Insider's Guide to Exploring Katy, Texas with Kids
It's no secret that there are no shortage of things to do in Houston. The city is known for being richly diverse in both its people and its activities, and that includes the surrounding cities and towns. A straight shot down I-10 West will take you to Katy - a city that mixes quaint, small town charm with bustling big city sophistication. Read on for the best things to do in Katy, TX with your kids!
- Built in 1898 to replace a boxcar serving as the station agent's office, the MKT Depot and Caboose is now home to the Katy Heritage Society Museum of local railroad history and the City of Katy's Visitor Center, making it the first stop you want to make when planning your visit to Katy.
There's endless fun for kids and adults alike at No Label/Photo courtesy of No Label Brewing Co.
- Live music, craft beer, food trucks, a playground and plenty of space to run and play make No Label Brewing Co. the perfect place to kick back and relax with friends and family.
- Also known as the "Train Park" by locals due to the custom design modeling the MKT Rail line, Katy Play Station is the largest innovative playground for multiple-impaired and profoundly deaf children in the state, and a must on your Katy bucket list.
- Urban parks may be all the rage these days, but there's something to be said for Mary Jo Peckham Park's simplistic approach to playtime, which is conveniently located right down the street from Katy Play Station. The park features a large lake with ducks who are always ready for feeding, a dirt walking path and observation decks that loop the lake, catch and release fishing, and two playgrounds that cater to kids of all ages.
- With over 175 stores at this indoor shopping mall (many of the stores are outlets), you're sure to find everything you need and then some at Katy Mills Mall. Need a break from shopping? Hop on the carousel, ride the indoor train or blow off some steam at the arcades.
- Tucked inside Katy Mills Mall is one of Katy's best-kept secrets, and the perfect place to go after a day spent shopping. Jumpstreet is a no-frills indoor trampoline park that offers up hours of jumping fun.
- Hot summer days don't stand a chance when you're at Typhoon Texas, one of Katy's newest and hottest (er, coolest) additions. Situated right outside Katy Mills, the water park guarantees a fun-filled day for kids of all ages.
Jumping back and forth across Altitude Trampoline Park/Photo by Rachael Cherry
- With wall-to-wall trampolines, a rock climbing wall, trampoline basketball courts, trapeze pits, and balance beams, Altitude Trampoline Park is the place to go for kids who need to bounce out some extra energy. Bonus: designated toddler jump times mean your littlest jumpers never get bounced out by the bigger kids.
- In the mood for mud bugs? You'll want to go to Big N's BBQ and Crawfish. The food truck has some of the best crawfish in town, is situated on land that offers both covered and uncovered seating, always has a bounce house for the kiddos to play on and is BYOB. Not a fan of crawfish? They serve up some tasty BBQ, too!
- Sometimes you just need to run, and Central Green at La Centerra offers kids a half-acre of wide open green space. The space is an easy favorite with the younger set, and parents love that it's surrounded by restaurants (hello Torchy's Tacos and Bernie's Burger Bus!), boutique shops, and premier fitness studios.
- On Thursday nights hop on Grand Parkway for a quick drive just outside of Katy to Texas Borders Bar & Grill 1093 for some good, old-fashioned American fare. Why Thursday? Because kids eat free! While you're waiting for the food, the kids can burn off some energy on the restaurant's playground.
- For a playground that encourages imagination and has equipment that is anything but the norm, check out Exploration Park, a modern playspace that is unparalleled in its uniqueness. The overall focus of the park's design is on water, and the park features several play structures that are both entertaining and educational.
- When you're in need of an indoor activity, roll on over to Mason Road Skate Center. The skate center offers up a nice, little blast from the past for parents, gives parents and kids both something active to do indoors and shows kids just how fun it is to spin circles around the skating rink floor.
- A playground in a wine bar? Say it ain't so! Drix features two different sections to accommodate everyone: a family section complete with an indoor playroom for the kiddos and an adult's only section for those wanting to enjoy a quiet bite.
Perfecting bike riding skills on the paved loop at Rick Rice Park/Photo by Rachael Cherry
- Wanting to hike or bike with the kiddos? Rick Rice Park is the place to go. The paved one-mile walking trail circles a small lake and is ideal for little legs not yet ready to tackle longer distances. Signage along the trail serves both to teach about surrounding wildlife and inspire. And for anyone ready for more, the park's iconic bridge connects the loop to Mason Creek Hike and Bike's 20-mile trail system.
- Located right next to Rick Rice Park, Jimmy Changas features fresh Tex-mex with a twist and an outdoor playground sans the sand. It's an easy choice for refueling after hiking and biking the nearby trails.
- When it's too hot or too rainy to be outdoors, Giggles and Fun always delivers. The indoor playspace caters to both active and imaginative play with its custom play stations, playground equipment, toys for children of all ages, dress up clothes and more.
- Bumper bowling, arcade games and laser tag at Time Square always solve even the loudest "I'm bored" cries.
- Budding artists can stretch their creative wings at Ceramics by Tess, a paint your own ceramics studio offering everything from mugs and platters to animals and ornaments.
- Famed for their fajitas, patio dining and outdoor sand box full of toys, Lupe Tortilla is always met with approval by even the youngest family members for dining out on a Friday night. Another perk: it's located right off of I-10 and Grand Parkway, making it easily accessible after work.
- While technically considered to be part of "Houston" and not "Katy," West Houston's Nottingham Park & Splash Pad is a place you have to visit. Known as the "Kid Fit Park," it has a regular playground, kid-fit playground complete with a rock wall, splash pad and walking trails. It's a one-stop shop for all things fun!
Top image: The historic MKT Depot and Caboose in Katy/Photo by Srini Sundarrajan via Flickr