Are you a fan of natural history and science museums? Since Mackenzie was small, we have enjoyed visiting these types of museums as a family. And when we heard that the Houston Museum of Natural Science was part of the Houston CityPass, we had to go check it out during our Spring Break trip to Houston.

It is without a doubt one of the biggest and best museums we have ever been to. We do things bigger and better in Texas after all. But bring a full day if you want to see everything. We spent our morning in Houston checking in to the hotel and making a detour for photo equipment (doh!) and didn’t get to the museum until 1 pm.

It was spring break in Houston at the same time and the parks and museums were packed with people. So many, in fact, that there were police directing traffic as we approached the museum district. Also nearby is Hermann Park and the Houston Zoo, all of which are quite popular, and were bustling with visitors.

One thing I like about Houston is that they LOVE water features. So one of the first things you see when you approach the museum is a pretty cool feature to orient yourself with.

Entry into the museum with the CityPass is quite easy. Just approach one of the Member lines to redeem your tickets. The CityPass includes basic entry to the museum and none of the upgraded exhibits. We just went for the standard experience and loved it all. We did have a tinge of regret that we didn’t at least check out the 10,000 live butterflies in the rainforest or the planetarium once we heard about them. But it would have been complete sensory overload. We missed out on several sections of the museum anyway because we were exhausted from our four-hour visit. But if we go back, we will definitely start with the butterflies!

Once you have tickets in hand, you will pass through the entry hall which has a VR flight experience and a dino ride for the littles. There is also a McDonalds which was printing money the day we were there. You will also find the entrances to the museum wings.

The museum is very nicely curated and has a selection of permanent and special exhibits.

One of the special exhibits has a photography showcase which highlighted a taste of what life is like in Antartica. The images were captured by a scientist who spent 14 exhibitions there, learning about the animals and climate. The photography was really outstanding and some of the photos nearly life-sized, almost giving you the feeling that you are there yourself. There were lots of amazing creature portraits as well.

Another exhibit on the main floor was Message in a Bottle. This fascinating exhibit showcased bottles which had been found during clean-up efforts at some of America’s rivers…and the messages found in them.

But the part of the museum that really enthralled us was the paleontology exhibit which is a very large and impressive collection. from prehistoric bugs to mammoths and dinosaurs, there is so much to explore and see. In fact, we spent well over an hour just viewing these exhibits during our trip.

After finally tearing ourselves away, we ventured upstairs to the room of strange absurdities and hunting trophies. There was so much to look at and we had a great time opening drawers and exploring within them.

Our final stop that day (and we were exhausted at the end of our visit) was precious gemstones and jewelry. Again, it was a photographer’s dream in there…so much to look at and capture!

And for the ladies, so many pretty jewels to marvel over! Can you imagine wearing that out to dinner? Not me!

Have you ever been to the Houston Museum of Natural Science? Tell us about your trip in the comments below.

It’s one of our favorite museums and we also highly recommend the Butterfly Garden which is aflutter with hundreds of astonishingly delicate and beautiful creatures. It’s a great way to get up close and personal to them!