Enjoy Beautiful Fall Days in Houston's Hermann Park
As the scorching Texas summer heat gives way to the bright, cool days of fall, Houstonians flock to escape the hurried schedules and already bustling school year to let off some steam in Houston’s historic Hermann Park.
A recreational hub located between the Museum District, the Texas Medical Center and Rice University, Hermann Park is a celebrated community haven, welcoming tourists, residents, and families of all kinds to enjoy the many amenities within the 445 acres.
There is something for every member of the family at Hermann Park. Let dad practice his swing at the Hermann Park Golf course, while the kids take a walk on the wild side exploring the Houston Zoo. Once you’ve had your fill of bears and lions, relax and stroll through the Japanese Garden or take the paddleboats around McGovern Lake. Don’t forget to end the day riding the Hermann Park Mini-Train to get the full tour of the area; there is definitely more than enough to do in just one day, so go ahead and stay a spell.
Hop on board!
Chugging along the park, shiny and new, the Hermann Park Mini Train recently received a facelift in late 2008 and is raring to go for a whole new group of young conductors to hop on board. The route expanded 1.8 miles and now has a new, larger 24-gauge bright red train. The train is accessible to all riders and can accommodate passengers with wheelchairs, strollers, and the like. The railroad runs seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and costs $3.25 for adults and children one year and older.
Stroll through the park
Take a brisk walk through the abundant oaks as they showoff hues of orange and red, and be sure to stop and smell the roses, but don’t be alarmed if the Houston Garden Center seems to be missing a few attractions. The Houston Garden Center, which opened in 1941, closed in early August for renovations to the rose garden and its many artworks in the International Sculpture Garden, along with statues of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The Garden Center will reopen in October 2014, as part of the centennial celebration launching the rose garden and surrounding attraction into an unparalleled showcase of Texas gardens, and one of the South’s most impressive floral displays. It is worth the wait.
Building for a better future
It has been a busy summer for the Hermann Park Conservancy, the public-private partnership behind maintaining the park, but don’t let the orange cones and construction steer you away. The conservancy broke ground in late August on the $5 million renovations to the Grand Gateway, the historic main entrance to the park, that includes the area from Mecom Fountain to the Sam Houston Monument and the stretch of parkland on the walkway between Fannin and Main, known as Cravens Parkway. The project will add additional walkways, bike racks, new irrigation systems, park lighting, and more to enhance the area.
“This (project) will help transport people mentally when they get to the park,” Adrienne Saxe, the marketing manager for the Hermann Park Conservancy, said in a Your Houston News article. “It will make the whole area that much more beautiful and accessible.”
The Conservancy was award $3 million of the funds from the Texas Department of Transportation, and the rest was raised through private donations.
100 years in the making
In 1914, Board of Parks Commissioner George Hermann donated 285 acres to the City of Houston to create Hermann Park. Shortly after, Mayor Ben Campbell helped add to the growing green space with the purchase of 122 acres. After a century of transforming the area, conserving green space, and maintaining one of Houston’s most notable recreation spaces, Hermann Park will celebrate its centennial birthday with the completion of the Grand Gateway project, along with year-round special events, including a kite festival, bike ride, art installation, and the grand opening of the McGovern Centennial Gardens in October 2014.
If you can’t make it out to enjoy the autumn weekends, plan your vacation after the New Year to enjoy the latest additions and dive into the verve of Houston from its most popular park. With over six million visitors annually, there is no question that it will leave you anxious to come back. And in true Texas form, the more, the merrier. For more information on activities at Hermann Park, visit HermannPark.org.