10 Places to Take Your Kids (When You Know They’re Going to Act Terribly)

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5. Drix Restaurant and Lounge
1850 S. Mason Road

There aren’t nearly enough places in Houston that combine indoor playgrounds for kids with good bar service, but Drix is one of them. You can get the little maniacs fed and watch them crawl around a tube maze while you enjoy a stiff, after meal drink. At this point the legal team and the abstract concept of bloody common sense have asked me to remind you to just have the one drink, though, if you’re out with the kids. I know they can be trying, but it’s not worth a car crash.

4. Children’s Museum of Houston
1500 Binz Street

I do not, as a friend of mine does, recommend you “turn them loose in Kidtropolis and pretend they aren’t yours,” but it’s still a great place for the unruly. The staff - God bless every one of them - is fully aware and ready to have every inch of the museum grabbed, smacked and attempted to be taken apart. That’s the point, and they just put it all back together again so other kids can knock it down. I do recommend the Inventor’s Workshop in the basement for cooling down with crafts. Beware, though, you can’t get a phone signal down there so you’d best be prepared to entertain yourself making a doll out of a plastic spoon and pipe cleaners. 

3. Frolic’s Castle
303 Memorial City Way

Still the number one indoor playground in Houston, Frolic’s Castle is a fantastic place in the Memorial City Mall for your kid to go all Where the Wild Things Are. It’s gated off and guarded by security, so you can relax as they dash around the truly impressive fairytale forest and castle. There’s almost no better place to put your feet up and let the kids be someone else’s problem. The place that is better?

2. Ikea
7810 Katy Freeway

Here’s what I’ve done when I’ve been desperate to entertain my daughter at her most feral. I take her over to the Ikea play area and sign her in. You get an hour of supervised play in a very tightly secured area. Then I go buy a hot dog and, like, coat hangers or ice cube trays to justify having essentially paid someone nothing so I could listen to Welcome to Night Vale in my earbuds in peace for once in my life.

1. Jumping World Houston
14147 Northwest Freeway

If you absolutely, positively need to have a kid exert his or herself to the point of physical exhaustion, reducing them to a quiet lump on the couch watching TV while you try to get some stuff done, an hour at Jumping World cannot be beat. It’s a world made of trampolines. Nothing could possibly embody childhood fun more, and at the same time play is strictly refereed to ensure safety. It’s not only an affordable cure for boredom, but the ultimate wearing them out of nervous energy. When things get their most obnoxious, take them to Jumping World. 

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Jef Rouner (not cis, he/him) is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner