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Family Activities for New Year's Day in Houston, Texas

by Jane Rodda, studioD

Houston, Texas, is the city where Southern hospitality meets urban chic. The day after all of the New Year's Eve celebrating, you and your family can take advantage of your time off with all kinds of exciting options. Although January is the coldest month of the year, it is still mild enough in Houston to have outdoor family fun as an option.

Wildlife and Nature

New Year's Day may be the ideal time to head over to the zoo or aquarium. The Downtown Aquarium features numerous live animal exhibits, including exotic snakes, rain forest creatures, shark tanks, white tigers and a touch-and-feel sting ray tank. There is a train ride that will take you through a shark tank for up-close views, a Ferris wheel and an aquatic-themed carousel. The Houston Zoo is open year-round, featuring a wide array of creatures such as lions, monkeys, zebras, giraffes and bears. It also has a 4-D movie experience that brings movies to life.


The Houston Museum of Natural Science has something for everyone in the family. Exhibits include an energy discovery station, ancient Egypt artifacts, realistic displays of Texas wildlife, chemistry experiments, gems, African wildlife displays and interactive computer stations. The museum also has a planetarium and an indoor butterfly garden. Another option is a visit to the Space Center. There you will have the opportunity to see a full-scale space shuttle replica, experience what it is like in space, have lunch with an astronaut and tour the mission control center. The kids can enjoy the indoor play structure known as the Angry Birds Space Matrix.

Family Fun Centers

Family time on New Year's Day may be best spent at a fun center. Zuma Fun Centers has two locations in Houston. You can float around on the bumper boats, race each other with go-karts, play the arcades, putt through the mini-golf course, swing a few in the batting cages and let the young ones enjoy the kiddie rides. For an indoor option, The Funplex Entertainment Center has plenty to do. It features bowling, roller skating, arcade games, a Ferris wheel, kiddie rides, a play structure, go-karts and plenty of food.

Ice Skating

A day out on the ice is usually associated with the holidays, and Houston has plenty of places to skate on New Year's Day. At the Houston Galleria Mall, there is an indoor ice rink providing skate rentals and open skate time for all ages. Ice Skate USA is another option located in the Memorial City Mall. It has open skate sessions, skate lessons and hockey lessons. The Aerodrome Ice Skating Complex features special effects lighting and lively music during its public skate times.

About the Author

Jane Rodda has been a writer since 2004, with articles featured in "Gameday Magazine" and "Urban Family Magazine." She is also the social media director and lead copywriter for a piano instruction website. Rodda holds a Bachelor of Arts in liberal studies with a concentration in psychology from Point Loma Nazarene University.

Photo Credits

  • Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images