What’s Open in Houston for Kids Right Now
We're open! Kind of. By now we've all heard and mourned the news of Rodeo officially deciding to shut down this year, which raises all sorts of questions about other openings and subsequent closures, especially as businesses open their doors and then have to backtrack. To help mitigate that, we've rounded up everything we can find that's open in Houston right now, from playgrounds to museums to entertainment and more, to help take the guesswork out of where to go and what to do.
We've all learned how much things can change without notice, of course, so please double check before loading the car. But one thing we can't stress enough: these businesses need our help! If you can safely support them, we know they will be forever grateful.
While we are trying to promote safer activities that occur outdoors or with social distancing guidelines in place, please keep your family and others safe by always wearing a mask and maintaining appropriate distance. If you arrive at an event that appears too crowded try using the “nearby” search feature on our event calendar to find something else to do. Note that some photos in this post were taken prior to the pandemic.
Houston Museum of Natural Science debuts Pompeii: the Exhibit this month. Photo by Roberta Brown
Museums & Art Centers in Houston that Are Open
- Seismique Interactive Art Museum
Houston's newest interactive art museum, which immerses visitors in the art exhibits, is open for self-guided tours. Masks are required for anyone 3 years of age and older, and the museum is operating at limited capacity.
- Galveston Children's Museum
The museum is open at significantly reduced capacity. Visitors must purchase tickets in advance, and visits are limited to two two-hour visit times per day. Everyone 5 years of age and older does need a mask to enter the museum.
- Lone Star Flight Museum
The Flight Museum has been cleared for take-off (or just for visitors) and is operating at a 25% capacity, four days per week (Thursday through Sunday). Everyone over the age of 10 is required to wear a mask while on the premises.
- Space Center Houston
Prepare for blast-off, because the Space Center is open with new exhibits and outdoor experiences to help facilitate safe visits. Admission tickets are timed, capacity is reduced, and guests ages 2 and older need masks.
- The Houston Museum of Natural Science
HMNS is open at 50% capacity, and masks are required for guests over the age of 10. It is strongly recommended that you purchase entrance tickets online in advance.
- San Jacinto Museum of History
The historic battleground museum is open Friday through Sunday. Visitors ages 5 and older must wear masks while touring the exhibits.
- The Health Museum
Anyone over the age of 2 must wear a mask while touring the Health Museum. The Museum is open at reduced hours and capacity and is closed on Mondays.
- The Museum of Fine Arts
MFAH has reopened its doors to the public. Face masks are required for visitors over the age of 2, and purchasing advance timed tickets is strongly recommended. The MFA Café is closed at this time.
- The Woodlands Children's Museum
Children can revel in the wonders of The Woodlands Children's Museum again, just at reduced hours and capacity. The Museum is now open for timed admission Wednesday through Sunday. Advance tickets are required, and masks are needed for anyone over the age of 10. (We recommend heading over February 16 for Mardi Gras!)
- Ocean Star Museum
The Ocean Star is welcoming visitors back five days a week (Thursday through Monday). Face masks are required for everyone above the age of 4.
- The Bryan Museum
- You can tour the Bryan Museum Wednesday through Sunday. Visitors over age 10 must wear masks.
- Galveston Railroad Museum
All aboard! The Galveston Railroad Museum is now boarding passengers daily. Museum tickets can be bought online in advance.
- The Menil Collection
Exhibitions are open at the Menil Collection, and admission is still free. Just reserve your timed entry ticket prior to visiting and wear your mask when you get there.
- Houston Center for Photography
Visitors are welcome in the Houston Center for Photography gallery once again, though right now it's at 50% capacity and by appointment only. Admission is still free, and anyone over the age of 2 needs a mask.
- Houston Museum of African American Culture
You can tour HMAAC for free Fridays and Saturdays, by appointment only.
- Asia Society Texas
Admission to Asia Society is currently free, though onsite programming is currently suspended. Guests over the age of 10 need masks, and capacity is capped at 25 guests to the Louisa Stude Sarofim Gallery at any given time.
- Czech Center Houston Museum
Visit the Czech Center Monday through Saturday. Tickets can be purchased ahead of time online, or bought at the door.
- Holocaust Museum Houston
While in-person, docent-led tours are currently unavailable, visitors can partake in virtual tours, audio guided tours, and self-guided tours. Face masks are required for all Museum visitors over the age of 10, and capacity is capped at 75%.
