As Seen on ABC13: Things to Do for Spring Break 2015!

Well, here is a funny story… On Monday I was meeting with ABC13 to talk about my favorite Spring Break Events, at Discovery Green…  But, if you remember, Monday at Discovery Green was very wet and not very Spring-Break-ish.  So, at 8am, we decided to meet at my house at 9am.

I don’t know about your house, but on Monday mornings at 8am, my house is in the worst condition of the entire week.  The weekend explosion has not yet been cleaned up, the Monday morning rush adds to the mess… and, well, my house is generally not camera-ready even at it’s best.

So at 8am, I rushed home from school drop off, cleared the counter tops, vacuumed up 500 Cheerios, threw a whole bunch of junk in my bedroom (and locked the door) and sprayed some Lysol to make the place seem clean (with your eyes closed).

At 9am, I was “glowing” when I shot this short clip with Steve Campion of ABC13.  Check out how clean this little corner of my house looks… and find some great things to do in Houston for Spring Break!

NOW FULL – Meet Up: St. Patrick’s Day Party as Unique as Houston, Gallery Furniture, March 17

Horse at Gallery Furniture Meet Ups
Join BigKidSmallCity and HoustonMothersBlog for a St. Patrick’s Day Party as Unique as Houston!  Mattress Mack has invited us back out to the wild Gallery Furniture.  

Here kids will get to ride the horse and buggy, meet the monkeys, take pictures with the exotic birds, make St. Patrick’s Day crafts, race down the giant slides and eat as much pizza, ice cream and cookies as their parents allow!  Check out the great time we’ve had at past events HERE!

And it’s all FREE to those that get a spot!

Gallery Furniture Bouncing

UPDATE: This event is now FULL.  To be the first to be notified about future meet ups, go HERE!

If you want to join us on Tuesday, March 17, at 3:30pm, you must:

1. Fill out the form below.
2. Be one of the first 100 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 Gallery Furniture on Tuesday, March 17, at 3:30pm. Gallery Furniture is at 6006 North Fwy, Houston, TX 77076. The event is FREE.
4. 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 @

Raising Readers: Looscan Neighborhood Library

Looscan Houston Public Library Clocktower
Address: 2510 Willowick, Houston, Texas 77027

This Houston Public Library was being built when I was expecting my 7 year old… It’s the Looscan Neighborhood Library! It took me 7 years… but we finally visited!

Looscan Houston Public Library Kid Tables
This library is much newer than many Houston libraries… and a lot less beat up.  There is a cool children’s section with trees and squirrels, little tables and sitting areas.

Looscan Houston Public Library Trees in Kid Area
A lot of families were hanging out after school on a weekday… sitting and reading and finding good books to take home.

Looscan Library Childrens Section
This library has a free parking lot with lots of spaces.  Traffic can be a little congested at school pick-up time (with River Oaks Baptists School next door), but it’s manageable and spaces were still available.

At the time of this posting, the library is open every day except Sunday.  You can find the free classes HERE… you’ll see storytimes and other events!

The Houston Rodeo… with Entertainment, Education & Refreshments, for only $2

Houston Rodeo Kids Country Driving Tractor
Do NOT tell my older kids… My 3 year old and I have been to the Houston Rodeo every single day since it opened. On Wednesday, we went twice.

We drop off the big kids at school, pretend like we’re off to another boring day of work, and shoot straight over to NRG Park.

After school on (Value) Wednesday, the older kids came along and we had to pretend like we hadn’t seen the baby chicks, honey bees or sunflower seeds before. Lucky for me, the 3 year old acts like it’s exciting and new each day he walks inside the rodeo and livestock show.

Houston Rodeo James and Jill on Tractor at Ag Venture
So, how do we pull this off without spending a fortune? It’s pretty easy with these tricks: Season Pass, Value Wednesday, Cheap Transportation, No Carnival, Lots of Free Activities and the Most Reasonable Refreshment at Rodeo.

