Houston Free and Cheap Activities for Kids!


Summer vacation is just around the corner!  If you’re on a budget, but you still want to have a good time with your kids this summer, make sure you check out these Houston Free and Cheap Activities for Kids!

Houston Free Activities for Kids

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Discovery Green – If you haven’t checked out Discovery Green yet, this summer is the perfect time to do it!  They’ve got something for EVERYONE including free kayak classes, free yoga, and free family movie nights!  They’ve also got a playground and fountains where your kids can play!

Find park hours and directions here–> Discovery Green Information


Image Credit: Hermann Park Conservancy

Hermann Park – They’ve got the perfect spot for a summer picnic!  You’ll also find Japanese gardens, hiking trails, playgrounds, fountains, and more!  For a small fee, you can ride the train or pedal boats, too!  They’ve got easy access to many local museums and the zoo, too!

Buffalo Bayou Park – They’ve got 160 acres of biking and jogging trails, fountains, and art work!  It includes a skate park, dog park, police officer memorial, nature play area, and more!  In the evenings, check out the Waugh Bridge Bat Colony!

Houston Arboretum & Nature Center – We haven’t been here yet, but it’s free 365 days a year and includes hiking trails and wildlife habitats!  They also have special children’s programs for children ages 18 months-12 years old!  Find out more here–> Houston Arboretum Children’s Programs

Take advantage of these free zoo and museum days: parking fees may apply – if you’re a Bank of America card holder, the first weekend of the month, you can also enjoy The Children’s Museum, Houston Zoo, and The Museum of Fine Arts free thanks to the Museums on Us program

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Miller Outdoor Theater – This has been on my “bucket list” for awhile now!  They’ve got FREE daytime and evening performances that the entire family can enjoy including children’s classics and performances from the Houston Grand Opera.  Arrive early for the best seating!

See the schedule here–> Miller Outdoor Theater schedule

Make sure you check out the Theatre Under the Stars scheduletoo!  Upcoming plays include Cinderella, Hairspray, and The Little Mermaid (you do have to purchase tickets for these events)


Port of Houston Boat Tour – How cool is this?  You can take a FREE 90 minute boat tour of the Port of Houston!  Kids and parents will enjoy seeing local “wildlife” including pelicans and seagulls, checking out all the ships, and seeing how they move cargo!  You must make reservations in advance.

Check out the tour schedule and make your reservations here–> Port of Houston Boat Tour Reservations


Water Spraygrounds – Did you know that the City of Houston has 23 FREE Splash Pads that they call Water Spraygrounds?  Find a location near you here–> Free Splashpads in Houston

Image Credit:  HALS

Image Credit: HALS

Zube Park Free Train Rides – Houston Area Live Steamers offers free train rides once a month at Zube Park!  All ages are welcome to ride!

See the latest schedule here–> Zube Park Train Rides schedule

 Activities for Kids in Houston


These activities are not “free” but they are “must see” things to do in Houston!  One of my favorite ways to see all of these things on a budget is with a Houston CityPass!  Kids can see five attractions for $41 and adults pay just $51!  You’ll save up to $45 when you get one!  Check it out here–> Houston CityPass


Downtown Aquarium – They’ve got carnival games, rides, and more!  Your kids can feed the stingrays in the Stingray Reef and they’ll love all of the exhibits in the Aquarium Adventure, too.


Houston Children’s Museum – I have to confess that I haven’t been to children’s museums in other places, so I have nothing to compare this to, but I think that the Houston Children’s Museum is pretty fantastic!  Your kids get their own ATM card to manage while they’re there.  They will earn money working jobs ranging from a veterinarian to a cashier at a grocery store and if they’re lucky, they may even end up working at a news station!  I recommend planning to stay for several hours!


Houston Museum of Natural Science – My kids are HUGE fans!  See dinosaurs, mummies, and more!  They have rotating specialty exhibits, too!


Houston Zoo – My kids have LOVED trips to the zoo from a young age.  Make sure you check out the schedule online before you go so you don’t miss special daily events.  Splurge and let your kids feed the giraffes at least once.  It’s an unforgettable experience!


Kemah Boardwalk – I took my kids to the Kemah Boardwalk for the first time during Spring Break this year!  They loved it so much that my son begged to go back for his birthday!  They’ve got thrill rides, live music and entertainment, boardwalk games, and great restaurants!


Space Center Houston – If you live in Houston and you haven’t been to Space Center Houston yet, you MUST visit! I can still remember my first trip as a child and I learn new things every time I go back with my own children! TIP: Arrive EARLY and head straight for the tram tours. Otherwise, you’ll be waiting several hours if you try to go later in the day!

You can also choose to visit The Houston Museum of Fine Arts.

Here are a few other activities work checking out:
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Beat Summer Boredom with KVPAC Summer Camps!


