!

Print a coupon for every 2 people in your group… and print a few extra for friends you meet in line

Go to museums & zoos, for free, where ever you go… Houston Museum Reciprocal Programs

Feeding Giraffe at Houston Zoo1
I kinda-sorta knew that my Houston Zoo Membership could be used in other cities and at other zoos… but did not realize the same was true for my other Houston Memberships.  Last week I was in San Antonio and got in free or for half price at several spots… all because I accidentally asked about reciprocal benefits.

Now that I’ve saved a hundred dollars in San Antonio, my first question at any ticket counter, anywhere in the country, will be… “Do you have reciprocal benefits with any Houston museums or zoo?”!

Since many Houston families have memberships to the museums or zoo, here is a guide to what you can get.  And as a disclaimer, this list changes so check before you go!

  • If you have a membership to the Children’s Museum of Houston (Family Plus or Above), you can visit these ASTC Museums for free!  This includes The DoSeum (San Antonio Children’s Museum),  Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas, The Thinkery, the New Austin Children’s Museum and museums all over Texas, the United States… and the world.  Get all the details HERE.
  • If you have a membership to the Houston Health Museum, you have the same ASTC benefits as the Children’s Museum membership.  (You cannot visit the Children’s Museum of Houston with the Health Museum membership because venues must be 90 miles apart to get the benefit… otherwise one Houston membership would get you in all over Houston.)
  • If you have a membership to the Asia Society, you get free admission to the Asia Societies across the world.
  • If you have a membership to the Houston Zoo, you get free or discounted admission to these AZA zoos and aquariums.   ​These include the Abilene Zoological Gardens, Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi, Dallas Zoo, El Paso Zoo, Ellen Trout zoo in Lufkin, San Antonio Zoo, Caldwell Zoo in Tyler, Cameron Park Zoo in Waco and zoos and aquariums all over the country.

Other museums in Houston also seem to have Reciprocal Membership Privileges… so always ask.  If you know of any other good deals for Houston museum and zoo members, let us know!

As Seen on KPRC Channel 2: Free family fun all year long!

“Houston is the fourth largest city in the country. There is a lot going on. But when you’ve got the free time and you’re looking for something to do, it seems you can never find anything. No worries, several ingenious bloggers have done all the work for you.”

Thanks to KPRC2 for including BigKidSmallCity in the list. Take a look to find some other great resources for things to do in Houston!  Click the picture or go HERE.

Freebie For The Family Throughout 2016 KPRC

Things to do in San Antonio, with kids (without visiting the theme parks)!

We love taking a San Antonio roadtrip a couple times a year… and we are not really theme park people.  We like them just fine… but we absolutely love to explore cities and see what makes each one unique.

We’ve been making the roadtrip for the last 8 years, with kids, and just got back from the latest trip.  Look below to find the things we’ve found to do, including discounts and free admission to places with our Houston Museum Memberships!

Below you will find information about the Riverwalk, Museum Reach, King William Historic District, Brackenridge Park…  and a San Antonio map.  If you have more suggestions, let us know and we’ll try them on the next trip!

San Antonio River Walk
1. Visit the San Antonio River Walk

By far, this has been our favorite thing to do.  We get a hotel on the River Walk, walk to restaurants, take boat taxis and do a whole lot of people watching.  From the River Walk in Downtown San Antonio, you can very easily…

This is located right across from the Alamo and the staff has great ideas… and many of the brochures have coupons for local venues.

Alamo San Antonio at Night

We’ve been to the Alamo and snapped pictures and we’ve been and taken the audio tour.  We’ve found that taking the self-paced audio tour really makes the visit more meaningful.  There is also a guided tour… but we are not confident all our kids will last through the whole thing.

Just a short walk from the River Walk is Historic Market Square.  I really like fairs and markets… and this is one that is open all year long.  Here we shop in the stores and stalls, find a sweet snack at one of the booths and watch the live entertainment.  This fair is said to be the largest Mexican market outside Mexico.  There are a lot of tourists… but since I’m a tourist in San Antonio… it is okay with me.


