Things to see in Houston

Tourist information

Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau
901 Bagby Street.
Tel: (713) 437 5200. Website: www.visithoustontexas.com.
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 0900-1600.

Bay Area Convention and Visitors Bureau
913 N. Meyer Road, Seabrook.
Tel: (281) 474 9700. Website: www.visitbayareahouston.com.
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 0900-1700, Sat and Sun 1000-1700.

Passes

The CityPass includes admission to five of the city's most popular attractions (Space Center Houston, Downtown Aquarium, Houston Museum of Natural Science, Houston Zoo or The Health Museum and Museum of Fine Arts or The Children's Museum) and valid for nine days from first day of use. Buy online at www.citypass.com/houston or at one of the participating attractions.

Houston Zoo

A very popular visitor attraction, the Houston Zoo covers 22 hectares (55 acres) and is home to various themed habitats including the Wortham World of Primates for up-close viewing of monkeys and apes. The newly opened African Forest recreates a wilderness habitat through which visitors can take a tour. Most days, there are opportunities to view the feeding of certain animals (such as giraffes) and to enjoy Meet the Keeper talks at various locations around the zoo such as on jaguar and red panda training. Other popular attractions are the big cats - including Indochinese tigers, leopards and jaguars.

Opening Times: Daily 0900-1900 (Late Mar-Oct); 0900-1800 (Nov-early March).
Admission Fees: Yes
Disabled Access: Yes
Unesco: No
Address: 6200 Hermann Park Dr, Houston, TX 77030, United States
Telephone: (713) 533 6500.
Space Center Houston

The Space Center Houston is a privately operated attraction that acts as the official visitor centre of NASA's Johnson Space Center. Exhibits include the Gemini and Apollo capsules, other space flight hardware, including a full-size mock-up of a space shuttle. You can enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour of the Johnson Space Center, IMAX films, learn what life is like on the space station and even watch astronauts train for upcoming shuttle missions. One of the highlights is the virtual tour of the International Space Station and experiencing the sensation of weightlessness. There are opportunities to have lunch with a NASA astronaut on certain dates.

Opening Times: Mon-Fri 1000-1700, Sat and Sun 1000-1800 with extended hours in the summer months. Check website for specific details.
Admission Fees: Yes
Disabled Access: Yes
Unesco: No
Address: 1601 Nasa Pkwy, Houston, TX 77058, United States
Telephone: (281) 244 2100.
Contemporary Arts Museum Houston

The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, established in 1948, is housed in an award-winning contemporary all-metal structure. It displays new and recent works from the last 40 years, by regional, national and international contemporary artists. Exhibitions have included the works of the avant-garde artist Yoko Ono, black conceptual art, the influence of comics in contemporary art and the art of punk high-priestess Patti Smith. As a non-collecting museum it puts on dynamic ever-changing exhibitions, exemplifying the relationship between contemporary art and society, through various media including paintings, films and sculptures.

Opening Times: Wed and Fri 1100-1700, Thurs 1000-2100, Sat and Sun 1100-1800.
Admission Fees: No
Disabled Access: Yes
Unesco: No
Address: 5216 Montrose Blvd, Houston, TX 77006, United States
Telephone: (713) 284 8250.
Website: www.camh.org
Downtown Aquarium

An opportunity to experience an underwater world brimming with hundreds of exotic species in naturalistic ecosystems, all from the safety of the Shark Voyage train which travels through the middle of the tank. Sea life is recreated around various exhibits of different habitats, including a sunken galleon, a coral reef, the Amazon rainforest and the swamplands of Louisiana. There's also is a wonderful white tiger exhibit and a number of funfair rides, all with a marine theme.

Opening Times: Sun-Thurs 1000-2100, Fri and Sat 1000-2300.
Admission Fees: Yes
Disabled Access: Yes
Unesco: No
Address: Memorial Dr & Bagby St, Downtown, Houston, Harris, TX 77002, United States
Telephone: (713) 223 3474.
Houston Museum of Natural Science

This museum contains an impressive collection of natural exhibits. Highlights include the Cockrell Butterfly Center - filled with butterflies and tropical plants and featuring a 21m (40ft) waterfall, a rainforest environment, a planetarium and permanent exhibitions of dinosaur skeletons. There is also an IMAX theatre, a stunning collection of gems and minerals, a four-screen video wall about the wildlife of Texas, the interactive Discovery Place where children can investigate science in action and the Foucault pendulum which demonstrates the Earth's rotation.

