A 90-year-old underground water reservoir offers a more industrial kind of tranquility. While the park added an entrance tunnel, a railed walkway around the sides, and some internal lighting, the cistern remains otherwise unchanged. A shallow layer of water remains standing on the floor to play with the shafts of sunlight admitted via ceiling hatches, and the sound insulation provided by the thick concrete sidewalls creates an absorbingly silent atmosphere while also boasting a 17-second echo (although loud noises are prohibited).
At the "Garage Mahal" in Houston, car culture is about more than just driving. The Art Car Museum aims to make this art form available to be appreciated year-round. It opened in 1998 and remains the largest art car parade in the world. Known as the “Garage Mahal,” the museum was founded by artists James and Ann Harithas. Their collections include non-car-based art by Houston’s art car artists, as well as a “collection of cars, bicycles, motorcycles, roller-skates, and many other types of motorized and human-powered vehicles all decorated in various themes.”
There is an unmarked red button hidden over Houston's Buffalo Bayou that is just begging to pushed...
Hidden in a shallow niche on Houston’s Preston Street Bridge is this mystery button. Go ahead and press it. The button is part of an ecological art installation that helps keep the bayou below the bridge from becoming a bog of eternal stench by, well… making it look like the Bog of Eternal Stench. Any passerby on the bridge is free to press the button and when they do so, the waters below will begin to bubble and churn as though they have accidentally raised some unholy bog creature
When cruising down Highway 288, be careful not to swerve off the road when suddenly confronted with the low-flying planes and imposing steel creatures looming in front of the Texas Pipe and Supply Company. While the planes don’t fly and the animals don’t move, the Eclectic Menagerie Park offers a collection of giant-sized landmarks. This collection of 26 titanic sculptures is the work of grizzled 64-year-old artist Ron Lee, who uses his on-site workshop to construct over-sized versions of animals and even a few machines from the company’s unused pipes and equipment.
This Houston museum features a
27’’½-foot intestine, a Texas-sized walk-through brain with memory games and a colossal walk-in eyeball that demonstrates how your eye receives and perceives images. There is also a massive replica of a human heart that beats. A particular delight is the skeleton riding a bicycle. A relative newcomer to the Houston area, the museum, which draws almost 200,000 people a year, has quickly become one of the city’s favorite destinations, especially for class trips–more than 40,000 schoolchildren visit the museum every year.
The Orange Show is a folk-art environment–and monumental work of outsider architecture–in Houston’s east end. It was built single-handedly between 1956 and 1979, by the late Jefferson Davis McKissack, a Houston postal worker. The outdoor 3,000-square-foot complex is maze-like in design and includes an oasis, a wishing well, a pond, a stage, a museum, a gift shop, and several upper decks. It’s constructed of concrete, brick, steel and found objects including gears, tiles, wagon wheels, mannequins, tractor seats, and statuettes.
John Milkovisch loved beer. He drank a six pack a day and saved all the cans. When he retired in the 1960s, he put the cans to good use by covering the exterior of his house with them. Not wanting any part of the cans to go to waste, Milkovisch built mobiles, fences, sculptures and windmills out of the tops and bottoms of his beer cans, as well as wind chimes and curtains out of the pull tabs.
A park filled with vibrant mosaics created by more than 300 folk artists. While strolling through the eclectic assortment of colorful mosaics, be prepared to come across anything from abstract designs to recognizable shapes like kayaks and guitars. Houston’s Smither Park is covered in creative folk mosaics contributed by more than 300 artists.
A little bit Wonkatania, a little bit pink elephant. The Herman Park Train is a slow way to move between the Medical Center and Rice University, and skirts nearby attractions such as the zoo, Museum of Natural Science, and Miller Outdoor Theater, but it has always been treasured as an amusement in and of itself. The tunnel is ONLY accessible by riding the train. The main ticket office is located at Kinder Station in Lake Plaza, but you can board anywhere you see a platform.
This historical air terminal in Houston is slowly becoming an aviation museum dedicated to the city's aeronautical history. Thanks to the Houston Aeronautical Heritage Society (HAHS), this window into aviation history and architectural treasure has been preserved. The organization has taken on responsibility for the long-term care and restoration of what was the first (and for a long time, only) commercial flight terminal in the city.
Giant heads occasionally litter the industrial Houston neighborhood where sculptor David Adickes has his studio. His workshop in Houston is open to the public and features many of his most outstanding works. Not intended to be a destination, the workshop/gallery has turned into a destination, an often surprising site where one can see something out of the ordinary in the middle of an industrial part of Houston, Texas.
Local arts organization founded in a former church. Originally opened in what the owner called a micro-cinema sanctuary inside of a former church that was built in 1924, the Aurora Picture Show is more than just a theater; it’s an organization. A successful local arts organization dedicated to “expanding the cinematic experience and promoting the understanding and appreciation of moving image art,” according to the organization’s website. “Our screenings are known for being memorable and not-to-be-missed as they are not often repeated and are difficult to duplicate.”
This seaworthy collection was sparked by one man's passion for sailing. After he retired from the shipbuilding business, Jim Manzolillo sailed around the world several times. On each of his 95 ocean voyages, he bought model ships at different ports of call to bring back to his home port of Houston. After showing off his impressive collection in his personal condo, he decided to open the Houston Maritime Museum in 2000. Docents are available to present the extensive collection, which includes model ships, navigational instruments, and the story of the Houston Ship Channel.
Artist James Turrell's ode to dawn and dusk on the campus of Rice University. This installation, part of the Suzanne Deal Booth Centennial Pavilion, on the campus of Rice University, was designed to host musical performances. This space is magical and provides a unique perspective on the sky and light, even when the light sequence is not underway: at mid-day, at night, or as clouds come and go.
A historic, century-old house plopped along the perimeter of Houston's ballpark. Near the southern entrance to Minute Maid Park, next to the Home Plate Bar & Grill, is a fenced-up white and blue house that seems out of place. But this is not some random abandoned structure. The house was built in 1905 and was part of Quality Hill, Houston’s first upscale neighborhood. The “Hill” referred to the slight rise in elevation back then that allowed residents to look down on Buffalo Bayou and Allen’s Landing.
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