5 Top Houston Family Attractions

Jocelyn Murray December 10, 2012 No Comments


Tots and Travel Recommended

One of the largest cities in the USA, Houston, Texas is home to numerous attractions. Listed alphabetically, the following five venues are our top choices for families with children.


Children’s Museum of Houston

Children's Museum of Houston

Children’s Museum of Houston is full of exciting interactive exhibits

This award-winning museum is highly ranked for many good reasons: it boasts over 14 exciting exhibits, daily activities, educational programs and more. The Children’s Museum of Houston engages the imaginations of kids through numerous hands-on activities. Some of the wonderful exhibits include the Matter Factory that explores some of the building blocks and properties of substances in our daily lives; the Building Zone teaches kids about physics and engineering through a kid-friendly construction play area; Power Play encourages kids to get active with a variety of physical activities while they learn about the science behind health. Exhibits like Think Tank, Made in Your Mind, Inventors’ Workshop, and How Does It Work challenge kids to think outside the box and use their creativity through stimulating activities.

Special traveling art exhibitions, themed interactive activities including crafts, and events and performances are also found at this delightful museum. Even the youngest guests from birth to 35 months have a place of their own in Tot Spot with its many items and objects for touching, handling, exploring, and moving about. The Toddler Story Time provides special enrichment, while the Tot Spot Discovery Area has more hands-on learning fun. For more information visit their website at www.cmhouston.org



Downtown Aquarium

Downtown Aquarium Houston

A beautiful white tiger at the Downtown Aquarium in Houston

Downtown Aquarium in Houston is an exciting six-acre family amusement site that boasts amazing animal exhibits with more than 200 species of aquatic animals and 500,000 gallons of aquariums, carnival-style games, amusement park rides, a delicious restaurant, bar, gift shop, and lots of family programs for educational fun.

Guests can ride on the aquatic-themed carousel, the Ferris wheel with its panoramic views of the Houston skyline, a thrilling drop ride, and a shark ride that offers visitors a close-up view of several species of sharks.

The exhibits at Downtown Aquarium are beautifully-crafted depictions of ancient ruins, temples, a rainforest, a 17th century Spanish galleon shipwreck, and the intriguing marches and bayous of the Gulf Coast. Some of the animals that live at the aquarium are alligators, snapping turtles, bullfrogs, birds, catfish, majestic white tigers, a giant pacific octopus, a moray eel, clownfish, lionfish, tarantulas, a python and more. The living coral reefs at the aquarium have been created by their own biologists and are stocked with a dazzling collection of diverse ocean creatures.

Downtown Aquarium also features several touch tanks with bamboo sharks, horseshoe crabs, stingrays, and other creatures for guests to explore up close. They also have a shark nursery with shark eggs and baby bamboo sharks. For more information on this unforgettable family attraction visit their website at www.aquariumrestaurants.com/downtownaquariumhouston



Houston Arboretum & Nature Center

Houston Arboretum & Nature Center

The tranquil grounds at the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center are beautiful

Animals, flowers and trees, oh my! The Houston Arboretum & Nature Center is a 155-acre non-profit oasis with 5 miles of nature trails for hiking free of charge that wind their ways along lush meadows, forests, wetlands and ponds, complete with a wonderful variety of animals native to these habitats. See birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians including frogs, turtles, snakes, squirrels, raccoons, opossums, armadillos, mockingbirds, cardinals, woodpeckers, blue jays, owls, crows and much more.

The Houston Arboretum & Nature Center is a sanctuary the whole family can enjoy. It also includes a gift shop with lots of nature themed items, toys and books, as well as a Discover Room with plenty of interactive exhibits and hands-on activities like puzzles, games, microscopes, and educational touch screens. This is a fantastic opportunity for children and their parents to learn more about our natural environment and the plants and animals that live there. For more information on this lovely haven visit their website at www.houstonarboretum.org



Houston Museum of Natural Science

Houston Museum of Natural Science

See lovely butterflies and more at the Houston Museum of Natural Science

With a planetarium, giant screen 3-D theatre, amazing permanent and special exhibits, tours, lectures, sleepovers, workshops, classes, crafts and more, the Houston Museum of Natural Science makes for a memorable visit every time you go.  See prehistoric creatures staged in their struggles for survival while escaping predators, chasing prey, or eating. Observe wildlife from Texas and Africa in beautiful dioramas that seem to bring them to life. Learn about ancient Egypt, Native American history, fascinating mollusks, and glittering gems and minerals and the stunning jewelry fashioned from these precious stones. Guests can also explore the processes of energy, chemistry, and our amazing Earth with plenty of hands-on exhibits that engage visitors’ imaginations and natural curiosities.

A special Butterfly Center within a tropical rainforest setting provides a stunning view of these delicate winged-jewels of nature. The world of insects can be explored in the exhibits surrounding the conservatory, from crickets and cockroaches, to backyard bugs and more.

The Wortham Giant Screen Theatre and the Planetarium both feature riveting shows that are packed with excitement to help viewers learn about things like the ocean’s tropical reefs, to the tragedy of the Titanic, mystifying black holes of the universe, the moon, and more.  For more information on this remarkable museum visit their website at  www.hmns.org



Houston Zoo

Animals at Houston Zoo

See elephants, monkeys, giraffes and more at the Houston Zoo

The Houston Zoo is a wonderful place for families to connect with the natural world in which we live. This lush 55-acre park has verdant gardens, thousands of animals from around the world, and fantastic exhibits. Visit the elephant habitat or the African Forest with rhinos, giraffes, and chimpanzees. Guests can interact with the giraffes at the Giraffe Feeding Platform and feed them for a nominal fee. Observe primates from a winding boardwalk or arboreal tree house that affords great views of the monkeys, orangutans, apes and other species living there.

The Houston Zoo is also home to an aquarium, an expansive collection of birds, amphibians, hoofed animals, and reptiles including Komodo dragons, a white alligator named Blanco and a host of venomous snakes like vipers, mambas and cobras. Kids will love the Children’s Zoo with its play areas and petting zoo for an up-close encounter with domestic animals like goats and sheep.

Regularly scheduled keeper chats, behind-the-scenes tours, safari tours, overnight experiences, programs with exciting activities for children, a 4-D theater, and a wildlife carousel provide fun enrichment for memorable times. For more information on this terrific zoo visit their website at www.houstonzoo.org


avatarAbout the Author:

Jocelyn Murray is a travel writer and historical fiction novelist. She holds two university master's degrees in both English and Education, along with a bachelor's degree in Economics and European Studies. She also has a teaching credential and taught at the elementary school level.

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