San Antonio River Walk Boat Tour at Christmas

  • Take a Boat Ride 
    • Take a River Tour:
      • If you are short on time, this is the way to go.  The tours take about 35 minutes and cover the downtown portion of the River Walk.  The tour guide talks about the history of the River Walk and the buildings on the banks.
      • Just know that the boats are generally very crowded during the holidays and there is often a wait for the ride.
    • Take the Rio Taxi:
      • If you have more time, you can get the VIP River Walk experience by taking the Rio Taxi.  Here you can cruise along the museum AND downtown parts of the River Walk… including going through the lock!  Your boat goes into the lock, the doors close on both sides, and the water level gradually rises or lowers 9 feet over 3 minutes.
      • With the Taxi, you can jump on and off where ever you want (like when the kids get antsy).
      • Also, the taxi drivers give boat tours, so they know the history of the buildings and the river. On the taxi, many drivers will announce buildings that you are passing and river facts. Other drivers can answer all the questions you have about the river.
      • To get a taxi, look for the markers along the side of the river. When a boat with the checkered taxi flags comes near, just wave it over and buy tickets with cash.
      • The downside of the taxi is the timing. Although you do not need to wait in a long line, like the tour, you are never really sure when the next taxi will arrive. Our strategy was to walk along the river until we saw a taxi and then wave it down.
  • Take a Bus Tour
    • Take the Alamo Trolley TourThis tour lets you sit back and see San Antonio from the street car.  You will see the historic spots near the River Walk and the many missions.
    • Take the Double Decker Bus Tour: This tour is similar to the trolley… but instead of the missions, you can see the museum reach part of the River Walk.


River Walk Waterfall
What your need to know about the River Walk:

  • It can get very very busy at Christmas, New Years and the Annual Football Bowl Game.  The sidewalks get very very full the later the day gets… and I am certain one of us will fall into the river one of these days.  Really.  Many parts are just sidewalk and water.  On busy nights, we generally stay off the River Walk.
  • The River Walk is stroller accessible… but it is kind of a pain.  You need to find the elevators or ramps… and have to squeeze on busy sidewalks.  If you can use a carrier instead, do it!
  • During the busy seasons, we really like to go to breakfast on the River Walk.  The crowds are still at the hotels and a riverside table is perfect.
  • Most years, the river is drained in early January for cleaning.  Apparently they find lots of phones, jewelry, chairs and more.
  • We usually pick just one tour… one boat or one bus tour… we do not do all 4 in one trip.  That would take a lot of time and money.
  • We’ve stayed at the Drury Inn at the Holiday Inn and most recently the Holiday Inn Express.  The first two are right on the River Walk and the last one is a couple blocks away.  We’ve decided we like the Holiday Inn Express best because it’s in the historic old jail building, has thick walls (and either had fewer people coming back from the bars… or we couldn’t hear them), high ceilings, is cheaper than the Holiday Inn and has free breakfast.  It’s also very close to the Historic Market Square and Milam Park.


Pearl Brewery Farmers Market
2.  Visit the River Walk Museum Reach

This section of the River Walk has been developed since we started visiting… and it looks great!  You can get here by walking, by water taxi, by bus tour or by driving.  Once in this part of San Antonio, you can…

We like the Farmer’s Market best… and (often) less crowded shopping and eating than the Downtown River Walk!


Fish Tacos at Rosarios San Antonio
3.  Visit the King William Historic District

This is the part of town with beautiful old houses that I would really really like to live in.  You can get here by walking down the River Walk Mission Reach, driving or taking the bus tour (but the buses cannot go into the actual neighborhood last we took them).  No matter how you get here, it’s a great place to walk around and eat.

  • Walk through the King William Neighborhood
  • Eat at Rosarios.  We got this recommendation from a local… and it is great.  Good food, quick service, reasonable prices… and staff that is willing to make something simple for the kids.  There is no kids menu… but you can order plain tacos or quesadillas or whatever.
  • Visit The Guenther House

This is a long walk from Downtown for kids… so in the past we have taken the bus tour to this stop, grabbed lunch and then make the long walk back along the river.


