Eat at the Fresh Café at the Children’s Museum of Houston

Address: 1500 Binz St, Houston, TX 77004

Here’s the truth… we haven’t spent much time at the Fresh Café at the Children’s Museum of Houston.  We are at the museum all the time, but despite the cafe’s name, I did not realize you could get anything fresh or healthy.

The Children’s Museum of Houston invited us out to prove us wrong… and they did.

Located right in the main hallway, the cafe is open almost all day.  You order at the counter, take your seat and the food comes to you.

There are hamburgers, veggie burgers, chicken tenders and fries… but there are also items like salads, sandwiches and wraps.

I had the red quinoa spinach salad and the kids had a little of everything… including some ice cream.

The food was all very good, the service was fast and the restaurant was clean.  The restaurant was very busy but service was quick and the guests all seemed happy.  And, this was probably the easiest museum district lunch we’ve had.

It turns out that the Fresh Café does have fresh and healthy (and vegetarian and kid friendly and…) options!

 

 

Find more Houston area restaurants:


Your S.E.C.R.E.T. Mission Awaits at the Children’s Museum of Houston

Address:  1500 Binz, Houston, Texas 77004

Can you spot the S.E.C.R.E.T. Agent?

We were saving the Children’s Museum of Houston by picking  up codes and restoring order to the Children’s Museum!

Use critical thinking, problem solving, and creativity to uncover clues and solve puzzles… as a Secret Agent on a mission! The museum “hired” my secret agents to defeat the evil scientist Vex… and we completed the S.E.C.R.E.T. Mission last week.

The Museum was under siege and R.I.V.A.L. was attempting to steal the power from our crystals.  The kids took on the challenge and uncovered clues, cracked codes and outsmarted the villains!

If your kids want to be secret agents, here is what you need to know:

  • You can learn about the museum-wide “exhibit” HERE.
  • S.E.C.R.E.T. is designed for kids 8 and older.
  • You need to wear comfortable shoes.  These missions take you all over the museum!
  • We’ve now done three missions… and they seem to change a little each year.  There were new problems to solve this summer.
  • The Children’s Museum is INSANELY busy over the summer.  The cool thing about the Mission is that it’s a good way to visit the museum and to BEAT THE BUSY.  The mission control headquarters is only open to the Secret Agents, so it is not crowded.  Also, as you run around the museum collecting clues, you have very specific tasks and are not trying to compete with the other visitors and field trips in Kidtropolous, the rock wall or the other exhibits.
  • There are several different missions, so even if there are lots of secret agents at the museum, you do not bump into too many of them.
  • Each mission comes with book, museum map and gear.  The kids really do feel like spies, with a special wrist codex that unlock doors and log the agents into computers… plus other gear depending on the mission.
  • The missions are a good way to get the big kids interested in the museum again.
  • Each mission takes about one hour to complete.  We stopped for $1 ice cream bars, by the playground, so it took us a little longer!
  • General museum admission is $12 and free for members.  The first time you do a mission, it costs $20 to get the gear and do the mission.  If you go back for more, the new mission is $10 if you reuse your wrist codex.

If you have a secret agent that wants to uncover clues, crack codes and outsmart the villains, check out S.E.C.R.E.T.!

 

Find more things to do around Houston, with kids:


Big but not TOO big… Take the family to our favorite Splashway Waterpark & Campground!

Address: 5211 Main Street, Sheridan, Texas 77475 (For the winter post, go HERE!)
Use code BigKidSmallCity to save $5 on full price waterpark tickets!

Splashway Waterpark & Campground is our very favorite Houston-area waterpark.  It’s a big park, but it’s not TOO big.   There is plenty to do for my 11, 9, 6 and 1 year olds… but it is not too big for mom to supervise.

Not only this, but Splashway is perfect for families.  Which other waterpark has frequent calls over the intercom asking kids to check in with their parents?  Where else does someone accidentally bump into you and actually stop to apologize and make sure everything is okay?  And who else stops everything at 1:00pm, every day, for the national anthem?

AND, the only thing we like better than visiting this waterpark is staying in the cabins while we are there.  We swim all day and build campfires, play horseshoes, mini golf and laser tag all evening!

