Jagged Ridge Park in The Woodlands

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Address: 201 New Harmony Trail, The Woodlands, TX 77389

Parks… this is what The Woodlands does really well! The township has more than 130 parks, located in the villages in The Woodlands, and connected by miles of pathways.

Some parks are big, some are small and all that we’ve visited have been great. In fact, Jagged Ridge Park is pretty amazing.

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This is a small “neighborhood park” but the equipment is great. There is a tree house playground, climbing rock, bucket swings and “fallen logs” for balancing. There is also a pavilion and BBQ pit.  (No restrooms are available.)

There is not a ton of equipment, but it’s hard to pick which spot to play first. The tree house, the logs, the rock? And if you look under the equipment you can find some raccoons and squirrels peeking out!

We ran around and around and around and there was no getting bored.

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This park does not have a parking lot, but free parking is available on the neighborhood street.  Houses face the park and the streets are pretty quiet.

Since this is called a “neighborhood park” by The Woodlands, I did some research to be sure we could visit. According to the park rules,  “All parks of the Township shall be open for public use under such reasonable rules, regulations and policies as prescribed by the Township.”.  Also, the pavilions and facilities can be reserved by residents and non-residents for a fee.

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Find more Houston area parks:



Give Away: ICE at Discovery Green Tickets from Green Mountain Energy!

Green Mountain Energy powers the ICE at Discovery Green… and is giving us more tickets to give away!

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The ice is open every day and you can get all the details HERE.  Of course, Houston winters are hot and wet, and the ICE might need to close.  You can always see schedule updates on the Discovery Green website.

Regular admission is $14 and includes tax and skate rentals.  BUT 1 family will win 5 of tickets and free hot chocolate from Green Mountain Energy!  To win, register below.

Update: Congratulations to Essence B!

Contest Closes:  Thursday, January 5, 2017 at 2:00pm
Official Rules: http://wp.me/P2efXF-aGn



Odd Squad Live! Discounted Tickets for Saturday January 21, 2017

My kids love Odd Squad on PBS… and now we can see Odd Squad Live at Jones Hall!

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The show features an original script and new music, including songs by the show’s resident boy band Soundcheck, this live show is a kid-focused spy adventure complete with fantastic gadgets and dastardly villains. There are also math lessons geared toward kids 4 to 8! Get all the detail HERE.

Tickets are $32.25-$60.75 but check affiliate Goldstar for discounted tickets of $15.50-$28.00. Just grab them quick before they are gone!



Super Saturdays at the Downtown Aquarium – Buy One Get One Free Admission for January 2017

Downtown Aquarium
The Downtown Aquarium will have Super Saturdays in January!

Just print out the coupon and get half-price access to everything at the Aquarium… the rides, the aquarium and the sting ray tank!  (In the past, you have been able to use multiple coupons and also pull it up on your phone.)



Memorial Park Hike Trails… You won’t believe this trail is in the middle of the Houston!

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Address: Memorial Dr & S Picnic Ln, Houston, TX 77007

I’m married to an Eagle Scout… and have done my best to avoid camping, hiking and nature adventures for approximately 15 years.  But now that my oldest is 9 years old, he’s determined to camp, hike and go on nature adventures… and I’m determined to spend time with him.

So I’ve done some camping (including at Lake Houston Wilderness Park), I’ve done some hiking and had lots of nature adventures. And now I’ve been hiking, right in the middle of Houston, and cannot believe the trail we found in Memorial Park.  Even my husband agreed that this trail was a whole lot more like hiking in upstate New York than in the middle of one of the nation’s biggest cities.

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According to the map below, we picked one of the most difficult of the Memorial Park trails… the blue trail.  Unlike the wide jogging trail along Memorial Drive, this one follows Buffalo Bayou and goes up and down, through trees and over water on log bridges.

It was challenging, but easy enough that an adventurous 5, 7 and 9 year old could do it.  And I could do it with a baby strapped to my chest.  (But no way a stroller would work on this trail!)

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Now, I’m much better at urban exploring than nature exploring, but I was very happy to have another adult on this adventure.  There are a lot of trees and no visibility from the street… so I recommend having a second adult.

Also, have the map on your phone or on paper.  The many trails connect up and it’s easy too get off the blue trail.  (I’m pretty sure we spent time on the purple trail because we did not always find the color marker.)  Also, if the trail gets too tough, just turn back.  No need to wander all the way through.

