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.
Buffalo Bayou Park is a lush 160-acre park (64 hectares), where everyone can come to soothe the senses. Eleanor Tinsley Park, located within the park is host to many of Houston's festivals and a variety of activities. Experience a canoe trip, or a walk with a loved one through the beauty of this park. The park also has a play area for children, a dog park, sculptures and fountains throughout and also includes bike trails.
Eleanor Tinsley Park, built in 1926, is bordered by Buffalo Bayou, Taft Street, Sabine Street and Allen Parkway. It has a small pool where you can see fish, turtles, and aquatic animals swimming. The sloping hills, trees, picnic tables and the swing sets make this an excellent place to relax. Every year on the 4th of July, grand celebrations with fireworks take place here. This is a regular venue for festivals. It also features a host of sculptures and other art pieces.
Have a yearning for the nautical life? Take a plunge into the deep at the Houston Downtown Aquarium. This aquarium is definitely the place to be for a fun day out. The aquarium features around 400 species of aquatic life, with the Shark Voyage being the main attraction. This voyage gives visitors the opportunity to travel via train into an acrylic viewing tunnel with live sharks swimming overhead. Other attractions include the Diving Bell Ferris wheel, the aquatic carousel and some themed educational exhibits. If you've had your fill of the aquatic life and need some grub then take a pick from the Aquarium Restaurant or Dive Lounge.
The Cockrell Butterfly Center, housed in The Houston Museum of Natural Science, promises an experience like no other. An impressive array of over 1,500 butterflies from across the world call the tropical conservatory their home. The three-leveled glass enclosure is an enchanting rainforest, punctuated with fascinating flora and an alluring waterfall. Marvel at exotic species of the arthropod, Blue Morpho, Atlas Moth, Red Peacock, Owl Butterfly and Longwing, to name a few. Housing some of the largest and rarest specimens, the vibrant assortment paints a picture of paradise.
Market Square Park is a brimming center located at Downtown Houston's Historic District. A prominent landmark, the park served as an open air local market. The park comprises a bow-shaped dog run, a brightly lit walkway path and plenty of open space to relax. Visit the Houston's Niko Niko's to delight yourself with the outdoor seating, a performance plaza, and a Greek and American favorites. Do visit the Lauren's Garden, a memorial built to commemorate Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas - a passenger on United Flight 93. Occasional live entertainment, events and community activities makes this place a vibrant gathering spot for locals.
The Buffalo Bayou Artpark is a beautiful blend of nature and art. Take a relaxing walk along the banks of the Buffalo Bayou in the midst of towering trees as you admire beautiful sculptures both large and small, paintings, statues, or random pieces of eccentric art by some exceptionally talented local and international artists. The experience is one of tranquility and peace and should not be missed when in Houston.