FREE Summer Activities in Houston

Since moving to Houston three years ago, this is one of my favorite places to go in Houston.  They offer children's performances at 11 AM throughout the summer and early fall.  Evening performances for families and adults are also offered and you can get tickets for the seats or bring a blanket and sit on the lawn.  The Shakespeare Festival in August is one of my favorites and it's been a great way to introduce my older children to live performances of the Bard's plays.

Their summer reading program is coming soon!  Summer reading programs are always a great way to encourage your kids to read during the summer months.  Plus, the library offers special programs during the week in their air conditioned locations.

This was the first library system we joined when we moved to Houston and their summer reading program is our favorite.  You can enter everything online and then visit the library for your rewards.  They also offer great rewards.  In past years, we have received free tickets for an Astros game and free children's tickets for the circus and the Houston Rockets. 

Just print off the form for each of your children and fill it out with your child's reading times and when they take it in to a Half Price Books, they will receive Bookworm Bucks which is like a gift card.  My children loved this last year.  They read in June and July and received $5 Bookworm Bucks each month to use to buy books, magazines and stuffed animals.  They are also holding a Storytime on Sunday, June 8 at 2:00PM to kick off the summer!

For every 8 books your child reads they can earn a free book from Barnes and Noble's selection.  Just print off their reading journal and get started!  There's even a free guide for teachers to encourage their students to read over the summer.

What better activity for the summer than a boat ride?  The Port of Houston offers a free 90-minute tour of the port on a 95 foot boat with indoor and outdoor seating for 90 people.  It's a great way to see the large ships that come into the port and enjoy the breeze off the water.  They even give you a small complimentary soda or bottled water at the halfway point.  You are not allowed to bring food or beverages on the tour.  Follow the link to get more information and to make your reservation.  Note:  There are no tours on Monday and Tuesday and you must make reservations ahead of time online.

Do you need a place for your kids to walk, but you don't want to be out in the heat?  Then why not take them on a hiking adventure through the 6 miles of tunnels that make up the Houston Downtown Tunnel system.  The tunnels are busiest during the lunch hour, but if you go later in the afternoon after many of the restaurants have closed, you will find much smaller crowds.  With stores and restaurants as well as access to lots of buildings, it's a fun way to explore the downtown area and not worry about children running out in traffic.  

More Free Fun Downtown

While Downtown, you may also want to explore Sam Houston Park.  The Heritage Society maintains ten historic buildings that you can pay to tour.  Their museum gallery is always free and has a replica general store with hands on activities for the kids.  They also have free parking.

Discovery Green is also a fun place to play and you can cool off in the fountains.  Check their calendar for special events.  You can also ride the free GreenLink buses to get a riding tour of the downtown area and get tired kids back to the car.

My children's favorite Houston Public Library branch is the large Central Library downtown.  It is next to City Hall and close to Sam Houston Park.  The ground floor of City Hall now houses the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau and its Visitors Center.  I plan on going to City Hall soon to explore.  I have been told they have a free 10-minute film about the area. 

While trying to survive a Houston summer, it is always good to find fun places to go that are free and out of the heat.  Checking out some of the museums is a great way to keep learning and exploring, while enjoying air conditioning.


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