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!
Pro Tip: 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 learning about astronaut training and how space affected the human body. The robot ice cream vending machine was their favorite thing though.
Pro Tip: Don’t miss the the 90-minute NASA Tram Tour.
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 interactive 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”.
Pro Tip: You get free admission if you are a member of another ASTC-member science centers (like the Flandrau Science Center in Tucson).
Fun Things to Do in Houston With Kids
While this post focused on things to do NEAR Houston, don’t forget there is plenty of fun things to do IN Houston with kids too. There are 4 different zones within the Houston Museum District with a total of 19 different museums to see.
We visited the Children’s Museum Houston, Houston Museum of Natural Science and Houston Zoo, all near each other in zone 4 of the Houston Museum District.
Additional museums to consider include Houston Museum of Fine Arts, The Health Museum, Holocaust Museum Houston, Buffalo Soldiers National Museum and the Houston Fire Museum (currently closed until 2023 but their gift shop is open).
I really wanted to check out the Downtown Aquarium but we ran out of time.
Beyond museums, don’t miss checking out a baseball game at Minute Maid Park if you can. Minute Maid Park is located in the heart of downtown Houston. Peter took Quinn to see one the playoff games and they had a blast.
More Travel With Kids Ideas
- Things to do in Tucson with kids
- Things to do in Vegas with kids
- Things to do in Phoenix with kids
- Things to do on the Symphony of Seas with Teens & Tweens
This post was originally published November 25, 2017 in conjunction with a Mazda CX-5 review.