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Houston

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Named after Sam Houston, general of Texas army that won independence from Mexico, and president of Republic of Texas. The city, largest in Texas and fourth largest in nation, has experienced phenomenal growth since a small riverboat landing was established on Buffalo Bayou by Allen brothers in August 1836. Today the metropolis is industrial and financial hub for much of the state. it is one of the nation’s largest seaports, and headquarters of Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center.

Houston lies on I-10, a segment of the Ports to Plains Highway connecting the state’s heartland to coastal ports.

Institutions of higher learning include Baylor College of Medicine, Houston Baptist University, Rice University, South Texas College of Law, South Texas Junior College, Texas Southern University, University of Houston, University of Houston Junior College, Texas Southern University, University of Houston Downtown, University of St. Thomas and University of Texas Health and Science Center.

Major annual events include the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo in late Feb. and early Mar., largest livestock exposition in the state with championship cowboys and popular entertainers.

Houston International Festival each April celebrates the performing and visual arts with 20 day outdoor festival of multicultural music, dance, arts and crafts, and food.

Attractions

  • ALKEK VELODROME – Site of 1989 Texas Track Championships. The 33,334 meter track is banked nine to 33 degrees.
  • ALLEN’S LANDING; OLD MARKET SQUARE – Park on Buffalo Bayou where Allen brothers arrived in 1836 to promote new real estate venture; Houston, General area, now Old Market Square became the center of the new city. Several important 29th Century buildings restored; now devoted to dining and entertainment, including quaint bar in Houston’s oldest commercial building.
  • ANHEUSER-BUSCH BREWERY TOUR – Tour of one of the largest breweries in the state and see the brewing process from start to high-speed packaging lines.
  • BAYOU BEND COLLECTION – Operated as a branch of the Houston Museum of Fine Arts; 28 room Latin Colonial structure was the home of the late Miss Ima Hogg, daughter of James Stephen Hogg, first native-born governor of Texas. The collection consists of more than 4,800 works form colonial period to early 19th Century, including furniture, paintings, metals, ceramics, glass, and textiles. The gardens consist of 14 acres bounded on three sides by Buffalo Bayou. They are made up of natural woodlands and eight cultivated formal gardens with imported and native plants.
  • CHILDREN’S MUSEUM – Variety of hands-on exhibits for children 4 months to 14 years in areas of science, history, culture, and the arts. Other features include outdoor discovery garden and greenhouse.
  • CHRIST CHURCH CATHEDRAL – Founded in 1839, is Houston’s oldest church on the original site. Contains hand-carved woodwork and fine stained-glass windows including one designed by Tiffany. Open by request. Noon Eucharist in Golding Chapel. 1117 Texas Avenue.
  • CIVIC CENTER – Centerpiece is Tranquility Park, bounded by Smith, Rusk, Bagby and Walker Streets. Commemorates Apollo flights with two-block long 32 level fountain and towers resembling rockets. Bronze plaques in 15 languages tell the Apollo story. Restful oasis; occasional outdoor events.
  • CONTEMPORARY ARTS MUSEUM – A non-collecting museum dedicated to bringing the cutting edge of contemporary art to the city through its nine exhibitions yearly.
  • CYNTHIA WOOD MITCHELL PAVILION – a 1,000 seat outdoor performing arts center surrounded by lush, green forest. Located in The Woodlands, performances held Apr. – Oct. From Houston, I-45 north, exit either on Woodlands Pkwy. or Lake Woodlands Drive. Follow signs to pavilion parking. For performance information.
  • FAME CITY WATERWORKS – 10 acres of water highlighted by Big Mo, a twisting, turning rapids that drops six stories. There are also speed slides, a wave pool, a lazy river for drifting, and children’s area. Open weekends in may and daily June through Labor Day. For waterpark information.
  • FUNERAL SERVICE MUSEUM, AMERICAN – Nation’s largest collection of funeral service memorabilia, including two dozen vehicles; horse drawn hearses, a funeral sleigh, 1941 hearse/ambulance, and of special interest, a 1915 Packard “mourning bus” that carried the casket, pallbearers, and 20 mourners at a top speed of 15 mph. Also displayed are Civil War cast iron caskets, and turn-of-the-century embalming artifacts, lush video presentations.
  • FUNPLEX – Indoor complex includes a roller rink, bowling, miniature golf, arcade areas, rides, three movie screens, and food in air conditioned comfort.
  • HOUSTON ARBORETUM AND NATURE CENTER – Environmental education center with classes for children and adults. A preserve for native Harris County plants and animals. Botanical hall contains discovery room and gift shop. Over five miles of nature trails wind through 155 acres of woodlands, ponds, and prairie.
