Greater Heights

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!

Best Houston Neighborhoods and Homes for Viewing Holiday Lights

During the most magical time of the year, there are many ways to get your holiday light fix. Houston has beautiful public lighting displays, but nothing beats driving the family around a neighborhood in your Christmas pajamas. For those evenings when you want to enjoy the beauty of the holiday season at your own pace, it's helpful to know which Houston neighborhoods go above and beyond in the decoration department.

We've rounded up the neighborhoods with must-see lighting displays, so all you have to do is gather the family into the car, turn on some holiday tunes, and explore the Bayou City on your own time. However, many neighborhoods prefer visitors between 6-10 p.m. Lights are typically up from Thanksgiving through New Years. Also, for all things holiday in Houston - from free events to shows - check out our ultimate holiday guide for families.

Best Places for Trick or Treating in Houston

Halloween is only a couple weeks away, which means it's time to start finalizing costumes (just realized you're in a pinch? We've got you covered with easy, last-minute costume ideas!) and determining where you're taking the kiddos trick or treating, especially if you're looking to branch out past your own neighborhood this year. Not sure where to start looking? Check out these Houston neighborhoods and hotspots for fun, safe, and friendly trick or treating this Halloween.

Houston's Spookiest Haunted Houses and Attractions for Halloween

While Houston offers several Halloween-themed events and attractions safe for the littlest trick-or-treater, like the Zoo Boo or Scream on the Green, those of you with older children may want something a little stronger in the scare department. We've rounded up a list of Houston area haunted houses that are not for the faint of heart - most of these destinations have age requirements of 12 and up. If you're feeling daring, take a trip to one of these haunted horrors, and don't forget to scream at least a little softer than your pre-teen.

Check out our Halloween Fun Guide for more seasonal events and activities.

Best Houston Spots to Take Instagram-Worthy Photos of Your Kid

Make the most of what Houston has to offer and fill up your iCloud storage with memories at the same time by snapping shots of your little ones at some of the city's most photogenic spots. Picture-perfect smiles are not included in our list of recommendations for the best places to take shareable photos of your kids.

Family-Friendly Summer Festivals in Houston Not To Miss

There is just something about summertime that feels different, even when you're all grown up. Maybe it's because school is out and kids are running around everywhere enjoying their newfound freedom, or maybe it's because the days are longer, which means there are more hours to fill with activities. On those days not spent at pool parties, water parks, and camp, Houston's many festivals will help you plan even more exciting family adventures! Choose from festivals celebrating Houston's diversity to music and food.

24 Spring & Crawfish Festivals for Houston Families

Spring in Houston is all about going to the Rodeo, eating crawfish, listening to music, and spending time outside enjoying the weather before the temperatures start to rise. There are many beautiful parks in the Bayou City to enjoy in the Spring, and it's also the perfect time of year to explore Houston's bountiful farmers' markets. For even more fun, check out one (or more - or all!) of these family-friendly festivals.

And for things to do every day of the year, take a look at our event calendar.

Little Ninja Warriors: Indoor Obstacle Courses in Houston

Does your kid constantly attempt to do backflips off the couch and use your body as their personal climbing rope? Then you may be raising a little American Ninja Warrior. The show of the same name pits competitors against each other as they attempt to complete an obstacle course in the fastest time - from leaping on small platforms to climbing incredibly steep and daunting rock walls. 

It has sparked a movement in that it encourages kids to spend their free time perfecting their parkour moves and gaining grip strength. Coming off the heels of an era of sedentary video games, this active hobby is a welcome change. Here are four gyms around the greater Houston area that offer Ninja Warrior classes for kids. Not quite ready for these classes? Be sure to check out our round-up of gymnastics classes for preschoolers

Play at Beautiful Donovan Park in the Historic Heights

Houston is full of many wonderful parks, including parks with lots of shade essential for almost all months of the year, which is important on our frequently sunny days. Donovan Park is another great park that is worth visiting and has shady and covered areas. Donovan Park is an imaginative and attractive neighborhood park that is situated at the northeast corner of 7th Street and Heights Boulevard. This park is hard to miss with two large, castle-like wooden play structures. As you enter the park, you are greeted by colorful, hand-painted mosaic tiles that create seating inside and outside of the entrance. The park is surrounded by a large, wrought-iron fence with a latched gate that prevents children from running into the busy street and allows parents and caregivers to relax while little ones run and play freely.

Tumble into Gymnastics Classes for Preschoolers

If your kids are anything like mine, they tumble, roll, and try to balance on curbs just as often - if not more - than they walk in a straight line. The inherent need for my toddler to constantly tumble and move is one reason we love trampoline parks and play spaces so much! We've also begun to dabble in the world of preschool sports this year, and our focus has been on finding activities that are both fun and functional for our son. It's why we love taking him to gymnastics classes. This powerhouse sport focuses on conditioning movements like balance, flexibility, stamina and overall strength - which all transfer well into basically every other sport out there - while still being just plain fun, making it an ideal sport for preschoolers like my son.

And for more ideas on classes for kids of all ages, check out our classes and enrichment guide for Houston kids.

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