We spent Fall break in Houston visiting family and exploring local attractions. It was our first time in the area so we had lots of fun finding things to do with kids in Houston. We actually stayed in Sugar Land with my brother and sister-in-law so we didn’t focus JUST on things to do near downtown Houston. We had the opportunity to review a 2017 Mazda CX-5 while in Houston so we were able to explore things to do outside Houston proper as well.
Fun Things to Do Near Houston With Kids
1. Crocodile Encounter
The Crocodile Encounter is a hidden little gem about 30-45 minutes outside of Houston. My brother and sister-in-law couldn’t wait to take us there. I’m pretty sure they wanted to scare Peter with all the crazy crocodiles. 😉 It’s definitely more of a laid back/homemade sort of animal experience compared to a typical facility like the Houston Zoo. It’s different but fun, you’ll find a variety of crocodiles, alligators, turtles and even a few non-reptiles like a kangaroo, a porcupine, and lemurs!
Don’t forget to bring a head of Romaine lettuce to feed the turtles.
2. Space Center Houston
Technically the Space Center is in Houston but it’s a good 45 minutes outside of the city. I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect because I don’t love NASA stuff personally. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the exhibits and how interested the boys stayed. I definitely think everyone should visit it at least once. There is an amazing amount of history there. The kids loved the kid’s area, the motion simulators, and the robot ice cream vending machine the most.
I recommend everyone check out the 90-minute NASA Tram Tour as well.
3. Fort Bend Children’s Discovery Center
We ended up visiting the Fort Bend Children’s Discovery Center one day just to get a break from driving into Houston. It’s located in Sugar Land and a special project of the Children’s Museum of Houston. My experience with satellite museums hasn’t been great, so I didn’t have high expectations for this museum. I was SO wrong. The Fort Bend Children’s Discovery Center blew me away, they packed tons of fun within 6 different exhibits. My boys (ages 7 and 10) favorite exhibit was Kidtropolis, a miniature city with a grocery store, various office jobs and working ATMs to deposit their “paychecks”.
You get free admission if you are a member of another ASTC-member science centers (like the Flandrau Science Center in Tucson).
Exploring Houston in a Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring
Houston’s METRORail offers public transportation around the city center but if you want to explore other areas near Houston, you are better off with a car. Knowing we would be staying outside of the downtown, we were happy to review the 2017 Mazda CX-5 during our visit. Check out what we loved about the Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring edition.
5 Things We Loved About the Mazda CX-5
Dual Zone Climate Control
I love dual-zone climate control especially when you are in hot locations like Arizona or Texas. I usually cool off quicker than my boys and don’t want to feel the blast of air conditioning for very long. Dual zone climate control helps keep everyone comfortable.
A backup camera is so essential to me now. I feel reassured having that additional safety feature when backing up any car especially one that is new to me! My backup camera screen at home isn’t huge so I really appreciated the much larger screen in the CX-5.
When visiting a new place, having access to a great navigation system is a plus. The larger display for maps is a bonus over-relying on my cell phone for navigation.
The boys were extremely comfortable in the back seat. Beyond plenty of space, the middle seat pulled down to a console that featured storage, USB charging, and cup holders.
More and more safety features seem to be standard nowadays which is great. The Mazda CX-5 offered both blind spot monitoring and lane departure warning.
I also loved that you could open & close the back liftgate with a remote!
We were provided with a week-long test drive of the 2017 Mazda CX-5 during our visit to Houston in exchange for our honest opinions.