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Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Life + Arts

Exercise for body, space mind and soul

Hermann park Chavez

Hermann Park features a giant reflection pond, Japanese garden, a mini train, a golf course, a walking trail, Miller Outdoor theatre, and is conveniently next to the zoo and near the museum district | Maria Chavez/The Cougar

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston isn’t the only art museum in Houston, but it is by far the grandest. With artwork, sculptures, artifacts, media and more spanning from a wide variety of styles, cultures and dates, there’s a bit of something for everyone. The museum hosts works from a variety of famous artists, including Vincent van Gogh, Andy Warhol, Georgia O’Keefe, Claude Monet and Peter Paul Rubens, and it’s a popular visit for classrooms and organizations across Houston. MFAH currently contains a variety of Islamic art exhibitions and photography of a lesser-known Paris by Charles Marville. The museum has garnered attention with Venezuelan contemporary artist Jesús Rafael Soto’s interactive “Houston Penetrable.”

“I first found my love for Egypt in (MFAH) with a different visiting exhibit, then (I came back for another),” said creative writing junior Brandie Black.  “They have several busts and statues from ancient Egypt there.”

For Cougars new to Houston or the Museum District, general admission for students with a school I.D. is $7.50. The MFAH is free on Thursdays.

The Houston Museum of Natural Science is a local favorite, and it’s easy to guess why. Joining a recently expanded paleontology hall are vast collection of gems and jewelry, exhibits explaining facets of chemistry and physics and collections displaying animals and artifacts from both Texas and across the globe. The museum also features a theater, planetarium and butterfly center, along with revolving exhibits. “The butterflies are amazing. They give you a pamphlet, and you can see the different types of butterflies and the scientific name,” English undergraduate Delen Barrios said. “You go there and it’s tropical weather, even though I went in December and it was really cold outside. It’s really interesting, and some of them (land) on your body and arms. I had two or three on my hat.”

The nationally-renowned museum is free on Thursdays from 3 to 6 p.m. in the summer and from 2 – 5 p.m. in the winter.

MFAH ramirez

The MFAH is filled with art inside and out. | Conny Ramirez/The Cougar

Sandwiched between a variety of museums, the Houston Zoo and Rice University, Hermann Park is a mish-mash of trails, gardens, playgrounds, art, lakes and even a golf course. One of the park’s largest attractions is the Miller Outdoor Theatre, which hosts movies, plays, music and other free performances year-round, including shows hosted by UH. It also hosts numerous popular festivals and events, such as the Japan Festival in April and the newly-created Hermann Park Kite Festival in March. The park is celebrating its centennial this year, and is hosting a number of events showcasing the park’s long history with the city of Houston.

With over 265 acres in area, five miles of nature trails, gardens and more, it takes a long time to see all the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center has to offer. The Arboretum focuses on education and wellness, and offers adult programs and classes, as well as serving as a popular site for kids’ education and weddings. Trees and plants on the trails are labeled, and the trails snake through Memorial Park, passing by streams and wildlife while the sound of traffic can be heard in the background. The habitats – forest, pond, wetland, meadow and more – are home to a variety of plants and animals, and the trails and gardens double as a place to view a wide variety of the type of wild animals native to Houston,  including butterflies, skunks, rabbits, armadillos and more.

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