San Antonio Brackenridge Park Japanese Tea Garden
4.  Visit Brackenridge Park – 3700 N St Mary’s St, San Antonio, TX 78209

This park reminds me a lot of Houston’s Hermann Park.  Zoo, Train, Playground, Japanese Garden, Golf Course, Museums and more.  This is just north of downtown… and once you are here, you can…

San Antonio Zoo Train

    • Ride the Zoo Train.  This is a good way to tour the park… and well, we love trains.
    • Visit the Japanese Tea Garden. This is awesome!  This garden is in an old rock quarry and has winding paths, rock walls, giant waterfall, koi ponds, bridges and so much more.  And it’s free!

San Antonio Witte Museum Sky Bike

  • Visit the Witte Museum.  This museum is kind of like they took pieces from the Houston Children’s Museum, Health Museum and Natural Science Museum and put them together… in a museum that is not as big as any of them.  It is small and the combo is a little odd… but it does have a rock wall and sky bike… and is FREE with Children’s Museum of Houston or Houston Health Museum Membership! (Get details HERE.)
  • Play at the Playground
  • Visit the Kiddie Park.  We have never been to the Kiddie Park… but it’s an old fashioned amusement park for little kids.  It’s open on weekends.


Our trips to San Antonio are usually one or two nights… so we select a couple items from each list and spend some time looking for something new.  So far, BigKidSmallCity readers have suggested the following things for us to try next time:

If you have an idea for something new, I’d love to hear it!  Also, if you want to stay in north San Antonio, check out this amazing kid’s suite at the Omni.  AND, if you are looking for more roadtrip ideas, go HERE!


Half Day in Houston: Walk Your Way to Downtown Houston via the Buffalo Bayou Trail

Having fun with the family and exploring Houston can be easy! If you have a few 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 post!

In this adventure, walk your way to Downtown Houston via the Buffalo Bayou Trail.  Start the day at the nature playground, walk down the bayou trails, burp the bayou, admire the park, see the city for 60 floors up and walk across a waterfall!

Look below for a map of the walking route. Also note that some of this adventure needs to be done on a weekday, during working hours… and that I recommend taking another adult with you along the trails, just to be safe.


Free parking is available on Sabine Street and in the lot by the Water Works building. Do not leave valuables (or what looks like it could be valuables) in your car… because you will be leaving it for a few hours!


Fish Family Play Area at Buffalo Bayou Park Climbing Logs
1. Fish Family Play Area at Buffalo Bayou Park – 105 Sabine Street, Houston, TX 77007 – Free

Just around the Water Works Building, on the banks of Buffalo Bayou, is the coolest nature playground!

It has a gaint slide, climbing structures, water features and drums build in to the landscape.  It also has an amazing view of the downtown skyline, access to the Buffalo Bayou trails, free parking, new restrooms at the Water Works building… and a newly uncovered historic cistern.  Learn all about it HERE!

After you try out all the equipment, head to the trails on Buffalo Bayou!


Buffalo Bayou with Bridges and Highways
2. Sabine-to-Bagby Promenade at Buffalo Bayou Park – Sabine Street, between Memorial Drive and Allen Parkway – Free

For this adventure, you want to head towards Downtown Houston.  So, if your back is to the playground, right will take you to the Houston Police Memorial and Lost Lake and left will take you towards the Downtown skyline.

Buffalo Bayou trails are below street level, so I always recommend taking another adult with your for safety.

This part of the park shares a bike and walking trail… so be watching for bikes.  This trail also takes you to the middle of the city… under lots of highways.  It’s not the prettiest part of Buffalo Bayou Park… but the destination is going to be pretty cool.

Keep walking, jogging or biking until you see the silver columns pictured below!



