Where can you go within a four-hour drive that provides fun, education, wild animals, good food and more? Houston is one Texas city that offers all these options.
One area that I love to visit is the Museum District. Nineteen museums, along with other activities, are in the area close to downtown Houston. My two favorites, especially with children, are the Houston Museum of Natural Science and the Children’s Museum.
The Museum of Natural Science houses the Burke Baker Planetarium, Wortham Giant Screen Theater, and Cockrell Butterfly Center, as well as more than a dozen permanent exhibit areas and temporary exhibits. Visitors generally enter via the Moriah Hall of Paleontology (think dinosaurs) where the carnivores are still chasing their prey, even though neither is more than a well-stacked pile of bones. Other exhibits feature artifacts from ancient Egypt, gems from all parts of the world, and Texas dioramas. In addition to regular hours, the Museum of Natural Science offers free hours and after-hour for adults with entertainment and drinks.
The Children’s Museum is within easy walking distance from the Museum of Natural Science. Here children can learn while playing. There are children’s rope courses, cyberchases, playgrounds, and water spaces. Children may want to explore the Invention Convention or work in the Inventors’ Workshop. Kidtropolis has its own city hall, bank, news center, grocery store, and vet clinic within its borders. Children can run for office and have a voice in city government. Much of the museum is in both English and Spanish which makes it a welcoming experience for more children.
There are great options within the Museum District for non-museum lovers, also. The Houston Zoo is in Hermann Park which contains a beautiful Japanese Garden. The zoo has lions, tigers, and bears…and lots more animals to see. This summer the zoo opened a newly redesigned black bear exhibit. Visitors can watch elephants romp in the water. Children can also play in water in the Kathrine McGovern Water Play Park. If you want to enjoy more water shenanigans, visit the sea lion habitat for an entertaining show.
The Museum District and the surrounding area contains restaurants and shopping for a fun-filled weekend away, without having to drive far.