Hi, friends! Today I’m excited to share our adventures from Conor’s last day visiting Houston. But since we packed so much into the last day, I’ll be breaking up this day’s activities into two different posts! This first post will cover morning to afternoon, where we explored the Cockrell Butterfly Center, Cullen Sculpture Garden, and the Contemporary Arts Museum of Houston. The next post other will cover afternoon to evening, which I’ll give a sneak peek into at the end of this post! So stay tuned!
Sunday morning we woke up early and headed to Cafe Brasil for breakfast. One of my close friends in Houston (Hi Laura!) gave me a whole list of places she recommended I try over the summer as far as food goes, and this was one of her favorite breakfast spots. P.S. – ALL here recommendations were so good and I’m thinking about putting together a Houston City Guide with all the best places to eat and things to do. Would you be interested in seeing something like that?! Let me know in the comments below!
Ok, now back to our Sunday adventures in Houston!
I particularly loved the vibe of the interior decor at Cafe Brasil–it felt fresh and modern while remaining warm and cozy. A combination that can be hard to achieve!
When you walk in, you are greeted by a counter top full of yummy treats, like these giant snickerdoodle cookies and warm fresh cheddar biscuits and croissants. My oh my! If only I had room to fit one more thing in after our breakfast. Everything looked delicious!
While I loved the indoor seating, Conor and I opted to sit outside on the patio. Anyone else always sit outside when there is the option? And lucky for us, the outdoor seating was covered and had plenty of fans to keep us cool in the Houston heat.
I went with a vanilla latte and the avocado toast with fried egg and roasted potatoes. And Conor went with a more traditional style breakfast of eggs and bacon with roasted potatoes and toast.
Both were delicious, although a little on the smaller side. I would have loved to try this spot for lunch too for comparison. But alas, it will have to be another time!
After breakfast, we headed straight for the Cockrell Butterfly Center, which is located at the Houston Museum of Natural Science (more in this post). Admission is definitely reasonable–$9 for adults and $8 for children, seniors, and students–and is a great way to spend a weekend morning if you’re looking for something fun and interactive.
While the Cockrell Buttefly Center is known for its walkthrough butterfly habitat (I’ll get to that in a bit!), there are tons of other exhibits to explore on your visit. The first floor in particular is full of cases of live beatles, and spiders, and other creepy crawlers that you can watch squirm around. I won’t lie to you…I got the eeby jeebies a couple times, but it was well worth it to see some of the unique critters they have there!
They’ve also got displays of hundreds of different types of beatles and butterflies to look at it. It’s fascinating to note all the different sizes, shapes, and colors between the varieties. Just beautiful to look at!
One of my favorite parts of this area was the case where butterflies were hatching. It’s so neat to look at all the different kinds of cocoons each different butterfly made. And if you’re lucky enough, you may even get to see one hatch while you’re there!
These metallic cocoons were my favorite! Sooo pretty and shimmery!
After spending some time on the main floor, we headed into the Rain Forest Conservatory, where all the butterflies fly freely around you. What a dream!
It was such an incredible experience to be surrounding by all different kinds of butterflies. I loved to just watch them land and sip the nectar from all the insanely beautiful flowers there. And that’s another thing! The variety of tropical flowers in the center was incredible! All were bright and beautiful and uniquely shaped.
There was even an iguana in the room just chillin’ out under some heat lamps! 🙂
I loved looking at the intricate patterns on the butterfly wings and attempting to figure out what they were trying to mimic. The pattern on the wings below look like eyes to me. What do they look like to you?
P.S. – You can find an exhaustive list of all the critters at the Cockrell Butterfly Center here!
After spending quite some time inside the Rainforest Conservation area, we headed down into the level below the waterfall. Here there are exhibits which discuss the importance of insects to humans, which was fascinating! There were also more cases of Texas beetles to look at here too!
After spending a few hours in the Butterfly Center, Conor and I were hungry for some lunch. Our next stop was to visit the Contemporary Arts Museum, so we did a little searching around the area and found Drew’s BBQ near the Museum District in Houston.
We split the 3-meat meal, which came with pulled pork, smoked brisket, and spicy sausage. And for sides we went with bacon green beans and baked beans–yummm! Everything was amazing…and I’m salivating just looking at these pictures here! If there’s one thing I miss about living in the South, it’s the food (BBQ and Mexican in particular).
When we got closer to our destination, we parked the car in one of the back neighborhoods and walked toward the Contemporary Arts Museum. On our way to there, we stumbled upon the Cullen Sculpture Garden and took a little stroll through the park.
Come to find out…the Sculpture Garden is actually a part of the Houston Museum of Fine Arts (discussed previously here). So I’m glad we got to see it!
It’s definitely a quick walk-through and not something I would plan to take a lot of time. But definitely something interesting and fun to visit if you’re strolling through the Houston Museum District!
Afterwards, we continued on our way toward the museum. I love the archways of trees over the sidewalks in the Houston Museum District. Isn’t it just the prettiest!? It made the heat that much more bearable to walk in, in my opinion.
Finally arrived at the Contemporary Arts Museum! Now we weren’t really sure what to expect here. After seeing some pretty strange pieces of work in the abstract/modern areas at the Menil Collection (post here). So we were ready for just about anything!
Another great perk about his museum…it’s completely FREE to visitors!
Now I’m definitely not a trained art conissueir, but I try to always keep my mind open about things like this. Art is an individual experience, so different people will see and feel different things from the same pieces of work. At any rate, I won’t comment on the pieces photographed below, but I did want to just give you a taste of some of the things we saw there! Art can be so imaginative, and the artwork here was definitely a unique experience to encounter.
Down below, there was another art installation by Jae Ko called Flow. And the whole room was covered in these flowing stacks of rolled paper. It was really cool! There was even a video in one corner of the room showing how everything was installed, which seems to always be fascinating to us engineers. 😉
I actually don’t think this exhibit is currently there any more, but have no doubt that there are always fun exciting new installations going in. You can check their website for current exhibits here.
After finishing up at the Contemporary Arts Museum, we headed back out to explore the Museum District on foot and to see what we could find. We honestly didn’t have much of a plan but ended up stumbing upon one of the prettiest gardens I’ve ever been to! In the next post, I’ll talk about the McGovern Centennial Gardens, my favorite cupcake shop, and the James Turrell Skyspace (our last stop on Conor’s visit!). I hope you’ll stick around to hear about it!
What about you? Have you ever been to a contemporary arts museum? What were your thoughts?
You might also like…A Day at the Museum of Fine Arts and My Favorite Exhibits at the Natural Science Museum.