Thursday, July 12, 2012

5 Reasons to visit the Houston Zoo when it's raining

Since last year's drought, I won't ever complain about rain again. It has been wonderfully rainy this week. We've had lots of chances to use our umbrellas and rain boots. But the kids have been a little stir crazy (and so has their mom). 

Summer vacation + rainy days = full museums and libraries.

So we headed to the Houston Zoo yesterday. And the zoo is this city's best kept secret on a rainy day.
Our kiddos didn't mind the rain!

Here are my top five reasons for visiting the zoo on a rainy day:

5. Parking is awesome. In the summer, our zoo visits start at 9 AM so we can beat the inevitable crowds. But on Wednesday we rolled in around 12:30 and parked in the fourth row. The rest of the lot was empty.

4. We beat the heat. We all know the saying "Houston is the city that a/c built". But on a cloudy, rainy zoo day, you don't need a/c. It was 79 degrees at 1:00 and wonderful.

3. Keeper chats turn into one-on-one discussions. I love to hear the keepers give the inside scoop on the animals at the zoo. Yesterday we were able to talk with the zookeepers at the elephant and giraffe exhibits. It was great!

 Check out the elephants playing with the Keeper's water hose.

2. The animals were active. With the exception of the meerkats, most of the animals didn't seem to mind the rain or mud. They seemed happy to play outside. We were especially happy to see the chimpanzees so active. Not only were there a few chimps by the windows, others were climbing trees and grooming each other.

1. You can be first (or in front) every time. We didn't have to wait in line for anything and our kids always had the best views. We had a front row seat as the Andean bears had lunch. And we were the only ones in the Natural Encounters exhibit. It's always crowded in that building and it was empty. I saw animals that I had never seen before.

The only other person in the Natural Encounters building was a staff member. The kids had a great time running from window to window and I didn't worry about being separated from them!
We did bring a jog stroller with a plastic rain cover and a couple umbrellas. And though we used them a little, for the most part we just walked from exhibit to exhibit in the drizzle. I never realized how many actually had covers over the viewing areas. And it didn't hurt that we only had light rain.

The forecast calls for rain for the rest of the week. Don't let it keep you away from the zoo.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Busy x2!

Just one of the many creatures on display at the HMNS Paleontology Hall!

I had GREAT intentions of blogging my heart out this summer once I was out of school. School ended, my whole family got walloped by viruses, and then I just got busy! Having kids does that to you. And since I am a teacher, the summer is when I try to fit in all of my doctor's appointments, the kids' appointments,  appointments with the bank, start and finish house projects, teach a couple weeks of summer school and try to have lots of visits with friends and family.

It seems like the initial rush has ended. I have slept in a couple days (if you can call 8:30 sleeping in... which I do!), and I am so happy to bring you an awesome deal that I found.

While looking for coupon discounts for the Houston Museum of Natural Science, I stumbled across the Official Visitor's site for Houston, Texas. I've run across this before. I think it is interesting to see what attractions are showcased for out-of-town visitors, so I know I've scanned through it.

But this week, I discovered a 50% off coupon for admission to the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Score!

After following the link, click on Coupons and Discounts. Then scroll down to Arts and Culture. There is a link for the coupon, or you can just click here.

Print it (or bring it up on your smart phone while at the ticket counter). You will receive the corporate discount prices, which even includes discounted admission to the special exhibits.

And if you don't mind waiting until Thursday rolls around again, HMNS has free admission to the exhibit halls (not including special exhibits) after 3 p.m. every Thursday.

Monday, May 28, 2012

UBounce Houston... The Summer Edition


Here comes summer,
Here comes summer,
Chirping robin, budding rose.
Here comes summer,
Here comes summer,
Gentle showers, summer clothes.
Here comes summer,
Here comes summer –
Whoosh — shiver — there it goes.

-Shel Silverstein

It feels like summer hit Houston a month ago, but for most parents (and kiddos), summer officially starts when school ends.

Get ready, Houston. 
There are some great adventures coming your way~

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Foster Fever

See this face?

Pretty cute, isn't she?

This is what she looked like before we took her in.

Joey is just one of the animals we have fostered over the years. I'm getting the fever again. Almost everyone has heard that it is better to adopt from a shelter. But have you considered fostering an animal first?

Why foster?
1) Get to know each animal- what it likes and dislikes, bad habits, personality quirks, etc. No more "blind dates".

2) Give in the urge to bring home the stray dogs you find on the street. If you have a relationship with a foster organization, you can call and see if they have room in the program for the animal. And if they don't, try the next organization on the list.

3) Keep the kill rate at local shelters down. When you foster an animal, you keep that animal out of the shelters. That animal has a much better chance of finding a forever home than those in the shelter.

