Feet patter across three information-packed floors stacked inside the Ocean Star, a former drilling rig that spends its retirement as a museum and education center on Galveston's Pier 19. After two decades drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, the rig has since been revamped and outfitted with interactive models and displays that illustrate the story of offshore oil, gas, and the energies that lurk beneath the world's oceans. Visitors can tap into videos for explanations of drilling, geology, and seismic topics, or stand next to scale models of production platforms. In addition to its lineup of eye-popping sites, Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig Museum and Education Center harbors ongoing exhibits showcasing the industry's careers, history, and safety measures. Self-guided tours seven days a week enable guests to explore the rig's nooks at their own pace, while an onboard staff stands by to answer questions and courteously laugh at all petroleum-related knock-knock jokes.
The ghastly guides of Ghost Tours Texas lead groups of foolhardy interlopers on story-filled journeys past the spectrally inhabited landmarks of Galveston and Houston Heights. On the Galveston tour, a knowledgeable leader takes parties through the Silk Stocking District to visit the 1858 Ashton Villa mansion, whose second floor is occupied by the phantom “Miss Betty” Brown, and whose basement is occupied by a man who years ago forgot how to work a doorknob. The guide also divulges tales told from eyewitness accounts.
The Houston Heights tour winds through the area's historical and opulent homes, exploring such mysteries as the story of the Dean Correl murders and the children who are said to still haunt the alleyways of Houston Heights. Guides weave tales of ghostly possessions and evil voodoo dolls peppered with real-life testimonies from local residents.
Located at the base of the towering San Jacinto Monument, the San Jacinto Museum of History chronicles the formation of Texas lore. This year marks the 175th anniversary of Texas independence, and the museum provides festive fact-gatherers with a moveable feast of 17,000 local objects, 18,000 volumes, and 700 feet of historic party streamers gathered from Texas and New Spain, the United States, and Mexico. While admission to the museum is free, member benefits include access to special exhibits and the Jesse H. Jones Theatre. Members are also granted access to the San Jacinto Monument’s observation deck, which provides a hang-glider's view of the Houston skyline and the mighty Battleship Texas.
What makes your business stand out?
The Battleship Texas is located next to the San Jacinto Battleground, so visitors get an opportunity to experience two great historical sites in one location. Have a picnic under wonderful trees. Bring your camera and capture some great photographs.
What inspired you (or the owner) to start or run this business?
The Battleship Texas is the last remaining U.S. ship to serve in both WWI and WWII. It is also the last of the Dreadnought-style ships. We work hard to maintain her, and nothing makes us happier than when people come to visit The Might T.
What is your most popular offering?
Our Hard Hat Tours are offered five times each year. They occur in January, March, May, October, and November. You can make a reservation on on our website. We also offer an Overnight Education Program and we have hosted 40,000 children at our overnight camp.
Anything else you want to add that we didn't cover?
Visitors of all ages have visited The Texas since 1948 and continue to do so. Come walk the same decks where the heroes of yesterday answered our nation's call to protect America.
What is the best reaction you’ve ever gotten from a customer?
Visiting [The] Texas can be deeply moving for many people. It is also highly educational for visitors of all ages. In 1914, The Texas was considered the most powerful weapon on the planet. To walk her decks provides memories for years to come.
What’s your favorite part about your job?
Meeting visitors and having the opportunity to see their reactions to the experience of being on The Might T.
Established: Before 1950
Handicap Accessible: No
Staff Size: 25–50
Parking: Parking lot
Reservations/Appointments: Not necessary
Most popular offering: Tour the Last Dreadnought—100 years old
Pro Tip: Bring a camera. The Texas is located next to The San Jacinto Monument and Battleground.
With thousands of frame and mat samples, The Great Frame Up can satisfy any and all framing fantasies. The expert framespeople can make diplomas radiate (most diplomas can be framed for around $100–$200), personalized jerseys glisten (most for less than $300), and dorm-room movie posters sparkle (many 24" x 36" pieces are less than $100). The design wizards can also find a home for any prized possession, such as shoebox photos, baby booties, ticket stubs, medals, and really good pot roasts. The Great Frame Up’s no-hassle guarantee and assurance that all work is done on-site means your frameables won't be subject to mistreatment at underground commercial framing facilities.
While many children learn by performing hands-on tasks, school systems have yet to figure out how to incorporate gardens, imagination workshops, and towering aqueduct mazes into their budgets. With 90,000 square feet of hands-on exhibits, the Children's Museum of Houston, which was recently featured in The Wall Street Journal, sparks creativity by allowing kids to explore 14 learning stations. Ranked No. 1 among the 10 best children's museums in the nation by Parents magazine, named one of the 12 best children's museums in the country by Forbes.com and one of the 10 best by USA TODAY, and voted Best Museum in 2010, 2012, 2013, and 2014 by the Houston A-List Poll, the museum has accrued a lot of praise. The Huffington Post has also given a nod to the Children's Museum of Houston, which encourages children to explore their curious nature with a variety of interactive exhibits. Exhibits include the interactive EcoStation, a solar-powered outdoor utopia with activities such as stream creation and leaf rubbing that inspire kids to think about environmental responsibility. At the Invention Convention workshop, kids can explore engineering possibilities with building blocks, propellers, and even basic robotics. The sprawling cityscape of Kidtropolis invites children to participate in a simulated economy. The experience requires them to earn paychecks, budget money on pretend debit cards, vote for political candidates, and learn how to obsessively check milk expiration dates at the onsite grocery store. Their newest cultural exhibit, Heart and Seoul: Growing Up in Korea, explores the county's fashion, film, music, and cuisine, aiming to bring modern-day South Korea to the Houston area.