Johnny Au headed to Houston, Texas and brings us three must visit attractions for fans of baseball, science and the arts!
Houston History of Natural Sciences
One of the biggest natural science museums in Texas is the Houston History of Natural Sciences. One of the most impressive permanent exhibitions is the Morian Hall of Paleontology, which has over 450 fossils and their replicas on display. The exhibit is sized the length of a football field and contains a real bone T-Rex and the most complete hands and feet of a T-Rex ever found. Also impressive was the 12 foot wide reconstructed jaw of the Megalodon, the huge prehistoric ancestor to the modern day shark.
Another standout permanent exhibit is the Hall of Ancient Egypt. The permanent exhibition, featuring more than 500 artifacts, is divided into five parts and organised by theme instead of by timeline: the environment; daily life and politics; religion; mummies and mummification; and discovering ancient Egypt. The museum’s pride and joy is its own mummy, Ankh Hap.
Highlights of the special exhibits that is showing right now:
50 photo exhibition of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards. Brings together stunning images from wildlife photographers from around the world.
Samurai: The Way of the Warrior. A special exhibit on the legendary warriors of feudal Japan. Ruling for over seven centuries, the exhibit has artifacts ranging from full suits of amour, helmets, swords and a collection of personal items.
Faberge collection. Over 150 pieces, this new exhibition showcases 500 jeweled treasures from the world-renowned McFerrin Collection. Also on exhibit is the Faberge eggs of late 19th to early 20th centuries. Visitors to the exhibition can see the stunning Imperial Diamond Trellis Egg, Kelch Egg and Nobel Ice Egg.
Visitors to the Houston History of Natural Sciences are encouraged to use the CityPass which gives a 50% discount off admission.
5800 Caroline Street
The Museum of Fine Arts Houston
Located in the heart of Houston’s Museum District, The Museum of Fine Arts is a complex that is made up of two gallery buildings, a sculpture garden, vistors centre, library and movie theatre.
One of the current exhibitions on display is Unfolding Worlds: Japanese Screens and Contemporary Ceramics, from the Gitter-Yelen Collection. Unfolding Worlds is a unique installation that features works from the New Orleans-based Gitter-Yelen Collection, one of the most comprehensive private holdings of Japanese art in the United States.
Another exhibition is the spectacular Rubens collection. In the early 1620s, Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens completed one of his greatest achievements: designing the Triumph of the Eucharist tapestries, the most elaborate and expensive tapestries made in Europe in the 17th century. The monumental works in this series celebrated the principles of the Roman Catholic Church.
Permanent exhibitions include art from each geographical region. Some of the highlights include paintings such as Rembrandt’s Portrait of a Young Woman, Vincent Van Gogh’s The Rocks and Thomas Cole’s Indian Pass. Contemporary pieces like Damien Hirst’s End Game is a sculpture with a male and female skeleton.
The Film section of the Museum of Fine Art has a revolving selection of classic and contemporary films and premieres of independent productions. Films are presented with themes such as regions, specific actor or director or a topic.
Visitors to The Museum of Fine Arts Houston are encouraged to use the CityPass which gives a discount on admission.
Minute Maid Park
The home field for Houston’s professional baseball franchise the Houston Astros is located in the downtown region of Houston and is named Minute Maid Park. The ballpark is a retractable roof design with natural turf which has a capacity of 41,500. Minute Maid Park was opened in 2000 under the former name of Enron Field. After the collapse of the Enron Corporation, the naming rights was taken up by the Minute Maid beverage company. Originally, Minute Maid Park was called The Ballpark at Union Station as this was the original Union station of Houston. The original façade of the station is kept in the ballpark design with a replica steam train running on rails beyond left field that only runs when the Houston Astros hit a home run during the game.
The ballpark is fully air conditioned with many amenities for the casual and hardcore baseball fan. A tour of the park is available on the morning of a game, when the Houston Astros is playing away from home and the off season. The tour includes visits to the private suites, media centre, exclusive clubhouse and a visit to the on field dugout.
There are numerous stores around Minute Maid Park to purchase Houston Astros items to take home as a souvenir.
501 Crawford Street
This trip was kindly sponsored by the Houston Visitors Bureau and Texas Tourism. Photos by the author.