Planning a fun-filled summer vacation in Houston, Texas, requires a game plan. With so much to see and do in the popular southern tourist town, you need to buckle down and research possible itineraries to ensure that you make the most of your seasonal getaway.
How to Make the Most of Your Summer Vacation in Houston, Texas
When it comes to wrangling some down-home family fun in the summer sun, it doesn't get much hotter than Houston, Texas. America's fourth largest city has something for everyone, from massive parks and high-tech adventures to art-tastic exhibits and dozens of historic hot spots. Houston is also home to some of the most popular tourist attractions on the planet. If you are planning a summer vacation in Houston, Texas, be sure to stop off at the following must-see sites:
Escape the scorching summer heat by diving into Houston's Downtown Aquarium. The massive structure features Texas-sized adventures for visitors of all ages. At the center of the awe-inspiring six-acre entertainment and dining complex, sits a 500,000-gallon aquatic wonderland which boasts more than 200 species of aquatic life from around the world. Along with dozens of denizens of the deep, the aquarium also houses the sunken hull of a 17th century Spanish galleon shipwreck, ruins of a lost Mayan civilization and a 20-foot long Reticulated Python. If that's not enough to float your boat, then consider that the aquarium also features a Ferris wheel, a train ride that tunnels through a shark tank, and a couple of white tigers.
Space Center Houston
No matter what the season, Space Center Houston is rated as the city's number one tourist attraction. The facility provides out-of-this-world experiences for guests thanks to its various interactive displays and famous moon rock. You can also view astronauts training for their next spacewalk, blast off in a space shuttle simulator, and tour the Astronaut Gallery which houses the planet's best collection of spacesuits. Astronaut John Young's ejection suit and Judy Resnik's T-38 flight suit are just two of the most memorable spacesuits on display in the gallery.
Kids of all ages will roar with excitement during a summer trip to the Houston Zoo, which proudly holds the title of seventh most-visited zoo in the United States. The massive animal refuge is conveniently located in Hermann Park, and features an array of more than 4,500 exotic animals including koalas, tigers, vampire bats and meerkats. In addition, Houston Zoo also offers a number of animal encounters that allow guests to get up close and personal with its furry residents. In fact, you can crawl right into the piranha exhibit and go nose-to-nose with some of the world's most endangered species courtesy of the zoo's see-through exhibits. Also, don't miss the chance to cool off at the McGovern Children's Zoo. The play area boasts eleven water features, including five jet fountains and three foaming fountains, in a Galveston coastal fishing village setting.
Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens
Located in the upscale River Oaks neighborhood of Houston, the Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens is a stunning mansion nestled on 14 acres and houses a collection of priceless American Folk Art, furniture and antiques dating back to the 1600s. The gardens are equally spectacular and are in full bloom during the summer months.
Houston's Music Scene
In addition to the aforementioned attractions, Houston is also known for having one of the most vibrant music scenes in the nation. The city's hot and humid conditions are ripe for outdoor summer concerts. During the summer months, Houston sizzles with a full slate of live concerts played at outstanding outdoor venues, such as the Showground's at Sam Houston Race Park and Miller Outdoor Theatre. The summer concert series boasts a diverse mixture of talent to please everyone in the family, from classical music to rock, pop and jazz.
Planning Your Trip
To view a complete line-up of summer acts and get more information on where to go during your summer vacation in Houston, Texas, visit the Houston Visitors Center website. Ask for a visitor's packet geared to your needs to make planning for your crew a cinch. If you're traveling through Texas on your way to Houston, you can visit TravelTex to use their highly-acclaimed trip planner which features an interactive map, so you can plan pit-stops along the way.