History • Houston
Monument: Adults: $10 • Children 11 and under: $5 • Admission to grounds is free
Rising 570 feet into the sky, the San Jacinto Monument honors those who fought for and won Texas’ independence. Visit the museum of history at the base of the tower, or get a bird’s-eye view from the tower’s observation floor.
Snap a selfie with the San Jacinto Monument in the background.
Splash • Houston
Adults: $4 • Seniors and children 5-12: $1 • 4 and under: Free
A 500-acre peninsula surrounded by three bays, Baytown Nature Center provides habitat for 317 species of birds and a variety of aquatic species including shrimp, crab and fish. Bring a fishing rod and cast a line from the park’s four fishing piers, or just enjoy watching the wetland wildlife do their thing.
Snap a selfie in front of one of the many splashy animal sculptures (or from the pirate ship) in the Billy Barnett Children’s Nature Discovery Area. Or avoid the crowds and set off on a Nature Center adventure and snap a selfie under the gazebo at Golden Bloom Pond.
Wild • Houston
Adults 13+: $6 • Kids 4–12: $4 • Children 3 and under get in free
Approximately 25 miles southeast of downtown Houston, the Armand Bayou Nature Center is one of the largest urban nature preserves in the United States. Walk on the Discovery Loop and get a glimpse of the center’s natural wetlands, prairie grasslands and forest. Check out reptiles, fish and amphibians at the Environmental Learning Center, or catch a glimpse of bison from the viewing platform.
Snap a selfie at the butterfly wings mural in the McGovern Children’s Discovery Area.
Quirky • Houston
Thursday $2 all ages • Friday & Saturday $10 adults; $5 children/seniors
Here’s a festival that really sucks — in a good way! For more than 40 years, the 26-foot-tall mosquito WillieMan-Chew has welcomed visitors to the town of Clute for the Great Texas Mosquito Festival. The three-day event runs July 27–29 and features a carnival, games, contests, races and live entertainment, all organized by a “swat team” of volunteers.
This is our only time-sensitive event. Snap a selfie with Willie as the backdrop. Can’t make it that weekend? Then snap a selfie in front of the “Great Texas Mosquito Festival” rock at Clute Municipal Park.
REGIONAL SPONSORS: TEXAS HISTORIAL COMMISSION, VISIT BAYTOWN, CITY OF CLUTE
Grand Adventures in State Parks
Visit any state park and you’re likely to have an animal encounter. Some are cute (butterflies), some are annoying (mosquitos), and some may even startle you (armadillos tend to do that). We’re not the only creatures who find state parks enchanting, so be a good neighbor, follow park safety rules and give wildlife room to wander. Parks are big enough for all creatures to enjoy together.
In the Houston area, here are some parks where you’re likely to bump into some nature buddies:
GALVESTON ISLAND: In addition to the birds, fish and rabbits that make Galveston Island State Park their home, look for our favorite residents: the spookily named but adorable ghost crabs. They can be hard to spot during the day, as their bodies blend into the sand and they move quickly — up to 10 mph.
LAKE LIVINGSTON: Lying on the southern edge of the East Texas Timber Belt, Lake Livingston State Park is home to a wide array of wildlife; in addition to the white-tailed deer that frequent the park, look for armadillos, raccoons, opossums and southern flying squirrels. The best way to interact with these animals is to view them from a distance.
Snap a selfie at a Houston-area park, and let us know where you’re at and what animal(s) you’ve seen in the post caption or comments.