My kids have been out of school for less than two weeks and I’m already starting to hear “Mom, I’m bored.”  I tried to plan fun things for us to do each day, but they miss the structure that comes with school and they miss being around other kids.  If you’re looking for ways to beat summer boredom, Katy Visual and Performing Arts Center is offering weekly summer camps!  They’ve got something for all interests including acting, modeling, voice, and art exploration!  There are different themes and classes for kids ranging in age from 3 to 17 each week!

Click here to see the full schedule–> KVPAC Summer Camp Schedule

Beat Summer Boredom with KVPAC Summer Camps

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  • Classes meet Half-Day Monday-Friday (9 am-12 pm or 1 pm-4 pm)
  • Your child can attend a full day (two separate classes) and will bring a sack lunch and receive supervision in between classes
  • A one week class is $162 for members and $180 for everyone else
  • All registrants will receive a Papa Murphy’s Pizza coupon Card ($40 value)

I think my daughter would LOVE the theater options that are available.  Your kids have the opportunity to be a part of productions such as Pocahontas, Sleeping Beauty, Rumpelstiltskin, or Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.  I think my son would love to check out some of the art classes.  They’ve got general painting and watercolor classes and themed classes that focus on dragons, robots, pirates, and more!  Craft projects are included!

During the school year, you often have to make a full year commitment to activities, which can be very costly, especially if your child decides that they don’t enjoy what they are doing.  This is a great opportunity for your child to explore their talents in a low pressure setting without the financial commitment.  I have several friends whose children have attended classes here and they have had great experiences!  Plus, it gives you a chance to get some of those projects on your to do list done without the kids following you around (maybe it’s time to clean out the bedrooms and closets!)

You can also beat the summer boredom by attending a Summer Broadway Performance as a family!  They will have The Music Man, Sleeping Beauty, Summer Camp the Musical, Rumpelstiltskin, Pocahontas, and Joseph and the Amazing Technical Dreamcoat.  Tickets are just $6 each, which is less than the cost of a movie ticket!  This is definitely on our summer bucket list!

Enroll your kids today–> KVPAC Summer Camp Enrollment

Which classes will your kids be attending?

DISCLAIMER:  I was provided with theater tickets for my family in exchange for writing this post.  All opinions are 100% mine.  Please refer to my disclosure policy for additional information.


Free Kids Book from Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program!


Keep your kids reading this summer and they can get a FREE Kids Book from the Barnes & Noble Summer Reading program!  The program runs from 5/20 through 9/2/14.

Click here to get the scoop–> FREE Kids Book from Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program

FREE Kids Book from Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program

Getting your free book is EASY:

1.  Download the reading log here–> Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program

2.  Have your child read 7 books and record them on the reading log

3.  Bring your completed reading log to your local Barnes & Noble store before 9/2/14

4.  Choose a free reading adventure book from the list included with the reading log!

PLUS, your kids can get FREE BOWLING all summer long!  Register for Kids Bowl Free here–> Kids Bowl Free

Get a heads up on all of the current freebie offers!  Sign up for Woman Freebies here–> Woman Freebies (I’ve been a member for two years now and don’t get junk mail!)

See all my current freebie posts here–> Freebies

*This post may contain affiliate links.  Please refer to my disclosure policy for more information

Summer of 2014 Staycation Travel Guide!


Summer is almost here!  One way to save money is to plan a staycation!  If you’re looking for ways to enjoy your city on a budget, check out the Summer of 2014 Staycation Travel Guide!  You’ll also find budget friendly tourist attractions in other cities you may be visiting this summer!

Here are some tips for saving money on your next vacation:

Here are some of my staycation tips:


Summer of 2014 Staycation Travel Guide

A – D

Phoenix-Metro, Arizona ~ Mom Endeavors
Scottsdale, Arizona ~ Saving For Someday
Tucson, Arizona ~ Desert Chica Ramblings
Bentonville, Arkansas ~ This Sweet Life
Fullerton, California ~ More with Less Today
San Diego, California ~ Southern Cali Saver.com
Denver, Colorado ~ Bargain Blessings
Washington, District of Columbia ~ Kidventurous

F – I

Jacksonville, Florida ~ Saving The Family Money
Orlando, Florida ~ The Educators’ Spin On It
Tallahassee, Florida ~ SwagGrabber
Tampa, Florida ~ Not Consumed
Chicago (and suburbs), Illinois ~ A Savings WOW!
Chicago, Illinois ~ Entertaining Chicago
Fort Wayne, Indiana ~ Simplified Saving
Indianapolis, Indiana ~ Chaos Is Bliss
Des Moines, Iowa ~ Eat, Play, Love Des Moines

