Houston Summer Staycation and Vacation Guide for Family-Friendly Fun

Looking for summer fun for kids and families in Houston?

I’ve got you covered with this year’s MomsTravelTales Houston Summer Staycation and Vacation Guide for Family-Friendly Fun with tons of free and frugal fun all over Houston for you here.

Break out your calendar,  take a few notes and get ready to blast away any idea of summer boredom! And when you do visit any of these spots, be sure to let me now what you thought about the experience either here or on the MomsTravelTales Facebook page.

(And keep checking back, because there is even more to come!!)

Ready? Here comes the fun…


Houston Zoo

 FREE on the first Tuesday of every month starting at 2 p.m.

Activities to look for:

Chill Out at the Houston Zoo

Houston summers are hot, but the Houston Zoo is cool… well, in the Chill Out zones, at least! While you are there, look for the 13 indoor, air-conditioned locations throughout the zoo to chill out and relax away from the Houston heat.  The animals enjoy Chill Out-themed enrichment activities that keep them happy and cooled off, too. From ice-pops for the bears, to daily baths for the elephants, the zoo takes care of the animals to keep them cool all summer long.

Check the Daily Update at the Plan Your Day Kiosk when you arrive at the Zoo for a complete list of the day’s happenings, including the animals’ Chill Out activities and Meet the Keeper talks, when you can get an inside scoop on what happens at the zoo. More at

During regular Zoo hours through September 3

All Chill Out activities and Meet the Keeper Talks included with paid zoo admission

DINOSAURS! at the Houston Zoo

Come face to face with the massive, fearsome ‘dinosaurs’ this summer at the Houston Zoo! The Houston Zoo is featuring almost twice as many dinosaurs as before and they are highlighting species that were once found in Texas, with all but two found in our region.

From the towering brachiosaurus and mighty T-rex to the new additions like the protohadros and edmontonia, these animatronic dinosaurs move, roar, and even spit water. More information on line at

Best for kids 6 years and older

9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. daily through Sept. 3

$3 per person in addition to regular Zoo admission


The Houston Zoo is open in summertime from 9 a.m. – 7 p.m., with the last admission at 6 p.m.

Houston Zoo, 6200 Hermann Park Drive, Houston, TX, 77030

For more information: 713-533-6500 or www.houstonzoo.org



Houston Center for Contemporary Craft

 FREE all the time.

Activities to look for:

Hands-On Houston

Hands-On Houston is a free craft-activity open house on the first Saturday of every month at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft.  Each month, a teaching artist demonstrates a craft related to the current exhibitions. Craft material (and inspiration) provided free.

Families and children of all ages are welcome.

First Saturday of every month; drop in anytime between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.


Click here to read about June’s Hands-On Houston activity:


Artist Residency Program

Watch and speak with artists at work in their studios (studios are open to the public).

Click here to see their current artists.


Houston Center for Contemporary Craft is open Tuesday–Saturday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. 
Sunday: Noon – 5 p.m. It is closed Sundays July 4th through Labor Day. HCCC is closed on Mondays and on the following holidays: Easter, July 4th, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.

Houston Center for Contemporary Craft– 4848 Main Street

For more information: 713-529-4848,  www.crafthouston.org


The Health Museum

 FREE every Thursday from 2-5 p.m.

Activities to look for:

Super Science Summer

Spend this summer at The Health Museum and take advantage of special events, exhibits and contests planned as part of Super Science Summer! All visitors can find out what happens inside their bodies every day at Cells: The Universe Inside Us, enter to win a lime green bicycle courtesy of Regions Bank or take part in the Super Science Summer Coloring Contest.

Appropriate for all ages

June – August during regular business hours

Included with general admission


Imagination Playground

New this summer, Imagination Playground houses giant foam blocks forming the basis of a play space to encourage child-directed, unstructured free play. With a focus on loose parts, Imagination Playground offers a changing array of elements that allows children to constantly reconfigure their environment and to design their own course of play.

Appropriate for children ages 12 and under

Tuesdays, 1 – 3 p.m. from June 12 – August 14

Included in general admission


The Health Museum is open Monday – Saturday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday 12 – 5 p.m.

General Admission is $8 adults, $6 children 3 – 12 and seniors 65+, children 2 and under free.

The Health Museum – 1515 Hermann Drive, Houston, TX 77004

For more information: 713-521-1515 or www.thehealthmuseum.org


Houston Center for Photography

 FREE admission all the time.

