In a year and a half of reviewing playgrounds for Houston New Moms, I have traversed the city – and many of its suburbs – looking for the absolute best playgrounds for little ones. So many of Houston’s signature playgrounds (Donovan Park, Fire Truck Park, etc) don’t work well for a crawling baby. But the good news is, there are plenty of less-known choices that are totally perfect for new playground visitors. Here are my 5 favorites for the littlest Houstonians!
(Don’t have a baby? Look for a toddler edition of this post coming soon!)
1) Playground at Church of the Apostles
This small, fully-gated playground in the Heights has astroturf for crawling and shade to spread a blanket. While crawlers might not be able to take advantage of the entire play structure, enough of it is close to the ground to keep them occupied.
2) Hermann Park Playground
Most playgrounds have a structure for big kids and one for toddlers. Hermann Park is one of the only places in Houston with a third, tiny playground that’s just for babies. It looks like a little town, and nearly everything is low enough for crawlers to explore. The toddler and big kid playgrounds are located some distance away, which minimizes the chances of big kids stepping on your baby. And, there’s a low wall around the perimeter perfect for mamas to perch on and chat.
3) Judson Park
Judson Park is another fully-gated, astroturfed piece of baby heaven. You’ll find a super-cool log to crawl through, a small play structure, and baby swings. The big kid playground is on the other side of the park, so you’re unlikely to run into them here.
4) Boundless Playground at Eastwood Park
Boundless playgrounds (aka “playgrounds-for-all”) are a natural fit for babies: all the ramps designed to make them wheelchair-accessible do double duty as great crawling surfaces. The problem? Big kids love them too, leading to collisions in which your baby is unlikely to emerge as the winner. Well-known playgrounds like the ones on West Gray or in Memorial Park are often overrun with older kids. This is why Eastwood Park is such a great find – we’ve never found it busy, which means you can let your crawler explore without fear. The equipment is new and far back from the road.
5) The Square @ Memorial City Mall
If you want to combine outdoor play with some shopping or a meal out, look no further than Memorial City Mall. Set back in a corner of the mall’s new green space is an adorable little outdoor playspace for babies. There are three little baby-size structures, and, of course, astroturf!