Houston Museum of Natural Science#2 in Best Things To Do in Houston
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 to the moon (or its modified "Apollo 13" movie version, "Houston, we have a problem"). The astronauts were communicating with Mission Control at this NASA space center, about 25 miles southeast of downtown Houston.
Opened in 1963 as NASA's human spaceflight hub, the center still operates as one of the country's major space centers for personnel training, research and more. Travelers interested in learning a little more about the space center's history can check out the visitors center adjacent to the facility, Space Center Houston.
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