Buzz Summer Camp Directory

Outdoor spring activities

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Jon and Jill Currie

SOAKING UP THE SUN Siblings Jon and Jill Currie (pictured) enjoy springtime activities outside such as exploring Houston Arboretum and Nature Center and its Nature Playscape. (Photo: Lily June Photography)

Buzz Baby is a column about life with little ones. Writer Annie McQueen is a mother of four children under the age of 9.

Ready to embrace the outdoors for sunshine-filled adventures? From park picnics to splash pad adventures, there are countless outdoor spots around town suitable for babies and toddlers. 

Mom-of-two Angela Currie’s go-to spot for her 2-year-old train-loving son, Jon, and his big sister Jill, 4, is a classic Houston outdoor space, Hermann Park (6001 Fannin St.). The train is very close to their school, The Rise School, so it has become the perfect after-school activity. As soon as they pull into the parking lot and Jon hears the train at the park, he gets excited. The train loops around the park and takes off near the ponds and paddle boats. “Jon loves the Hermann Park train, and then heading to the Zoo after the train,” said Angela. 

They do a loop around the Zoo to see their animals (Jon and Jill’s favorites are lions and tigers), sometimes stopping for a sweet treat to cool down. Another favorite spot for the Currie family is the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center (4501 Woodway Dr.). “We enjoy walking all of the trails and playing at the park there,” said Angela. After they take in the outdoor nature, they check out the lizards and snakes on display inside the nature center. 

Aside from these well-known Houston spots, their family frequently visits the green space at Stomping Grounds (1223 W. 34th St.), an outdoor space with food spots and more, near Garden Oaks. “The kids run around the green space after ice cream,” said Angela. They also like to check out the local live music over an outdoor meal there. 

In the area, they also love Oak Forest Park (2100 Judiway St.), an all-inclusive park built with funds raised through the campaign “More Than 1Way 2Play” and designed to be a park for all abilities. “We are grateful for this park for our daughter, Jill, who has Down Syndrome,” said Angela. 

“One of my favorite outdoor memories with the kids was picking up breakfast and having a picnic at Memorial Park (7575 North Picnic Ln.),” said Angela. They brought bubbles and balls and set up a blanket amongst the trees in the Eastern Glades. 

When visiting a park suitable for babies and toddlers, it is helpful to find one that is fully or partially fenced, which provides a secure environment where little ones can roam freely. This is especially helpful for parents of multiples or with small children close in age. Artificial turf adds a layer of safety, ensuring curious mouths remain free from grass, rocks, or sticks. 

A few more parks to check out include: 

Evelyn’s Park Conservancy - 4400 Bellaire Blvd.

Playgrounds for wide range of ages, butterfly gardens, splash pad, on-site restaurant, expansive green space.

Fire Truck Park - 3743 Garnet St.

Renovated playground with Fire Truck themed play structures.

Levy Park Conservancy - 3801 Eastside St.

Recently rebuilt with a splash pad, community gardens, and more.

River Oaks Pumpkin Park - 3600 Locke Ln.

Fully fenced playground on five acres, with a lighted sports field, scenic hiking trail.

Splash pads offer a refreshing haven for water play. Here are some local favorites perfect for springtime splashing:

Bellaire Town Center Family Aquatic Center - 7008 Fifth St.

Miniature water park with various amenities for kids of all ages.

Gateway Fountain at Discovery Green - 1500 McKinney St.

Massive splash pad adjacent to Discovery Green in downtown.

Ervan Chew Park (Dunlavy Park) - 4502 Dunlavy St.

Surrounded by oak trees, this park includes picnic areas and basketball courts.

Jaycee Park Splash Pad - 1300 Seamist Dr.

Simple splash pad adjacent to a playground.

In addition to parks and splash pads, Houston offers many stroller-friendly trails that are great to take younger children on a walk or run. Check out these trails: 

Nature Discovery Center, Russ Pitman Park - 7112 Newcastle St.

Meander through woodlands, wetlands, and prairies on a mile-long loop. Explore the nature play area halfway through the trail.

Seymour Lieberman Exer-Trail at Memorial Park - 6501 Memorial Dr.

Memorial Park has approximately 30 miles of trails, including the flat and wide Seymour Lieberman Exercise Trail, a 3-mile flat trail perfect for a stroller walk or run.

Rice University Running Trail - 6100 Main St. 

This is a 3-mile running trail on a shaded flat path around Rice University. 

Terry Hershey Park - 15200 Memorial Dr. 

Explore the picturesque Terry Hershey Park along the walking trails, offering bayou views and benches to rest.

Marvyn Taylor Exercise Trail at Hermann Park - 2145 N MacGregor Way

A 2-mile trail loop around scenic Hermann Park, near the Zoo and museums. 

The Paul Carr Jogging Trail Park - Heights Blvd. at W. 18th St.

A 2-mile trail, featuring art installations and benches for resting. Stop by Donovan Park after a walk.

Mercer Arboretum and Botanic Gardens - 22306 Aldine Westfield Rd., Humble

Visit the Children's Garden, near acres of trails surrounded by plants, flowers, trees, and paths perfect for a stroller hike and kid-friendly nature walk.

With spring, new adventure blossoms for young children. So, grab your sunscreen, and our guide, and head outside to soak it in. 

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