- Have you seen Baylor, the baby elephant at the Houston Zoo? The male calf was born May 4, 2010 and is still the cutest little elephant this side of the Mississippi! He’ll probably keep that distinction until later this year when a second adult female is expected to give birth at the Houston Zoo. Elephants aren’t the only new attraction. A renovated Jaguar exhibit was recently unveiled, allowing guests a wonderful view of the cats, through mesh instead of a glass barrier. Tickets to the Zoo are $6 for seniors, $7 for kids aged 2-11, and $11 for kids and adults aged 12-64.
- The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts is a state-of-the-art entertainment venue in Houston’s theater district. It’s an incredible example of architecture, and visiting the facility is just as impressive as any performance you’ll see there. The Hobby Center offers dance performances, plays, lectures, concerts and educational activities, in addition to a wonderful program called “Uniquely Houston.” Uniquely Houston is a program that provides a performance venue and much more to smaller local nonprofit performing arts organizations. Prices for upcoming events at The Hobby Center range from $10 to $54. For some events, discounts are available for students and seniors.
- The Byzantine Chapel Fresco Museum is home to intact Byzantine frescoes of a size and importance that do not survive anywhere else in the Western Hemisphere. It was built to safely house a collection of 13th century frescoes that had been looted from their original home in Cyprus. The chapel is part of the Menil collection, a museum that offers free admission to all visitors. When you visit the Chapel, be sure to save time to visit the other halls and galleries in the Menil neighborhood.
- Speaking of museums, did you know that Houston’s Museum District is home to 18 museums within a 1.5 mile radius? Several of them offer free admission, either all the time or on certain holidays. Many of the museums are kid-friendly, and most of them feature outstanding museum shops where you can purchase books and other items related to the many varieties of art, hobbies and crafts associated with each facility.
- At the 84-year old Miller Outdoor Theater, you’ll enjoy every performance for free! Same-day tickets are given out at the box office, first-come first-served, between 10:30 and 1:00 on the day of every performance. For some performances you can also get assigned seats in the covered area. Upcoming events include an opera program, dance performances, a Motown revue, symphonies, plays and musicals! Check their website for details.
- If you want to take someone special out for a great date night, consider the Marq-E Entertainment Center. The complex includes a movie theater, an IMAX theater, shops, restaurants, a comedy club and a night club. Start with the fantastic seafood buffet at Todai Sushi, then catch a movie. Then head over to Dave & Buster’s for a few fun games and a delectable dessert. If you’re not completely wiped out, top off the evening with a nightcap and a dance or two at Drink Houston!
- Explore some American history on Galveston Island at Moody Gardens. Moody Gardens is a longtime Houston favorite for its theaters, Discovery Museum, paddle wheel boats, golf, aquarium, beach and concerts. While New York was the port of entry for many Europeans, Galveston welcomed a diverse population from Mexico, South America, Central America and Asia. Admission tickets to the park can be purchased online for $46.95 for a 2-day pass. The regular price is $49.95, so that’s a substantial savings! Individual attractions require separate admission tickets. Check the website for details.
- Kids young and old will be enthralled by a visit to the Cockrell Butterfly Center in the Houston Museum of Natural Science. This 3-story glass building is home to interactive games, spectacular specimens, a 50-foot waterfall, a tropical rainforest, and living examples of some of the world’s most unbelievable arthropods. Visitors are surrounded by hundreds of fluttering butterflies. Parents of toddlers will also want to stop in the special area designed just for small children, the Land of Beeyond. Museum admission tickets are $10-$15, and tickets for the Butterfly exhibit are $7-$8. Discounts are available for members, students and groups.
If you just want to spend some time outside with people who share your interests, take a look at this website. You’ll find information about all sorts of Houston area outdoor activities and clubs.