Known for its sandy beaches, Galveston is a popular tourist attraction for Texans and non-Texans alike; popular with empty nesters, and those from Houston looking for a beach getaway. But did you know that Galveston is a fun mecca for the little ones, as well?
Galveston Island is one of the main holiday destinations for young families in Texas, and for good reason. From the beaches to the food, to the attractions and activities for all ages all year round, there are tons of fun things to do in Galveston with kids.
Immerse Them in Moody Gardens
This is where kids can learn about science and mammalian life through the many interactive exhibits. Featuring three visually stunning pyramids, the kids can learn about marine life through the aquarium displays or learn about tropical plants, insects, and animals that call the rainforest their home. Hands-on children’s activities at The Discovery Pyramid let them learn about science through experience. Families can also enjoy other fun activities, such as a splash pad, a zipline, a white sand beach, and golf. Plan on spending an entire day here.
Get Drenched at the Schlitterbahn
The beaches are not the only watery attraction in Galveston. Open year-round, the Schlitterbahn Waterpark-Galveston has several exciting water rides that will keep the entire family entertained all day long. There are both open and enclosed water slides, the lazy river, and lounging pool for the adults to relax. You can also rent a private cabana for a little more privacy throughout the day, and is a great place for a family picnic. During the cooler months of the year, a section of the park will transform into an indoor waterpark, so even if you’re visiting Galveston at the height of winter, you can still have some splashing fun.
Pleasure Pier for the Youngins’
The Historic Pleasure Pier is not just for history buffs or those looking for exciting nightlife. It is a must for ‘doing Galveston’ with the entire family. This is evident from far away as you spy the Ferris Wheel and roller coaster, which are landmarks on the pier. Take a ride on it and take in the amazing view of the Gulf of Mexico from the top of the wheel. There are several other rides, creating a nice amusement park good for hours of entertainment. Carnival games and souvenir shops round out the experience. And with its prime location on the Seawall, this is a great place to stay and watch the sun set while munching on cotton candy.
Inspire Learning at the Railroad Museum
This ain’t your resident boring history museum. Rather, Galveston’s railroad museum features a fascinating collection of artifacts and memorabilia, telling an entertaining history of railway travel in this part of the country. The kids will love the diesel and steam engine train exhibits, and everyone can take a trip on the Harborside Express – an open-air railroad caboose that travels along Harborside Drive.
Explore Marine Life with a Dolphin Tour
Support a great local business and get an eyeful of the friendly local dolphins with BayWatch. They are a family-owned and operated business that is very affordable, and your kids will be talking about the dolphins for years to come. Spend the 45-minute tour watching them jump and play (the dolphins, that is!) and hear about the history of their population in the area.
The East End Tree Sculptures
Hand-carved by artists after a hurricane in 2008 destroyed many of the city’s trees, the Tree Sculptures of Galveston is the artistic expression of its locals’ resilience to rebuild. Make this activity fun through a map-guided scavenger hunt throughout the city. There are over 20 sculptures to find at the East End Historical District, but around five more are scattered throughout the city.
Get Creative at the Children’s Museum
The Galveston Children’s Museum features lots of engaging and interactive fun things to do, all while they learn about creativity and science through educational hands-on experiences. They may learn to build things like a robot, or go more “old-school” and explore wood-based constructions. There’s even an opportunity to learn about health via a simulated doctor’s office. Give your kids the gift of exploring their creativity to discover important concepts on their own through play.