Best 5 Fun Things to Do Before School Starts in Houston

August 17, 2012 12:00 PM

August 17
Send the kids back to school with something to talk about. These Houston-area destinations are both family friendly and fun. Dinosaurs, water fun, animals, model boats, listening vessels or a boat ride promise great family memories this summer. Take a picnic or explore nearby restaurants to round out the day.

Hall of Paleontology – Houston Museum of Natural Science
5555 Hermann Park Drive
Houston, TX 77030
(713) 639-4629

Price: free for members/$15 adults/$10 children ages 3 to 11/$10 parking

The Houston Museum of Natural Science opened it’s new Hall of Paleontology in June to rave reviews. It features the dinosaurs in natural fighting poses with great lighting effects for an exciting, slightly scary experience kids and adults love. This is the perfect place to get the kiddos psyched about history and science this year with exhibits that teach as well as awe.

Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark
5555 Hermann Park Drive
Galveston, TX
(409) 770-9283

Price: $42.99 adults/$32.99 children ages 3 to 11

Enjoy exciting water slides for the thrill seekers and a peaceful tube trip down the river for a slower pace. Even the smallest adventurer will find plenty to do in the Tiki Tikes, Treasure Island Play & Pool and the Wasserfest Kid’s areas. Take advantage while the weather’s still great and the kids aren’t bogged down with homework and school schedules.

Houston Zoo
6200 Hermann Park Dr.
Houston, TX  77030
(713) 533-6500

Prices: free for members/$13 adults/$9 children ages 2 to 11

Spend the day with your kids and relive the awe of discovery at enclosure. Be sure to download the Houston Zoo smartphone app to put maps, attractions and the Meet the Keeper Talks right at your fingertips. The petting zoo is always a kid-friendly favorite. The new 4D experience in the African Forrest takes 3D visuals to a whole new level with scents, bubbles, mist and lights.

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Discovery Green
1500 McKinney
Houston, TX 77010
(713) 400-7336

Prices: free

The Gateway Fountain promises great fun for the whole family on a hot summer day as the water sprays grow to full height on the plaza. For boating enthusiasts, there are kayaks and model boats for rent. Enjoy a variety of events scheduled throughout the year as well. Discover the listening vessels found in the Wortham Foundation Gardens that focus sound so you can speak softly and still hear each other across the garden plaza. Enjoy jogging trails and promenades at Discovery Green as well. It even offers a guided tour that can be downloaded for your iPod.

Port Bolivar Ferry
SH 87
Galveston, TX
(409) 795-2230

Prices: free

Always a great deal, whether you walk or drive on, the Bolivar Ferry is a great way to get out on the water. Kids may feed the seagulls off the back of the ferry, watch for dolphins or go up in the observation deck. If you don’t plan to visit Crystal Beach, park the car and walk on to avoid the wait. The ferry leaves every half hour during the day and on the hour at night from the Galveston side.

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Cari Ray is a freelance writer covering all things Houston. Her work can be found on