Splashway Waterpark & Campground invited us out again this summer, and we had the very best time.  We’ve now been for a one night waterpark trip, for a winter camping trip… and now we have spent four days at the waterpark and campgrounds.  All the trips have been great, but the long summer trip was AMAZING.

We could wake up, casually eat breakfast, walk over to the waterpark, go down all our favorites before the crowds arrived… head back to the cabin for breaks… and back to the swim in the afternoon.  The evenings were filled with campfires, outdoor movies, golf, laser tag, corn hole, playgrounds, horseshoes and more.

The kids got to do all the fun camp activities and play at the waterpark… and I got to have everyone together and away from the distractions at home.

AND I like that big families can stay comfortably and for not a ton of money.  At hotels, a family of six is supposed to pay extra for two of the kids or get two rooms or just quietly cram everyone in. At Splashway you can bring the family plus grandma plus some friends and all stay together.

This trip was definitely a highlight of our summer so far.  Our week happened to be a very very busy week at the waterpark, but with our cabin, cabana and multiple day tickets, we did not mind.  We had plenty of time for everything… and when things go too busy, we found something different to do.

I have been asking the kids their favorite part of the vacation… and all they can tell me is EVERYTHING!  And they want to know when we will go back!

If you plan to go to Splashway Waterpark & Campground, here is what we learned:

  • Use code BigKidSmallCity for $5 off your full priced ticket!
  • You can now load up your Splash Cash wristband, lock away your wallet and buy food, drinks, activities and merchandise from all over the waterpark and campgrounds.  This is very convenient and a good way to stay on budget!
  • All the big slides, except 2, are for kids 42″ and above.  (The others are for 48″ and above.)
  • There are 2 toddler slide areas and lots of slides for kids between toddler and 42″.
  • Parking is FREE!
  • Life Jackets and Tubes are free to use.
  • You can bring in COOLERS!  Food is also for sale and you can use any payment form… including your wristband.  (Bring one on wheels to get it across the park.)
  • There are free grills to cook your own lunch. (First come first served.)
  • Lockers are available to rent.  If you rent a cabana instead, there are locked boxes you can use.
  • Arrive by 9:30am.  You cannot go in the water until opening, but you might get in early, be able to find a table/cabana and be at your favorite slide at opening.  Do your favorite rides first.  Ray’s Riptide and Loco Mono had the biggest line… so do it early if you can.
  • We went on a weekday with a promotion going on.  There were crowds… but still no worse than other Houston waterparks on an average day.
  • There a picnic tables all over the park and people just claim tables with their coolers… and come back when they are hungry.
  • Consider wearing water shoes.  The sidewalks are hot!
  • Lifeguards are everywhere.  But, of course, you have to watch your kids!
  • Have a meet up spot planned in advance… just in case you get separated!
  • This is a lot of walking and climbing!  The stairs and ramps to the top of the slides can take you several stories in the air.
  • Life vests are available for free, all over the park.  You can also bring in your own devices.
  • Strollers are allowed in the park.

If you want to rent the cabins, more tips are below:

  • The cabins come with 3 queen beds and 2 full beds.  The mattresses and pillows are covered in a slick cleanable cover and they NOW rent linens.  (This is great because you don’t have to haul as much or do extra laundry when you get home!)
  • The cabins are air conditioned with a full kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, loft, screened in porch and satellite TV.
  • Splashway also has spaces for tents and RVs.  They have cabins that sleep 12 and smaller cottages.
  • You need to bring soap and shampoo.  (Linens are now available to rent!)
  • The kitchen is fully stocked with pots and plates and silverware… but you need to wash and return everything you use!
  • The campgrounds have a new putt putt golf course, a high tech laser tag course, pedal cars and pedal boats to rent.
  • The campgrounds also have lots of free things to do including hikes, fishing, playgrounds, games in the family center, basketball, sand volleyball and more.
  • If you have room in your car, bring bikes and balls so you have even more to do!
  • The really cool campers seem to bring rope lights to decorate their cabins, RVs, golf carts and bikes… and one of these days we’ll be the cool campers!
  • This campground is nothing like Lake Houston Wilderness Park.  If you want wilderness, this is not it.  If you want fun, we found it here!
  • Do not expect to get lots of groceries in Sheridan.  There is a convenience store, but the closes real grocery store is probably 20 minutes away.  Also, if you need just a couple items, likely the camp store has what you need.
  • If you plan to go in the winter, read THIS post!
  • Take a look at more pictures below… and decide if Splashway Waterpark & Campground is right for you!