[Read more…]

I Can’t Wait to Meet you at FUNomenal Family Festival, Discovery Green, March 7, 11:00-6:00pm

Mist Tree at Discovery Green
This Saturday is the annual FUNomenal Family Festival at Discovery Green!  Be sure to head Downtown on March 7, from 11:00-6:00pm.  I’ll be there and can’t wait to meet you!

5 Things You Need to Know:

1. This is a FREE event with A LOT going on.  This includes Baby Olympics, music, three foam parties, water balls and bounce houses.  Houston Party will also bring rides, a rockwall, obstacle course and twister swing… and more!  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!

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.  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 and what a good job you are doing getting out of the house and having fun with the family.  Really.  Try it!

5.  Win tickets, just by stopping by! Stop by the booth to enter to win tickets to local Houston venues!

Be sure to stop by the booth between 11:00-6:00 on Saturday. Stay for 2 minutes or stay all day. I can’t wait to meet you!

Flash Giveaway: 3 Tickets to Houston Symphony: Star Wars and More, March 7, 2015

Jones Hall for the Performing Arts
Star Wars is taking over the Houston Symphony’s Jones Hall on Saturday, March 7, and I have tickets to give away!

Families are invited to enjoy the music from Star Wars in the hour long show on Saturday morning.  All ages are welcome and lap children can attend for free.

This is a family show, so don’t worry if your kids are working on sitting perfectly still.  This is your opportunity to introduce the symphony to them!

To win 3 tickets to the 10:00am show on March 7, enter below.  Be sure you can attend the show and sign up!

Update:  Congratulations to Tiffany A!  She’s headed to the Symphony on Saturday!

Giveaway closes on March 4, 2015 at 10:30am.
For March 7, 2015 10:00am show only. No substitutions!
Official Rules:

Raising Readers: Heights Neighborhood Library

Heights Library Front
Address:  1302 Heights Blvd, Houston, Texas 77008

A cool looking building along the Heights Boulevard path, with a big children’s section and tons of free classes… It’s the Heights Neighborhood Library!

Arches at Houston Heights Library
Not only this public library located in a funky part of town, with lots of restaurants, parks and Victorian architecture, but it has an amazing amount of free children’s classes.

Find the full list HERE, but you’ll probably find storytimes, baby times and after school zones.

Heights Library Kids Area
Another great thing is that (at the time of this posting) the library is open 6 days a week.  Not all are libraries are that lucky.

Heights Library Kids Seating Area
There is free street and lot parking.  There is a lot of selection in the kids area, plus a nice batch of FlipKits.  Go check it out!

Houston Arboretum & Nature Center – Visiting Houston’s Parks, One Week at a Time!

Houston Arboretum Playground Tunnel
Address:  4501 Woodway Drive, Houston, TX 77024-7708
Hours: Trails are open 7:00-7:00pm Daily. Discovery Room, Nature Shop, Library are open Tuesday-Sunday, 10:00-4:00pm.

The Houston Arboretum and Nature Center, located in Memorial Park, has 5 miles of trails, a nature center and playground… that is open for free every day of the year!

The Arboretum has something from everyone… some trails are long and challenging, some are meant for strollers and the youngest of kids.  Learn all about the trails HERE.

Houston Arboretum Paths
The playground is small, but very very cool.  It has a bridge, tunnel, logs for climbing, sandbox (or really, sand covering most of it) and a challenging rope bridge.

Houston Arboretum Playground Rope Bridge
The rope bridge is our favorite, with 3 ropes across 2 trees.  The ropes have some slack and the kids have to work really hard to stay up-right as they cross the bridge.

Houston Arboretum Playground Bridge James
All the playstructures unique and a fun change from most brightly colored Houston playgrounds.  The kids get to climb on stumps, crawl through tunnels, dig in the sand, get dirty and enjoy nature.

Houston Arboretum and Nature Center Crafts
Also at the Arboretum is the (air conditioned)Nature Center. The Discovery Room has (free) crafts, a library, interactive exhibits and an indoor scavenger hunt.