Activities to look for:

Second Saturdays for Kids at HCP

Second Saturdays at the Houston Center for Photography offer young photo enthusiasts the chance to create photo-related projects alongside the experts.

Appropriate for children 8 – 12 years old

Second Saturdays of the month beginning July 14, 10:00 a.m. – 12 Noon


 Summer Camps Open House at HCP

About:  Houston Center for Photography is excited to offer full day camps this summer. Learn the fundamentals of photography, camera operations and photo editing software such as Photoshop and Lightroom in a fun non-competitive environment.

Meet the instructors, learn a bit more about each camp and get your questions answered!

Age: Camps for 10 – 16 years old

When: Saturday, June 9, 10:00am – 12:00noon

Price: FREE

The Houston Center for Photography is open Wednesdays to Sundays, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Thursday, 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. HCP’s galleries are closed Mondays & Tuesdays.)

The Houston Center for Photography offers free admission.

Houston Center for Photography, 1441 West Alabama St, Houston, TX  77006
For more information: 713-529-4755 or www.hcponline.org


Children’s Museum of Houston

 FREE every Thursday from 5-8 p.m.

Look for:

Instructables:  Made in Your Mind exhibit

Made in Your Mind strives to instill the importance of engineering and perseverance in YOU through a hands-on, step-by-step process based on the concept of the Instructables® website—branded the “world’s largest show and tell.”

Most appropriate ages:  4 – 12

Every day during the summer

Included with general admission


The Children’s Museum of Houston is open Monday through Saturday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m,with extended hours Thursdays from 5 – 8 p.m. Sunday: noon – 6 p.m.

General admission in $9.

Children’s Museum of Houston, 1500 Binz, Houston, TX  77004

For more information:  (713) 522-1138 or  www.cmhouston.org


Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

 FREE every Thursday.

 FREE for children ages 6 to 18 on Saturdays and Sundays, when they show their library card from any public library in Texas.

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston offers such a variety of activities, many of which are free, that I could not list them all here. Click over my Summer Fun for Families at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston post to see it all, from detective adventures to movies, to storytimes and concerts, to cool food trucks for lunch, gorgeous masterpieces and more…


Discovery Green

FREE activities all the time.

Look for:


Friday, June 22 – Sunday, June 24

DockDogs®, the world’s premier canine aquatics competition, returns to Discovery Green, Friday, June 22 through Sunday, June 24. This competition showcases furry four-legged athletes from across Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana as they compete in high-jump, long-jump and speed retrieve events.

Rounding out the scene are pet-friendly vendors, dog training demonstrations and animal adoptions. Don’t miss out on the Haute Dog costume contest, Saturday, June 23 at 3pm and the Dog-gone Talented pet trick contest Sunday, June 24, at 3pm.

This family-friendly event is free and open to the public. Free viewing, registration fees apply to enter a dog in the jumping competition. Check discoverygreen.com for times and additional information and a comprehensive list of participating vendors.


All ages


Toddler Tuesdays at Discovery Green

Enjoy story time and activities with your favorite look-a-like characters. Amerigroup RealSolutions® will be on-site during event to provide CHIP and Medicaid assistance.

Toddler Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m.

  • June 5- Scooby-Doo Time to Play
  • June 12- The Berenstain Bears: Papa’s Day Surprise
  • June 19- Curious George: The Dog Show
  • June 26- Yogi and Boo Boo: Boo Boo’s New Leg


All ages welcome


Houston Screen on the Green: The Muppets

Saturday, June 9, 9:00 p.m.

With the help of three fans, The Muppets must reunite to save their old theater from a greedy oil tycoon. (PG), 2011, 103 min. Arrive an hour early for activities and contests! CompuCycle will also be accepting electronic recycling at this movie. Blankets, lawn chairs and picnics are welcome; food, beer and wine are available at the Lake House. No glass containers or outside alcoholic beverages, please.


All ages


Thursday Concerts at Discovery Green

Rock out at our free, family-friendly concerts showcasing the best music of Texas and the Gulf Coast. Blankets, lawn chairs and picnics are welcome; food, beer and wine are available for purchase. No glass containers or outside alcoholic beverages. Co-sponsored by 29-95, Saint Arnold Brewing Company, Cactus Music and KPFT 90.1 FM, 103.7, ESPN 97.5 FM, 104 KRBE and Houston Press. * Recycle your empty Saint Arnold six-pack carriers for double reward points at this concert.