[Read more…]


Basketball, Tricks and Shenanigans… The Harlem Globetrotters!

Have you seen the Harlem Globetrotters? They were in the Houston area last week… and the show was great!

Check out the Facebook Live:

I took my kids (11, 9, 6 and 21 months) and my parents… and everyone was very entertained. Even the toddler was excited to watch the basketball and the funny interactions with the crowd.

The game is 4 quarters… but while time is running down, the players stop to pull in the crowd. There is one break at halftime and after the game, the players stay on the court for autographs.

In the past, I’ve heard people say that their kids liked it, the parents liked it but the grandparents, who had seen the Globetrotters years ago, thought it was not like it used to be. They thought the showmanship used to be better.

Well, we’ve now seen the Harlem Globetrotters twice in Houston and have been entertained each time. We liked the basketball, the tricks and the shenanigans. And when they come back to Houston, we’ll be happy to go see them again!

Check out the pictures and the video… and if you went to the show, tell us what you thought!

 

 


Log Hours & Earn Rewards NOW with the Houston Public Library’s John P. McGovern Summer Reading Program!

The Houston Public Library’s John P. McGovern Summer Reading Program ends on August 1, 2018.  Sign up, read and record your hours and earn prizes NOW!

The reading program is FREE and is open to EVERYONE… even if you don’t live in Houston.

And anything counts… including comics, audio books, board books and reading with your kids!  All you need to do is:

1. Visit houstonlibrary.org/summer
2. Click the registration button and follow the prompts.
3. Log in anytime to track your reading goals and activity participation.
4. Unlock badges by logging 20 minutes a day and attending library programs!
5.  Visit your local Houston Public Library location to pick up your prizes.

AND this year there will also be drawings:

1.  Kids (ages 5-12) that log at least 1 day will be entered into a weekly drawing for a Kids Edition Amazon Kindle Fire. 1 winner per week.
2.  Teens (ages 13-18) that log 30 days will be entered into a drawing for a pair of Skullcandy wireless headphones. 1 winner per location. Drawing will take place August 2, 2018.

AND the prizes you earn by reading are being updated now!  You can now earn Dynamo tickets, Houston Museum of Natural Science tickets and Whataburger coupons.  This chart will be updated by HPL soon!

Register and get ready to earn prizes HERE!


Sign Up, Log Hours & Earn Rewards Now with the John P. McGovern Summer Reading Program!

The Houston Public Library’s John P. McGovern Summer Reading Program is in full swing!  From now through August 1, 2018, you can read, record your hours, earn rewards… and it’s all FREE.

And anything counts… including comics, audio books, board books and reading with your kids!  All you need to do is:

1. Visit houstonlibrary.org/summer
2. Click the registration button and follow the prompts.
3. Log in anytime to track your reading goals and activity participation.
4. Unlock badges by logging 20 minutes a day and attending library programs!
5.  Visit your local Houston Public Library location to pick up your prizes.

AND this year there will also be drawings:

1.  Kids (ages 5-12) that log at least 1 day will be entered into a weekly drawing for a Kids Edition Amazon Kindle Fire. 1 winner per week.
2.  Teens (ages 13-18) that log 30 days will be entered into a drawing for a pair of Skullcandy wireless headphones. 1 winner per location. Drawing will take place August 2, 2018.

AND the prizes you earn by reading are being updated now!  You can now earn Dynamo tickets, Houston Museum of Natural Science tickets and Whataburger coupons.  This chart will be updated by HPL this week!

Level Babies, Toddlers & Pre-K (0-4) Children 5-12 Teens 13-18
Registration Book Book, lanyard and button Book, lanyard and button
10 Days Read Book & Finger Puppets Book & Button Book & Button
20 Days Read Book & Bubbles Book & Button Book & Button
30 Days Read Book & Rubber Duck Book & Button Book & Button
5 Programs Attended Button Button

 

 

 

 

 

Register and get ready to earn prizes HERE!


Create a Play in a Day at the Main Street’s Theater Turbo Camp! July 2, 3, 5 and/or 6, 2018!

