Founded on the banks of Buffalo Bryce in 1836, Houston is now a high rise skyline city, dressed in lakes, waterways and moments of a lush green landscape. The center for business, mainly oil, lives up to the Texas slogan that everything is bigger in Texas. Houston is certainly large and in charge, being the fourth largest city in the United States. Known as “Space City”, you may feel like you are in outer space with Houston’s cutting edge modern freeways, buildings and out of this world, overwhelming city sprawl.
Even Houston is not so far off from space. The Space Center Houston contains the official visitor center of NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Here, visitors can peruse Gemini and Apollo Capsules along with astronaut memorabilia and a space shuttle mock up. If you are feeling like you have packed on the vacation weight while in Houston, the Space Center Houston will make you feel better with its hands-on experience of trying out the sensation of weightlessness.
One of the city’s most popular tourist attractions is the Houston Zoo. Home to well over 800 different species of animals, amphibians and reptiles, the Houston Zoo has become a favorite among visitors. Many are drawn to the big cats exhibit. Visitors can view lions, tigers, and leopards, oh my! The Houston Zoo can be found in Hermann Park. Aside from the Zoo, the park contains two impressive gardens, the Japanese and Houston Garden Center.
Houston is home to several notable museums throughout its Museum District. The Contemporary Art Museum Houston contains new works over the course of the last 40 years. Contemporary artists are represented on a regional, national and international level. Another of the city’s fine museums is appropriately named the Museum of Fine Arts. Within, visitors will find one of the largest permanent collections of art in the entire United States. The Museum of Fine Arts dabs into nearly every period of art, stretching from antiquity to present day. French Impressionism lovers will delight in the Museum of Fine Arts for its rich collection. The museum also holds photography and post 1945 European and American paintings and sculpture.
While Houston is largely modern, there are still those touches of the old and historic. The Sam Houston Historical Park holds a collection of restored historic buildings. The Kellum-Noble House is the oldest in the city, dating back to 1847. With a backdrop of modern skyscrapers, the historic section looks oddly out of place, yet not.
Houston is quite the reminder that everything really is bigger in Texas. That fact is apparent upon viewing the Astrodome. The Astrodome remains the world’s first air conditioned domed stadium for baseball and football. Its size alone overwhelms for the Astrodome could fit an 18 storey building inside of its casing, no problem.
Two towers in Houston show off the city’s surprisingly beautiful sprawl. Chase Tower hosts observational floors where visitors can gaze out on the vast area of the city’s overflow. A different kind of tower rests at Williams Tower Water Wall. The site overflows with water as the clear liquid cascades down a 19.5 meter black wall. This is all done in Texas style, in the shape of a horseshoe.
Houston may be a little spacey, somewhat sprawling and a tad too much, but it’s Houston. Should you have a problem like some astronauts did years ago, take it up with the city. With skyscrapers, city sprawl, and everything bigger, Houston is probably willing to bet on itself. Go pick on someone your own size. Houston has no problem.