Address: 5555 Hermann Park Dr, Houston,Texas 77030
For hours and admission fees, go HERE.
The Houston Museum of Natural Science (HMNS) includes permanent exhibits including paleontology, gems and minerals, chemistry, Texas wildlife, African wildlife, malacology, energy, earth, Egypt and The Americas. With a special ticket, you can also visit traveling exhibits, the IMAX theater, the planetarium and the butterfly center. A second museum is also open in Sugarland.
The Houston Museum of Natural Science is located right next to Hermann Park, near lots of parking and a Metro stop. When we visit, we try to find the 3 hour free parking outside of the museum. However, when the park and museum are busy, free parking can be hard to find. During peak hours (during events or weekends), you might need to pay for parking in the garage attached to the museum.
If you are planning to stay for lunch, there is a McDonald's located in the Grand Entry Hall of the museum. The prices are a little higher than most McDonald's, but you can still order a hamburger for about $1.00. You can also pack a lunch and find a seat in the Grand Hall, outside the museum, or across the street at the park. (Note that no food is allowed inside the exhibit halls.)
I would avoid the McDonald's right at lunch time on a weekday. Hundreds of thousands of students visit the museum each year, and during the week at 12:00, they seem to all be in the Grand Hall grabbing lunch. Speaking of crowds, another tip I have is on the bathrooms. When the museum is busy, there are lots of lines. The best bet is to go to the basement where there are two sets of bathrooms that most people do not know about.
My 4 and 2 year old love the museum. They call it the dinosaur museum and ask to go frequently. They can spend hours looking at dinosaur bones, the Texas wildlife and pretending to be on the weather channel. Another thing it has going for it is the air conditioning. This can make a Houston summer play day enjoyable.
Family membership to the museum starts at $85. If you plan to visit more than once, this is something to consider because tickets are pricey. If you are just in town for a short time, maybe you want to consider the CityPass to see several attractions for a discounted rate.
If you live in Houston, you may want to considering volunteering at HMNS. It is a great way to be learn about the museum, meet people, take classes and just be in-the-know. As a volunteer you can work behind the scenes, give tours, or anything in between. I've volunteered at HMNS for a couple of years and they treat the volunteers very well. You can see the exhibits first and receive specialized training.
Overall, my big kids love the museum and ask to go frequently. I also think it is an enjoyable trip. You might decide you like The Energy Hall or The Butterfly Center or maybe just the air conditioning in August, but I bet you can find something you like at HMNS.