Like any big city, Houston is home to a number of zoos and aquariums. Whether you want to wander around and peek at exhibits or get up close and personal with the animals, you’ll find something that fits the bill.
Voted one of Parents’ magazine’s 10 best zoos, the Hosuton Zoo houses over 4500 animals. A new, free, GPS enabled iPhone app can also take you on a personalized tour, alert you to Meet the Keeper talks and shows, and find the nearest ice cream, exhibit, or restroom. The petting zoo and playspaces are welcoming to even the smallest children, and even the bigger kids will get a kick out of many exhibits.
6200 Hermann Park Drive, Houston, Texas 77030. Hours: 9am-6pm daily; open until 7pm during Daylight Savings Time. Admission: Members: Free, Non-member adult: $11, Non-member child 2-11: $7, Seniors: $6, Children under 1: Free.
The Downtown Aquarium combines entertainment and dining into an amazing experience. How many aquariums have you seen with tigers? In Houston, the Maharaja Temple, the last stop on the aquarium tour, is the home of stunning white tigers. Enjoy a meal while seated around a 200,000 gallon tank filled with stingrays, sharks, and other fish. Take your time as you wander through an alligator-filled swamp, a rainforest with poison dart frogs, and the Sunken Temple with its snakes — all from a safe distance, of course. A Ferris wheel, carousel, and train ride through an underground shark tunnel round out the experience.
410 Bagby St., Houston, TX 77002. Hours: Sunday: 10am-9:30pm, Monday-Thursday: 10am-9:30pm, Friday-Saturday: 10am-11pm. Admission: Adults: $9.25, Seniors: $8.25, Children 2-12: $6.25, Children under 2: Free
Sea Center Texas is a marine aquarium, fish hatchery, and nature center operated by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. You’ll find touch tanks, aquariums with native Texas habitats, and a Gulf Aquarium with sharks, eels, and other fun fish. Sea Center offers a quieter experience with plenty of room for picnics, bird watching, and nature exploration.
300 Medical Drive in Lake Jackson, TX, 77566. Hours: Tuesday-Saturday: 9am-4pm, Sunday: 1-4pm, Closed Mondays. Admission: Free.