Half Day in Houston: Ride 2 trains, Aerate the Bayou & Pet a Stingray in Downtown
Having fun with the family and exploring Houston can be easy! If you have a few hours, we have ideas on how to spend them with the kids.
In this Half Day in Houston series, find a place to park, play, explore and eat… all in one spot. Pick what you like or combine with another Half Day post!
Look below for a map of the walking route. Just make the stops listed below, or add in more from this (very close) adventure.
Park and Ride:
For this urban Downtown adventure, take the METRORail to add to the fun. You can park anywhere along the line… the museum district can be congested but has several $5 lots along Binz.
If you don’t have time for the METRORail today, just drive and park at Market Square Park. Metered street parking is available.
Take the train! It runs through the middle of Downtown Houston and is easy to navigate. Watch the video HERE to see how to find a station, purchase tickets at the station and get where you need to go.
Jump off at the Preston Station and walk west(ish) on Preston Street. (This is away from Discovery Green and towards the Downtown Aquarium, the Theater District and City Hall… See the maps below.) All of this adventure is on this side of the tracks!
Whenever you are on Preston Street, you need to Burp the Bayou.
From the train station, walk on Preston past Market Square Park, past the Houston Ballet and just past the back of Wortham Theater, you’ll be at the bridge over the bayou.
In the middle of the brick column on the south(ish) side of the Preston Street Bridge, is a little red button. When you press it, the water it bayou will bubble for several seconds.
Just note that sometimes people have trouble with the button working… the water levels could be too high or the mysterious button could mysteriously stop working. It’s been working each time we’ve gone, just like the video… but please don’t send hate mail if it doesn’t! (Seriously, please don’t.)
From the Preston Street bridge, walk across the bayou. You could cross Bagby Street to get to the Downtown Aquarium, but instead, find the stroller/handicap ramp down to the Buffalo Bayou Trail. It is on the same side of Preston as the red button.
Walk down the long ramp and continue straight along side the water. Feed the ducks and watch out for the many cyclist riding along the path.
The sidewalk will take you under the overpass and you will find the “super secret” back entrance to the Downtown Aquarium on your right hand side.
Once you are at the Downtown Aquarium, decide how much you want to do. If you want the full adventure pass, be sure to look on the website HERE because there are often Buy One Get One Free coupons. This allows you to walk through the aquarium and ride the shark train, carousel, ferris wheel and pet the stringrays!
Another option is to splash in the splash pad for free. There is no cost to visit the big patio and the bathrooms are open to everyone. There is a DJ, splash pad and free trainer shows throughout the day. Without spending any money, you can have a great time at the Downtown Aquarium.
When you are finished, walk back to Market Square Park, near the red button.
On Preston, between red button and METRORail, stop by Downtown’s chillest park. Market Square has beautiful landscaping, room to run in the grass, dog park and a Niko Niko’s restaurant. This is the spot I recommend for lunch!
Downtown Walking Map: