Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Houston, TX. NASA. Many Museums. Astros. Family Activities. Festivals and Events. Area Beaches and Lakes. Don’t Mess With TX! Machu Picchu

For “Travel Tuesday”, let’s explore some of what Houston has to offer:

“As the nation's fourth largest city, Houston has plenty to see and do. Although it is not commonly thought of as a 'tourist destination,' Bayou City visitors can certainly stay busy and find plenty of fun things to do during their stay.”

Visiting Space Center Houston

NASA Facility Offers Entertaining and Educational Exhibits

“In general, Texas is not known as a ‘high-tech’ state. However, during the Space Race of the 1960s, Houston secured its place in the technology field with the role played by Space Center Houston.”

“To keep pace with the rapid evolution of new and ongoing programs at NASA, the New Discount Tire NASA Tram Tour will highlight astronaut training for the International Space Station, development of deep space manned missions and advances in space robotic technologies. Exciting new exploration vehicles will be brought out of NASA labs and to the forefront of regular tour routes.”10 Must-See Museums in Houston

With this behind-the-scenes journey through NASA's Johnson Space Center, you will also visit the Historic Apollo Mission Control Center. Then, before returning to Space Center Houston, you can visit the "all new" Saturn V Complex at Rocket Park.

Occasionally, the tour may visit other facilities, such as the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory. You may even get to see astronauts training for upcoming missions.”

Still pivotal to the NASA program, Space Center Houston has also become a top tourist attraction, drawing thousands of visitors annually. Popular events and attractions such as the NASA Tour, Blast Off Theater, Astronaut Gallery, and the Kids Space Place serve as entertaining and educational activities for children and adults alike. Curiosity- Mars Landing

Throughout the year, Space Center Houston also features a variety of temporary exhibits and conducts ‘Space Camps’ and group tours.

While at Space Center Houston, visitors are treated to a history of the NASA Space Program and can also take part in a number of interactive displays such as The Feel of Space, which simulates the weightlessness astronauts experience during a space mission. There are also a number of educational activities, including overnight programs and ‘Scout Camp-Ins.’”


Houston Zoo

“Visiting this friendly zoo is as much about the people as animals, with zoology professionals so happy to tell you about their charges you can't help but have fun. Look for more than 4,000 animals in lovely natural habitats spread across 38 beautifully landscaped acres. Wide walkways make it easy to walk through in a hurry, but don't -- those natural habitats sometimes make it easy for breathtaking animals to "hide" in plain sight.

Kid Tips

Babies: A very large children's zoo includes a performance area with daily story times for little ones.

Toddlers & Pre-K: Don't miss a ride on the Wildlife Carousel -- Melvyn (the lively, absolutely charming ride operator with the huge smile who makes every kid feel like the most important person in the park) is so popular with little ones, he's considered the on-site rock star.

School-Age Kids: Check out the Bat Cave, which has great exhibits for everyone, plus a large number of cool displays (like a tarantula) strategically placed in kid-height windows.

Planning Notes

  • Elephant wash. Come first thing in the morning and go straight to the elephants. You might just get lucky enough to see the big guys enjoying their daily baths.
  • Day planner. Look for kiosks near the front gate and by the lion and tiger exhibit, where you'll find information about the day's programs.
  • Animal attraction. Try to stick around until sunset, when you're likely to hear the lions roaring.
  • R and R. When you need a peaceful break, head into the aviary. With its tweeting birds and waterfalls, it's a lovely place to sit and listen.
  • Free days. The Houston Zoo offers free admission to guests on the first Tuesday of each month from 2 p.m. until closing.
  • Beyond the basics. The gift shop sells incredibly cute stuffed animals, plus eco-friendly wares, art, and wearables made from recycled materials.”

http://www.houstonzoo.org/meet-the-animals/  and: http://www.houstonzoo.org/education/


Some of the Museums in Houston.

“The city of Houston offers several fine art museums, but if you’re looking for something a little different, we’ve got that too. The city’s Museum District alone offers at least 18 options. Some of the best museums in Houston aren’t art related at all, but rather are filled with history and culture, and provide opportunities for both education and entertainment. Whether you’re a science geek, space nerd, history buff or child at heart, the best museums in Houston have something for you.”

Houston Museum of Natural Science.

 Best Museums In Houston

“Featuring more than 13 permanent exhibits and regular traveling exhibits, the Houston Museum of Natural Science (HMNS) is a must-see among the many museum venues in Houston. Attracting more than two million annual guests, this popular area museum is one of the most visited museums in the entire nation. Another great museum for kids, this educational venue features a planetarium, observatory, butterfly center, IMAX theater and children’s discovery place. If you can brave the crowds, head to HMNS Tuesdays after 2 p.m. for free general admission.”  ttp://www.hmns.org/


Children’s Museum of Houston

 Best Museums In Houston“One of the most popular children’s museums in the nation, the Children’s Museum of Houston creates an experience that truly makes learning fun. This popular area museum has plenty of daily activities and regular exhibits. Among the many outreach programs offered by this museum is an after-school program. A gift shop and kid’s cafe are also on site. Admission is $8 per person; children younger than age one get in free, and seniors age 65 and older pay just $7. For free general admission, head to the museum on Thursday nights from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.” www.cmhouston.org


Holocaust Museum Houston

 Best Museums In Houston“The Holocaust Museum Houston is certainly one of the more somber of the city’s offerings, but it is an important monument that every Houstonian or visitor should tour at least once. The Holocaust Museum opened its doors in 1996, making it one of the newest additions to the city’s long list of museum offerings. One of the museum’s permanent exhibits focuses on recounting the stories of Houston area Holocaust survivors. Two galleries feature rotating works of art and photo exhibitions related to this dark period in human history.