Opening Times: Opening times: Mon and Wed-Sun 0900-1700, Tues 0900-2000. Butterfly Center daily 0900-1700. Times vary for the planetarium and IMAX.
Admission Fees: Yes
Disabled Access: Yes
Unesco: No
Address: Hermann Loop Dr, Med Center, Houston, Harris, TX 77030, United States
Telephone: (713) 639 4629.
Website: www.hmns.org
National Museum of Funeral History

The National Museum of Funeral History houses memorabilia from the funerals of celebrity figures, such as John F Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Judy Garland, John Wayne and Elvis Presley. The collection also includes the original equipment for the John F Kennedy Eternal Flame, which was used between 1967 and 1998, a funeral sleigh, a Packard mourning bus, a collection of fantasy coffins from Ghana, ranging in shape from a chicken and a leopard to an airplane, and an exhibit featuring the lives and deaths of popes.

Opening Times: Mon-Fri 1000-1600, Sat and Sun 1200-1600.
Admission Fees: Yes
Disabled Access: Yes
Unesco: No
Address: 415 Barren Springs Dr, Houston, TX 77090, United States
Telephone: (281) 876 3063.
Website: www.nmfh.org
Sam Houston Historical Park

The Sam Houston Historical Park contains a collection of restored historic buildings - including houses, a church and a reconstructed row of shops. The buildings have been collected together on this site, to go with the 1847 Kellum-Noble House, the oldest house in Houston. The latest addition to the collection is the Baker Family Playhouse built in Greek Revival style. These historic buildings set against the sleek city skyscrapers make for a great photo opportunity. The only way to see the houses is on one of the regular guided tours.

Opening Times: Guided tours Tues-Sat 1000, 1130, 1300 and 1430, Sun 1300 and 1430; museum Tue-Sat 1000-1600, Sun 1300-1600.
Admission Fees: No (except for historial house tours)
Disabled Access: Yes
Unesco: No
Address: 1100 Bagby St, Houston, TX 77002, United States
Telephone: (713) 655 1912.
The Health Museum

A fascinating museum, the Health Museum (at the world-renowned Texas Medical Center) gives an exciting tour of the human body in the Jim Hickox Amazing Body Pavilion, with huge sculptures of human organs including a 3m- (10ft-) tall walk-through brain and a 7m- (22ft-) long backbone with ribs descending from the ceiling to the floor. There is also a large walk-in eyeball that demonstrates how the eye receives and perceives images, as well as plenty of hands-on and interactive exhibits that explore how the body works and how to stay healthy and a 4D theatre.

Opening Times: Tues, Wed, Fri and Sat 0900-1700 (also open Mondays from Memorial Day to Labour Day), Thurs 0900-1900, Sun 1200-1700.
Admission Fees: Yes; free for families Thurs 1400-1700.
Disabled Access: No
Unesco: No
Address: 1515 Hermann Dr, Houston, Harris, TX 77004, United States
Telephone: (713) 521 1515.
Website: www.mhms.org
Holocaust Museum Houston

The Holocaust Museum Houston serves as a memorial to the millions who were imprisoned and died in Nazi death camps in WWII. The museum contains a permanent exhibition hall with exhibits such as a 1942 railcar used to carry millions of Jews to their death, regularly changing temporary exhibitions and a memorial area and sculpture garden. A permanent exhibition reveals the atrocities of the Holocaust through the words and memorabilia of local survivors. The museum features a 30-minute film, Voices, which is a montage of oral stories by Holocaust survivors from the Houston area. Guided tours available at weekends at 1230, 1330, 1430 and 1530.

Opening Times: Mon-Fri 0900-1700, Sat and Sun 1200-1700.
Admission Fees: No
Disabled Access: Yes
Unesco: No
Address: 5401 Caroline St, Museum Park, Houston, Harris, TX 77004, United States
Telephone: (713) 942 8000.
Website: www.hmh.org
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, has an impressive collection including antiquities and Renaissance art through to impressionism and early modernism. It also has artworks from Africa, Central Asia, the Americas and South Pacific. The striking Beck Building has a roof that is studded with skylights, which gives ideal lighting conditions in which to view the paintings. Highlights include the Hogg Brothers collection of artworks, depicting Native American cultures and showcasing the cowboy and the Wild West, and the Beck Collection of early modernist, impressionist and post-impressionist art, including Van Gogh, Degas, Cézanne and Gauguin.

Opening Times: Tues and Wed 1000-1700, Thurs 1000-2100, Fri and Sat 1000-1900, Sun 1215-1900.
Admission Fees: Yes (except for Thursdays)
Disabled Access: Yes
Unesco: No
Address: 1001 Bissonnet St, Houston, TX 77006, United States
Telephone: (713) 639 7300.
Website: www.mfah.org
Edited by Tina Banerjee
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