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6 Superb Places to Take Your Kids in Houston
Whether you’re a space-geek grownup or a keen young astronaut-in-waiting, Houston can get anybody excited. They don’t actually launch any rockets here, but Johnson Space Center has been NASA’s mission control since 1961. Their staffs are perpetually in contact with the International Space Station & any shuttles in orbit.
The Space Center should be on your Houston “must do” list, but you’ll need things to do once you’ve all come back down to Earth! So here are 6 Houston attractions where you & your kids are most likely to have fun & relax.
Galveston Island About 40 minutes south-east of Houston, down Interstate 45, Galveston is a nice city on a small coastal island of the same name. Houstonians head there in summertime, to play on 32 sandy miles of beach & generally relax in the semi-tropical sunshine. There’s a bus from Houston, but if you have little kids you’re probably best off finding a decent cheap car hire company, and making a mini-roadtrip of it. Nearly everyone drives, here; the highways are easy to use, and a vehicle gives you most flexibility once on the island.
Museum of Natural Science The Houston Museum of Natural Science has an excellent Planetarium, the perfect add-on to your Space Center visit. Its Butterfly Center is simply beautiful, ideal for any family member who’s getting a bit “bored of Space now, Mom!” We love the simulated rain forest, with its 50ft waterfall, although it can get hot in there. There’s also an IMAX cinema, for when you fancy a sit-down. Take note: one fee (or CityPass) covers all the permanent exhibits, but you pay separately for the planets, butterflies, & IMAX. They’re inexpensive, though, and it does mean you only pay for what you have time for.
Hermann Park The Houston Museum of Natural Science actually lies within Hermann Park, a lovely, huge, green space full of woodland, lakes & interactive water features for the kids. It’s great for a free play & chill out time, perhaps a picnic or gentle hike. Golfers might enjoy its 18 hole Carlton Gibson course, while fishermen, although they must follow regulations, can indulge within designated areas.
Kemah Boardwalk Older children enjoy Kemah, with its modest but well-priced, good-natured collection of roller coasters and fun fair-rides. You’ll also find seaside treats like ice-cream & seafood restaurants, with weekly shows & fireworks throughout early summer. Kemah is just off Interstate 45, 20 miles south east of Houston.
Splashtown Another favorite amongst the big kids, Splashtown is fairly small but nonetheless entertaining, with water slides, rides & family pools. It’s a good place to cool off & just be silly for a while. To get there, drive north on I.45, coming off at FM 2920-Tomball, exit 70A.
Children’s Museum of Houston Rated #1 US children’s museum by “Parents” magazine, The Children’s Museum of Houston is well-loved amongst Houstonians & visiting families. It normally captivates kids up to around 12 years old. It’s enormous, with too many good bits to fit in here. Our family favorites include KidTropolis, where the kids participate in a simulated economy (and learn the real value of that Xbox!); solar powered EcoStation, with its grubby hands-on environmental activities; and PowerPlay, where they burn off any excess sugar they’ve wheedled from us during the visit.