- Buffalo Soldier National Museum
The Museum is open and operating at 25% capacity. Masks are required for guests over 2 years of age.
Visits to the house and art collection are by advance ticket purchase only and are self-guided. Cell phone audio tours and maps are available. Rienzi is open Wednesday through Sunday. Masks are required.
Photo courtesy of The Houston Zoo
Places In & Near Houston Where Kids Can See Animals
- The Houston Zoo
The animals at the Zoo are ready to see you again! Online reservations are required at this time, as are masks for anyone over the age of 10.
- Cockrell Butterfly Center
Immerse yourself in the world of butterflies once again. The Butterfly Center is following the same protocols as HMNS by operating at a reduced capacity and necessitating masks for anyone 10 and older.
- Waugh Drive Bat Colony
You can watch the bats emerge from underneath the Waugh Drive Bridge near Buffalo Bayou and the Watonga Drive Bridge.
- TGR Wildlife Park
See nearly 100 different exotic and endangered animals at TGR Wildlife Park. The park is open for a variety of tours, ranging from public tours to Zoo Keeper for a Day to behind-the-scenes tours, and more. Tours must be booked in advance online.
- Bayou Wildlife Zoo
Head to Alvin for an open-air animal experience. Masks and social distancing are enforced. The zoo is open to the public Thursday through Sunday.
- Crocodile Encounter
This outdoor crocodile experience is open and operating at 75% capacity. While you can buy tickets on the premises, it's recommended that you book online prior to coming to ensure your spot. Once the tours fill up, entry is closed until the next tour. Masks are required indoors. Crocodile Encounter is open Wednesday through Sunday.
- Downtown Aquarium
Guests must wear a mask to enter the Aquarium exhibits and social distancing is required. Animal encounters can be booked online in advance.
- Hatari Wildlife Park
This drive-thru wildlife park is open Thursday through Sunday. Discounted tickets can be purchased online in advance. The outdoor boardwalk tour is set up for social distancing protocol and the Explorer's Retreat is a wide open space that allows for social distancing and is equipped with hand wash and sanitizing stations.
Challenger Seven Memorial Park. Photo by Ashley Jones
Parks and Playgrounds Are All Open in Houston
- Parks & Playgrounds
Parks and playgrounds all over Houston have reopened, and we could not be more excited. Be sure to check out our full guide to parks and playgrounds, taking special note of the best toddler-friendly playgounds, accessible playgrounds, shade-filled playgrounds, and all-day fun destination playgrounds.
- Levy Park
Some programming has returned to Levy Park, and most areas are open for public use. Current closures include the Children's Park and water feature.
- Juan Seguin Historic Park
Walking trails and a nautical theme make this park a fun destination spot, especially if you're planning to make a trip out to the San Jacinto Museum of History.
- Evelyn's Park
The park, playground, and interactive sculpture "Move One Place On" are open to the public; however the programming and events are on hold and the event venue restrooms remain closed until further notice.
- Challenger Seven Memorial Park
This unique park pays tribute to the seven NASA astronauts who lost their lives on the Challenger Space Shuttle. While the Community Center is currently closed, the park, bird sanctuary, and elevated boardwalk are open.
- Spring Creek Park
With walking trails, playgrounds, basketball, softball, volleyball, and tennis courts, free camping, fishing, disc golf, and more, this park is an all-day destination.
- Bay Area Park
If you somehow find yourself in need of burning off some energy after visiting Armand Bayou Nature Center, a trip to Bay Area Park will do the trick; it's even separated into different sections: one for big kids (ages 6+) and one for little kids (5 & under).
- Donovan Park
Nestled in the historic Heights district, this distinctive architectural landmark is known for its all-wooden play structure that has a distinctive railroad theme.
Beaches and Piers in Houston—What’s Open?
All beaches and bodies of water are open in and around Houston.
- Stewart Beach, East Beach, and West End Pocket Parks
Both beaches and the West End Pocket Parks open to the public for the season March 13.
- Sylvan Beach Fishing Pier
The fishing pier is open on a first-come, first-served basis.
Surfside Beach is open and the Surfside Jetty County Park is open with a 75 person capacity.
