In planning our recent Carnival cruise (that post will be next!), we also added on a little bonus vacation to Houston. We have good friends that moved down to Texas a while back, so it was the perfect opportunity to visit with them before we jumped on the ship in Galveston.
Initially we were going to make it a road-trip adventure, however as the trip got closer, the thought of driving over eight hours and then being on a boat for days sounded less appealing. Finding some good prices on flights, we booked our trip to arrive in Houston a couple days ahead of our cruise.
Iris was super excited to fly on an airplane, so for us that’s when our vacation actual began. I flew with her a couple times as a baby, but she was too young to remember it. I thought she would gaze out of the window in amazement the entire way, but instead all she cared about was watching The Sound of Music on my iPad. Oh, kids these days…
But after an easy flight, we arrived in Houston just in time to watch the very first Razorback game with our old pals. Once the Hogs barely squeaked out a win (phew!), we checked into our hotel. The kind folks at Visit Houston set us up with a room at The Whitehall. Situated right downtown, it was a great location to pop over to various points in the city and explore.
The next morning we woke up pretty early and got the show on the road. After breakfast at our hotel, we hopped over to Discovery Green where we met back up with our friends. Less than 10 minutes from our hotel, there was a huge splash pad, a water area with little sailboats, restaurants, playground, etc. – all surrounded by the high-rises of Houston. Iris was in heaven romping around with Remy, cooling off in the water.
After we dried off the girls, we made our way to eat Mexican for lunch before using a coupon out of the City Passes that Visit Houston kindly gifted us. With that, we got admission to quite a few Houston attractions, but with our limited time we had to narrow it down to just a couple options.
After hearing great things about the Houston Museum of Natural Science, we decided to make our way there. From a beautiful butterfly center, to a fascinating dinosaur exhibit, this place was pretty cool – and there was a LOT more that we didn’t even get to see. I actually spent my first hour there freaking out because I couldn’t find my wallet. After calling the restaurant where we ate lunch, the bank, and searching the car twice, Todd finally found it UNDER our car. I’m so thankful we discovered it was missing before we drove away, as that would have been the worst way to start a vacation.
After a few hours at the museum, it was most definitely happy hour time. Per usual, we always like to visit at least one local brewery in all the cities we explore. Houston was no different, so we checked out Karbach Brewing Co. With a huge outdoor “play” area, the kids had fun while we tried out the beer and food.
Full and happy from our day, we said goodbye to our friends and headed back to the hotel. The next morning, we pulled out our City Passes and decided to explore the Downtown Aquarium with the time we had left in Houston. Our cruise didn’t depart until late Monday afternoon out of Galveston, which is only about an hour away, so we took our time visiting the the fish, sea creatures, and white tiger. Yes… a white tiger at an aquarium. I don’t know, but I’m not complaining.
Another cool thing about the aquarium was the outdoor carnival area with rides, games, and fair-style food. So the very last thing we did in Houston before our trip came to an end was take a ride on the ferris wheel, which reached almost as high as the skyscrapers it sat next to. Pretty cool way to wave goodbye to the city.
Thanks for having us, Houston! We hope to come back soon.