Houston is one of the most famous American cities of them all, and it's also one of the biggest. It's the most populous city in all of Texas and the fourth most populous city in the United States, trailing only New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago in terms of population. The estimated population of Houston is over 2.3 million, with more 6.3 million being found in the surrounding metropolitan area. The city covers a huge area of more than 627 square miles and is located in the Central Time Zone. It sits in Southeast Texas, not far from the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and Galveston Bay. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
2.Elevation of Houston
3.Climate and Things to Do in Houston
- Houston, Photo: f11photo/stock.adobe.com
- Elevation of Houston, Photo: nuedesign/stock.adobe.com
- Climate and Things to Do in Houston, Photo: lunamarina/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of SeanPavonePhoto - Fotolia.com
Attraction Spotlight: Space Center Houston
Fascinated by the lure of the great unknown, the excitement of adventure, and the infinite wonders of space, visitors flock to Space Center Houston in Texas. In fact, more than 18 million visitors have walked through its doors and into the wonder of the Space Program. As the official visitor center for the NASA Johnson Space Center, it is the best place for eager adventurers to see real space suits, walk through shuttles, view actual NASA facilities, and perhaps even talk to an astronaut. One of the top attractions in the Houston Area, the Center, about a half an hour drive from downtown, is a must see on any trip to the city. More Things to do in Texas
The Johnson Space Center (JSC) itself dates back to 1961, originally established as the Manned Spacecraft Center. Since that time, it has played an integral part of the journey to space, from the Apollo Program laid out by president Kennedy, to Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon in 1969. The JSC continues to play a vital role in the Country’s space program, and is still the home of mission control.
To keep up with the Nation’s fascination with space, Space Center Houston opened in 1992 to provide an avenue to nurture and celebrate that interest. Today, the Center has a significant focus on education, particularly on developing interest in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) areas. Over 100,000 teachers and students visit the Center each year, engaging in activities and exploring the more than 400 items and artifacts on display, including the largest collection of moon rocks available anywhere outside the moon.
A visit to the Space Center Houston begins at the Main Plaza. This area often features seasonal displays or changing exhibitions. In addition to these exhibits, several permanent features can also be found in this gallery. These include models and shuttles to explore, including a first production lunar module.
A visit to the Starship Gallery takes guests on a journey through the history of the space program. Highlights include the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo capsules, as well as the Skylab 1-G trainer. This trainer, which is the largest object inside Space Center Houston, prepared astronauts to work on the Country’s first space station. Visitors can also touch actual moon rocks in this fascinating exhibition hall of America’s journey to space. The Starship Gallery is also home to the Destiny Theater, where guests can see the Center’s signature film, Human Destiny, highlighting many of the artifacts found in the gallery.
From here, visitors can head to the NASA Tram Tour, the most popular of all exhibits at the Center. This attraction takes guests around the Johnson Space Center, still the mission control for the International Space station, as well as the training ground for current astronauts. Approximately 90 minutes in duration, this tour also includes a turn through Rocket Park to see the actual Saturn V rocket, along with others that played integral parts in the planet’s space journey. As this tour is taken via open air tram through operative government facilities, it is subject not only to weather conditions, but to work operations, as well.
The International Space Station
The International Space Station Gallery at the Space Center Houston is yet another exciting attraction to explore. Items in this exhibit include a model of the International space station, as well as objects and artifacts from the off-world-orbiting laboratory. Visitors can attend presentations and collect countless interesting facts about the International Space Station.
With the most robust collection of space suits found anywhere, the Astronaut Gallery provides a fascinating look at some of the sartorial logistics of space exploration. These include a shuttle launch entry suit, Pete Conrad’s Apollo 12 suit, John Young’s escape suit, and a suit once worn by fallen heroine Judy Resnik. Visitors will also want to explore the Gallery Wall, showcasing crew photos and portraits of every American Astronaut to date. Through the Astronaut Gallery, visitors will find the Space Center Theater. With a five-story tall screen and state of the art audio and video technology, this theater showcases a variety of films from documentaries to blockbusters.
Blast Off! Theater
In addition to the Space Center Theater, the Center is also home to the Blast Off! Theater. A truly unique experience, the Blast Off! Theater takes visitors through a simulation of an actual launch. From the feel of the thrust to the sights and sounds of the launch, this is a truly sensational experience.
