1. Houston Museum of Natural Science
1 Hermann Circle Dr, Houston, TX 77030 · 713-639-4629
The Wortham IMAX theater is a big draw. Dinosaurs loom overhead and all around when you enter the main room; beyond are exhibits of the plains of the Serengetti, the historic displays in the Hall of the Americas and the arresting display of more than 600 gems and minerals, but the quiet displays of gems, minerals, dinosaur models and very old fossils on the other levels have their share of fans, too. In the Cockrell Butterfly Center up to 100 species of butterflies fly about freely. ADMISSION: depends on which part of the museum you visit.
2. Museum of Fine Arts
1001 Bissonnet St, Houston, TX 77005-1896 · 713-639-7300
Founded in 1900 and the first art museum in Texas, the MFA displays fine art from all periods. Collections include Renaissance and baroque works, impressionist and postimpressionist art and African gold. Large traveling exhibitions are featured throughout the year. Cafe on premises Admission: $1.50-$3.00 Free admission on Thursdays.
Top Weekend Getaways And Day Trip Excursions:
1. Space Center Houston
1601 NASA Rd 1, Houston, TX 77058-3199 · 713-224-2100
Visitors aren't allowed to see all the operations but regular tram tours give you a chance to visit most of the Johnson Space Center, the working facility where you can ogle a Saturn rocket or observe shuttle payload bays. Other exhibits cover the history of manned spaceflight and exploration of the future. The Mission Status Center provides live updates on current flights. The Kids' Space Place has interactive exhibits for children, an IMAX theater, a full-scale model of the space shuttle and moon rocks that you can touch. Handicap accessible. Admission: $8.95-$12.95
2. Beaches and Galveston Island State Park
14901 FM 3005 Rd, FM 3005 at 13 Mile Rd, Galveston, TX 77554-7745 · 409-737-1222
Beaches are hard to miss on Galveston Island-just head to the seawall and there they are. The wild 2,000 acres/810-hectare Galveston Island State Park has bird-watching stands and trails for serious nature lovers. The 1,700-seat theater offers musicals June-August, nightly except Sunday. The theater charges for its productions but entrance to the park is free.