NOW FULL: Meet Up as Unique as Houston, Gallery Furniture, June 29, 2015 at 3:00pm

Gallery Furniture Bouncing
Join BigKidSmallCity, HoustonMothersBlog and Young Author, Madison Sampson for a Meet Up as Unique as Houston!  Mattress Mack has invited us back out to the wild Gallery Furniture.  

Here kids will get to meet the monkeys, take pictures with the exotic birds, make crafts, race down the giant slides and eat as much pizza, ice cream and cookies as their parents allow!

AND, new for this Meet Up, guests will get to meet  4 1/2 year old Madison Sampson, author of My Mirror and Me: I can be anything I want to be!

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

Bird at Gallery Furniture6
Check out the great time we’ve had at past events HERE!

If you want to join us on Monday, June 29, at 3:00pm, 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 Monday, June 29, at 3:00pm. Come and go as you want… we will be there until 5:00pm.  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 @ BigKidSmallCity.com.



West University Spark Park – Visiting Houston’s Parks, One Week at a Time

West University Spark Park Play Structure
Address:  3756 University Boulevard, Houston, TX 77005

Right across from our favorite Little Matt’s is the West University Elementary Spark Park!  Visit this playground, with lots of unique features, before heading over to one of our favorite kid friendly restaurants.

West University Spark Park Ladder
The Spark Park Program develops school parks into neighborhood parks as a way to increase green space in Houston. West University Spark Park gates open after school activities end and throughout weekends, holidays, and summer months for everyone to enjoy.

West University Spark Park Playground
This park has lots of slides, ladders, bridges, monkey bars, swings and soft turf (without mud and ants).  There is big equipment and smaller equipment but not a ton of shade in the playing area.

West University Spark Park Picnic Tables
There are also a few picnic tables and a little stage area, in the shade. Here you can cool off and put on your own little show.

West University Spark Park Swings
My kids decided the tall play structure was a fortress and I believe there were dragons down below. Lots of running and giggling and climbing. Once they were very very sweaty, we went over to Little Matt’s for lunch and air conditioning.

West University Spark Park Playgrounds Steps
Parking is free on the street. I assume it fills up on school days or during baseball games (with the field next door), but when we visited, there was plenty available.

Monkey Bars at West University Spark Park
The West University Library (which requires a Harris County Library Card) is right around the corner. Stop by their sunny kids area before leaving the area!



Half Day in Houston: Wild Animal Safari and Farm Fresh Produce

Zebra at Bayou Wildlife Park
Having fun with the family and exploring Houston can be easy!  If you have a few hours, we have ideas on how to spend it with the kids.

In this Half Day in Houston series, find a place to play, explore and eat… all in one spot.  Pick what you like or combine with another Half Day post!

In this adventure, feed exotic animals on a wildlife safari and then pick your own produce.

Look below for a map of the walking route.

 

Park:  For this adventure, you’ll need to drive to each spot… but there are big parking lots at each spot… and once you drive to Alvin from Houston, you might as well visit lots of spots!

 

Explore:

Camel at Bayou Wildlife Park
1.  Bayou Wildlife Park – 5050 FM 517 Road, Alvin, TX 77511-1828 – $20/adult, $10/kid | Discount for Groups | NO CREDIT CARD

A short drive from Houston is the Bayou Wildlife Park in Houston… and it is amazing.  You get nose to nose with exotic animals.

The Bayou Wildlife Park tour includes a safari style tram tour that is perfect for families… no running after kids… just sit and be entertained.  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.

There is also a petting zoo and pony ride (for kids under 90 pounds)!  After your adventure, you can stay for a picnic in the picnic area. Bring your own lunch, just no watermelon!

Strawberries
2.  Froberg’s Farm – 3601 Texas 6, Alvin, TX 77511 – Free to Visit | Fee for Actives

Close to the Bayou Wildlife Park is Froberg’s Farm.  You can always pick up farm fresh produce and pies… and depending on the season, you can also take farm tours and pick your own fruit and vegetables!  See what’s available now, HERE.

 

Eat:

If you haven’t already had a picnic at the Bayou Wildlife Park or eaten at Froberg’s Farm, check out Joe’s Barbeque Company.  It’s close to the park and farm!

You can find more adventures HERE!



Go to the Movie Theater for $1 Kids Movies, All Summer Long!

Brooke at Main Street Theater
This summer, WEDNESDAY is the day to go to the movies. Each week, participating Cinemark Theatres are showing kids movies for just $1! These include Penguins, Diary of a Wimp Kid, Night at the Museum, Dolphin Tale, Rio 2, Nut Job… each theater varies, and some have extra dollar days, so go HERE to get all the details.  Adults are also $1 per movie!

Theaters Include:
Houston, Memorial City Mall Cinemark Theatre
Houston, Cinemark Tinseltown 290 & XD
Cypress, Cinemark 12 Cypress & XD
Katy, Cinemark 19 & XD
Pasadena, Cinemark Hollywood Movies 20
Cinemark Tinseltown 290 and XD
Pearland, Cinemark at Pearland & XD
Spring, Cinemark Spring-Klein & XD
Texas City, Cinemark Movies 12
The Woodlands, Cinemark at Market Street
The Woodlands, Cinemark Tinseltown 17 & XD
Webster, Cinemark 18 & XD

 



Flash Giveaway: Family 4 Pack to Saturday Showing of “Fancy Nancy: The Musical” at Main Street Theater!