Preston Street Bridge and Wortham Theater
3. Burp the Bayou – Preston Street Bridge, Preston and Smith, Downtown Houston – Free

When you see Wortham Theater on your right, you will be at in front of the Preston Street Bridge! Go up the stairs and look for the mysterious red button on the columns of the bridge.

This silly little thing can keep us entertained for a long time.  First the kids have to find the button… then they have to decide if they should push it.  And if they push it, where is the bubbling sound coming from?  And what if a boat goes over the bubbles at the same time?

Read all about it HERE.

When you have had enough, stay at street level and head to Market Square Park on Preston Street.


Market Square Park Downtown Houston
4. Market Square Park – 301 Milam Street, Houston, TX 77002 – Free

Market Square Park is Downtown’s chillest park… with a dog park, Niko Nikos outdoor restaurant and room to run.

Houston is Inspired Mural by Market Square Park
Stop to play, to eat… or to find the awesome mural right across the street.

Afterwards, look up and find the tallest building in Downtown Houston.  If you walk a couple blocks south(ish) from the park, you will be able to go to the observation deck.


View from JP Morgan Chase Tower Dowtown Houston
5. JP Morgan Chase Tower – 600 Travis St, Houston, TX 77002 – Free – Open Weekdays During Working Hours

Inside the tower, ask the guards to point you the right way.  Once in the elevators, you will quickly go up to the 60th floor sky lobby!

Here you can look out over the city, and over the bayou trail that brought you to Downtown!

Learn more about the tower HERE!

When you’ve had enough, head back down to street level… and walk back to the bayou.


Waterfall at Wortham Theater and Buffalo Bayou
6. Wortham Theater (Outside) – 501 Texas Avenue, Houston, TX 77002 – Free

Walk a couple blocks to Wortham Theater… head back down to the bayou… and you will find the waterfall that my kids insist on walking across.

One of these days, I am certain they will get wet… but so far, so good.

Take pictures, walk across the water… or just head back down the bayou trail.


Housto Skyline from Buffalo Bayou Park and Sabine Street Bridge
6. Walk back to the Sabine-to-Bagby Promenade – Free

Take the trail back to where you started, at the Sabine Street Bridge!

This tour also takes you right by the Houston History Half Day Adventure and the Downtown Aquarium… and it includes many of the elements from the Train and Tunnel Adventure and the Buffalo Bayou Park Adventure, so add these to your itinerary if you are feeling extra adventurous!


BigKidSmallCity’s 20 Most Popular Posts for 2015

It has been a big year!

BigKidSmallCity greeted thousands of kids at Toddler Tuesdays and the ICE at Discovery Green, hosted 7 crazy events at Gallery Furniture (with monkeys, exotic birds and sharks), read a pile of stories at Brazos Bookstore, published over 700 posts on things to do in Houston, with kids, and… my favorite… was finally able to work full time on BigKidSmallCity!  Thank YOU!

Cowboy Boots at Swing
I am so happy that you have found your way to BigKidSmallCity, whether it’s through a search engine, through social media, from hearing about it from a friend, seeing a poster around town or another way. People get here in a lot of ways… and these are the 20 posts that had the most number of views in 2015.

