Seeing dinosaurs in action, wandering through the African jungle, exploring mummy tombs and learning about crystals are a few of the great exhibits you can find at the Houston Science Museum. On my trip to Houston for the Superbowl, I got the opportunity to visit the museum and I was very impressed. It was so much bigger than I expected. We barely had enough time to go through all the exhibits before it closed.
Inside the Houston Science Museum
When you start out at the museum it is kind of misleading as it doesn’t look that big. The first floor had some interesting things like a giant train collection and display. There was a Texas maps display and they had beautiful photography. We also went to an area that was geared towards kids learning about science with periodic tables and chemistry demonstrations.
As you move upstairs you learn about Texas wildlife in the Farish Hall and coastal conservation in Hamman Hall. It is sad to see how many species are extinct or near extinction due to humans. Of the 250 species displayed 50 are considered extinct or endangered. I do like that they teach about the local wildlife and show the natural settings. In case you don’t know, there are a lot of armadillo, snakes and large birds in Texas.
A very interesting display is the Herzstein Foucault Pendulum. This pendulum was first displayed in 1851 at the World’s Fair in Paris. It is a visual representation of the Earth’s rotation. Throughout the day the direction of the pendulum’s swing appears to change. It is really the Earth turning underneath the pendulum as it swings.
Lots of Exhibits
As you progress in the museum you come to the African safari in the Frensley/Graham Hall. The displays include the Congo Basin, tropical forest, Serengeti grassland, and the Saharan desert. There are over 70 species displayed in their natural habitats. I was really surprised at how big the animals are, especially the lions. Africa is such an interesting place with so many unique animals.
We really liked the Cullen Hall of natural gems and minerals. Some of these were stunning in color. There was a 2,000-carat blue topaz crystal on display as well as 450 other crystals. Right next to this display was the Smith gem vault that had beautiful gems from all over the world.
There were so many things to see and time was running short so we had to fit in the Hall of Ancient Egypt. This was an impressive display with so many artifacts and a mummy named Ankh Hap. I think mummies are kind of creepy but it was interesting learning about the culture and the process of mummification. If you are not into mummies, you may not want to look at the last picture. Just saying, he is a bit rough looking.
Deep dinosaur discussion
Now to my favorite exhibit, the dinosaurs. The Morian Hall of Paleontology was fabulous. It is so cool, they actually have the predators and prey in action. So you get a glimpse of how rough life was for those smaller dinosaurs. You better be quick or you are dinner.
There was a great timeline of evolution and you got to see a wide variety of dinosaurs. Of course, T-rex is impressive, but I have to say the Velociraptor is my favorite. We got to speak with the curator and learn all about dinosaurs and the theory that they evolved from birds. I said just like in Jurassic Park, which caused him to roll his eyes a bit as that movie was “not an accurate representation”. I told him I loved the raptors and he reminded me what we saw in the movie is not what an actual raptor looks like. This was something I knew as I had read an article on raptors that said they were the size of a turkey and covered in feathers. He was slightly impressed that I came up with that.
He went into so much detail and there were other museum employees there to answer questions. It was the best display I have ever seen of dinosaurs and the enthusiasm of the employees made it more fun. I have so many pictures I didn’t know which ones to show you, but here are a few.
I only covered the highlights of the museum. There is so much more to see like the Butterfly Center and the George Observatory. The Burke Baker Planetarium is also there along with a theater.
There is so much to do at the Houston Science Museum. We had to rush through many things to see them before it closed. I would say we were there around 5 hours and we didn’t see everything. It is much bigger than it appears and lots of fun. I would highly recommend going to the museum if you are in Houston.
Rating (5 stars):
Pros: Amazing dinosaur exhibit, educational, fun, entertaining, well organized
Cons: Much bigger than expected, so watch the time to get it all done
Priority: High – very interesting, educational, a lot of variety
Cost: $25 adult tickets, cheaper with City Pass. Special exhibits cost extra.
Savvy Tip: Talk to one of the guides in the dinosaur exhibit as they have great stories