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Houston for Families

Rodeo Town
Houston for Families
Families, rejoice! Houston has you covered. From exciting outdoor adventures to fascinating educational experiences, the city's offerings will appeal to children of all ages.
By Kristin Finan, AFAR Local Expert
Photo courtesy of Julie Soefer/Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau
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    Rodeo Town
    Rodeo Town
    The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo takes place every March, as it has since the 1930s. Located at NRG Park, it's the largest event of its kind and a source of endless amusement for kids. In addition to rodeo events, there's a petting zoo, a chick-hatching exhibit, a huge indoor market, nightly concerts, and a huge amusement park. With food options from barbecue to deep-fried Snickers bars, it's the ultimate county fair. Need to get outfitted for the rodeo? Teens and their parents will enjoy trying on boots and hats at Pinto Ranch, which offers rodeo staples as well as Western lifestyle apparel.
    Photo courtesy of Julie Soefer/Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau
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    Historic Downtown Houston
    Historic Downtown Houston
    Houston's historic downtown is located alongside Buffalo Bayou, and it's the perfect place for a day's exploration. Wander the Heritage Society's Sam Houston Park, a historical park that includes buildings representative of many eras, from a pre–Texas Revolution cabin to an 1891 church built by German and Swiss immigrants. Next, take a tour of the Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern, a former drinking water reservoir built in 1926 that has reopened as a public space (tours must be booked in advance; children must be nine or older). Baseball more your speed? Catch an Astros game or take a stadium tour of Minute Maid Park.
    Photo by Mark Miller/age fotostock
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    Space Center Houston
    Space Center Houston
    If you visit Houston and you've got kids, one place is mandatory to visit: Space Center Houston, the No. 1 attraction for international visitors to the city. The center features more than 400 space artifacts, permanent and traveling exhibits, and attractions related to the past, present, and future of America’s human spaceflight program. It’s also home to the world’s largest collection of moon rocks and lunar samples for public view and offers guests the opportunity to go behind the scenes to see NASA's Johnson Space Center.
    Photo courtesy of Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau
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    Hermann Park and Houston Zoo
    Hermann Park and Houston Zoo
    Hermann Park, located across the street from Rice University in the Museum District, was actually Houston’s first city park—commissioned in 1914, it was gifted to Houston by philanthropist George Hermann. Features include a miniature train that chugs through the park, the Japanese Garden, pedal boat rentals, the McGovern Centennial Gardens, a café, and various public art projects. It's also home to the Houston Museum of Natural Science and the Houston Zoo, which itself spans 55 acres.
    Photo courtesy of Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau
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    Family Museums
    Family Museums
    Houston has various family-friendly museums sure to amuse and engage your kids. At the Museum of Natural Science, children will love basking in the 750 sparkling pieces in the Cullen Hall of Gems and Minerals, watching rainbow-colored creatures flit about in the Cockrell Butterfly Center, and staring in awe at the tyrannosaurus rex skeleton in Paleontology Hall. Instill a love of art in your children at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, or the Menil Collection. If you're traveling with older children, don't miss a chance to show them why it's important to remember the past with a stop at the Buffalo Soldiers Museum or Holocaust Museum Houston.
    Photo courtesy of Julie Soefer/Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau
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    San Jacinto Battlefield
    San Jacinto Battlefield
    One of the defining moments in not only Houston but also Texas—and ultimately U.S.—history took place on the afternoon of April 21, 1836, on the San Jacinto battlefield on the banks of what is now the Houston Ship Channel, east of downtown Houston. In the span of 18 minutes, General Sam Houston led the Texian soldiers to a victory that not only won Texas’s independence from Mexico, but eventually meant the annexation of about 1 million square miles of land for the U.S. The site is preserved as a memorial to the battle, with the central point of interest being the San Jacinto Monument, a 567-foot spire that visitors can ascend for a bird’s-eye view of the battlefield and the nearby Battleship Texas—a relic of the World Wars.
    Photo by age fotostock
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    Discovery Green
    Discovery Green
    Since opening to the public in April 2008, Discovery Green, a 12-acre park, has quickly become the little heartbeat of downtown. Here you’ll find restaurants, hotels, a playground, a man-made lake, a dog park, a water feature, and the Grace Event Lawn, which frequently hosts events such as yoga classes, concerts, movie screenings, art shows, and farmers' markets.
    Photo courtesy of Jim Olive/Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau