Indulge in flights of fancy at the Cockrell Butterfly Center, located at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. The three-story glass structure is built around a 50-foot waterfall and includes a simulated tropical rainforest filled with exotic plants and hundreds of living butterflies.
Birders will want to visit the Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary, an outdoor hotspot for migrating species that can't be found anywhere else. A restored log cabin on site serves as a visitor's center with a variety of education programs.
Experience the soothing sounds of rushing water in the amazing sculptural fountain known as the Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park. The horseshoe-shaped fountain is a concave wall of cascading water that recycles 11,000 gallons per minute.
Escape from the hustle and bustle of city life at the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center. This 155-acre urban nature sanctuary sits on the western edge of Memorial Park. Explore outdoor walking trails, learn more in the Discovery Room, or shop at the gift store.
The Houston Zoo is home to more than 4,500 animals in a 55-acre park within downtown Houston. More than 900 species are represented, and the zoo is the seventh most-visited zoo in the nation.
In the early 1900s, the city zoo was located in Sam Houston Park and boasted an assortment of monkeys, prairie dogs and an alligator pond.
The growing collection through the years spurred the city to improve and expand the Houston Zoo.
Featured areas now include the Kipp Aquarium, The Fischer Bird Gardens, Tropical Bird House, a Children's Zoo with a petting zoo and water playground, the World of Primates, Wildlife Carousel, the McNair Asian Elephant Habitat and the Reptile & Amphibian Building.
The latest addition to the zoo is the African Forest, a $100 million project that will transform 6.5 acres into a wilderness habitat featuring chimpanzees, rhinos, and giraffes in a forest environment typically seen in western Africa.