Like most large cities, Houston has its share of family entertainment. Best known are the Houston Zoo, NASA, and the Museum District, but there are some other family attractions worth considering and one of them is located right in downtown, next to Interstate 45. It is the Houston Downtown Aquarium, an attraction full of aquatic life and more.
Inside the Aquarium
Houston Downtown Aquarium is a small aquarium with large and small tanks featuring fish from the nearby area and around the world. Besides fish, the aquarium is also known for its snakes, turtles, alligators, and other animals. These creatures do not breathe underwater, but they live and thrive near the water and that is sufficient for inclusion in the exhibits.
Probably the greatest surprise at the Houston Downtown Aquarium is its white tigers. There are two of them, safely behind glass, on the inside of the aquarium near the end of the walking tour. They really take you by surprise because tigers- particularly white tigers- are not something you expect to see on the inside of an aquarium.
Some Time Outdoors
Once you finish the walking tour and pass through the gift shop (they designed it so that you have to walk through here in order to exit- smart marketing move!), you can check out any special exhibits that may be offered at the time, or walk outside and enjoy the rides, snacks, and possibly live entertainment. The Ferris Wheel is one of the top attractions and does offer some great, sky- high views of downtown. The Lighthouse Dive ride doesn’t go quite as high and is therefore nice for the more acrophobic. There is a carousel, train ride, and several snack and beverage bars for refreshment. A small splash pad is present for the young ones, too, so parents should remember to bring along swimsuits if the weather is right.
Ways to Save Money
A visit to the Houston Downtown Aquarium can add up cost- wise, especially if family members want to partake in rides, view special exhibits, or purchase snacks and drinks. But there are some ways to save a little money and most are available online. One is to purchase the Houston CityPASS. This pass includes admission to multiple area attractions for a low, fixed rate. If you plan on visiting multiple attractions, like NASA, the Children’s Museum, the Museum of Natural Science, and others, the cost of a pass easily pays for itself.
The Entertainment Book is another good way to save some cash at the Houston Downtown Aquarium and it, too, can be purchased online. There is a “buy one get one free” offer contained in the book and since the overall dollar value of the coupons and discounts found in an Entertainment book is in the $thousands, it is easily worth the investment if you and your family plan to visit a large number of attractions, eateries, etc. The Houston Downtown Aquarium even offers some discounts of its own, accessible directly from its own web page.
Parking for the Houston Downtown Aquarium is around $7 per car load. I have never seen any discounts for the parking, but if you don’t mind a little bit of walking, you can park along the streets in downtown Houston and walk to the aquarium. Most of the streets are metered, but the price is less than $7 and if you visit on a Sunday, the meters are deactivated, so your parking will be free.
Plan Your Trip
Houston Downtown Aquarium is open 7 days per week and is easy to find. The large Ferris Wheel makes this an easy attraction to spot in downtown Houston and since it is right there, in the middle of the city, it is convenient to Houston metropolitan area residents. It isn’t the greatest aquarium in the land, mainly due to its small size. But with the rides, splash pad, and other extras, there is enough going on at the Houston Downtown Aquarium to make it deserving of a visit.
Copyright 2013, Bryan Carey