Today begins a 2-part series covering my last weekend in Houston. The first will cover our Saturday at the Houston Zoo, and tomorrow I will talk about our day trip to College Station (where Texas A&M is! and where Allen and I met). And speaking of Allen…he actually came up to spend my last weekend with me and we had such a fun time crossing off a few more “must-see’s” in Houston off of my list. So let’s get right into it!
We started the day off with brunch at Downhouse, yet another local favorite that was sooo good!
One of my favorite “luxuries” of going out for brunch on the weekends is getting a vanilla latte with my meal. There’s just something so fun and special about splurging on a nice drink every once in a while. Allen even got one too–a hot chocolate that is! (That boy doesn’t like coffee one bit.)
For brunch I got Darwin’s Benedict, which came with a buttermilk biscuit (yum!), shaved ham, poached eggs, and roasted tomato, all covered in hollandaise and chives and served with a fresh arugula and tomato salad.
Allen went with the buttermilk fried chicken and whole grain waffles with maple syrup and whipped cream. He was in food heaven.
After brunch, we headed over to the Houston Zoo. It was quite a hot and humid day to be outside, but we were excited to be there nonetheless. The Denver Zoo back in Colorado has been a favorite weekend spot for us, so we were excited to see how the Houston one compared.
If you weren’t aware, Allen loves rhinos. So when we spotted this rhino statue at the entrance, I just had to take a picture of them together. 🙂
The lines were actually pretty long to get into the zoo (it’s a happening place on the weekend). So once we got inside, we beelined it for wherever the people weren’t ha! That took us right to the antelope, okapi, and ankole cattle.
Next up we ventured over to the lions and tigers and bears!
I loved catching this tiger lapping water from the little stream there. He’s so beautiful!
And the lions had a little din where they could go and rest in the shade, away from the Houston heat. Luckily for us, their den has windows on one side so that you can go underneath and watch them sleeping, up close and personal.
Bears are one of our favorite animals at the zoo, probably because they always seem to be some of the most active while we’re there. I’m not sure if this is just coincidence or not, but we love them! This funny little guy came out of his den just in time for us to see him. And then he rolled and romped around, probably to get that pesky itch on his back.
Cheesin’ hard for the camera because we love the zoo!!
Next, we doubled back to see the gorillas and chimps, but not before stopping to watch the maned wolf playing with an old cardboard box in his pin.
We also stopped to see the Red River Hogs en route as well. Cute little fellow, isn’t he?
Next up…gorillas! Gorillas are another favorite of ours because they are so fun to watch. (And perhaps also because we just LOVE baby Whimsy at the Denver Zoo.)
It’s crazy to think just how intelligent these animals are. It makes me wonder what they are thinking…especially the one below that is giving quite the contemplative look.
After the gorillas, we stopped into the Great Ape Gallery where we were able to see chimpanzees. We especially loved seeing the sleepy guy below, obviously enjoying a very pleasant dream during his nap.
We decided to take a little snowcone break after walking through the primate area. The Houston heat made us do it! 😉 But seriously…such a good idea in the summertime!
Next up…Allen’s favorite! The rhinos! I think he likes them best because they look like they are wearing suits of armor. I won’t disagree! They definitely know how to dress for the occasion.
After the rhinos, we ventured over into giraffe area, where there were also zebras and ostriches. Personally, I love how exotic and strange the giraffes look. I love them! And I especially love watching them pull leaves from the tallest branches of the tallest trees around. It’s fascinating to see the large diversity of life that nature has created!
There is even a little hut you can visit to feed the giraffes straight out of your hand. So neat!
Afterwards, we circled back to see the monkeys and orangutans.
And last, but certainly not least…the elephants! The elephants are another super fun bunch that always seem to be active when we visit the zoo.
On this trip in particular, we learned something quite extraordinary about them. Did you know that elephants love to swim?! We didn’t! We had no idea. But this little guy couldn’t get enough of it. And after being dumbstruck by his behavior, we looked it up online and apparently they are really good swimmers! Who knew?!
Needless to say, the swimming elephant was a highlight of our trip to the Houston Zoo and the perfect way to end our time there.
As we walked back to the car, we went by a little pond in Hermann Park where you could rent paddle boats and zoom around on the water. We didn’t end up stopping there, but I bookmarked it for a fun activity in the future.
On our way to a dinner spot in the Musuem District, we stopped in Rice Village for THE BEST cookie sandwich in Houston (and possibly anywhere) at Smoosh. The cookies are served warm with ice cream in the middle and there are tons of different options and toppings to choose from. I went with a traditional chocolate chip cookie sandwhich with vanilla ice cream, but you can get way crazier than that if you want!
No exageration. THE best cookie sandwich I’ve ever had. You won’t regret it, I promise!
We split the kimchi fries (with cheese, spicy mayo, sriracha, onions, cilantro, and of course carmalized kimchi) and the chicken bao sliders (with korean fried chicken, citrus slaw, housemade pickles, and d&b sauce). As it turns out, I’m not a huge fan of kimchi, but the chicken sliders and everything else on the fries (kimchi fries hold the kimchi 😛 ) was amazing. I’d definitely recommend trying it if you’re in the area and up for something a little different!
After dinner, we headed back into Clearlake after the most amazing day spent at the Houston Zoo. We needed a good night’s sleep before heading to up to College Station on a day trip the next morning (post coming soon!).
What about you? Do you love spending the weekend at the zoo? What’s your favorite animal to see?
You might also like…The Last Time We Visited the Zoo (in Denver) and More Attractions To Explore Around Hermann Park.