Main Street Theater Fancy Nancy The Musical
Fancy Nancy: The Musical will be at Main Street Theater starting this Saturday and I have tickets to give away… The flash giveaway starts now and closes on Wednesday!

One family will win a 4 pack to Main Street Theater’s Fancy Nancy: The Musical, for ANY available show this summer (Saturdays, June 13-August 1, 2015, 10:30am, 1:00pm or 4:00pm).

Main Street Theater – temporarily at Talento Bilingue de Houston at 333 S. Jensen Drive, Houston, Texas, 77003

UPDATE:  Congratulations to the winner, Indira R!

Kids must be 3 or older to enter the theater.
Giveaway closes on June 10, 2015 at 5:00pm.
Official Rules: http://wp.me/P2efXF-6TQ



Be on the Look-Out for Hidden Treasure at Houston Parks

As you explore Houston Parks, be looking for treasure boxes, just under the mulch and gravel…  or bring your own to hide!

Last week, Fun2Go Misters shared a list from Kids Stuff World…  Acts of kindness you can do with your kids.

Keep It Please You are Special Note Inside the Park Treasure Box
The list has 22 ideas… and 1 was to bury treasure at the playground.  This is something we got excited about and could do easily!

My kids decorated a container with markers, added some notes and some real treasure… Matchbox cars, bracelets and frogs.

You Found Treasure Note Inside Park Treasure Box

At first the kids were a little unsure about burying treasure for someone they did not know… and not being around to see it found.  But I told them it would make someone feel special and that was a good enough reason for me.

After some thought, they agreed.  Mostly.  My youngest wasn’t so sure about treasure that wasn’t for him, but went along with the plan.

Treasure Box at the Park
We were super sneaky as we buried the treasure at the busy park… and even my 3 year old could get excited about this.  And when we went back 2 days later, it was gone!

Burying Treasure at the Park
So next time you visit a park we recommend… be looking for treasure. Or bury your own treasure for kids to find!



Half Day in Houston: 3 Parks, 1 Pool, Nature Center and Gelato!

Having fun with the family and exploring Houston can be easy!  If you have a few hours, we have ideas on how to spend it 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, get some exercise, get close to nature, visit 3 playgrounds, a pool… and grab pizza and gelato!

Look below for a map of the walking route.

 

Park or Ride:  

Park at Feld Park’s parking lot, or to get closer to the Newcastle trail, find a free street parking spot on a cross-street between Avenue B and Newcastle. Just be sure to hide or take all valuables with you!

Also, if you are not up for a little exercise on this trip, you can go straight to the Nature Discovery Center, park in the free lot, and visit the pool, Evergreen Park and Nature Discovery Center… without so much walking.

Explore:

Feld Park Play Structure
1.  Feld Park – 6406 Avenue B, Bellaire, Texas – Free

Start your day at the shaded Feld Park.  The kids can play on several play structures, including a little rock wall, zip line and swings.

Once you’ve had your fun, push your stroller over to Newcastle a block away.  (Or, if you are not up for some exercise, make it a short drive to the Nature Discovery Center.)

Bellaire Newcastle Path
2.  Newcastle Trail – Newcastle Street – Free

Along Newcastle in Bellaire, the sidewalk is extra wide and is used by bikers, runners, walkers and stroller pushers.  Two strollers can easily go side by side and two moms can easily walk and talk.

From Feld Park, if you go north on Newcastle a couple blocks you can grab pizza a gelato from Luigi’s… or a donut from Shipley’s. If you go sourth, past Bellaire Blvd, you’ll hit the Nature Discovery Center and Everygreen Park!

Path at Nature Discovery Center
3. Nature Discovery Center – 7112 Newcastle, Bellaire, TX 77401 – Free

“Hike” the trails, visit the bunny, quails, doves and pigeons, and play on the playground at the Nature Discovery Center.  This park is free to visit and you can always find the playground and trails open for your family.  The house and discovery rooms are open most afternoons… but you can have plenty of fun even if they are closed.

Evergreen Playground
4. Evergreen Park – 4500 Evergreen Street, Bellaire, Texas 77401 – Free

Right across from the Nature Discovery Center is Evergreen Park.   This playground has a super deluxe play structure…  slides, ladders, rock wall, monkey bars and much much more.

Once the kids are hot, you’ll find the community pool, right behind the playground equipment.

Pool at Evergreen Park
5. Evergreen Pool – 4500 Evergreen Street, Bellaire, TX 77401 – $5/person

Open during the summer months, this pool is open to the public and is $5 to visit.

This pool is not as fancy as Bellaire’s amazing Town Square Aquatic Center, but it’s also a lot less busy.  You’ll find a little duck slide, a big tube slide, diving board and lots and lots of water.

Enjoy the cool!