Indoor fun at We Rock the Spectrum. Photo courtesy of the venue
Entertainment Now Open in Houston
- Downtown Aquarium Games & Rides
In addition to having aquarium and animal exhibits, you can also play arcade games and ride amusement rides at the Downtown Aquarium! Tickets can be bought on site. Masks and social distancing are required.
- Pleasure Pier
Spend the day taking advantage of amusement rides and midway games at Pleasure Pier. Throughout the month of February adults get to enjoy kid pricing for entrance tickets.
You won't strike out with this activity! Reserve your lane ahead of time and follow all safety protocols in place at these family-friendly bowling venues.
- Indoor Play Spaces
These indoor play spaces are open and ready for your kiddos. Most require advance ticket purchases now, so be sure to check the ticketing requirements before heading out.
- Laser Tag
If you're looking for a good natured battle, head to one of these Houston area laser tag arenas.
- Glow-in-the-Dark Mini Golf
Up the ante the next time you play mini golf by playing on one of these glow-in-the-dark courses.
Photo courtesy of Sheldon Lake State Park & Environmental Learning Center
Outdoor Activities & Hiking Trails for Families in Houston
All local lakes and ponds are open for fishing; just make sure you have your fishing license if you're older than 17.
- Galveston Island State Park
The bay-side area of the State Park is open at a reduced capacity, however the beach side area of the park is closed to all visitation until 2022 due to renovations.
- Houston Arboretum and Nature Center
The trails at the Arboretum offer an immersive nature experience that allows for inherant social distancing. The Nature Center and Nature Shop are open; however only 20 guests are allowed inside the Discovery Center at once, and only 5 guests are allowed inside the shop at once. The Nature Playscape is still closed until further notice.
Hiking is a go in Houston, and these hiking trails are some of our favorites for getting outdoors and active in a socially distant way.
- Bike Trails
Another favorite activity for families in Houston: family bike rides! These trails are all open for biking.
- Brazos Bend State Park
From nature walks to alligator sightings, Brazos Bend offers the ultimate outdoor experience, both for the day and for overnight camping. Online reservations for day passes and overnight camping trips are required.
- Horseback Riding Lessons
Saddle up! These Houston area horseback riding locations are open and ready for young riders. Be sure to check each location for their specific Covid-19 safety measures.
Farm Fresh Outings for Families in Houston
- Old MacDonalds Farm
Get up close and personal with animals, take train and pony rides, play volleyball and tetherball, and more at the Old Macdonalds 15-acre, outdoor farm. The farm is open daily. Masks are required.
- Blessington Farms
Opening day for Farm Funland is February 20, 2021, and berry picking is opening again soon as well. The farm is open Saturdays and Sundays.
- 7-Acre Wood
7-Acre Wood's outdoor park is open daily and is home to playgrounds, a petting zoo, and lots of outdoor activities. We recommend checking Facebook prior to going for the most up-to-date hours of operation because inclement weather can cause park closures.
- Local Farmers Markets
Farmers markets throughout the Houston area are open and offer the perfect way for Houstonians to support local businesses.
Armand Bayou Nature Center. Photo by Ashley Jones
Gardens & Nature Centers That Are Currently Open In Houston
- Nature Discovery Center
The nature park, including all nature trails and the outdoor Critter Classroom, is open from dawn to dusk. The Center building and Discovery Rooms are closed to the public until further notice.
- Houston Arboretum and Nature Center
The trails at the Arboretum offer an immersive nature experience that allows for inherant social distancing. The Nature Center and Nature Shop are open, however only 20 guests are allowed inside the Discovery Center at once, and only 5 guests are allowed inside the shop at once. The Nature Playscape is still closed until further notice.
- Armand Bayou Nature Center
The walking trails at the Nature Center are open; however all buildings and water fountains remain closed.
- Mercer Botanic Gardens
More than 60 acres of maintained gardens, an arboretum, picnic areas, playgrounds, and more make the Mercer Botanic Gardens an outdoor destination every family member can enjoy. You can even find children's storytime on the first and third Mondays of the month, as well as other family programming.
- McGovern Centennial Gardens
The gardens are open for wandering, though hours change seasonally. Social distancing and face masks are recommended for anyone visiting.
- Bayou Bend Collections & Gardens
Bayou Bend is currently open Tuesday through Sunday for patrons to stroll the gardens. Purchasing advance timed tickets is recommended, and face masks are required for everyone over 2 years of age.
