Welcome to Houston
Whether you are looking for an activity or attraction to fill a few hours, orif youâ€™re planning your summer vacation around the EDNF Conference, Houston has so much to offer. Unfortunately, the 2005 National League Champion Houston Astros will be on an extended road trip from July 10-24 and some of the performing art venues will be on a summer hiatus, however, thereâ€™s still plenty to see and doâ€“â€“to suit anyoneâ€™s tastes.
Places to go and things to see close to the Renaissance Hotel Greenway Theatre: The cityâ€™s finest art film house is just a few steps away, accessible by elevator or escalator, in the Greenway underground shopping area. http://www.landmarktheatres.com/market/houston/greenwaytheatre.htm Edwards Grand Stadium (movie theater): Boasting of first-run movies, the Edwards is a 24-screen multiplex less than a mile from the hotel at 3839 Weslayan. Galleria: A three-story retail/entertainment area and indoor ice rink, the Galleria teams with numerous upscale shops and restaurants. Hotel will provide transportation. http://www.houstoncl.com/shopping/galleria.htm
Memorial Park/Houston Arboretum & Nature Center: A 1466-acre urban park about three miles from the hotel, Memorial Park offers an 18-hole golf course, tennis courts, 3-mile jogging course, trails for mountain biking and inline skating. Houston Arboretum & Nature Center is onsite for a peaceful getaway. http://texashiker.com/Memorial_Park_Houston.htm; http://www.houstonarboretum.org/.
Memorial Park Golf Course: Known as one of the best municipal golf courses in the country, you canâ€™t miss this opportunity. Located at 1001 East Memorial Loop Drive (in Memorial Park), 713-862-4033. http://houstontx.gov/municialgolf/memorial/
Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens (just outside Memorial Park): This exquisite home and gardens of Miss Ima Hogg, Bayou Bend, was donated to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, in 1957 and opened to the public in 1966. It houses Miss Hoggâ€™s extensive collection of American antiques and decorative arts. It is a must-see for lovers of fine antiques and stunningly beautiful gardens. Price: $10.00/adults; $8.50/ Seniors (65+) and college students with ID; $5.00/children 10â€“17. Guided tours available for ages 10 and over. Children 16 and under must be accompanied by an adult. http://www.mfah.org/bayoubend/main.asp?target=home
Places to go and things to see downtownâ€“â€“just a few miles away from hotel
Downtown Aquarium: An adventure for kids of all ages, the Aquarium mixes family fun, fine dining, spectacular sea creatures and gorgeous views of the city. The 500,000-gallon underwater adventure complex includes a Ferris wheel, aquatic carousel and Shark Voyage, and a passenger train that tunnels through a huge fish tank. And donâ€™t miss the new White Tigers of the Maharajaâ€™s Temple exhibit, featuring four of the captivating big cats. Located at 410 Bagby St. and Memorial Drive. Admission: $7.50 with discounts for kids and seniors. Rides up to $4.50 per person. All-day tickets $15.99. Valet parking: $8:00; onsite parking: $3.00/hr. Additional parking offered at the Wortham Center. For details call (713) 223-FISH (3474) or http://www.downtownaquarium.com.â€ť
Hobby Center for the Performing Arts: A musical fit for a kingâ€“â€“the Lion King! Presented July 6â€“August 13, Sarofim Hall. For information, call 713-629-3700 or checkout the website. http://www.thehobbycenter.org/hobbyprod/EventDisplay.aspx?EventID=158
Theater District: Although many venues will be on hiatus during July, please visit http://www.houston-guide.com/guide/arts/artsschedule.html as we near the Conference to see whatâ€™s happening in Houstonâ€™s revitalized downtown.
Art Car Museum: If you love cars and can appreciate the truly quirky, you might want to stop on your way downtown at the Art Car Museum, 140 Heights Blvd. Open Wednesdayâ€“Sunday 11:00amâ€“ 6:00pm. Call 713-861-5526 to schedule a tour or visit http://www.artcarmuseum.com/.
Places to go and things to see in the Museum Districtâ€“â€“just 4-5 miles from the hotel
The Museum of Fine Arts (MFA): Located at 1001 Bissonnet, the museum is open Tuesday & Wednesday, 10:00amâ€“5:00pm; Thursday, 10:00amâ€“9:00pm; Friday, 10:00amâ€“7:00pm, Sunday from 12:15â€“7:00pm. Admission: $7.00/adults; $3:50/seniors/children. Thursdays are free. Call 713-639-7300 or checkout the website (http://www.mfah.org/main.asp?target=plan&par1=0) for information about upcoming exhibits. Wear comfortable shoes; this is a 300,000 sq ft facility. Babies in strollers are welcome.
Contemporary Arts Museum: Less than a block from the away from the MFA is the unique Contemporary Arts Museum, 5216 Montrose. Admission: free. Handicapped accessible. For more information, go to http://www.camh.org/visitor_MAIN.html.
Holocaust Museum: Located at 5401 Caroline Street, the museum has just acquired a WWII railcar from Germany that will be used as an educational tool to teach future generations about the evil consequences of hate. Open 7 days a week (Mâ€“F, 9:00amâ€“5:00pm; weekends, noonâ€“5:00pm). Admission: free. Docent-led tours can be pre-arranged for groups of 10 or more. Guided tours available to all visitors on weekends, at 12:30, 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30 pm. Call 713-942-8000 or http://www.hmh.org/713-942-8000.
Houston Museum of Natural Science: Located at One Hermann Circle Dr., in Hermann Park, this museum offers nine permanent exhibit halls in addition to touring exhibitions. Check the website (http://www.hmns.org/?r=1) to see what is available while youâ€™re in Houston. While youâ€™re visiting, donâ€™t miss the Wortham IMAX Theatre, Cockrell Butterfly Center, Dinosaur Exhibit, the Royal Tomb of Ur, and the Burke Baker Planetarium. Open: Mondayâ€“Friday,10:00amâ€“5:00pm, and weekends, noonâ€“5:00pm. Admission prices vary depending upon which exhibits you plan to see, but we have discounted tickets available. Call 713 639-4629 for details. All venues are handicapped accessible. Wheelchairs available upon request, subject to availability (see Museum Services desk).
We recommend BodyWorlds, one of the most highly attended touring exhibitions in the world. Using the revolutionary process of Plastination, the real body parts are preserved with special plastics that enable us to view the many layers and systems under our skin so we can better understand our own physiology and health and to gain new appreciation and respect for what it means to be human. Open until 9:00pm.
The Childrenâ€™s Museum of Houston: Located at 1500 Binz, this premier museum is ranked as the No. 1 childrenâ€™s museum in the country by MSN.com. Open: Tuesdayâ€“Saturday, 9:00amâ€“5:00pm; Sunday, noonâ€“5:00pm. Free family night on Thursday, 5:00â€“8:00pm. Call 713-522-1138 or go to www.cmmhouston.org for details.
The Menil Collection: Just a short distance north of the Museum District, at 1515 Sul Ross, the Menil Collection is a unique museum housing the modern art collection of John and Dominque de Menil. Open Wednesdayâ€“Sunday from 11:00amâ€“7:00pm. Admission: free. Also see www.menil.org.
The Rothko Chapel : Located at 1409 Sul Ross, the Chapel functions as chapel, a museum and a forum. It is a place where religion, art and architecture intermingle. Jack and Dominque de Menil commissioned this work of religious art and artist Mark Rothko was given control of the project that features 14 of his paintings. It has become a pilgrimage stop for thousands of visitors who are drawn by its importance both as an artistic masterpiece and as an ecumenical gathering place for people of all religious beliefs. Students, art lovers, and scholars from all over the world visit the Chapel for research and inspiration. Open every day, admission is free. Wheelchair accessible. For more information, call 713-524-9839 or go to www.rothkochapel.org. Donations accepted.
Museum District: See http://www.houston-guide.com/guide/arts/museums.htm for a more complete listing, but here are some of the highlights.
Additional places to go and things to see fairly close to hotel
Hermann Park: Near the Museum District and adjacent to the Texas Medical Center and Rice University, Hermann Park was Houstonâ€™s first public park and home to the Museum of Natural Science, Miller Outdoor Theater, a public golf course, Japanese Gardens, Houston Garden Center (& rose garden), and the Houston Zoo. See the Hermann Park Conservancyâ€™s website at http://www.hermannpark.org/index.html for details.
