With so much to explore, where do you begin? The permanent exhibits are included in your general admission ticket and host some worthwhile attractions. For example, the Paleontology exhibit is a common favorite, as it showcases a unique display of predators in action, creating an illusion that the skeletal displays are alive. A progressive timeline layout showcasing over 50 dinosaurs and a section on human evolution also keeps things interesting.
The Gems & Minerals exhibit is another favorite. Featuring over 450 crystallized minerals and rare stones, you’ll find gems you didn’t even know existed. Make sure to catch a glimpse of the enormous blue topaz crystal weighing more than 2,000 carats. This exhibit is best viewed with a visit to the onsite Gem Vault, which has been compared to London’s Crown Jewels. Other permanent exhibits include Hall of Ancient Egypt, Energy Hall, The Americas, African Wildlife, Chemistry, Earth Forum, Malacology and Texas Wildlife. Before leaving, take a stroll through the Cockrell Butterfly Center and immerse yourself in a live butterfly habitat. Additionally, the Houston Museum of Natural Science hosts a variety of special exhibits that change throughout the year.
Weekends and weekday mornings can get crowded, so you may want to opt to visit later in the day or call the museum (713-639-4629) to inquire about crowd levels.
Hours for the exhibitions are Monday through Sunday, 9am to 5pm. Admission for permanent exhibits is $15 for adults, $10 for children, college students, military and seniors 62 and over, $7 for groups of 20 or more, $3.50 for school groups, and free for members. Admission to the permanent exhibits is free from 2pm to 5pm on Thursdays. Special exhibit prices vary.