Photo courtesy of Texas TreeVentures
Outings & Adventures for Families in Texas
- 1877 Tall Ship Elissa
Take a self-guided tour of the historic 1877 Tall Ship Elissa in Galveston. Face masks and social distancing are both strongly encouraged.
- Camping near Houston
Whether it's a National Forest or a private campground, these locations are close to Houston and open for overnight camping. These campgrounds also offer a COVID-friendly, close-to-home adventure for the family. Be sure to check out our RV Camping for Beginners post for some helpful tips and tricks!
Zip over the trees and through the air at one of these high-flying adventure spots.
- Outdoor Go-Karts
Get your adrenaline pumping as you race around the track in a go-kart.
- Outdoor Paintball
Take your fun outside with a little paintball action at one of these Houston area paintball venues.
- Pompeii: The Exhibition
The newest exhibition at HMNS is definitely a family outing you want to add to your calendar. You'll travel back in time to see what the lives of the residents of Pompeii were like both before and after the famous catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. You can also read our full review of the exhibition here.
Where Families Can Dine Outdoors in Houston
As of January 5, Houston restaurants are open at a reduced capacity of 50%. While dining indoors may not be the best option, outdoor dining and/or curbside pick-up is still a great way to support local restaurants.
These family-friendly breweries are all open for business and ready to serve you, be it curbside or outside.
- Kid-Friendly Restaurants with Outdoor Play Areas
Most of the restaurants on this list (unless otherwise noted) are open at limited capacity or are offering curbside service and/or delivery.
The open green space in the middle of CityCentre makes it an ideal spot for dining al fresco while the kids play. Just grab food to-go from one of the surrounding restaurants, then settle in for a little outdoor picnic.
- Kid-Friendly Brunch Options
They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but we think that can be amended to brunch! We all know resaurants could use a little love these days, and these brunch spots are all open for dine-in and/or takeout.
- Food Trucks
Food trucks are a great option for tasty eats that are entirely outdoors, making them a relatively safe way to dine. Support your local food trucks by heading to one of these food truck parks.
- Donut Shops
Starting the weekend with a sweet treat is a quintessential part of childhood, and these little donut shops could use a lot of love to keep serving up their breakfast treats.
Enjoy some socially distanced time on the water in Conroe. Photo courtesy of Conroe Paddle Sports
Daytrips & Staycations That Families Can Take in Houston
- Moody Gardens
Spend the day perusing the iconic three pyramids at Moody Gardens. Everyone over age 10 needs a mask. The zip line and ropes course are both currently closed.
- Galveston Island
Take a daytrip or book a staycation down on the Island, because it's ready to welcome visitors back! The beach is open, as are restaurants and venues; just be sure to check individual businesses ahead of time for the safety protocols they have in place.
- The Woodlands
Whether you're coming down for the day or staying for the weekend, there is a lot to do in The Woodlands for families.
- Kemah Boardwalk
The Boardwalk at Kemah is packed with family-friendly activities, amusement rides, midway games, restaurants, and outdoor entertainment, making it an excellent day trip choice.
- Blue Bell Creamery
It's pretty much a requirement that if you're a Texan you love Blue Bell ice cream, so making a trip out to the Little Creamery for a scoop and a tour of the Visitor's Center is a must! At this time the Observation Deck is closed. Masks are required. The County Store, Ice Cream Parlor, and Visitor Center are open Monday through Friday.
- Family-Friendly Houston Resorts & Hotels
Sometimes you just need to get out of the house for a little staycation, and these family-friendly resorts and hotels in Houston fit the bill.
Take a daytrip to Pearland to explore a different part of the greater Houston area.
Whether you're visiting Lake Conroe to paddleboard or kayak or trekking through Sam Houston National Forest, there's a lot for families to do during a daytrip to Conroe.
If you're looking for small-town charm, look no further than Tomball. There are lots of family-friendly stops and a stroll down Main Street in Old Town Tomball is sure to hit the spot, especially when you stop at Tejas Chocolate + Barbeque or Nonnie's Soda Fountain.
- River Oaks
From visiting the iconic, Cinderella-inspired Pumpkin Park to touring the grounds of Rienzi and stopping for donuts at River Oaks Donuts (you can order them online in advance!), a daytrip to River Oaks is sure to fit the bill when you need to get out of the house.
Bookmark this post, as we will continually update with the latest openings. For more ideas of what to do this month, check out our picks for this month's in-person events.