Top Landmarks in Houston

Houston is the largest city in the United States and the fourth largest in the United States with a population of more than 2 million. The city was founded back in 1836 and incorporated less than a year later. At the time Texas was not a part o f the United States and was governed by the Republic of Texas of which Sam Houston was President. Houston has such a long history it’s not surprising that there a large number of landmarks that are important both to tourists and locals. Learn more about this fascinating city and what makes it so interesting by visiting Houston’s top landmarks.

San Jacinto Monument and Museum

The San Jacinto Monument in Houston is the world’s talent memorial column, was built to honor all of those who fought for Texas’s independence. The Battle of San Jacinto was a turning point and the ground on which it occurred became revered by those who believed in the independence of Texas. By the 100 year anniversary the ground and public sentiment was right and the monument was built, the San Jacinto Museum of History soon followed and is one of the highlights of any tour of Houston’s landmarks.

Battleship Texas

The Battleship Texas was the first battleship memorial museum in the United States in 1948. It now is anchored at Buffalo Bayou and a part of the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site. The Texas is the last battleship made in the HMS Dreadnought style and served in WWI and WWII. In 1916 the Texas became the first U.S. battleship with mounted antiaircraft guns and the first to use range keepers to control gunfire and in 1919 it became the first to launch an aircraft. The ship underwent many renovations throughout the years before it was decommissioned in 1948.

Holocaust Museum Houston

The Holocaust Museum in Houston was the brain child of Siegi Izakson, a holocaust survivor. While meeting with other holocaust survivors in 1981 he realized that they were getting older and that as they died their stories would eventually disappear and fade from memory as well. He saw that the lessening of influence from actual survivors could let prejudice once again rear its head and he decided to do something about that. The Houston Council of Jewish Holocaust Survivors joined with Izakson to create the museum with its permanent and temporary exhibits that demonstrate and tell of the atrocities of the holocaust through the eyes of those who were there.

Williams Water Wall

The Williams Water Wall is a multistory fountain near the Transco Tower. It was built to draw attention to the tower and to provide a bit of visual interest. Designed by Philip Johnson and John Burgee with help from Gerald Hines the Transco Tower complex and the water wall were begun in 1982 and completed and fully operational by 1985. The wall was designed to be a horseshoe of rushing water, a semicircle that reaches 64 feet high and sits among 118 live oak trees. The wall often serves as a backdrop for events, picnics and concerts.

The Houston Museum of Natural Science

The Houston Museum of Natural Science was established back in 1909 with the goal of providing a free institution for people interested in education and science. This museum is one of the most popular in the United States with more than two million visitors annually. The permanent exhibits include: Paleontology, Gems & Minerals, Smith Gem Vault, Energy, Texas Wildlife, Malacology, African Wildlife, The Americas, Chemistry, Earth Forum, Space Science, The Pendulum, and Egypt. As if that isn’t enough the museum has a very active temporary exhibit policy and traveling and special exhibits are always a big draw. If this landmark museum has you enthralled you may want to spend a little more time in Houston’s museum district as there are 18 different museums in just this one area.

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Space Center Houston

The Space Center Houston takes its guests on a tour of the moon with a combination of live presentations, films and artifacts from actual moon missions. Hands on exhibits like Living in Space let you explore what day to day life was like for those who spent time in the shuttles. The tram tour at Space Center Houston is one not to be missed as you get a behind the scenes look at NASA’s Johnson Space Center while people actually work on current space missions. The Level 9 Tour is a guided tour through NASA’s control and training facilities  which will give you the most in depth look at NASA, this tour takes four hours and is open to only 12 people aged 14 or above each day so reserve your tickets in advance.

The Orange Show

There are a number of oddities in Houston that are considered landmarks and The Orange Show is one of them. The Orange Show is a testament to folk art and the dedication of one artist. From 1956 to 1979 Jefferson Davis McKissack worked on this 3,000 square foot artwork in his spare time. The space includes an oasis, wishing well, pond, stage, museum, gift shop and upper decks. It’s made of a variety of materials including concrete, brick, steel, gears, tiles, wagon wheels, mannequins, tractor seats and a number of other found items.

Beer Can House

The Beer Can House is another one of those oddities that is considered a Houston landmark. John Milkovisch started his beer can house in 1968 but at the time he was just laying marbles, rocks and little metal pieces into concrete and redwood to replace his lawn. But by the time he finished he realized he was far from done and turned his attention to the house. His unique brand of aluminum siding was applied and then masked by the strings of beer can garland that drape from the roof line and it’s estimated that there are about 50,000 cans on the house. It’s been said that John drank all of the beer himself, but this is a myth as his wife and neighbors had a hand in the material collection as well.
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