Can’t commit to a full week of camp?  This is why you need the Main Street Theater Turbo Camp!

Here kids can create a “play-in-a-day” on July 2, 3, 5 and/or 6.

Starting at 9:00am, with their best brainstorming, students will create an original play (plus all their props and costumes) to share with their classmates before carpool. Sign up for as many or as few days as you like!

Ages: 6 – 11
Location: Chelsea Market, 4617 Montrose Blvd., Houston 77006
Dates: July 2, July 3, July 5, July 6
Hours: 9:00am-3:30pm
Showcases: There are no final performances for Turbo Camps. Instead, students will use the last part of the camp day to perform what they have created for each other.
Turbo Camp Fee: $70 per day

Learn more and register HERE!


Take the Kids Skydiving… at iFly Houston – Memorial!

We went skydiving!

My youngest son has kept on his bracelet all week and told everyone we met about iFly Houston!

iFly invited us out for a flight and the kids could not have been more excited.  They have been asking to go for years… and finally they got their chance!

Our iFly flight was schedule for a weekday at noon.  We arrived, signed the waivers and headed up the stairs to find the giant glass chamber where people were flying!

We watch several people fly before we got started, so we had some idea what we were able to do.  Each flyer went in with the instructor.  He stood on the ground and held the suit as the person flew.  He gave instructions through hand signals and if the flyer was straight enough, they could fly on their own.  And at the end, the instructor would fly and put on a show for everyone watching!

After this, we watched our safety video, learned the hand signs and went to suit up.  Kids 3 and older can fly, but my one year old was feeling left out.  The instructors insisted on her using an extra toddler suit and helmet, just to make her feel better.  (And they had no idea I was writing about the trip… they just offered to help!)

Soon after, the kids were in the flight chamber waiting room (and I was outside with baby… and switched with my big boy later on).  One by one they went in and flew!  They each had two minutes… but in the wind, it did feel like much longer.  We had the high flying package, so at the end, the instructor actually took his feet off the ground and flew up high with the kids!  Watch the video!

The kids (6, 9 and 11) thought this was the greatest experience and declared they wanted to come back for Flight School.  Watching them was not at all scary because the instructors were doing a great job and the kids were happy.

There was another little girl in our group (about 5 years old) that was scared after her first flight.  She wanted to quit before her second trip in, but with the mom’s permission, the instructor encouraged her, got her to try again and held her very close for another flight.  I was really impressed that they were so caring.

I did take my flight… and let me tell you that I am scared of most everything, including heights and small spaces.  Once inside, the height was really no big deal and the space was plenty big enough.  It was the giant gusts of wind on my face that I found hard to handle!  For the first few seconds of my flight I was wondering how I would be able to survive for the minute… but in the end, I was glad I did it!

If you are thinking about going to iFly, here are some things to know:

  • Kids 3 and older can fly.
  • You need to wear closed toe shoes.  A flight suit, goggles, ear plugs and helmet are provided.
  • Small lockers are available for free.
  • In the flight chamber, one person is adjusting the giant fan.  They work with the instructor (and I assume they adjust it based on your size and how high they want you to go).
  • To start the flight, you just lean into the wind and float up.  At the end, the instructor takes you to the exit, you grab on and pull your legs out.
  • The instructor stands on the mesh ground, with the giant gusts of wind coming from the floor.  The flyer floats in the air and tries to keep their body straight and chin up.
  • If you have a high flight at the end, an instructor actually flies up with you and brings you back down.
  • If you fall in love with flying, you can join Flight School.  We have not been, but accoring to Houston mom Hilary, you get more flying time and practice skills (like going up, down and spinning).

If you want to learn more about iFly, go HERE!


Five Tips for Keeping Your Family Safe This Summer from Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital

Ah, summertime is here! This time includes relaxing at backyard cookouts, enjoying longer days with outdoor playtime and celebrating summer holidays with family and friends. Summer’s outdoor activities and celebrations often involve spending more time in the sun and using fireworks.

It is no coincidence that area ERs see an increase in fire and heat-related visits during summer months. Read about 5-year old Shelby’s story and learn some simple tips from the affiliated physicians at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital to help your family avoid injuries and beat the heat this summer. Fun-in-the-sun should be just that, fun!

