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!
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!