One of the premier museums in the United States, the Houston Museum of Natural Science offers something for everyone and is a must-visit when in Houston, even worth traveling across the state to visit!
Located in the Houston Museum District, it is near the Houston Health Museum, Houston Zoo and the wonderful Children’s Museum of Houston, and all surrounding Hermann Park!
There is so much to see at the museum, you could easily plan a weekend, but here’s a list of our top 10 things to see and do at the museum!
1. Hall of Ancient Egypt
My daughter’s favorite exhibit, it’s incredible to see so much information on the Egyptians, but of course the stand-out are the mummies, led by the HMNS’s own, Ankh Hap! As a mascot of sort for the museum, Ankh Hap was one of the Ramses II’s tax collectors, and while it’s unsure how he came to Texas, he’s been rattling around since the early 1900’s, originally purchased by a professor at Texas A&M.
2. The Burke Baker Planetarium Considered as one of the 5 Best Planetariums in the United States, the Burke Baker Planetarium has shows daily on their domed theater, which is even used to train Astronauts on how to identify starfields!
We love the show, Tales of a Time Traveler, a co-production of the Houston Museum of Natural Science and Evans and Sutherland, and narrated by David Tennant, the 10th Doctor in the Doctor Who series.
3. Cockrell Butterfly Center
Walk through a rainforest, filled with beautiful butterflies from around the world! On Fridays you can watch as they feed the animals!
4. Morian Hall of Paleontology
If you’ve been a reader for a while, you already know that this is my favorite part of the museum! Unlike other museums dinosaur exhibits, the dinosaurs at the HMNS are posed in a way to show them in action!
The exhibits curator, Dr. Robert Bakker, is dinosaur-famous for his work in transforming our thinking of dinosaurs as slow animals! He was a consultant on Jurassic Park movies, and has written several books on dinosaurs for both adults and children!
5. Strake Hall of Malacology
One of the largest collections of mollusk in the world, it’s incredible to see so many, and search for our own latest finds!
6. Hall of the Americas
The Hall of the Americas focuses on life of the Indigenous Peoples in both North and South America, from Alaska to Peru.
7. Jurassic Bark
Located in the Morian Hall of Paleontology, Jurassic Bark is an exhibit on petrified wood, my youngest son’s favorite rock. We’ve traveled countless miles to see it in stone buildings in Glen Rose and Decatur, but none is as amazing as at the HMNS!
Also in the Paleontology Hall is the collection of Amber Gems, which seems to be coming straight out of Jurassic Park! Containing the remains of ancient insects, feathers and more, these gems are the hardened remains of tree sap that encased insects! Magnifying glasses make it easy to see small details in each gem!
9. Weiss Energy Hall
Appropriate for the City of Houston, one of the newest exhibits takes you on a mock off-shore drilling rig! The entire exhibit is very colorful and offers many hands-on exhibits and simulations!
10. Welch Hall of Chemistry
My son’s favorite is the “Hands-On” Demonstration Lab in the Welch Hall of Chemistry, which has chemistry experiments. Check for times with the museum.
Know Before You Go
Free Thursdays 2-5 pm on permanent exhibits in the museum.
Save money and check Groupon or a CityPass for discounts.
FREE parking is available, but get there early. If not, there is a parking garage nearby for $20.
Things To Do in the Houston Museum District
The Houston Zoo is one of our favorites! It’s huge, and it seems they always have something new or a fun celebration!
We love a day on the pedal boats and miniature train in Hermann Park! Click HERE for more information!
You can’t beat a day or two at the Children’s Museum of Houston! It’s huge and there is something for everyone!
Bodegas Taco Shop is just around the corner from the museum, and has great tacos! Click HERE for more information.
You can’t beat Hotel ZaZa’s location for a weekend exploring the Museum District! It’s an incredible hotel, but not always the most child friendly! If yours are still learning the different between a couch and a bounce house, you might want to reconsider. Words of experience. Click HERE for more information.
Houston Museum of Natural Science
5555 Hermann Park Dr., Houston
Click HERE to visit their website.
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