What to Do with Toddlers in Texas

Anyone who follows me on Instagram knows that I’m not exactly a “stay-at-home” stay at home mom. I don’t work in the traditonal since and yes, I’m “at home” with my boys, but…we are NEVER at home! Life is too short! We’re adventure seekers and we treat everyday like a new opportunity to see and do. I’ve visited every major city (and many small towns) in Texas with my boys so I can tell you the best things to do and places to go with little ones. 

I’ve done nearly all of these with my twin boys, who are almost eighteen months. We started really enjoying these things around nine to ten months, and even more so after they turned a year old. Many of these tings are perfect for toddlers all the way up to early school aged. My best advice is to look up the place you want to go to, make note of prices & hours, and then decide if you’ll need a stroller or carrier. Then, will you need a lunch, water, or just cash. Pack a few diapers and hit the road. Pura Vida! Enjoy.

My favorites in Austin include:

  • Barton Springs
  • Zilker Zelphyr & Zilker playground
  • Austin Natyre & Science Center
  • Lions, Tigers & Toys train table
  • The Dino Park (Bastrop)
  • Liz Carpenter Fountain at Butler Park
  • Botanical Gardens at zilker
  • Westbank Public Library
  • Graffiti Wall on Baylor
  • Ricky Guerrero Splash Pad
  • Twin Falls or Sculpture Falls
  • Thinkery
  • Toybrary
  • Mount Bonnell (hike)
  • Belterra (splash pad, trails, parks, and ducks to feed)
  • HCG splash pad
  • Catch Air (only ok, a little overwhelming)
  • Locomotion (ghetto, but worth a stop)
  • Founders Park (Dripping Springs)
  • Enchanted Rock (hike)
  • Pease Park
  • Circle C playground, trails and creek
  • Treaty Oak Brewery
  • Little Land Play Therapy
  • Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center
  • Austin Zoo

New Braunfels/San Marcos

  • McKenna Childrens Museum
  • Schlitterbahn
  • Wonder World
  • Float the Guadalupe
  • Wildlife Ranch

San Antonio

  • Doseum
  • Sea World & Aquatica
  • Rainforest Cafe

Marble Falls

  • Horseshoe Bay
  • Sweet Berry Farms
  • Park & ducks by Mamas Kitchen

Grapevine

  • Great Wolf Lodge
  • Grapevine Vintage Railroad
  • Nash Farm
  • Botanical Gardens
  • Sea Life Aquarium
  • LegoLand Discovery Center
  • Vetro Glass Blowing on Main St.

Dallas/Ft. Worth

  • Dallas World Aquarium
  • Dallas Zoo
  • Ft. Worth Zoo
  • Childrens gardens at Arboretum
  • Watermark Church indoor playground
  • Ft Worth Childrens Museum
  • Berger’s Lake Ft. Worth
  • Perot Museum
  • Klyde Warren Park
  • Ft Worth Water Gardens
  • Botanical Gardens Ft Worth

Chappell Hill/Brenham

  • Blue Bell Ice Cream factory
  • Fireman’s Park
  • Public Library (toys and play space)
  • Oil Ranch
  • Antique carousel at Firemans park

Waco

  • Cameron Park zoo & splaspads
  • Magnolia Market
  • Mayborn Childrens Museum

Houston

  • Discovery Green
  • Houston Zoo
  • Houston Childrens Museum
  • Kemah Boardwalk at Galveston,
  • Dewberry Farm
  • Houston Aquarium
  • Houston Nature & Science Center
  • Splashway Family Waterpark

Lets be real, here! What are you really doing everyday?

Laundry: Laundry takes about 5-15 minutes total. Less than a minute to drop it into washer or dryer and about 5-10 minutes to fold. Add a few more minutes to put away.

Dishes: I don’t have a good dishwasher so I hand wash ALL of my dishes. THREE times a day. I can get a sink full of dishes, including pots and pans done in about 8 minutes. So, let’s say I spend about 20 minutes a day doing dishes.