  • HOUSTON FIRE MUSEUM – Visitors see evolution of firefighting, from :bucket brigade: to modern firefighting vehicles. Collection includes late 19th Century hand-drawn and operated pumper and hose reel, 1892 steam fire engine, early 20th Century motorized pumper, and other memorabilia.
  • HOUSTON GARDEN CENTER – Garden trails, rose garden and center headquarters.
  • HOUSTON MUSEUM OF NATURAL SCIENCE – Exhibits feature space science plus geology, archaeology, and natural history. In Hermann Park.
  • HOUSTON UNDERGROUND – A 4 mile system of underground pedestrian tunnels that includes a variety of shops and restaurants. Maps available in banks along route and at Visitor Information Center.
  • Houston Zoo. Set in a lush 55-acre landscape in Hermann Park, the Zoo is home to more than 3,100 exotic animals representing more than 500 species including elephants, lions, tigers, orangutans, and bears. Known for its diverse reptile and bird collection. Tropical Bird House features a free-flight rain forest aviary. The Houston Zoo is open 365 days of the year from 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. March through September and from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Admission.
  • JAPANESE GARDEN – Designed by Ken Nakajima, world-renowned Japanese landscape architect who designed gardens in Moscow, Montreal, and Rome. Features Yukimi Stone Lantern, Azumaya (Tea House), and waterfalls amid winding paths and lush exotic plants. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. In Hermann Park. Admission
  • MENIL MUSEUM – Collection of John and Dominique de Menil includes contemporary, surrealistic and 20th Century art, antiquities, Byzantine and medieval art, and tribal art. Housed in architecturally significant 100,000 square foot building designed by renowned architect Renzo Piano of Italy.
  • MILLER OUTDOOR THEATRE – Performances feature a variety of entertainment from grand opera to jazz, ballet to Shakespeare, musical comedy to symphonic concerts. Outdoor theatre in Hermann Park seats 1,750 under unusual polygon roof; additional seating on grass hillside.
  • MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS – The city’s finest collection of art objects, paintings and sculpture, visited by more than a half-million people each year. Accredited by American Association of Museums. Among superb displays is Finnigan collection of ancient art from Egypt, Greece, and Rome. Straus collection feature.
  • OIL RANCH – Day ranch activities include pony rides, hayrides, petting zoo, picnicking, swimming, and much more. Take U.S. 290 30 miles northwest. Reservations recommended.
  • ORANGE SHOW – Virtually impossible to describe, the construction of a Houston eccentric over 26 years. A labyrinth of outdoor and indoor passages, colored tiles, folk antiques, junk, and native art embellished with odd mottoes and parables. Colorfully bizarre!! Open mar. to Dec. from non to 5 p.m. Sat. & Sun.; memorial Day to labor Day Mon. to Fri. from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 2402 Munger Street
  • PORT OF HOUSTON – Among the top three seaports in the United States, sixth largest in the world in total tonnage. The port is connected to Gulf of Mexico by a 50 mile long ship channel nearly 5,00 ships and 40,000 barges transit the channel yearly,. World Trade Center Building is hub of Houston’s international commerce, and location of many foreign consuls assigned here. Visitors may view famous Houston Turning Basin from observation deck reached through Gate 8 at 7300 Clinton Drive. Observation deck open daily form 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • RAILROAD TRAIN MUSEUM – Antique railroad cars and equipment.
  • ROTHKO CHAPEL – Interfaith chapel houses canvasses of the late Mark Rothko. Open daily 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 3900 Yupon.
  • SAM HOUSTON HISTORICAL PARK – Project of Harris County Heritage Society, a monument to early history of Houston; 19 acre park features seven restored historic buildings ranging from oil field pioneer Henry T,. Staitis’s 17 room house built in 1905 to the 1826 Old Place, depicting early life in Harris County.
  • SAN JACINTO BATTLEGROUND STATE HISTORIC PARK – Site is adjacent to city’s northeast city limits. Four historical markers on Battleground Road (Texas 34) within city attest to city’s claim as “Birthplace of Texas.”
  • TEXAS LIMITED – Relive unhurried luxury rail travel aboard the Teas Limited as it travels from Houston, America’s fourth largest city to romantic Galveston Island. Restored cars from the ‘ 30s, ;40s, and ’50s. Trains run Fri. to Sun with night run 3rd Sat. of month. Passengers from Houston may ride to League City to attend races at Gulf Greyhound Park or to visit Space Center Houston and catch returning train from Galveston. Departs Houston from 567 T.C. Jester; in Galveston, the Railroad Museum a 25th and Strand.
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