Thursdays through June 28, 6:30 p.m.

  • June 7 :George Porter Jr. & Runnin Pardners, Paul Ramirez Band Opens
  • June 14*: The Gourds, Paula Nelson Band
  •  June 21: The NiceGuys, Kydd, Zin
  •  June 28: Los Skarnales, Wild Moccasins


All ages


Discovery Green Flea

Treasure-hunt at this monthly, one-of-a-kind market nestled in the shady southeast end of the downtown park. The destination market features an array of vintage items, clothing, antiques, collectibles, jewelry and more. Plus local music, kids’ activities in the kid zone, bicycle repair workshop and food vendors.

All ages.

Saturdays, June 16; July 21; August 18; NEW Summer hours are 6-10 p.m.



Kayak on Kinder Lake

Experience something that will have you and your friends talking! Enjoy a guided kayak ride on Kinder Lake provided by Buffalo Bayou Shuttle Service. Each kayak will be piloted by a professional guide. Children must be signed in by a parent or guardian. Kayaks will take up to two children or one adult and one child at a time for a total of three people including the guide. Each ride will consist of two laps around Kinder Lake to learn about paddling and enjoy all the beautiful fish swimming in the lake.

All ages

Saturdays and Sundays through June 30

$5 per person


Houston Family FunFest

Come celebrate the summer with Houston Family magazine. Enjoy free face painting,

arts and crafts, bounce houses and more!

July 1, Noon- 4 p.m.



Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney, Houston TX 77010



Sunday Market at CITYCENTRE

FREE Every Sunday

Every Sunday, from 4 until 7 pm, the central plaza at CITYCENTRE becomes a showcase for a variety of 20+ (and growing) vendors and a gathering place for families who come to enjoy the festive atmosphere enhanced by live music.

In addition to all the unique vendors for shopping, there are hands-on activities, too, and Savory Celebrations catering provides cooking demonstrations every other Sunday.

800 Town and Country Boulevard, Houston, TX 77024


Kemah Boardwalk

Rock the Dock

Play in the Dancing Fountains and celebrate a rockin’ summer with our free summer concert series.

All ages; geared towards adults but all performances are family friendly

Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. thru the end of August



Fireworks Fridays

Check out our spectacular fireworks display over the Galveston Bay every Friday night in June & July!

All ages

Fridays – June & July, July 4th @ 9:30pm



Bay Day

Interactive activities, demonstrations and exhibits for kids of all ages.  Presented by the Galveston Bay Foundation.

All ages

Saturday, June 9th.  11am – 4pm



Kid Krazy Mondays

Summer specials on rides, food and fun!  Download a coupon from the Kemah Boardwalk website (or grab one from the Houston Chronicle) for discounts on All Day Ride Passes, Kids’ Meals (at participating locations) & the Boardwalk Beast!

Plus, karaoke just for kids from 11am – 4pm each week.

All ages (Kids Meals are for children 12 & Under.  All Day Ride Passes are based on height requirements, not age.)

Mondays – July 9th thru August 13th


Boomin’ By the Bay

Rock out with KSBJ and NGEN Radio at a free concert series with popular Christian artists.  Come early for artist meet & greets and the Houston Astros Street Team, too.

All ages

Tuesdays in July – July 10th – 31st.  Concerts start @ 7:30pm each week.



 Shark Week

Help celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Shark Week!  Take your picture with the Aquarium’s very own “Sharkey” and enjoy shark-themed activities all week long!

All ages

July 29 – August 4

FREE, however some activities may incur a small fee.


Kemah Boardwalk, 215 Kipp Avenue, Kemah, TX 77565



Do you know of something fun that isn’t listed?

Please tell us all about it in the comments so we can check it out!

I’ll be adding more ideas to this post as the summer continues. :)

Not in Houston?

Check back Tuesday when I’ll post a links to more than 40 bloggers across the country sharing their ideas for their cities.


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  1. says

    Thanks for your time for posting “Houston Summer Staycation and
    Vacation Guide for Family-Friendly Fun at Mom’s Travel Tales :: Sharing the adventure of family travel”. I reallymight certainly end up being coming back for far more reading through and commenting soon enough. With thanks, Sharon


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