Houstonians have a wealth of valuable options for family fun that don’t require a draw from the kids’ college savings. These are the best deals in town.
Best Arts Deal: Miller Outdoor Theatre
Kids or no kids—there isn’t a better arts deal in town than at Miller Outdoor Theatre, where all performances (April through November) are free if you sit hillside. It’s something of a tradition to trek to Hermann Park on a summer evening to picnic and enjoy family-friendly dance, theater, or musical performances. The only thing you may have to pay for? A ride on the Hermann Park train, of course. 6000 Hermann Park Dr.
Best Bargain: Houston Zoo Family & Friends Premium
Kids, in-laws, and cousins—oh my! If your family is large, this pass is well worth the investment. For $249, the annual membership covers up to 10 people per day (among them three adults). Do the math: If general admission costs $22.95 per adult and $17.95 per child or senior, then one big visit with the extended family in tow practically pays for the year. 6200 Hermann Park Dr.
Best Meal Deal: BuffBurger
R.I.P. Luby’s and your kids-eat-free Wednesdays and Saturdays—the torch has been passed. Instead, buy an adult meal at this Memorial hangout on Mondays or Tuesdays, and get a kids’ meal for free. Your little one can munch on a Little Buff while you bite into a mushroom swiss burger and savor this scrumptious BOGO offer. 1014 Wirt Rd.
Best Museum Deal: Houston Museum of Natural Science
If a packed Saturday morning with the dinosaurs sounds stressful and expensive, consider the calm of a mid-week afternoon. The world-class HMNS offers free admission to its permanent exhibit halls from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. every Thursday, making an afternoon of air-conditioned dino hunting and space exploration an astounding $41 cheaper per parent-child combo. 5555 Hermann Park Dr.
Best Outdoor Deal: Houston Arboretum
Adventure awaits at the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center. With 13 trails—12 of which are less than a half-mile long—it’s a perfect place for little legs to burn some energy while maybe learning a thing or two about Texas wildlife. Visitors only have to pay $5 to park (except on Thursdays when that’s free.) Plus, the ensuing nap is sure to be a cinch. 4501 Woodway Dr.