End of Summer Bucket List: 14 Things to Do in Houston Before School Starts

There are just a few Family Sundays with the Houston Astros before summer ends. Photo courtesy of mlb.com
There are just a few Family Sundays with the Houston Astros before summer ends. Photo courtesy of mlb.com

Summer is quickly drawing to a close, so it's time to squeeze in as much seasonal fun as you can before the back-to-school grind begins. My oldest is starting his last year of preschool in the fall (cue the tears), and in an effort to make sure we have as much fun together as possible before he starts his last year as a toddler (can I still call him a toddler? Please say yes!), I've started compiling a summer bucket list of activities and events that we can do to take advantage of our fleeting time together. If you're in a similar situation - or you just need to keep the kids occupied and out of the house for a few days a week - this summer bucket list is exactly what you need because most of these things to do in Houston won't be available in the fall! 

Want even more things to do in Houston this summer? Then be sure to check out our summer fun guide for Houston kids.

The Houston Zoo's Undersea Discovery runs through Sept. 5th. Photo courtesy of the Houston Zoo

1. Undersea Discovery at the Houston Zoo

You'll be able to walk through the gaping maw of a life-size Megalodon shark and see the mystery of the ocean come to life through animatronic creatures, like a manta ray, octopus, and crab. Come to see these larger-than-life behemoths before they leave the zoo on Sept. 5, 2022.

2. Free Outdoor Movies

Enjoy your favorite flicks on an outdoor big screen this summer. Don't forget your picnic blanket and chairs!

3. Family Sundays with the Houston Astros

Family Sundays offer a little extra incentive for spending the day at the ballpark cheering on our Houston Astros. Packages include four tickets to the home game, four hot dogs, and four sodas, plus an afternoon of baseball family fun!

4. Action-Packed Summer at the Children's Museum 

Kids become the star of their own cinematic adventure at the Children's Museum of Houston's Action-Packed Summer. You can enjoy a variety of movie-themed events and activities through mid-August at this epic experience.

5. Splash into Summer Fun at a Splash Pad

With nearly 30 FREE splash pads making our favorites list around Houston, there is no shortage of spray parks to run, jump, and cool off at before summer's end.

Detective Days at Bayou Bend are a fun summer bucket list activity. Photo courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston.

6. Detective Days at Bayou Bend

Unlock your inner sleuth and get ready to solve some mysteries when you partake in Detective Days at Bayou Bend. Follow the clues to solve seasonal riddles around Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens while learning about horticulture, art, design, and American history. Recommended for ages 6 to 12.

7. Kids Bowl Free

Kids get two free games of bowling per day (!!) over the summer when signed up for "Kids Bowl Free," an initiative designed to give back to the community and ensure kids always have a safe, fun activity to participate in over the summer. Dates vary by location.

Check off "build the perfect sandcastle" on your summer bucket list. Photo courtesy of Galveston Sandcastle Days

8. Sandcastle Days at Galveston's East Beach

It's hard to beat a beach trip in the summertime. So, grab your sand pails and shovels and head to East Beach on Saturdays throughout the summer for free, family-friendly sandcastle building lessons from the pros. Lessons are held Saturdays at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m. through Labor Day 2022.

9. Candytopia

Experience the ultimate sugar rush at pop-up museum/interactive experience Candytopia. Located at CityCentre, this over-the-top exhibit won't be here for long. Kids will love the wild rooms and free candy.

Space Center Houston is a must for any young Houstonian. Photo courtesy of Space Center Houston

10. Artemis Exhibit at Space Center Houston

It's been 50 years since our last visit to the moon, and NASA's Artemis Program is gearing up to head back. The new interactive exhibit at Space Center Houston will explore space travel's future through hands-on activities and more.

11. Cheap Movies

Enjoy a big-screen show the whole family can enjoy at area theaters for just $2 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays! (Sorry, snacks are still going to cost you a fortune.)

Photo courtesy of Levy Park, Facebook

12. Storytime and Crafts at Levy Park

Head to Levy Park on Tuesdays for Family Storytime and Crafts. This "cross-generational literacy experience" features a reading followed by an accompanying project that's perfect for keeping the kiddos focused. All supplies are included in this free program. Also, this park is one of our favorite things to do in Houston, so it's always worth a visit.

13. Family Bingo Night

The Recreation Center at Rob Fleming Park hosts family bingo night periodically during the summer. We all know family game nights can turn tense, but who doesn't love a great game of bingo?! (It sure beats arguing with my toddler about who won in our recent round of Candyland.)

Photo courtesy of the Grand Tuscany Hotel

14. Take a Dip in a Pool

Whether you're looking to book a day pass to one of Houston's fancy resort pools or explore the tons of free local swimming pools around greater Houston, you can't find a better way to beat the heat than with a nice dunk in a pool. Set out to splash and, in some cases, slide into a refreshing pool and make those fleeting summer moments count. 

Top image: Solving mysteries during Detective Days at Bayou Bend/Photo courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. 

Free Tuesdays at the Houston Zoo
The Houston Zoo - 9:00 AM Pick
Family Storytime & a Craft at Levy Park
Levy Park Conservancy - 10:00 AM Pick
The Escape Game Houston
The Escape Game Houston (in CityCentre) - various times
Spark Math: Free Trial Class
Virtual - various times
Neighborhood Guides
Activity Guides