I was in charge of my grandsons in Houston the other day and was wracking my brain for ways to entertain them. The usual suspects for a scorching summer day were a possibility: swimming pool, movies, bowling, roller-skating, arcade games, etc. (All terribly expensive.) Finally, the perfect outing presented itself—walking the tunnels in downtown Houston. I fondly remembered using them to exercise when I worked downtown in the 1990s.
Houston has about six miles of pedestrian walkways twenty feet below ground. They connect office buildings, theaters, banks, government offices, hotels, and retail stores located in ninety-five full city blocks. In some areas, skyways connect the structures. The first tunnel was built in 1961 linking a parking garage to the Mellie Esperson Building.
So, we parked at the Shops at Houston Center ($5) and headed down the escalator into the bowels of the Bayou City. We saw restaurants, food courts, dry cleaners, jewelry repair shops, gift shops, copy centers, coffee shops—you name it. Getting around was made easier thanks to the maps posted on the walls.
The boys enjoyed going up and down the escalators at buildings along the way and chowed down on Chick-fil-A for lunch. And I thought I was saving money? Forget about it. The seven-year-old now eats a regular size sandwich, and I dropped $30 for lunch for the three of us. Then stopped for ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s on the way home and spent another $20 on ice cream.
And what did the boys think? They were a bit disappointed because they thought were going into a mine shaft! However, a good time was had by all.
How do you entertain kids on a budget?