7209 Garth Rd
Baytown, TX 77521
Phone: (281) 421-9764
Fax: (281) 421-9404
Home to more than 300 species of birds, the Baytown Nature Center is a 450-acre (182-hectare) peninsula surrounded by three bays. Not just for bird-watching and appreciating nature, the center also has other outdoor recreational activities including fishing and a children’s playground built around a nature theme. Another attraction is the butterfly garden which features a colorful medley of flowers and native plants carefully placed to attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Be prepared to walk or bike when you visit since vehicle movement is restricted here to protect the natural habitat of the wildlife. Open 365 days except during extreme weather conditions, the gates open to the public 30 minutes before sunrise and close 30 minutes after sunset. Admission costs USD3 for adults and children above 12 years.
San Jacinto State Historical Park is the battleground where Texas won its independence from Mexico in 1836. After the Alamo, General Santa Anna's large force chased Sam Houston's small army across Texas and was soundly defeated at this site. A limestone and concrete monument rises 570 feet above the coastal flatlands to pay tribute to the historical event. At the base of the monument you will find the Museum of Texas History, and the Battleship Texas is berthed in the ship channel at the edge of the park.
This pleasant lake in East Houston is a citywide favorite for a little dose of the great outdoors. The park has several features, the most obvious of which is Sheldon Lake itself. The lake is open to the public and mostly used for fishing, wildlife spotting and boating, although there are some regulations concerning boat horsepower. The park also has the Environmental Learning Center, which teaches children about wildlife, birding and fishing and hosts all kinds of nature-oriented youth programs. Finally, the John Jacob Observation Tower is an 82-foot tall tower providing expansive views of the lake, park and for miles and miles in every direction.
Treat yourself to a day out of the city by visiting this park and nature refuge. About 10 miles southeast of Hobby Airport is a wonderful 2500-acre nature and wildlife preserve that offers a lot to visitors. Take your family on self-guided trails through the wooded bayou, or opt for a guided tour if it makes you more comfortable. Besides enjoying the simplest pleasures of the Texas flatlands and coastline, parents and children will also enjoy the wild game exhibits and the demonstration farm. Picnic facilities are available.
If you are the kind of person who likes thrilling sports like Motorsports racing, then Houston Motorsports Park is the place for you. The park has excellent race tracks designed for a thrilling experience. It has one of the fastest 1/8 mile (.20 kilometer), all concrete drag strips in the country and can touch speeds of over 180 miles per hour (290 kilometers per hour)! Races are on all year round, so don't be disappointed if you have missed one.
There was a time in our history when the railroad was a major mode of transportation and was used extensively for cargo transport across the country. Songs have even been written and sung about the long, shrill train whistles and the age of the locomotive. Hank Williams and Jimmy Rogers are prime examples of singers who have paid tribute over the years. The museum features old locomotives, railroad cars, artifacts and other equipment for viewing and exploring. Some cars are completely restored to reflect their glory days. Kids love blasting the engine horn as they pass by and climbing around in antique cabooses. The museum is closed during the winter. Call ahead for exact times.
Right off Galveston Bay, 42 acres of fun and entertainment awaits you at the Kemah Boardwalk. This leisure oasis has an amusement park and a wide variety of dining and souvenir shopping options. Thrill-seekers shouldn't miss a ride on the gigantic Boardwalk Bullet roller coaster. Kids are sure to love the carousel and Stingray Reef. For a fantastic view from 65 feet (20 meters) above sea level, the Ferris Wheel is your best bet. The oceanfront restaurants offer an array of choices, including pizza, seafood and steak. Enjoy the daily events like live concerts, shows, festivals and more.
Just four miles east of downtown, you will find one of the nation's top seaports. A tour of the port offers an opportunity to view ocean freighters, ships and barges as they maneuver up and down the 50-mile channel that leads to the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. The port opened in 1914 with President Woodrow Wilson throwing the switch and firing the cannon. You will learn about this history and much more by taking the free 90-minute boat tour aboard the 90-passenger Sam Houston. Points of interest will include ships, geese and pollution control facilities. You are welcome to ask questions during the tour. The Port Authority holds a wealth of information. Before leaving, be sure and take one last look at the turning basin from the observation deck. It is a sight to behold. The tour is free, but reservations are required. All adults are required to have photo ID, and oversized bags or purses are not allowed. Please check the website for the tour schedule.
Glenbrook Golf Course, both challenging and very narrow, is tailored for precision shots. The greens are small to medium sized, making the shot game very key. Traversing the entire course is a 180-yard ravine that players must cross six times in a round. Players are introduced to this ravine on the very first hole. The course is open year round and tee times are available as well as rental carts.
Ever since the Apollo flights, Houston has been synonymous with space travel. Space Center Houston, of NASA's Johnson Space Center, allows visitors to study and understand the making of space history. Enter the five-story plaza which features a full-size shuttle mock-up, complete with a flight deck. By far, the most popular highlight for adults is the tram tour that takes you to various buildings throughout the Space Center. You will be able to have a seat in the viewing room of the original Mission Control room and stroll past full-size mock-ups of the original Apollo rockets. When you need a break from all the activity, the Zero-G diner is on hand to fix you right up.
Just sit right back and hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip…The Port of Houston offers a wonderful 90-minute tour of the Houston ship channels—for free! It's an activity perfect for a day of learning with the kids, or relaxing with a group of friends enjoying the sights of the city. Passengers can view the channels from an air-conditioned room on board, and the first beverage is free—no personal food is allowed on board. Reservations are required and easily made online. All adults are required to have photo ID, and oversized bags or purses are not allowed. Please check the website for the tour schedule.
Children can pet farm animals until they are blissfully exhausted at the twelve different petting zoos that make up Old MacDonald's Farm. If you are afraid they might tire of the animals, there are also pony rides, a miniature train ride, a swimming pool, crawfish pool and a duck pond. The Old West Fort and Indian Village make wonderful settings for birthday parties, and the picnic grounds are great for family reunions and other group outings. Times vary throughout the year - call ahead for details.