  1. Top 9 Places to Eat in Houston, with Kids:  BigKidSmallCity reviews a new restaurant each week… and the updates our favorite list as needed.  Some restaurants are “playground” restaurants… others are nicer that are good for parents and welcoming to kids.  Fun fact… the restaurant posts are usually the most controversial.  Sometimes people love them… sometimes people hate them… and it’s often the same exact place.  People have different preferences, so my recommendation is… if you walk in somewhere and it’s not for you… turn around and leave.  Houston has no shortage of restaurants to try!
  2. Birthday Party Venues in Houston – Where to have your Kid’s Next Birthday Party: This post is always a favorite.  I was getting asked over and over for the best places to host a birthday party… so I asked YOU and compiled the list.  I update it every few months.
  3. Free Things to Do in Houston:  This list includes over 40 free things to do in Houston, with kids.  Who doesn’t love free fun?
  4. Parent Recommended Houston Area Preschools… Where to Send the Little Ones to School: Just like the birthday party list, I was getting asked for recommendations all the time. Since I only know a few pre-schools first-hand, I asked YOU.  Every few months I ask for new recommendations from Houston parents.
  5. What are the best Texas roadtrips to take from Houston, with kids?  This is one of my favorite posts… because I really really like roadtrips.  They are fun outings but do not take a ton of work to plan.  I compiled the list of places BigKidSmallCity is reviewed… and asked Houston parents for more recommendations.
  6. Free Public Splash Pads at Houston City Parks: This is a favorite each summer!
  7. Spaghetti Warehouse – The Most Haunted Building in Downtown Houston:  This post was written at the very start of BigKidSmallCity… and gets search engine traffic each day.  Honestly, if I had read the ghost stories before we visited, I probably would have been too scared to go!
  8. Parent Recommended Houston Summer Camps – Where to Send Your Kids to Camp!  Once again, this was a question I got over and over… so I asked Houston parents for their recommendations.
  9. Bucket List: Things to Do in Houston, with Kids, this Summer!  This list was compiled by Christi at Christi’s Creations… and is organized by the days the venues are open, with addresses, websites and which are air conditioned and which are hot in the summer!
  10. Burping the Buffalo Bayou – The Big Bubble in the Bayou & the Mysterious Red Button on the Preston Street Bridge:  One of my all time favorite things to do in Houston.  A 5 year old named Samuel told me about this button.
  11. Top 9 Things to Do in Houston
  12. Visit the Houston Police Department Mounted Patrol Stables:  This might be even cooler than the red button.  Feed nearly 40 police horses… for free!
  13. Little Matt’s – Our Search for Houston’s Best Restaurants for Kids
  14. Top 8 Things to Do in Houston in the Rain
  15. Top 20 “Not-Your-Usual” Things to Do in Houston, with Kids, Over School Break: This new post quickly because one of the most popular of the year.  This list does not include usual favorites… so you won’t find the awesome Children’s Museum here. Instead, you will find things with fewer crowds, some that are a little quirky, and all that are just as much fun as the well-known spots.
  16. JPMorgan Chase Tower Observation Deck in Downtown Houston – Highest Public Observation Deck in Houston:  Located near the red button, this is also one of my favorite things to do in Houston!
  17. Downtown Tunnel System – 7 Miles of Tunnels Under the City! These tunnels run under downtown, including the JP Morgan Chase tower!
  18. Things to Do in Downtown Houston:  This old post is due for an update with the new rail line… but it will easily get you around Downtown!
  19. Houston Parks Passport – Visit a New Houston Park Each Week!  The parks posts were started a few summers ago… and were so popular, we’ve now reviewed over 120 Houston area parks!
  20. Where in Houston? Biscuit Paint Wall in Montrose! This is a funny post to get so much traffic… but it’s an excellent backdrop for a photo… so people are searching for it!

Half Day in Houston: Feed 40 Police Horses for Free

Having fun with the family and exploring Houston can be easy!  If you have a few 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 post!

In this adventure, feed nearly 40 Houston Police horses for free!  Visit the Houston Police Mounted Patrol Stables and then Keith-Wiess Park!



Find free parking in the parking lot at the Mounted Patrol Stables.  Drive over to the park and find more free parking.


Noah and Mom at Mounted Patrol Stables
1.  Houston Police Mounted Patrol Stables – 5005 Little York Rd, Houston, TX 77016 – Free 

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.

There are nearly 40 horses, so bring a big bag of carrots… like the size they sell at Costco.  Also, know that big carrots are a lot easier to feed to the horses than apples because you won’t get licked or bit!

After feeding all the horses, you can eat a picnic lunch on the lawn outside the stables… or you can head to a park.

Mounted Patrol Feeding Horses
2. Keith-Wiess Park – 12300 Aldine Westfield Road, Houston, TX 77039 – Free

Just a short drive from the stables is Keith-Wiess Park.  This giant park has a trail, playground and lake. Learn more about it HERE!