Houston Arboretum and Nature Center
Located on the edge of Memorial Park, Houston Arboretum and Nature Center features a free five-mile trail, offering a peaceful escape from the city. Nestled in the middle of a forest, the trail also includes ponds, meadows, and wetlands. Here, those who love botany can study different varieties of flora and fauna native to the Texas region. The inner loop of the trail highlights a mid-sized swamp and a very serene meadow, whereas the outer loop is where visitors can encounter wildlife such as coyotes, snakes, and rabbits. The northern edge of the trail, where several species of birds live, is a great sanctuary for the serious ornithologists or just the casual birdwatchers. Be prepared for a true experience with nature, as there is no cage or glass to separate visitors from the inhabitants of the forest.
For those interested having fun while learning about marine biology, the Downtown Aquarium offers a great aquatic learning experience. Here, visitors have the option of several exhibits. At the Louisiana Swamp exhibit, visitors can get to know different wildlife such as alligators, turtles, and catfish. The Shipwreck exhibit features the diversity of oceanic life with many species of fish, a giant octopus, and a living coral reef. Visitors can gaze at the idyllic nurse sharks, as well as snappers and redfish, at the Gulf of Mexico exhibit. The Rainforest exhibit is where visitors can learn about the world’s tropical rainforest and their rivers complete with poisonous frogs, flesh-eating piranhas, and freshwater stingrays. The Sunken Temple exhibit showcases eels, tarantulas, and pythons. Last but not least, don’t forget to see the white tigers and learn about conservation efforts to help these rare animals in the wild!
Downtown Aquarium, 410 Bagby St, Houston, TX, USA, +1 713 223 3474
Houston Museum of Natural Science (HMNS)
According to Business Insider, the Houston Museum of Natural Science (HMNS) is one of the most attended science museums in the world. The museum offers a wide variety of exhibits from many branches of science. The planetarium offers future astronomers a chance to gaze at the stars and learn about mysterious black holes, distant galaxies, or closer worlds like the moon and the solar system. The fascinating world of insects can be explored at the Butterfly Center. Paleontology — the study of fossils — has its own permanent exhibit, which features fossils of dinosaurs. From chemistry to ecology, from energy fuels to weather patterns, from African wildlife to aquatic life, those who love the sciences will not run out of things to learn at the museum. HMNS is the perfect place to foster a love for science and discovery in children and satisfy the curiosity about the world in adults.
John P. McGovern Museum of Health and Medical Science
Being the home to the world-renowned Texas Medical Center, Houston is undoubtedly the international hub for science of medicine and health, making the John P. McGovern Museum of Health and Medical Science (also known as the Health Museum) an important attraction in the city. Patrons of the Health Museum come to explore the world of the human body and learn how to live healthy lives. In the Debakey Cell Lab, visitors learn about genetics and the cells. Visitors can also learn about anatomy as they walk through the human body in the Amazing Body Pavilion. These are a few of the exhibits that provide a comprehensive connection between anatomy, medicine, and health.
Johnson Space Center — Space Center Houston
For as long as humans have been in existence, they have looked up at the stars and wondered about space. However, not everyone gets to boast that NASA astronauts train in their backyard. Houstonians do. That is because the Johnson Space Center is home to the astronauts’ corps — where astronauts get trained to go to space — and houses Mission Control, where NASA monitored all Apollo missions and currently coordinates with astronauts aboard the International Space Station. At the Johnson Space Center, visitors get to learn about the history of human’s journey into space, many historic Apollo missions, view a full-size replica of the Space Shuttle, and even have lunch with an astronaut. With many attractions and a tram tour around the compound, visitors will leave with feelings of awe about the vast universe and humanity’s efforts to explore it.
By Alice Yang
Alice Yang reads anything from scientific journals to vampire fictions, has a penchant for hopping on the next bus going anywhere, and believes that the world revolves around red lipstick and blues music.