While most restaurants these days claim to be family friendly and have children’s menus, there are still many people who feel they can’t bring their children out to eat for whatever reason, whether they will get dirty looks from other diners, worry the restaurant won’t have an acceptable children’s menu or proper seating for kids, etc. But good news, there are restaurants out there that are for kids and their parents; perfect for a kids “Foodie Field Trip,” family outing, or special birthday celebration.
Below are a few (part one) of these special kid friendly restaurants. I will first apologize that most of them are in Texas, since that is where I am, but I wanted feature places I have been to or have heard great feedback about from friends and family. But the good news is some are chains with locations nationwide, and if not, well I guess you are just going to have to plan a vacation! And if there is a great restaurant in your neck of the woods that caters to kids please share in the comments!
These places will certainly make dinner time exciting!
The Magic Time Machine- This one is an all-time favorite of mine! Every year we took a regular spring break or Easter weekend vacation to San Antonio, Texas hitting up the usual sites including Six Flags, Sea World, the Alamo, the famous River Walk, and The Magic Time Machine. With locations in San Antonio and Dallas, The Magic Time Machine is hands down a magical restaurant for kids and adults. At this popular restaurant, full of eye catching décor, the servers come dressed to impress, as popular movie and cartoon characters such as Cinderella, Cruel Ella de Vile, Captain Jack Sparrow, and more; each providing exceptional service and even penalized table side entertainment with jokes, song, and dance. While the menu is full of tasty options for kids and adults, including a mysterious ‘potions,’ with prices starting out at $8 for kids entrees and $13 for adults. But be warned, this restaurant is only open for dinner during the week and is open for lunch and dinner on the weekends. However, they do not have set hours of operation other than opening hours and closing is ‘to be determined’. So word of advice call before heading out, as Eric and I have learned you may be showing up to a closed restaurant.
The Rain Forest Café- This one has been a favorite of ours for years! I remember even when my younger siblings were kids and that being a top choice for their birthdays. With locations nationwide, the Rain Forest Café offers up unique rainforest themed décor, complete with live plants, mist, waterfalls, thunderstorms, star gazing, and robotic animals and insects. Keeping with the theme, staff are dressed in safari guide attire. I will admit though, while a fun treat, for being a children’s restaurant it is on the pricer end, however full of quite a few choices for kids and adults. Before you leave, if your budget allows, be sure and stop by the restaurant gift shop full of all sorts of rainforest souvenirs.
California Pizza Kitchen- Who doesn’t love pizza, especially kids! California Pizza Kitchen offers free special kitchen tours just for kids. The tours teach the kids the ins and outs of pizza making as well as provides each child with an activity book, pencil, and a coupon for a free meal on their next visit. The catch? These tours are only available for schools and non-profit organizations.
American Girl Café and Bistro- I don’t know what girl doesn’t lust after the American Girl Dolls, and the books, and the magazine, and the whole company. My sisters and I each read every single book, got dolls for Christmas one year and obsessed over accessories. Years after I out grew the dolls they started building a handful of American Girl Stores which include the American Girl Café and American Girl Bistro (12 locations nationwide). I have never been but have heard that little girls will have the grandest time visiting. With an elegant atmosphere, full of special seats and place settings for your child’s doll, and a menu with everything from Macaroni and Cheese to Tilapia with Pineapple Relish, this place will surely make every young girl’s dreams come true.
Downtown Aquarium- Another restaurant I remember visiting with my family growing up. But this is not any restaurant, diners enjoy dinner surrounded on all sides by a 150,000 gallon aquarium full of sea life. And while the adult menu caters to all taste buds with a variety of seafood dishes, steaks, and salads; the kid’s menu is actually quite basic with fish sticks, grilled cheese, and burgers. Oh and prepare to stay a while, this is not only a beautiful restaurant but also has games, rides, and educational exhibits (all for additional fees).