Chet Garner stands in front of a mural that says Houston Texas

© Todd White Stills and Motion

“Tripping” in Houston may seem overwhelming because, well, it’s the fourth most populated city in the U.S. Luckily, the city breaks itself up into bite-size districts, like the Bay Area, Chinatown, and the Museum District. The latter features 19 museums in a 1.5-mile radius and offers mind-expanding attractions and tasty eats.

Hermann Park

You could spend an entire day exploring this park, which has become Houston’s backyard, picnic spot, outdoor art gallery, and playground. Get a quick lay of the land on the bright red Hermann Park Railroad train. Next, encounter lions, tigers, and—you guessed it—bears at the on-site Houston Zoo, or make a splash paddling with the ducks in the park’s lake. The Japanese Garden offers a moment of quiet sitting amid its serene beauty. If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, roll down the hill near the Miller Outdoor Theatre.

Houston Museum of Natural Science

Anyone interested in science, history, or entertainment should visit this museum. Walk beneath full-size dinosaur skeletons or ogle priceless mineral formations that look more like sculptures than works of nature. The hall of mummies may give you the heebie-­jeebies, but the Cockrell Butterfly Center will make your cares flutter away on the wings of hundreds of butterflies.

Turkey Leg Hut

If your favorite part of any festival is the giant turkey legs, then, boy, are you in for a treat. This restaurant gives the State Fair fave an over-the-top makeover by smother­ing smoked turkey legs with crazy toppings. The Hut’s signature “Stuffed Turkey Legs” are filled with all the goodness of home-cooked dishes like crawfish mac and cheese or shrimp Alfredo. There are pasta dishes, chicken wings, and salads for folks intimidated by the giant, caveman-style turkey legs.

Popston

There’s no doubt the Houston humidity will leave you sweating. Cool off with an off-the-wall frozen treat from this local frozen pop stand. The all-natural pops come in flavors like mango chamoy and kiwi guava with chunks of real fruit frozen inside. If you prefer chocolate to fruit, opt for the cookies-­and-cream ice pop with whole Oreos. Get your napkins ready.

Museum of Fine Arts

This museum is for those whose interests lie more toward Renoir and Monet than mummies and dinosaurs. The world-class collection of paintings and sculptures is unmatched in Texas and contains 6,000 years of artistic creation. Every time I walk the halls, I feel like I’m walking through the pages of an art textbook. I’m always astonished at how oil smeared on canvas can make me feel something deep in my soul.

So whether you follow my footsteps or forge your own path, I hope to see you on the road.

 


Chet Garner is the host of The Daytripper® travel show on PBS. To view the Glen Rose episode visit thedaytripper.com. Follow along on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @chettripper.

From the September 2020 issue
The October 2020 issue of Texas Highways Magazineq


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