A bloody slaughterhouse. A strobe-lit maze patrolled by clowns. A zombie-infested bog. A room full of overdue utility bills. These are the most terrifying scenes humans can imagine, and many of them confront visitors to Screamworld, an attraction that stretches the haunted house experience across five uniquely spooky settings. Here, animatronic scares and disorienting lights lie in wait for groups, as do costumed actors seeking the perfect opportunity to spring from their hiding spots. Screamworld's performers don't shy away from offering an intense, frightening experience, and though the shrieks are all in good fun, the experience isn't recommended for children.
Inspiring those thrills and chills is practically an art form for Jim Fetterly, the mastermind behind Screamworld. Fetterly has designed annual haunted houses since 1989, so he and his team pride themselves on their ability to leave visitors with racing pulses, sweaty palms, and thoroughly spiked adrenaline levels. And their dedication has not gone unnoticed?America's Best Haunts continues to select Screamworld as one of the top haunted attractions in the country, while the Houston Chronicle hailed it as "Houston's longest-running and arguably best haunted house."
As daylight hours wane and temperatures drop, Discovery Green transforms Kinder Lake’s model-boat basin into a 7,200-square-foot open-air ice rink, beckoning visitors and locals alike to embrace the winter season. The cheerful sounds of Christmas carols, upbeat world music, and swing tunes emanate from the sound system as skaters gracefully glide past the site's colorful glass railings and mural-bedecked kiosks. In a separate children's area beside the main rink, toddlers and their parents can play on their own section of ice while safely avoiding faster-paced skating traffic. Special events also lend their own festive air to the attraction, where guests can watch live jazz bands or skate alongside Santa Claus.
To keep the ice at a constant and chilly 22 degrees, the rink conceals more than 17 miles of cooling pipes beneath its friction-defying surface. Recycled water from Kinder Lake helps create a cool, even skating surface, and the entire attraction siphons its power from renewable energy sources instead of coal buttons stolen from snowmen. Additionally, an onsite snack shop keeps bellies warm and cheeks ruddy with cups of coffee and hot cocoa, as well as hearty snacks including roasted peanuts, cookies, and belgian waffles.
Designed by award-winning architect Gunnar Birkerts, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston's stainless steel building safeguards a multitude of work designed to intellectual engage viewers and invoke complex reactions. The museum's two galleries, the Brown Foundation Gallery and the Zilkha Gallery, collectively host 8?10 free exhibitions every year.
The Brown Foundation spotlights work by internationally renowned artists and pieces organized around themes; past exhibits include a Kiki Smith survey and a showcase of performance art by black artists. The Zilkha, meanwhile, hosts the museum's Perspective Series, which gathers the work of emerging artists. The museum's Teen Council curates a biyearly edition of Perspectives, unveiling work by young, Houston-area artists that mine for deeper feelings than the normal teenage angst toward parents, teachers, and singing animatronic bears. The Teen Council also contributes to the museum's numerous programs, which include lectures and discussions for each show, as well as Musiqa concerts based on each Brown Foundation Gallery exhibition.
After retiring from his upholstering job at the Southern Pacific Railroad, John Milkovisch spent his free time building structures around his house and drinking beers with his wife Mary. But when he ran out of space for building, he decided to use up his extra beer cans to create a shiny siding for his structures and his house. He began in 1968, and within 20 years he had completely covered his property with an estimated 50,000 aluminum and glass cans. The result was both fashionable and functional, with swaying garlands tinkling in the breeze, strings of cans adding a luster to all surfaces of the house, and the protective weight of the cans even helping cut the house’s energy costs. But you can’t have a house this striking and not get noticed. So pretty soon people began making trips to see this can-covered house, and in 2007, it was moved into the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art. Now guests can peer inside the house and examine the structures without getting chased by the owner's beer can-covered dog. The house’s guided tours also feature a documentary that covers the history of the project since its inception forty years ago.
Seven days a week, the Houston Museum of Natural Science cultivates knowledge with interactive exhibits that shuttle minds into such far-flung realms as tropical rainforests and outer space. Permanent exhibits house everything from the skeletons of brachiosauruses in the recently expanded Morian Hall of Paleontology to artifacts from ancient Egypt and the Americas. Housed inside three stories of glass, the museum's butterfly habitat teems with more than 1,500 winged wonders from around the globe, which frolic around a 50-foot waterfall, flutter through exotic plants, and?most amazingly?pull nickels from behind children?s ears. Visitors can also gaze skyward in the Burke Baker Planetarium, which casts more than 10 daily shows with curve-mirror projection technology. Eyes marvel at the planetarium's 30'x18' full-dome digital theater, capable of transporting families to the aurora borealis in the Arctic Circle or to the nougat-flavored center of a black hole.
When Houston Maritime Museum founder James L. Manzolillo moved to Houston in 1979, he found the city to be an ideal location for establishing a living, breathing monument to maritime history. As a host to the second-largest port in the United States, Houston provides a fitting backdrop for an institution that preserves the legacy of the intrepid individuals who explored the waters about which Manzolillo has always been passionate. Housed inside the former home of retired Navy lieutenant commander John Luykx, the Houston Maritime Museum's collection contains 150 model battleships, paddleboats, and submersibles as well as 100 maritime artifacts such as astrolabes, nautical quadrants, and sextants. An exhibit dedicated to the Port of Houston displays the port's history through artifacts and photos, and illustrates the port's significance to the local and national economy. Guided tours are conducted with advanced registration to allow visitors to learn little-known facts without having to forge the naval-officer secret handshake.