Click here to visit the Children's Museum of Houston's website
Fourth of July Fun VIDEO PICK: Everything's Possible Treasure Island About GISH PICKS About Gish Creative Red, White, & Zoo
Click here to visit The Summer Book Online website


Greetings and welcome to GISH PICKS: A GUIDE TO CULTURAL ACTIVITIES FOR FAMILIES, a free weekly e-newsletter/blog I created as a service to the Houston community in 2003 in which I cull from the loads of activities in our city and pick three weekend events (“PICKS”) to recommend to parents, caregivers, and educators all over Houston. I’m a mom and am always looking for cultural – yet FUN! – events for my family and I am so happy to share them with YOU. My business grows by word of mouth so please enjoy the events and please share this blog. And be sure to tell the organizations you visit that you heard about them from me. And if you’re in Facebooklandia, please sidle over there and like our GISH PICKS Facebook page and share it with your friends and family and elsewhere on social media, too. Don’t want to miss any posts? Click on the drop-down LIKE button and then check “See First” under “In Your Newsfeed.” Thanks!

Ah, road trips! I’m getting ready to go on a business one to Ann Arbor (my birthplace) for my IGNITE YOUR LIFE! art projectfollow my adventures on my IYL Facebook page. I’m very excited! If you’re hitting the open road with your family, the first thing I recommend that you do is read this article for some great travel safety tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics and this one for some family-friendly travel apps -- you can find everything from parks to rest areas to packing lists. Speaking of packing lists, make one (or several, depending on who is doing the traveling!) – if you have any kids heading off to camp, tape their packing list inside their trunk so they’ll return with everything they brought. And if you encourage family members to pack themselves, everyone will be happier.

Now that you’re ready to head out the door, here are some day trips ideas in two interviews from the radio show Houston Matters” – in this one, I spoke with host Craig Cohen and Houston Press writer John Nova Lomax about day trips from Houston and in this one, Kristin Finan and Laurie Roddy give Craig even more great suggestions.

And if you’re looking for fun close to home, Galveston is a most excellent get away. Before your wheels even get rolling, you can rent a beach house through Vacation Rental by Owner, get some great ideas from the Galveston Island Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, and you can even enjoy art on the water with Artist Boat, a groovy nonprofit that conducts guided kayak tours to Galveston Island’s Coastal Heritage Preserve for just $10/person. And a great way to enjoy the Island is to drive against traffic patterns: head out super early in the morning and come back in the afternoon or head down in the afternoon and come back late evening.

If you still need summer camp help, many camps still have openings. Click here to access THE SUMMER BOOK® ONLINE: A GUIDE TO HOUSTON DAY CAMPS AND CLASSES FOR KIDS AND TEENS, a guide I’ve been producing since 2003. Or you can remember my new web page: – pass it on and tell your friends. I’ll also be highlighting CAMP PICKS on my Facebook page so be sure to check in there for ideas. My guide is the largest and most accurate online searchable database in Houston and you’re gonna love it when looking for camps! And, best of all, you can surf it from anywhere.

This week’s VIDEO PICK is a lovely song, “Everything’s Possible,” from the now defunct acapella group, The Flirtations, that is about accepting everyone no matter who they are. In this post-Orlando world, it seemed right for this week. Enjoy!

Click to view video
Click to view video

Have a great week, love one another, please share this, and GO.FIND.FUN.

Picks for the Weekend of July 1-3, 2016

City of Houston - Freedom Over Texas


Whew, Houston LOVES Fourth of July celebrations! There are a ton so there is no excuse not to get out, see some fireworks, and mix it up. And in my family, we always read the “Declaration of Independence” every year, something I highly recommend. Below are my PICKS – may freedom ignite your life this weekend!

  • MFAH/Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens
    July 4, 1-5pm, free

    The annual 4th of July festival at Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens offers up an extravaganza of Americana: performers, crafts, activities, refreshments, and more. Don’t forget to sign the giant Declaration of Independence before you leave!

  • Miller Outdoor Theatre
    July 4 at 8:30pm, free

    This summer, the Houston Symphony returns to Miller Outdoor Theatre with five FREE concerts, including their annual Fourth of July celebration which brings audiences the sights and sounds of Houston's symphony. The show always ends with Tchaikovsky’s rousing 1812 Overture, punctuated with cannon blasts!

  • City of Houston - Freedom Over Texas featuring Darius Rucker
    July 4, 4-10pm, $8/person through July 3, $10/person day of show – purchase tickets here

    Fireworks will ignite the sky, and country tunes will set the stage for the City of Houston’s annual patriotic celebration at Eleanor Tinsley Park on Buffalo Bayou (along Allen Parkway). Darius Rucker, former Hootie & the Blowfish lead singer and current country superstar, will headline the annual event that will culminate with a spectacular fireworks display. Joining Rucker will be Houston favorites The Suffers showcasing their signature fusion of rock ‘n roll and “Gulf Coast Soul” and contemporary country artist Brooke Eden.

  • CityCentre
    July 3-5, free

    The July 4 weekend welcomes four nights of free concerts plus an Independence Day fireworks spectacular to CityCentre at 9:30pm on the last night. You’ll get to hear Motown, Classic Rock, Country, and Inspirational music.

  • Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
    July 3, 8pm, free

    Celebrate America's birthday with a bang at the annual Houston Symphony's Star Spangled Salute! This free event has been a tradition at The Pavilion for over 25 years. Doors open at 6:30 pm.

  • Pearland Parks and Recreation
    July 4, 6-10pm, free

    Their “Celebration of Freedom” takes place at the Pearland High School Football Stadium. Gates open at 6pm and fireworks begin at 9pm. There will be a VFW military salute at the start of the evening's entertainment, followed by a performance of the National Anthem and music with their featured band, The Slags.


Award-winning Fort Bend Theatre is not only busy with summer camps but they are also presenting shows on stage throughout the summer. Robert Louis Stevenson’s pirate adventure of a lifetime, “Treasure Island,” is onstage every Saturday and Sunday at 3pm, from July 2-30.

Sixteen-year-old Jim Hawkins' adventure begins when Billy Bones, the old sea-dog captain, admits that he holds Flint's map that shows where treasure is hidden. Jim takes the map, eludes the pirates, and sets his course for adventure on the high seas. Aboard ship, Jim meets Long John Silver, who befriends him. But Jim quickly learns who Long John really is and what his plans are. When the pirates turn on Jim and his companions, it’s up to Jim to save his shipmates and secure the treasure.

The Fort Bend Theatre is located at 2815 N. Main Street in Stafford. Tickets are $12/advance or $13/door. Group sales are available by calling 281.208.3333.

Treasure Island
Houston Zoo


It’s summer and it’s hot so thankfully the Houston Zoo is once again staying open late on Fridays until 8:30pm (last entry is at 7:30pm), so you can enjoy the animals in the cooler evening weather through August 5. And from 5-8pm, guests can enjoy added music and fun family activities that are sure to entertain kids and adults alike! All activities are included in Zoo admission and are free for Zoo Members. This Friday’s fun will be “Red, White & Zoo” and everyone will get to celebrate the Fourth of July with their favorite animals! Kids can make their own flag, march in a parade with Uncle Sam, and explore the Zoo looking for a few red, white, and blue animals.

The Zoo is open seven days a week, 364 days a year (closed on Christmas Day) and daily summer hours are 9am-7pm (last entry at 6pm). Schedule your visit after 4pm and save $4 (tickets must be purchased online, here). Tickets start at $10.50 and there are separate fees for some of the attractions; you can save money with their new “All Day Pass” for $19.95.

GISH PICKS is a free weekly email in which I highlight family-oriented cultural events, products or services.
Please note that I "highlight" events, but I don't know if they are appropriate for your particular children, so choose wisely based on age, maturity and interests. I know many of you go to events based on GISH PICKS recommendations; PLEASE remember to tell the organization that you are there because of us. Word-of-mouth like yours helps our business to grow. In the same spirit, please also feel free to share GISH PICKS with friends and families.

Do you have something you would like to promote on Gish Picks? You can promote family-friendly events, products or services to Houstonians all over the city and the surrounding area who are active parents, involved citizens and great shoppers. We love doing this community service and want to keep it free for our readers but in order to justify the hours spent researching, writing and designing this newsletter, we need advertising support. If you'd like to learn more, please click below.

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The purpose of GISH PICKS is to help parents become aware of all the fun things they can do with their children in Houston and the surrounding area, so GO FIND FUN! Please do give me feedback and ideas, as you are out there in the trenches also looking for interesting things for your family and I want to hear what you find.

If you are having trouble getting to a website listed here, try hitting the "Ctrl" button and left-clicking on the web address, which should make it "live".

For more about my personal, family, and business enrichment company, Gish Creative, and the services we offer, please click here. You are on this list because I thought this e-newsletter would be helpful to you or because you signed up for it. Please feel free to tell your friends to subscribe by clicking here. My goal is to serve as an information resource for Houston parents through my various endeavors, including:

  • GISH PICKS: A GUIDE TO CULTURAL ACTIVITIES FOR FAMILIES, which is online and emailed out to thousands of parents and caregivers;

  • SPIRIT PICKS: A GUIDE TO INSPIRING ACTIVITIES IN HOUSTON, which is online and emailed out to seekers all over Houston;

  • THE SUMMER BOOK® ONLINE, a searchable database of over 200 Houston day camps and classes for kids and teens;

  • IGNITE YOUR LIFE!, an art project and community campaign whose goal is to inspire people around the world to light a match to their own passion;

  • INTUITIVE GUIDANCE SESSIONS, which are one-on-one consultations with me at Body Mind & Soul on personal and/or work questions. Sessions are one hour or thirty minutes;

  • Bi-monthly “WHAT’S YOUR PURPOSE?” workshops at Body Mind & Soul, check the store’s online calendar for dates and more information; and

  • OTHER SERVICES including SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS, INTERACTIVE WORKSHOPS, MARKETING, PRIVATE CONSULTATIONS, GUIDANCE SESSIONS FOR FINDING YOUR PURPOSE, and ART PROGRAMS. Talks and workshops cover topics such as summertime fun, passion-finding (for adults, children and families), marketing, historic preservation, art classes, activism, and more. All of these services can be tailored for any audience and budget.

Sarah Gish
Sarah Gish
(Photo: Two Birds Photography)

Sarah Gish
1940-A Fountainview, PMB 116
Houston, Texas 77057
phone: 713.492.1173

© 2016 Sarah Gish

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