Three New Things I Did in Texas Last Month

by Rachel on July 11, 2011

In the past year, I’ll admit — I haven’t gotten to know Houston as well as I could have. It’s just that, well…I’m lazy and so is Eric. Between the heat and the traffic, there is always a good excuse to keep doing the same old thing. But my mom and brother’s visit last month had the wonderful effect of forcing Eric and me to get out of the suburbs and explore a bit. Here are some things I checked off my list!

Space Center. “Houston, we have a problem” is a cliche that didn’t really click for me until last summer when we drove to Clear Lake for Eric’s triathlon and I saw NASA. Oh. Right. The Space Center is a tour of NASA and museum, with fun things for kids and adults. While Eric was at work one day, I left work at lunch time to go with Preston and my mom. We took a tour of the astronaut training camp and saw the space center mock-up facility and then checked out the Starship Gallery, which has tons of historical artifacts, like the gear worn by the astronauts in space in the 70s and an actual capsule flown by astronauts. The whole trip was great and totally relevant, with the shuttle launch last Friday. I was bummed I didn’t have more time to spend there. Before leaving, I put my $15 ticket price toward a membership; by paying an extra $7, I can go back for free any time in the next year. Preston was too excited about the huge play place to enjoy going through all the exhibits, so I’m excited to go back with Eric!

Rachel & Preston Space Center

Houston Museum of Natural Science. Eric and I went here while my mom and Preston hit the Children’s Museum and we loved it. We’re going to get memberships so we can go back, because we didn’t have nearly enough time. While we were there, we took in a 3-D movie about elephant rescue, visited the life-size models of wild animals in the African Wildlife exhibit, and spent a lot of time looking at the incredible huge precious stones in the amazing gem and mineral exhibit (or, as I call it, “The Jewelry Store”). We are planning to get memberships so we can go back and check out more of the exhibits (like the Texas exhibition!) and movies in the IMAX theater.

Galveston. I had been to Galveston once before, but this was my first time exploring it beyond just drinking on the beach. We made the hour drive and while my family went to Schlitterbahn water park, Eric and I went elsewhere. (He still had appendix surgery wounds that he didn’t want to flash around and scare people. And also…I don’t like to get wet.) But we had a really great time walking around the Strand, visiting beach bum shops, where I bought a maxi dress (that I stained with lip stain the second time I put it on) and a romper. We also got delicious ice cream at King’s Street and picked up tons of candy including peanut butter fudge and chocolate covered Oreos.

It definitely helped me get motivated to keep going out exploring and now that my family is gone, Eric and I have kept up the momentum, going to the Flying Saucer for beers and the Reel Big Fish concert at Warehouse Live last week and taking a lovely tour of the Buffalo Bayou (no alligator sightings, unfortunately!) in downtown Houston and going out to dinner at Zelko Bistro with some friends on Saturday night.

Sometimes all you need to get you out exploring your city is a visitor!

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lisa @ Sunny Seed Stories July 11, 2011 at 10:32 am

Especially when your city is Houston! (Ps. I hope they were white chocolate covered Oreos–those are the best Oreos in the universe!)

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2 Diane July 11, 2011 at 11:29 am

I’m embarrassed to admit that after living in DC for a whole year, I still haven’t seen The White House. (I know, I know!) I also let the heat and my own laziness stop me, so this is a good reminder to go out and explore!

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3 [SMASH] at Sweat. Style. Swoon. July 11, 2011 at 11:43 am

Glad to hear you’re exploring H-town together. :) I’ve only ever driven through there — never stopped to visit. Dallas has a lot of things you two would probably like to visit if you ever make a long weekend trip.

