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Houston Museum of Natural Science picture in Houston
Courtesy Visit Houston (Julie Soefer)

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  • Museums Type
  • 2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.6
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  • Value
    4.0
  • Facilities
    4.0
  • Atmosphere
    4.5

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Situated in the Museum District near the Houston Zoo, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Holocaust Museum, the Houston Museum of Natural Science offers a variety of permanent exhibits. Visitors can explore everything from dinosaur fossils in the paleontology hall to sparkling emeralds, rubies and sapphires in the gem vault to interactive exhibits in the chemistry hall.

The museum's exhibit halls cover a wide range of subjects, which is why this attraction is such a popular site in Houston – there's something for everyone. The building also houses a few special exhibits, such as the Planetarium and the Cockrell Butterfly Center, though these do cost extra. If you have to pick one, travelers say the butterflies are pretty impressive. The Cockrell Butterfly Center is home to a glass-enclosed rainforest conservatory populated with exotic flora and hundreds of colorful butterflies. 

Recent visitors were also quick to commend the venue's extensive collection of dinosaur artifacts and well-curated displays. What's more, travelers say this museum's interactive exhibits are engaging for both children and adults.

The museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., though keep in mind other parts of the museum like the Planetarium and Giant Screen Theater operate different hours. Admission costs $25 for adults and $15 for students, seniors and kids ages 3 to 11; kids 2 and younger can enter for free.

If you're hoping to save some money, you can purchase the CityPASS, which offers discounts on several of the city's top attractions, or plan to visit on a Thursday when admission to the museum is free from 3 to 6 p.m. Parking is available in the museum's on-site garage ($20 for non-museum members) and limited street parking is also available. For more information, visit the museum's website.

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#1 Johnson Space Center and Space Center Houston "Houston, we've had a problem." Most Americans have heard of the infamous phrase uttered by the Apollo 13 crew when it encountered a spacecraft explosion mid-flight on its way ... Read more » Courtesy Space Center Houston

#2 Houston Museum of Natural Science Situated in the Museum District near the Houston Zoo, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Holocaust Museum, the Houston Museum of Natural Science offers a variety of permanent exhibits ... Read more » Courtesy Visit Houston (Julie Soefer)

#3 Buffalo Bayou Just so there's no confusion, the name "Buffalo Bayou" refers to an entire 52-mile waterway that starts in Katy, Texas, and winds its way to Houston's River Oaks ... Read more » Jonnu Singleton/SWA Group (1) / Jonnu Singleton/SWA Group

#4 Minute Maid Park Minute Maid Park, home to Major League Baseball's Houston Astros, is another popular place to be during the summer months in Houston. And, as most visitors will testify, you ... Read more » Roy Luck / Flickr

#5 The Menil Collection The Menil Collection is the 30-acre compilation of art gathered by Jean and Dominique de Menil. The permanent collection features 10,000 works of art collected by the couple from ... Read more » Visit Houston

#6 Children's Museum of Houston This museum, just like its name suggests, is all for the little ones. Exhibits include the Tot*Spot, for kids up to 35 months old, which is complete with mirrors ... Read more » Courtesy Visit Houston

#7 Holocaust Museum Houston If you're looking for an educational stop to add to your itinerary, consider the Houston Holocaust Museum. Exhibits include everything from film footage taken during World War II ... Read more » Visit Houston (Julie Soefer)

#8 The Galleria The Galleria is just a fancy way to say "humongous mall." This gargantuan shopping center sprawls across 2.4 million square feet of space with more than 400 stores. The ... Read more » Dan Dalton / Getty Images

#9 Art Car Museum The Art Car Museum is exactly what you might think it is – a museum filled with ornately painted and decorated vehicles. Also affectionately known as the "Garage Mahal," this museum ... Read more » Courtesy Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau

#10 Houston Zoo The Houston Zoo contains more than 6,000 animals that range from cheetahs and giraffes to otters and bats. There's even a habitat for rare albino reptiles. The zoo ... Read more » Courtesy Houston Zoo

Space Center Houston picture in Houston
Houston Museum of Natural Science picture in Houston
Buffalo Bayou picture in Houston
Minute Maid Park picture in Houston
The Menil Collection picture in Houston
Children's Museum of Houston picture in Houston
Houston Holocaust Museum picture in Houston
The Galleria picture in Houston
Art Car Museum picture in Houston
Houston Zoo picture in Houston
Space Center Houston picture in Houston
Houston Museum of Natural Science picture in Houston
Buffalo Bayou picture in Houston
Minute Maid Park picture in Houston
The Menil Collection picture in Houston
Children's Museum of Houston picture in Houston
Houston Holocaust Museum picture in Houston
The Galleria picture in Houston
Art Car Museum picture in Houston
Houston Zoo picture in Houston

One of the exhibits at Space Center Houston features spacesuits dating back to the first American trip to space and a model of the International Space Station.  Courtesy Space Center Houston

This museum boasts a Hall of Paleontology that contains more than 450 fossils and fossil replicas, offering a vivid look into the 3.5 billion-year story of life on Earth.  Courtesy Visit Houston (Julie Soefer)

Multiple spots along the Buffalo Bayou offer excellent photo ops of the Houston skyline.  Jonnu Singleton/SWA Group (1) / Jonnu Singleton/SWA Group

Minute Maid Park is home to the Houston Astros. Visitors say the stadium is fun, tickets are reasonably priced and the fireworks shows are impressive. Roy Luck / Flickr

The Menil Collection houses more than 10,000 works of art on a 30-acre campus southwest of downtown Houston.  Visit Houston

This fun museum entertains kids from a few months of age to those in double digits.  Courtesy Visit Houston

Exhibits at the Houston Holocaust Museum include everything from film footage taken during World War II and inside the concentration camps to a 1942 railcar for transporting victims Visit Houston (Julie Soefer)

Dan Dalton / Getty Images

The Art Car Museum is a dedicated to contemporary art with an emphasis on art cars. Each year they their annual parade draws thousands of fans and plenty of decorated cars.  Courtesy Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Houston Zoo recently opened an expanded 7,000-square-foot expanded elephant habitat.  Courtesy Houston Zoo

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