Find out about downtown Houston parks. Learn locations of parks and about fun activities for toddlers and preschoolers in the parks. See pictures of kids in parks.
Houston, Texas offers many fantastic activities for toddlers and for preschoolers. Families will find endless possibilities to make a vacation great, a weekend special, or just enjoy daily life with young children in the Houston area.
Houston is a wonderful city for parks. Several can be found in the downtown and surrounding area. Some favorites include:
Discovery Green Park
This downtown Houston park is relatively small but packed with great activities for toddlers and preschoolers. Activities include a playground with a jungle gym, a man-made lake, a large fountain water feature that can be played in, and a huge splash pad that kids of all ages adore.
There are dressing rooms in the park and convenient, clean restrooms with a changing table. Make sure to bring swim diapers for children not potty-trained, as no diapers are allowed on the splash pad and security will ask parents to remove a child in a regular diaper.
Bring a few dollars as well – ice cream trucks regularly park around the park's perimeters and are a favorite with young children (and their parents!). If families are hungry while visiting, there are two restaurants inside the park. Discovery Green does not charge for admission, however, be aware that the choices for parking are only metered street parking or parking in a paid lot or garage.
Visit the park often. Discovery Green Park has concerts, classes, seasonal activities and changing exhibits throughout the year. Park location: 1500 McKinney St., next to The George R. Brown Convention Center
Sam Houston Park
Sam Houston Park is the city of Houston's first park and is a protected landmark. The park does not have play equipment but offers lots of extraordinarily beautiful space to run and play. Sam Houston Park is excellent for blanket picnics as well. Be sure to save some food for the ducks.
Parents who enjoy photographing their children will love this park! Massive oak trees, meandering walking paths, fountains, ponds, a rustic bridge, lush landscaping, and statuesque monuments make this park is a perfect setting for portraits.
Sam Houston Park hosts the Heritage Society Museum, a small museum preserving the history of Houston. The museum may not appeal to very young children, but older preschoolers might be interested and parents with an infant in a stroller will probably enjoy taking a look. Museum admission is free.
An added bonus of Sam Houston Park is its location next to the Downtown Houston Public Library. The library is huge and has a very nice children's area with toys, computers and of course, tons of books. The library and park together make for a really fun day, full of activities for toddlers and preschoolers.
Metered street parking is available and the library has its own garage. Park location: 1100 Bagby, at the corner of Bagby and Lamar
Hermann Park is perhaps, Houston's most well-known park. The reasons for this may include its monstrous size and a seemingly limitless array of activities. Hermann Park's fun for children includes a playground for children of all ages with an interactive water play area, a vast amount of running and jumping room, nature trails and a scenic train ride through the park.
Probably the most exciting of all activities for toddlers and preschoolers in Hermann Park is the Houston Zoo. Houston's zoo is large and nicely planned for families. There is even a separate children's zoo with a playground for toddlers, one for preschoolers and older kids, a water play area and a fun petting area where children can brush goats.
Other activities at Hermann Park are countless. There is much to explore. Older preschoolers will enjoy the Pioneer Log House Museum, the Houston Museum of Natural Sciences, and midday shows for children at the Miller Outdoor Theater. Families will love the gardens spread throughout the park and ponds with ducks to feed, paddle boat rentals and catch and release fishing lake.
Bring cash for food, train rides, paddle boats and zoo, and museum admission. Main park admission is free. There is plenty of free parking around the park. This park is very large. Check site for directions from specific locations.
Armand Bayou Nature Center
The Armand Bayou Nature Center in Houston offers Mommy and Me classes that bring environmental learning experiences to even the youngest outdoor adventurers.
Families traveling to big cities will always find a wide variety of activities suitable for young children including zoological parks, children's museums, and theme parks. But Houston, Texas offers a unique eco-adventure for toddlers and their parents through the Armand Bayou Nature Center's Mommy and Me classes held throughout the fall and spring.
Nature Tour for Toddlers
The Armand Bayou Nature Center is a wildlife refuge and wilderness preserve dedicated to educating the public about the ecosystems contained within it: wetlands, bottomland forests, and tallgrass prairies. Expanding on its self-guided tours and traditional educational programs, the Nature Center has recently added a series of Mommy and Me courses teaching toddlers from 24 months to four years old about everything from insects and flowers to owls and deer. These classes are an ideal outing for families visiting the Houston area who want an experience that is off the beaten path and away from the crowds.
The toddler tours offered through the Mommy and Me program begin with a walk (or toddle) along a stroller-friendly boardwalk to search for the tour's featured animal or plant with guaranteed sightings of resident turtles and hawks along the way. Groups are then taken to a classroom where children are provided with materials for completing a simple craft to take home. In addition, a themed story-time and sing-a-long reinforce the lessons learned for the day. Due to the variety of activities offered, toddlers remain engaged and entertained throughout the hour and a half program.
Preparing Toddlers for Outdoor Adventures in Houston
Parents interested in taking part in the toddler tours at Armand Bayou Nature Center should plan ahead to ensure a pleasant visit. The cost is very reasonable at $6 for members and $8 for non-members, which includes both the child and their accompanying adult. Classes can fill up rapidly, so calling ahead to reserve a spot is recommended. Be sure to bring along insect spray, bottled water (or a sippy cup full), and sunscreen. Finally, packing a lunch for a picnic at Bay Area Park, just west of the Nature Center, is a great way to complete the morning.
The Armand Bayou Nature Center Mommy and Me class series is a great way for families to get to know the wild side of Houston while visiting the area. Children will enjoy the easy walking tour and will go home with a self-made souvenir that reinforces the environmental lesson learned that day.
So Many Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers in Houston Parks
Houston is a terrific city full of beautiful parks for families to enjoy together. There are so many activities for toddlers and preschoolers in Discovery Green Park, Sam Houston Park, and Hermann Park, that parents of young children will find themselves returning over and over again for endless days of fun.