Free Things to Do Indoors in Houston With Kids

The Little Galleria/Photo by Victor Scott, courtesy MD Anderson

Whether you're a stay at home mom just trying to find something to do during the day or a working mom wanting to spice things up on the weekend - but without spending a bunch of cash - this post is for you. Especially when the weather isn't exactly welcoming, inside activities are the way to go.

These businesses and playscapes around Houston are always free and remember to check our calendar because it is always packed with free things to do every day. For more ideas, check out our Indoor Fun Guide for Houston Families.

Now, read on for 18 free places to play and spend time with the kids around Houston.

1. Learn something new at one of Houston's many free museums, including the Contemporary Art Museum, DiverseWorks, The Menil Collection, and Lawndale Art Center. (The amazing Houston Fire Museum is just $3 for kids and $5 for adults for a great inexpensive option, and the 1940 Air Terminal Museum at Hobby Airport is just $5 for adults and $2 for children.)

2. Better yet, check out one of the city's bigger museums for free by checking out our guide to days and times where admissions are waived!

3. Sugar Creek Baptist Church in Sugar Land is home to a massive, colorful, and free playscape for kids ages 10 and under.

4. Register your kiddo for a free program at your local Apple Store. Kids Hour is geared toward grade-school kids and includes STEM-focused activities and projects.

Playing at Frolic's Castle./Photo by Carrie Taylor

5. Let the little ones explore Frolic's Castle inside Memorial City Mall (this is free pending you're able to resist any shopping urges).

RELATED: 34 Free Places to Play in Houston This Fall

6. Watch the skaters at The Galleria and let the kids play in The Little Galleria. If you're a longtime Houstonian like me and have never heard of this, don't feel bad. But don't let any more time go by without visiting! It's a 2,000-square-foot miniature mall made of foam slides and lots of climbing structures. Park in the Yellow garage for easiest access.

7. First Methodist Houston's Main Street Indoor Park is perfect for toddlers and older babies. The space is decorated like a busy urban street and has a train slide and climbing structure as well as an adjoining room with books, puzzles, and a train table. 

8. For South Houston families with little ones: Visit the Galveston Railroad Museum where kids ages 3 and under play for free! Kids ages 4-12 are $5.

9. Head to your local library for a storytime, to play with the puzzles, or browse the books.

RELATED: Fun Indoor Play Spaces in Houston

10. Spend some quality time serving the community at the Houston Food Bank's Portwall Warehouse. Kids ages 6 and up are able to volunteer and help distribute and sort food.

Author Jessica Brody presents at Blue Willow Bookstore./Photo courtesy Blue Willow Bookstore

11. See what Brazos Bookstore has going on; there are regularly kid-friendly readings and releases, and they have great book recommendations for kids of all ages and also sells educational toys and gifts. Blue Willow Bookshop on Memorial also has great kids' programs - see their calendar for details.

12. Gallery Furniture isn't just for shopping: There is an indoor playground as well as exotic birds and monkeys around the store. Honestly, sometimes it's just fun to look at furniture and plan your dream home!

13. Christ the King Presbyterian Church has a free indoor and outdoor playscape with a two-story slide and climbable area. It's located just northwest of Memorial Park (home to the Houston Arboretum and Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens), so it's a great area to head to if you're looking for things to do.

14. Admire classic, strange, and modern bikes at the Houston Bicycle Museum where kids ages 10 and under are free.

15. Really admire the amazingly weird "cars" at the Art Car Museum. There are pieces and displays from local, national, and international artists.

16. Visit the Houston Police Department's downtown headquarters to see the Houston Police Museum. You'll find old and new uniforms, memorabilia, and a memorial wall. Admission is always free.

17. Tour the most mysterious and magical underground Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern. Tours are free on Thursdays and require a reservation. Kids must be 9-years-old and up because the tour takes you downstairs to a dimly lit underground area, but it's amazing. Learn the history of this historical water system and see the various art displays installed throughout the year.

18. See World War II-era aircrafts, memorabilia, and more at the Commemorative Air Force Houston Wing Museum and Hangar. It is open to the public the first and third Saturday of the month from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. for FREE.

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Top photo via MD Anderson