5 Best Photo Opportunites in Houston

Photo Opportunities Houston

Lee Van Grack

Visiting Houston, Texas, you'll find interesting photo opportunities, ranging from beautiful natural settings to one of the oddest museums in the nation. And of course, Houston was, and still remains, the home of NASA and America's space program, where scientists helped put astronauts on the moon in 1969. Now sending explorers to the International Space Station, NASA continues to be a place that fills the imagination – and offers plenty of photo ops, too. Here are 5 photo opportunities in Houston, you may not want to miss.

1. The Romantic Photo: Gerald D. Hines Waterwall

If you and your honey are in Houston, Texas together, head to the Gerald D. Hines Waterwall for a photo opportunity that is sure to earn its own picture frame. This 64-foot wall of water is one of the most beautiful sites in town, and like love, it don't cost a thing. Go around mealtime and either pack a romantic picnic or make a reservation at an uptown restaurant nearby. Saturday is prime for people watching, because you'll probably see a wedding party or two, perhaps a prom or homecoming group and floods of lovestruck couples. To get here, look for the Williams Tower, formerly Transco Tower, the highest building in the area and head towards it. Once near 2800 Post Oak Boulevard, park in one of the garages for the Galleria and walk across the street. For more information call (713) 850-8841.

2. The Quirky Photo: The National Museum of Funeral History

Here's another photo opportunity in Houston you may not want to miss. While it might sound morbid at first, the National Museum of Funeral History actually offers one of the most riveting and well-put-together collections in Houston. Personal favorites include the extensive hearse collection and the fantasy coffin exhibit, where you can pose with the literal Mercedes-Benz of coffins or with a variety of animal- and auto-inspired boxes. It opens at 10AM CT Monday to Saturday and 12PM CT on Sunday. During the week it closes at 4PM CT, and on weekends at 5PM CT. Admission is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors and veterans, and $7 for kids under 12. Tots under age 3 get in free. The museum is located at 415 Barren Springs Drive. Call (281) 876-3063 for additional information.

3. The Family Fun Photo: The Health Museum

Of all the field trips I went on as a kid in the Houston, Texas, the John P. McGovern Museum of Health & Medical Science was the most fun and full of good photo opportunities. In the Amazing Body Pavilion, you can ride a bike with a skeleton, sit on giant teeth and pose next to an enormous brain. Every bit of the exhibits are hands-on and interactive, with games scattered throughout, so even if your kids aren't the science type (like me), they'll actually have fun learning about their bodies. Plus, it's right by the Children's Museum. Admission is $8 for adults and $6 for kids 3-12 and seniors over 65. Located at 1515 Hermann Park Drive, the museum is just off of 1-59. It's open 9AM to 5PM CT Tuesday to Saturday and 12PM to 5PM CT on Sunday.

4. The Scenic Photo: Houston Arboretum and Nature Center

Houston's not known for its beauty or scenic sunsets, but the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center, a 155-acre nature center tucked into downtown goes against the grain of the gray steel buildings around it. Take a hike around sunrise or sunset and snap pictures where it suits you. Or if you're in town between October and May and the weather is pleasant, go any time of day. Admission is free, but donations are encouraged. For a fee, the Arboretum offers all sorts of classes for children and adults, from nature lessons and hikes to yoga and Tai Chi. The Nature Center is located at 4501 Woodway Drive. For information about parking, classes, planning your visit and more call (713) 681-8433.

5. The Classic Photo: Space Center Houston

This is the attraction tourists and Texans alike should see once (and only once). If you have kids – especially if they are in that "I want to be an astronaut" phase – they'll have a ball, and you'll get many fun photos of them playing around in the increasingly kid-centric exhibits. Otherwise, though, adults may be unimpressed with NASA's museum, which over the last five to ten years has denigrated into a dirtier and pricier version of Pizza Planet. The high cost of admission ($15 for adults and $11 for kids if bought online, $5 more at the ticket office) is my main reason for equivocating my recommendation of this place. It seems NASA knows it has a monopoly on Houston's space reputation, so the price gouging at this historic and educational place has gotten a bit outrageous over the years (and for that reason, do NOT plan on eating or drinking here). Space Center Houston is located at 1601 NASA Parkway. Call (281) 244-2100 for additional information.

If you want to hit the Houston highlights mentioned here, as well as the downtown Aquarium, I recommend getting a Houston CityPass, which for $39 per adult and $29 per child gets you into the Space Center, the Health Museum, the Houston Zoo (I'm a member and I love the Wortham World of Primates), the Museum of Natural Science (check out the Cockrell Butterfly Center) and your choice of the Children's Museum or the Museum of Fine Arts. It will save you almost 50 percent, so even if you don't do one or two stops, you don't feel ripped off.

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