The celebrations of Carnival that lead into Mardi Gras have a rich history dating all the way back to the 17th and 18th centuries in medieval Europe, and have long been a time for festivities and revelry that culminate the day before Lent begins on what is known as Fat Tuesday. Throughout the years it has gained a reputation as an adults-only party; however, there is a multitude of kid-friendly events that can be enjoyed right here in Houston as the Mardi Gras celebrations begin. From boat parades at the Kemah Boardwalk to cook-offs, live music, performances and much more, these Carnival celebrations are fit for the family.
Mardi Gras! Galveston - Feb. 17-28
Galveston Entertainment District, Galveston
Time: Events happen throughout the day & night
Price: Varies by date attending; discount tickets can be pre-purchased online
Mardi Gras! Galveston has a host of family-friendly events to enjoy, such as a coloring contest, several parades (including a pet parade!), live entertainment and the Jolly Jester Jaunt 5k/10k. Children 12 and under get in free to the festivities.
Mardi Gras Menagerie! - Feb. 18
615 Louisiana Street, Houston
Time: 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.
Price: $22-$37; Lap child tickets are available for 50 off
Dress up your kids in their favorite animal costumes and head to the Houston Symphony for an animal-filled party. A troupe of elephants, kangaroos, and feathery friends are given life in this Mardi Gras celebration, which combines the Houston Symphony orchestra, poetry created by second-grade students at Patterson Dual Language Magnet School, and duo pianists.
Photo courtesy of Galveston Island CVB
Mardi Gras Gumbo Cook-Off - 8th Wonder Brewery - Feb. 18
2202 Dallas St., Houston
Time: 2-6 p.m.
Price: Advance tickets are $15 for f.r.e.s.h. members, $20 for non-members; $25 at the door
Head to 8th Wonder Brewery to celebrate the 2nd annual Mardi Gras Gumbo cook-off. Adults receive three drink tokens plus a complimentary glass with the purchase of their ticket. Proceeds from the event benefit the Houston Food Bank.
Mardi Gras on Main - Five Points Park - Feb. 18
201 S. Broadway, La Porte
Time: 4-9 p.m.
With local food trucks, live bands, street performers, and entertainers, face painting, a New Orleans style market and more, Mardi Gras on Main is a family-friendly party you don't want to miss. This event coincides with La Porte's monthly Sunset Sip & Stroll Farmer's Market.
Photo courtesy of City of La Porte
Yachty Gras Grand Night Parade - Kemah Boardwalk - Feb. 18
215 Kipp Ave., Kemah
Time: 7 p.m.
Dubbed "America's Largest Mardi Gras Boat Parade," the 18th annual Yachty Gras at Kemah Boardwalk is festive fun for the whole family. Kids and adults alike enjoy watching the boats decked out in Mardi Gras decor parade down Clear Creek Channel by the boardwalk. Boating krewes participating in the parade include youth groups, scout troops, families and friends, and the event supports the Sea Scouts in the bay area.
Mardi Gras at the Boardwalk - Feb. 19
9819 Barker Cypress Rd.
Date: Feb. 19
Time: 1-4 p.m.
Celebrate the merriment of Mardi Gras at the Boardwalk! Enjoy fun for the whole family with live music by the Zydeco Dots, a Gumbo Cook-Off contest by Boardwalk restaurants, and beads, beads and more beads!
Photo courtesy of Galveston Island CVB
Houston Creole Heritage Festival & Mardi Gras Parade - Discovery Green - Feb. 25
1500 McKinney St., Houston
Time: 9 a.m.-9 p.m.
For a day full of live music, Creole food and culture, and lots of fun, load up the family and head to Discovery Green for the 4th annual Houston Creole Heritage Festival & Mardi Gras Parade. In addition to exposing Houston to the Creole culture, the event also serves to raise funds for community causes.
Mardi Gras at The Woodlands Children's Museum - Feb. 28
4775 West Panther Creek Drive #280, The Woodlands
Time: 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Celebrate "Fat Tuesday" at the Woodlands Children's Museum with a Mardi Gras parade led by an authentic New Orleans Street brass band, themed crafts and King's Cake.
Photo courtesy of Yachty Gras
Top image courtesy of Galveston Island CVB