Things to do in Houston's Hermann Park
No matter where in the world I am, my favorite destinations in any city seem to be the parks and gardens. When those areas are within walking distance of great museums, I’ve found my little corner of nirvana. For those of us living in, or visiting, the Houston area, the place to explore is Hermann Park.
Hermann Park began life in 1914 when industrialist George H. Hermann decided to deed 285 acres of land to the City of Houston. Since that time, the park has undergone continual improvement projects. The most recently completed large-scale project was the McGovern Centennial Gardens in 2014. The Hermann Park Conservancy group continues to plan and seek public input concerning future improvements to the park.
In the park you’ll find McGovern Lake, The Reflection Pool, The Japanese Garden, a play area and a splash pad, McGovern Centennial Gardens, the Miller Outdoor Theater and a golf course. Apart from going for a walk or a run in the park, there are other activities available. The park has a boathouse where you can rent a pedal boat or, if you prefer to remain on land, there are also bicycles available to rent. If a tour around the park on the miniature train sounds fun, get in line for the 18 minute trip. Should you get hungry while you’re enjoying the park, the Pinewood Cafe offers salads, wraps, sandwiches and burgers.
Also within the park boundaries, you’ll find the Houston Zoo and the Houston Museum of Natural Science. If you’re ready to explore a little farther afield, you can easily walk over to the Museum of Fine Arts, Contemporary Art Museum, Cullen Sculpture Garden, Museum of Health and Medicine or Children’s Museum of Houston. I should maybe qualify this and say that as long as it’s not summer, you can easily walk.
After our visit to the park, we decided to continue on to The Black Labrador for some lunch. The food here is your typical pub grub, which in my opinion translates to not particularly memorable. What is memorable, and the reason I like to come here, is the setting. You’ll enjoy both the interior and the building itself.
Originally built as a church in 1940, the ivy covered converted building today houses the Montrose Branch of the Houston Public Library and the Black Labrador Pub, which has itself been in operation for 30 years. The eatery has windows set into deep walls, wooden floors and roof beams and exudes a comfortably aged atmosphere. On nice days, you can choose to eat outside and maybe play a chess game with some giant sized pieces.
Since I like to add lots of pictures, I’ll break this day trip into several stories and cover the Japanese Garden and the McGovern Centennial Gardens separately. I hope to add those posts within the week.