Visitors can save up to 50% on the admission to the 5 must-see attractions with the Houston CityPASS. You’ll skip most ticket lines, too.
CityPASS ticket booklets are valid for nine days beginning with the first day of use. The Houston CityPASS is $51 (value $101.10) and $41 for children ages 3-11 (value $73.70).
Explore the Downtown Aquarium. Amusement rides and games flank the building’s south side. (For $5, CityPASS holders can upgrade their ticket for unlimited access to the Ferris wheel, carousel and shark voyage train.) Once inside, ask about or look for the Aquarium’s feeding schedule sign. There are opportunities to see staff feed the seahorses, saltwater fish and play with the tigers, too. (Yes, tigers. You never know what you’ll find in Houston.) Expect to spend a couple of hours here, meandering from exhibits like the Louisiana Marsh and the shark-infested Gulf of Mexico tank to the rainforest room and the Sunken Temple exhibit, the latter of which showcases a 20-foot-long Tiger Reticulated python.
Plan on carving out at least three hours when you take the brood to visit the Children's Museum of Houston. Located in the Museum District, the three-story facility unfolds in a labyrinth-like set-up, appealing to everyone from birth to 12 years (and the adults that love them). The youngest kids can crawl, play and touch upstairs in the TotSpot, while the older siblings create and construct gadgets in the lower level Invention Convention workshop. On the main floor, pint-size patrons can take on roles of city leaders, workers and shoppers in the mock community, Kidtropolis, using the debit card they receive upon check in. Some of CMH’s other highlights include Power Play, a 35-foot climbing tower, FlowWorks, a hydroenergy exhibit, and Fiddle Sticks Gifts, the museum’s smartly-stocked giftshop.
Enjoy the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Spread out in two, multi-level Museum District buildings, the art-filled complex is an awe-inspiring mix of sculpture, artifacts, imagery, video and installation work. Even if you aren’t a big art buff, it’s hard not to appreciate an up-close look at works by Picasso, Matisse and Rembrandt. In case you want to learn more, the MFAH offers audio tours for some of the pieces - look for the Guide by Cell icon next to the artwork. Tip: If learning makes you hungry, too, check out the Café Express on the lower level of the Beck Building.
Take a journey to the Houston Zoo in more recent years, I didn’t spend as much time visiting the reptiles, amphibians and bird exhibits. This time, I was excited to see the zoo’s new Gorilla exhibit and wander through the multi-million-dollar African Forest exhibit. In the latter, guests are taken on an eco-tour through a wooded canopy, past leaf-covered huts, the chimp house, rhinos, kudo and—beyond the gift shop—the giraffes exhibit. If you're hungry, the zoo's Twiga Terrace restaurant is a great place to grab a bite, as it overlooks the rhinos and giraffe exhibits.
The Houston Museum of Natural Science is one of the nation’s most heavily-attended museums, with diverse and extraordinary offerings on four floors of exhibit halls. Included: Morian Paleontology Hall, Hall of Ancient Egypt, Cullen Hall of Gems and Minerals, Wiess Energy, Space, Malacology, Wildlife, Hall of the Americas, and more. Other attractions (requiring separate admission) include Touring Exhibitions, 3-D Wortham Giant Screen Theater, Cockrell Butterfly Center, and Burke Baker Planetarium. There’s something to delight everyone!
Space Center Houston is the Official Visitors Center of NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Touch a real moon rock. See astronaut training on a behind-the-scenes tour of NASA. Launch to Mars in the Blast-Off theater! It’s an out of this world experience for all ages. You’ll also want to join the 90-minute tram tour, which goes on a behind-the-scenes journey through mission control and the mockups. It incorporates real working areas of Johnson Space Center.
Kemah Boardwalk is the perfect getaway! Enjoy amusement rides, nine waterfront restaurants, shopping, midway games, live entertainment and weekend festivals. Brave the Bullet rollercoaster, ride our train and Ferris wheel and plunge 140 feet on the Drop Zone. Kemah Boardwalk appeals to all kids – young and old! After, head towards the coast and the waterfront community of Kemah. There, the 35-acre Kemah Boardwalk stretches out over the Gulf of Mexico, offering a dozen rides, retail, dining and classic boardwalk games. Trade your CityPass voucher in for an all-day ride pass, which enables guests to ride everything from the wooden Boardwalk Bullet rollercoaster and the 140-foot Drop Zone to the upside-down Inverter and the Boardwalk Tower, the latter of which offers a birds-eye view of the Bay.