A trip to Space Center Houston would not be complete without a visit to Independence Plaza. Here, visitors can embark on a one-of-a-kind experience, exploring a full replica of a NASA shuttle. Mounted on top of an original NASA 905 shuttle carrier, the size and scale of the aircrafts create a sense of wonder and awe, as visitors climb in to explore. In addition to the shuttles themselves, an array of exhibits highlights the history of the shuttle, as well as focusing on the role of STEM subjects in the space program. Included as part of admission to the Space Center, access is managed through specific time slots. Tickets and times can be reserved online, in order for guests to better plan their visit.
Education at the Science Center Houston is provided via the Manned Space Flight Education Center. The Center’s emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math seek to broaden the understanding of children and adults, alike. Educational offerings include such programs as day camps targeting kids ages four through eleven, Scouts Camp-Ins for badge earning adventures, and many school field trips. The Center also offers Space Center U, a five-day program for students of all ages that works to promote team work, communication and engineering skills. Participants complete tasks such as robotics, cryogenics, rocketry, and even scuba diving and astronaut training. In addition to these programs, education also takes other shapes, from outreach in the community and resources for educators, to Space After Dark, two day exclusive workshops including dinner and a private guided tour of the Johnson Space Center.
In addition to the main exhibits and events, Space Center Houston also hosts periodic events, from annual fundraisers, to opportunities to meet an astronaut every Friday. Since the excitement and education can easily last all day, Guests will want to visit the Zero G diner for snacks and meals to fuel their interstellar adventures.
The SpaceTrader Gift Shop makes it easy to take home a bit of the fun and learning, or even a bit of astronaut food for the road. With films and live shows available at four different venues on site, guests will want to plan their day to ensure they can attend all the shows that most interest them. The Center experiences peak visitation during the summer and holidays; for a less crowded experience, guests are advised to visit outside of these times. Parking is available onsite for a small fee. For an even more enriching experience, guests visiting on a Friday can purchase lunch with an astronaut, to hear the experience of space from someone who lived it.
1601 NASA Road 1, Houston, TX 77058, USA, Phone: 281-244-2100
Attraction Spotlight: Houston Ballet Nutcracker Market
One of the biggest names in American ballet, Houston Ballet offers dozens of creative, exciting performances every single year. This ballet company, the fourth largest in the United States, has toured all around the country and even internationally to China, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany, Australia, Singapore, Spain, and beyond.
Houston Ballet's school, the Houston Ballet Academy, has been one of the most successful dance schools in all of North America, producing over half of the 59 dancers currently working with the company. Located at a state-of-the-art facility at 601 Preston Street in the downtown district of Houston, Houston Ballet leads the way in the American ballet scene, inspiring every audience with world class performances and outstanding artistic expression.
What is Houston Ballet?
Houston Ballet is about so much more than dance performances. This dance company goes far above and beyond the call of duty, engaging with the community through smart programs, running dance classes for kids all around the city, organizing a huge range of special events throughout the year like dinners and balls, and even celebrating the festive season with one of Houston's favorite events, the annual Nutcracker Market, which is fast approaching its 40th anniversary.
In short, Houston Ballet isn't just a dance company, it's a part of Houston's cultural identity, so it makes a lot of sense to support this company in any way you can. Donations are accepted and are the lifeblood of the company, and everyone, regardless of age or background, is warmly welcomed and strongly encouraged to attend a performance. For world class dancing in Texas, there’s no better place to be than Houston Ballet.
Buying Tickets for Houston Ballet
Tickets for Houston Ballet performances can be easily purchased online. Visit the official Houston Ballet site to find out more and browse the full calendar of upcoming events. From there, you can see which events still have seats available, as well as finding out the various prices and options open to you. Prices will vary from one event to the next, ranging from as low as around $40 for seats up in the Balcony area to $150 for seats in the Loge or event more if you'd like the full VIP experience of being seated in the Founder's Box.
You can also choose to be seated in the Grand Tier or Orchestra sections of the theater, and seating plans will vary depending on where the show is taking place. Multiple seats can be purchased at once and the whole process is very simple and straightforward, letting you get the seats you need for the performances you want to see in a matter of minutes.
If you'd like to save money on Houston Ballet performances, there are a few ways to do so, especially if you're among the young or elderly demographics. Guests aged between 18 and 25 can get low price tickets for Friday evening performances, and students will also be able to check out the 'Student Rush' events, in which tickets are made available for just $10 for the 90 minutes before the performance begins. This 'Rush' option is also open to seniors, and there's a military discount on Houston Ballet tickets too.
