Visiting museums of all kinds has always been one of my favorite pastimes, and I don’t even care what kind of museum it is. In fact, I was at one just the day before writing this guide because the weather wasn’t too clever, and I wanted something to do.
Houston has a lot to offer when it comes to museums and exhibits. That many, in fact, that you might be spoiled for choice or wonder which provides the best day out.
Whether you’re looking for an afternoon spent admiring the artwork or want something scientific and interactive to do with the kids, I have covered every corner with this guide to the best museums in Houston.
As well as including a wide variety of museums, I have taken note of a few other factors, such as whether or not they have dining facilities or what else is nearby. I have also looked at their admission price, as many museums are free or work on a donation basis; the ones in this guide have a ticket price.
Where Are The Best Museums in Houston, TX?
I have gathered all the information I can use from my own personal experience, as well as researching other people’s points of view so that I can point you in the direction of the best museums in Houston that will offer you a fantastic day out.
This list is not in any particular order; they all have their own reasons to visit them, depending on what you’re looking for. So, here they are.
1. Cockrell Butterfly Center
I am a massive fan of animals, so any museums which combines learning and wildlife are my ideal combination and make the perfect day out in my eyes, and this museum doesn’t disappoint.
I have visited the Cockrell Butterfly Center occasionally, which always offers a new experience.
Regarding the admission price, it is a pretty expensive one. The entry fee for adults is $25.00, and for children, $16.00.
Still, when livestock is involved, a lot goes into the upkeep of the enclosure and taking care of the critters, so I never hesitate to pay a higher price for these places.
Cockrell Butterfly Center provides hours of entertainment for the whole family while being educational and informative.
My favorite part about the center is getting to walk through the living butterfly habitat. At the same time, you watch the thousands of butterflies in their natural environment. Also, attend the rainforest conservatory, where you can see the 50-foot waterfall and beautiful exotic plants.
As well as the butterflies, there are some great interactive games and quizzes in which adults and children can participate.
The only option for dining here is a Mcdonald’s situated in the food court, but it’s only tiny. I recommend taking your sandwiches here and eating them outside the museum before you enter (as you can’t take food into the butterfly walk-around).
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2. Space Center Houston
The Space Center Museum is one of the city’s most popular attractions. At the museum, you can see over 400 space artifacts, including permanent and temporary attractions.
Here, you can learn about the history of the American space-exploration program and find out about planned future missions. The staff is all very informative, and there are guides all around the museum to answer any questions and point you in the right direction should you get lost.
I would advise visiting this place during the warmer months because it’s highly overcrowded whenever I visit in winter, which takes a lot away from experience.
I recommend setting aside a whole afternoon or even the entire day to look around here, especially if you have a keen interest in aviation. There is a lot to see, and you can easily miss many sections if you don’t take your time.
One of my favorite things to do here is the tour of astronaut training facilities and the mission control center in the NASA Johnson Space Center. It’s fascinating to see.
There are also a few experiences that you can take part in, such as the tram tour and the Apollo mission control tour. All the tours are included in your admission ticket, but you must reserve a place before arriving.
The admission price for the Space Center is $29.95 for adults and $24.95 for children, but kids under three go free. It is quite an expensive day out, but don’t forget that this is a full day out with loads to see and do, so it’s definitely worth the money.
There is a cafeteria where you can grab a bite to eat if you’re peckish, though I wouldn’t say the food is anything to write home about. Eating elsewhere and catching a snack there is a good idea.
3. National Museum of Funeral History
I know some people might look at this and think that it’s a little morbid for a day out. It might not be for everyone, but for those with a bit of a morbid fascination, it’s a fascinating day out and one of my favorite museums in Houston.
This is a unique, one-of-a-kind experience where you can see the most extensive collection of historical funeral artifacts in the US. You will learn about coffins, herses, and caskets through the years, as well as discover the cultural heritage of the funeral service industry.
One of the most popular exhibits is the Presidential Funerals section, which opened in 2016. This tells you all about the funerals of the former Presidents of the United States and allows you to view original artifacts used in some of the country’s most famous funerals and burials.
The History of Embalming is another fascinating display. It informs onlookers about how Egyptian culture adopted the art of embalming over 5000 years ago, preserving bodies and going into detail about the mummification process.
I won’t go into more detail than that, as I want you to get the whole experience during your visit.
The admission price here is $10.00 for adults and $7.00 for children, and a discount is available for students and seniors. Children under five get free admission as well.
I recommend allowing about 3-4 hours to get the whole experience of this museum.
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4. Houston Museum of Natural Science
The Houston Museum of Natural Science is one of the most famous museums in Houston and one of the largest. It’s also one of the oldest, founded in 1909, focusing on educating people about science’s meaning.
The museum has five exhibit floors covering space, Native American culture, astronomy, paleontology, Texas wildlife, and geology. They also rotate temporary exhibits, so there is usually something new to see each time you visit.
The Cockrell Butterfly Center, which I talked about earlier, is also located here, so if you want a jam-packed day, you could do both.
However, I recommend doing them separately as there is so much to see in the main museum. You want to make sure you get everything.
A popular and fascinating exhibit they have here is the George Observatory, which includes a fantastic laser constellation tour, dome telescopes, and live camera feeds where you can enjoy the wonders of the universe.
Ticket prices here are $10.00 for all, which is excellent considering the number of artifacts and exhibits they have on display.
They have a nice bistro-style restaurant on site, where you can get light snacks such as sandwiches, salads, and breakfast items. There is also a lovely grill eatery serving burgers, hot dogs, and fries.
I will say that the museum is a trendy destination for school trips, so it could be worth timing your visit around this if you want to explore quietly. It can get a little loud and bustling with excited children otherwise.
5. The Children’s Museum
Taking kids to a museum can often be a struggle, as most little ones don’t want to stand reading scripts of information or learning about adult subjects that they mind find. So, if you’re looking for a fun, educational day out with the kids, then the Children’s Museum is your choice.
There is much to do here where the children can get involved with hands-on experiments and interactive activities.
These include the Eco Station, where they can explore the solar-powered gardens, and the Tot-Spot, where the young can experience sensory games and problem-solving challenges.
Overall there are around twenty exhibits aimed at children’s learning, development, and education which is done in a way that makes them want to get involved and interact.
The Cyberchase is a great exhibit where kids will show off their thinking skills to try and protect Cyberspace from evil Hackers.
The admission price is $15.00 for adults and children, which is relatively inexpensive. However, as all the activities are aimed at children, it can feel like you’re paying to supervise your child. Still, watching them interact and get involved is great fun.
For More Indoor kid Activities, Take a Look at The 8 Best Indoor Things to Do in Houston When it Rains.
So now you know where some of the most excellent museums in Houston are, which one will you choose for your next educational day? A quiet stroll around the space center or a fun-packed day with the kids at the children’s museum.
Once you’ve explored all the museums, however, you should see what other exciting things there are to do in Houston, such as the Top 8 Must-Visit Historical Sites in Houston and the 9 Best Pumpkin Patches in Houston Around.