The Ultimate Houston Summer Bucket List

The Ultimate Houston Summer Bucket List | Houston Moms Blog

Well hello Summer! Houston and Houston Moms Blog are ready- are you? Our Ultimate Houston Summer Bucket list includes fantastic ideas for family fun for kids of all ages and parents alike. And to make checking activities off your list easy and fun, we’ve included a handy free printable of over 100 bucket list items. 

Ready, set, go! Show us pictures of your summer adventures using the hashtag

#HMBSummerFun

Please Note :: While we make every effort to crosscheck current links and event details on our guides, we always encourage you to do the same before making final plans. If details are missing or incorrect, please let us know so that we can make every attempt to correct them.  

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Houston Summer Fun for the Whole Family

  • Summer is a great time to encourage pleasure reading for your kids, and crack open a juicy beach read yourself! Enroll in one of many available summer reading programs, most with challenges and prizes for the whole family!
  • Explore Houston’s charming independent bookstores for the perfect beach read {and most of them have kids’ programs as well}.
  • Cheer for our hometown Houston Astros {Astros Kids Day is July 7} and Sugarland Skeeters at a baseball game! Constellation Field, where the Skeeters play, is great for families with young kids, as it has both a playground and splash pad. 
  • Houston’s soccer teams, the Houston Dynamo and Houston Dash, play throughout the summer- go see a home game!
  • The Women’s World Cup is June 7-July 7; cheer on Team USA at viewing parties all over the city, or have your own viewing party at home.
  • Check out the exhibits at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. The museum is free on Thursdays from 2-5 pm.
  • Take everyone to the Lonestar Flight Museum– they have an aviation-themed story time every Friday morning.
  • Marvel at the delicate, beautiful butterflies at the Cockrell Butterfly Center. The kids will love seeing the live tarantula collection on Thursdays and feeding frenzy on Fridays.
  • Refresh your Texas history knowledge at the San Jacinto Monument and Museum , and afterwards take the kids to explore the Battleship Texas. Tip:: pack a picnic lunch to enjoy nearby at the San Jacinto battleground site.
  • Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing on July 12 with Family Stargazing from the 7th floor of the parking garage at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Astronomers will be there with their telescopes, and tickets include a picnic dinner, planetarium shows, and tours.
  • You can also celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, as well as the many other exciting exhibits at Space Center Houston all summer long.
  • Check out the Then and Now exhibit at the Art Car Museum then head over to the Beer Can House for a wonderfully weird Houston experience.
  • Take a Twilight Tour on Buffalo Bayou- will you spot an alligator?
  • Take a FREE boat tour of the Houston Ship Channel with the Sam Houston Boat Tour. Tours are available Tuesday-Saturday and reservations are required. 
  • Grab a blanket and picnic basket and settle in for a free children’s theater performance on the lawn at Miller Outdoor Theater.
  • The Main Street Theater will be performing You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown from June 11- July 28, 2019.
  • Check out the Cinemark Summer Movie Clubhouse– for $1/show, select theaters will be showing 10 family-friendly films throughout the summer. Check your specific theater for days and showtimes.
  • Grab your blankets and popcorn for Family Movie Night at Levy Park on June 28 {Lilo and Stitch} and July 26 {Trolls} or Movie Under the Moon in Sugarland on July 13 {The Lego Movie 2}.
  • The Kemah Boardwalk is always a great destination for family fun- rides, shopping, and great food!
  • Explore over 95 city blocks of Houston- underground! Take the family on an underground adventure through downtown’s tunnel system, and finish up your visit with lunch at one of the tunnel’s many restaurants. 
  • Make your way just before sunset to the  Waugh Drive Bat Colony and be amazed as hundreds of thousands of Mexican Free-Tailed bats emerge to feast on Houston’s mosquitos. 
  • Take the short drive to Brenham, Texas to tour the Blue Bell Creamery
  • In addition to viewing spectacular sea life, ride the Ferris wheel and check out the white tiger exhibit at the Downtown Aquarium.
  • Make a day trip to Galveston Island. Build a sandcastle, cool off in the waves, and then make your way to the Strand and grab a double-scoop ice cream cone at LaKings Confectionery.
  • Schedule a visit to Houston’s Mounted Patrol Station. Bring your own apples and carrots to feed the horses!
  • Spend some time at Discovery Green and the many activities and programs they offer. Be sure to check out the Sonic Playground, here only until October 1.
  • Take some fun and unique family pictures at one of Houston’s murals.