Houston Arboretum Library
This is great for hot or wet (or our occasional cold) days! My kids could spend an hour just exploring this jam-packed discovery room.  (Just note that during the week, this room could be booked by private groups… so call first if you have your heart set on this space.)

So head out and explore the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center.  Swing by to play on the playground or stay for hours as you explore the trails.

This love story does not slow down… Cirque du Soleil’s Amaluna at Sam Houston Race Park

Cirque Du Soleil Water Bowl CWP_155
Photo Credit: Cirque du Soleil
Address:  Sam Houston Race Park, Under the Big Top, 7575 North Sam Houston Pkwy W, Houston, TX 77064
Dates: Through March 22, 2015

Ohhhhhhh… I have always wanted to see Cirque du Soleil… Athletes climbing poles, with their bodies parallel to the ground… Gymnasts flipping and twisting, from a sitting position… and a show that does not slow down from start to finish.

Cirque du Soleil Chinese Pole_0088_R
Photo Credit: Cirque du Soleil
I finally got my chance when Cirque du Soleil hosted me at the Sam Houston Race Park’s Big Tent… I saw Amaluna, a show that celebrates women, with an almost all female cast. And I am certain I could watch this same show 50 times and not be tired of it.

Cirque du Soleil Icarian Games & Water Meteors CWP_121
Photo Credit: Cirque du Soleil
This show does not “warm up” to a grand finale. From the very start there are amazing acts. Gymnast are flipped into the air while juggling meteors, acrobats descend from the ceiling while balancing on hoops… and then there is the high flying uneven bars, the seesaw that shoots gymnasts 20 feet in the air and a balancing act that has the entire audience holding their breath.

Cirque du Soleil Cerceau-0036_R
Photo Credit: Cirque du Soleil
Amaluna is a love story where the queen’s daughter and her suitor are tested with many trails and setbacks.  You can read all about it HERE.

Cirque du Soleil Teetorboard CWP_173
Photo Credit: Cirque du Soleil
There were a lot of kids in the audience and the show was appropriate for them.  The music is a little loud, but no big crashes or scary sounds.  The love story is also very, uh, appropriate with only some hugs and a whole lot of acrobatics.  And all ages laughed at the hilarious serpent that started the show by stealing popcorn from the audience… and spilling it on them.

Cirque du Soleil Character Cali CWP_093
Photo Credit: Cirque du Soleil
My own 5 year old daughter stood me up for our date so she could play at grandpa’s house.  I haven’t been able to bring myself to tell her just what she missed.  She would have loved the show and re-enrolled herself in gymnastics immediately.  As it was, I got to go with Janie from Fun2Go Misters and have a girl’s night… a rare thing for me!

Jill and Janie at Cirque du Soleil
Whether you take the family or have an parent’s night out, be assured that every single seat under the big top is amazing.

Cirque du Soleil travels with their own tent and equipment.  I’d like to see them travel down the highway because they have a giant (spinning) stage, a 6,000lb water bowl, a huge frame that supports the athletes as they fly through the air, a mobile gym for training, a giant (temperature controlled) tent and all their equipment.

Inside the tent, event the seats in the way back, are right next to the stage.  At a traditional theater, you’d still be in the high-dollar section.  Ticket prices vary by day and availability, from about $30 to over $200 each.  Look through the options and find something that works for you.

Get your tickets HERE.

Kids Love Tuesdays at Discovery Green! Toddler Tuesdays, March 24 – May 26, 2015, 10:30am

Dicovery Green Toddler Tuesday
Toddler Tuesdays is at Discovery Green March 24 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 from March 24 to May 26, 2014, be at Discovery Green at 10:30am.  The themes, character visits and activities change each week!

March 24 – Sherrif Callie’s Wild West
March 31 – 4th Annual Egg Hunt
April 7 – Lego City: Trucks Around the City
April 14 – Monkey Fun
April 21 – Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: A Hot Dog Day
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!

March 24 – Sherrif Callie’s Wild West
March 31 – 4th Annual Egg Hunt
April 7 – Lego City: Trucks Around the City
April 14 – Monkey Fun
April 21 – Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: A Hot Dog Day
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