What are the “Hot Spots for Tots” you mentioned at Bayou City Mamas Night Out? You asked us!

I had the great honor to talk to the Bayou City Mamas last week on “Hot Spots for Tots”.  Here are some of the venues and events I mentioned.  (And yes, Fire trucks seemed to just keep coming up!)

Look below for favorite:

Free Things to Do

  • Visit your local fire station.  Just stop by your local station with a box of cookies.  If the fire fighters are available, they will often let you sit in the truck!
  • Take a trip Downtown – Without a doubt, visiting Downtown is our #1 favorite thing to do. Every single day the kids ask to take METRORail to the middle of Downtown. On week days, we go to the to of the JP Morgan Chase Tower to gaze at the city from 60 stories up. Then we go down to the miles of tunnels beneath the city. Any day of the week we are delighted to push the mysterious red button on the Preston Street Bridge, to grab a picnic lunch at Phoenicia, play at Discovery Green and visit the Downtown Aquarium splashpad.

Parks, Spalshpads & Playplaces

  • Fire Truck Park – When Southside’s first fire truck was retired in 1970, it was kept in this park, making it the Fire Truck Park. This truck and the other playground equipment came into disrepair after many years of use, so in 2012, a completely renovated Fire Truck Park was opened. And it is fantastic. For kids under 5 years old, there is a new fire truck play structure. All around the new fire truck is unique equipment, for big kids, that you do not you see at every Houston park. The merry-go-round is made from a tire, there are little “flowers” where the kids sit and spin themselves and there is a very unusual rock wall for the biggest kids.
  • Ervan Chew Park – These are 2 play structures under giant oak trees, a splashpad, dog park, basketball court and baseball field. The splashpad is open year round, with a button to turn on the water.
  • Noah’s Ark is a shallow pool with great slides and water features.
  • Houston Fire Museum – Located in old Fire Station 7 on Milam in midtown, the Houston Fire Museum remembers Houston firefighting history and has the perfect room for your little firefighter to play. In the small, easy-to-supervise, air conditioned room, little firefighters will find the cab of a real firetruck with working lights and scanner. They will also find full fireman suits for dress up and a real fireman pole (and mat).  The wall of hoses and 2 story fire safety house will let the kids imagination run wild as they act as Houston’s local heros.

Houston Events

  • Toddler Tuesday – Toddler Tuesdays, presented by Amerigroup RealSolutions, is at Discovery Green September 2 – October 28, 2014. Every Tuesday at 10:30am, parents and kids enjoy a free story time and activities with their favorite characters.
  • Fire Fest – We look forward to each October and the annual Fire Fest at the Val Jahnke Training Facility. There are many fire rescue demonstrations and activities for the kids. My kids especially love to spray the fire hose and take a ride up in the basket of the ladder truck. From November to the next October, my kids ask weekly about when we can return.

Kid-Friendly Restaurants

  • Little Matt’s – Don’t let the bland gray exterior fool you. This little restaurant is wild inside. There is good food, nice patio, iPad station, candy store, arcade AND the proceeds go to help children and families affected by cancer. Psssst – Here is a secret… you can ask for an adult beverage and get it for free
  • Mia’s Table – Mia’s is a Carrabba family restaurant and it says “family friendly” right on the logo. We love this cozy home-like restaurant because they treat us like so well here. We walk in, order at the counter and find our seats. The staff always greets us warmly and comes by our table to check on us. The interior is casual but very nice with a punched tin ceiling and big windows that open to the large porch. Ice cream is free and the managers have been known to bring around free cookies. I also think the iced tea is the best in town!

Birthday Party Locations

  • Main Street Theater – Ages 3 and up. Parties held in rehearsal classroom. Room available between 1:00 and 4:00pm Saturday show. Coordinate with theater for youth season.
  • And, like I mentioned at the event, don’t feel like you have to have a party.  If you don’t want one, celebrate another way.  You can still make the birthday special without all the pressure of the perfect party.  Of course, if you or your kids really want the party… do it!  Go HERE for ideas!
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