The Houston Museum of Natural Science (HMNS)
5555 Hermann Park Dr.
Houston, TX 77030
When they get too old to enjoy the Houston Zoo or the Children’s Museum of Houston, you can still count on the Houston Museum of Natural Science to hold their attention. This spectacular venue offers interesting and educational exhibits that blend the natural sciences with history. Exhibits have included “Real Pirates,” featuring more than 200 artifacts from a real pirate shipwreck. The museum also houses a planetarium for those aspiring astrologists and a butterfly center. IMAX movies are regularly showing as well, from blockbusters such as Harry Potter to more educational films like Wild Ocean 3-D or Hubble 3D. Exhibit hours: Wednesday through Monday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Tuesday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. The last admission is always one hour before closing time. The planetarium, IMAX theaters and butterfly center have varying hours of operation.
Ice Skating Center at the Galleria
13350 Dallas Pkwy.
Dallas, TX 75240
Houston’s most popular shopping mall is just as well known for its indoor ice skating rink as it is for its many designer stores. Whether you’re looking for a day of family fun, a place to take your tween and their friends for an afternoon, or even a venue for your tween’s next birthday party, this should be your destination. Tweens will like this activity because it’s just challenging enough, but also lots of fun. You could always round out a family skating session with some shopping and a meal at a favorite Galleria eatery. Skating lessons are available if you’re looking for a new sport or activity to keep your tween busy after school or during the summer. Public sessions are offered daily; see the venue’s Web site for hours and rates.
Schlitterbahn Waterpark – Galveston Island
2026 Lockheed Dr.
Galveston, TX 77554
Even if they’re bordering on that age where family vacations are no longer cool, most tweens ages nine to 12 can still appreciate a day at the waterpark. Located about an hour and a half from downtown Houston, Schlitterbahn is a bit of a drive for some, but it’s well worth it. Tweens will love the uphill water coasters, Boogie Bahn surf ride, whitewater rapids and more. If you’re looking for fun for the whole family, there are kiddie playgrounds and a wave pool for the younger tots, plus and hots tubs, food and drinks for the grown-ups. The Galveston Schlitterbahn is the first convertible waterpark destination, which operates year-round and can be opened or closed depending on the season. Hours of operation vary by season. See Web site or call for more details.