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CityPASS Home  »  City Traveler Blog  »  This Winter in Houston: Rodeo, Spaceships and Ancient Civilizations

City Traveler Blog

This Winter in Houston: Rodeo, Spaceships and Ancient Civilizations

The term “Houston winter” is a bit of a non sequitur, since temperatures in January and February rarely dip below 50 and often climb to 70 degrees. It still isn’t flip-flops and shorts weather, but it’ll do compared to the freezing, storm-battered northeastern seaboard, the windy northern plains or terminally gray Pacific Northwest.

In fact, Houston serves up one heck of a good time, particularly for folks who enjoy a rootin’-tootin’ rodeo, lip-sizzling barbecue, stellar space and art museums, and Texas-style hospitality.

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
Performance Schedule:
Feb. 25 Toby Keith
Feb. 26 Gary Allan
Feb. 27 Alan Jackson
Feb. 28 Zac Brown Band
March 1 Mary J. Blige
March 2 Brantley Gilbert
March 3 Demi Lovato
March 3 Austin Mahone
March 4 Styx
March 5 Lady Antebellum
March 6 Dierks Bentley
March 7 Bruno Mars
March 8 Tim McGraw
March 9 The Band Perry
March 10 Julion Alvarez
March 10 Los Invasores de Nuevo Leon
March 11 Jason Aldean
March 12 Kenny Chesney
March 13 Jake Owen
March 14 Pitbull
March 15 Blake Shelton
March 16 Luke Bryan
March 17 George Strait
March 17 Martina McBride
March 17 Randy Rogers Band

Rip-snortin’ fun
If you’ve never been, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, held this Feb. 25 through March 17, is one of the world’s great riding, wrangling and roping competitions, studded with music superstars, and the second-largest fair in North America. The musical guests are second-to-none with most every type of music playing. The performers have been honored with Grammy Awards, Academy of Country Music Awards, Country Music Association Awards, American Music Awards, Billboard Music Awards, and Teen Choice Awards. But, of course, when most folks think about the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, they think about the 360 cowboys and cowgirls. RodeoHouston® features the world’s best rodeo athletes competing in front of crowds averaging 64,000 fans.

Events include:

  • Bareback Riding
  • Barrel Racing
  • Bull Riding
  • Calf Scramble
  • Chuck Wagon Races
  • Mutton Bustin'
  • Saddle Bronc Riding
  • Steer Wrestling
  • Team Roping
  • Tie-Down Roping

But in addition to the rodeo, there is the livestock and horse competition, and the second-largest fair in North America. Overflowing the event is a world-class barbecue cook-off, carnival, petting zoo and other activities are located in the fairgrounds adjacent the Stock Show. Since its beginning in 1932, the stock show has committed more than $330 million to Texas’ youth. Plus, there are numerous events held leading up to the main gathering. Check the website for specific dates and events.

Space Center Houston
For those who grew up looking at rocket launches and capsule splashdowns on their snowy black and white televisions, Space Center Houston (NASA) is a terrific nostalgic thrill. Tracing the progression of space travel, the center displays real spaceships, including an original model of the Goddard Rocket; the actual Mercury Atlas 9 "Faith 7" capsule flown by Gordon Cooper; the Gemini V Spacecraft piloted by Pete Conrad and Gordon Cooper; a Lunar Roving Vehicle Trainer, the Apollo 17 Command Module, the giant Skylab Trainer; and the Apollo-Soyuz Trainer.

For an authentic look behind the scenes at NASA, the new NASA Tram Tour goes into buildings that are real working areas of the Johnson Space Center. Highlights include astronaut training for the International Space Station, development of deep space manned missions and the latest space robotic technologies, which are playing an important role in the exploration of Mars. Visitors can witness engineers, scientists, and astronauts working in space exploration. The visit includes the Historic Apollo Mission Control Center. Then, before returning to Space Center Houston, you can visit the "all new" Saturn V Complex at Rocket Park.

A treat for young online gaming fans, Angry Birds is the newest Space Center Houston exhibition, located in Kid’s Space Place. Little visitors can fly through Texas’ largest play structure with all of your favorite Angry Birds characters. There are photo-ops for the whole family, and visitors can launch down a three-story slide while riders twist back down to earth.

Since the world didn’t end …
I don’t know what was more painful last December, the constant references to the Mayan calendar forecasting the end of the world, or the Fiscal Cliff negotiations in Washington. I’d vote the latter. But since we did make it through both cataclysmic events, it’s worth a glimpse back at the arguably more civilized of the two societies at Museum of Natural Science’s special exhibit, Maya 2012: Prophecy Becomes History

Maya civilization was one of the longest-lived in the Americas. A Stone Age culture, the ancient Maya developed the most advanced writing system in the New World and left behind impressive, towering architecture, beautiful pottery and other interesting objects. The exhibit specifically examines the story of the real Maya, which spans over three millennia. Topics include the evolution of kingship, the development of writing and math, astronomy and timekeeping. Having spent time in the ruins of Tikal and the Yucatan, the Mayan culture is absolutely riveting.

Go shopping
The Galleria is a national shopping icon with over 26 million visitors a year. Underneath The Galleria’s spectacular glass atriums is an ode to consumerism with more than 375 fine stores and restaurants, a renowned ice rink and two Westin hotels. It’s the perfect venue to peruse all the leading names in fine apparel, jewelry and gifts, including Neiman Marcus, Gucci, Tiffany & Co., Tag Heuer, Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy's, Ralph Lauren Collection, Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Nordstrom.

Get outside and explore
Located in the heart of Houston, the 445-acre Hermann Park is the city’s most significant public green space, hosting more than six million people a year. It hosts the Houston Zoo, Miller Outdoor Theatre, the Houston Museum of Natural Science, Houston Garden Center and Hermann Park Golf Course. While in the park, visitors can feed the ducks, rent a pedal boat for the lake or take a train ride. The park even has nature trails, an 18-hole municipal golf course and a Japanese garden.

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