My nephew shared a new piece of trivia with me this weekend. Houston is the fourth largest city in the United States. I had no idea that I was driving through a city with such a distinction several times a year. I rarely take time to stop and see what Houston has to offer, though. It was time to change that.

We were visiting my in-laws in Southeast Texas when we decided we should all (meaning my family, mother- and father-in-law, sister-in-law and her two kids) spend a couple of days in Houston before we headed home. We chose Hilton Houston Post Oak for our base of operations. It’s less than two blocks from the Galleria – a winner with the shoppers in the group – and close to several other things to do in Houston with kids.

THE CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF HOUSTON

Our first stop was the Children’s Museum of Houston. There are different rooms and activities that will appeal to everyone from the baby/toddler in the group to the teenager…possibly even older. Even my husband enjoyed the paper airplane making/launching activity. Not to be missed is the Tower of Power, a three-story tower of giant “pringle”-shaped discs for the kids climbing enjoyment. There are several rotating exhibits as well. While we were there, we enjoyed a display about celebrations around the world including Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Ramadan, and the Chinese New Year, among others. My four-year-old spent the most time in the room giving a glimpse of the Gullah culture. (You really never know about kids!) I think we would have enjoyed the museum even more had it not been so crowded. But that’s the chance you take getting out during the holidays in the fourth largest city in the U.S.

THE GALLERIA

We went to the Galleria that afternoon and again the next day. We had an early dinner at the Rainforest Café where we watched elephants trumpet, tigers growl, and a “rainstorm” every thirty minutes. The boys talked their grandmother (aka Bon Bon) into a trip to Build-A-Bear where we acquired Roy the longhorn and Iggy the black bear. There’s also a Lego Store, ice rink, and a toddler play area, although we didn’t make those stops this time. A few adults and the kids retreated to the nearby AMC theater for movies while my sister-in-law, niece, and I took on the “heavy” shopping.

AMY’S ICE CREAMS

For an evening treat we traveled just a few miles to Amy’s Ice Creams. Yum! Pick a flavor, choose a crush’n, and enjoy. I opted for the Big Kid S’mores – Belgian chocolate ice cream, Mexican vanilla marshmallows, and crushed graham crackers. Be a glutton and go for the large…it’s that good.

SKY HIGH SPORTS

My niece and nephew (14 and 10, respectively) added in a trip to Sky High Sports, a business that boasts all-trampoline floors & walls. There is a special “court” for little jumpers, although we were exhausted and opted not to try it. There are also scheduled times for kids with special needs, young kids, and discounted jumping times. The two older kids said it was tons of fun and something they would definitely do again.

Other fun stuff that we didn’t make on this trip is the fabulous Houston Zoo, Space Center Houston, Downtown Aquarium and the Kemah Boardwalk. Consider the Houston CityPass if you’ll be in the area a few days and can take advantage of several of these attractions.  With such a variety of offerings, I think anyone would find plenty of things to do in Houston with kids!

At times we can overlook the gem in our own backyard, which I’ve admittedly done with Houston. Although the crowds and traffic were at a peak during the days we were there (more of an annoyance to this small-town girl than it would be to most, I imagine!), we still enjoyed our time with family and a small piece of what Houston has to offer visitors. I’m sure my family will make our way back to Houston as a stop-off rather than a drive-through.

This article was originally published by Hilton Mom Voyage.

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