Archive for ◊ April, 2007 ◊

• Wednesday, April 11th, 2007
 This blog post comes out as an attempt to answer some questions about good places to visit and places to eat in my previous TOUR OF SPACECITY HOUSTON . I like to first, Thank you for all bloggers who stopped by to check outpictures and left comments.
As I mentioned in my previous post, Houston is the 4th largest city in USA. That means its big and better. The city runs about 50 miles in radius. Beyond the misconception Houston doesn’t offer any excitment for visitors, it does have variety of places for every age limit to explore and have fun.
I will try to cover most of the places in such a way that you can plan your trip easily. I am going to talk about places I liked and ventured, also some places I plan to check it out.
I am going use the below convention which might be a great help.
1day – Places you can quickly visit in a short period
2days – Places you can visit in a weekend trip
3days – Places you can visit during long weekends
$$$ Pricy or $Cheap
S – Strongly Recommend
FR – Fairly Recommend
NR – Not recommended
Reach Houston
By Car – To Houston Downtown(Central Point)
Coming from AUSTIN, it takes 3 hrs
Coming from DALLAS, it takes 5 hrs
Coming from SAN ANTONIO, it takes 3 1/2 hrs
By flight
Get to International Bush Airport or Hobby Airport. Try to stay away from Downtown and away from Airport area.

Fun Places

NASA – Space Center, Houston – 30 mins from Downtown ( S, $$, 2day)
Moody Gardens, Galveston – 1 hr from Downtown (NR, $$$,2day)
Galveston Beach – 1hr from Downtown (FR, $, 1day)
Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark – 1 hr from Downtown (S, $$$, 3days)
Splashtown Water Park – 1 1/2 hr from downtown (FR, $$$, 3 days)

Free Rides (I know we all love free stuffs)
Sam Houston Boat Ride – – (FR, Free,1days)

Note: Need reservation 2-3 weeks ahead and all needs your ID to board.
Galveston Boat Ride to an Island – (FR, Free,2days)
Note: During summer, there is a long line for the boat.
Historical Places
San Jacinto Monument, La Porte – (S, $$, 2days)
BattleShip Texas, La Porte – (FR, $$, 2days)
Forbidden Gardens, Katy – (FR, $$, 3days)
Religious Places
Meenakshi Temple – Pearland (S, Free,1day)
SwamiNarayana Temple – Stafford (S, Free,1day)
ISKCON – Houston (S, Free, 1day)
TimePass Places
Downtown – Train Ride
Sam Houston Race Park – Horse Race (FR, $, 3days or more)
Gulf Greyhound Park – Dog Race – (FR, $$, 3days or more)
Downtown Aquarium – (NR, $$$, 3days)
Museum District – (Price vary, 3days) – Lots of museum including children’s, Natural Science, Holocaust Museum
Houston Z00 – (FR, $$, 3days)
Buffalo Bayou Park (FR, Free, 2days)
Sesquicentennial Park – Near Aquarium (S, Free, 2days)
Places to Eat
Houston offers good eats from different ethnicity. I would recommend you to try Sea food and Mexican restaurants like Las Cuocus.
Hillcroft Area – Cheap restaurants all over the street
Mayuri – Westheimer Galleria Area (S, $$)
Dakshin & IndianWok – 249/FM1960 Area (FR, $$)
Check out the site, for others
Places to Shop
Hilcroft Road off Hwy 59 South – Lots of grocery stores including 110/220 shops
Galleria Mall (offers Ice Skating)
Katy Mills Outlet Mall
Conroe Outlet Mall
Visit this Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau site and go to special offer for discount coupons for lots of places..
I covered most of the things which our people(desi’s) like to do. There are other places which you can find out from the Houston Visitors center site.
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• Tuesday, April 10th, 2007
My proud parents visited us for a month long vacation(Apr 2007). I dreamt for this day since I got to America like any other desi. I wanted them to show everything possible and give them an experience of lifetime during this short period.
I took them to some good historic and important places in and around Houston city which I am about share with you via pics.
Houston Downtown Sky raisers -( a nice decent view from the park)

Houston Sesquicentennial Park

The main deities at the temple are Meenakshi, Sundareswara and Lakshmi, the companion of Vishnu. Its located apx. 50 miles from my place. It take atleast 1 hour drive in car during the off-peak hours.

Stafford Swami Narayana Temple

It was the first traditional Hindu Mandir (temple) of stone and marble to be constructed in the United States.The 25,620 sq.ft Mandir is constructed entirely of marble from Italy and limestone from Turkey. There is no iron or steel anywhere in the structure.

The stone that makes up the temple was shipped to India where it was hand-carved with traditional Vedicdeities and motifs. Approximately 33,000 individually marked pieces were then shipped to Houston and assembled like a giant three dimensional jigsaw.

Houston, the city, was the first word spoken from the surface of the moon and the first to build an air-conditioned sports stadium.Houston received the official nickname of “Space City” in 1967 because it is home to NASA’s Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center.

Space vehicle used in the Moon

Kalpana Chawla’s with her crew on the Wall of fame.

Inside the Rocket Cockpit

Design of the International Space Station which is rotating about the earth.

Future Unmanned Space Shuttle

Port of Houston (Boat Tour)

San Jacinto Monument

A bit history – On April 21, 1836, Mexican rule over Texas came to a dramatic close. The climax of the Texas Revolution, the Battle of San Jacinto eventually moved Americas western border to the Pacific Ocean. This worlds tallest 570 feet monument tower was built in memory of this great battle fought by the Texans.

Another interesting fact, in the 57 hours that the foundation was poured, the builders consumed 3,800 sandwiches and 5,700 cups of coffee.

Top view from the observation deck

Hope you enjoyed the short tour of the Space city of USA. Please don’t feel shy to leave your feedback as comments. I would appreciate it..

Check out my new post as per some bloggers request on Houston, Favorite Places to visit and see…

Houston Johnson Space Center – NASA

Pearland Meenakshi Temple (never missmy big temple back home)

Buffalo Bayou Sesquicentennial Park has become an urban oasis in the heart of Houstons downtown Theater District. The George Bush Monument, a tribute to the 41st American president, was unveiled to the public in December of 2004, as a new addition to Sesquicentennial Park.

Houston is the nations fourth largest city, home to 2 million people and a hub of international businesses. It is a vibrant international city that heartily enjoys its tradition of being a place of firsts. General Sam Houston, the citys heroic namesake, was the first president of the Republic of Texas.

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