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World Travel Guide > Guides > North America > United States of America > Texas > Houston

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Things to see in Houston

Tourist Offices

Bay Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Address: Webster, 20710 Gulf Freeway (I-45), Houston,
Telephone: (281) 474 9700.
Opening times:

Mon-Sat 0900-1600, Sun 1100-1600.

Website: http://www.visitbayareahouston.com

Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau

Address: , 1331 Lamar Street, Suite 700, Houston, Texas
Telephone: (713) 437 5200.
Opening times:

Mon-Sat 0900-1600.

Website: http://www.visithoustontexas.com

Tourist 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.

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.

Address: , 6200 Hermann Park Dr, Houston, 77030
Telephone: (713) 533 6500.
Opening times:

Daily 0900-1900 (Late Mar-Oct); 0900-1800 (Nov-early March).

Website: http://www.houstonzoo.org
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

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.

Address: , 1601 Nasa Pkwy, Houston, 77058
Telephone: (281) 244 2100.
Opening times:

Mon-Fri 1000-1700, Sat and Sun 1000-1800 with extended hours in the summer months. Check website for specific details.

Website: http://www.spacecenter.org
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

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.

Address: Downtown, Memorial Dr & Bagby St, Houston, 77002
Telephone: (713) 223 3474.
Opening times:

Sun-Thurs 1000-2100, Fri and Sat 1000-2300.

Website: http://www.downtownaquarium.com
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

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.

Address: , 1515 Hermann Dr, Houston, 77004
Telephone: (713) 521 1515.
Opening times:

Tues, Wed, Fri and Sat 0900-1700 (also open Mondays from Memorial Day to Labour Day), Thurs 0900-1900, Sun 1200-1700.

Website: http://www.mhms.org
Admission Fees:

Yes; free for families Thurs 1400-1700.

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: No

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.

Address: , 1100 Bagby St, Houston, 77002
Telephone: (713) 655 1912.
Opening times:

Guided tours Tues-Sat 1000, 1130, 1300 and 1430, Sun 1300 and 1430; museum Tue-Sat 1000-1600, Sun 1300-1600.

Website: http://www.heritagesociety.org
Admission Fees:

No (except for historical house tours)

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

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.

Address: Med Center, Hermann Loop Dr, Houston, 77030
Telephone: (713) 639 4629.
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.

Website: http://www.hmns.org
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

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.

Address: , 5216 Montrose Blvd, Houston, 77006
Telephone: (713) 284 8250.
Opening times:

Wed and Fri 1100-1700, Thurs 1000-2100, Sat and Sun 1100-1800.

Website: http://www.camh.org
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

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.

Address: , 415 Barren Springs Dr, Houston, 77090
Telephone: (281) 876 3063.
Opening times:

Mon-Fri 1000-1600, Sat and Sun 1200-1600.

Website: http://www.nmfh.org
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

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Featured Hotels

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Hilton Americas

This impressive 1,200-room Houston hotel is connected to the George R Brown Convention Center. Hilton Americas' rooms have modern facilities including internet, a fitness room and pool and three restaurants serving American fare with The Skyline Grill on the 24th floor having panoramic views of the city.

The Houstonian Hotel, Club and Spa

Set in eight hectares (18 acres) of parkland close to the Galleria, this award-winning hotel has an old world charm and oozes sophistication. The rooms are tastefully decorated and have floor-to-ceiling windows. The excellent facilities include a health club, three pools and a spa facility. There are four restaurants serving regional American dishes and lighter meals.

Hotel ZaZa

After making a huge splash in Dallas Hotel ZaZa is a fun addition to the Houston hotel scene. The 315-room 12-storey property features a dynamic mix of rooms bungalows and suites - including the city's largest and most decadent accommodations with contemporary chic and bold designs. Among concept suites are the 'Rock Star' and the 'Casablanca' and there's a fabulous spa and outdoor pool too.

La Quinta Inn & Suites

Part of a chain of extremely good-value hotels this one is in the upscale Galleria area. There are 173 bright clean and spacious rooms featuring free high-speed internet access. The hotel also features a pool spa and fitness centre. Breakfast is included in the rate. It is extremely good value for its location but far enough away to not be too noisy.

La Colombe d'Or Hotel

This tiny luxury hotel is situated just a few minutes from downtown with just five luxury suites and nine villas with one- and two-bedroom suites, each with a private dining room and marble bathroom. Built in 1923, the elegant French furnishings in this hotel are complemented by original art and antiques. La Colombe d'Or has a stylish restaurant serving modern French cuisine with a Texan twist, a library and a bar.

Comfort Inn Downtown

Part of a chain of budget hotels, this property is close to the Downtown Aquarium and just minutes from many major attractions. All rooms are comfortable, modern and spacious and some even have fridges and microwaves. There are limited facilities on site but there is a swimming pool. Breakfast is included.