When planning a trip to Houston, activities like attending an Astros game or touring the space center come to mind. Many of these activities are family-friendly but geared more toward older children and won't hold the attention of busy toddlers for long. If you are headed to Houston, plan a few activities that will be fun for the youngest members of the family, too.
Children's Museum of Houston
With 14 hands-on exhibit areas, the Children's Museum of Houston (cmhouston.org) offers lots of fun activities for children. Toddlers will enjoy the TotSpot Exhibit, an area specially designed for children under 3. Find toddler-size steps to climb on; a variety of knobs, switches and doorbells to push, pull and turn; and mirrors to gaze into. In the ball and pillow pit, toddlers can play with balls by rolling, throwing and kicking them. The museum also offers special toddler story times in the library.
The Houston Zoo (houstonzoo.org) is a must-see for your animal-loving toddler. Not only will young children love seeing animals like elephants, giraffes, chimps and rhinos, they can visit the McGovern Children's Zoo, where they can pet sheep and goats in a petting zoo, explore a realistic bat cave and watch river otters play in the water. The zoo also has a wildlife carousel and several play areas where toddlers can run off that extra energy.
Hermann Park (hermannpark.org) is home to a golf course, garden center and many walking and jogging trails. Playing on the playscapes at the Buddy Carruth Playground found inside the park is a favorite activity for toddlers. The playground contains handicap-accessible equipment for children of all ages and a water play area, where children can cool off in the hot summer months. While you are visiting Hermann Park, don't forget to take your toddler for a ride on the Hermann Park Railroad.
The Downtown Aquarium (aquariumrestaurants.com) has a variety of exhibits, including a shipwreck, rain forest and sunken temple. There's even a white tiger exhibit. The aquarium is also home to a discovery area, where kids can touch stingrays and other sea animals, as well as a carnival with a Ferris wheel and carousel. On a hot day, toddlers can cool off by playing in the Big Squirt dancing water plaza out front, so bring an extra pair of clothes.
Nature Discovery Park
On the outskirts of Houston in Bellaire, you'll find the Nature Discovery Center (naturediscoverycenter.org). Toddlers can explore the discovery rooms, which contain hands-on exhibits, where children can compare animal teeth, visit turtles, fish, snakes and other small animals, and learn about life in a log. A craft story time for toddlers and preschoolers is held weekly.
Find outdoor fun for everyone at Discovery Green (discoverygreen.com). This downtown park has playgrounds, interactive water features and a sunny lawn area, perfect for picnicking. Rent remote-controlled sailboats or just watch the water crafts at the Model Boat Basin. Attend a story or program just for toddlers on Toddler Tuesdays.
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