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A Tourist’s Guide to the Houston Museum of Natural Science
January 5, 2023 By CityPASS
Museum lovers from around the world come to Houston, Texas, each year to visit the NASA Johnson Space museum and other world-renowned science museums. Any visit to Houston should include a trip to the Houston Museum of Natural Science (HMNS).
The museum features state-of-the-art facilities and exhibits on a wide range of scientific and natural topics, delicious dining options, and ample souvenir shopping at the museum gift shop.
This article will outline some of the most well-known Houston Museum of Natural Science exhibits and how you can find tickets to some of Houston's top attractions at a fraction of the price using CityPASS® tickets.
Can't-Miss Experiences at the Houston Museum of Natural Science
The Houston Museum of Natural Science has some truly unique permanent and rotating exhibits. Consider viewing the following exhibits on your upcoming visit.
Step Into the Future at Wiess Energy Hall
When you enter the Wiess Energy Hall, you'll be amazed at how high-tech and immersive this exhibit is. In fact, the Wiess Energy Hall is considered "the most technologically-advanced exhibition on the science and technology of energy anywhere in the world."
The exhibit is 30,000 square feet, and it features attractions such as:
- An offshore drilling rig replica.
- Energy City, a 3-D rendering of Houston and the surrounding area, that spans 2,500 square feet.
- The Eagle Ford Shale Experience (EFX 3000), an immersive ride experience that tells the story of Texas gas and oil drilling.
With several other attractions in the exhibit, you'll feel transported into the future when you visit the Wiess Energy Hall.
Check Out an Incredible Dinosaur Collection at Morian Hall of Paleontology
The dinosaur exhibit at the Morian Hall of Paleontology features dinosaurs in various dynamic positions, including running, eating, and attempting to survive. The exhibit is the perfect place for children and adults to learn about the history of the Mesozoic era and the extinction of the dinosaurs.
In addition, visitors can view some of the world's most impressive fossils—a collection of fish fossils from Fossil Lake—at the exhibit "Still Life After Death."
Additionally, the museum offers a variety of classes and educational lectures where people can learn information beyond what appears in the museum exhibit.
Explore Unique Natural and Man-Made Objects at the Cabinet of Curiosities
Cabinets of Curiosities are collections of man-made and natural objects that have inspired such curiosity in people that the museum felt compelled to collect them and put them on display in cabinets to be protected and observed.
The Cabinet of Curiosities exhibit at the Houston Museum of Natural Science features a compilation of collections from gentlemen, noblemen, and royals who collected artifacts at various times.
While these artifacts once belonged to private collections, HMNS brought them all together into one large display of curiosities. You can take your time musing over the artifacts that most catch your eye.
Visit Another World at the Burke Baker Planetarium
Burke Baker Planetarium is the perfect place to learn about our solar system. The domed theater features reclining seats where visitors to the museum can relax and enjoy the immersive experience.
The planetarium features shows like Pink Floyd's "The Dark Side of the Moon" laser light show, "Black Holes," and "Passport to the Universe," an exploration of the universe as we know it, narrated by Tom Hanks.
Bring Out Your Inner Scientist at Other Permanent Exhibit Halls
The Houston Museum of Natural Science features several permanent exhibit halls in addition to the above exhibits. Consider including the following exhibits to your list when visiting HMNS:
- The Cockrell Butterfly Center features a stunning rainforest conservatory home to a wide array of colorful butterfly species. The butterfly center is a must for young children.
- Wortham Giant Screen Theatre is Houston's first IMAX theatre; it hosts an enormous screen that shows rotating educational films.
- The Cullen Hall of Gems and Minerals has a mineral collection of more than 750 minerals.
- The Hamman Hall of Texas Coastal Ecology is an exhibit focused on the unique geography and wildlife along the Texas coastline that also introduces conservation opportunities.
Take a Break and Get a Tasty Treat at a Museum Dining Spot
The Houston Museum of Natural Science features two restaurants where you can grab a quick bite to eat, fueling you up so you can spend your day immersing yourself in all the museum offers.
Periodic Table is the newest onsite restaurant at HMNS. It's located right next to the Cockrell Butterfly Center. The restaurant serves quick and easy food items like salads, sandwiches, pastries, snacks, and more. Breakfast is also served at Periodic Table.
If you need a pick-me-up, Periodic Table serves Katz Coffee, and you can order either hot or iced espresso drinks to give you the energy you need to wander around the museum.
If you're searching for something more substantial than a sandwich or visiting the museum with kids looking for a hot meal, then Elements Grill is a perfect choice.
The restaurant features hot food that appeals to children and adults alike, such as chicken tenders, hot dogs, hamburgers, and french fries.
Both the Elements Grill and Periodic Table have entrees suitable for vegetarians.
Stop at the Museum Gift Shop and Get Something To Remember Your Tour
Whether you want to commemorate your time at the Museum of Natural Science in Houston, Texas, with a souvenir, or if you're looking for gifts for family and friends, stop by the gift shop before you leave.
Featuring unique items like grow-your-own mineral kits, science experiments, and items for your at-home art facility, the HMNS gift shop is filled with fun science-themed memorabilia.
Tour Houston's Museum of Natural Science at a Discount
Museum attendance at HMNS is a must whenever you visit Houston, especially if you're traveling with kids.
To get the most out of your stay in Houston, we recommend finding lodging near Houston's top attractions. Use this map to find the right lodging for you:
Header image Courtesy of Houston Museum of Natural Science.