Houston Summer Fun for Toddlers and Preschoolers

  • Summer means spending a lot of time in the water, and water safety is essential for little ones. Sign them up for swim lessons and give yourself peace of mind.
  • For a fun, safe alternative to the pool, let the kids play and get wet at one of Houston’s many splash pads.
  • There are many summer days in Houston where it’s just too hot to be outside. Thankfully, Houston has many indoor play options for your kids to burn some energy out of your house.
  • Foster your little one’s musical intelligence by enrolling them in a class- Music Together and Gymboree Play and Music are both great options.
  • Most local libraries have weekly story time for toddlers and preschoolers. Check your local branch for a schedule.
  • The Children’s Museum Houston is always a great place to visit for fun and education, and the Tot Spot is a special area just for little ones under 3 years old.
  • For a smaller, less overwhelming children’s museum experience for little ones, The Woodlands Children’s Museum offers engaging play activities for kids up to age 10.
  • The Houston Museum of Natural Science at Sugarland has several exhibits just for little ones- they can dig for dinosaur bones in the Dig Pit and build their hearts out in the Block Party, Too.
  • Toddlers can participate in Parachute Playtime at CityCentre every third Friday of the month from 10 am-12 pm. 
  • Take the little ones to splash and swim at the Noah’s Ark Pool at the Quillian Center. 
  • Discovery Green hosts Toddler Tuesdays from 10:30 am-12:00 pm. 

Houston Summer Fun for School Age Kids

  • Sign your big kids up for summer camp– they will have a blast and make memories for a lifetime!
  • Enroll them in a local church’s VBS program.
  • Take them to play laser tag.
  • Lace up your skates and relive your childhood with your kids at the Dairy Ashford Roller Rink.
  • Or…make your way to the Galleria or Memorial City Mall for some ice skating. 
  • Grab a group of your kids and their friends and spend a few hours bowling at your local lanes. Check out KidsBowlFree.com for information on how your kids can bowl two free games a day all summer long! 
  • They will have a blast all day at Urban Air Adventure Park.
  • Top Golf is always a hit with school age kids!
  • Animal loving kids should check out the CAP4Kids program at Citizens for Animal Protection. On Thursdays from 4pm-6pm kids can practice their reading skills with a patient and encouraging dog, and the last Friday of every month is a Kids Night Out with animal themed fun, and dinner is included!
  • The Houston Health Museum is a must-visit attraction this summer for their hands-on DeBakey Cell Lab. Kids will visit seven lab stations to get up close and personal with cellular biology.
  • There’s never a shortage of fun and educational attractions at Children’s Museum Houston. This summer, the museum is bringing Hollywood to Houston with on-site movie sets starring your kid in their Action Packed Summer.
  •  Crafty kids? Michaels craft stores host a weekly Kids Club and Camp Creativity for kids 3 and up. Check your local store for dates and times.
  • Take the kids to paint their own pottery at The Mad Potter or other ceramic studio.

Houston Summer Outdoor Adventures

  • Plan a trip to a new-to-you park. Houston is FULL of parks and playgrounds for all ages. Levy Park has Children’s BINGO and family story time weekly throughout the summer!
  • Summertime is for eating delicious fruit, and what better way to enjoy fresh strawberries, blueberries and more than picking your own fruit?
  • Make a trip to the Houston Zoo and visit the special summer exhibit, Dinosaurs! Before you go, be sure to check out our mom-tested tips for a successful {not stressful} day at the zoo. 
  • The kids will love visiting the Barbara Fish Daniel Nature Play Area at Buffalo Bayou Park. They’ll play in the sand, climb rocks and logs, and fly down the 33 foot slide!
  • Visit one of Houston’s many waterparks- are you brave enough to try the Bullshoot at Typhoon Texas, a 7 story free fall down an open air slide?
  • Before the scorching heat sets in, grab the sunscreen, water bottles and the whole family for a hike, right here in the city!
  • Try Geocaching and hunt for treasure throughout the city!
  • Visit Mary Jo Peckham Park for catch and release fishing and free putt-putt golf!
  • Connect with nature at the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center. Summer camps {half day and full day} are available for ages 4-12.
  • The AIA Sandcastle Competition is one of Galveston’s greatest traditions. The event will take place on August 24 on East Beach and is free and open to the public, but there is a charge to park.  

Houston Summer Festivals and Concerts

  • Houston has so many 4th of July celebrations and family events. Check out HMB’s 4th of July guide!
  • Asia Society’s annual AsiaFest is June 29-30. There will be performances, fusion cuisine, arts and crafts, and even an Asian pop culture costime/cosplay contest!
  • The Houston Pride Festival is June 22 beginning at 12 pm and the Pride Parade begins at 8pm. Admission is free for both events.
  • Attend free family-friendly Thursday Concerts at Discovery Green.
  • Relax with a glass of wine and enjoy Live Music in the Plaza every weekend at City Centre.
  • The Houston Food Fest is set for Saturday, June 15 and will feature over 70 vendors cooking up delicious food for you to try.
  • Miller Outdoor Theater is hosting a Family Funk Festival on July 6.
  • Attend a free family friendly concert on a Friday in June at Southdown Park in Pearland for their Concerts in the Park series. Bonus: there’s a splash pad and playground to keep the kids entertained! 
  • As part of their Summer Sounds series, the Houston Symphony will perform the entire score of Disney’s The Little Mermaid as the film plays at Jones Hall on August 31 and September 1. 

