Tuesday, 29 June 2010


Before we departed for TX, we received no good reports of Houston. No-one who had been there had much to say for it. This kind of surprised me because it is a very large city and as Jenny said on Saturday 'if Fiona can construct an entire itinerary for New Bern, she can find things to do anywhere!'

Besides there are plenty of awesome places to eat, including an authentic Chinatown!
And Andrew got a quick visit to Fry's!
And our hotel was next to the Galleria shopping center so Fiona went shopping!

What's not to like about Houston (besides the horrendous traffic and the humidity)?

The sights:
  • Houston Zoo. Although it was very hot we still had a good time looking around at the animals. The highlights were the baby elephant, the giant anteater and the prairie dogs. Lucy enjoyed the carousel, the petting zoo and the play equipment as well as watching the otters undergoing some obedience training. We all enjoyed some ice cream except for poor Henry and we marginally enjoyed the expensive lunch looking out over the waterfowl pond.
  • George Ranch Historical Park. We ventured here because it was included on the City Pass. An obscure family's preserved houses and ranch. The oldest house was not really authentic as it had been rebuilt just 20 years ago. However the fun came from the cowboy lessons where we learned to lasso. Lucy wouldn't have a turn but afterward wanted to lasso everything. We also enjoyed the tractor ride around the property.
  • Space Center. The Johnston Space Center is awesome and one of the highlights of our time here! Upon arrival we watched a movie on the history of the center and then went into the museum part of the complex and got to touch moon rocks. We then boarded the train to tour the grounds. One of the stops was at the old mission control room and another at the giant space rocket. Back at the center the kids (including Andrew) played in the 3 storey play gym complete with rockets, balls and planets. No-one wanted to leave!
  • Houston Museum of Natural Sciences. This is an excellent museum but hideously expensive. Almost every exhibit is an extra cost on top of the $15 entry fee. We skipped the Faberge eggs (which we had seen for free in Edinburgh!) and headed to the dinosaur skeletons. The kids enjoyed the hands on power exhibit. We then coughed up for the butterfly pavilion. It is a purpose built 2 storey+ hot house for butterflies. Upon entering we met a staff member releasing newly hatched butterflies and got to see some beautiful specimens up close. We descended down past the waterfall and around the iguana. We ended up in the kids playroom themed around bees and butterflies.
  • Museum of Fine Arts. We had a quick stroll around. Plenty of Tintorettos and other renaissance art, one Chagall but kids bored. We did eat at the excellent Cafe Express and watched some of the French Open.
  • Children's Museum. Because the MFA was free we had a remaining voucher for the Children's museum down the street. With an hour remaining before we needed to leave for San Antonio we decided to give the kids a run around the museum. We could have stayed all day! This is the best children's museum we have ever seen. Three stories of wonderful activities. There are so many things that I cannot even begin to explain. In the end we spent a lot of time in the diner where Henry and Lucy served me up lots of yummy things to eat.

The (notable) food:

There are lots of 5 star dining experiences in Houston. With 2 tired hungry children we unfortunately could not visit them. However we did have some excellent family dining including:
  • Beavers. A local upscale pub/eating establishment. I wish we could pick this up and relocate it to Wilmington. We would eat there once a week. Daiquiri for Fiona, Cranberry Kit tail for Lucy, local brew for Andrew and a plastic blue truck for Henry. Fiona sampled Beavers famous nut burger (which was excellent) and I frankly can't remember what anyone else ate. All I know is that everyone was happy.
  • Banana Leaf. This restaurant is in the heart of Chinatown. When driving we started seeing lots of signs in Chinese characters and Andrew started drooling. It's been a long time since we had good Asian food and we weren't disappointed. We even had a mix up with the wonton soup having shrimp in it. Young coconut milk completed the scene. We left very full and very happy. And very much missing Lots!

1 comment:

BKR said...

Hey i got introduced to Fry's in the San Francisco area! i guess it is the best techie and gadget store! i had to buy a new camera out there b/c i dropped mine and it busted! my friend's husband out there was really excited to introduce me to Fry's. The one we went to was Cowboy themed. Apparently, all of them have some kind of kookie decorative theme...is that true in Texas??!!