Inner Loop

Best (Free) Splash Pads and Spray Grounds Around Houston

There's no denying that when the first heat wave of summer hits Houston, it hits hard. And as every Houstonian knows, once it comes it's here for the long haul - sometimes well into "fall." This means it becomes crucial to find fun ways to keep the kids cool without locking them indoors. Luckily, there is no shortage of splash pads here.

These are our favorites, and they are all FREE. Most are open year round, but if you're visiting outside of summer months be sure to check the park website before heading out. And if you're looking for something on a larger scale, check out the amazing water parks you can visit around Houston.

10 Free Pools in Houston Kids Will Love

I grew up in Northern Michigan in a town that often makes the news for beating the record for the most snowfall and the coldest temperatures, and somehow I was lucky enough to have a pool in my backyard. I loved jumping into that pool after working out or having friends over to swim, and now that I live in a city with weather that could accommodate an almost endless pool season, there is, unfortunately, no pool outside my back door. Instead, we take advantage of Houston's many free community pools.

The city of Houston has 37 FREE community pools open June 1- Aug. 11 (in the 2019 season) from 1-8 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday and from August 17- Sept. 1 on Saturdays and Sundays only, and 29 water spraygrounds that are open year round.

Without further ado, here is a list of some of the best FREE pools with great features and amenities. And be sure to check out our recommendations for Houston splashpads and playgrounds, as well as our Summer Fun Guide, which has water park recommendations, parks with shade, and more!

All-Day Fun: Destination Parks in Houston

Houston is home to a ton of parks. A ton. (Including some pretty great splash pads.) And some are better than others if you're looking to spend more than 30 minutes at an unshaded playground, so we've rounded up 13 parks where you can easily spend a few hours, or even the entire day.

Where To Find Bluebonnets in Houston this Spring

It's that time of year again. Texas Bluebonnet season runs March-May, and this Spring Texans have already seen these beautiful blue blooms in some parts of the state. We've rounded up some spots where you can snap some of those iconic pictures in and around Houston, and we'll continue to update this post as we find more locations. If you have a favorite spot to share, let us know at houstoneditor@mommypoppins.com.

15 Free Things to Do With Kids at the Houston Rodeo

Everything is bigger in Texas, and this motto is exemplified in Houston's massive livestock show and rodeo - from the crowds to food selection - but your resulting credit card bill doesn't have to be. After paying the price of admission, there are lots of things to do as a whole family without spending another dime. That's not to say you won't be tempted by the smells of deep-fried goodness and adorable miniature cowboy and cowgirl hats. Read on for free and fun activities, all of which are open 9 a.m.-9 p.m. every day unless otherwise noted.

Free and Cheap Summer Camps Around Houston

It's hard to believe it, but it is already time to start making summer plans for your little ones, and one thing every kid looks forward to in the summer is going to camp! Summer camp is a chance for kids to have fun while learning new skills and making memories with new friends. From overnight campsoutdoor campsscience campsdance camps, arts camps, and music and theater camps, Houston has so many different types of summer camps, including the following camps that won't break the budget.

To find a summer camp that your little one and your wallet will love, check out this list of inexpensive or cheaper camps that we've rounded up, all of which cost around $100 - $150. Also, keep in mind that many camps offer early bird (get on it now!), multi-week, and sibling discounts, as well as discounts for members, and some even offer scholarships. And for more summer and vacation camp ideas, check out our comprehensive camp guide and full directory of camp listings.

Perfect Day Camps for Preschoolers to Try This Summer

Finding ways to fill long summer days with fun and enriching activities for kids can be a challenge. This is especially true for preschoolers, many of whom seem to have boundless energy and want to constantly be entertained. Day camps can help get kids out of the house and provide a variety of engaging events to participate in. Whether your little one is into exploring the outdoors, experimenting, or creating, Houston has a variety of day camp options. Read on for a selection of day camps that are specifically designed for preschoolers.

For more summer and vacation camp ideas, check out our comprehensive Houston Summer Camp Guide or full directory of camp listings to search by age, interest, or area.

Best Spots Around Houston for Hosting a Birthday Party on a Budget

Planning a fantastically fun birthday party that your child and their friends will remember for years to come can seem like a daunting task, especially when you start counting out invitations and pricing venues. Making the most of a birthday party budget means getting the best deal possible on space, food, decor, and entertainment. Luckily for Houstonians, there are several great options for planning birthday parties on a budget all over town. 

Whether you prefer a more traditional party with streamers, balloons, and a bounce house, or want to go for a more unique experience like a museum tour, we've got you covered. Read on for our suggestions on where to go and what to do when you want to make the most of a birthday party budget, and consult our Birthday Party Guide for more ideas.

February GoList: Best Things to do with Houston Kids This Month

It seems Houston's few days of winter have passed, and that's the way we like it, but in case you need ideas for indoor activities on the random chilly days we will likely face - trampoline parks, rock climbing gyms, or a fun indoor playground are always good options. We've also come up with a list of eight museums you've probably never heard of to take the kids to. 

And if you're the planning type, you may have started thinking about summer plans, like what in the world you're going to do to keep your kids busy all day. Check out our summer and vacation camp guide for ideas on things they can do out of the house. Read on for the best things to do with the kids this month.

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