Taking Preschoolers to the Children’s Museum of Houston

Children's Museum of Houston - 3 Must Do Exhibits for a Preschooler

A Children’s Museum is definitely meant for children but it does not mean that everything in the museum is appropriate for different age levels or abilities. Some areas just have too much critical thinking to be enjoyed by those not at that level yet.

I found that out on a recent trip to the Children’s Museum of Houston and want to share with you the three areas that I found were best for preschoolers.

*** Full disclosure: I did receive a Houston CityPass free of charge as a member of the media. All opinions are my own. This post may also contain affiliate links and I may be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking through my links. ***

A Bit About the Museum

For those visiting Houston or have never been to this museum is not a small museum. With over 90,000 square feet you are certain to get a little overwhelmed what to do and where to go.

So grab a map just after getting your ticket and entering. Also, do not hesitate asking an employee for their recommendations and directions. Remember there are three floors to explore so be ready to walk.

Childrens Museum of Houston Map

Tickets are $10 a person and parking in the garage will run you $7 to $9 dollars depending on your length of visit. This pricing isn’t bad for what you are getting. You can spend an entire day here. So stay as long as your kids are up for it.

If that price is still too high don’t worry. There are often groupons for visiting, the CityPASS option is ALWAYS a way to save money and every Thursday evening they don’t charge admission from 5 pm to 8 pm.

My Personal Tips for Visiting

Now I have to be honest here. I am not big on navigating or fighting crowds. And a Children’s Museum is filled with chaos.

Kids running everywhere trying to get in and try everything. Pushing their way in. Grabbing things. Yelling loudly. You get the idea. Parent’s try to keep control but there is only so much they can do.

I hate that feeling of having to protect my preschooler and possibly throw elbows at the older kids so my child gets a turn.

Children's Museum of Houston - Little Mexico

It takes the fun out of visiting for me so to avoid that you should go on a school day if at all possible.

Also, be there right when it opens. There will still be a line of like minded parents but you will get about an hour in the museum with it easy to navigate and light crowds.

Below are my top three exhibits to see with a preschooler in an order that will make the most out of that first hour. Let’s go…

1. Kidtropolis

When you first enter the museum make a bee line to Kidtropolis. By getting there you give your kids more time to explore without having to wait their turn. (and you can easily find a seat)

This pint sized city is perfect for kids of all ages leading it to be a major hot spot. Kids flock to this area and can easily spend hours in the city without ever stepping foot on any other part of the Children’s Museum.

For preschoolers the favorites are going to be getting into any vehicle (which I thought was cool that most have touch screens just like Mom and Dad’s Car)…

Children's Museum of Houston - Kidtropolis Delivery Car with Navigation Panel

….shopping at the HEB

Children's Museum of Houston - Kidtropolis HEB Grocery Store

and cooking at the local Greek diner, Niko Nikos.

Many of the city establishments are local businesses so the kids are very familiar with them and they love taking on the role of the adult.

For adults note that there a many places to take a seat and keep an eye on your kids. Niko Nikos was my base of operation as Mr T was cooking up a storm.

Children's Museum of Houston - Kidtropolis Greek Diner Nikos Nikos

Mr T was just enjoying playing but older kids can have some real fun using the Bank of America Kidtropilis card. They can use it to buy things and then when they run out of cash they can get a job to refill it. Awesome!!

In addition kids can earn two levels of Certification through the College of Kidtropolis. When you enter the city you will see the certification sheets on a wall. Pick up up, complete the requirements and get your stamps. Soon you will have your Kidtropilis degree.

As you can see there lots of things to do for the big kids while the little kids get to push every single button they can find.

2. How Does It Work

From Kidtropolis work your way back to the entrance and the How It Works exhibit. This area is filled with hands on ‘experiments’ perfect for little hands (some with just a little help of Mom and Dad).

Even though there are two floors to explore, most preschoolers will gravitate to the phone and air sections. Keeping the ball hovering in the air and adding a ball to a air tube were Mr T’s favorites.

Children's Museum of Houston - How It's Made Blast Off Rocket

My tip for getting there early means you don’t have to spend too much time telling your child to give someone else a turn at these popular exhibits.

I am not kidding you when I say Mr T could have keep putting balls into the air tube for hours. He actually had a mini-fit when I pulled him away.

So this simple looking area will be a time sink. Be prepared.

3. FlowWorks

Now head to the back of the museum and out the doors to FlowWorks. This is a perfect place to end your visit.

There a many different water activity areas to explore and each of them has a hands on component. The area is big enough to hold many children so crowding is not as much of an issue here.

Children's Museum of Houston - FlowWorks

There are also more than enough parts (boats, floating shapes, tubes, etc.) to go around. So infighting is at a minimum.

Your kids WILL get wet here. Especially at the stations where you can use pvc pipe to re-route water. (have no idea why they have to have it flow right back over their shoes but they do)

Children's Museum of Houston - FlowWorks Water Station

For parents there is a good amount of seating in the shade that will let you oversee the area so your child can roam free here and explore while you enjoy a bit of down time.

Children's Museum of Houston - FlowWorks Water Station

I recommend letting them spend as much time here as they like. Once they tire themselves out head back to the car and let them nap on the way home.

Bonus Area for Mom or Dad: Amazingly Immature

This Amazingly Immature exhibit may be more fun for the adults but the kids will join in and it is actually quite a family bonding (or competition depending on how you look at it) moment.

Children's Museum of Houston - Amazingly Immature Exhibit

This area is filled with ‘make it yourself’ kinds of exhibit. There are stations filled with activities from learning to throw cards to making paper airplanes and boomerangs.

Children's Museum of Houston - Amazingly Immature Pop A Straw
Mr T and I found our favorite was the Straw Shooter Jet station. These little planes were so easy to make and being able to shoot them with your average straw was the icing on the cake.

Children's Museum of Houston - Amazingly Immature Straw Shooter Jet

In fact we brought them home and Mr J and Sam were jealous so we ended up making a fleet of them and having dogfights in the middle of the living room.

So definitely stop by this area on your way out of the museum. It is worth the 10-15 minute diversion.

Final Thoughts

Mr T and I have a wonderful mother-son outing at the museum. We spend 2.5 hours there before finally leaving. We were not driven out by boredom but more by hunger and the need to be back in time to pick up Mr J from school.

We didn’t even get to see one of the movies or the story readings that were being announced over the loud speaker the entire time we were there.

So much more to do the next time we go.

Does your town have a Children’s Museum? Do you think they are worth it?

Children's Museum of Houston - 3 Must Do Exhibits for a Preschooler
Children's Museum of Houston - 3 Must Do Exhibits for a Preschooler


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