Houston has world-class museums, art, and parks. Houston is the fourth-largest US city with a population of 2,320,268, and you can’t really run out of things to do right here. But between trips to Donovan Park and romps around the Houston Children’s Museum, you will also find a few unexpected locations for families to check out. Here is a list of hidden Houston treasures that are worth visiting.
Bayou Wildlife Zoo
5050 FM 517 Road
Alvin, TX 77511
Bayou Wildlife Zoo is happy to be open to provide you with a safe open-air environment for a fun, family outing! Come and spend the day with us to get to know all the different parts of our zoo. While walking between the different areas are alligators, kangaroos, and more! You are invited to bring your own lunch and eat in our covered picnic area. We also have an on-site snack bar. You will find a variety of lawn games in our picnic area for your enjoyment. – bayouwildlifezoo.com
410 Bagby St @ Memorial Dr.
Houston, TX 77002
Downtown Aquarium is the product of redeveloping two downtown Houston landmarks – Fire Station No. 1 and the Central Waterworks Building. This magnificent six-acre entertainment and dining complex is a 500,000-gallon aquatic wonderland, home to over 300 species of aquatic life from around the globe. With a full-service restaurant, an upscale bar, a fully equipped ballroom, aquatic & geographic exhibits, shopping and a variety of amusements, Downtown Aquarium has it all! – aquariumrestaurants.com
Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern
1800 Allen Pkwy
Houston, TX 77019
A newly commissioned artwork for the Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern by multimedia artist Anri Sala (b. 1974 Tirana, Albania), Time No Longer offers an immersive, other-worldly experience of film and sound within this vast, subterranean reservoir on the edge of downtown Houston. – buffalobayou.org/visit/destination/the-cistern
2243 Richmond Ave.
Houston, TX 77098
Hobbits are humble yet sociable little people, smaller than dwarves, not much larger than Lilliputians. They dwell in warm, comfortable habitats and live close to the earth and everyday things, love peace and quiet, and almost never leave to travel. Hobbits are inclined to be fat, like to laugh and eat (six meals a day!) and drink. They are fond of parties, fireworks, flowers, bright colors, and like to give and receive presents. They inhabit a land they call The Shire, a place between the River Brandywine and the Far Downs. – hobbitcafehtx.com
Twilight Epiphany Skyspace at Rice University
6100 Main Street, MS-480
Houston, TX 77005
Located adjacent to the Shepherd School of Music on the Rice University campus is the Suzanne Deal Booth Centennial Pavilion, James Turrell’s Twilight Epiphany Skyspace. Built in 2012, the pyramidal structure accommodates 120 people between two levels. Twilight Epiphany is acoustically engineered to host musical performances and to act as a laboratory for Shepherd School of Music students. Constructed of grass, concrete, stone, and composite steel, the structure is equipped with an LED light sequence that projects onto the ceiling and through an aperture in the 72-foot square knife-edge roof during sunrise and at sunset. Turrell’s composition of light complements the natural light present at twilight and transforms the Skyspace into a locale for experiencing the beauty and reflecting on the surrounding campus and the natural world. – moody.rice.edu/james-turrell-twilight-epiphany-skyspace
Sam Houston Port of Houston Tour
111 East Loop North
Houston, TX 77029
The M/V Sam Houston has been operating as Port Houston’s public tour vessel since its inaugural voyage on July 30, 1958. This free service offers a leisurely, 90-minute round-trip, educational tour along the Houston Ship Channel. Individuals and groups are invited aboard to learn more about the port and maritime industry. Embarking from Port Houston’s Sam Houston Landing, visiting sightseers aboard the M/V Sam Houston can enjoy passing views of international cargo vessels and operations at the port’s Turning Basin Terminal. The 95-ft. vessel holds up to 100 passengers and features air-conditioned, lounge seating, as well as a standing-room outside on the boat’s deck. – porthouston.com/sam-houston-boat-tour