Everything may be bigger in Texas, but the money you spend on activities for your children shouldn’t make your expenses that way!
Cheap Activities for Kids
Here are some free or cheap activities for kids in Texas that are sure to entertain your kids without breaking the bank.
Get a Little Artsy
The Dallas Museum of Art offers free general admission for all ages in addition to free or inexpensive family-friendly programs throughout the year. Special exhibitions are also free for children under 11.
View permanent and traveling exhibits to teach your children an appreciation for art and culture. You’ll see art from different eras including contemporary and Middle Age paintings and artifacts.
For the toddler set, check out First Tuesdays, free hands-on activities, storytime, and performance for kids under 5. Programs are on the first Tuesday of each month from 11:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m. from September through May at the Center for Creative Connections.
Lunch is also available from the DMA for your little artist ($6.15/child). All ages are welcome to attend first Tuesday events.
For older children, teen tours (free) and workshops ($8 public, $5 for members) take place throughout the year and focus on the current exhibits. Current and future workshops include portrait creation, mural exploration, and making stained glass. Weekday workshops are available for homeschooled students.
— Dallas Museum of Art (@DallasMuseumArt) January 8, 2017
Press the Mysterious Red Button
Take a walk along the south side of the Preston Street Bridge in Downtown Houston, and you’ll see a mysterious red button.
Your first instinct may be to tell your inquisitive children (or yourself) not to touch it. There are no labels, no indication of what it may do.
Don’t tell the kids, but when they press it, the bayou below will bubble for several seconds. Although the button’s purpose is to cause bubbles in order to aerate the slow moving water, designers purposefully made the button nondescript to fascinate onlookers.
Kids delight in figuring out what is causing the bubbles while watching the spectacle again and again. For older children and adults, the walk and nearby amenities in Downtown Houston make this a perfect stop on your visit.
— Roadside America (@RoadsideAmerica) March 20, 2015
More than Just Junk
Make an appointment to visit the Cathedral of Junk, a backyard art exhibit compiled of old cast aside trinkets, mechanical and lawn equipment parts, signs, and more.
This array of “junk” becomes a display of art that’s engineered to withstand Texas storms and designed to delight young and old.
A $10 donation per group is the only cost to visit, but please call ahead (512-299-7413) to tour the property, as designer Vince Hannemann makes his home here. The backyard project, which Hannemann began in 1988, contains an estimated 60 tons of junk.
Visit the Animals
Mondays mean free admission at the Amarillo Zoo, a 15-acre zoo located in Thompson Park.
Take the family to see more than 80 species of animals including the African Lion, American Black Bear, Bengal Tiger, several snakes and other reptiles, birds like the India Peafowl, and more!
Kids and family programs are available throughout the year for additional fees. Check out the schedule online.
Whether your are a Texas native or just visiting, there are so many affordable fun things to do with kids in the Lone Star State!