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Half Day in Houston: Uncover Secrets at Rice University

This Half Day adventure is one of my very favorites!  Pack up your explorers and start uncovering secrets at Rice University!  Find goofy carvings, a marble wall that makes a croaking sound, whispering niches, angry dolphins and so much more.

Find details and the walking map below.

Rice University Lovett Hall Columns


Free parking is available at Hermann Park Parking Lot A.  You can cross Fannin and Main, at the METRORail station, and access Gate 1 at Rice University.  Just be sure (no matter where you park) that no valuables are in your car because you will be leaving it for a few hours.

Lot A can get full on nice days and weekends, so you can either park in another Hermann Park lot (for free) or pay to park in the Rice Visitor Lots.



To start, look up the Rice University Map or print out my marked-up map HERE!  There is a lot to see at Rice, but this tour focuses on a small section near Lovette Hall.  (Be watching for more Half Day Adventures that explore Rice!)

Rice University Map
I discovered these secrets from the very detailed Walking Tour of Rice that has more information than I could handle on one trip.  That said, I keep referring to it for future trips… and you should read it if you want to know a lot more about Rice!  Also take a look at this cool post on Chron.com!

Go any day and at any time because our whole adventure is outside the amazing buildings.  If you go at 8:00am on a school day, you’ll probably wrap up about the time the campus is waking up.


Rice University Gate 1
1.  Rice University Gate 1 – 6100 Main St, Houston, TX 77005 – Gate 1 on the Rice Map

Start your adventure by walking (or pushing the stroller) up the tree lined walking path from Gate 1 (by the Hermann Park MetroRail Station).  This picture perfect street brings you closer, step by step, to Lovette Hall.



Rice University Lovette Hall at Gate 1
2.  Rice University Lovette Hall – Building 48 on the Rice Map

Once you reach Lovette Hall, your secret finding mission begins.  Start through the big arch and look up!

Rice University Lovett Hall Freshman
You’d think that intricate stone carvings would be very very serious… but here you find one of the goofy and immature freshman…. and another of the very serious and sophisticated graduate!

Rice University Lovett Hall Graduate

Walk through this archway and be amazed at the beauty of this campus.  Grand buildings surround you, with Herzstein Hall and MD Anderson Hall are to the right, Fondren Library is straight ahead and Sewall Hall and Rayzor Hall are to the left.  Everywhere you look there are owls, carvings and plaques…. and it makes you wonder just how many secrets and inside jokes are hidden around Rice University.

Rice Universtiy Lovett Hall 6 of 12 Columns
Just beyond the Lovett Hall archway are 12 columns (with 6 on each side of Lovett Hall).  They look pretty normal… but look closer at the tops.  You will see the heads of scientists.. surrounded by snakes.  Apparently these were originally to represent Medusa, but a last minute re-design changed them into scientists… but the snakes remained.   Read about it HERE.

Rice University Lovett Hall Snakes


Rice University Herzstein Hall
3.  Rice University Herzstein Hall – Building 35 on the Rice Map

With your back to Lovett Hall, turn right and walk by Herzstein Hall.  Here you need to pay close attention to the door handles and walls.

The door handles are… can you guess?  Angry dolphins.  I’m serious.  That’s what it says HERE.

Rice University Physics Building Door Handles

In the same doorway as a set of dolphins are these niches.  I missed them the first trip around because they are up a few steps… but sure enough… just like at Discovery Green’s Listening Vessels… you can whisper in one and be heard in the other.

Rice University Herzstein Hall Whispering Niche


Rice University Architecture Building Bumps
4.  Rice University M.D. Anderson Hall – Building 5 on the Rice Map

Keep walking straight (still to the right of Lovett Hall) and locate the M.D. Anderson Hall (as marked on the map) or Architecture Building (as marked on this side of the building).

Look right next to the “Architecture” sign for one of the coolest things in Houston (for those of us that love quirky things).  The little dots around the doorway make noise if you run your thumb through them!

Listen to the Frog Croak HERE or watch below!  (And yes, “frog croak” is probably the nicest way to describe the sound.)


5.  William Marsh Rice Statue

From this awesome marble trick, walk to the middle of the quad to find the founder and tomb of William Marsh Rice.  Rice left his fortune to build Rice University… but it was nearly stolen after his murder.  Learn about the scandal HERE.

Also, on the back of the chair of the statue, apparently you can see a style of owl that is no where else on campus.



Rice University Will Rice College Asking for Money
6.  Rice University Will Rice College – Building 80 on the Rice Map

From the statue, there is one more carving you really should see… just beyond the quad.

If you walk towards Main Street and Hermann Park (or left if your back is the Lovett Hall), you can find Will Rice College.  Along the building you can find a funny set of sculptures… including one of a student writing home to ask for money!

Rice University Heisman1

This really is just the start of what there is to find at Rice University.  So wrap up your tour for the day and make plans to come back… or look at THIS walking tour and get to more exploring!

Rice University Sitting Sculptures

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