The camping trips my husband and I planned for ourselves before we had kids typically followed the same mantra: plenty of nature and not much else. However, now that we've added little ones into the mix, we've started to explore the idea of camping in places that offer a little more in the way of activities. While I still firmly believe that camping should give us a chance to disconnect, there's something to be said for campgrounds that offer entertainment for the kids... and for the adults who still feel like kids, and these four campgrounds definitely fit the bill.
Latest posts by Rachael Cherry
The Noah's Ark Pool in the Quillian Center (a facility operated by First Methodist Houston) is the perfect combination of a pool and splash pad with shallow water for toddlers to easily stand in, as well as several slides and many water features. You see, my son loves the water. He will let waves crash over him with reckless abandon at the beach, he lives for days spent in the backyard at his water table and he's out the door and running to the splash pad before the car is even fully in park. What he does not love, however, is swimming in pools where he can't touch the bottom. All of this means we spend a lot of time at splash pads, because he's able to experience a healthy dose of water play without worrying about if he can touch the bottom or not, and it's why we love going to Noah's Ark.
Being outside pretty much tops our to-do list every day, and we're constantly going from one activity to the next, be it to a neighborhood splashpad, a nearby playground or a park with plenty of trails for biking. Basically, staying inside all day isn't an option; we would all go stir crazy! With summer upon us, I'm not willing to sacrifice that time outside as the temperatures start steadily climbing, but I am more aware of which places offer some shade so we can beat the heat... even if only for a few minutes. Here are some great parks in Houston that offer at least a moderate respite from the brutal summer temps.
It's berry season in Texas, and Blessington Farms is officially open for picking. Berry picking has been high on our spring activity priority list, and we took full advantage the first Friday morning we had available. We lucked out with clear blue skies, cool temperatures and an empty farm, which - I'm sure every parent can agree - is pretty much the ideal situation when you show up to pick berries with two 3-year-old boys.
Encouraging healthy hobbies is at the top of my priority list when it comes to my kids, and I've tried to make being active a part of their lives since day one. Both kids have accompanied me on many runs in the jogging stroller since they were babies, and they know that if it's a nice day we're doing something outside. Now that my oldest is riding his bike, we frequently head out to different trails together where I'll chase after him with my daughter strapped into the jogging stroller as he flies down trails (his biking has been excellent for improving my running speed) or we'll bike together as a family if my husband is able to come along for the ride.
While tequila and margaritas may have become staples for Cinco de Mayo parties everywhere, this hasn't always been the case. In fact, May 5 actually has a lot of rich cultural heritage, dating all the way back to 1862 when the Mexican Army proved victorious over the French at the Battle of Puebla. Over the years, the day has become a great source of Mexican pride... and also a good excuse for people to get together and fiesta.
Whether it's a morning spent exploring the holiday's history at the Children's Museum or diving into a Mexican feast and enjoying live music at one of this year's kid-friendly celebrations, we challenge you to bring back some of that cultural awareness this year... and have some good, old-fashioned family fun in the process.
If there's one thing that I've come to appreciate as a native Houstonian, it's that there is no shortage of rich and varied cultural experiences waiting around every corner. One solid example of this is the Sam Houston Boat Tour, which takes passengers on a FREE 90-minute guided tour of the Houston Ship Channel. I took this tour several years ago with my husband and parents and was eager to take my transportation-obsessed son when the opportunity arose.
When you think of summer in Houston, what's the first word that comes to mind? My guess: "HOT." No one can deny that the Bayou City is known for its scorching summer weather, and that summer lasts for basically 3/4 of the year. As a result, we end up spending a lot of time in the water, whether it's at the pool, a splash pad, water park or the ocean. All this time in and around water means knowing how to swim and executing proper water safety are of the utmost importance, especially for our kids.
There are plenty of places that offer year-round swim lessons so your kids are comfortable and confident in the water. Here are some places that offer lessons and camps for competitive swimmers and those interested in pursuing specialty water sports. And for more summer and vacation camp ideas, check out our comprehensive camp guide and full directory of camp listings.