Burn Patient’s Mom Stresses Fireworks Safety

When it comes to celebrating the holidays with fireworks, Casey takes her daughter’s safety very seriously. “As a parent, you try to take every precaution to keep your child safe,” she says, “but unfortunately accidents happen.”

Last Fourth of July, Casey’s 5-year-old daughter, Shelby, was celebrating at home with family and friends when tragedy struck. At nightfall, the group ventured outside to participate in their own firework show. Shelby and her family members sat in the bed of a pickup truck parked a safe distance from the site where the fireworks were being lit. In the uneven field, however, one of the lit fireworks fell over, striking Shelby in the chest and catching on fire the jacket she was wearing. As a result, Shelby suffered second and third degree burns to her right arm, neck, chest, left shoulder and left arm.

Shelby was taken directly to Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, where she was treated by affiliated surgeon Todd Huzar, MD, Director of Pediatric Burn Surgery at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, and Assistant Professor of Surgery at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth. Dr. Huzar was able to repair the burns on her chest by performing multiple skin grafts, where healthy skin is transplanted to the affected area.

“Throughout our stay, the nurses, physicians and entire staff took great care of Shelby, working continuously as a team to help her get better,” says Casey. “After going through something traumatic, I was so appreciative of how attentive they were to Shelby and our entire family.”

In December 2017, Casey returned to Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital to speak about fireworks safety. “Holidays like the Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve will always be bittersweet for us,” she says. “But I am grateful for my daughter’s caregivers who continue to care for Shelby. She is now active and plays like a normal kid, despite her injuries.”

Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital’s Tips for Avoiding Burns This Summer

Dr. Huzar says each summer, particularly around the holidays, as the temperatures rise, so do the number of burn cases in the ER. To help keep your child safe, follow these important tips:

  1. Leave fireworks to the professionals. Attend one of the many public fireworks displays around the city instead of hosting your own fireworks show.
  2. Avoid the sparkler temptation. They are pretty and seem harmless, but they are dangerous. Sparks from a sparkler can reach up to 3,000°F, plenty hot enough to cause severe burns or ignite clothing.
  3. Keep kids away from outdoor grills, firepits and campfires. Create a three-foot safe zone around them.
  4. Properly dispose of charcoal or ash from a grill or fire. They can ignite or, if stepped on, burn feet (as can hot pavement – remember to always wear shoes when going outside!).
  5. Limit sun exposure and liberally use sunscreen. Avoid exposure between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and apply – and frequently reapply – at the minimum, SPF 50 sunscreen on all exposed skin.

By following these simple tips, you and your family can enjoy a burn-free summer. If a burn does occur, however, the best thing to do is seek medical assistance. Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, located in the Texas Medical Center, offers the only pediatric burn program in Houston.


Earn Rewards Now with the John P. McGovern Summer Reading Program!

The Houston Public Library’s John P. McGovern Summer Reading Program is open NOW!  From now through August 1, 2018, you can read, record your hours, earn rewards… and it’s all FREE.

And anything counts… books, comics, audio books, reading with your kids!  All you need to do is:

1. Visit houstonlibrary.org/summer
2. Click the registration button and follow the prompts.
3. Log in anytime to track your reading goals and activity participation.
4. Unlock badges by logging 20 minutes a day and attending library programs!
5.  Visit your local Houston Public Library location, after June 1, to pick up your prizes.

AND this year there will also be drawings:

1.  Kids (ages 5-12) that log at least 1 day will be entered into a weekly drawing for a Kids Edition Amazon Kindle Fire. 1 winner per week.
2.  Teens (ages 13-18) that log 30 days will be entered into a drawing for a pair of Skullcandy wireless headphones. 1 winner per location. Drawing will take place August 2, 2018.

AND the prizes you earn by reading are:

Level Babies, Toddlers & Pre-K (0-4) Children 5-12 Teens 13-18
Registration Book Book, lanyard and button Book, lanyard and button
10 Days Read Book & Finger Puppets Book & Button Book & Button
20 Days Read Book & Bubbles Book & Button Book & Button
30 Days Read Book & Rubber Duck Book & Button Book & Button
5 Programs Attended Button Button

 

 

 

 

 

Register and get ready to earn prizes HERE!