Cleaning: I can clean my entire house in about 20-30 minutes including sweeping and vaccuuming which I don’t do everyday. Your house is probably bigger and if so…put cleaning off and go have fun! It can wait.

All of the above adds up to about an hour. Add in 15-20 minutes for meltdowns and blow outs. Add about 15-20 minutes for getting you and your crew dressed, bags packed, and loaded in the carseats.

If you’re awake 12-15 hours a day, where does the rest of your time go? Get up, get out there, and do something! There are so many beautiful, wondrous places to explore to provide rich learning experiences for your children. Take time to meander, play, and enjoy every moment with your sweet kiddos.

Stay gold, 

That Girl

 

A Sweet Summer in the PNW

Hello from the PNW! That’s Pacific Northwest for short.

Angie and Sydney

We have been having a massive heat wave come through our state the past couple months. I kid you not, I cannot remember the last day that it rained in SEATTLE! We are the city known for rain and there has been none. We have been having such gorgeous weather the last few months, that myself and everyone around me has been soaking it up every way possible. You probably won’t believe this, but most homes in Washington DO NOT have AC. So with that being said, we have literally been baking and going anywhere and everywhere that has air conditioning just to stay cool.

This summer we are living with my in-laws in their pool house, while our house gets built. The pool house does not have AC, but it does come with a pool, which has been a slice of heaven in this heat! So we have been having a blast swimming and staying cool in there. Sydney has been having a great time playing in the pool and “learning how to swim” with us.

Sydney in the Pool!

Besides pool time, we’ve been staying busy with lots of family time and activities. One of my dearest college friends, Sarah, visited us from Texas and was able to meet Sydney for the first time! I love that she is getting to meet some of my sweetest friends even though they aren’t close by!

Sarah and Sydney

We also celebrated my Sister’s college graduation!
Auntie Emily and Sydney

Mostly, we have just been enjoying this time with friends and family close by. This warm weather continues to bring us all together for BBQ’s, pool parties and more. There is something about the sunshine that creates happy moods and many memories!

So cheers to summer! What do you do to beat the heat?

College Station Summer Fun

College Station may be small, but this area is jam packed with plenty of activities to keep your family busy this summer! No matter the ages of your children, there is something to do for everyone.

The City of College Station has outdone themselves this year. For a complete and detailed list of all events, summer camps, classes, and sports, download their 2015 summer event schedule here.

PLAYGROUNDS

College Station has about 25 playgrounds, but there are a few that have stood out to me. Sometimes we like to see how many different playgrounds we can visit during the summer!

Bee Creek Park is large and has plenty of grassy space for running and impromptu soccer games. A large portion of it is shaded which is a huge plus for those sunny summer days!

The playground portion of Central Park is also fairly shaded. There is also a fishing pond and a short walking and fitness trail.

Brother’s Pond Park is another one of our favorites. Although the playground is a bit smaller than some of the other parks, there is a large duck and turtle pond. Be sure to bring a snack for the ducks…they will be expecting it! And as a bonus, there is a great wooded area for lots of imaginary play!

POOLS and SPLASH PADS

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Adamson Pool is one of our favorites! It is an Olympic sized pool that features a diving and wading pool, two water slides, a smaller “tadpole” slide, water basketball, “Lilly Pad Walk” (rope obstacle course), and a separate baby pool.  There really is something for everyone here!

Cindy Hallaran Pool (often referred to as the “Rock Prairie Pool) is a great pool for families with toddlers and preschoolers or non-swimmers. It is a zero-depth pool with a beach entry in the shallow end and gently slopes to an overall depth of 4 feet in the deep end.

Thomas Pool has lap lanes, a small tube slide, and a diving board. Although this pool doesn’t get as much hype as the larger pools, it is a nice quiet pool with a pleasant atmosphere.

The city of College Station is finally recognizing the popularity of splash pads! There are three in Bryan: Tanglewood Park, Tiffany Park, and Gloria Stephan Sale Park.  Tarrow Splash Park, located at the Lincoln Recreation Center in College Station, is set to open sometime in June.

Be sure to check out the City of College Station’s website for pool promos!

MOVIES

If movies are your thing, there are a variety of free and low-cost options!