Subscribing to Houston Ballet
If you're a lover of ballet and wish to support one of the finest dance companies around while also enjoying a whole host of additional benefits, why not choose to become a Houston Ballet subscriber? There are a lot of perks to signing up for a subscription, including a discount of at least 35% on all standard tickets throughout the season if you choose the full season subscription.
This package also includes priority seating at the famous The Nutcracker performances and several other shows and dances throughout the year. You'll also enjoy an additional discount on any extra tickets you wish to purchase for family or friends, as well as the ability to swap tickets, totally free of charge, from one production to another.
If you're not sure about a full season subscription but would still like to view a full range of Houston Ballet performances, you might choose to sign up for a 'Mini Package'. These packages grant you access to four of the best and most exciting shows throughout the season, and you can pick and choose a package to suit your own personal tastes and preferences.
Packages can cost as low as $99 and also allow you to save an extra 10% off the standard price of any additional tickets you'd like to purchase. A Mini Package is a perfect way to get started with Houston Ballet, allowing you to experience the wonders of the performance, the beauty of the costumes, the magesty of the sets, and the magic of the ballet experience like never before. If you're not already in love with ballet, you will be after attending a show from Houston Ballet.
Venue Spotlight: Chateau Polonez
Nestled in densely wooded forests in Northwest Houston, Chateau Polonez is an exquisite event venue that offers a European-style retreat for special celebrations such as wedding ceremonies and receptions, social and business gatherings, and more. The magnificent abode features high vaulted ceilings, faux painted walls a dramatic and grand double staircase, a spectacular ballroom and five acres of naturally wooded and beautifully manicured and landscaped gardens.
Amenities & Facilities
Chateau Polonez features impeccable indoor and outdoor spaces for a variety of functions from intimate ceremonies to grand receptions. Stunning outdoor areas include the five acres of naturally wooded and beautifully manicured and landscaped gardens that surround the mansion, a secluded back terrace for cocktail parties and photographic opportunities, and a secluded courtyard with a bistro-like setting for intimate gatherings.
The Fireplace Courtyard offers a warm and romantic setting for outdoor ceremonies and small receptions and features stone balustrades, Wisteria-covered wrought iron accents, pretty potted flowering plants and a central wood burning fireplace, all of which create a formal, yet relaxed ambiance. The Fireplace Courtyard can accommodate up to 200 guests for starlit ceremonies and intimate fireside receptions.
Bordered by lush trees and landscaping, a tranquil lake and a romantic Wisteria-covered gazebo offers a heavenly spot for ceremonies before a grand lawn reception or unrivaled photographic opportunities with the wedding party. The gazebo can accommodate up to 350 guests with breathtaking views over the lake.
Indoor spaces take luxury and opulence to the next level, with a stunning porte-cochère entrance, a grand foyer and ‘Gone with the Wind’-style double staircase, artistically painted domed ceilings, and crystal chandeliers. A grand ballroom boasts a spacious two-story ceiling with hanging chandeliers, plush satin drapery, ornate moldings, and romantic balconies. The Ballroom is connected to a cozy parlor with an indoor fireplace, a full-service bar and cocktail tables, and a separate buffet area where a buffet-style dinner can be served. The Ballroom can accommodate up to 350 for wedding receptions and significant events.
The second level of the mansion houses two spacious and stylishly decorated rooms for the bridal couple and the wedding party. These chambers have comfortable couches, full bathrooms and plenty of dressing space, as well as a beautiful vanity for hair and make-up professionals.
Services with the rental of Chateau Polonez for weddings or other occasions include the use of a stylish bridal suite and dressing room and groom’s room, in-house catering and beverage services with bartenders and wait staff, lighting and sound equipment, liability insurance, and set-up and clean-up of the venue. Additional items included in the rental of the site are tables and chairs, a dance floor, barware, china, flatware, glassware, linens, and complimentary valet parking.
Chateau Polonez is located at 12612 Malcomson Road in Houston offers complimentary, valet parking for guests with the rental of the venue. The venue is wheelchair accessible and provides high-speed Internet connectivity.
12612 Malcomson Rd, Houston, TX 77070, Phone: 281-655-5656