 

Eat:

Luigis Pizzeria Gelato
Located at Newcaste and Bissonnet, is Luigi’s.  You’ll find a casual restaurant with pizza and lots of flavors of gelato!

 

Enjoy your half day in Houston with the kids!  You can find more adventures HERE.



Join Us for the BigKidSmallCity Storytime at Brazos Bookstore! Saturday, June 20, 2015

Brazos Bookstore
Meet me at Brazos Bookstore on Saturday, June 20 at 10:30am!

BigKidSmallCity will be at Brazos Bookstore, reading 2 of our favorite books: A SICK DAY FOR AMOS McGEE and THE BOOK WITH NO PICTURES. After the story, there will be an activity and treats from Dixie’s Dessert Delivery.

So you too can play chess with the elephants (like AMOS McGEE), we’re giving 1 family, 4 tickets to the Houston Zoo!  Just sign up for the event below, and you will be entered to win!

AND, so I do not have to say the crazy words in The BOOK WITH NO PICTURES, I’ll be looking for a few volunteers to talk like a monkey with their monkey mouths!  Get your older kids ready to say Blork and Bluuf and Blaaagity… because I’m way too shy to do this on my own!

The event is free… and all you need to do is reserve a spot below. Be one of the first 50 to get a spot… and we’ll see you there!  (Brazos Bookstore is at 2421 Bissonnet Street, Houston, Texas 77005)

If you want to join us on Saturday, June 20, 2015, you must:
1. Fill out the form below.
2. Be one of the first 50 to respond. The form will be turned off once it is full.
3. If you sign up, bring your kids to Brazos Bookstore (2421 Bissonnet Street, Houston, Texas 77005) on Saturday, June 20 at 10:30am. The event is free.
4. Parking will be TIGHT. If you get a spot in the small lot… that’s great. If not, go around the block for free street parking. Just follow the signs for any parking restrictions.
5. Make every effort to attend. 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.

Zoo Ticket Giveaway closes on June 20, 2015 at 9:59am.  Zoo Tickets Expire 3/31/16. Official Rules: http://wp.me/P2efXF-6RY



Things to Do, with Kids, in All 50 States!

Goggles and Funny Face at Splashpad
I just found some great resources for “things to do with kids” across the country!

If you plan to travel this summer… or know friends in these cities… check out:



Half Day in Houston: Run down the tree lined trail, visit the gorillas, splash in the water and enjoy a picnic!

Having fun with the family and exploring Houston can be easy!  If you have a few hours, we have ideas on how to spend it 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, push your stroller down a tree lined trail, visit the Houston Zoo, splash in the water and grab a picnic.

Any day or time will work for this adventure, but to beat the heat and the crowds, starting in the morning at 8:00am would work great.

Look below for a map of the walking route.

Hermann Park Centennial Garden Parking Lot
Park or Ride:   Find a parking spot in Hermann Park’s free lot by the Centennial Gardens (Lot C, accessible on Hermann Drive by the Health Museum)… or make the trip more fun by takingMETRORail to the Hermann Park Stop.

 

Explore:

Hermann Park Golf Course Trail
1. Hermann Park Marvin Taylor Trail – 6100 Hermann Park Drive, Houston, TX 77030 – Free

Push your stroller, or take your little runners, down a shaded trail that weaves through the golf course.  Stop at the fitness station and let the kids cheer you on as you try a few sit ups.

This trail loops around to Hermann Park Drive and the Houston Zoo!

Houston Zoo Drums
2. Houston Zoo -6200 Hermann Park Drive, Houston, Texas 77030 – Free with Membership | $16/Adult, $12/kid | Free First Tuesday Afternoons (Not Summer)

Keep your walk going through the Houston Zoo.  Gates open at 9:00am each morning.  See the animals, explore the many air conditioned buildings, find the misters along the pathways and find your way to the giraffes and splashpad!  Get insider tips for the Houston Zoo, HERE!

Houston Zoo Dragon at Splash Pad
3. Kathrine McGovern Water Play Park – Houston Zoo African Forest – Free with Admission 

After your long walk in the hot Houston sun, you need to cool off at the zoo’s splashpad!  Change into your suits in the attached rooms, and have fun!  The splashpad is free with zoo admission and opens at 10:00am all summer.

Hermann Park McGovern Lake Feeding Ducks Cheerios
4.  Hermann Park – 6001 Fannin Street, Houston, TX 77030 – Free

Once you’re nice and cool, head out to Hermann Park.  Eat a picnic, eat at Pinewood Cafe, feed the ducks and, if you are lucky, catch a free show at Miller Outdoor Theatre.  The theater is on the way back to your car… and you can find the performance schedule HERE.

 

Eat:

Miller Outdoor Theatre in Hermann Park
If you’ve stashed a picnic lunch in your stroller, enjoy a bite to eat inside the Houston Zoo, by the Hermann Park McGovern Lake, or at one of the many picnic tables throughout the park.

If you are in need of lunch, stop by Twiga Cafe, right by the Zoo Splashpad, or at Pinewood Cafe by the lake.

 

Enjoy your half day in Houston with the kids!  You can find more adventures HERE… this museum district adventure is very close by.