Tucked away in the 20-acre Sam Houston Park downtown, you will find an impressive bit of Texas history. Visit the Heritage Society Museum & Tour, which features historical records, then take the outdoor tour of noble buildings restored to their original glory. Pathways lead to an assortment of prestigious homes in Greek and Victorian styles. The 1868 Victorian-style Pilot House also happens to be the site of the city's first indoor kitchen. All the homes on the tour are unique in structure and furnishings. There is also a quaint church built in 1891 by German farmers.
The selection of exhibits at Houston's Museum of Fine Arts covers both modern and ancient art and represents the talent of artists from Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas. You will find Frederic Remington's fine Western art mingling with medieval pieces and the work of early European masters. Paintings are abundant, but the lovely sculpture garden here is also worth viewing. Both the Glassell School of Art and the Hirsch Library for Art History call this museum home. Film buffs love the museum for its weekly showings of classic and foreign films. A gift shop and restaurant are both on hand to satisfy your hunger after a day of exploring.
Houston will be forever grateful for George Hermann's generous gift of land in the early 1900s. The park spans over 445 acres (180 hectares) and is one of Houston's oldest public parks. People from all walks of life gather here for various events throughout the year. A monstrous statue of Sam Houston welcomes you to the park. Those seeking an educational outing for themselves or the kids will find many options inside the park. The Museum of Natural Science, Houston Zoo, Burke Baker Planetarium and an IMAX theater are all popular attractions. Lighter family entertainment is available in the form of pedal boats, train rides and other activities.
Situated in the lovely Hermann Park, the Houston Zoo is home to more than 6,000 animals and over 900 species. Experience a true wildlife adventure as you check out the lions, Komodo dragons, flamingos, tigers, gorillas, bears, and bats, just to name a few! There is a wonderful Natural Encounter area where you can get up close and personal with otters and meerkats; and be sure to take a spin on the Wildlife Carousel, featuring hand-carved and decorated animals that showcase many endangered species of the world. If watching the animals eat makes you hungry yourself, there are two outdoor concession stands and one indoor dining area. Get ready to spend a day with the animals as you learn more about the beauty and wonder of the natural world.
The Houston Museum of Natural Science offers a wide variety of exhibits that are worthy of a full day's outing. The three-level live butterfly exhibit will fascinate visitors of any age, as will the dinosaur exhibit in the Morian Hall of Paleontology. The Wiess Energy Hall and the Hall of Gems and Minerals are also worth a visit. If you need a break, enjoy an IMAX film or sit in on one of Burke Baker Planetarium shows.
In his midnight millennium speech, Pope John Paul said the most defining elements of the 20th century were the rise and fall of two oppressive ideologies that victimized millions of people, Communism and Nazism. This museum is a tribute to the victims of the Nazi concentration camps during World War II. Through changing exhibits, films and lectures, it seeks to inform future generations of the racism of the holocaust and the horrifying results of hatred. In addition to exhibits, there is a library, theater and document archives.
Dating from 1843, this is the oldest Episcopal parish church in Houston. Silas Mcbee's gothic-styled church, built in 1893, has outstanding brickwork and sandstone-topped parapets. The vast nave of dark-stained wood creates a commanding interior. The stained-glass window, called Caritas, was installed by Tiffany Studios and can be viewed on the side of the nave closest to Fannin Street. William Ward Watkin was the architect for the Golding Memorial Chapel that was added in 1939. The iron fence and palm trees in the area provide a lovely Victorian-influenced space for relaxing conversation.
The revival of this park area where the Allen brothers arrived over 150 years ago to start a new business venture has been exciting and stimulating for the downtown area. Surrounded by four primary streets (Travis, Milam, Congress and Preston), the area features restored historical buildings, fine restaurants, entertainment and nightclubs all within walking distance of each other. Lovely painted benches, artifacts and pictures line the walkways, combining the old with the new for all to enjoy. Different "points of view" can be discussed freely in a friendly atmosphere under the aptly named sculpture by James Surls.
In 1936, brothers John and Augustus Allen bought 6,642 areas of land and claimed Houston as their own. They settled down on the site that is now known as Allen's Landing, therefore it has great significance in the history and birth of Houston. Owing to its proximity to the White Oak Bayou and Buffalo Bayou, a dock was built and was operational for quite a long period. Over the time the area become somewhat neglected; however, the plans for its renovation are underway and after ts makeover, Allen's Landing will be equipped with beautiful walkways, lawns, a splendid promenade and several other facilities.
The downtown area of Houston has been the center of action for a long time. Whether shopping, culture, history, or entertainment, downtown Houston is a vibrant part of the city. Walking along the well-planned, square blocks in this area that make up the blueprint of the streets, you will amaze at the array of sights and attractions that unfold in front of you. The beautiful architecture of iconic buildings like the Bank of America Center or the JP Morgan Chase Tower is impressive, and the charm of the Old Market Square Park will tempt you to stay a while. So, do plan a visit to downtown Houston to discover all that has made this city so loved.
Houston Public Library serves almost two million residents of Houston, comprises 44 public service units and Central Library is the flagship of all the facilities. It also serves as a platform of cultural, recreational and educational programs and services for people of all ages and ethnic backgrounds. All the privileges and services provided by Houston Public Library is free for all Texas residents. The benefits of a Houston Public Library card is that you can access more than six million books, e-books, magazines, DVDs and research materials, access to 130 electronic resources and so on. They encourage volunteering and donations.
In 1839, this Methodist congregation met in the Senate Chamber of the Capital of the Republic of Texas. By 1844, when the "Little Red Brick Church" was built, there were 68 members out of a Houston population of 2,000. By 1910, after moving to two other buildings, Sanguine and Staats designed the gothic Akron-Style church, which is in use today. The church contains ten stained glass windows, nine of which survived the fire of 1983. There is also a splendid Swedish chandelier with 1,001 prisms plus the Acolian Skinner pipe organ has 118 ranks.