By: Dana Donovan
Houston has one of the best theater districts and one of the best museum districts in the country. Houston restaurants, amazing! Sports, check. Shopping, love it! Raising a cultured kid in Houston is pretty easy; raising one who understands the simpler side of life found in more rural areas might not be so easily attained.
But giving your child those country experiences might be easier than you think. All within a short drive from H-town, these establishments offer a look at how life used to be when things were, well, simpler. Days and hours vary per season, so call ahead before you load up the crew and head out for your country adventure.
FM 362 and Morrison Road
Brookshire, Texas 77423
Open only late September through mid-November and then weekends through the holidays, Dewberry Farm takes you back in time. You can feed the goats, take a wagon ride, pick flowers, hang out in the barnyard and so much more.
Old MacDonald’s Farm
3203 FM 1960 Rd East
Humble, Texas 77338
With a name like Old MacDonald’s Farm, you know it has to be a happy place. Activities include pony rides, a duck pond and 12 petting zoo barns where you can purchase feed for $1 per bag.
Wabash Feed Store
5701 Washington Avenue
Houston, Texas 77007
Okay, so their slogan is even, “A little bit of country in the heart of the city.” My kids and I love this place! They always have baby chickens, baby ducks, rabbits, roosters, turkeys and I’ve even seen a peacock or two.
Moorhead’s Blueberry Farm
19531 Moorhead Road
Conroe, Texas 77302
Family-owned and organic, it’s a great place to pick your own delicious blueberries. Only open on the weekends; be sure to call ahead to check blueberry availability.
George Ranch Historical Park
10215 FM 762
Richmond, Texas 77469
Learn what life was like on a Texas Ranch. Their 2013 Summer Series includes activities like learning how to build a log cabin, laundry techniques of old, open-air cooking classes, basket-weaving and leatherworking, just to name a few.
Jesse H Jones Park and Nature Reserve
20634 Kenswick Dr.
Humble, Texas 77338
Always a perennial favorite in our Calendar section, Jesse H. Jones Park and Nature Reserve offers a look at life in the old days with their Second Saturday Settlers Series. For example, this month on July 13th from 1-3pm you can learn how clay, pine straw and water are mixed into chinking. Then help staff and volunteers fill the gaps in the walls of the Redbud Hill Homestead.
3601 West Highway 6
Alvin, Texas 77511
Froberg’s offers fresh fruits and vegetables daily, and, during strawberry season, you can pick your own.
510 Chisolm Trail
Simonton, Texas 77476
Berry picking includes blueberries, strawberries, tayberries and blackberries. You can learn about livestock and, coming this fall, you can even go fishing in their stocked pond. Call the hotline to see if they are open and to check berry availability.
4501 Woodway Dr.
Houston, Texas 77024
The Arboretum’s 155-acre outdoor classroom is a great place for kids to learn all about local plants and animals. It’s hard to believe this amazing place is in the middle of Memorial Park.
Nature Discovery Center
Bellaire, Texas 77401
With “After Dark Walks,” special events and story times, the Nature Discovery Center in the heart of Bellaire is a great place to foster your child’s love of the outdoors.
Sam Houston Equestrian Center
13551 Lew Briggs Road
Houston, Texas 77047
I know people from other parts of the country think we all ride horses to work and school, but the reality is there are many kids in Houston that have never even been on a horse. You can change all of that at Sam Houston Equestrian Center.