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We parked close to the Memorial Park picnic area (for free, on the south side of the Memorial Drive).  Also, from the last trip to Memorial Park (with broken car windows), we were certain to not leave any jackets or blankets or anything that looked valuable in the car.

Also, the start of the trail has mountain bikes, so be watching.  Further in there are logs over the water and it gets more difficult, and we only saw hikers.

If you also want to try some “difficult” hiking in Houston, check out this trail!

 

Find more Houston are parks:



Give Away: ICE at Discovery Green Tickets!

The ICE at Discovery Green is the largest outdoor skating rink in the Southwest… And you can win tickets to skate for free below!

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At Discovery Green you can also find the ICE Box, for kids 4 and under.  Here the little kids can skate while parents hold their hands from the side.

Also, if you are a non-motorized wheelchair user, you are welcome to enjoy the rink in your own wheelchair.

The ice is open every day and you can get all the details HERE.  Of course, Houston winter’s are hot and wet, and the ICE might need to close.  You can also ways see schedule updates on the Discovery Green website.

Regular admission is $14 and includes tax and skate rentals.  BUT 1 family will win 4 packs of tickets on BigKidSmallCity!  To win, register below.

Update: Congratulations to Jeannie C!

Contest Closes:  Saturday, December 31, 2016 at 6:00am
Official Rules: http://wp.me/P2efXF-aDc



Christmas Under the Big Top at Second Baptist Woodway, through December 20, 2016

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The greatest show on earth tells the greatest story ever told. That’s the theme of this year’s new Christmas Under the Big Top at Second Baptist Church.

This live performance, with hundreds of cast members, has live music, a story of saving the circus… and a real live circus. It’s not the kind with animals. It’s the kind with acrobats spinning on hoops, flying over the crowd on ribbons and flipping off tiny balance beams.

The kids and I went for opening day. The story starts with the circus in financial trouble and the idea to save it with a brand new Christmas show. This part is pretty quick and most of the show is filled with circus acts, dancing, music and singing.

My kids told me their favorite parts were the drummers (in a Stomp-like performance), the girls on the hoops (like in the picture)… and one told me his favorite was seeing baby Jesus with his mom and dad.  So it seems that 2 like the circus fun and 1 likes the original Christmas story.

Right outside of the show are the model trains, so if you come to the show, be sure to stop by.  The tickets start at $10 each, which is pretty reasonable for a big Christmas show in Houston.  (Kids under 2 can sit on your lap for free.) It’s not quite Cirque du Soleil but it’s way (way way) bigger than any church show I’ve ever seen.

If you want to see a nontraditional show with high flying entertainment… and also see Luke Benward from the Disney Channel’s Good Luck Charlie, check out Christmas Under the Big Top at Second Baptist Church at the Woodway Campus.



Give Away: ICE at Discovery Green Tickets!

Skate outside, in Houston, all winter long!  (And enter below to skate for FREE!)

The ICE at Discovery Green powered by Green Mountain Energy uses recycled water from Kinder Lake to create the largest outdoor skating rink in the Southwest.

Here you can also find the ICE Box, for kids 4 and under.  Here the little kids can skate while parents hold their hands from the side.

Also, if you are a non-motorized wheelchair user, you are welcome to enjoy the rink in your own wheelchair. Admission for the wheelchair user is free, admission for the accompanying adult is $14 includes skate rental and tax.

Skate with Santa at Discovery Green
 The ice is open every day and you can get all the details HERE.  Of course, Houston winter’s are hot and wet, and the ICE might need to close.  You can also ways see schedule updates on the Discovery Green website.

Regular admission is $14 and includes tax and skate rentals.  BUT 2 families will win 4 packs of tickets on BigKidSmallCity!  To win, register below.

Update: Congratulations to Karla D and Feifan S!

Contest Closes:  Monday, December 19, 2016 at 6:00am
Official Rules: http://wp.me/P2efXF-azZ



Magical Winter Lights through January 8, 2017

stars-at-magical-winter-lights-la-marque
Address: 1000 FM 2004 La Marque, TX 77568

The giant lantern festival is back for the holidays and the pictures are amazing. But it’s in La Marque, which is a long rush hour drive from downtown Houston.  Still, Magical Winter Lights invited us out and I have a very hard time turning down things that look awesome.

