Houston, Texas is one of the largest cities in America, and it has plenty to offer vacationers of all ages. Adults can enjoy the exquisite restaurants, unique shops, renowned nightlife and entertainment, as well as the thriving arts scene. Moreover, there are countless activities for kids, too. Many points of interest are situated just minutes away from incredible Houston vacation rentals. Here are 10 of the best family-friendly attractions in the area.

1. Space Center Houston

Space Center Houston is one of the best places to visit with the family because it’s exciting for visitors of all ages. Children ages 3 and under enter free, and kids ages 4 to 11 enjoy a discounted rate (which is even cheaper if you invest in a CityPASS). The whole family can enjoy over 400 space artifacts, including moon rocks and a genuine aircraft that’s been in space. Be sure to check out the all-ages Stellar Science Show for a highly entertaining performance that’s educational too. The Space Center is always rotating exhibits, shows, and events, so be sure to check the calendar to plan your day in advance.

2. Children’s Museum of Houston

Ideal for children up to age 12, the Children’s Museum of Houston is truly a haven for kids. This sprawling museum spans 90,000 square feet, and it’s packed with hands-on exhibits that are both fun and educational. FlowWorks is an interactive exhibit that lets kids explore the physics of water through vortexes, rapids, currents, waves, and more. Kidtropolis lets kids run an entire city all on their own. PowerPlay is a three-story play structure that also monitors your kid’s heart rate and other indicators to promote exercise. With so many exhibits offered, you can easily spend multiple days exploring them all.

3. Houston Zoo

The zoo is a classic family vacation destination, and the Houston Zoo doesn’t disappoint. With more than 6,000 exotic creatures inhabiting a gorgeous 55-acre tropical landscape, this zoo requires plenty of time to explore. There are many different exhibits, including the African Forest, Asian Elephant Habitat, and World of Primates. There’s even an entire aquarium, a playground for the kids, and a beautiful carousel featuring hand-carved and hand-painted zoo animals. Don’t forget to visit and feed the giraffes.

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4. Wet’n’Wild SplashTown

When you want to beat the Texas heat, Wet’n’Wild SplashTown is the place to go. At 40 acres, this massive water park is Houston’s largest. While there are plenty of adult rides for thrill-seekers, there’s no shortage of family-friendly attractions and rides just for the kids. The Tree House is a three-story play structure with plenty of kid-appropriate water slides. The park also has a separate park that’s just for the kids called Wet’n’Wild Jr. Rides that the whole family can enjoy together include Big Kahuna, Paradise River, Runaway Rapids, and Thunder Run. If you’re feeling daring, be sure to check out extreme rides like Brain Drain, Alien Chaser, RipQurl, and Texas Freefall.

5. Hermann Park

Hermann Park is the perfect place to enjoy a relaxing day in the sun. It’s located just minutes from the downtown area, so it should be easily accessible from your vacation rental. Bring your camera, and enjoy the sights of the enchanting rose garden, and then head over to the breathtaking Japanese garden. The park also boasts an outdoor theater, a jogging track, and a golf course. If you feel like enjoying some time on the water, go to McGovern Lake where you can rent a pedal boat or go fishing. Be sure to take the kids on a ride on the miniature train.

6. Houston Museum of Natural Science

One of America’s most popular museums, the Houston Museum of Natural Science has plenty for both kids and adults to see and do. New exhibits pop up frequently, but some of the permanent ones include the Hall of Ancient Egypt, Cullen Hall of Gems and Minerals, Cockrell Butterfly Center, and Farish Hall of Texas Wildlife. Swing by the Wortham Giant Screen Theatre for a family-friendly 3-D movie, or head to the Burke Baker Planetarium for a stunning show that whisks you into deep space and back.

7. Buffalo Bayou

Spanning 52 miles, Buffalo Bayou is a scenic waterway. Perfect for a leisurely stroll or a bike ride, it’s a wonderful place to relax with the whole family. A wide variety of fascinating plants and animals are located here, along with breathtaking natural landscapes. Sit on a bench if you want to take a break, and the bayou also has plenty of wharfs where you can rent canoes or kayaks to explore the area on the water.

8. The Chocolate Bar

If your child has a sweet tooth, The Chocolate Bar should be on your list of destinations. This magical store sells a wide variety of edible trinkets and novelties crafted out of chocolate. You can even watch the chocolate creations being made from the back window. In addition to chocolate, you can choose from a dozen handmade ice cream flavors. If you still have room in your stomach after your visit, be sure to stop by Candylicious, the Chocolate Bar’s sister store located next door, for another round of sweet treats.

9. Downtown Aquarium

Downtown Aquarium is one of the most unique places to eat dinner in the city. It’s a stunning 500,000-gallon aquarium, but it’s also an excellent surf-and-turf restaurant complete with a fantastic kid’s menu. When you’re not enjoying a delicious meal while gazing at exotic aquatic creatures, you can take a ride on the Ferris wheel, then head over to the aquatic carousel. Other incredible exhibits include the Louisiana Swamp, Rainforest, Sunken Temple, and Shark Voyage.

10. Kemah Boardwalk

Located just 20 minutes from the downtown area, Kemah Boardwalk should not be missed. The boardwalk is known for its exquisite restaurants, and there’s also a 35-acre carnival area that features a 65-foot Ferris wheel, a 36-foot carousel, a roller coaster, arcades, and many amusement rides. Enjoy gorgeous views of the Galveston Bay while you indulge in a world-class meal, and then stroll down the boardwalk to check out the one-of-a-kind specialty shops.

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