Free movies in the park are offered on select Fridays. Bring your own blankets, chairs, and food, however there will be concessions available for purchase. For dates and locations go here.

The George Bush Museum also offers “Free Movies By the Pond” on select dates during the summer. Again, bring your blankets and chairs, but games and refreshments will be provided free of charge! This one requires a reservation ahead of time. For their movie schedule as well as a listing of other events, go here.

Cinemark 18 has their summer kid’s $1 movies.  They show the same movie at 10am, Tuesday-Thursday, with a new movie each week. Click here to see what’s playing this week. Be sure to get there early enough to get tickets and get a good seat!

Premiere Cinema will once again have their Summer Kids Movie Fest starting on Wednesday June 10, and will continue each Wednesday until August 5. Show time is at 10am and ticket prices are only $1. Click here for movie schedule.

 

LIBRARIES

Both libraries, Larry J. Ringer (College Station) and Clara B. Mounce (Bryan), have lots of summer events for kids, teens, and adults.  For the complete list go here. Both libraries will continue with a regular storytime, as well as additional weekly events and summer reading programs. Tuesdays for Larry J. Ringer (here) and Wednesdays for Clara B. Mounce (here). Although the events are free, most require a ticket (so get there early) and some have age restrictions.

Not a library, but related to literacy, Half Price Books also hosts a summer reading program. FEED YOUR BRAIN Summer Reading Program begins June 1 and ends July 31. Kids preschool through high school age can earn $5 HPB Bookworm Bucks as a reward for reading over the summer. Go here for the full scoop.

MUSEUMS

The Children’s Museum of the Brazos Valley has been completely updated since last year! It’s in a new building, with new exhibits and events. They offer summer camps and the last Sunday of every month is FREE!

Arts Council of the Brazos Valley hosts an extensive permanent collection of art featuring works from regional and Texas artists, sculpture, paintings and artifacts from around the world dating  from the 11th century to the present.

Brazos Valley African American Museum chronicles the tragedies and triumphs of African American life from ancient civilizations to the present day, while also focusing on local history’s of churches, families and schools. The museum strives to explore, develop, preserve and present the cultural heritage of African Americans.

Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History boasts a gallery with exhibits of fossils, sculptures, antique farming and survey equipment, a discovery room with more than 15 varieties of live animals, dozens of taxidermy mounts, educational resources and several exhibits. Admission to the Museum on the first Tuesday of each month is only $1.

George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum explores important issues and events of the Administration of President George W. Bush as framed by four themes: freedom, opportunity, compassion, and responsibility. If your children and family enjoy learning about the Presidency, American history and government, and traveling the nation, you might like to consider purchasing a Presidential Libraries Passport from NARA. Available for purchase at the admissions desk, the passports include information about each of the 13 Presidential Libraries and they allow you to collect passport stamps as you visit each facility.

SUMMER CAMPS

City of College Station offers summer camps for school-age children, with costs as low as $25/week.

The Children’s Museum of Brazos Valley

Arts Council of Brazos Valley

Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History

Spirit Ice Arena

MISCELLANEOUS

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G. Hysmith Skate Park

Grand Station Entertainment: Tuesdays (5-8pm) are half price arcade (laser tag, mini golf, and video games) and be sure to sign up for “kids bowl free.”

HEB Towerpoint Summer Kids Cooking Class: June 9th – August 11th; Tuesdays 10am-noon.

Lowe’s Build and Grow: Clinics are free to the public and occur select Saturdays at 10am.

Home Depot Kids Workshop: Select Saturdays from 9am-noon.

Spirit Ice Arena

Games of Texas: July 30th – August 3rd

Lick Creek Park for running and biking trails

Yogurtland (1800 S. Texas Avenue), BOGO every Monday night after 5pm (until school begins).

ATTRACTIONS NEAR BCS

Royal Oaks Alpacas

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Franklin Drive-thru Safari

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Royalty Pecan Farms

Lake Conroe

Great Texas Balloon Race (Longview): July 21st-26th

Navasota Blues Fest: August 14th and 15th