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4 Colleen K. July 11, 2011 at 12:36 pm

I’ve lived in Austin for two years and I’ve done some things, but still haven’t gotten around to everything! I would recommend Corpus Christi for a weekend trip if you haven’t already been there. They have the USS Lexington Museum, a badass aquarium, and really nice beaches (I’ve been told that their beaches are even nicer than those in Galveston.) Just be careful to read the reviews before you book a hotel, since it’s a popular place for high school/college partying, you probably don’t want to get stuck with a cheap, dirty hotel. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Resort (just a nicer hotel, not an actual resort) on North Padre Island and it was really beautiful, and the hotel had its own beach. :)

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5 rachel July 11, 2011 at 12:37 pm

I’m getting ready to move down to Galveston next month, and you just made me excited all over again… Having lived in the DFW my whole life, and going to Tech out in West Texas for school, I’m excited to get to know South Texas -which includes exploring Houston too!

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6 jaya July 11, 2011 at 12:43 pm

rachel- what kind of lipstain do you use???

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7 Rachel July 11, 2011 at 12:58 pm

Cover Girl! It really is the best! http://www.covergirl.com/outlast-allday-lipcolor

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8 Julia July 11, 2011 at 1:02 pm

I’ve definitely been trying to make sure I’m exploring DC/Metro DC more. I ask myself: If I were to move away tomorrow, what haven’t I done that I would be disappointed about? A few of the things still on my list: kayak on the Potomac, take a Capitol tour (I KNOW, I’m pathetic), hike Shenandoah National Park, and try Ben’s Chili Bowl (um, gonna need to wait until the fall for this one: chili + 100 degrees does not mix). Also, Living Social, Groupon, What the Deal, Buy with Me, etc. give such good ideas for different, random things to do around a city. Even if I don’t buy the deal, I always get good ideas from those emails.

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9 Rachel July 11, 2011 at 1:12 pm

SUCH a good tip about the Groupons, etc. I do the same thing!

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10 Diane July 11, 2011 at 1:48 pm

My boss had to drag me to a Capitol tour, but it really is worth it! Try to get a Dome tour if you’re not afraid of heights. I hear they’re badass.

The whole Shenandoah area is beautiful. Have you been to the Luray Caverns? http://www.luraycaverns.com/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=luray I went last year and had a lot of fun. It’s a self-guided tour that’s about an hour long, but you can explore a ton of other stuff in that area. I’d definitely recommend it!

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11 Carrie July 11, 2011 at 1:06 pm

I moved to Denver 5 years ago and I wanted to go everywhere, which turned into going a few places. I still have that itch to explore, but I’m not much for doing things alone, and the man doesn’t like going out anywhere, so I need to find a social group or something that explores Denver. Or maybe I’ll create one if it doesn’t exist. Oooh! Idea!

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12 Rachel July 11, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Good idea! Or try Meetup.com!

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13 Rachel July 11, 2011 at 3:44 pm

Aww going to the Strand in Galveston reminds me of my childhood (my grandma used to live there). Did you go to the candy store emporium with the player pianos?!

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14 Alicia at Poise in Parma July 11, 2011 at 7:31 pm

Yay for NASA! We have one of the largest NASA centers here in Cleveland (the hubby works there actually), and I forget its importance of it to our local economy and the national programs. It’s amazing the stuff they work on. When we were in Florida, we visited Kennedy Space Center and I felt the same way you did on your visit. It think it’s great you bought a membership to go back again!

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15 Brandy July 11, 2011 at 8:05 pm

Meetup helped me meet a lot of friends in Boston. I wish I would have explored a bit more before I leave on Saturday though!

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16 Kaley [Y Mucho Más] July 12, 2011 at 1:58 pm

I was just in Houston moving my baby bro (okay, he’s 22) into his new apartment! He’s working there for at least a year with GE. Went to Galveston too, even though the beaches are supposedly not the prettiest. Ah well.

I’ll definitely be back!!

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17 Carolyn July 12, 2011 at 7:46 pm

My personal favorites: Kemah Boardwalk (Friday night fireworks all summer!), picking strawberries at Froberg’s Farm, touring Saint Arnolds Brewery, touring Galveston’s Bishop’s Palace, and taking a road trip to the Blue Bell Factory during bluebonnet season. I plan to make my way out to Haak Winery in a few months. Heard it was fun!

Feel free to email me if you want some inside tips from a local.

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18 Kelsey July 14, 2011 at 12:09 pm

There’s a flying saucer here in Kansas City that I love!

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