Galveston Mardi Gras features parades, music, food and fun! See the website – http://mardigrasgalveston.com/ – for a complete list. Some events charge a fee, while others are open. Some events are free for children – some including tweens.
Highly recommended for tweens – the daytime parades. Seawall and Entertainment district parades may feature some mildly adult themes, but not more than most tweens already hear and see. By and large the crowds were well-mannered, and beads and candy were flowing freely! The Seawall parades – which run along the Seawall, bordering the island of Galveston and the beach – are longer and larger. Parade observers stand or sit, some bring folding chairs, many bring well-mannered pooches (dogs). Come early to find good parking, sit back, and enjoy – the floats, costumes, marching bands, and cars entertain! The Entertainment district parades seem shorter, but the streets winding around Galveston's historic district – the Strand http://thestrand.com/ – are narrower than the Seawall. Buy tickets online for a discount, come early to find good parking! A variety of unique shops selling good and treats, as well as museums and other attractions can be found along the Strand, and side streets are lined with vendors – t-shirts, food, desserts, and other treats! Several venues offer live bands!
This reviewer attended for the first time this year and found the day-time crowds very manageable. After a noon parade on the Seawall, our party walked a few blocks to Benno's http://www.bennosofgalveston.com/beach.asp restaurant for great service and tasty foods in a family atmosphere. Later we found the Art Car parade – and discovered that it circled the parade route several times! We found ample parking, happy people, and some early balcony parties also happy to throw beads to hopping children and tweens.
Also of interest, a nearby RV park on the Seawall, Sandpiper Rv Resort http://www.sandpiperrvresort.com/ , offers convenience to the beach, the Seawall and a short walk to the Galveston Island Transit http://www.islandtransit.net/main.htm bus line. Within moderate walking distance are a variety of eateries, shops, and entertainment.
Now, the caveat – our party was sure to be on our way out of Mardi Gras shortly after dark. There was a late night parade scheduled, but clearly, the majority of party-goers with tweens and children departed by dinner-time/early-evening. Larger crowds of perhaps the younger and rowdier variety might be expected later in the evening and those events would not be endorsed for tweens or younger. There are a lot of alcoholic beverages at this event and some adults in “costume,” so parents should be aware. Overall, however, during the daytime events, we found few who had over-indulged, … yet.
So, a happy family event – good for tweens, adults, and younger and older (some walking is required). Visit Mardi Gras Galveston's website for more information, Sandpiper RV park, The Strand, and Galveston Island Transit for more information. Happy parents and happy parenting!