Texas Gulf Coast Rocks
orking hard, following the rules, and being responsible are all key to being successful in life. Every now and then, however, it’s nice—even healthy—to let your inner child loose for a little play date and bring your kids along. There’s hardly a better place for that than the Texas Gulf Coast. There, families will find numerous ways to engage the imagination and tickle the fancy. A few of our friends with children visited over the summer, so we had the opportunity to revisit some popular kid-oriented destinations. The Bay Area Galveston Island (45 minutes south of Houston) is a historic, beautiful, and ideal destination for family fun, but there are two great attractions at the halfway point that make for memorable stops. Even pulling into Space Center Houston was exciting. Out on the lawn was a replica of the space shuttle Independence piggybacked on the enormous and historic 747 jetliner that ferried the actual shuttles into space. One of the area’s top attractions, NASA’s Johnson Space Center draws more than 800,000 visitors a year.
All the exhibits orbit around space science and exploration. There was an interactive display showing what it would be like to live on the International Space Station, and we all felt dwarfed but delighted by the huge Saturn V rocket. The Stellar Science Show was an amusing way to learn about space, thanks to an entertaining host who explained complex “science stuff” in a way that we mortals could understand. A five-minute drive down NASA Parkway was Kemah Boardwalk. This unique attraction looked just like an old-timey amusement park, and was right on the water between Trinity and Galveston Bays. The brave ones in our group went directly to the Boardwalk Bullet, a 96-foot-tall wooden roller coaster, while the rest of us opted for the Double-Decker Carousel, where we could choose to ride on dragons, sea monsters, or unicorns. After lunch at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., we went to the Stingray Reef to pet and feed live stingrays, and walked through the rainforest exhibit to see but NOT pet and feed snakes, scorpions, and tarantulas.