Houston Summer Eats

  • Summer is the perfect time to try out one of Houston’s many family friendly restaurants!
  • Start a lazy summer weekend off right by enjoying brunch with the whole family
  • Relax with a cold one while the kids play at one of Houston’s many family friendly breweries.
  • Yes, summer is scorching hot and most of the time, you will prefer air conditioning to dining al fresco. But, if a late dinner is your thing, check out these Houston restaurants with amazing patios.
  • July 10 is Cow Appreciation Day at participating Chick Fil A restaurants. Dress like a cow and receive a free entree!
  • Satisfy your sweet tooth with one of the best donuts in Houston {National Donut Day is June 7, but let’s be honest, do we really need an official day for an excuse to eat donuts?}
  • I scream, you scream, we all scream for ICE CREAM! It’s not summer until you have delicious ice cream melting down your chin. Check out our list of the best places in Houston to get your ice cream fix. 
  • Grab a delicious shaved ice at Bahama Bucks. Then on your way out, grab a pack of their Sno 2 Throw for a backyard snowball fight right in the middle of summer!
  • Support a local farmer by buying produce and other goods at one of Houston’s farmers markets.

Houston Kid-Friendly Summer Volunteer Opportunities 

  • The Star of Hope serves Houston’s homeless population and they have many volunteer projects for kids of all ages
  • The Houston Food Bank takes volunteers as young as 6 for specific kid-friendly projects in their warehouse.
  • The Hermann Park Conservancy needs volunteers to help with upkeep- they will tailor projects to the size group and age of those willing to help.
  • Foster a homeless dog or cat {The Houston SPCA,  Fort Bend County Pets, and Citizens for Animal Protection {CAP} all need foster families, or check out any breed-specific rescue group}. Not able to foster? Animal shelters are always in need of supply donations- check out their websites for needed items.
  • Take kids to visit residents at a local nursing home.
  • Join The Kindness Rocks Project and spread kindness and encouragement throughout your community by having your kids paint rocks with uplifting messages for their neighbors to find. 
  • Houston has a large refugee population, and there are many ways to support these families. Collect items for Welcome Kits or join a Welcome Team with Houston Welcomes Refugees.
  • Kids 8 and up can help make meals for hungry preschoolers by volunteering with Kids Meals Inc.
  • Kids of all ages can help pack underwear for children in need with Undies for Everyone.
  • Get creative and involve your kids in hosting a family activity for those staying at the Ronald McDonald House.
  • Tweens {accompanied by an adult} can help with food sorting in the pantry at Christian Community Service Center
  • Older Tweens are often able to volunteer at VBS. Contact a local church for details. 
  • Collect Box Tops throughout the summer and donate them to an underprivileged school.
  • Collect the kids’ unused or gently used school supplies from this past year and donate them to a school in need.
  • Bake cookies to take to your local fire station. {They will probably give your kids a tour and let them sit in the fire truck while you are there}

Houston Summer Date Night Ideas

  • For dates that are active, romantic, or take place right in the middle of the day, HMB has you covered!
  • Test your problem solving skills at one of Houston’s escape rooms.
  • Grab a cocktail and hit the dance floor at the Houston Museum of Natural Science’s monthly Mixers and Elixirs.
  • See a summer blockbuster in luxury at iPic Theater in River Oaks. Reclining seats come with blankets and pillows and you can order gourmet food and handcrafted cocktails.
  • Relax with a glass of wine and enjoy Live Music in the Plaza every weekend at City Centre.
  • Check out the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts‘ schedule. Summer shows include Aladdin and Rent!
  • Take a cooking or wine tasting class together. 
  • Pack wine, cheese and a picnic blanket and relax on the lawn at Miller Outdoor Theater for one of their summer shows.
  • Leave the kids with friends or grandparents for a day or two and have a romantic staycation right here in Houston. 
  • Have a hysterically fun night together at Comedy Sportz Houston or Improv Houston.
  • Head to Minute Maid Park for an Astros game and see if you can make it on the Kiss Cam!

Houston Summer Fun for Homebodies

Still Need More Ideas??

Stay Cool This Summer at These Houston Area Splash Pads | Houston Moms Blog

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