You’ll also see a real WWII railcar and Danish rescue boat. Admission is free, but what you’ll walk away with is truly priceless. Hours: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.” www.hmh.org


Art Car Museum

10 Must-See Museums in Houston “A staple of Houston’s alternative art scene, ACM is a private museum of contemporary art. It was opened in 1998 and has since established itself as a local claim to fame. It features, among other things, obscurely designed cars and hosts an annual Art Car Parade.” ttp://www.artcarmuseum.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=48&Itemid=53


Contemporary Arts Museum

Contemporary Arts Museum“The stainless steel building that now houses the CAMH was opened in 1972. (Although its history shows that CAMH began as a traveling exhibit around town.) As a contemporary museum, CAMH is “dedicated to presenting the art of our time to the local, regional, national and international public.” Exhibits rotate mostly, but educational programs designed to increase awareness among its patrons are permanent. Access to CAMH is always free.” http://www.camh.org/


San Jacinto Monument and Museum of History

10 Must-See Museums in Houston“Steeped in Texas history, the San Jacinto Monument and Museum of History are actually one and the same, as the museum is located in the base of the monument. (Which, at 570 feet, is the world's tallest.) The museum features exhibits with a tie to Texas’ past, as the rotating line-up of attractions include Developing Houston, a photographical chronicle of Houston’s timeline, The Holiday Lobby Exhibit, which features seasonal toys/ornaments/trinkets of yesteryear, and the Texas Navy Exhibit.” http://www.sanjacinto-museum.org/


Houston Fire Museum

10 Must-See Museums in Houston“A bonafide Houston landmark, the HFM is housed in what was formerly the first paid Fire Station for the city. To supplement HFM’s growing online catalog of photographs and videos, you can see exhibits that include a 1937 Chevrolet Pumper, The Hopkins Collection, which is a rotating display of antique fire fighting artifacts, and the Watch Office, a restored call room that allows visitors to simulate what it was like to receive a fire call in the 1950’s.” http://www.houstonfiremuseum.org/


The Health Museum

10 Must-See Museums in Houston“Opened in 1969 following a successful Victory Over Polio campaign, The Health Museum Houston has thrived as one of the city’s most hands-on museums, now playing host to more than 180,000 visitors annually.

Highlights include You: The Exhibit, which features a body scanner that allows you to see your insides in real time, the Amazing Body Pavilion, which is quite literally a walking tour of a gigantic model of a human body (see above), and the McGovern 4-D Theater, a cinema watching experience that makes use of its 4-D billing with in-theater wind, rain, and scents.”  http://www.mhms.org/


Museum of Fine Arts Houston

10 Must-See Museums in Houston “In its totality, the MFAH is the fifth largest museum in the country. It spans some 300,000 square feet of exhibition space over seven different facilities, including the Caroline Wiess Law Building, Glassell School of Art, and Bayou Bend Collections and Gardens, former home of famed Texas philanthropist Ima Hogg (donated by her in 1957). Founded in 1924, MFAH was the first art museum building in Texas; now it serves more than 1.25 million people per year. The permanent collection of the museum features more than 40,000 pieces or work from six different continents.” http://www.mfah.org/


Museum District at a Glance:

Museum District Day“Houston’s famed Museum District is a gathering of museums and arts and culture centers. It is committed to providing Houstonians with an opportunity to experience some of the world’s most unique exhibit. Generally speaking, the Museum District is bound by Rice University, Texas Medical Center, and Montrose.

The Museum District, whose origins are traced back to 1977, is now home to 18 different museums, ranging from the renowned Museum Natural of Science to the Czech Center Museum Houston to the John C. Freeman Weather Museum. Non-museum attractions include the Houston Zoo, Hermann Park, Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research and the Rothko Center.

According to the Houston Museum District Association, now the governing body of the Museum District, more than 8.7 million people visit annually.

Several of the museums are always free, including The Menil Collection, Rice University Art Gallery and Holocaust Museum Houston. Most others allow free access on various days.”   Here are more museums:



The Houston Astros

Houston Astros - Houston Astros ProfileThe Houston Astros are in Major League Baseball’s National League Central Division with the Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Milwaukee Brewers, Pittsburgh Pirates, and St. Louis Cardinals.

The Astros play home games in Minute Maid Park, which is celebrating its tenth season this year. MMP is regularly recognized as one of the nicest baseball stadiums in the country. It has a maximum occupancy rate of 40,950.