We were determined to go on a school night, so right after pick-up, we headed down I45 from Houston to La Marque. It took an hour there (and about 30 minutes after rush hour), but when we realized it was next to our favorite Buc-ees, we knew we made a pretty good decision. When we saw the lights from the highway, we were certain the long drive was worth it.

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This festival is in the parking lot of the stadium (much like the rodeo takes over the NRG parking lot)… and it’s very big.  Half of it is a lantern festival with world landmarks you will recognize, mysteries of the east, dinosaurs and much much more.  You need to see the pictures below.

This is not an underwhelming display of lights, that is for sure!  We rushed through the lights once… and then did a second lap because there was something new each time we turned.

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In addition to the lights, dinosaurland has motorized dinosaurs that swing their tails and make noise.  Plus there is an area where kids can ride on dinosaurs with a $2 token.  So, if you have a dinosaur lover, you are probably going to like this part of the festival.

See all the lanterns HERE.

dinosaur-rides-at-magical-winter-lights
 In addition to the lanterns, there is a carnival, live entertainment, photos with Santa, characters (like Elsa!), food stations and a market.

The carnival rides are extra… and the admission is already high, so be prepared.  Either get ready to buy a $25 (or $20 online) all you can ride wristband or tell the kids you are only doing the lights and entertainment.

General admission is $20+ for adults, $13+ for kids and free for kids under 4.  Parking is $5 (cash only onsite).  Get all the prices HERE.  Magical Winter Lights is open daily through January 8, 2017, including holidays.

Strollers are okay… and there is room for pushing them.  Outside food is not allowed.

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Magical Winter Lights was a bit of a drive from Houston… but my kids really really liked it.  They claim it’s better than Zoo Lights.

I’d say that Zoo Lights is cool because of the venue and getting to see the Zoo at night.  Magical Winter Lights just has a parking lot, but the lanterns are really elaborate and there are a lot of them.  Plus, the live entertainment is top notch and we saw Ana and Elsa by the lit up carriage!

So, if you really like holiday lights, learn more HERE!

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Reserve Your Spot: Pictures with Santa at Gallery Furniture Grand Parkway! (NOW FULL)

Ho Ho Ho!  Santa is on his way to Gallery Furniture at Grand Parkway… and Mattress Mack is treating us to gourmet pizza from Brick and Mortar and letting us snap pictures with the man in red!

Bring the kids out to one of the holiday events at Gallery Furniture (7227 West Grand Parkway South, Richmond, TX 77407) next week on Tuesday, December 13th (9:00am-12:00pm) or Thursday, December 15th (7:00pm-9:00pm).  (UPDATE: These are now FULL.)

Kids can see Santa, watch sharks swim, jump on mattresses and eat as much pizza as their parents allow!  (Note that is is NOT a gift event.)

The atrium is currently closed, so if you have been to events at Grand Parkway before, this one will be a little different.  We’ll meet by Brick and Mortar… not far from the giant jumping mattresses.

When you arrive, grab a number to see Santa.  Since we’ll be taking professional photos and want the kids to enjoy their visit with the big man, there could be a line.  We’ll give out numbers so you can play and eat and come back when your number is up.

Both events are FREE…. you just need to reserve a spot before the event is full!

Nutcrackers at Gallery Furniture Grand Parkway
If you want to join us on December 13 and/or 15, you must:

1. Fill out the form below.
2. Be one of the first 100 to respond at each event. Emails are sent within 24 hours and come directly from Jill.  (We will close when they are full… so we have crafts and food for everyone!)
3.  When you arrive, grab a number to see Santa. Since we’ll be taking professional photos and want the kids to enjoy their visit with the big man, there could be a line. We’ll give out numbers so you can play and eat and come back when your number is up.
4. Understand that food is prepared onsite and cooked as fast as possible for all the guest. At Grand Parkway, this is gourmet pizza from Brick and Mortar! Please do not complain about the free lunches… it reflects badly on me as your host.
5. Bring your kids to Gallery Furniture! (7227 West Grand Parkway South, Richmond, TX 77407) on Tuesday, December 13th (9:00am-12:00pm) or Thursday, December 15th (7:00pm-9:00pm).   The events are FREE.
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.



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