Now our story...

Our first love was Sadie. We adopted her outright from BARC.  And we got lucky. She was the BEST DOG EVER. We lost her three years ago and we still miss her like crazy. We only had a few minutes together at the shelter to "get to know her". We knew it was right and it worked out for us.

About two years later, my husband found this guy on the freeway while working. He had a broken leg and was super skinny, but was a sweetheart. Turned out he also had seizures. We hooked up with a foster organization. They covered his medical and we took care of the housing and love.

He was the first of many. I think we've helped about 25 dogs over the past 6 years.  Some of them were adopted out at adoption fairs. Some were adopted after their picture was posted on the foster organization's web site. And a couple (including that cute guy with the broken leg and seizures) ended up as part of our family.

Dog lovers always ask us if it is hard to let go of the animals when they are adopted. Sometimes yes. Sometimes no. It's hard to let go of the ones that fit in with your family. But it also gives us a chance to help another family find a just-right dog to join them.

And sometimes, you don't have to let them go at all.

To find a shelter to adopt from in the Houston area, click here

To find a rescue or foster organization in the Houston area, click here.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Don't miss me- get linked in!

Google Friends won't work with nonBlogger blogs beginning in March. Don't miss following UBounce Houston and hearing the latest on  how to keep your kiddos busy.  

There is a new "Linky Follow" gadget, adding a new way to follow the blogs you love.

Find it on the right side of my blog and click "Follow Me". If haven't signed up for an account, it will help you do so. And if you already have a Linky account, you will be all set.

Don't miss out...Keep bouncing with me!!!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Keeping Kids Entertained on Rainy Days

For the record... I am NOT complaining about the rain. Really. I know we need it. But I AM looking into my immediate future and I see bored children. These kids are used to being outside. But it has been such a wet week that I had to think of a plan b (and plan c and d) for this weekend to keep the kiddos entertained.
 Here are a few ideas...

Avoid the Rain
Stay home!  Let the kids build a fort in the living room. Turn on some kid-friendly YouTube videos and have a dance party. Get out the board games. Did your kids get any  "crafty" gifts at Christmas? I know my daughter has a sock puppet kit that we've squirreled away. Get them out! Need craft ideas? Here are a few. Go through your DVD collection and pull out an old family favorite. Better yet, pull out the home videos and let the kids watch themselves on TV. They will feel like movie stars and will laugh at how little and silly they used to be! Anyone else save old tissue paper from gift bags? Take it out and PLAY with it. We once used old tissue paper to fashion a skirt for my daughter. You would have thought we'd bought her a ball gown. She loved it!

Ignore the Rain
Get in the car and go somewhere, anywhere. Check out the movies. Beauty and Beast 3D is playing and so is Big Miracle. Head out to one of the museums in Houston's Museum District. Go to Home Depot for the Saturday Kids' Workshop. The craft this week is a keepsake box. Use that Build-a-Bear gift certificate that your little one got for Christmas or birthday. Head to the mall and  play at the play place. We usually head to Willowbrook Mall but Memorial City has a  pretty good play place, too. My only gripe about it is that it is easy to lose sight of the kids because of the way the play structure is designed. On the flip side, Memorial City does have an awesome two story carousel.

Embrace the Rain
You know that super cute raincoat, umbrella and galoshes that are collecting dust in the closet? Get them out. Put them on. And go for it. If it's not lightning, there isn't any harm in getting outside and getting a little wet. Splash in the puddles. Take a long walk with a big umbrella. Stop and check out the critters that are also enjoying the rain. Count the worms you find enjoying the wet weather (Did you know they don't drown in the water? I learned that little factoid on Wild Kratts. Thanks PBS!). Watch the birds taking a bath in those puddles along the side of the road. Bored and restless children are a bigger hassle than a few wet clothes.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


Sesame Street Live is making its way to Houston on February 9-12 at the Reliant Center. Elmo and friends will take the stage for 8 performances. Here are the dates and showtimes:

Thur. Feb. 9, 2012 at 7: 00 p.m.
Fri. Feb. 10, 2012 at 10:30 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.
Sat. Feb. 11, 2012 at 10:30 a.m., 2:00p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Sun. Feb. 12, 2012 at 2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

Tickets range from $13 to $45. There is also a $10 fee for parking. You could also park at one of the lots downtown and take the Metrorail to the stadium. The kids might get a kick out of riding the "train".

One hour before the show, a special Play Zone will open up featuring Sesame Street. Admission to the Play Zone is free with your Sesame Street Live ticket.

Need a little reminder of how much fun Elmo can be? Watch this video of Elmo singing "I'm Elmo and I Know It".
Happy Thursday to you!