Miller Outdoor Theater: Featuring free performances several nights a week during the summer, Millers offers performances by the Houston Symphony, Houston Ballet or Operaâ€“â€“or it might even be time for the annual Shakespeare in the Park festival. Check the website at www.milleroutdoortheater.com closer to the Conference to see what showing. Hillside seating is available so bring a blanket. A limited number of seats undercover are available, free of charge, from 11:30amâ€“1:00 pm. Limit four per person). Seating under cover will more likely be handicapped accessible, but hotter than relaxing on the hillside.
Houston Zoo: Located in Hermann Park, the Zoo is open daily from 9:00amâ€“6:00pm. Admission: $8.50/ ages 12â€“64; $4.00/ages 2â€“11; $5.00/seniors; free for kids under 2. Valet parking is available. http://www.houstonzoo.org/About_the_Zoo/Index.aqf
Clayton Library, Center for Genealogy Research: Directly across the street from the Holocaust Museum, at 5300 Caroline, this excellent facility is open six days a week. Call for information (832-393-2600) or check the website at http://www.houstonlibrary.org/branches/cla_home.html .
Reliant Center: A Texas-sized complex located south of the Medical Center, at Loop 610, this complex is home to Reliant Stadium, Reliant Arena, Reliant Astrohall and Reliant Hall.
Check the website (http://www.reliantpark.com/default.asp) for more details, but one event that is a must see for the animal lover is the annual Reliant Hall Series of Dog Shows that takes place the third weekend of each July. This series starts on Thursday (July 20) with the Houston Combined Specialty shows (individual breed shows) and runs through Sunday (July 22). Typically, there are more than 10,000 entries for these shows. Showing begins about 8:00am each morning and individual breed showing wraps up by mid afternoon. The Groups and Best in Show competition follow. Also featured are Obedience, Agility and Flyball competitions and a huge number of vendors selling everything from dog food and comfortable shoes to flashy jewelry for humans and canines alike Many people in the dog fancy save their pennies all year just to enjoy a shopping spree at these shows.
Places to go and things to do if you have more time
Youâ€™ll want to have more time for these excursions. If you have the time to spare, the following locations are a bit more of a drive, but well worth the time.
Space Center Houston: Plan to devote a whole day to this venue at 1601 NASA Rd 1, approximately mid-way between Houston and Galveston. A visit to Space Center Houston is so much more than just a tour of NASA; it is an educational experience for the whole family. Open 10:00amâ€“5:00 pm. weekdays and until 7:00 pm on weekends. Adults: $18.95, Seniors: $17.95, Children: 4â€“11 $14.95. Parking $5.00. http://www.spacecenter.org/about.html 281-244-2100
Kemah Boardwalk : Only 20 miles from downtown Houston at Bradford & Second Street in Kemah, TX, this is the ultimate waterfront dining experience with a huge selection of restaurants. Visitors can also enjoy the shops, amusement rides, and â€śRock the Dockâ€ť concerts every Thursday in July. http://www.kemahboardwalk.com/
Galveston Beach: Another day trip destination can be found where I-45 meets the Gulf of Mexico in beautiful, historic Galveston. Before the white man arrived, indigenous residents of the Houston area used to flea to the Island to escape the oppressive heat and humidity of the mainland. Good idea! Enjoy the ocean breezes while shopping or enjoying the historical sites along The Strand (restored 19th century mercantile area along the docks), strolling on the beach or along the seawall, dining in a waterfront seafood restaurant, or visiting the 1877 tall ship â€śElissaâ€ť or some of the islandâ€™s stately homes that survived the great hurricane of 1900. http://www.galveston.com/
Moody Gardens: Enjoy this recreational/education destination on Galveston Island, featuring an aquarium, Rainforest and Discovery pyramids, IMAX theaters, a white sandy beach and special programs for the mentally and physically disabled. There is simply too much to describe, so please check the website at http://www.moodygardens.com/
Another day or twoâ€¦.
San Antonio : Just a three-hour drive west of Houston on I-10 is the charming and gracious San Antonio, a city that truly understands the meaning of the word â€śFiesta!â€ť Father Antonio Olivares founded it in 1718 when he established Mission San Antonio de Valero, better known as â€śThe Alamo.â€ť San Antonio is now the 8th largest city in the country. From its rich history to its modern tourist attractions, such as the scenic river walk, San Antonio is an exciting destination. See http://www.sanantoniocvb.com/ for more information.