The Astros are owned by Drayton McClane Jr. Ed Wade is the General Manager. Cecil Cooper is the team manager.” ttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Houston_Astros


Family Activities

“Houston has a wide array of family activities available. Arts, sports, parks, reading programs, summer camps, etc; Houston has it all. “


Houston Festivals and Events

“Each year, there are numerous Houston events and festivals that celebrate cultures and traditions from all over the world. Here you'll find a breakdown of all of them, organized by the month that they take place in.”



There are so many things to do in Houston, and there are also the Sam Houston National Forest,  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sam_Houston_National_Forest , the nearby beaches at Galveston, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galveston,_Texas ,  and Freeport,  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freeport,_Texas  and Surfside, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surfside_Beach,_Texas , and Boliver Island,  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Port_Bolivar,_Texas

There are several lakes close by.  Including: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Houston , and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Conroe , and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheldon_Reservoir , and Clear Lake: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clear_Lake_(region)  That is where the Kemah Broadwalk is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kemah_Boardwalk

I could go on and on finding interesting places in the area.




On This Day:

Machu Picchu discovered, Jul 24, 1911:

“On July 24, 1911, American archeologist Hiram Bingham gets his first look at Machu Picchu, an ancient Inca settlement in Peru that is now one of the world's top tourist destinations.

Tucked away in the rocky countryside northwest of Cuzco, Machu Picchu is believed to have been a summer retreat for Inca leaders, whose civilization was virtually wiped out by Spanish invaders in the 16th century. For hundreds of years afterwards, its existence was a secret known only to the peasants living in the region. That all changed in the summer of 1911, when Bingham arrived with a small team of explorers to search for the famous "lost" cities of the Incas.

Traveling on foot and by mule, Bingham and his team made their way from Cuzco into the Urubamba Valley, where a local farmer told them of some ruins located at the top of a nearby mountain. The farmer called the mountain Machu Picchu, which meant "Old Peak" in the native Quechua language. The next day--July 24--after a tough climb to the mountain's ridge in cold and drizzly weather, Bingham met a small group of peasants who showed him the rest of the way. Led by an 11-year-old boy, Bingham got his first glimpse of the intricate network of stone terraces marking the entrance to Machu Picchu.

The excited Bingham spread the word about his discovery in a best-selling book, sending hordes of eager tourists flocking to Peru to follow in his footsteps up the Inca trail. The site itself stretches an impressive five miles, with over 3,000 stone steps linking its many different levels. Today, more than 300,000 people tramp through Machu Picchu every year, braving crowds and landslides to see the sun set over the towering stone monuments of the "Sacred City" and marvel at the mysterious splendor of one of the world's most famous man-made wonders.”



Swans-3Jay is still in Houston, and so Ray came to help me.  The patio door blind had stuck and wouldn’t open.  It would swivel, but not open.  That blind is on the patio door that goes out onto the screen porch, so as the sun doesn’t hit it, I like to have it open.  We brought 2 two-step ladders inside, and took it all apart, taking my swan collection down first.

I found the bad part in the cord which was making it hang up, so with some needle-nose pliers I pulled the bad part to the end, cut it off, and tied a new double knot.   It makes the pull cord shorter, but that’s OK.  While we had it all apart, we took the plastic ‘fins’ and the header outside, washed them on a long work table, and laid them horizontally in some racks to dry.  The sun was shining so they were ready to hang back up in no time. 

Now, around here, I am used to finding out how stuff works so that I can fix it myself without calling in a professional.  According to Rick Doyle, I should have a lot of money in my ‘Slush Fund’ by now, as my late Johnnie and I built, plumbed, and wired the first half of this house.  Rick just fixed his plumbing: http://rickpaulettervjournal.blogspot.com/2012/07/mission-accomplished-sinks-in-and-no.html and figures he has $360 in his Slush Fund.    My Slush Fund got off and went, ‘cos I don’t know where it is.

Animal Control picked up the sick feral cat, and took him, trap and all this time.  They will return the trap next time they are in the subdivision. I was so glad that he would finally be put out of his misery.  He would hiss at me when I fed and watered him through the wire, but I missed the little fellow, as I had been tending to him for over a day.


Dizzy-Dick said...

You are a good person, what would all those animals have done without you? I got a sliding door that will not slide, can you come over and fix it? (grin)

LakeConroePenny,TX said...

Thank you for your comment, DD.

Sticky patio doors are often caused by the track being worn, in which case you can buy a cover that goes on the track which the wheels slide on. (Able Glass in Conroe for us, DD)

Or the wheels have worn out, and you will have to lift the door out, and put new wheels on it. Take the old wheels to match them up at Lowes or HD.

Or the house has shifted slighty and the frame is no longer square, and might need shimming. Been there, done that!

Happy Tails and Trails, Penny

Ej Jolivet said...

I really got more than a mere tuppence about the best place to live in the nation, Houston. I have a city girl that frets about spiders and snakes even while walking down the driveway so I never get to enjoy the boonies.