K – P

Northern Kentucky (Boone, Kenton, Campbell Co) ~ Simply Sherryl
Annapolis, Maryland ~ The Happy Housewife
Boston, Massachusetts ~ Maven of Savin
Grand Rapids, Michigan ~ Give Me Neither
Metro Detroit, Michigan ~ Saving Dollars and Sense
Oakland County, Michigan ~ Everyday Savvy
South Haven, Michigan ~ Bargain Briana
Twin Cities, Minnesota ~ Creative Couponing
Kansas City, Missouri/Kansas ~ Kosher on a Budget
Kansas City, Missouri/Kansas ~ Kansas City Mamas
Southern Missouri ~ Getting Freedom
Omaha, Nebraska ~ Family Fun in Omaha
Reno (& Northern), Nevada ~ Premeditated Leftovers
Buffalo/Niagara Falls, New York ~ Anns’ Entitled Life
Syracuse, New York ~ I am THAt Lady
Cincinnati, Ohio ~ Adventure mom
Columbus, Ohio ~ Cleverly Simple
Dayton, Ohio ~ Savings Lifestyle
Northeast Ohio ~ Raising Lifelong Learners
Northeast Ohio (Canton, Akron, Cleveland) ~ Sisters Shopping on a Shoestring
North Central Oklahoma ~ From this Kitchen Table
Portland, Oregon ~ Frugal Living NW
Erie, Pennsylvania ~ Growing Kids Ministry
Harrisburg/Central, Pennsylvania ~ Family Balance Sheet
Lancaster, Pennsylvania ~ Pandora’s Deals
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania ~ The Coupon High
Northeastern Pennsylvania (NEPA) ~ Bucktown Bargains

R – W

Providence, Rhode Island ~ Everyday Family Living
Beaufort, South Carolina ~ Kathys Cluttered Mind
Chattanooga, Tennessee ~ Living Chic on the Cheap
Nashville, Tennessee ~ The Hands-On Homeschooler
Arlington, Texas ~ Baby Boomer Rants
Bryan/College Station, Texas ~ How to Homeschool My Child
Dallas, Texas ~ Surviving The Stores
Fort Worth, Texas ~ Coupons and Freebies Mom
Houston, Texas ~ Melissa’s Bargains
Katy, Texas ~ Moms Confession
Rio Grande Valley (McAllen), Texas ~ iLoveMy5Kids
Salt Lake City, Utah ~ Teach Beside Me
Charlottesville, Virginia ~ How to Have it All
Richmond, Virginia ~ Vacation Maybe
Williamsburg, Virginia ~ The Talking Suitcase
Seattle, Washington ~ Thrifty NW Mom
Oshkosh, Wisconsin ~ A Little Bit of This and That

How to save money on hotel rooms


If you’re planning a vacation, the cost of hotel rooms can quickly add up, here are some ways that you can save money on hotel rooms!

Make sure you also check out my post about how to save on rental cars here–> How to save money on rental cars

How to Save Money on Hotel Rooms

1.  Be flexible in your travel dates – If you have flexibility in your travel dates, many hotel websites have an option where you can look at a calendar and see the rates for each day.  This will help you select the best travel time, especially if there’s a specific hotel you’re interested him.

2.  Sign up for hotel loyalty programs – If you have a favorite hotel chain, make sure you sign up for their hotel loyalty program.  They will send out special offers throughout the year where you can get discounted rates or earn extra points.  Plus, with your points, you can earn free rooms!

3.  Ask about discounts – Many hotel chains offer discounts to AAA and AARP members as well as discounts for seniors and military.  It never hurts to ask if you don’t see the information on their website!

4.  Consider discounted travel sites – Travel sites like Priceline.com allow you to set your own rates to try to claim a hotel room.  You can also get discounted rates through Hotwire.com.  Using this service, you can choose a hotel rating (1-5 stars), but you won’t know the actual hotel until you complete your purchase.  To get an idea about what hotels are available and the going rates through discounted travel sites check out Bidding for Travel–> Bidding for Travel

5.  Check out Group Deal sites – Groupon has an entire section dedicated to Getaways!  You can score rooms at resort hotels for rock bottom prices!  Just make sure you read the fine print details before purchasing.  Sometimes there are restrictions, date exclusions, and expiration dates!  Check it out here–> Groupon Getaways

6.  Consider the amenities – Check out the amenities when booking a room.  Does the hotel offer free parking or do you have to pay for parking?  Do kids stay free?  Do they include free breakfast?  Is there a refrigerator where you can store snacks or a kitchen?  Do you get free Wi-Fi?

When we’re traveling with our kids, we always look for places where kids stay free and we prefer places where we can get free breakfast, too!  One of our favorite places to stay as a family is in Drury Hotelswhich are located in the southern states because kids stay free, you get free breakfast, there are free sodas and popcorn as a mid-day snack, and there is an evening Kickstart that has doubled as “dinner” for us a few times!  Plus, we can often get a suite (which means that we don’t have to go to bed when the kids to go bed) for the same price as a regular room at other locations.  And no, they didn’t pay me anything to say that!  I just wanted to share that we’ve found some great deals there!

How do you save money on hotel rooms?  What is your favorite hotel chain?

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please refer to my disclosure policy for more information